Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mass Combat: Estimating Fight Capability Demonstration

Hello darkness, my new friend!
As an exercise, I want to make sure I understand the way Mass Combat works. As a case study, I am going to use my on-going campaign. Right now, a horde of monsters from the forest is attacking a settlement on the edge of the forest and they have started about 100 strong. Let's see if I understand the rules well enough to calculate some important facts about this army and the settlement that opposes it.

Estimating the Enemy

So, I estimated the enemy at about 100 strong. Among their ranks are:
  • 60 light infrantry (Dinomen) - 6 elements
  • 30 bowmen (blowpipe wielding pygmies) - 3 elements
  • 10 beasts (flesh eating Apes) - 1 element
  • 3 Heroic light infantry (the two moles, and the injured high ranking dinoman.) - 3 elements
Hooray quantification! Now, let's say that all troops have poor equipment (-25%), except for beast who don't care (I'll give them "Average") and the "heroes" who are just better (Fine, +100%).

The beast have inferior training (-50%), but everyone else has average training. Estimating the game as taking place around TL3 (Dungeon Fantasy Tech Level is a nebulous concept) and formatting this data, I get the following:

ElementsTotal TSClassesMobilityFeatures
6 Light Infantry9RecFootPoor Equipment, Forest
3 Bowmen4.5FFootPoor Equipment, Forest
1 Beasts0.5CV, RecMtdInferior Training, Impetuous, Forest
3 Heroes12RecFootHero, Fine Equipment, Forest
Fire TS4.5
Recon TS21
Force TS26
Although, I believe at this point it would be trivial, it's not necessary for me to do this. After reading how beasts are described though, I believe it is more appropriate to classify the flesh eating apes as a type of medium infantry.
ElementsTotal TSClassesMobilityFeatures
6 Light Infantry9RecFootPoor Equipment, Forest
3 Bowmen4.5FFootPoor Equipment, Forest
1 Medium Infantry1.5
FootInferior Training, Impetuous, Forest
3 Heroes12RecFootHero, Fine Equipment, Forest
Fire TS4.5
Recon TS21
Force TS27
So with this, the enemy force is pretty well defined, next, the human settlement.

The Human Settlement

Yes, I'd like to buy some slightly
used technos.
To get a better picture of the human settlement, just guessing a single hexagon mile (as opposed to a square mile) Playing around with estimates from forts in history, a few hundred people sounds about right. But that doesn't tell us how many are capable of fighting. For that, let's take a look at City Stats, a book I picked up at the same time as Mass Combat. An average wealth, average tech level settlement with a population of around 750 and a fairly lax control rating of 2, give us the shoestring budget of $5,250 a month. We can barely afford to staff the entire town watch! But we can have 15 elements of Average quality medium infantry. That is, if the players can rally up and encourage that many people to fight.
Besides the potentially large army, we have the players, and we have the only guards in the city. The guards, Dick and Kelly count as one light infantry each of average quality and training, but with the hero modifier. Sophie and Wynter count as both engineering and fire elements, and Corduroy counts as a light infantry and fire element. This looks like this:

ElementsTotal TSClassesMobilityFeatures
Corduroy2Rec, FFootHero
Sophie2Eng, FFootHero
Wynter2Eng, FFootHero
0-15 Medium Infantry0-45
Fire TS6
Recon TS6
Engineering TS2
Force TS10-55
So the fight from a numbers game alone looks anywhere from dire to slightly favorable. The enemy has overwhelming Recon superiority, but the humans by having any engineering capability at all, have complete engineering superiority. I'm being generous by considering that the town is a frontier town, most people in the city ought to be equipped and able to defend themselves (hence the also relatively relaxed CR) but it's probably gonna take some momentous acts for the players to rally the full 10 elements.

Situational Modifiers and Other Pre-Battle Calculations

For the recon contests, the enemy monster army are marching through hostile territory and receive a -2, they are approaching by the road for a -1, and they have an overwhelming Recon superiority in a ratio of greater than 10:1 so they have a total of +0.
The good guys have positive relations with the locals (they are the locals) so have a +2 modifier.
After the initial recon contests, the following bonuses go into effect.
The enemy force has a +4 to +0 bonus for relative TS altogether depending on how many elements the players can rally. The enemy does not receive the +3 recon superiority bonus after the battle has started.
The Players have a +3 bonus for engineering superiority.
If the players can take initiative (a little difficult) then they can acquire a +5 defense bonus on defensive strategies.
For the amount of elements in play during this battle each turn of combat takes 30 minutes.
The surprise factor of the clearing before the woods is 6.

Final Notes and Closing

I never ever quite defined the population of the city until now telling my players a likely population within the hundreds. City Stats kinda forced me to stop hemming and hawing, but that is probably a good thing in a way. I guess my players don't have to necessarily go to mass combat if they don't want to, but I was looking for a solution for a problem. What I thought might have been a dangerous mile-a-minute brawl, turned into an anxiety drenched slow battle that wasn't really that cool, so I decided to try to use Mass Combat, if the players agree, to make it go a bit faster. Only one player has Strategy, and no one has Leadership or Intelligence Analysis, so either they'll want to buy those skills before the next session, or I'll just say it's likely that the watch has them, but not at great levels, maybe an 8 or 9 on each.

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