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Single combat phase large scale resolution: Notes & Discord

 
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Judging__Eagle
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:30 pm    Post subject: Single combat phase large scale resolution: Notes & Discord Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Some thoughts from the Discord:

Honestly, I'm not convinced of the "skirmish/shock/melee" turn order from Frank's current iteration. I think that a better method would be to have the "orders" [edit: as in deploymet/position of formations of troops; and their attack targets once they contact the enemy] be the first part of the mechanic, "combat action" be the second part; and "battle resolution" be the last part.

Sort of how a battle in Dominions plays out; your troops are told their deployment before comitted to battle; they follow through with your orders; the battle plays out based on how well/poorly BLUEFOR & REDFOR set up their battle lines.(edited)
Then PCs are important b/c they allow for BLUFOR to tweak or alter how the battle will go.

If you want to have all your troops on the left flank (to each hit a different successive target) and a denied right flank, each PC leads their own sub-formation on the left flank; and the army has no troops on the right flank (or anywhere else).

If you want the formations to change their pre-battle strategy /during/ the battle, you need a PC in a formation to do so.

If you want a formation to do anything funky in the battle resolution (die to a man, fire then retreat, advance then fall back), they also need a PC.
Which is an issue that I'm seeing w/ Frank's mechanic thus far: there's no reason to commit PCs to major battles. They don't add any flexibility to your forces deployment; they don't allow forces to change how they'll act once the battle lines are drawn; and there's no incentive for PCs to be around for the ending of a battle.
The last thing that I want to see for a mass combat resolution mechanic: being able to "pick" your orders /during/ the battle being the default state.
Mostly b/c that would make PCs largely meaningless to involve.

Virgil wrote:

The PCs' contribution to the mechanic would be in the regularly scheduled interruptions to run a skirmish encounter, whose actions would generate some modifier to the war as a whole. That part isn't being discussed in any real detail, as the mass-combat portion is needing work before considering what PC interruptions do.
When PCs are important enough, they're the ones declaring what the army's strategy is, and is an explicit trait/goal of the mass-combat system - and totally makes them relevant and involved.(edited)


Ew, sorry Virgil; but fucking no. The PC's contribution shouldn't be "spin off the major conflict into tinier regular encounters"; their contributions should be to the main conflict itself.
Honestly, I'd actually be totally fine with level 1 PCs being the "officers" in a war involving creatures much higher CR than the PCs themselves; because their contributions to the battle are the direction of personnel, as well as giving initiative to the forces they are assigned to command.

GX wrote:

Combat orders being pre-assigned makes sense. Mouse Guard had a similar RPS type deal for actions in social or physical combat
Choose your mode, then see how it compares.


Yeah, I went with the "choose your strategy beforehand" idea because that's generally how many battles are decided: BEFORE the combat actually begins (e.g. Unit formations & orders in Dominions battles; the Thebens using a phalanx 50 ranks deep on their [whatever] flank when facing the Spartans (b/c they knew the Spartans always used a double-thick phalanx of 20 ranks on their [whatever] flank)).
Yeah, codified ways for PCs to engage in the mass battle; that are representative of their PC/class abilities are one thing that I really didn't put into consideration. Mostly b/c I was aiming for "Mass Conflict" that's resolvable in less time than regular D&D/fantasy-heartbreaker combat encounters; such that a single game session would allow for regular RP, possibly more than one Mass Conflict, and a regular squad-scale fantasy heartbreaker combat encounter.
E.g. The Battle for Helms Deep, or Minas Tirith would be anywhere from 2-3 mass conflicts; b/c that's roughly what happens. There is an 'outside' battles, a siege; and then the Houmons/Riders of Rohan show up to save the day.
.... it's /sieges/ that are the next thing to figure out imho. Ideally, "tell your troops to swarm up the walls like ants" should be an "idiot" strategy, that kills 30% of comitted troops /and/ fails to take the walls.
While "siege engines" or "wall sapping" should be too costly in terms of time for all but the largest/wealthiest armies.

Virgil wrote:

Ew, sorry, but fvcking yes. If the PCs are appreciably contributing to a mass combat of 10k units, which can include several hundred fire giants and a couple dozen dragons, then they are an army unto themselves - which is directly counter to the entire mass combat exercise (as envisioned by Frank).(edited)

And PCs having the option of deciding an army's choice of tactics/strategy was already established as a given and wasn't going to be mechanically verboten for even level 1s to have such authority.


Eight Headed wrote:

Gonna have to agree with Virgil in the sense that PCs inevitably will want to try and mow down some small fry mooks Dynasty Warriors style. This is not about whether they should or whether it makes sense, just that it's totally something that players will want to do, and I know this because at least a couple of players in my circle do enjoy solo'ing waves of trash.


"Soloing waves of trash" is fine, I just wouldn't try to handle it as something to be handled at the 1" grid level. Mostly b/c at that scale most PCs are generally inefficient at that gametime scale (i.e. seconds per round; wherase the mass combat mechanics should be modelling an hour, or several, of gametime's scale); and the mass combat mechanics should take minutes to resolve, whereas most of the 1" grid scale combat generally takes an hour for any encounter that will remotely challenge the PCs.
Like, if the PCs /are/ optimized to kill like 20-30creatures of their own CR (or even greater than their CR) every turn, then /sure/, it would make strategic sense for the mass battle to have lots of 1" gridscale fighting, but most players aren't anywhere near that level of optimization.

The other thing being that "soloing waves of trash" would also be happening at the variable scaled mass-combat, ideally a result of the PCs leading their formations into the underbelly of the enemies formations/army (i.e. flanks/rear, but also formation/type RPS).

Even if the PCs can kill 2-20 creatures of their own powerlevel every 6 seconds in small scale combat, the casualties in large scale combat will generally be an order of magnitude larger and the timescale might be measured in increments of minutes, or hours.
I think that fundamentally, the large scale combat needs to establish some sort of way to ease calculation of an army's large scale combat attributes; as well as the time scale of such a combat.
Somewhere along the lines of counting the minimum amount of personnel needed to create a formation, sets the scale of the formations. Which in turn sets the scale of time for the conflict.
I can see battles going from caring about if there are 10 personnel in a location (and the combat lasts about a minute of gameworld time), to.... let's say 1,000,000 personnel in a location (if it was an /Earth/ based large scale combat game, I'd limit it to formations of 10,000, and armies of ~100,000, but fantasy-heartbreaker combat happens in infinite hell-planes, endless water planes, high above the planar ring, across countless continent-sized iron war-cubes, &etc.

Ideally, such a mechanic could conceivably manage a formation of "5,432,759 Chaos Demons", and that's just an expendable flank formation to soak up enemy attention and allow the 10million Product of Fiendish Dalliance Knights (who picked claws & have wings) to execute an unimpeded flanking maneuver on the Trumpet Archons in the enemy centre.
but the timescale of large scale combat at the personnel scale of 1,000,000 (or gtfo) per formation isn't something I'd guess off the top of my head. I'd probably count up from
personnel-scale
[edit for formatting]
p10 (1 minute)
p100 (10 minutes);
p 1000 (100 minutes, or(?) 2 hours (?));
p 10,000 (1,000 min, 16 hours);
p 100,000 (10,000 min (?!), ~7 days);
p 1,000,000 (100,000 min (!!?!); ~70 days)

[edit]
While some of those numbers seem long, actually large battles involving 100,000's of personnel have taken place across 10's of km, and taken 10's of days

[edit: trying to find examples]
Battle of the Bulge: 100,000's per side
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I'm not really happy that largescale extraplanar battles involving millions of personnel take 70 days. However, it's a ridiclous scale, and the personnel involved are often going to be ageless outsiders/elementals.



Ethan Arsht wrote:

The resulting model was surprisingly conservative in its weights, suggesting that raw soldier quantities have a relatively small effect compared to other factors such as terrain or technology, which further research could investigate in more detail.


https://towardsdatascience.com/napoleon-was-the-best-general-ever-and-the-math-proves-it-86efed303eeb






[The original post]

Some restrictions that come to mind, borrowing a bit from Dominions, a bit from Kriegesspiele/Battle for Armaggedon, a bit from Sonshi

Elemnents of an Army

Spirit/Thumos/Morale

The resiliance to enemy action, and its combat ability, of an army is represented by it's component Formations Morale.

The morale of a Formation of personnel is equal to the total of all formation member's [{Function-modified} CR] (i.e. Morale could equal CR x5 of all personnel in a formation, or 1 or 3 or 10). If the personnel within a Formation are Immune to Mind-effects, their Morale is calculated as [{Function-modified} CR x {Mindless-modifier}] (i.e. Mindless units have higher morale, but they still takecasualtiesand lose combat effectiveness when damaged).

When a Formation suffers 10% Morale loss; it's personnel will automatically withdraw, unless its Leaders are able to Rally the Formation; or the unit is Mindless.

If a Formation suffers >10% Morale loss in a battle, it must attempt to Rally (A roll-under Check of the highest CR personnel remaining within the formation), if it succeeds it suffers 50% of it's starting Morale in casualties. If it fails to Rally it loses 90% of its starting Morale in casualties.

The Roles of Personnel
Personnel in an Army are one of three roles, and the leader sub-role
  • Assault (Medium/Heavy Infantry, Ogres, Clerics, Fighters, etc.)
  • Shock (Elites, light infantry, cavalry, Paladins, Druids, etc.)
  • Missile (Archers/Crossbows, Giants/Calapults, Rangers, Wizards, etc.)

    Assault Units get a {Assault-modifier} Bonus when in Vanguard, Column, and Rear Formations; and a {Assault-modifer} penalty when in Right Flank or Left Flank formations

    Shock Units get a {Shock-modifier} bonus when in Left Flank, Right Flank, and Vanguard; and a {Shock-modifier} penalty when in Column and Rear formations

    Missile Units get a {Missile-modifier} bonus when in Column and Rear formations; and a {Missile-modifier} penalty when in Left Flank, Right Flank, and Vanguard formations.

    Note: "Mixed" type units (e.g. Horse Archers (Shock/Missile), Pomegranadiers (Assault/Missile)) count as either one or the other when placed in a formation, and remain a single type for the duration of a battle {Player Characters can change the type of role mixed units in formation will act as, but only once the battle has begun, and only once per battle)

  • Leader (Must be equal to, or more powerful than, the personnel of the formation it leads)

    An army is limited by it's Leaders, in the amount of formations it may have.

    {Player Characters may become leaders of a formation, even if they are less powerful than the personnel they lead}

    Formations
    The potential formations that an army can have are:

  • Left Flank
  • Right Flank
  • Vangaurd
  • Column
  • Rear

    {Player Characters may lead secondary, tertiary, quaternary, &etc. formations of any type, if they have a formation of that type already formed}

    Actions of an Army in Battle

  • Formations declare an enemy formation they wish to target; this must be done before the battle begins

    Legal targets for each formation are:

  • Left Flank: Right Flank, Vangaurd, Column, Rear
  • Right Flank: Left Flank, Vangaurd, Column, Rear
  • Vangaurd: Right Flank, Left Flank, Vanguard, Column, Rear
  • Column: Right Flank, Left Flank, Vangaurd, Column
  • Rear: Right Flank, Left Flank, Vangaurd, Column

    The exception to this are Missile units within a formation, which may apply only their Morale value against a single formation of their choice.

    Note on Missing Targets: If a formation is ordered to target a formation that does not exist within the enemy force, their actions are determined by their designated target {Needs a formation flowchart, similar to a Battletech damage flow diagram}

    {Player Charcters in/leading a formations may change their formations targets once the opposing forces are arrayed before each other; instead of the formation attacking it's pre-determined target. This is important if the pre-determined target doesn't exist among the enemy army}

  • Damage dealt by attacking formations is based on the Morale ratio between Attacker and Defender

    Attacker :Defender [Dice roll: Results*] *:see below for details
    1: 3 [1: AE 2: AE 3: AR 4: AR 5: AS 6: AS ]
    1: 2 [1: AE 2: AR 3: AR 4: AS 5: AS 6: Ex ]
    1: 1 [1: AR 2: AS 3: AS 4: Ex 5: Ex 6: DW ]
    2: 1 [1: AS 2: AS 3: Ex 4: Ex 5: DW 6: DR ]
    3: 1 [1: AS 2: Ex 3: Ex 4: DW 5: DE 6: DE ]
    4: 1 [1: Ex 2: Ex 3: DW 4: DR 5: DE 6: DE ]
    5: 1 [1: Ex 2: DW 3: DR 4: DE 5: DE 6: DE ]
    6: 1 [1: DW 2: DR 3: DE 4: DE 5: DE 6: DE ]
    7: 1 [1: DR 2: DE 3: DE 4: DE 5: DE 6: DE ]

    Results
    AE: Attacker Eliminated (90% casualties, Attackers Rout)
    AR: Attacker Routed (30% casualties, Attackers Rout)
    AS: Attacker Stopped (30% casualties, Attackers Rout)
    Ex: Exchange (30% Casualties for both, Defenders Rout, {Attackers can advance to attack an other formation that would be legal; after all other combat is resolved (unsure if to include or not)})
    DW: Defender Withdraws (0% casualties, {Attackers can advance to attack an other formation that would be legal; after all other combat is resolved (unsure if to include or not)})
    DR: Defender Routed (30% casualties, Defenders Rout, {Attackers can advance to attack an other formation that would be legal; after all other combat is resolved (unsure if to include or not)})
    DE: Defender Eliminated (90% Casualties, Defenders Rout, {Attackers can advance to attack an other formation that would be legal; after all other combat is resolved (unsure if to include or not)})

    [Above table derived from GW's "Battle of Armageddon" wargame reference card; itself derived from the d10 resolution tables used in Kriegsspiele]

    Casualties

    Casualties suffered by a formation are always taken from their weakest members of the formation, unless the members of the formation are too powerful to be removed as casualties.

    {A Player Character that part of the formation can declares more powerful personnel as casualties instead of less powerful ones}

    Rally

    Units which have suffered sufficient casualties to force withdrawl may attempt to Rally

    {Player Characters who are part of a formation add their CR to their formations when calculating Rally attempts (this makes splitting the PCs among all formations critical in making potential rallies successful}




    Essentially, the formations in each army attack their targets; and are attacked by enemy formations targetting them. Then casualties are taken away, and formations that are badly hurt have to rally, or suffer further casualties.

    Something like 5 [plus # of PCs] Dice Rolls for the PCs, and 5 Dice rolls for the NPCs; followed by potentiall 5(+?) dice rolls for potential rallies.

    Ideally, a "major engagement" can be used to calculate the results of a conflict, and be short enough that it won't take much more than a regular combat session (ideally the "major battle" mechanics will take less time than regular combat sessions, and you can have several in a single game session to represent a stage of an ongoing war without having to take weeks of game sessions).
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    Last edited by Judging__Eagle on Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:33 pm; edited 4 times in total
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    angelfromanotherpin
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    PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Aaaghtagsaaagh!
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    RobbyPants
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    PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Quote tags! Un-fuck!
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    Zaranthan
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    PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Holy line breaks, Batman!
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    Blicero
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    PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Single combat phase large scale resolution: Notes & Discord Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Judging__Eagle wrote:



    Ethan Arsht wrote:

    The resulting model was surprisingly conservative in its weights, suggesting that raw soldier quantities have a relatively small effect compared to other factors such as terrain or technology, which further research could investigate in more detail.


    https://towardsdatascience.com/napoleon-was-the-best-general-ever-and-the-math-proves-it-86efed303eeb


    As far as I know, most historians think that reported troop numbers in most ancient/medieval battles mean somewhere between "fuck" and "all". (Example source, Mary Beard on Ancient Rome.) So that dude's data is kind of shit from first principles. In addition, he fits a linear model but then doesn't report any model assessment analysis. So you have no real reason to have confidence in his predictions.
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    Lokathor
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    PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    discord like chaos or discord like a Discord Server that there was some conversation on?

    Cause the TTRPG server that some TGD people use has been pretty quiet lately as far as I saw.
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    Judging__Eagle
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    PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Blicero,

    Yeah, the commentors on his article rake him over the coals for using a limited modelling method based off of baseball's Sabremetrics along several metrics. Such as not using a different statistical method for establishing what the "baseline general's" results should be.

    Lokathor,

    Combat derived discord should be an important part of developing any large scale combat mechanics. Especially as how the the voice doesn't carry far; and large armies require the use of drums, gongs, flags, and messengers to be effective.

    However, in this case this use of the term is from an other Discord Server that GX set up for their Heartbreaker Press content. I'm not on the other Den discord server b/c of complications from mental health medication making interactions with people difficult some time in the past six months. The uppers & downers I was prescribed for my c-ptsd made me less lucid than my ptsd usually makes me, so I was described as a "punishment" by other people in the server. My satric paraphrasing of Temujin's pronouncement that one can't view something as punishment, unless they are also harbouring guilt was the straw the broke an already enpained Chamomile's harmony; so they banned me. I've (finally) weaned off those prescriptions, and my psychiatrist and GP have reccommended me to the Anxiety Treatement & Research Clinic @ McMaster U hospital, and I'll be attempting to get a prescription for MMR from a specialist also reccommended by my GP, in the next month and onwards. If I'm able to come up with a cogent explanation for why Chamomile should lift my ban on that Discord server, I'll try to do so.
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    Judging__Eagle
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    PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Further along the lines in terms of establishing the [Morale Value] of troops. I prefer After Sundown, because it's mechanics are easier for RPG novices to grok, and under certain lenses it's creature breakdowns allow one to categorize even the widely disparate mythologies of people on Earth.

    {[Morale Values] are set in ... (?boiling?) water & are subject to change}

    Playable creatures: [6]
    Spawn* creatures: [1]
    *:To allow for fantasy kitchensink lycanthrope armies, the introduction of Berzerkers as a new spawn type becomes necessary. As is the discarding AS's rule of Extras/Chorus members who are bit by lycanthropes automatically being doomed to perish. In a fantasy kitchensink, they become more Chaos Ravagers than corpses.

    Chaos Demons:
    -Mirror-dwarves [1]
    -Spriggan [4]
    -Trolls [6]

    Law Devils
    -Yazatas [1]
    -Cherubim [4]
    -Ifrit [6]

    Zombi
    -Walker [1]
    -Spitter [3]
    -Conversant [6]

    Ghosts
    -Will-o-Wisp [1]
    -Poltergeist [3]
    -Wraith [6]

    Shoggoth
    -Spore swarm [1]
    -Behemoth [4]
    -Chimera [5]
    -Kaiju [7]

    Elder Things
    -Crawling Mantrap [1]
    -Triffid-Enta [3]
    -Snatcher Pod [6]
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    Judging__Eagle
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    PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    angelfromanotherpin wrote:
    Aaaghtagsaaagh!


    RobbyPants wrote:
    Quote tags! Un-fuck!


    Yeah, I missed closing a quote-tag at the start; I cleaned it up when I had time to look at the thread again.

    Zaranthan wrote:
    Holy line breaks, Batman!


    A result of trying to seperate seperate sources that relate to this idea.
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    Dean
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    PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Virgil wrote:
    The PCs' contribution to the mechanic would be in the regularly scheduled interruptions to run a skirmish encounter, whose actions would generate some modifier to the war as a whole. That part isn't being discussed in any real detail, as the mass-combat portion is needing work before considering what PC interruptions do.
    When PCs are important enough, they're the ones declaring what the army's strategy is, and is an explicit trait/goal of the mass-combat system - and totally makes them relevant and involved.(edited)

    I totally agree with Virgil on this and think it's a great idea. Saying that in battles of almost any size there will be some place, some assault, or some action more important than the rest is a way to totally sell how PC's can get directly and viscerally involved in the narrative told by the Mass Combat mechanic.

    I, and all players I've ever had, would want to impact the overall battle by zooming in on the PC's and a smaller number of troops doing something important: Holding the breach as the outer wall is abandoned, destroying the enemy trebuchets, pushing an assault directly to an enemy commander.

    I absolutely think your overall system would be better if it included the ability for the players to influence the Mass Battles result through their successes on a smaller but more visceral scale.
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    PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    RE: PC's contributions

    Right now, I'm thinking that PC contributions should happen between large scale battles; not within them. As well, multiple large scale battles should be able to be resolved within a single session of regular RPG gameplay. The goal being that a large scale battle gets fought and resolved. The PCs decide on a small unit action based on the results of the battle xor what they want to set up for the following battle; then fight an other large scale battle.

    I guess the approach that I'm going for is that the PCs are treated as "covert operations" units when the focus is on them; and on their "leadership qualities" when they're leading their personal cadres as part of a combined arms force. The Cleric controls a vangaurd of undead to blunt the enemy battleline. The Ranger leads a tribe of horse-archers on one flank. The Rogue directs a group of shadowdancers on the other flank. The Fighter commands a column of exotic weaponmasters to exploit a destabilized enemy battleline. The Druid & Wizard direct terrain manipulation effects under the enemy formations, and augment the effects of artillery units in the rear.

    While they could stick as a team during a large scale battle; their formations will blindly act on their pre-battle orders, and have a good chance of getting wasted in the battle; either by failing to engage any units entirely due to outdated orders, or by engaging units that will chew them up.
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