And now I have gone back to thinking about the mass combat rules. I like the concept – no pseudo-war games – but the battle as a backdrop for character/party action that helps to decide the outcome of the overall battle. However, I have never been happy with the mechanic that I was playing with – which always came down to a single d20 roll. I couldn’t get a modifier system that I was happy with, nor a reasonable range of outcomes without being very manipulative. But recently I came across the Troop ‘monster’ subtype. Possibly I ‘came across it again’, but this time saw how I might be able use it.
However, it made me think about Defence and how I use Defence Points in my Campaign Rules. Settlements are pretty much controlled by 4 starts. Economy (Econ) or how much Money is floating around, Loyalty (Loy) or how much the rulers are liked, Stability (Stab) which to do with the populations state of mind and Defence (Def) which is all about how safe the settlement is.
There has always been some overlap between Def and Stab, and more advanced Defensive Building give Stab points, but most Stab points come from institutions such as courts, jails, granaries etc.
At the most basic level Def is all about protecting the population from local threats. The village watchtower sends out troops to patrol the surrounding lands to keep bandits, predators and monsters away. They are the guys who clear out the beetle infestation or deal with the goblin raiding party, they might also help chase out herds of elk, or other creatures, that are eating all the crops. They also break up fights (etc) in the village and the Sergeant acts as a low level magistrate to help resolve disputes. In a town or a city, they guard the gates, patrol the streets, disrupt burglaries and perform other basic security functions.
In other words, they defend the population from local threats through a mixture of small scale military and policing actions. This led me to model The Guards on the gendarmerie system of full time soldiers who serve (most of the time) as a ‘civilian’ police force. The Guard are basically patrol men, who can operate as Light Infantry, should the need arise. These guys make up the bulk of any settlement’s defensive force. Just about all troops from Watchtowers and the town/city walls are guards. Most of the time they walk patrols, stand by the gate, and break up disturbances – low-level military policemen, not all that different from the population they serve.
The Campaign Rules say that any settlement with Def 2+ is able to patrol the surrounding hexes as well. There aren’t that many benefits from it, but it means that you will know as soon as a Goblin Clan move into the hex next door, and gives you a tentative claim on that land. It is particularly helpful in wilderness areas. However, that implies that the second defence point is used for Scouts (either infantry or cavalry) to carry out regular patrols over those areas.
So, the first two Def points of any settlement, and all Def Points from watchtowers and walls should be guards/scouts – all ‘light’, gendarme style, troops.
Another option in the rules, allows settlements to employ marines to patrol lakes, waterways, harbours etc. Unlike R/L, marines in my Campaign Rules are a Soldier /Sailor combination – warriors with Profession:Sailor as well as Profession:soldier who act more like militarized coast guards than anything else. All units based at Military Jetties are Marines, and they follow the same basic pattern as the other Light Infantry Unit types mentioned.
Militarized Policemen in peace time, who serve as rank and file Light Infantry / Cavalry when war comes. The Guard, The Scouts (Foot & Cavalry) and the Marines make up The Watch – and are all L3 warriors with light weapons and light armour. See The Black Watch for the origins of the name.
The army is a different kettle of fish – as Professional Soldiers they don’t have a local job in peacetime, instead, they practice, go out on exercises and hone their abilities. They are a slightly higher level than the watch and have better equipment – which makes them more of a force to be reckoned with. While they don’t do every day policing, they deal with incursions, insurrection, riots and other large threats that might be difficult for the watch to deal with – and they are in the front line if there is a war.
The Army is composed of L4 Warriors with better equipment. Those with Medium Armour and weapons that do d8 damage are classed as Medium Troops and cost 2BP. Those with Heavy Armour and weapons that do d10 damage are Heavy Troops and cost 3bp.
That works for both the Troop subclass rules and my Campaign Rules. It balances up the costs of extra equipment for better quality troops, and gives Players a choice of how to build their army. Cool.
The only problem is how to charge people for these more advanced troops? The more I think about it, the more I am tempted to make them upgrades. Example: A brand-new barracks (Def:2) comes with two troops of Light Foot. However, for 1 extra BP you can upgrade a ‘light’ troop to a medium troop. Spend another BP (Now or later) and you can upgrade the other light troop to medium OR upgrade the medium troop to Heavy. And so on …