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Thread: A Mighty Realm

  1. #1

    A Mighty Realm

    I mentioned it in another thread, in 2nd ed I tended to keep Mighty Fortress around for most of my games; in 3e I had Swashbuckling Adventures core with handnotes to fill in this role; now that I tend to play True20 more I keep aroudn a small pdf I'm constantly tweaking for it with a listing of stats and periods for firearms. I know this has been debated to death, and so I'm not intending to debate the place of firearms in the setting, although assuming we go by the canon idea that Anuire is 100yw France: there were guns (cannons that is) at Crécy; and of course the Brechtür canon is outright 16th century in many places (although Havens of the Great Bay is... yeah). This is also an age where myth is strong, people still believe strongly in the Fair folk, and well they should, because the Shadow World is always there.

    So a lot like discussions of how to integrate psionics or other things: it's not to sway people, it's to discuss rules. I assume by default that the artillerists warcard includes guns though. As a note, an artillery park is a huge investment: France and the Ottomans, for a while, were the main artillery forces in Europe with merely 80-100 guns. That's the period though.

    So I'm trying to think up ideas to represent some advances... For now I'll go modestly and stick to the pre-modern period (so end at the onset of the 30yw).

    - The "Mudenisch Trace"
    I was tempted to make it the Avanian Trace: Cerilia's Trace Italienne.
    The Trace Italienne was costlier than a traditional fortification, I'm tempted to make it run double or quadruple the cost, although its reserve maintenance still keeps it active at half level (active maintenance levels means the redoubts and auxiliary forts are manned, too).
    It also provides better resistance against artillerists and requires long sieges until the invention of the modern mortar in the 17th century. If anything these citadels will make regents love their court mage when they realize just getting an artillery battery or two and an army isn't enough to faze the bigger cities. The core of it is a fortified city and would tend to follow fortified city rules, assuming that half its level is the city itself. Possibly.

    - Crossbowmen
    Basically I'm unhappy with the lack of them; they were slow, cheap to raise, often mercenaries, and their weapons, while powerful, were even slower to load than later arquebus.
    IMHO they should be the standard archer warcard but with a lower ROF. By comparison, the Longbow archer should likely be the Rjurik archer, have better range, but cost a lot and have better rof, slightly less punch.

    - Arquebus
    The arquebus/musket eventually replaces the crossbow. It's faster than a crossbow, costs less than a crossbow, requires even less training than a crossbow, has better range than a crossbow; in fact the earlier had a practical range (at least during drills, drills at 200 yards are recorded) that even had the edge on the longbow; it still remains though in poorer nations or areas with less of certain resources (England's powder in the 16th century was often lacking in salpeter); it's still slower, though (it took the prussian drill in the 18th century to equal the longbow's rate of fire -ROF goes up as range goes down, although it's not directly correlated, while the Nassau drill asking for 3 shots a minute requires looser balls and reduces range a bit, musket cannons will also be getting shorter: the charleville and brown bess muskets were much shorter than muskets of the 16th century, in fact as short as an arquebus, while carbines/briquettes are closer to a cavalry pistol). Over time the distinction between arquebus (shorter, will later become the carbine) and musket (longer) will accentuate although initially they're synonymous. The lighter arquebusier are basically the future chasseur, firearm equipped scouts, while the musketeer is the more direct "hold the line" type arquebusiers. They slowly increase in numbers, but until the 30yw they're still a fraction of the main body of troops (1/6 of a 15th-16th century spanish tercio, 1/3 of William of Nassau's legions near the 30yw, and up to 1/2 of the force by the beginning of the war of spanish succession: the invention of the bayonette during this war is what allowed the suppression of the last pike troops, well after javelin troops were dropped as light infantry - iirc the half pike half shot ratio was also used by the parliamentarians during the english civil war and the wars of the three kingdoms).

    - Dragoons/Pistoliers/Reiter
    In this time period, they're moderately armed pistol cavalry, the protestants loved these for some reason (well okay they were pretty succesful really). These are a 15th and early 16th century phenomenon, costly as they're equipped with wheellocks, and later becoming known as a lighter hybrid cavalry (although carabiniers and chevaulégers* will also replace them, equipped with carbines instead, but this is beyond the time period I'm describing in this post). It's pretty interesting as the wheellock more than the other types of firearm actions had a very conflicted perception; on one hand chivalresque pistolier knights used them to devastating effect in charge (and invented by a dutch cavalry captain, Sebastien de Corbion), on the other hand they were sometimes seen as cowardly because they allowed the building of pistols in the first place, and a pistol backstab is basically what killed William of Orange in 1582.
    I'm still unsure how to do them; like all cavalry they have the charge bonus, but they also have a missile charge. The short range of a pistol, though, makes it unlikely it would count as missile for the purposes of missile. It also depends on fighting style; the germans would fight with a carracole, that is, shoot and withdraw, while the french huguenots would charge, shoot and draw swords (as the dutch, scots and english later would; at the eve of the 17th century Spain would adopt the pistol and sword for all their cavalry, but the walloons already fought this way).
    I'm tempted to count them as a form of knight in terms of cost and muster ability, with missile and slightly lower melee or something.

    Snaphaunces or snaplocks exist as of the mid 16th century on earth but are more of a hunter weapon thing and are still seen as unreliable compared to later flintlocks; they also cost more, though less than a comparable wheellock weapon, of which the only common ones will be pistols, wheellock rifles will be a weapon fit for a prince. Shipwise, this is also the period of the last caravels, the golden age of the (real) gallion in the atlantic, and the beginning of the appearance of proper man-o-wars and frigates (along with the schooner). But this is a bit later as well and I'm not as sure about my ideas for the naval system.

    One of my problems is pretty much balancing prices, and effect: I have a good idea of the scaling, but little of the way I could balance. Of course inbalance could just be as interesting. I also imagine that regents would not take kindly to their neighbors building up these new types of forts, considering them a likely act of potential aggression, or at least an excuse to build up their own: this would be pretty much what happened IRL though as some of the italian states almost bankrupted themselves over those.

    Army sizes for the period should not be too enormous still. Cavalry varies in proportions, but some countries would have up to a third cavalry units (I tend to assume a cavalry unit is smaller than an infantry unit (120-240), and so the heaviest cavalry forces are half the units in an army, where this half becomes a third of the fighting people).

    (edit: sorry for the multiple edits, I prefer it to double posting, especially as I'm tweaking some internal data; I'll also eventually put it together under a more presentable format although feedback, it's one of the reasons I present it as a draft after all)

    *in the time period described, the chevauléger is medium cavalry though, the english demi-lancer.
    Last edited by Gwrthefyr; 06-08-2010 at 05:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    I have always liked the excuse that gunpowder or black powder does not function in a magic rich world. But then there is that phrase that goes something like, any technology would seem like magic it where placed in the past (or something along those lines).

    I always tell my players (eventually) that they are part of a Planescape outplanes universe. So from the world of Birthright, they could travel to the City of Doors and then find a world where gunpowder is present.

    But on the idea of adding gunpowder to Birthright, and inparticular the land of the Bretch: I think it would be a great away to transition the world into the renaissance level technology. The land of Bretch is for the merchant class and not the noble class. The merchants would always looking for the newest advances and the best military protection for trade.

    By introduction gunpowder, the merchant class would care even less about bloodlines, as bloodthieft should be impossible with a gun (shooting someone in the heart does not work with arrows, right?). The nobles then would have to learn that a Smith and Wesson makes all men equal (ok, maybe that is the old west of fiction, but you get my point).

    Blood lines would become even more rare and the art of war would change. The first navy power to get a handle on cannons would dominate the waves. The first power to make hand cannons (pistols or carbines) could add them to light cavalry to make a real mobile threat.

    I believe that most players (the evils ones anyway) get caught up in bloodthieft a little to much. By indroduction a means that could end bloodlines can radically change the way players view war could be a good thing.

    What are the balancing and scaling issues are you talking about? Even the most simple bullet would cause infection, fractured bones, internal bleeding, and puncturing vital organs. How can you scale bullets that travel hundreds of miles an hour?

  3. #3
    (Side tangent)
    My version (not the one I'm working on, it's a for me campaign notes booklet) of the truebirthright rules have no bloodtheft and assumes that bloodlines are also gained by investiture (basically, functionally the same as the bloodstone rings: the regent sacrifices a point of bloodline, the regency resulting from it is then used to account, granting a bloodline as though they had gained the RPs through bloodtheft). I hate the concept of bloodtheft with a passion and feel it was badly tacked on the game. If it wasn't for the game having a vague morass known as canon, I'd mark it as an optional rule and drop it in a sidebar.
    end of parenthesis

    On the rest: the renaissance was still dominated by a noble class, and in fact this would continue for a while. The merchant princes often came from the patriciate or ended up into it: case in point the houses of Medici and Thurm und Taxis were princes who became bankers, the houses of Colombo and Fugger were bankers who became princes (well, okay, Thurm and Taxis postmen, and Colombo sea merchants, but it's pretty close). The republics of the time were still a) few and b) aristocratic, especially the Swiss where only 4 cantons had any pretence of democracy. The three dominant regions (An, Br, Kh) are more or less at the same level on that point, and Brechtur, with its ommission of proper republics does accidentally fit the Elizabethan period more than anything it pretends to be, imo. And I fail to see how this ends bloodlines. Sure, the mounted knight is less important; but the son of the dude who used to be a knight in armor is likely the only one around who can afford to outfit themselves as a reiter; it wasn't until Henry IV's death that the french cavalry hit a rough parity of noble to commoner, and the foot soldiers a little bit earlier for native troops; that's not officers, officer corps outside of the artillery would remain noble through and through until the 1700s, that's the entire army. Henry VIII tried at some point to get a professional non-noble cavalry and failed lamentably because the pays he gave were less than the cost of outfitting: i.e. there was no way anyone but a noble or a knight could afford to enroll.

    As for the bullets, supersonic bullets are a modern thing. I'm describing weapons that are setting accurate for the 16th and 17th century. And all weapons can cause this. I treat artillery as being already there: caravels and galleons are an anachronism from a tactical pov otherwise, carracks already had shipboard cannons (the galleon warcard looks a bit like a carrack, though, then again the zebec is too ocean-going for a historical zebec; makes sense though as Cerilia lacks a mediterranean). Like I said, Crécy had guns on the field. Artillery predates light weapons by a lot. Cabines are a late 17th century invention.

    And I'll be honest: technological diffusion doesn't work like that. Nobody "dominated the waves" when shipboard canons were invented, it was just an extremely obvious idea from field guns which had been in use since the 12th century in China and the 13th-14th in the Levant and Europe. I also tend to take for granted that things are at a starting point where some of the tech is establishes exactly to avoid that gamist stuff
    Last edited by Gwrthefyr; 06-08-2010 at 01:54 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mirviriam's Avatar
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    Where the moon cuts the wind.
    Geeman put out some pretty good shit...inreference to xbow units & gunpowder:
    Legacy of Kings: Member

  5. #5
    Thanks, that's awesome

    Okay on ships, the little data I have is tonnage and rough dates
    - The bermuda sloop is an early 17th century design and would thus appear midway through the period I'm describing; purpose-built sloops of war, corvettes and cutters only appear in the 18th century though, so if they're found in a naval force they're privateers or no different from civilian designs. Using someone's map of Aebrynnys I nicknamed it the shadow sloop
    - The carrack still somewhat exists, it's an enormous ship (about 1k tons), but on average the data I have says they cost about 1.3 times the price of a galleon, which was cheaper and better armed. I'm not sure if it's ton-per-ton or assuming a typical 500 tons galleon (the Manila galleon reached 2.000 tons, if there's a ship type that should be limited to level 9-10 provinces, it's the one).
    - The galleon is the workhorse of war navies but not quite as common among civilian shipbuilders, mainly because it's got less carrying capacity for its cost than more modern merchant ships.
    - The dutch are also revolutioning the baltic and north sea with the flute, which has a typical carrying capacity of 200-300 tons and a dozen guns (compared to the 24+ of a typical 300 tons frigate). Would be more or less the successor of the round ship. Its main appearance in war fleets mostly coincides with the wars of religion and the dutch revolts.
    - Brig is a type of rigging, but becomes known as a type of ship to the end of the period. For now, it's mostly used on the basque and dutch pinnaces, which are lighter merchant vessels, tenders and smuggling ships. I have a moment of doubt about the snow brig, and which part of the 17th century it comes from; it's the closest thing to a 18th century s-o-w/corvette in the 17th though iitc. It is possibly too late for my intents, though.
    - The frigate is already around and already recognizable (although the more iconic frigates of the late 18th century like the designs of Jacques Noel Sané are still far away though). It has about 24-30 guns, sometimes a bit more.
    - The schooner also makes its appearance during the period. Again it's a light oceanic trader, also found on seas and lakes, often unarmed or almost so, instead relying on speed. Will do runs for light and particularly valuable rapid convoys as opposed to the milk cow runs of the flutes.

    For size tiers, I'm tempted to put Carrack and Galleon at tiers 4 and 5 (5 for the Manila Galleon might even be low), 3 for the Flute and Frigate. 2 or 1 for the Sloop, Pinnace and Schooner, likely with medium and small versions of each.

    Because of geography, the situation is mostly
    - Brechtür will likely develop a lot like the Scandinavians, with a rough mix of ocean and sea vessels.
    - Khinasi will be much more ocean-going than the ottomans and morrocans were; galleys may be around in the straits (same for Anuire), but the ships with mediterranean names in Khinasi will likely develop into something that would look familiar to a dutch 17th century merchant: sloops, frigates, although given their predilection for less round hulls, more pinaces than flutes. Schooner trade by the gross as well, likely.
    - Brechtur, the Island States, the Tael Shore and some states of the other regions are likely to be more maritime than mainstream Anuire and Vosgaard. If Anuire keeps the dreams of empire, especially (I sometimes cut the nonsense by declaring it an elective monarchy since the death of Michael Roele and so be it; it also adds a fun dimension whenever the election happens; then again I like to play with setting elements, and make fantasy elements more subdued and mysterious; then again I refuse to see Roele as anything but LN or LE if the alignment system remains, so disregard my flights of fancy at will ), it will remain a predominantly land power with a few areas being naval oriented either through government or trade. The peninsular state in Vosgaard is probably its only major naval power.
    - Early on, naval engineers from Brechtur or the Island States will likely be found commonly hired by other regions. Standardization will follow from this, as well as know-how as they form more local people.
    - Some bits of Aduria look likely to be more seaward, but its great empires are more likely landward.
    Last edited by Gwrthefyr; 06-08-2010 at 11:20 PM.

  6. #6
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    Gwrthefyr you made most of my arguments invalid, could you clarify a few things.

    -How much power is in an arquebus shot? (force or whatever)
    -What about buck shot vs. scrap shot? (that an arquebus can be filled with anything)
    -How much leathality are we taking about? (puncher wound size and effect on the body)
    -What was the OP talking about scaling?
    -What would the impact from a cannon shot do to a ship, horses, and infantry?

    I was thinking about maybe when a person gets shot they have to roll a System Shock check (2e rules under Constitution) or be stunned for one round.

    As far other ships go; does anyone have a link or more information about adding ships for Battle Cards? (2e)[yeah we find Battle Cards fun and easy]

    As far as passing bloodlines through investiture; isn't that how the Rogr of Ilien gained his bloodline?

  7. #7
    The power of a renaissance firearm is somewhat superior to a bow or crossbow; I forget how much, but renaissance arms used more powder and heavier calibers and so were more likely to do damage at more than 100 yards than in later eras. How much I'm still not sure about. The most powerful longbows had something like a 80-100 pounds pull at most iirc.
    Buckshot in a battlefield setting is entirely useless, especially as a typical army would only have a handful units (for a 16 units army, only one) deployed as loose shot; the line will be thinned on the roman model to the middle of the period as shot becomes more numerous, initially by the dutch in the 1590s, but still, shot remains in formations between the pikes and receded, rarely in front except when the opposing cavalry is far away.
    A gun wound is harder to recover from than an arrow because the bullet is very hard to recover by a doctor. It is, however, survivable although it will break bones and puncture organs, eventually.

    By scaling I meant establishing the prices of units in comparison to old style units. The historical equivalent of Anuirean knights and light cavalry remained in service for a while before every cavalry unit was converted to saber and pistol wielding troops with varying amounts of armour (there's an almost 2 centuries hiatus where the lance as a weapon of the cavalry almost entirely disappears in Europe, only to show up again when the french raised uhlans in Poland). Other units like the pikemen and irregulars also remain (I am still after years of playing unsure what the regular infantry is supposed to be).

    A canon shot at this time is much less accurate than in the 18th century, however, it will likely kill or maim a horse or a soldier if it hits, and it will be unlikely but can potentially crack a hull, however, the only major things that can really stop a fight are killing the masts (the french prefered to kill the masts and board), the crew (the english tended to open by sweeping the decks) or shoot low to hit near the waterline in the hopes of doing enough holes there (few did this; these three tactical naval preferences, however, are based on 18th century doctrine, disregard for the time period although some captains will show preferences, and as far as I know the third one was not any country's preferences because it destroyed a potential addition to the fleet). Sinking a ship is pretty rare.
    Massed artillery formations are also much rarer and artillery requires more men at first.

    I don't see why a saving throw should be done for guns if it's not done for hits by any other weapon, why inject more realism in your firearms than in every other weapon.

    And for last, I meant specifically a method that mimics bloodtheft and is necessary when you invest anyone: basically if you make a new noble or a major lieutenant through investiture, you are gambling away a part of your power; in this case directly (even if it's only one of your blood points).
    Last edited by Gwrthefyr; 06-09-2010 at 08:39 AM.

  8. #8
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    ok I'll bite, what advantage would a regent get for investing in this technology?

    Are you working on War Cards or just weapons for adventure purposes?

    As far as War Cards, maybe an artillerists with higher defense and more hits. When it really comes down to it, you could always take standard units and upgrade them.

    edit: Infantry are there to take damage and die, that is all they have ever done, beside garrison while the real troops are out fighting in my Birthright games that is.

  9. #9
    1. Wait, what?
    Courtrai: Huguenots against royal army, that was before the League betrayed the french crown, throwing the crown back in alliance with the huguenots; Navarre's army was majorly outnumbered, (5000 to 2000, and a comparable situation for infantry); his pistoleers cut down the lance-equipped gendarmes in a matter of minutes. More than the musket, the pistol was one of the more lopsided weapon changes of the 16th century, it killed the lance in Europe for two centuries. Plus it allowed political assassinations much more cleanly.
    The Arquebus has a better rate of fire than the crossbow, has a better range than the crossbow, and has a much more powerful punch than the great bow. It's cheaper to train an arquebusier than a longbow archer, to boot. And on long campaigns the archers will tire faster than the arquebusiers to keep the same penetration power.
    Gunpowder artillery completely destroyed the medieval fortification. It made it entirely irrelevant. And forced powers to rethink fortifications until something else came along that broke the new model, usw.

    Also I'm playing with the assumption that I'm moving the technology a whole century or two forward: the technology is already adopted and widespread. Exactly to avoid that gamist stuff.

    Both. Firearms were developed for the military first.

    Won't do; gunpowder artillery isn't more resistant, it's more powerful, has more range, is more accurate. And while it's subject to rain, so are archers (leaving a bow with the string on under the rain will absolutely destroy it), catapults and crossbows.

    Last point: yes but that's not the problem. Pikemen represent a type of infantry that's recognizable. Irregulars represent a type of infantry that's recognizable. Archers as well, etc. While Elite Infantry is semi obvious, Infantry is basically, well... no type of unit I can think of as this type is already covered under irregular while the actual irregulars end up falling under scout, archer, etc; or they need a missile attack or something, even if bad.
    Last edited by Gwrthefyr; 06-10-2010 at 01:06 PM.

  10. #10
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    1 My question is answered by your expatiation that you are playing a game 100 hundreds from the base campaign

    2 war cards, are you using these or not?

    3 with war cards Infantry gain +1 to attack vs pikes or irregulars (they are just not as good as elite infantry)

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