Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    21
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Again, I don't have the supplement for Priestcraft (so, my answer may be in there); that said, how do you guys simulate clerical turning ability in company level combat versus undead troops? I have an aspiring necromancer for a player and need to know how turning would work on the battlefield. Would you stack the priests with a formation as "Adventurers" or what? Are there degrees of turning results? Some of you will doubtless reply, sagaciously, that the turning efforts of a single cleric against 200 undead cannot factor into mass combat; however, only an idiot in a fantasy world (with undead armies) would put a single priest in the company. Let's assume there are ample clerics in the formation: how do we resolve this in mass combat?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    BR mailing list
    Posts
    1,562
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    On Sat, 21 Dec 2002, Arsulon wrote:
    > Again, I don`t have the supplement for Priestcraft (so, my answer
    > may be in there); that said, how do you guys simulate clerical turning
    > ability in company level combat versus undead troops? I have an
    > aspiring necromancer for a player and need to know how turning would
    > work on the battlefield.

    There`s a 1st level battle spell in the BoP, range 1 square, casting time
    1 attack phase, AoE 1 undead unit/3 caster levels.

    Takes a priest and 4 assistants with holy symbols to cast.

    Basically you get a normal turning roll, against the predominant type of
    undead in the unit (typically zombies), and it affects the whole unit.
    --
    Communication is possible only between equals.
    Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

    ************************************************** **************************
    The Birthright Homepage: http://www.birthright.net
    Birthright-l Archives: http://oracle.wizards.com/archives/birthright-l.html
    To unsubscribe, send email to LISTSERV@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM
    with UNSUB BIRTHRIGHT-L in the body of the message.
    NOTE: Messages posted by Birthright-L are automatically inserted posts originating from the mailing list linked to the forum.

  3. #3
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Springfield Mo
    Posts
    3,562
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Arsulon" <brnetboard@TUARHIEVEL.ORG>
    Sent: Saturday, December 21, 2002 10:59 AM


    > Only an idiot in a fantasy world (with undead armies) would put a
    > single priest in the company. Let`s assume there are ample
    > clerics in the formation: how do we resolve this in mass combat?

    Or a people without clerics who turn undead. Sera & Erik don`t turn undead,
    and both are the patrons of Cerilian cultures. Assembling sufficient
    clerics to turn a unit of undead, especially on short notice, in Rjurik or
    Brectuer may be rare.

    So, mass combat is strait out combat in which one side is human (or maybe
    Dwarven, given your previous message) and ther other side is undead. Be
    alert to specifing which undead comprise a particular undead legion. Are
    undead legions drawn from necromantic raising of worldly dead, or are the
    summoned from the Shadow World. Given the power of the Undead Legion card,
    and the realm spell`s power, I would suspect that the standard UL is
    summoned, not raised, and therefore could contain large skeletons (or huge),
    as well as large (huge or better) zombies. Including other kinds of undead
    is another option. Ryan Caveney has pointed out that undead legions march
    about the same speed as normal infantry, but since they never need to rest,
    stop, or eat, they actually can move about 100 miles a day. Human armies
    typically get 8-12 miles per day.

    As to calculating combat, just expand small, adventure sized numbers, up to
    a military scale. Assuming you have clerics who can reliably turn undead of
    the level found in your UL, they can turn a certain number (depending in
    whether you`re using 2e or 3e that will vary) of undead for a period of
    time. I`ll use the 3e numbers for examination. Let`s say we have an UL of
    large skeletons and medium sized zombies, so that everyone conviniently has
    2 HD. Fortunatly anyone who can turn undead has a decent chance against
    such weak undead. Going up a size to 4HD undead would severely limit the
    number of clerics who could reliably effect such a legion. Anyway, I have
    100 creatures of 2 HD (following the convention that a unit has 200 HD). If
    I have 1st level clerics organized to turn, they need a 13 or better on
    their turning check, and could turn 2d6+1 undead. In such a case I would
    need 25 clerics to average turning a unit, and given the length of war
    rounds, all their attempts are used in one war action. The effect would be
    to deny the UL an attack during one war round. You would need 4th level
    clerics to destroy these undead, so let`s limit further discussion to them.
    4th level clerics would destroy 2 HD undead 85% of the time, and would
    destroy 2d6+4 HD of them. If you had four 4th level clerics, two 5th level
    clerics, and one 6th level clerics you could assume that you could destroy
    71 HD of 2 HD undead per turning attempt. Using their three turning
    attempts, they could destroy one UL of 2HD undead in one battle turn, with 2
    rounds left over to deal with any undead who were out of range or otherwise
    not destroyed.

    Again, going by the 200 HD per unit, we have 32 levels of cleric in this
    discussion, or about a 6th of a unit, and a powerful unit it would be. The
    Rjurik set included a unit of druids, so this might not be out of the
    ballpark, but it would be expensive, even if you have a temple holding large
    enough to assemble seven such clerics. I`d say you`d need a level 6 temple
    holding to recruit such a powerful assembly of clerics. Such might cost 2
    GB to recruit, and 1 GB to maintain.

    Let`s go back and imagine un UL of 4 HD undead. Four 8th level clerics
    could reliably destroy 60 HD of undead per turning attempt, after three
    turning attempts, they would have destroyed 180 HD, leaving five 4 HD
    skeletons and zombies to be dealt with, and I imagine that between spells
    and combat ability, these remaining fellows could be mopped up in the
    remainder of the battle turn. There is a problem, of course comming up with
    four 8th level clerics. Many of the temple rulers are 4-6th level. 8th
    level clerics may not exist in any given realm, forcing knights and other
    elite forces to deal with the UL in regular combat.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

    ************************************************** **************************
    The Birthright Homepage: http://www.birthright.net
    Birthright-l Archives: http://oracle.wizards.com/archives/birthright-l.html
    To unsubscribe, send email to LISTSERV@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM
    with UNSUB BIRTHRIGHT-L in the body of the message.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ryancaveney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Manassas, VA
    Posts
    761
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    On Sat, 21 Dec 2002, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    > From: "Arsulon" <brnetboard@TUARHIEVEL.ORG>
    >
    > > Let`s assume there are ample clerics in the formation:
    > > how do we resolve this in mass combat?

    Remember also that if you are using 3e as opposed to earlier versions,
    clerics can only turn a few times per day, instead of at will. Making
    magic items that could turn undead, or at least increase the effect and
    "ammunition" of usual turning should be an interesting area of research.

    > Or a people without clerics who turn undead. Sera & Erik don`t
    > turn undead, and both are the patrons of Cerilian cultures.

    IMO, druids should be much better against undead than priests of any other
    Cerilian god save Ruornil, but that`s sort of another discussion. I see
    undead as fundamentally unnatural, so the guardians of the natural order
    should be powerful opponents. They`re also largely evil, but sort of as a
    consequence of their unnaturalness; IMO, they`re unnatural first and evil
    second, not the other way around (skeletons and zombies also don`t have
    the Int/Cha to have any alignment other than True Neutral anyway). IMO
    Haelyn should *command* rather than turn undead, in that he seems to me
    the sort of god who would compel obedience and service even after death.
    He wouldn`t be keen on free-willed undead, but automatons should be right
    up his alley -- as indeed should any form of spirit ancestors fighting to
    aid their descendants in time of great distress. I would even go so far
    as to say that it might be considered every good Haelynite`s *duty* to be
    raised from the dead to help resist the next invasion of the Gorgon.

    > Assembling sufficient clerics to turn a unit of undead, especially on
    > short notice, in Rjurik or Brectuer may be rare.

    More interesting would be in Vosgaard, where a unit of priestesses of
    Kriesha could force a unit of undead to switch sides.

    > So, mass combat is strait out combat in which one side is human (or maybe
    > Dwarven, given your previous message) and ther other side is undead.

    Generally, yes. Units of undead are much more common IMO than units of
    priests. One of the few actual units of priests I think ought to exist
    should be a group of anti-undead paladin-types belonging to Rournil`s
    Celestial Spell, who hire themselves out (or just show up for
    philosophical reasons) to defend anyone being attacked by undead legions.

    > Be alert to specifing which undead comprise a particular undead
    > legion. Are undead legions drawn from necromantic raising of worldly
    > dead, or are the summoned from the Shadow World.

    These questions are not necessarily related. I think the easiest thing to
    summon from the SW should be ordinary skeletons (the peasants, rather than
    the nobles, of SW society), and I think it should be possible to raise
    normal humans as really powerful forms of undead with a sufficiently
    difficult ritual.

    > Given the power of the Undead Legion card,

    This shapes my thinking as well. It could be explained as just one way to
    model in the fairly abstract war card system the fact that undead don`t
    check morale (high defense strength means not that skeletons aren`t easy
    to kill, but rather that unlike mortal troops, the unit will never stop
    fighting until every last one of its members is destroyed) and that people
    fighting them check morale more often and at a penalty (high attack
    strength means not that individual skeletons are better at killing, but
    that they`re better at scaring mortal troops into dropping their weapons
    and running away). However, I prefer to see it as the result of being
    composed of individually more powerful undead. This agrees nicely with
    the article in one of the Dragon Annuals (#2 or #3) which gave a recipe
    for converting between war cards and BattleSystem: it gave stats for 200
    HD worth of skeletons and of zombies, and each was much less impressive
    than the Undead Legion; converting the UL to AD&D stats is also possible,
    and I did it at the time, but I can`t find either my notes or the article,
    having moved recently.

    > and therefore could contain large skeletons (or huge), as well as
    > large (huge or better) zombies. Including other kinds of undead is
    > another option.

    I prefer including other kinds. My favorite kind for the UL, which I
    recall being very close to the results of the warcard-to-statblock
    calculation mentioned above, is the Dread Warrior (a FR entity I
    discovered in the Wizard`s Spell Compendium). Its 2e stat block is: AC 2
    to 4; MV 9; HD 4; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg by weapon +2; SW turned as shadows,
    Int low. The adventure-scale spell to animate one "requires the corpse of
    a fighter of at least 4th level who has been dead for less than one full
    day (any longer and loss of intelligence renders the warrior unusable)."
    Removing the time constraint by making this a realm spell combines raising
    worldly dead with summoning spirits from the shadow world to inhabit them
    to make them stronger, which I like. I haven`t seen the official 3e
    writeup of these guys, but I suspect something like normal skeleton + Int
    6-8 + 3 Fighter levels is the way to go, or perhaps Fighter 4 + a
    template. I can`t decide whether the +2 damage bonus comes from Strength
    or Weapon Specialization, however.

    > Ryan Caveney has pointed out that undead legions march about the same
    > speed as normal infantry, but since they never need to rest, stop, or
    > eat, they actually can move about 100 miles a day. Human armies
    > typically get 8-12 miles per day.

    Thanks for mentioning this again for me. =) Seriously, I don`t think it
    can be said too often. The true power of the undead should be seen on the
    strategic scale, not the tactical one.

    > As to calculating combat, just expand small, adventure sized numbers,
    > up to a military scale.

    Good calculations! Exactly what we needed to see.

    > Going up a size to 4HD undead would severely limit the
    > number of clerics who could reliably effect such a legion.

    I hadn`t thought of this when picking 4HD undead to make up the legions
    IMC, but I think I like it. Since they were created by a realm spell, I
    think it ought to take a realm spell to turn them -- a sort of cheap Mass
    Destruction affecting only Undead Legions and castable by temple regents.

    > In such a case I would need 25 clerics to average turning a unit,

    Which is not an entire unit of clerics, but it is an awful lot (one
    soldier in eight) to stick into a normal unit.

    > and given the length of war rounds, all their attempts are used in one
    > war action.

    This is the most significant difference in going from 2e to 3e turning.
    In 2e, they could have done it once every few battle rounds all day long,
    which might be enough to make a difference.

    > The effect would be to deny the UL an attack during one war round.

    Which is almost useless, especially given the resources you`ve expended to
    get 25 priests in one (each?!) unit of your army. I really don`t think
    spellcasting priests willing to serve in the army should be that common
    except in very special circumstances. Even using the rather inflated D&D
    classed-and-leveled-population stats, in what I remember from the MM
    listing for Human, Soldier, each unit of 200 troops got one attached
    priest, of level 4-6 -- which, as you later point out, is getting a bit
    high for Cerilia.

    > You would need 4th level clerics to destroy these undead, so let`s
    > limit further discussion to them.

    Yes, only destroying them really matters.

    > If you had four 4th level clerics, two 5th level clerics, and one 6th
    > level clerics you could assume that you could destroy 71 HD of 2 HD
    > undead per turning attempt. Using their three turning attempts, they
    > could destroy one UL of 2HD undead in one battle turn,

    If they had damage-dealing area-effect spells, say if they were sorcerers
    casting fireballs, they could do much, much more damage. Hence the need
    to restrict access to such spells (it seems that even limiting them to the
    blooded is not enough) to avoid rendering conventional armies entirely
    obsolete. To a certain extent, it explains the Manslayer`s survival even
    surrounded by much larger enemies: anyone with 9 or more wizard levels
    (enough for Improved Invisibility, Fly, and a backpack full of homemade
    scrolls of Cloudkill) can easily annihilate vast numbers of standard
    units. Perhaps Sidhelien realms don`t need armies at all, if they have
    enough wizards willing to show up on short notice -- as Gary has said,
    large-scale Charm magics may be even more effective, in that they allow
    you to steal your enemies` armies and use them yourself.

    > Again, going by the 200 HD per unit, we have 32 levels of cleric in this
    > discussion, or about a 6th of a unit, and a powerful unit it would be.

    Indeed it would. Although, as we can see by comparing this to the first
    example, D&D levels are not linearly additive, especially for spell
    casters -- these seven clerics are vastly more powerful than 32 1st-level
    ones, and vastly less powerful than two 16th-level ones. Just one of
    those 16th-level clerics, if optimized for the job (high Cha and multiple
    feats spent on Extra Turning) could singlehandedly eradicate large numbers
    of undead legions. Enemies of Rhobher Nichaleir, beware.

    > I`d say you`d need a level 6 temple holding to recruit such a powerful
    > assembly of clerics. Such might cost 2 GB to recruit, and 1 GB to
    > maintain.

    That cost is pretty low for what you get, especially if you use some sort
    of supply system -- spells to preserve and create food can be very useful,
    rendering sieges essentially impossible, for example -- or allow
    battlefield healing / morale boosting. The holding requirement should
    also be to maintain, not just create, them -- one such temple should not
    allow the recruitment of many such units of priests.

    > There is a problem, of course coming up with four 8th level clerics.
    > Many of the temple rulers are 4-6th level. 8th level clerics may not
    > exist in any given realm, forcing knights and other elite forces to
    > deal with the UL in regular combat.

    This is the way I think it probably ought to work. OTOH, perhaps what we
    ought to say is akin to what you suggest for province regents: that a
    temple regent given in Ruins of Empire as a Priest 4 is better interpreted
    as more like an Aristocrat 6 / Priest 3, who has as subordinates a couple
    of Priest 8s who spend their time adventuring (or at least in a noble
    household casting Cure Disease regularly) rather than seeking political
    power inside the temple hierarchy.


    Ryan Caveney

    ************************************************** **************************
    The Birthright Homepage: http://www.birthright.net
    Birthright-l Archives: http://oracle.wizards.com/archives/birthright-l.html
    To unsubscribe, send email to LISTSERV@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM
    with UNSUB BIRTHRIGHT-L in the body of the message.

  5. #5
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Springfield Mo
    Posts
    3,562
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    Ryan Caveney wrote:

    > IMO, druids should be much better against undead than priests of any other
    > Cerilian god save Ruornil, but that`s sort of another discussion.

    Let it never be said that I wouldn`t occasionally take up an interesting
    tangent. First off, I`d throw Avani up as another hater of the undead and
    shadow world. Some of this is archtypal (undead being weakened or destroyed by
    sunlight), some of it comes from Avani`s description of destroying shadow by
    her light. Avani is Erik`s wife, and I think true undead combat in Erik`s
    temples comes from Avani or Ruornil.

    > I see undead as fundamentally unnatural, so the guardians
    > of the natural order should be powerful opponents.

    I have two issues here, one is game balance the other is material from Blood
    Spawn. Druids are pretty powerful as they are. That said, I do consider
    animal shapechanging, turning of undead, and even rage to be divine energy
    channeled by humans. So, I do have a feat that allows druids to turn undead by
    using one of their shapechange uses. So far powerful barbarians are limited to
    a feat that allows a single shapechange by giving up a rage, but this all
    reflects Rjurik stuff. Adding turning of undead without costing something of
    the druid takes an already pretty heafty class and makes it mightier. Also,
    from Blood Spawn (the Shadows World sup) the origin of the standard and shadow
    worlds as one makes me tend to look at the Shadow world as a shadow version of
    nature, not at all unnatural, but dark nature. This also nicely explains why
    Erik is a good aligned druidical diety. It also matches the sidhe connection
    to the seelie.

    > Haelyn should *command* rather than turn undead, in that he seems to me
    > the sort of god who would compel obedience and service even after death.
    > He wouldn`t be keen on free-willed undead, but automatons should be right
    > up his alley -- as indeed should any form of spirit ancestors fighting to
    > aid their descendants in time of great distress.

    I see your point, but would distinguish between undead as either a mindless or
    malevelent force, and undying spirits who now reside in the heavens with Haelyn
    and return to perform some duty, be it advise, or a celestial army. On the
    other hand, undead my also cower differently, paying greater respect, more of a
    bow than a cower to a priest of Haelyn.

    > One of the few actual units of priests I think ought to exist
    > should be a group of anti-undead paladin-types belonging to Rournil`s
    > Celestial Spell, who hire themselves out (or just show up for
    > philosophical reasons) to defend anyone being attacked by undead legions.

    I think there are no units per se, but that any temple of sufficient size could
    raise a unit. True, the Celestial Spell, or Life and Protection, AFAIC, might
    go out to combat an undead legion for philosophical reasons. Larger temples of
    Haelyn could send out priests to defend provinces with temples to Haelyn, or
    fulfil liege agreements. I rather think temples of Cuiraecen would prefer to
    give themselves blessings and fight off undead in the chaos of battle.

    > My favorite kind for the UL, which I recall being very close to the
    > results of the warcard-to-statblock calculation mentioned above, is the
    > Dread Warrior (a FR entity I discovered in the Wizard`s Spell Compendium).
    > Its 2e stat block is: AC 2 to 4; MV 9; HD 4; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg by
    > weapon +2; SW turned as shadows, Int low.

    Thanks for the stat block. It is especially fitting to an undead warrior. I
    think the proper BR conversion might be raising the dead at those battle fields
    sometimes described as having think boundaries to the SW. The bodies are
    present, some spirits lost to the SW are returned to their old bodies to fight
    once more.

    > This is the way I think it probably ought to work. OTOH, perhaps what we
    > ought to say is akin to what you suggest for province regents: that a
    > temple regent given in Ruins of Empire as a Priest 4 is better interpreted
    > as more like an Aristocrat 6 / Priest 3, who has as subordinates a couple
    > of Priest 8s who spend their time adventuring (or at least in a noble
    > household casting Cure Disease regularly) rather than seeking political
    > power inside the temple hierarchy.

    I do imagine that regent clerics are mostly either Aristocrat/Priest, or
    Expert/Priests, depending on where they came from. But I have generally kept
    the Arist/Exp levels down to around 3, and just tacked on Priest as they are
    printed. Most clerics are probabaly mostly Expert, with just a touch of Cleric
    thrown in. They bless babies, marriages, and graves. Heal a bit, don`t do
    much more than that. There are certainly also, adventurer clerics who may or
    may not be blooded and have only a backround level in Aristocrat or Expert.
    IMC, Concentration is an integral part of spellcasting, so Clerics who don`t
    take some of these other classes can do little besides Concentration and
    Knowledge (Religion).

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

    ************************************************** **************************
    The Birthright Homepage: http://www.birthright.net
    Birthright-l Archives: http://oracle.wizards.com/archives/birthright-l.html
    To unsubscribe, send email to LISTSERV@ORACLE.WIZARDS.COM
    with UNSUB BIRTHRIGHT-L in the body of the message.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
BIRTHRIGHT, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, D&D, the BIRTHRIGHT logo, and the D&D logo are trademarks owned by Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and are used by permission. ©2002-2010 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.