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  1. #1
    Birthright Developer irdeggman's Avatar
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    Since Ian and I will be going inactive soon, I thought it would be good to set up a few threads for the chapters that haven't been touched revision-wise.

    I'll be posting a Word version of the chapter to aid everyone in their writing.

    Chap 6 Armies and Warfare seems to be a recent hot topic on the boards so I'll start the threads with this one.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Duane Eggert

  2. #2
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    I have a file that the local DM worked on in XLS format, showing all of the stats of the military units in the game. He noted that there were come errors in teh prices of several of the units, according to the unit creation rules, and subsequently reworked the entire table. Where can I send it to get it posted to the list?

    He also sent me a list of suggestions:

    Mercenaries. The costs for the limited number of mercenary units are so high as to be not economically feasible. I propose three changes.

    First, make all military units (with the possible exception of Knights) available as mercenaries.

    Second, make the cost (as mercs) equal to the muster cost for regular army units eg Mercenary Cavalry is 4 GB per season.

    Third, make mercenaries demand a minimum 1 year (4 turn) contract so as to avoid regents 'loading up' for one turn of blitzkrieg style warfare.
    "It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion -- and usually easier."

    - R. A. Heinlien, from The Collected works of Lazarus Long

  3. #3
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Here's the Battlesystem I created for Birthright, based on the existing BRCS/War Card rules and 3e combat rules - something of a conglomeration of the two. Like warcards, it requires a tabletop area to play on. However, it is far more detailed in that it uses a much larger battlefield (size is largely up to the DM), integrates terrain features that can vary on the map, includes new rules for command, castles, and a few new unit training options, Stealth and Skirmishers.

    This is by no means a finished product, it is a work-in-progress, albeit one in its 3rd incarnation as the result of playtesting. However, I haven't done any recent revisions to it, but I figured I'd post it up here to download and discuss as a possible base system for our revised Ch 6 war rules.

    -Osprey
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    I have been giving alot of thought to what my friend was saying about Merc units, and while I agree with him on the point of contracts being for a minimum of 1 year, I disagree with the cost per season being full muster value.

    I feel that the cost per season should be 3/4 of the muster value, to make it more attractive to Regnts to hire mercs.

    Let me give a couple of examples.

    At full muster cost/season, 1 year minimum contract.
    Duke X hires a 4 GB unit for the entire year. Cost: 12 GB, payable immediately.
    Duke Y raises a 4 GB unit. Cost for the 1st year of service, assuming 1 season of active duty: 4 GB muster (and first season's wage), 1 season at active status (2 GB), 2 seasons at garrison status (2 GB) for a total of 8 GB.

    Hmmm.. 8 GB vs. 12. No contest, I'd raise my own troops to save 33%.

    At 3/4 muster cost/season, 1 year minimum contract.
    Duke X hires a 4 GB unit for the entire year. Cost: 9 GB, payable immediately.

    Now here I can see a potential savings, especially if I expect the troops to be in a combat zone for more than one season during the contract. For purely garrison work, it should be cheaper to use your own troops, and only cost effective if you are in a constant state of war to hire mercs -- and even then, the cost of raising your own gets alot cheaper the longer they survive.

    I'd also like to add in that merc contracts should be paid out fully in advance of service, to eliminate the cheap tactic of hiring 20 GB of troops to blow them all away in the first month of service and avoid paying out the remainder of the contract term.
    "It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion -- and usually easier."

    - R. A. Heinlien, from The Collected works of Lazarus Long

  5. #5
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Athos,

    If you pay mercs 1/2 their muster value each season, you're still paying double the garrisoned maintenance of regularly mustered troops. Paying 3/4 muster value each season becomes ludicrously expensive, especially if you have to do it for a full year. What regent in his right mind would do this?

    I would prefer something more like this (tentatively):
    Mercenaries require a sign-on fee equal to their normal muster value. In addition, they require seasonal pay equal to 1/2 their muster value. If they are required to fight, mercenaries expect hazard pay equal to 1/2 their muster value up front, in addition to their regular garrison pay at the end of a successful campaign or season, whichever comes first.

    Merc Advantages:
    -Mercenaries are available for action in the same month they are hired.
    -Mercenary units of varying races and levels of experience, as well as some exotic/foreign unit types, are sometimes available, and these may prove a decisive advantage in certain battles. Examples include Dwarven Infantry, Vos and Rjurik Berserkers, Gnoll Marauders and Infantry, and Khinasi Horse Archers.

  6. #6
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    Makes sense -- I just didn't go far enough

    so what you are saying is that in addition to the 1/2 muster value each season for an entire year, if the mercs are expected to see combat, you only pay an additional 1/2 muster for the entire contract, no matter how many seasons or battles they see, or is it 1/2 per battle or season?
    "It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion -- and usually easier."

    - R. A. Heinlien, from The Collected works of Lazarus Long

  7. #7
    Senior Member Osprey's Avatar
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    Makes sense -- I just didn't go far enough

    so what you are saying is that in addition to the 1/2 muster value each season for an entire year, if the mercs are expected to see combat, you only pay an additional 1/2 muster for the entire contract, no matter how many seasons or battles they see, or is it 1/2 per battle or season?
    Actually, I didn't comment on the one-year contract (was too tired last night). Truth is, I'm not sure I agree with that. I can't say as I'm an expert in the history of mercenary companies, but my understanding is that they were as often short-term help as they were long-term contracts.

    The basic advantage of being available immediately seems at odds with a one-year contract. The whole "buy 'em quick and go to war" tactic is what I thought was one of the main uses of mercenaries. The reason I made prices above the way I did was so that if mercs are hired for battle (likely), they will cost extra.

    Also, I'm pretty certain the BRCS has it right wjen they say that dead mercs don't collect pay. It may seem cheap, but remember: the lords and kings were the ones holding the cards, not the mercenaries. Mercs had a hard life in general, in part because they were always at risk of getting screwed out of the pay they risked their lives for. Naturally, this will piss them off to no end, so banditry AND a bad rep for the lord (minor loss of regency) should be natural consequences.

    Same goes for being on the winning or losing side.

    Let me put the pay scheme in other words, hopefully it will clarify:

    Mercenary Unit Costs

    Hiring Cost: normal muster value in GB
    Seasonal Maintenance: 1/2 muster value, paid at the start of the season following their hire (with normal troop maintenance)
    Combat Bonus: +1/2 muster value

    In other words, Merc Units have 2 x normal maintenance costs.
    Now, as to when they get paid, I would expect that most companies don't get paid until after a battle - otherwise, the risk of them turning tail and deserting as soon as things start looking bad rises dramatically. This may be unfair to the mercs and to a regent's advantage, but I'd say that's probably just the way it was - who ever said life was fair, especially for a hard-bitten mercenary? of course, mercs expect combat pay in addition to a share of the plunder after a successful battle. Lords who don't want to plunder their foes' holdings shouldn't hire mercenaries.

    Now, all that being said, if writing this chapter I would write in a bit about a merc companies of great repute, these being successful bands of veteran+ troops with a reputation for honoring their contracts and doing the job well. These sorts of companies would set much more favorable terms when negotiating a contract, and might be able to exact such specifics as combat pay in advance and one-year contracts of service. This in addition to their rather steep fees. However such professionals might be willing to forego the plunder of an enemy's lands if they're of the honorable sort (don't expect this from humanoids&#33.

    Some other thoughts: What do you think of the -2 Morale rule for merc units? On the one hand, it makes sense: their loyalty is to money, which is useless if you're dead. On the other hand, you would expect mercs to be far more resigned to battle. hardened to the fear of a fight and generally disciplined on the field itself, even if they're an unruly lot off it.

    P.S. - the anime/manga series Berserk has some great stories revolving around mercenary life. Check it out if you haven't already (the comic's especially great).

    Osprey

  8. #8
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    Here are the rules we use in Ruins of Empire. They appear to work reasonably well, with regents preferring standing armies if they can but rely on mrecenaries if they need more forces quickly.

    Hire cost and upkeep
    When you hire mercenaries, you must decide for how many turns you are going to retain their services, and if they will be on active or garrison duty during those turns (you can mix, say 1 turn of active duty and 2 of garrison work).
    Calculate the hired units normal upkeep based on status and turns hired, then multiply this by 2. This is the number of GBs you will have to pay the mercenaries. Half the payment is up front; the rest can be paid on the last turn of the contract.
    Example: Suirs Enlien goes to Ilien to hire some mercenaries. She’s looking for 4 veteran swordsmen, 2 regular crossbows and one elite dragoon for 2 turns on active duty, which works out to (10GB upkeep x 2 turns x 1 for active duty x 2 for mercenaries) 40 GBs. She’ll have to pay 20 GBs the turn they are hired, and another 20 GBs when the contract expires in 2 turns.

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    A variant that we use is that you can hire for short term, but pay a premium... the regular rate for muster, plus a hire bonus... This allows for mercs to capitalize on a desperate regent. However, for long term, the rates are reduced. Not less than standard troops... what happens then is that the mercs get contracts with "retainer" clauses in them.

    Also, a variant we have been toying with is to hire mercs for specific missions... if assaulting, costs more, if garrison duty, less...

    And, privateering is also common; hire a merc unit CHEAP, telling them they can raid targets of opportunity, and pillage what they want. It allows the merc leader independent command, but the regent takes the chance that the pay for someone to do nothing. Works really well in naval warfare though. Not as well with land units, but I have seen it work.

  10. #10
    Member lord_arioch's Avatar
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    You spoke of Privateers.
    It has been some time since I was on the board, but my last discussions were regarding ship descriptions and sea battle rules.

    I found a rules system that is simple and it would be easy to convert birthright ships to this system.

    The rules are called, Spanish Fury, Sail! and are available at the attached website.

    Please note that the ship descriptions are ships armed with cannon. Any birthright ships would have their range and missle weapons stat changed significantly.


    http://perfectcaptain.50megs.com/sfsail.html

    thoughts?
    To each, his own.

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