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Magnus Grendel

Mass Battle Objectives

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We re-ran our little naval battle.

  • We did rerun the mass battle, using objectives 'properly'.
    • Despite this, the rate at which panic was racked up was still irrelevant compared to the rate attrition was inflicted
    • It reinforced the fact that there was no practical way (barring some Kakita super-duellist) that you're going to kill an enemy leader in the single round of a duel (unless duels themselves get changed so that a single round represents several rounds of a skirmish or is made much more deadly for some other reason).
  • Discussing this with my players, we came to the following conclusions:
    • At the moment there is next to no reason not to just have every cohort leader perform an assault every turn.
    • Panic is next to irrelevant - it's hard to inflict, easy to 'heal' (a reduce panic check comes 'free' with assist actions and there's a 1-for-1 opportunity spend) and doesn't do anything until you hit the army's discipline level at which point the entire army collapses. 
      • Yes, 'Cut off the head' inflicts a lot of panic (10), so a discipline 35 ashigaru army can be all but broken by doing that 3 times - but by the time you've killed 3 cohort leaders you've either:
        • Wiped out 3 of the enemy's command cadre and pretty much won by default 
        • Got 3/4 of the way to a sieze victory objective and won that way
      • Yes, a samurai archery cohort can inflict panic with reinforce actions, but samurai infantry can deliver massive extra damage in assault actions and just kill people.
      • And that's the single biggest panic-causing effect I can see.
    • Since all damage comes off the same attrition limit, there is very little reason to target anything but the least fortified cohort unless the GM has ruled that the 'map' is forcing you to engage a specific cohort first.
    • The mechanics scale wierdly with the number of cohort leaders.
      • The number of assaults an army can launch increases (fair enough) but  the damage each assault can cause does not decrease.
      • The amount of damage needed to meet a grind them down/capture a position/sieze victory objective does not alter, making it essentially impossible for a single-cohort army to ever win a battle.
      • The damage required to destroy a cohort does not decrease. 1/4 of the army strength makes sense but when there are, say, 6 players, each cohort must logically be noticeably less than 1/4 of the army strength.


Therefore, we thought the following things might make sense for a mass battle:

  • Army Strength remaining army-wide is fair enough. It's the "the army is broken" tracker.
  • Panic being cohort-by-cohort.
    • That way a specific cohort being battered is easy to track, and there's a better 'metrestick' for a single cohort breaking.
    • It makes it easier to identify a specific 'elite' cohort that is able to take more of a pounding without flinching (hatamoto, for exmple)
    • It also gives specific command characters the opportunity to benefit (add your command skill to your cohort's discipline is a simple mechanic that rewards better commanders with a point or two more 'endurance')
  • Discipline being much lower and actually having a meaningful effect
    • Consider it the cohort's equivalent of composure/resiliance - being over your discipline means your force is shakey, so something akin to the compromised effect (can't keep strife results) would seem appropriate, whilst being +10, or double, or whatever, is "your cohort is destroyed".
  • Objectives being scaled in effect and difficulty
    • Grind Them Down/Capture A Position/Sieze Victory having a suggested 'per cohort' or 'for a given size of force' value guidance rather than a flat value of 8-10 attrition.
    • Cut Off The Head having a variable effect depending on whether you do nothing, cause fatigue to, incapacitate/critical, or kill an enemy leader. Catching an enemy cohort leader with a double-handed naginata swing and leaving him unconcious and bleeding should achieve something, even if it's not a 'kill', and equally even a minor wound could help (think "even gods can bleed" if you catch a particularly charismatic opponent with a light wound from a bow-shot)


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