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Old 11-04-2016, 01:24 PM   #1
mlangsdorf
 
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Default [Mass Combat] High Purposes for Commanders

I had this idea while writing up some ideas for a potential Mass Combat game.

If you've got multiple PC or NPC commanders in a Mass Combat game, there's only a couple of ways to distinguish them. There's skill in Strategy, Tactics, and Intelligence Analysis; there the presence or absence of the Lucky advantage, and there's... nothing else. There's no way to really indicate a preference for certain battle strategies and there's no mechanical advantage for choosing certain strategies.

It occurred to me that Higher Purpose could be used to distinguish commanders. Higher Purpose gives a +1 bonus on all rolls under certain conditions. Here are some sample Higher Purposes:

Higher Purpose: Assaulter (+1 to Significant Action, Battle Strategy, Leadership, and Misfortunes of War when choosing the All-out Attack, Attack, or Deliberate Attack strategies)

Higher Purpose: Stonewall (+1 to Significant Action, Battle Strategy, Leadership, and Misfortunes of War when choosing the All-out Defense, Defense, or Deliberate Defense strategies)

Higher Purpose: Death or Glory (+1 to Significant Action, Battle Strategy, Leadership, and Misfortunes of War when choosing any All-Out or Desperate strategies)

Higher Purpose: Lead from the Front (+1 to Significant Action, Battle Strategy, Leadership, and Misfortunes of War when choosing a Risk Modifier of 3)

Higher Purpose: Cunning Commander (+1 to Significant Action, Battle Strategy, Leadership, and Misfortunes of War when choosing the Indirect Attack, Mobile Defense, Raid, or Skirmish strategies)

Higher Purpose: Slow and Steady (+2 to Significant Action, Battle Strategy, Leadership, and Misfortunes of War when choosing the Deliberate Attack, Deliberate Defense, or Fighting Retreat strategies, but -1 to those rolls when choosing any All-Out or Desperate Strategy or the Indirect Attack, Raid, or Skirmish strategies)

Higher Purpose: <Class> Commander (+1 to Significant Action, Battle Strategy, Leadership, and Misfortunes of War when you have <Class> Superiority Bonus of at least +1 and Class Superiority matters in the battle you're fighting)

I'd allow some of these to be combined, so you could have a Cunning Cavalry Commander (who would get +2 on rolls involving raids and skirmishes when he had a 2:1 Cavalry TS advantage) or a Slow and Steady Engineering Commander (who would get +3 with a 2:1 Engineering TS advantage during sieges).

Would people spend 5 CP to get a minor bonus for certain strategies? Is this a useful addition to the game?
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Old 11-04-2016, 01:30 PM   #2
mlangsdorf
 
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] High Purposes for Commanders

One thing that would make those Higher Purposes more interesting would be an additional substep in part 3: Choose Battle Strategy. In addition to secretly choosing and recording a Strategy, each commander would choose and record three strategies: one that he expects the opposing commander to choose and two that he expects the opposing commander won't choose. If the commander correctly chooses his opponent's strategy, he gets a +1 on his Battle Strategy roll, and if his opponent chooses a strategy that he thought the opposing commander wouldn't, he gets -1 on his Battle Strategy.

This would also make ambushes more deadly, since there's only two options you can choose when your force is Confused. Though the ambushers can't choose Defense strategies, so at least if you're ambushed you'll never take a penalty of on your Battle Strategy roll for picking the wrong strategy.
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Old 11-04-2016, 01:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] High Purposes for Commanders

I'm comparing the options with raising strategy...

Each is just one extra point that boosts your leadership and reduces misfortunes of war. Which actually means you can raise your roll by 2, not just 1. In exchange you can only use it some of the time... Its not an obvious pick either way.

I think I like the basic categories. Assaulter and Stonewall look solid. The <Class> Commander looks good as well, though It feels a touch off that you have to have superiority to get a benefit from it. perhaps extending it to when you're equal.

Cunning Commander feels just a touch broad, like he's trying to cover both the raiding master and the tricky general parts.

Lead from the front feels like it cuts in too late. I suppose it gives +4 for -2 risk, but that's ALL it does. some way to beef it up would be nice.

Slow and steady is a great category, but the penalty won't stack well if you take multiple levels. Just needs a little tweaking.

Death or Glory feels just a touch weak. Possibly because they feel like weak options to start with. Desperate Strategy may even this out. This may just be my personal tastes in risk coming out though.

It'd be nice to see the opposite of <class>, a commander who's good at countering a specific type of unit.
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Old 11-05-2016, 05:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] High Purposes for Commanders

Your overall point that these are only middling good compared to just buying another level of Strategy is a good point. Maybe the right thing to do is increase the bonus to +2 (+3 for Slow and Steady). That beefs up Lead from the Front nicely, for example.

I was torn on the <Class> Commander. Making it require Superiority makes it a situational benefit that your opponent can take away from you. Another idea was to have it kick in when 20% or more of your force was that class. That'd be fine for say, Cavalry Commander, but would be weird for C3I Commander. I think having it kick in when you have <Class> Superiority but not needing enough to get a bonus would be enough.

I don't see a good way to implement <Anti-Class> Superiority. Have 10% of your force be <Anti-Class> and deny your opponent their <Class> Superiority bonus? It feels off.

I think Death or Glory is mostly fine how it is. It gives offense and defense options and a lot of flexibility after Desperate operations kick in. It works best either for someone who can afford to not worry about casualties or who'll have overwhelming TS superiority. I could sweeten it a little by letting someone who has it invoke Desperate measures after taking only 15% casualties.
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Old 11-05-2016, 10:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] High Purposes for Commanders

Not all of those are suited to be Higher Purposes. Death or Glory in particular is much more plausibly described as Daredevil.
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Old 11-05-2016, 11:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] High Purposes for Commanders

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
I was torn on the <Class> Commander. Making it require Superiority makes it a situational benefit that your opponent can take away from you. Another idea was to have it kick in when 20% or more of your force was that class. That'd be fine for say, Cavalry Commander, but would be weird for C3I Commander. I think having it kick in when you have <Class> Superiority but not needing enough to get a bonus would be enough.
I wouldn't say it is fine for cavalry, I'd say it made a lot more sense:

A) If there are two forces of 5000 cavalry each, it seems odd to me that Higher Purpose (Cavalry Commander) would not help.
B) If there are two forces of 5000 infantry each, and one has 50 horsemen, it seems odd that it does.

I might say something like either 50%+, or 10%+ and superiority.
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Old 11-05-2016, 03:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] High Purposes for Commanders

Good points, RyanW. I think I'll go with 20% of your force, by elements or TS, for <Class> Commander.

And then <(Class)> Commander is straightforward: 20% of your force, by TS or elements. Being a Anti-C3I commander is still conceptually pretty weird, but if you want to be a commander of airborne ninja (MC 6) I guess it works.
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