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Old 11-12-2015, 11:28 AM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

A PC is acting as the overall commander of an army of around 3,500 men and some 1,500 sailors serving on land. I've been using Mass Combat rules at least to benchmark things, though I usually make things more complicated and call for rolls against many more skills, all the way down the chain of command.*

As the PC-Affiliated Forces (PCAF) are liberating territory that the polity they are fighting for can make a historical political claim to rule and the cities they take are meant to become part of the new country they are building, it has been decided to keep the men under tight discipline around civilians, judiciously enforce law and order** and prevent atrocities as much as possible.

I'm looking for good guidelines on how difficult this is. How much of your force needs to be devoted to non-combat shore patrol, traffic control and law enforcement to make rapes and murders statistical outliers rather than the expected activity of a conquering army?

What kind of Administration, Law, Leadership, Propaganda, etc. checks are involved? What skill takes the place of Tactics or Operations for planning military police operations that are ultimately meant to protect both your own troops and the civilian populace?

Usually I guesstimate this sort of thing and it doesn't harm anyone, as long as I personally find it plausible. For this question, however, I'm lacking a fundamental basis for guesstimates, which is that I don't really have a good intuitive sense for what percentage of military personnel in a low TL army will attempt to rape and murder civilians when given an opportunity?

I'd like to have some kind rule of thumb that used Troop Quality as a benchmark for levels of discpline for individual units, which would have a huge impact on this number. I'd modify it by situation, morale, leadership, opportunity, weather, enemy activity, etc. Obviously, unhappy, frightened and poorly led troops with little to do but face unpredictable attacks by partisans that are almost indisguisable from other civilians will be far more likely to commit crimes against the local populace than highly motivated troops competently led and kept busy out-maneuevering an enemy army in the field.

I also imagine that factors like Disloyal, Fanatic, Impetuous and other such modifiers can have a strong impact. To take a random example, I imagine Fanatics are less likely to run riot out of greed, lust or frustration, but more likely to have religious or ethnic hatred that lead them to commit atrocities. And both Levies and Mercenaries might be more prone to looting, which often leads to worse atrocities, than troops who chose a military life and specifically chose an organisation where they are expected to show loyalty beyond a desire to secure the next pay packet. And so on.

On the other hand, I can't apply any of the ad hoc modifiers to the percentage of troops who are risk factors without having some basic idea of what that percentage should be.

How many in an Average Troop Quality unit of TL 2-4 soldiers will seize upon a chance to rob, rape or murder one or more civilians during an assault on a city that was held by the enemy?

*Often limiting the skill of the character with supreme command over logistics, intelligence or operational planning by using an average of effective skill levels for his staff and the officers in charge of units.
**At the very least, a rough approximation of it that allows civilians to trade with the invading soldiers without being raped, tortured and murdered.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:57 AM   #2
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
How many in an Average Troop Quality unit of TL 2-4 soldiers will seize upon a chance to rob, rape or murder one or more civilians during an assault on a city that was held by the enemy?
What is their opinion of the category that the occupied enemy citizens belongs to? In terms of culture or religion (not race, because that'd be anachronistic)? If it's same culture and same religion, there'll be a lot fewer problems than if it's different culture and different religion. Even worse if it's different cultural type and different religious family.

If just using GURPS' vanilla CF system, different CF indicates enough cultural differences to make problems much more likely.

There's also the barbarian/civilized divide. Barbarians have disdain for decadent city-dwellers and may well be inclined to look upon them as wolves look upon sheep. Likewise, soldiers from civilized lands may be inclined to look upon barbarians as being barely Human.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
What is their opinion of the category that the occupied enemy citizens belongs to? In terms of culture or religion (not race, because that'd be anachronistic)? If it's same culture and same religion, there'll be a lot fewer problems than if it's different culture and different religion. Even worse if it's different cultural type and different religious family.
The long-serving Chondathan soldiers of the PCs' own professional mercenary force regard them as the exact same ethnic and religious people as their current employers, i.e. the people who live in the city where they've been stationed the past months and the people serving in the armies allied to them. Of course, individuals might have various views as to the cultural values, religious practices, linguistic quirks and other peculiarities of the Untheri, but for all practical purposes, the foreign mercenaries will not be able to tell Untheri from Shussel from Untheri from Messemprar.

Shussel is 200 miles away from Messemprar. For the past three millenia, the two cities have belonged to the same empire, worshipped the same gods and had the same culture.* They also belong to the same general geographic area within that empire, the Methtir plains, with one of them being situated at the northern border of these plains** and the other being situated at the southern border of them.***

There is a major problem, however, in that a lot of the civilians who are present are not necessarily Shussel-born. They are slaves from all over Unther, confiscated by the conquerors and put to work on military projects. Fortunately, a lot of the less disciplined troops on the PCs' side also happen to be Fanatic anti-slavers, which ought to make them predisposed to treat newly liberated slaves gently. On the other hand, Fanatics are rarely warm and fuzzy.

There are potential conflicts between Untheri slaves who were happy to serve their new and kinder masters and Untheri fanatical anti-slavers who believe that not only pride, but patriotism, ought to have prevented anyone, slave or free, from aiding the invasion of the Mulhorandi.

And some of the troops on the side of the PCs amount to gansters, murderers, street fighters and even pirates. All in all, about 500 of their men are 'disciplined' pirates under a powerful pirate 'admiral' who can impose fairly good order (for pirates), 200 of them are the chosen elite of a pirate admiral not interested in good order or avoiding atrocities and 200 of them are criminals and street fighters motivated to volunteer for a Forlorn Hope of sort by either patriotism or hatred of the Mulhorandi.****

*At least as far as any outsider would judge. According to the Untheri themselves, however, there are enormously significant differences in art, cuisine, dialect, industry, literature, religion and about a thousand other fields. Charitably, it might be said that some of these are real in that there are diverging trends in minority religions in each city, but given that most of the last millenia was spent under a theocracy which enforced a lot of religious uniformity among those who aspired to political significance, these differences are minor.
**Messemprar has for a century or two marked the northern border of the empire proper. The lands to the north of Messemprar are now former provinces, populated with rebellious and barbarous provincials.
***Shussel would argue that they are the northernmost part of the actual Heartlands, the most civilised area in the world (according to Untheri). Anyone actually from the capital of Unthalass knows that Shussel is the first outpost of the yokels of the northern plains, located near the civilised lands, but not in them.
****Or a perception that life as a mercenary, if they survive this battle, sure beats living as a TL2 ganster/streetfighter.


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There's also the barbarian/civilized divide. Barbarians have disdain for decadent city-dwellers and may well be inclined to look upon them as wolves look upon sheep. Likewise, soldiers from civilized lands may be inclined to look upon barbarians as being barely Human.
In this particular army, everyone is 'civilised'. There are tribal scouts and various ethnic auxiliaries fighting on the side of the PCs, but they are located in another theatre of the war. Everyone on the PCs' side who is there in Shussel now was transported by ship, from Messemprar, and tends to be urban.

The major divide, other than foreign (mostly Chondanthan) mercenaries and Free Untheri soldiers, is between voluteers that come from highly organised street gangs that have developed a sort of quasi-government in some parts of Messemprar and those who regard themselves as middle-class and upward traditional members of the traditional military elite.
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

Uhh you want to make a role how many War Crimes it will be conducted?

I am personly more fan of makeing a scene up for the players. So what is the Playstyle like?
Good vs. Evil?
I would pick a clear scene, and let the people act. If they act brutal, they get a fear reaction modifier next time they talk to their troops.
If they act soft, they will get more scenes.
If they act disciplary and just they get respect modifier next time they try to talk to the troups.

Also I would judge how players act, if they themself do dodgy things, the reaction modifiers apply accordingly.

Ohh and of course before battle the leader has to take a speach, and role his reaction role...
you can even have that in battle when they must rally one fighting unit that is loosing.

Battles are always about morale, not so much skill. In my Opinion at least.

For Gritty, or Hard played scenarios i would choose a dodgy scene, where it is not clear what has been happening. Where the first action is the wrong one, or where you have to choose between loose and losse. (But would not do that to often. This usually demotivates players)
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

you could make a discplin role for one unit. And modify it by some factors like stress, Combat success, relation role modifiers to the PC and so forth.

If you look at current wars, the most civilized people do warcrimes in war for various reason. When Germany Lost WW2 some american soldiers (not many I think 20 000 People died of this todays historican say) took their gun and shootet their captives, just because they could.
Vietnam was even worse.

The series of Band of Brothers I think explores this when civilized people leave their standards. Maybe, I can not remeber, even Saveing Private Ryan.
But yu can take also Anti war movies like Acokalypse now! as inspireing.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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Originally Posted by legine View Post
Uhh you want to make a role how many War Crimes it will be conducted?

I am personly more fan of makeing a scene up for the players. So what is the Playstyle like?
The scene is that the supreme commander of this particular military campaign, who is a PC, has enacted certain precautionary measures meant to minimise atrocities against the civil populace as his men seize an important port city. He has now taken the city and asks his aide-de-camp to ascertain how many men he will have to hang for murders and rape.

Of course, hanging his own men might play havoc with morale and certainly costs him experienced soldiers. Hanging allied soldiers might not even be legal, in strict terms, and might end up losing the allegiance of certain factions. Not hanging anyone will almost certainly have dire consequences for the civilian populace, but most of the effects in that case would be delayed and hard to detect directly.

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Originally Posted by legine View Post
Good vs. Evil?
In the sense that each PC must come to term with Good and Evil within himself, sure. In the sense that there are people who can usefully be described as either, not as much. I mean, it's conveninent shorthand for a tiny number of extreme outliers, as well as certain toxic memes, but in general, it obscures more than it illuminates.

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Originally Posted by legine View Post
I would pick a clear scene, and let the people act. If they act brutal, they get a fear reaction modifier next time they talk to their troops.
If they act soft, they will get more scenes.
If they act disciplary and just they get respect modifier next time they try to talk to the troups.
I doubt there will be many instances where even the most ignorant, callous and sadistic knucklehead in the army attempts to murder or rape civilians while being directly observed by the Commander-in-Chief, a coterie of officers and clerks, some dozen personal bodyguards and maybe a company escort.

The incidents will happen lower down in the command chain. The task of the PCs is to judge in any capital cases, as he has delegated decisions in cases where there is no question of the death penalty to his subordinates. So any scene will feature the total number of accused murderers and rapists among the army, at least those who have been accused after some 12 hours in the city, i.e. mostly those caught in the act.*

*Or who some officer said had been caught in the act.

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Originally Posted by legine View Post
For Gritty, or Hard played scenarios i would choose a dodgy scene, where it is not clear what has been happening. Where the first action is the wrong one, or where you have to choose between loose and losse. (But would not do that to often. This usually demotivates players)
There will always be uncertainty in war. And if ruling a wartorn city and commanding an army in a terrible war simply came down to choosing between clear-cut Good and Evil, any five-year-old could do it.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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you could make a discplin role for one unit. And modify it by some factors like stress, Combat success, relation role modifiers to the PC and so forth.
Which I will do. But first I need some kind of baseline benchmark for the approximate percentage of soldiers in a low-tech army who will commit atrocities under conditions where it seems fairly likely that he'll get away with them. Once I have settled on a ballpark figure, I can modify it for different units and conditions to taste.

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Originally Posted by legine View Post
If you look at current wars, the most civilized people do warcrimes in war for various reason. When Germany Lost WW2 some american soldiers (not many I think 20 000 People died of this todays historican say) took their gun and shootet their captives, just because they could.
Vietnam was even worse.
All evidence suggests that modern first-world armies are nearly unimaginably disciplined, organised, bureaucratic and legalistic compared to any low-TL army. I can easily find papers on the incidence of war crimes in modern wars. I've read a lot of them.

I'm trying to find ballpark figures for TL2 to TL4 wars. And historians at that time rarely recorded facts about the incidence of rape or murders contrary to official policy.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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Which I will do. But first I need some kind of baseline benchmark for the approximate percentage of soldiers in a low-tech army who will commit atrocities under conditions where it seems fairly likely that he'll get away with them.
I have no idea, but wouldnīt the last part mean that the more MPs you have, the fewer atrocities will happen ? How many professional, trained, and reliable troops does the commander have who might be deployed as MPs ?

How well and regularily are the troops paid ? Looting will be almost necessary if itīs necessary to get food and beer. And then it becomes much more likely that somebody gets killed for resisting. And once you kill, I assume raping also becomes more likely.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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And some of the troops on the side of the PCs amount to gansters, murderers, street fighters and even pirates. All in all, about 500 of their men are 'disciplined' pirates under a powerful pirate 'admiral' who can impose fairly good order (for pirates), 200 of them are the chosen elite of a pirate admiral not interested in good order or avoiding atrocities and 200 of them are criminals and street fighters motivated to volunteer for a Forlorn Hope of sort by either patriotism or hatred of the Mulhorandi.****
The 200 chosen elite of the pirate admiral - I would say policy with these guys is that they will commit atrocities. Rather than try to figure out the chance of them committing those atrocities, make it an encounter/event that the players have to intervene in.

On Fanatics, I would say to assume there are atrocities committed against the slavers but not the slaves. In this case don't roll either, just make it an encounter for the PCs to intervene in (or not, the PCs might not particularly care). We could treat PC intervention as a Parley attempt and use the chance for rebellion from there.

Overall, I would use a Reaction Roll for the starting point - each individual unit makes their own Reaction Roll towards the city inhabitants (I don't have City Stats so I don't know if that should modify things).

Successful skill rolls by the PCs give +2 bonus to these reaction rolls. I am not entirely sure which skill uses they should be, although Leadership & Propaganda are the most obviously useful ones. Either way, my policy would be to let each PC use 2 skills - 1 to represent keeping control of the troops during the fighting and 1 to represent the groundwork done in advance (assuming they prepared their troops for this).

The part I'm not sure of is how many troops a PC can "manage."

Apply reaction modifiers for any traits like "Intolerance" that group of troops has, and adjust for other traits like Code of Honour that might influence things. For numbers to apply, I would say +1/-1 for Quirk-level, and an extra +1/-1 for every 5 points of Advantage/Disadvantage that apply to members of the group. So Code of Honour (Soldiers) gives +3, Fanaticism gives +4 (at least towards those the Fanatics cause is to help).

These are only "average" traits for members of the group. Not every member of a unit will have Code of Honour, but the +3 represents the espirit de corps or peer pressure of those with Code of Honour on those without it.

If that seems too easy a roll for the players, apply Special Modifiers for Potential Combat Situation (because "do we commit atrocities on you" counts as Potential Combat Situation to me...). The civilians might get up to -5 for appearing weaker than the invading army, if they seem truly defenceless.

Also, any Special Modifiers for Loyalty rolls.

General frame of reference for the reaction rolls:

Bad or worse = Deliberate murder and atrocities.
Poor = People beaten or driven from the city, vandalism or excessive/malicious property damage.
Neutral = Looting but no rape or murder. Maybe someone who resists the looting might get hurt, but the unit doesn't actively seek to hurt people.
Good reaction = no harm done.
Very Good or better = actively protects the civilians from other troops.

There's some holes in my plan:
-how many troops can a player influence at once? (maybe a really good roll will influence a larger portion of their forces?)
-what about casualties? If a group is wiped out or nearly so it might affect the damage they do.

Anyway, I hope that helps.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Which I will do. But first I need some kind of baseline benchmark for the approximate percentage of soldiers in a low-tech army who will commit atrocities under conditions where it seems fairly likely that he'll get away with them. Once I have settled on a ballpark figure, I can modify it for different units and conditions to taste.

.
Realistically low tech armies rarely have the logistical backstop to make the prevention of looting and the atrocities associated with looting feasible unless the city surrendered without a fight.
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