Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Commanding a Whole Damn Army

So I recently made a blog and G+ post about size, tactics, and morale of military units in light of my Whole Damn Army creature. A question was posed "Do you see this as characters interacting with GM controlled armies, or allowing players to control armies as well?" in the context of me potentially making a book out of mass combats in Dungeon World. So I while I'm still not sure I want to create a whole book about mass combat, the idea was intriguing to discern the difference between a GM move and a player move as the distinction is relevant. Consider the moster as written, a pile of GM moves. Player moves are going to be based on different assumptions of GM moves.

As a GM move- Wall of Steel deals (b[2d6+7] damage, 1 piercing). This assumes a couple of things

1) a soldier deals 1d6 damage, so a group of them deals the best of 2d6
2) with enough adversaries at least one of them will get through for 1 piercing
3) The unit will be lead by a fairly reliable character equivalent in combat to a knight who deals (b[2d10] damage), so it's reasonable to attribute the +7 to the Knight. We can assume a knight probably has some score of 14 (reserving 16 for PCs), which means a modifier of +1. Because the knight swings the better of 2d10s, we assume an average of a 5 and a 6 and use that to come to +7. A leader that leads through fear and Intimidation could use STR, one who uses charm and likability uses CHA, one who uses superior memory of military history, and actively being educated uses INT, and one who has a "feel" of battle through experience with it uses WIS.

As a Player move- assumptions 1-3 above suggest that a fighter with a d10 should probably get STR of +3 ASAP to get (b[2d6+9] damage, 1 piercing). Other players could progress their optimal score to that point if it's one of the modifiers listed above. Each lower dice type reduces the 9 by a point (meaning d6+3 will hit the NPC Knight at even damage by virtue of taking the better of a 3 and a 4). GMs can also ignore the average and change the damage code for players to (b[2d6+2dx] damage, 1 piercing) where x is the type for your class if he wants really swingy combats.

Hold the Lines
As a GM move- Armies are not afraid of players, but they might be afraid of players' armies. Whether they are afraid of each other is a function of size (a smaller army being afraid of a larger one) and whether they are fanatic or frenzied. 

As a Player Move- Roll Defy Danger Subtract your army's HP from the other army's HP. if negative that means you have a bigger army and are more likely to Defy. Because you are a notable individual, you may add half of your HP to your army's HP for intimidation purposes.

Sound the Reinforcements
As a GM move- Since those reinforcement numbers count as HP, it would be reasonable to say that this recovers 1d8 HP, but a lot of people don't like rolling for GM stuff if they can avoid it so they can use 4 points. This move can be used as many times as appropriate to the fiction

As a Player move- Roll 1d8 to determine how many points each unit heals. You can do this once per unit of reinforcements you narratively have. Remember also that the default Whole Damn Army is 2-3 units, so if you know you have more on the field, HP can go over 30.

  • If you have Bardic Song, or can cast a Cure spell as a rote, you may use it on A Whole Damn Army.
  • Some moves may also effect healing rate

Racial Tactics
This section will cover a number of moves that players can earn to reflect their race's heritage for war. They are not like racial starting moves, because almost no members of a race are required to be born great tacticians. They can however be learned as starting Racial moves if you have a reason to have war in your background. 

Dwarven Turtle
Dwarf units have shields that can interlock, while also allowing their polearms to protrude slightly. In return for changing damage to (w[2d6+3] damage) they gain +1 armor and can negate Artillery Superiority. This means that a unit with this move can disregard the Ignores Armor and Piercing tags on their opponents' moves.

The Stonefist Gambit
When dwarves following a commander with this move fight with either mountains or a cavern ceiling looming overhead deal +2 damage.

Liquid Courage
When a commander with this move uses a Keg of Dwarven Stout to carouse with his men, he may also heal them for 1d4 HP.

Elder Guardians
When elves following a commander with this move fight within sight of The Great Forest, they may deal +2 damage

Treetop Striders 
When elves following a commander with this move do battle within The Great Forest, they count as devious, and negate both devious and Engineering Superiority of their opponents. If the commander also has Elder Guardians, that it applies as well.

Mystical Warpaint
There is a plant that grows within The Great Forest that bolsters elven morale. When a commander with this move orders his men to apply it, they are considered to have +4 HP for the purposes of Hold the Line. That is, they cannot be terrified by a unit whose HP isn't 5 more than their own.

Don't Disturb the Shire
When halflings following a commander with this move hide in the hilly terrain surrounding their homeland, they are short enough they can ambush for +1d6 damage.

Can't Touch Dis
When halflings are fighting an army whose individual members are Large or Huge, or an actual creature that is Large or Huge, they gain +1 Armor.

Racist Bastard
Pick another race. Whenever you fight that race, you deal +2 damage. It's probably fair to allow you to pick multiple races for this one, but if you pick very many it may also be fair to assassinate you in your sleep.

When you fight an army whose leader's alignment opposes yours, you deal +2 damage. Alternately, if you are a cleric, you may take this bonus against people who are heretical from your god's point of view if the GM and group allow it. It's probably fair to pick multiple religions but if you pick very many it may also be fair to assassinate you in your sleep.

Pincer Maneuver
Whenever you have Engineering or devious units, you do not have to use your +1d6 damage on the first attack.

Orcs and Half Orcs
Whenever orcs work themselves into a frenzy before battle, they are considered to have +4 HP for the purposes of Hold the Line. That is, they cannot be terrified by a unit whose HP isn't 5 more than their own. If you are their commander, and you order a retreat, you must Defy Danger to avoid becoming the enemy.

Troll Blood Stew
If a commander with this move has allied with trolls asks them to augment the rations with their restorative blood, he may roll +Stat for the stat used with Wall of Steel. On any 10+ over the course of the next battle, his unit heals 2 HP. (for NPCs, this occurs when the PCs roll 6-).

Race Trained
You may take a move not belonging to your race only if you either have a background of significant time with them, or spend enough in game time that the advance follows logically from the fiction. Statements within the move that refer to the race you chose refer to you.

Relevant Core Rulebook and Class Warfare Moves
When you share a drink with someone, you may parley with them using CON instead of CHA.

You sing the healing songs of spring and brook. When you make camp, you and your allies heal +1d6.

When you attack with a ranged weapon, deal +2 damage.

Once per battle you may re-roll a single damage roll (yours or someone else’s).

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Mass Combat Revisited: A Whole Damn Army, and subsequent divisions thereof

Because I'd already codified how a large military unit could work with the existing Horde rules and constitute an entire horde rather than giving each soldier statistics here, Curiosity overtook me and I decided to find out what a A Whole Damn Army would look like in the Dungeon World Codex. This led to a posting and a discussion in the Dungeon World Tavern G+ community Some banter expanded the scope of what the Whole Damn Army could do. Once the whole army was ironed out there was further questioning on the line of writing an Army playbook. While I'm not sure I want to do that, the army does deserve something of a closer look. Here goes

A Whole Damn Army should represent at least 1000 soldiers, but reasonably up to 5,000

A Whole Damn Army is immune to being Terrified by a smaller army (less HP)

This article discusses Superiority. Rather than modifying its text, use the rules below
  • For mobility superiority, each "doubling" in the original rule provides armor 1
  • Armor superiority is only available for units with a default armor above 4. Use their new armor as the base.
  • Artillery Superiority has 4 Piercing (or more). The attack doesn't do more damage than normal, just 4 damage blows through armor
  • Engineering superiority or other armies with devious may ambush their foes, dealing +1d6 damage on the first attack.
  • Fortified armies (those that are garrisoned in a settlement) have several advantages. If they are at least Steady they add +2 HP, and another +2 for each of Growing or Booming. If they are at least a Town, they gain +1 armor, while a Keep gains +2 and a City gains +3. Keeps and cities also have Artillery superiority, while any smaller steading has Ranged and all have Transport. A town or better also has Sound the Reinforcements.
Scaling Down
A Whole Damn Army is an abstraction of 2-3 units plus a commanding officer. It is reasonable to divide them into military units. A Whole Damn Platoon only gets 15 HP, and isn't big enough to Shatter Their Morale. They get one other move of the ones listed. A Whole Damn Battalion gets that move, plus Shatter Their Morale and has 22 HP.

Scaling Up
Having more than 30 HP for any Dungeon Worlds monster was decidedly obnoxious, but it's not unreasonable to give armies over 5000 men one extra move per +5 HP. Even I don't recommend giving any more HP out after you've got all the moves.

If you're interested in playing these, or any of my other Dungeon World ideas, you can join my discord, DW Linky Here!