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Thread: Battle Elves

  1. #141
    Some snippets I found, just food for thought -ref. Races of the Wild

    Designer Skip Williams (along with such D&D luminaries as Rich Baker, David Noonan, Jesse Decker, Gwendolyn Kestrel, Penny Williams, and James Wyatt.

    "One new twist on elves is self-sufficiency and nonspecialization," Williams explains. "The long elven lifespan gives them plenty of time for learning to do things for themselves. "

    Rich Baker considers the exploration of the elven society to be one of Races of the Wild's most illuminating sections. "D&D's human demographics don't seem to represent an elf society as well as we might like," he points out. "For example, you'd expect that 95 percent of all humans are probably 1st-level commoners, and most of them are probably peasants or farmers. But I found that unsatisfying for elves. It just doesn't seem to ring true to ride into the elven village, look around, and see a bunch of elf peasants."

    This led him to the idea that perhaps elves don't adhere to the human model of civilization. "Way back when humans invented agriculture," he says, "we took a path in which increasing specialization was the better way to organize your society. For humans, it makes sense to have some people specialize in growing food so that other people can specialize in doing different things -- making tools, creating art, fighting, ruling, praying, whatever. What would a society look like if that weren't true? Could elves just dispense with the first tier of the social pyramid and not have a peasantry that accounted for a huge hunk of their total population?"

    "I'm most fond of the up-close-and-personal looks at elven life," Williams says. "I hope people read and think about that material and really consider what it would be like to grow up and live in [such a] culture."
    The better part of valor is discretion

  2. #142
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Mar 2002
    Springfield Mo
    If you go back and review the elf threads Gary has started, in addition to this one, I think you find those ideas throughout. Its nice when the designers catch up with the players.

  3. #143
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2004
    WOW. Tons of good discussin here since last I visited.

    The BR rules systems, as I see them, try to capture a huge variety of possible in-game realities with the a relatively few abstractions. I don't think elves need break out of existing mechanics much if at all to explain their advantages, whichever advantages we may wish to apply to them.

    I, for one, DO think the elves enjoy more spellcasting than the norm, and, in comparison to humans, essentially lack supply trains and set unit formations. Since all units are scouts, they're mainly skirmishers, and I DO think they attack individually in Kgauck's "heroic" style, but in a manner that seems quite random and chaotic even to humans used to that style. That is, the elves form and break squads very quickly, forming a very amorphic attack pattern similar to the final, homeworld scenario of the Buggers described in Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game.

    However, whether you agree with me or not, consider this, the simplest way I know to account for possible elven advantages: If you give the elves a bonus to Warcraft and/or Defense rolls equal to the Source level (or even original potential, if you're just going for terrain factors and not magic), this means they can make use of terrain like humans use fortifications (per BRCS and BrWiki). I think that's realistic, and it means that elves generally will choose their battlefields and troop placements better than humans, and only the greatest human commanders have a chance of matching elves tactically and strategically in elven forests.

    If elves control the battlefield (whether by superior intelligence, communication, mobility, magic such as Entangle or Obscuring Mist, stealthiness, etc.), then you can bet on these terrain based advantages:

    Forest: This terrain can be used for any area forested enough to interfere with visibility and mobility. Movement: Mounted units have a maximum movement of 1. Combat: No units can make charge attacks. All missile attacks suffer a –4 penalty to their attack rolls.
    Jungle: This terrain can be used for any area with dense, constricting undergrowth. Movement: All units have a maximum movement of 1. Combat: No units can charge or make missile attacks.
    (I'd bet on Jungle, the elves choosing the thickest parts of the forest, and the exception being that elves suffer no terrain penalty to missile attacks)

    Hills: This terrain can be used to represent any battlefield with areas that provide advantages to the first unit to occupy the area. Movement: No effect. Combat: Units moving into an area occupied by hostile forces cannot charge. The preexisting units are may charge the engaging unit normally. A unit stationed in an area has a +2 to defense and all attack rolls during the first round of the engagement against a unit moving into the area.

    Limited Visibility: This visibility condition represents limited visibility due to darkness, heavy fog, or other impediments to vision. Movement: No effect. Combat: Units may not use missile attacks against units in adjacent areas. Units receive a –1 penalty to all attacks. Units composed of races with special sense may overcome the penalty. For example, dwarves, elves, and goblins, do not suffer visibility penalties at night.

    You might even throw in the Weather disadvantage of -2 penalties to all attacks for units unaccustomed to it.

    This leaves the elves with no handicap, and with whatever Warcraft/Defense rating bonus you want to give them for Source potential. Also, the elves get a +2 bonus to attack and defense ratings during the initial engagement (whether from hills, broken terrain, or superior elven skill and use of trees as cover before the units fully engage and the elves start to become surrounded, losing their initial advantage)

    It leaves humans with movement rates of 1, no charging, no missile attacks or not against adjacent area and with a -7 penalty, and a total of a -3 penalty to all normal attacks.

    To get to your strategic calculations, Kgauck, you can then find that knights are no better than elite infantry, and human archers are useless. Your best bet is elite infantry and pikemen to ward against the elven cavalry--which CAN otherwise charge. Basically, the Roman legion approach. They're still left with Melee ratings of +3 and +1 respectively, as weak against the elves in the forest as goblin infantry is against heavy dwarven infantry. Numbers are still the advantage. If the lightly-armored elves get that fortification defense bonus, they can have defense ratings of up to +21, equal to Skeletons, if I remember right.

    This all works out pretty well, without even having to alter units. If you want to get into unit alterations, I've sometimes thought of such things as using the Tribal Units rules variant for elves; allowing elves to spontaneously muster as irregulars; giving all elves all elite training options (allowed in BRCS); attaching elven Hero units to many units; allowing elven Snipers to be Archers with Artillery range; and even allowing elven knight units to be mounted on giant eagles or griffons.

    All of those unit modifications just serve to make the elves even more powerful, nigh undefeatable, particularly in the forests, but they're only really interesting in games where players are loading on the optional trainings to many units in human realms as well.

    The best units for fighting elves in their forests that I know of are (limited to two special training options per the BRCS):
    1. Elite Pikemen with heavy armor and with Toughness and Shield Wall training, for forming strong points on the battlefield, creating mobile walls that channel the enemy and nullify the advantage of elven cavalry charges; devastating if you can corner an elven unit
    Melee +6, Def 16, Hits 4, Move 1, Morale +8, Cost 6GB (Def is 20 vs. missile; +2 vs. mounted and double damage vs. charge)

    2. Elite Scouts (based on infantry, not on irregulars) with Berserk training, for rushing and engaging elven units bogging them down (for the Shield Wall pikemen to catch up); particularly effective if contained within the defensive Pike walls, then allowed out in small gaps when close enough to Charge and engage
    Melee +6, Def 10, Hits 2, Move 5, Morale +8, Cost 5GB (+2 to attack irregulars--which should be all elves; +2 to attacks when charging)

    3. Elite Infantry with Toughness and Berserk training, heavily armored to increase the impact of a Charge (if they can charge in the terrain); these troops are the second wave after the Elite Scouts are able to bog down the enemy, slamming in from behind with incredible force until the Elite Pike catch up as the third wave
    Melee +8, Def 14, Hits 4, Move 2, Morale +10, Cost 6GB (+2 to attack irregulars--which should be all elves; +2 to attacks when charging)

    These compositions should fare rather well against elves--at least better than any other human combination I've seen. The best unit mechanically is actually the Elite Berserking Scouts based on infantry units (you'll never match elven archery, so why try?). They can match elven mobility and nullify the archers, even with Fortification-level Defense ratings. They'll be cut down quickly if pit against elven knights, cavalry, or just elven units with all elite training options and Battle Arms, but they can even run down Sniper units with artillery range. Numbers are the key advantage. Also, realm spell back up like Battle Bless, Battle Fury, Battle Arms can buff the human units as well.

    So this is how elves can be run down in their own forests, even giving them all of the legitimate game mechanic advantages currently possible.

  4. #144
    Senior Member Mirviriam's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Where the moon cuts the wind.
    Quote Originally Posted by ryancaveney View Post
    Given my answers to all of the above, how can it be possible that the elven realms are still in retreat, or ever were?
    You can kill humans till you are blue in the face. Those suckers breed like rabbits though! Then remember it only takes a few humans to poison the land. Go upstream of the elves & setup a mining operation - if they realize the effects too early, dump the loads of coal or whatever into the river furthering the effect. The basic destruction of the forest can happen, without much danger to the humans if done right.

    Once the plants are gone, the elves will flee too. It is what makes humans so scarey - they aren't the best warriors, but every single bloodsucker is out to destroy the world or allow for the protection of those who are destroying it.

    That's what I love about D&D it resembles real life. Everytime people retaliate against the US for things our business interests do to their nation & by extent family - we break out the "freedom bell" or whatever tune is needed to allow the President to send forces off.

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