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Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 7:25 am    Post subject: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman (in another thread) wrote:


f the answer to absolutely all military problems is "Send more idiots with spears" there is no purpose served in investing in elites, new technology, or even tactics. It's just a question of who has more people to expend. And that's dumb. For there to be meaningful tactics and strategy in fantasy warfare, there has to be a reason why you have to throw in the Rat Ogres or Thunder Knights every time the enemy throws up a Niefel Giant or Sirrush.

If numbers alone mean anything than the great heroes and the legendary weapons mean nothing. Less than nothing.


Well, first I hardly think that Navy SEALS and Green Berets "mean nothing" because they can't take on the entire Iraqi army.

The problem is that right now, legendary units mean too much. I mean you're way better off having a single high level guy than pretty much any number of little army men.

In LotR the oliphants pretty much owned the calvalry but still the calvalry managed to bring some of them down. In warfare, special units should be very efficient, but they shouldn't be completely invulnerable.

While it is true that mass numbers can't always be the answer, sometimes they have to be. If high level guys is always the answer then armies serve no place on the battlefield. There needs to be some balance.

At the very least, there has to be some kind of RPS system like:

Legendary Monster > Army > Hero > Legendary Monster

I'm not sure what a good way to set that up is, but it should be in place if we want to incorporate armies into games at all. For armies to work there has to be a reason why people use them, instead of just recruiting a field of high level characters. The standard grunts have to be good for something, or at the very least they've got to be cheap. Right now it takes way more to outfit 20,000 crossbowmen than it does to outfit a few high level characters.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 9:09 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RC wrote:
In LotR the oliphants pretty much owned the calvalry but still the calvalry managed to bring some of them down.


That's a great example. The Oliphants pretty much owned the elite cavalry, but the elite cavalry was able to take a few of them down. The Oliphants completely owned lesser warriors, and the Gondorian Stooges were unable to take down any. The bad guys bigger than the Oliphants, such as The Witch King, were able to wander around killing elite cavalry at will.

The Rohani didn't take down any Ring Wraiths. Not even close. A Ring Wraith just flew around killing people as fast as he felt like doing it and without the intervention of named characters with magic weapons they couldn't do dick about it.

That's exactly what I'm talking about. If something is sufficiently bigger than your own infantry, your grunts just can't do anything to it. You have to send in dudes who kick more ass to have a chance. If they send in something bigger than that, you'll have to send bigger things and so on.

Oliphants don't get knocked down, at all, by Gondorian Conscripts. It just doesn't happen. They can be taken down by Rohani Elites, but they are highly resistant to that and generally take out a lot of Rohani before they go down.

The Witch King doesn't go down to Gondorian Conscripts. In fact, he doesn't even take damage from Rohani Elites. But people who are more bad-ass than the average Rohani elite can take him down. Especially if they get sneak attack with a magic weapon and triple team him.

So Gondorian Conscripts have been pushed off the RNG by Oliphants. Rohani Elites have not, but they have been pushed off the RNG by Ring Wraiths.

---

This means that things look a lot like ancient battles much of the times - with both armies showing up and the champions of both armies fighting it out in the middle.

And no, it doesn't mean that powerful units are the only thing that matters. Consider the game Stratego, which is even more strict than this (in that a better number always wins, instead of there being a range of possible affect). Just because the Field Marshall kicks holy hell on absolutely everyone doesn't mean that he can wander around with impunity - as soon as he hits a bomb he dies. If he wanders deep enough into enemy territory that they can jump him with the spy - he dies.

That's what happened to The Witch King. He got to cocky with the fact that he was invulnerable to ordinary soldiers and just started wandering around slaughtering at will. Sooner or later he found himself in the middle of an enemy force surrounded by embedded units that actually could hurt him and he died.

And yeah, with no army around to protect them, a Ring Wraith totally would have been able to kick the crap out of the good guys - he'd just take them on one at a time instead of getting triple teamed by named characters with named weapons.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 8:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:

And no, it doesn't mean that powerful units are the only thing that matters. Consider the game Stratego, which is even more strict than this (in that a better number always wins, instead of there being a range of possible affect). Just because the Field Marshall kicks holy hell on absolutely everyone doesn't mean that he can wander around with impunity - as soon as he hits a bomb he dies. If he wanders deep enough into enemy territory that they can jump him with the spy - he dies.

Well, Stratego is actually a bit different for a few reasons.

First, it has two equal sides. This almost never actually happens in a war.

Second, there is the spy, which really adds a counter to the field marshall whcih just doesn't really exist in RPGs. More often than not, you're dealing with a situation where one side may just not have the ability to counter the other side's field marshall. And that's the deciding factor really. Because there is no flag to capture in real wars. And it really doesn't mean anything if the field marshiall is on the other side of the board or not because he can walk the entire way back if he needs to, and if you can't hurt him at all, you're just sitting and waiting to die.

Stratego is actually a pretty good example of the effects of invulnerability. And from what I remember from playing it is this... basically all your lesser units (aside from the 8s whcih disarmed bombs) were either scouts or decoys. And that works because you couldn't see whcih peice was which. So that's cool for Stratego. But in a fantasy setting you really can see which peice is which and this in fact makes the lesser troops useless.

Basically the battle is won or lost by the 1s and the 2s, not by having a bunch of 6s or 7s. In fact, those lesser troops could really mean dick to you for the most part.

But here's the difference. In stratego you dont' get to build an army, you're just handed one. In a fantasy game, you are allowed to build an army. You really do have a choice who you want to equip to fight. If you want you can just send out a bunch of 1s, 2s and 3s to the field, you don't have to show up with an army at all. It seems illogical to do that from a modern viewpoint because we're used to modern armies, where numbers actually account for something. But in a fantasy setting, if one side buys 6s and 7s you pretty much just laugh at them. Because even buying a single 6 or 7 is a mistake, because that's money that could be used buying a 2.

Basically under this paradigm numbers mean nothing. In effect you just band a bunch of 1-3s together and just pray they don't have more heroes than you do. But the 10,000 orcs or whatever just factor out of the equation, since you know they can't touch your small group of 1s anyway. So in fact you've hoped they've wasted their finite supply of gold hiring orcs instead of hiring balrogs or ringwraiths.

The problem is that the fantasy army doens't generally look like a well balanced pyramid.

In stratego terms it'd look more like this:

1 Field Marshall
2 2s
4 3s
6 4s
6 5s
12 6s
100 7s
2000 9s

Probably it'd be even more weighted than that. The problem being that buying 9s (which is supposed to be your most abundant troop) is all but useless. So strategically speaking, the army that just said "fuck numbers" competely and traded in all their crappy orc infantry and orc lieutentants for a few extra 10th level guys on wyverns is going to benefit.

What this means is that strategically the army just doesnt' hold any power.

Unless a certain number of 9s can add up and take out something significant, you might as well not have 9s at all. Beacuse even if we say 9s can potentially take 5's if you get tons of them, the enemy can just totally invalidate your 9s completely by just not fielding any 5s or lower.

The big battlefield with long lines of archers and pikemen and all really can't exist when you've got invulnerable units.

To make the lower troops worthwhile, they've got to serve a purpose.
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Neeek
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 9:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RandomCasualty wrote:

Basically the battle is won or lost by the 1s and the 2s, not by having a bunch of 6s or 7s. In fact, those lesser troops could really mean dick to you for the most part.


confused IME, the game is won and lost almost exclusively by using the 8s and 9s correctly.
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 11:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Neeek wrote:

confused IME, the game is won and lost almost exclusively by using the 8s and 9s correctly.


Well the 8s basically don't exist in D&D or any level based fantasy game for that matter, because high level characters can beat traps (essentially what a bomb represnents), so your field marshall and your 2s are also miners.

The 9s are similarly useless, because unlike in Stratego, you know what all the peices are by looking at them. Scouting actually doesn't serve much purpose, and again, high levle rangers and wizards make better scouts than low level guys ever will.

That's what actually made 9s and 8s not useless in the actual game, though that just doesn't exist in fantasy. I still think the 1s and the 2s were much more important in the game though. Killing his 1 with your spy basically won you the game, assuming you didn;'t make any catastrophic error in judgment.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 4:11 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Grabowski had a theory he was working on at New Years', and it went something like this:

As far as the history of warfare goes, there are only really three types of armies, and they counter each other in a rock-paper-scissors manner. We'll use three Generals named after animals to categorize them:

The first is General Ox. General Ox trusts in raw numbers, and General's Ox's forces consist of a massivle vast number of troops. However, in order for General Ox's troops to be cheap and plentiful, they are neither particularily well trained nor well supplied. For an example, most of the Russian forces in WWII would be catagorized as Ox troops.

The second is General Tiger. General Tiger beleives in having absolutely the best troops available. Tiger troops are always highly trained and well supplied. For an example, modern-day US forces place a high emphasis on training and technology and would be categorized as Tiger troops.

The third is General Mouse. General Mose wants to win the war by attrition. The Mouse strategy is to flee from strong enemy forces and harry weak enemy forces, and to never ever engage in a direct fight. The classic example of Mouse Troops is the Viet Cong

The balance of terror Geoff was envisioning was that Tiger beats Ox beats Mouse beats Tiger.

I'm not entirely sure I agree with this theory, but it was amusing for a drunken new year's rant from a game designer.
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rapanui
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 4:25 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

As has become increasingly usual, I agree with RC.

Heroes should be able to kick ass proportionally with level.

1 Level 1 Character: Take on a single normal human with 100% chance of victory, -25% for every extra normal human.

1 Level 20 Character: Take on 50 regular humans with 100% chance of success, -25% for every extra 50.

These are just some arbitrary numbers I've chosen to illustrate the kind of balance I think we should be aiming for. Let's look at teams now...

4 Level 1 Characters: Take on 10 normal human with 100% chance of victory, -25% for every extra 10 normal humans.

4 Level 20 Characters: Take on 500 normal humans with 100% chance of vistory, -25% for every extra 500 normal humans.

This way, yeah... a group of high level characters is really a force to be reckoned with. To put it in perspective: you could grab all your friends, family, casual aquaintances, co-workers... virtually everyone you've ever known, equip them with decent weapons and your small regiment still wouldn't stand a fucking chance. But the Kingdom's Militia of 2000 men, attacking in synchrony SHOULD.

Now, I know that this concept of balance (where strongholds, spies, troops, siege weapons, etc. make a difference to heroes) doesn't actually correspond to all the source literature D&D tries to cite, but it would make a for a more fun game where it actually pays to build an army up. And the bigger, the better.
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Lago_AM3P
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 5:43 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Is there a particular reason why an army should eventually be able to take on any PCs?

I can't think of any. If it gets to a force where a large force will eventually be able to take on any tiny one, then evil, especially chaotic evil, LOSES.
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Neeek
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:11 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

rapanui wrote:

4 Level 20 Characters: Take on 500 normal humans with 100% chance of vistory, -25% for every extra 500 normal humans.


You think this is even plausible? You've got 2500 normal people beating 4 people who are insanely powerful. This isn't happening, no matter what you do, unless you take away all of the movement related spells and powers. An iconic 20th level party of 4(which in this case is really just a party of 2(cleric and wizard) with 2(fighter and rogue) people standing around hitting those stupid enough to get near them) will cast a few spells killing a few hundred of them(which would almost certainly keep any threats far enough away that they wouldn't be threats), then leave if they feel threated via teleport, plane shift, etc.

There is no number, no matter how large that will change that. You can only field so many people in a space, and at 2500, you're already well passed the point where they can all make an attack a round. Adding more people just means they have to rest a day and come back to slaughter the rest.

The fact of the matter is, normal people in a fantasy world are just like normal people in a superhero world: weak, impotent and in need of protection.
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 10:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lago_AM3P wrote:
Is there a particular reason why an army should eventually be able to take on any PCs?


Yes. If you've got armies (which almost all fantasy worlds do) then they need to be able to do something. It costs a lot of money to equip and maintain an army. That means they should actually be worth something.

There's no problem with PCs actually fleeing from the army, because hey, they're supposed to survive. So if they dimension door or fly away from a big army, that's ok, but they should have some fear of the army.

Quote:

The fact of the matter is, normal people in a fantasy world are just like normal people in a superhero world: weak, impotent and in need of protection.


In fantasy, heroes accompany armies, they don't just go solo the enemy army. Aragorn didn't say "Eh, lets go straight through Isengard instead of going through Moria, they're just 20,000 orcs, we can take em." Heroes just aren't supposed to win against entire armies directly, they're forced to retreat from them.

When heroes fight on a battlefield in fantasy, they don't fight solo like comic book heroes do. They're not the hulk taking on the entire US military. Fantasy is Aragorn leading the warriors of Gondor, giving them inspiration and rallying the troops. In fantasy, the troops do matter. Heroes lead those armies, but they don't replace them.

While the individual human may be weak in fantasy, and any leveled character will wipe the floor with him, armies are still something people fear. There's a big difference between simply being weak and being totally and utterly useless. Fantasy and comic book worlds are not the same, except perhaps when you're talking on the god level.
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Murtak
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 12:36 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List


But mostly DnD characters do retreat from armies. This changes only at very high levels and not even because they can just wade through the enemies but because they can render all attacks made at them moot with fly, protection from arrows and the likes.

If a fighter just charged in he would slowly be worn down or possibly grappled via aid another (and if BAB did not work on grapples this would both work fine and be pretty appropriate).

This stops working when faced with the all-or-nothing kind of defenses that a lot of spells allow though (and which are fine for group vs single monster play). Fly + Wind Wall + Wand of Fireballs pretty much allow you to scatter armies at will though and if you use them against an army that does not have any countermeasures you will win.

Just like in the real world. An army armed with submachine guns does not win against a couple of tanks or against artillery. They need to be ready for those and use the appropriate weapons.

So if you insist on allowing abilities that allow the PCs to be fighter planes then you need SAMs for your armies - be it in the form of a couple of high level archers or as something more weird. Say, like a couple of birds trained (or dominated) to deliver some contact poison.

You will need a lot less of this stuff if you only look at fighters. In your example you say that Aragorn and friends would not charge into a thousand orcs. Well, neither would a couple of 8th level fighters and 3rd level rogues. Gandalf however, seated on a giant eagle or the likes, could probably rout an army or five on his own I think. And he could do it exactly like the PCs would. Fly + Fireball.

Well, that was a lot of rambling but basically if you want the PCs to not cut their way through armies you need to either give the armies some specialized equipment or get rid of some of the foolproof defenses available to the characters. The problem lies not with the PCs AC and HPs scaling up or with cleave and whirlwind, but with protection from arrows and fly and summon anything with a decent damage reduction. Modern armies have special equipment to deal with such threats. There is no reason why an army in DnD would not.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:31 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RandomCasualty wrote:

In fantasy, heroes accompany armies, they don't just go solo the enemy army. Aragorn didn't say "Eh, lets go straight through Isengard instead of going through Moria, they're just 20,000 orcs, we can take em." Heroes just aren't supposed to win against entire armies directly, they're forced to retreat from them.

When heroes fight on a battlefield in fantasy, they don't fight solo like comic book heroes do. They're not the hulk taking on the entire US military. Fantasy is Aragorn leading the warriors of Gondor, giving them inspiration and rallying the troops. In fantasy, the troops do matter. Heroes lead those armies, but they don't replace them.


What level are we talking about? Aragorn would get his butt-kicked severely by a 20th level D&D character. So would the Witch King and probably Gandalf. You are looking at the wrong scale. Once you hit about level 13, armies are a joke, just because your magical power is such that they are no real threat, and if they were, you could just run away. Do high level non-casters still fear armies? It depends. Do they have vampiric weapons or high DR? If not, then probably.

You act like the "few defeat many" theme is unknown in fantasy. Conan certainly did it. It's even happened in real life, to some degree, with the 300 Spartans.
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:54 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Neeek wrote:

You act like the "few defeat many" theme is unknown in fantasy. Conan certainly did it. It's even happened in real life, to some degree, with the 300 Spartans.


Certainly not, but there should be some special situation required. It's ok for a few high level guys to hold a mountain pass for a really long time, even against a huge army.

But on the open field, anyone should be able to get swarmed pretty much.

and it's really more the mood than anything. Conan certainly could have gotten killed when he took on large numbers, as could the spartans. When you make high level heroes completely invulnerable, the mood changes. No longer is the act even heroic. No longer is it the cool "Few stood against many" Conan style battle.

Now it just turns into "Superman rapes a baby because he can."

And that's not fantasy. That kind of thing exists pretty much exclusively in comic book genres. Invulnerabiltiy in fantasy tends to not work as well as we might like. Even famous characters with it tend to not be so invulnerable, like Achilles in the siege of Troy who gets felled by a lucky shot to the heel.

Very rarely do characters, especially heroes, get invulnerability because it doesn't make them feel like fantasy heroes anymore. Conan just wouldn't have been as cool if he was an invulnerable tank of death. Fantasy heroes are men primarily and well, men fear armies.
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PhoneLobster
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 2:22 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Connan WAS pretty much immune to everything, failing anything else because it was basically foretold that he was going to become emperor of the known world one day and he really wasn't going to do that if he was killed by some nameless chump on the battle field. And if him being the son of a mighty super human Atlantian, favoured by the god Grum and having a long history of beating up large groups of chumps with ease wasn't enough then I call the prophecy on that one.

If my memory serves me correctly Achilles wasn't killed by a lucky shot, he was killed by a named enemy hero character who was favoured by Gods and Goddesses who imparted the secret of Achilles heel to him (and possibly a weapon or blessing or something, my mermory is fuzzy on that point).

No one here is talking about making high level heroes completely invulnerable to armies, they are talking about them being completely invulnerable to the lowest level chumps within the armies, not the special hero slaying squads or enemy heroes that MUST be within the army.

People are talking about combined arms here. It makes sense, it works OK and pretty much anything else just sucks.

Invulnerable sides in battle are easily believable in fantasy because it actually DOES happen in battles. Your longbowmen are uphill from the enemies long bowmen? BAM you slaughter the enemy army, even if it outnumbers you and they're lucky if they take down a dozen of your men. Well organized and armoured Roman legions against ill equiped random barbarians? BAM you win and they probably never even put a dent in your shield wall.

And no way is it not supported by Fantasy precedents. Despite a continuing inability by some to admit it fantasy precedent does not exclusively fall into either LOTR or comic books. Failing anything else (and there is a lot else) I call Elric, he definitely slaughtered entire armies with ease.

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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:31 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

PhoneLobster wrote:

No one here is talking about making high level heroes completely invulnerable to armies, they are talking about them being completely invulnerable to the lowest level chumps within the armies, not the special hero slaying squads or enemy heroes that MUST be within the army.



But here's the thing. Hero slaying squads and enemy heroes must be within the army, but soldiers don't. There is no real use for common grunts, so really, why have them?

Modern armies have a practical use for common grunts. Sure they don't blow up tanks, but there are plenty of things they can do and do well, like use cover and stealth. As well as storm beaches and such in mass number. Many such things that tanks can't do.

In fantasy armies, there's nothing that grunts do well, nothing at all. And to make things worse they're not even cheap. Compare the cost to outfit a high level hero compared to that of outfitting several thousand grunts... and the grunts are by far the biggest waste of money any empire can make.

You don't need grunts, and that has to change if we want armies. Grunts must serve some kind of purpose that high level characters can't serve, or serve inefficiently.

Here are the basic purposes something can serve in a battle.

1. Siege castles
2. Kill other grunts
3. Kill heroes
4. Kill legendary monsters
5. Heal troops
6. Battlefield control
7. Artillery

Unfortunately, normal grunts aren't efficient at any of those. In all cases, you're better off composing your entire army of heroes. Heroes can siege castles with teleport, kill other grunts without taking a single point of damage, kill other heroes (where normal grunts couldn't damage them), kill legendary monsters (where normal grunts would get raped). The later 3 are undeniably better performed by high levle casters.

The point of this thread is to find or create some reason why grunts would even exist. Because clearly we want them to exist, because without them there would be no LoTR style 20,000 orc armies.
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Neeek
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 4:28 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RandomCasualty wrote:

But here's the thing. Hero slaying squads and enemy heroes must be within the army, but soldiers don't. There is no real use for common grunts, so really, why have them?


You have the greatest capacity of anyone I've ever seen to ignore things people have said.

FrankTrollman pre-thread split wrote:

Wha...? That's completely backwards. In Fantasy, skill levels of your minions varies greatly, so if only your most skilled warriors can do anything to the Hydrapard, then that's OK, because you actually have a skill gradient amongst your soldiers and the rest of them can go off and fight the Knights of Ulm, who your crap troops can at least trade themselves poorly with.



Quote:

In fantasy armies, there's nothing that grunts do well, nothing at all. And to make things worse they're not even cheap. Compare the cost to outfit a high level hero compared to that of outfitting several thousand grunts... and the grunts are by far the biggest waste of money any empire can make.


What the hell are you talking about? You can outfit like 2000 guys with crossbows and bolts for the cost of a single +2 sword, and any "high level hero" who is using a +2 sword is more than likely vulnerable to 2000 crossbows.

Quote:

1. Siege castles
2. Kill other grunts
3. Kill heroes
4. Kill legendary monsters
5. Heal troops
6. Battlefield control
7. Artillery


You forgot "Hold position" "Manage capatives" "Manage supply lines" "Kill elite grunts" "Distraction" Most of which ordinary people do just fine.

Quote:

Unfortunately, normal grunts aren't efficient at any of those. In all cases, you're better off composing your entire army of heroes. Heroes can siege castles with teleport, kill other grunts without taking a single point of damage, kill other heroes (where normal grunts couldn't damage them), kill legendary monsters (where normal grunts would get raped). The later 3 are undeniably better performed by high levle casters.

The point of this thread is to find or create some reason why grunts would even exist. Because clearly we want them to exist, because without them there would be no LoTR style 20,000 orc armies.


Actually, I have no problem with them not existing at all. However, you are simply ignoring the fact that the ordinary grunts can effect the better grunts, who can in turn effect the extrodinary grunts, who can in turn effect the heroes who can in turn effect the legendary monsters.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 4:58 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Neeek wrote:

What the hell are you talking about? You can outfit like 2000 guys with crossbows and bolts for the cost of a single +2 sword, and any "high level hero" who is using a +2 sword is more than likely vulnerable to 2000 crossbows.

2000 light crossbows = 70,000 gp (not counting ammo).
Cost of +2 sword= 8,000 gp.

And the crossbowmen don't even have armor, food or tents yet, nor have you actually paid them anything to fight for you. That's 70,000 just to equip them.




Quote:

You forgot "Hold position" "Manage capatives" "Manage supply lines" "Kill elite grunts" "Distraction" Most of which
ordinary people do just fine.

You need no supply lines if you have all heroes; they have bags of holding and create food and water. Heroes kill elite grunts better than normal grunts do at a much cheaper cost. Heroes can pose a much better distraction, and since holding a position essentially involves killing people, well we already proved that heroes kill people better than grunts anyway.

Quote:

Actually, I have no problem with them not existing at all. However, you are simply ignoring the fact that the ordinary grunts can effect the better grunts, who can in turn effect the extrodinary grunts, who can in turn effect the heroes who can in turn effect the legendary monsters.


That's the problem though. Affecting the "Better grunts" doesn't matter if there aren't any. If you build an army of all heroes, then you render all grunts innately useless. Because there are no elite grunts for them to target.

Basically the entire premise is that your grunts get something to do if and only if the enemy army is composed of the types of troops you'd like them to be made of. Which is kinda dumb because they can choose what kinds of troops they equip.

There's no guarantee enemy armies include "Better grunts" or "extraordinary grunts". If you make your army out of entirely heroes and legendary monsters, then you totally make the other army look like jackasses for bringing standard grunts to the table.

Remember that 70,000 gp that you spent on crossbows? Well the smart leader is investing that in more heroes, and not even bothering wtih troops. If your troops can't hurt his, then they might as well not even be there.

And when you do that you ironically save on a lot of other things too. You have no need for supply lines or huge food costs, because your heroes can generally feed themselves. You have no need of siege weaponry because you've got teleportation and you've really no need of much else that real armies need because you're an army of the few. As if that wasn't enough, your hero army is more mobile, more powerful and can perform any task a normal army can and more.

Heroes are better at everything and pretty much cheaper. Before we even worry about how to balance armies we need to figure out a decent reason why armies can exist in the first place.
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Oberoni
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 5:43 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List


RC wrote:
If you build an army of all heroes,


BWAHAHA!

This is the fantasy equivalent of saying "if you draft Superman" or "if you build the Death Star."

Yeah, it sure would be nice to have that all-hero hit squad, but YOU CAN'T!

So you hire any sort of manpower that you have. That'd be...grunts.

And grunts aren't ACTUALLY useless, they just can't beat heroes.

You're creating this ridiculous claim:

"If grunts cannot defeat heroes, then grunts serve no use whatsoever."

This is just patently false, so I wouldn't bother basing too much of my argument on it, if I were you.
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 5:46 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Oberoni wrote:

Yeah, it sure would be nice to have that all-hero hit squad, but YOU CAN'T!


Why not? Even if you can't use "heroes" so to speak, you can still find tons of powerful monsters, which are basically as good as heroes. There's no reason why you couldn't have an army entirely of dragons or storm giants, all of which are going to be essentially immune to regular grunts.

And why the hell couldn't you have a hero hit squad? If you accept the fact that there are 20th level and epic adventuring parties running arouind and that the city of union has 31st level guardsmen, why the hell couldnt' a king have an "army" consisting of 6 level 18s? People hire hero hit squads all the damn time. Every time the king says "Kill X and I'll give you Y gold."
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Oberoni
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 6:20 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Rarity.
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 7:52 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Oberoni wrote:
Rarity.


Not even... it's pretty easy to actually find giants or dragons or pit fiends if you want them. Heck you can just use planar binding. Similarly, high level characters generally have to be a dime a dozen so you can have reasonable obstacles for the PCs to fight.

And if you run out of high level characters to hire you're better off just equipping the ones you have with better equipment. Buying a ring of protection and amulet of natural armor for your existing 15th level heroes or armor for your red dragons is way better than buying 2000 crossbows ever will be.

So long as heroes or legendary monsters are available at all, there will always be some better way to spend your money than on grunts. Grunts are innefficient and horribly overpriced.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 9:51 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Here's a novel idea: the way you get heroes is by getting a bunch of warriors, and then some of them turn out to be/become heroes. Woot. You get an army of 2000 people and you fvcking well end up with some badasses by doing that.

Trying to make it so that heroes can't beat armies and monsters can is a waste of my fvcking time, because some heroes are monsters. And not only are some heroes just monsters, but some heroes of the more traditional bent have as one of their superpowers the fact that they carry around a legenedary monster.

Sometimes a legendary hero is Bellepharon or Alladin. Sometimes he's Carrot Glace or Ash Ketchum. Sometimes a hero has a fvcking monster. If you try to make a mob of shitty people beat the hero you lose, because some of the heroes have monsters that beat the mob of shitty people. By even attempting to make shitty troops effective against high level characters you've just made everything into Pokemon.

Suddenly the only PCs who can compete at high levels are the guys with monsters in their pants. Screw that.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 11:37 am    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
Here's a novel idea: the way you get heroes is by getting a bunch of warriors, and then some of them turn out to be/become heroes. Woot. You get an army of 2000 people and you fvcking well end up with some badasses by doing that.


But it's not actually worth the trouble to train new heroes when you can just hire old ones. Heroes have a huge life expectancy in D&D with all the resurrection spells. You invest in a few 15-20th level PCs and you can forget about ever investing in the 2000 light crossbows fund.

Who wants to be any kind of leader of men if having an army sucks ass? I can see it now... one day you're living a normal life of an adventurer and all of a sudden some old witch says, "I curse thee.. from this day forward you shall be known as the king of Cormyr. Never again will you be able to spend your money on useful magical items. Instead you will spend 140,000 gold on crossbows and swords for a useless army that is dominated by one man, you will spend 500,000 gold erecting a giant castle which cannot even keep out 5th level invaders. You will be forever known as a fool."

It would be kinda nice if the people the PCs save were actually worth somethig.
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Oberoni
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RandomCasualty wrote:

Not even... it's pretty easy to actually find giants or dragons or pit fiends if you want them. Heck you can just use planar binding. Similarly, high level characters generally have to be a dime a dozen so you can have reasonable obstacles for the PCs to fight.


Ok, RC, we've reached the point in the conversation where you're just starting to say crazy stuff.

So you have a king with the means to raise an army of trolls, hydras, Balors, giants, and dragons? He actually has both the money and the access to these creatures?

Good! If that's the way your world works, then the king really ought to build an army out of them, instead of grunts.

Of course, you are the first person I've ever seen to suggest that their fantasy world supports such activities. Most people would say that a king trying to draft an army of dragons would have to be obscenely rich. Probably dumb, too; if the 15 dragons you've hired realize that you're giving them each 30,000 gold, they mise well just demand even more cash (you've obviously got the gold), or just kill you and take all the money you have.

And that's just dragons. What do you think the Balors would do?

As I said, RC, you're the first person I've ever seen that's suggested that it is just as easy to raise an army of super-powered legendary creatures as it is to raise an army of grunts.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 7:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Armies versus Heroes: A sound military System Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RC wrote:

But it's not actually worth the trouble to train new heroes when you can just hire old ones.


WTF?! In one, you invest in getting the permanent loyalty of some dude, in the other you rent the services of some dude for one adventure. The two aren't even in the same ballpark.

From the standpoint of the PCs, one of them is the "Illuria Campaign", where they are all members of the Illurian Guard and each session begins with the Illurian Intelligence Agency informing them of a new threat - and the other is an exploration campaign where one adventure they happen to be told that Illuria is paying good money for anyone who can clear out the nest of displacer beasts. Which one do you think will involve the PCs actually being there when the harpies attack next Thursday?

---

This argument is just like when the Bush Administration says that there's no point continuing to pay good money to train American Soldiers when we can just hire mercenaries from around the world (some of them from the United States even) who come pre-trained. Sure from the standpoint of an individual battle it's true, but in the long run it's retarded. It's like when companies hire temps instead of training their own in-house clerical staff.

In the long run, if you have to do things alot, you're way better off having your own in-house guys that you trained. If you're a kingdom, then by definition you are going to be here for a long time, so hiring mercenaries to handle your problems is stupid and unhelpful.

And then if the economics were anything like real (which they aren't), then you'd really be a god damned moron for hiring external mercenaries - because the currency is gold. Gold is an everlasting physical object, and is valuable because it is scarce. As king, you nominally own basically everything that's in your lands, and your total wealth is defined as how much gold is in it (because people are all mercantilist, which is a dumb way to run your economy, but that's what you get for having a gold standard).

If you pay gold to outside contractors, they'll take it with them at the conclusion of their contract and take gold out of your country, reducing you towards poverty. If you pay gold to in-house people, they'll take it with them each payday and then spend it - in your country. And then it will wander around and eventualy get back to you - the King. So when you pay gold to people who live on your lands, you are actually distributing them goods and services out of the continuous and refreshing goods and services which are produced by your peasants automatically every year - it costs you nothing. If you pay gold to people from elsewhere, that gold is lost forever and your nation is that much poorer.

---

If your point is that basic adventuring equipment is horribly overpriced and the entire economic system makes no god damned sense and so on and so forth - that's true. But it doesn't do what you seem to think it does - which is to invalidate having the loyalty of low-level characters. Actually, as King the only thing you can do is to ingratiate yourself to enough low level characters that hopefully when some of them turn into high-level characters they still like you and protect your lands.

Nothing else you've supplied as a course of action is even half-way valid. Yes, the economic system is a horrible and nonsensical amalgam of mercantilism, feudalism, and modern capitalism. The gears of the described economy would stop spinning in like a day, because they were designed only as a front end for the Diablo II merchants that are supposed to be around to allow people to get on with it while playing Paper and Pencil Diablo II. But that doesn't even slightly mean that The Rogue's Camp would be "better off" waiting for a Level 38 Amazon to come and save them than the first level characters who start there.

-Frank
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