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Old 11-12-2015, 11:33 PM   #21
Balor Patch
 
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Everyone is extremely busy preparing to defend their new acquisition.
This part is probably critical. The traditional way to keep troops out of trouble is to keep them busy, and that is a Leadership issue. Administration provides them with what is necessary to be productively busy. Strategy focuses their production into militarily useful goals.

The threat is that the pirates will think that if things get too bad they can sail away. That undermines the motivation for building walls instead of getting while the getting is good. Administration and Public Speaking may be important to getting the word out but this is, again, a Leadership issue.

Another point is that the absolute level of atrocity is likely less important than beating expectations. The civilians won't be a problem as long as it's obvious that an effort is being made. (Except for that one guy who turns into Batman because his <> was killed.)
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:52 PM   #22
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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
And I'm not aware of there being anything analogous to military police, in any low-tech armies. Insofar as there was discipline, it'd have been kept by NCOs (Roman-style) or clergy.
From what I gather (and it's been a long while since I studied the history so I turned to, shudder, Wikipedia) the Roman military had stationarius.
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Old 11-13-2015, 01:43 AM   #23
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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Originally Posted by Balor Patch View Post
This part is probably critical. The traditional way to keep troops out of trouble is to keep them busy, and that is a Leadership issue. Administration provides them with what is necessary to be productively busy. Strategy focuses their production into militarily useful goals.
That's right. A lot of the strategy for avoiding massacres of the civilian populace is to assign potentially troublesome units a lot of tasks where they encounter a minimum of civilians and have very little free time to get into trouble anyway.

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Originally Posted by Balor Patch View Post
The threat is that the pirates will think that if things get too bad they can sail away. That undermines the motivation for building walls instead of getting while the getting is good. Administration and Public Speaking may be important to getting the word out but this is, again, a Leadership issue.
The pirate fleet, along with the fleet that the PC came in, is sailing away. Each ship unloads some supplies and men and then leaves to sail north. Stripping fighting men and artillery ordnance from the ships where the PCs have absolute authority was a deliberate decision to prioritise defending this city over all other considerations.

The plan is for the fleet to reload with ordnance at a neutral port three or four days sail to the north and then put in at the home port a day or two from there. After that, they should be able to return to Shussel, the city under siege, and pick up their surviving sailors, as the battle will be over one way or another by then.*

The pirates that remain in the city are those who volunteered** to fight on the walls and a party of 200 loyalists that a Vurgrom the Mighty, a pirate admiral who appears to have a treaty with the PCs after being defeated by them (but actually serves them because of a Loyalty spell), was ordered to pick from his ships and lead on land. While the spell effect means that Vurgrom is utterly loyal for the time being, his men are already furious at the seemingly inexplicable way that they've been uprooted from their traditional hunting ground to work with privateers and mercenaries.

Those 200 pirates are disloyal, dangerous and cruel, but the only reason they are there at all is as part of a byzantine plot by the PCs to let the mind-controlled pirate admiral and his most conspicious loyalists fall bravely in battle, to make it possible for a more pliable pirate admiral to assert authority over his ships. After all, Vurgrom is a fierce enemy, or will be once the Loyalty spell expires.

These men will casually murder and rape civilians, of course. To minimise that, they weren't moved ashore until half a day after the end of fighting in the city. Then they were marched right to their assigned position at the south gate, which was supposed to be one devoid of civilians. All the same, I predict that the civilians who live in the houses around the gate will resist eviction orders and hide while the troops are clearing the houses and/or return there after the sweep is over. So there will be some civilians there, even though the plan says that there are to be none.

*Earlier, probably. There are two smaller field armies on the side of the PCs converging on the enemy outside the walls. That enemy army is huge and powerful, certainly more powerful than even the two allied armies working together, but the enemy army has been operating at a very high tempo for a week and is critically low on supplies. The enemy need to either take the city immediately, before being trapped there by the two smaller armies, or retreat, which means accepting a 200 mile march with no supplies and a lot of fine light cavalry pursuing, light troops and partisans who know the terrain raiding their forage parties and actual dragons harrying them every mile.
**Or who were volunteered by their captains, the distinction is not one which the PCs are equipped to make usefully before they get to know individual captains and officers among the allied pirates.


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Originally Posted by Balor Patch View Post
Another point is that the absolute level of atrocity is likely less important than beating expectations. The civilians won't be a problem as long as it's obvious that an effort is being made. (Except for that one guy who turns into Batman because his <> was killed.)
Good point. The locals expect soldiers to be different from bandits only because the looting, murder and rape tends to be more organised and efficient with soldiers.

Ironically, the first time they've encountered disciplined troops with rules against individual soldiers preying on the civilian populace according to taste will have been in the person of the last occupiers of the city, whose upper echelon of leaders are priests and paladins of benign deities. The Mulhorandi invaders that the PCs are liberating the city from therefore had similar goals as the PCs' side about reducing atrocities, albeit from religious motives and not practical ones. On the other hand, the level of organisation in their armies and the proportion of reliable, disciplined troops to ill-disciplined levies pretty much foreordained their efforts to failure.

It may have been obvious to local civilians that the senior Mulhorandi officers were trying to keep order and prevent soldiers from murdering and raping with impunity. But it would have been just as obvious that the safety of Untheri civilians could not be assured near any Mulhorandi army, as such units as the slave-auxiliaries were extremely atrocity prone. No amount of punishment appeared to deter former Untheri slaves, who had volunteered to be slave-soldiers for the Mulhorandi in the hopes of exacting vengeance on slave-holding Untheri nobles, from behaving much as armies of escaped slaves have always behaved toward people they identify with the slave-holding class.

There is also the fact that official Mulhorandi policy that all Untheri slaves captured by their armies become Mulhorandi temple slaves, which may mean better treatment* for most, but is still slavery, which is especially unpopular with the many Untheri slaves who had used the civil disturbances before the war to achieve de facto freedom.

So the PCs do have a chance to perform better than the locals expect. And it's crucial that they do, because they need the city to become a functioning port and productive economy as soon as possible, if their new country is not to be still-born. And for a functioning economy, you need civilians who are happy to trade and work for the soldiers who captured it. If the civilians cringe and hide from soldiers, the economy will stagnate.

*And the chance to serve as a slave-soldier if desired.
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Old 11-13-2015, 05:31 AM   #24
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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People who are wise enough in being idiots not to get caught conveniently enough will not need to be hanged

The idea of 'wise enough in being idiots' makes my mind hurt a bit though
Consider that if the local civilians learn of any atrocities that might interfere with their friendly cooperation with their new masters, it might be expedient for the PC to hang someone for them, regardless of specific guilt. Establishing a clear correlation between committimg a crime and suffering swift and sure punishment, usually through effective law enforcement, is the best form of deterrence. That doesn't mean savagely punishing semi-random people who look like they might as well be guilty doesn't have political benefits.

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PSo I think you will have very few people to be hung, those who decide to be criminals in the first place, and do it in such a way to be caught

The same people in this day and age who share videos of their crimes on youtube and facebook
Remember that around half of the soldiers fighting there belong to fairly typical TL2-4 armies and just recently came under the command of the legandary foreign mercenary lords (PCs). In such armies soldiers loot because it's necessary for survival and the only way to social and economic advancement, rape because it's a conqueror's prerogative and kill anyone they like because they are the warrior elite (Status 0+) who have swords and most civilians are worthless peasants (Status -1 or -2) who have no way to object or resist.

No matter how rational, concise, sensible and well-worded the general orders that percolate through the ranks of these soldiers happen to be, it's still just the words of foreigners with funny ways against everything they know from experience and cultural conditioning. Some X percentage of their number will not believe that the foreign mercenary lords are serious or that even legendary commanders can change something they perceive as a fundamental part of warfare.

And another X percentage will have PTSD, experiences of terrible atrocities against families and loved ones or other psychological issues that for some of them manifest in irrational hatred of those of their countrymen who give aid and comfort to the enemy. And not all of them will bother to ascertain how willingly such aid was given.

Then there is the fact that in war, under combat conditions, there are unbelievable stress factors that are rarely compatible with rational thought or sensible behaviour. Someone who can maintain the sort of minimal intelligence, rationality and capability for abstract reasoning that passes for basic common sense under better conditions while he is engaged in combat is essentially a supersoldier. There a reason simple tasks and apparently dull, routine standard responses are drilled into soldiers until they can be performed mindlessly. It's because combat and warfare tend to make even intelligent, alert and strong-willed people perform at the equivalent of near-mindless people.

With no death, fear, shock, stress and distraction, with plenty of time to think, most people would probably not risk angering the legendary heroes. In combat, however, they might rate a 5-10% risk of discovery and punishment as being 'none', and/or they might not be capable of thinking on a time scale beyound minutes or even seconds.
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Old 11-13-2015, 09:11 AM   #25
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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
But this is Icelander. He tends to think things through, rather than go for D&D Land, so there's probably an underlying ice(lander)berg of thoughts and rationales that we don't know about, that makes such a thing rather more plausible.
Thumbs up for this pun, Peter. It made my day. :)
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Old 11-13-2015, 10:46 AM   #26
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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Originally Posted by legine View Post
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.
While were on the end of WWII you can add keeping up basic constabulary protections among the populace. At the end of World War II one of the chief problems of the Allied occupiers was preventing feuding between DPs and conquered Germans.

Breakdown of normal law is a normal circumstance in war and it has military and political as well as humanitarian ramifications. There is not really much different in effect between partisans and ordinary outlaws as both are hurting your supplies and your native relations.
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Old 11-13-2015, 04:53 PM   #27
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

I've heard previous arguments wherein modern moralists have more or less lambasted the long dead for the way things were back then. We've learned a better way - or believe we have - and those people then did not, or could not, given the conditions they were living amidst then. I never once questioned my grandfather about how he treated Jews prior to WWII. It was enough for me, I suppose, that he did serve, and that for all the time I knew him, he never once spoke ill of anyone. And I know from my father that my grandfather did have a few biases, though in my opinion his reasons were more personal than anything else. My point is that it is very difficult to judge the past, since we were not a part of it. All the more so when the past is removed by centuries.

I was recently surprised to learn that it took mathematicians some thirty years to fully flesh out the proof that 1+1=2. I would imagine that coming up with some sort of mathematical model to generate a statistical model of typical post-battle atrocities in a historical setting would take just as long. It happens for so many stupid reasons, and psychologically it just seemed to come down to greed, wrath, and power, much as it still does. The difference then was that it was expected to happen. It was almost a perk of a conquering force - to do with the conquered as they wished. Some conquerors let their men run rampant, some reigned them in, and some made mountains out of the skulls of their victims.

Take your commander's wishes and translate that into what will, for the most part, happen. I wouldn't dwell on the numbers - there will always be those who refuse to toe the line. You can make it a quest of sorts for the PC's to investigate an incident, or a series of them, and to bring those they believe to be involved before justice. Your characters will not catch them all, so I wouldn't fret over such fine details. Either such incidents are critical to the overall story you are weaving, or they are just so much noise in the background. Those who suffered such deprivations were not likely to come forward, as in those days no one spoke of such things. Before people like Oprah stepped up and came out about the sort of things they had suffered through, most victims of such violence did not really speak of it. They held it in, and tried to cope. Some managed, some did not. Some imploded, and some exploded.

Figure out what you need - story-wise - of such events, and either work it in, or just have it as a casual mention. Such-and-such occurred - make up a number - and so-and-so have been put in chains, and await judgement. If it isn't driving your story, I'd keep it at arms length. Have your commander do what he must, mourn if he must, but move on.
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Old 11-13-2015, 06:19 PM   #28
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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Originally Posted by dukofdeth View Post
I've heard previous arguments wherein modern moralists have more or less lambasted the long dead for the way things were back then. We've learned a better way - or believe we have - and those people then did not, or could not, given the conditions they were living amidst then. I never once questioned my grandfather about how he treated Jews prior to WWII. It was enough for me, I suppose, that he did serve, and that for all the time I knew him, he never once spoke ill of anyone. And I know from my father that my grandfather did have a few biases, though in my opinion his reasons were more personal than anything else. My point is that it is very difficult to judge the past, since we were not a part of it. All the more so when the past is removed by centuries.

I was recently surprised to learn that it took mathematicians some thirty years to fully flesh out the proof that 1+1=2. I would imagine that coming up with some sort of mathematical model to generate a statistical model of typical post-battle atrocities in a historical setting would take just as long. It happens for so many stupid reasons, and psychologically it just seemed to come down to greed, wrath, and power, much as it still does. The difference then was that it was expected to happen. It was almost a perk of a conquering force - to do with the conquered as they wished. Some conquerors let their men run rampant, some reigned them in, and some made mountains out of the skulls of their victims.

Take your commander's wishes and translate that into what will, for the most part, happen. I wouldn't dwell on the numbers - there will always be those who refuse to toe the line. You can make it a quest of sorts for the PC's to investigate an incident, or a series of them, and to bring those they believe to be involved before justice. Your characters will not catch them all, so I wouldn't fret over such fine details. Either such incidents are critical to the overall story you are weaving, or they are just so much noise in the background. Those who suffered such deprivations were not likely to come forward, as in those days no one spoke of such things. Before people like Oprah stepped up and came out about the sort of things they had suffered through, most victims of such violence did not really speak of it. They held it in, and tried to cope. Some managed, some did not. Some imploded, and some exploded.

Figure out what you need - story-wise - of such events, and either work it in, or just have it as a casual mention. Such-and-such occurred - make up a number - and so-and-so have been put in chains, and await judgement. If it isn't driving your story, I'd keep it at arms length. Have your commander do what he must, mourn if he must, but move on.
I'm not so sure we've learned a better way so much as having more margin for error or thinking we have such. The temptation to use terror bombing to shut down Hitler or Tojo is greater then that to use it for Jihadists who may be as bad in intent but not in ability. Even then there have been short-cuts to say the least but not to the degree there might have been. I think Chesterton once said something about the difference between a suburbanite who is kind to animals and a shepherd.

The use of the enemy's territory as a perk is a reflection of lack of wealth. Modern armies can afford to give regular pay and feed them reasonably well. In Third World armies the old style still reigns. Even so one could get advantage by keeping one's men in hand while marching through the countryside. A good reputation, or at least a better one then one's enemy can get local cooperation.

One point that should be made is that predictability is as important as decency. If the locals know that you are ruthless but know that you have rules that can be understood then they are less likely to turn against you. For instance if it is known that you assassinate informants but only forage at a regular rate and don't do any other atrocities beyond taking their grain, then they might be inclined to accept you especially if your enemy is unpredictable and doesn't control his men.
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:11 AM   #29
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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Originally Posted by dukofdeth View Post
I was recently surprised to learn that it took mathematicians some thirty years to fully flesh out the proof that 1+1=2. I would imagine that coming up with some sort of mathematical model to generate a statistical model of typical post-battle atrocities in a historical setting would take just as long.
I don't need a robust statistical model that can predict individual behaviour. I need a rough benchmark of frequency, to be able to adjust based on situation and skill rolls, for macro-scale numbers.

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It happens for so many stupid reasons, and psychologically it just seemed to come down to greed, wrath, and power, much as it still does.
I would be more inclined to consider fear, confusion and alienation as primary causes. Very few people truly enjoy war. Most men are cut off from their ordinary lives, family and all the things that, to them, represent the physical embodiment of a value system and right and wrong. Most of their cultural norms enable them to act within a small society linked by kin bonds and strongly tied to a certain locality. In an alien situation, they lack a frame of reference for appropriate standards of behaviour toward those who lack any link to them and whom it is easy to lump into an undifferentiated mass of frigthening and hateful 'enemies'.

Abstract moral reasoning has little true impact on most people, certainly not when faced with strong emotion. And in war, most people are afraid and confused all the time. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate. And so on.

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The difference then was that it was expected to happen. It was almost a perk of a conquering force - to do with the conquered as they wished. Some conquerors let their men run rampant, some reigned them in, and some made mountains out of the skulls of their victims.
For most of human history, the right to advance economically and satiate their base desires at the expense of the conquered was pretty much the sole perk of common soldiers.

Any commander who wants to have willing soldiers, but doesn't want to accord them this right is going to have to control a very advanced system of infrastructure, law and organisation that can make a career where people try to kill you competative with one where they were rarely do, without providing that extraordinary chance of social mobility which most other careers did not.

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Take your commander's wishes and translate that into what will, for the most part, happen. I wouldn't dwell on the numbers - there will always be those who refuse to toe the line. You can make it a quest of sorts for the PC's to investigate an incident, or a series of them, and to bring those they believe to be involved before justice. Your characters will not catch them all, so I wouldn't fret over such fine details. Either such incidents are critical to the overall story you are weaving, or they are just so much noise in the background.
Being able to translate wishes into reality in RPGs usually requires supernatural powers and/or skill checks modified for the difficulty of the task.

In this case, it is implausible that any success on a non-magical skill check could enable one person to control the behaviour of thousands in a chaotic situation. Good planning and organisation can minimise and mitigate harm, but not eliminate it.

But I need to know whether the PC is dealing with a few isolated incidents, a couple of dozen, hundreds or thousands. I don't really have a good feeling for the percentage of people in a typical TL2-4 military force who will rape and murder civilians. As I noted earlier, I can find stats for modern militaries, but in all cases, the situation is so fundamentally different that these stats are useless.

Intuitively, I suspect anything from 5% to 80% may be possible as a baseline, assuming no influence one way or another from the high command. But I don't have enough data to come up with a narrower range.

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Those who suffered such deprivations were not likely to come forward, as in those days no one spoke of such things. Before people like Oprah stepped up and came out about the sort of things they had suffered through, most victims of such violence did not really speak of it. They held it in, and tried to cope. Some managed, some did not. Some imploded, and some exploded.
While many civilians may not bring their grievances to the officers of the new occupying army, rumours of any atrocities committed will spread and will have an impact on the relations between the PCs' Free Unther army and the people intended to be the new citizens of Shussel under Free Unther.

It's vital for the plans of the PCs that the majority of the civilian populace does not hate and fear their men and that community leaders feel that it is safe and useful to bring complaints to their officers.

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Figure out what you need - story-wise - of such events, and either work it in, or just have it as a casual mention. Such-and-such occurred - make up a number - and so-and-so have been put in chains, and await judgement. If it isn't driving your story, I'd keep it at arms length. Have your commander do what he must, mourn if he must, but move on.
What I need?

It's not about my needs or my story. The players have goals for their characters. I model the world.

My job is to make the number of accused violators of the general orders plausible. I also have to be able to answer what faction each of them comes from, because there will major political consequences if the PC executes volunteers from allied factions that he technically has no lawful authority to punish, beyond refusing their services.
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Old 11-15-2015, 09:41 AM   #30
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Default Re: [Mass Combat] Discipline, Law, Order and Preventing Atrocities

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My job is to make the number of accused violators of the general orders plausible.
Then what sounds plausible to you?


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I also have to be able to answer what faction each of them comes from, because there will major political consequences if the PC executes volunteers from allied factions that he technically has no lawful authority to punish, beyond refusing their services.
I liked the 'make a Reaction Roll" possibly modified by unit morale option mentioned earlier. A high morale unit is more likely to hold together and follow orders. A low morale unit will act out in some manner.
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