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Old 08-29-2020, 11:41 AM   #1
condor
 
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Default Mass Combat insights

This topic is intended to gather some insights on Mass Combat. I apologize in advance if these doubts are adressed somewhere else that I may have failed to find, and will be very glad to be redirected to it in such a case.

I have been running a Low Fantasy campaign over the last few months, and I intend to use more and more Mass Combat system. However, when reading the book, some doubts came to my mind.

1)Defense Bonus.

When it is described the first time, in page 32, Defense Bonus seems to be more of only one thing. However, some maneuvers descriptions target specific kinds of Defense Bonus. For instance, Deliberate Defense (p. 35) gives to your Strategy Roll "any defense bonus from favorable terrain". The text highlights that again in Deliberate Attack, when on the other hand, it halves "any benefits that the defender would receive from Defense Bonus". Afterwards, when dealing specifically with Sieges (p.39), the texts talks about Defense Bonus from fortresses as a separate thing.

I got specially confused in the Deliberate Defense maneuver description. It says:

"It gives the user a +1 strategy modifier - or +2 if he has fire superiority - plus any Defense Bonus from favorable terrain."

Is this an extra DB bonus, over and above the regular benefits of DB? Becaus it is already kind of established that Defense Maneuvers grant Defense Bonus. This is the case with Fire Superiority, for example. Deliberate Defense grants the defender an extra +1 if he/she has it, is over and above any other benefits. An army could receive like, +2 of fire superiority,and because of this maneuver, +1 on its SM.

Concrete case

There is an Orc army trying to invade an Elvish fortress in TL3. Elves take Deliberate Defense. What would they get:

a) The bonus in this maneuver is not over and above regular DB

+7 Defense Bonus from their fortess (fortress DB)
+ 1 from the fact that their fortess is on an island (terrain DB)
+1 from the maneuver
+ 1 from fire superiority

b) The bonus in this maneuver is over and above regular DB, but only DB from the terrain counts, not from the fortress

+7 Defense Bonus from their fortress (fortress DB)
+ 1 from the fact that their fortress is on an island (terrain DB)
+ 1 from the maneuver
+ 1 from fire superiority
and extra +1 from the terrain DB on which the fortress is built, as an SM bonus

c) The bonus in this maneuver is over and above regular DB, and fortress
DB is a kind of terrain DB:

+7 Defense Bonus from their fortress (fortress DB)
+ 1 from the fact that their fortress is on an island (terrain DB)
+ 1 from the maneuver
+ 1 from fire superiority
and extra +8 from the terrain DB and fortress DB.
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Last edited by condor; 08-29-2020 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 08-30-2020, 03:33 PM   #2
ravenfish
 
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Default Re: Mass Combat insights

I interpret Deliberate Defense as saying "you get +1 (or +2), but don't forget, you still get Defense Bonus because this is a defense maneuver", both because that is how I naturally read it and because the alternative would seem to render it overpowered compared to other maneuvers.

I don't think "defense bonus from favorable terrain" was meant to establish a category separate from defense bonuses, but merely to remind the reader of what defense bonuses are (the separate listing of defense bonus from terrain and from fortifications only occurs later on in the context of sieges, and even there only in the context of evaluating different factors that add up to make a single defense bonus). Note also that Defense Bonuses only occur in a pitched battle or when attacking a previously prepared encampment, so the "terrain" bonus probably already includes some amount of artificial constructions crafted before the battle (for example, the sharpened sticks the English set to disrupt cavalry charges in the Hundred Years War), which likewise argues against treating it as something completely separate from fortifications.

Therefore, I would go with option A.
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Last edited by ravenfish; 08-30-2020 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 08-30-2020, 07:03 PM   #3
condor
 
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Default Re: Mass Combat insights

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
I interpret Deliberate Defense as saying "you get +1 (or +2), but don't forget, you still get Defense Bonus because this is a defense maneuver", both because that is how I naturally read it and because the alternative would seem to render it overpowered compared to other maneuvers.

(...)

Therefore, I would go with option A.
Good points. I am inclined to interpret this way also.
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