Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Autarch's Domains At War: A Battle



Domains At War is the next piece in the Adventurer Conqueror King System, that being the one that aids your mid-high level characters to take these domains they've recently won and break them in battle against their neighbors.

My previous post, an overview of the books, is here.

The Kickstarter for it is on until May 18th, and you'd better get in now while the getting is good. I was in for the PDFs, but just upped my pledge to Centurion to get the physical books and the unit tokens. I already have a system for making my own tokens and such, but I'm inherently lazy, and the extra $30 from the physical book level is much less than the time-cost of my own labor in that.

Plus, the product's just plain worth it.

So; as a backer I have access to the documents-in-progress, and I've gone and played around a bit. What follows then is a battle report, first done through Domains At War: Battles, and the second with Domains At War: Campaigns.

Note that while the books are pretty much complete as-is, this is still a preproduction product, and the text and rules are subject to change. I, your humble author, am complete able to misinterpret, misread, or just plain mess up any part of the following battle report. :)


The Battle


In a post on Autarch's boards, wondering aloud if the Battle Rating measurement for units could be used for building armys under a point limit, I threw out an odd suggestion - 1 Heavy Infantry, 3 Light Infantry, 2 Light Cavalry, versus 2 Ogre Heavy Infantry. These both come out to BR 11.


So, I ran it.

Lord Tomas Dhunraven, son of Lord Kelvan of the same name, ruler of the domain, sallies forth against an overlarge tribe of ogres, led by Grumsush, an ogre of some intelligence and organization, as comes around every generation or so.

The ogres have been rampaging amongst the farmlands in the Thorncrist valley, and must be stopped. Surprisingly, neither intrepid company of adventurers nor distasteful gang of murderhobos have arrived to deal with the threat, so, it's to the combined arms of a portion of Dhunraven's garrison to save the day.

Domains At War: Battles


We start with a basic strategic situation: the two armies set against each other at either end of the battlefield.

This may feel pretty dry, but I'm trying to call out the movement and actions of each unit, in a quasi-chess like style (knight's pawn to rook 3 or whatever). 

Roster:
  • Side Cyan: General Lord Tomas Dhunraven
    Leadership Ability 6, Zone of Control 3, Strategic Ability +2, Morale Modifier +2
    • Commander of Division 1, Attached to Unit 1
      • Unit 1: Heavy Infantry E
      • Unit 2: Light Infantry C Phalanx
        • Commander: Lt. Potrun
          LA 4, ZOC 2, SA +1, MM +1
      • Unit 3: Light Infantry C
        • Commander: Lt Efnar
          LA 4, ZOC 2, SA +0, MM +0
    • Division 2
      • Commander: Capt Waetherford, Attached Unit 1
        LA 4, ZOC 2, SA +1, MM +1
        • Unit 1: Light Cavalry B
        • Unit 2: Light Cavalry B
          • Officer: Lt Lomas
            LA 4, ZOC 2, SA +0, MM +1
  • Side Red: Grumsush the Cleaver
    LA 4, ZOC 2, SA +1, MM +0
    • Commander of Division 1, Attached to Unit 1
      • Unit 1: Ogre Heavy Infantry
      • Unit 2: Ogre Heavy Infantry


Round 1:
  • Initiative: Dhunraven 5, Waetherford 3, Grumsush 5.
    Excuse me as I abuse MIL-STD-2525B.
    The Cyan unit with the central O is the phalanx.

    Tie goes to Dhunraven, highest Strategic Ability. Dhunraven delays.
  • Command: Grumsush
    • Red-D1U1: Charge 4, Disordered. P20 > L20.
    • Red-D1U2: Charge 4, Disordered. P22 > L22
  • Command: Waetherford
    • Cyan-D1U1: March 3. C15 > F18.
    • Cyan-D1U2: March 3. C27 > F24.
  • Command: Dhunraven
    • Cyan-D2U1: Hustle 2. C19 > E19
    • Cyan-D2U1: March 2. C23 > E23
    • Cyan-D2U3: March 2. C21 > E21
Grumsush charges across the battlefield, hoping to make up in terror what he lacks in numbers. Dhunraven's forces march forward calmly, waiting to meet the ogres on their own terms.

Waetherford's second unit is outside his Zone of Control. He's paying an extra Activation Point to move that unit, but it's offset by the fact there's a Lieutenant commanding the unit. Highly mobile units really need Lieutenants, or a division commander with a lot of Leadership Ability to spare.

Round 2:
  • Initiative: Dhunraven 4, Waetherford 2, Grumsush 7
    Dhunraven delays.
  • Command: Grumsush
    • Red-D1U1: Charge 4, Disordered. L20 > H20.
    • Red-D1U2: Charge 4, Disordered. L22 > H22
  • Command: Waetherford.
    • Cyan-D1U1: March 3, Change Face Left 1. F18 >H18.
      • ATTACK: Red-D1U1, Method: Melee
        • Result: 18, 16 (2 Hits) == 2 Damage, Target Disordered
    • Cyan-D1U2: March 3, Change Face Right 1, F24 > H24
      • ATTACK: Red-D1U2, Method: Melee
        • Result: 4, 11 (misses)
  • Command: Dhunraven
    • Cyan-D2U1: March 1. E19 > F18. Ready to Attack.
    • Cyan-D2U2: March 1. E23 > F22. Ready to Attack.
    • Cyan-D2U3: Stand Fast.
Grumsush continues his charge. Waetherford arcs his cavalry around and attacks each from their flanks, though one unit is unable to land a hit despite that advantage. Dhunraven's units brace for contact, the weaker single Light Infantry staying a step behind the line.

Round 3:
  • Initiative:  Dhunraven 5, Waetherford 3, Grumsush 2
    Dhunraven delays.
  • Command: Waetherford
    • Cyan-D1U1: ATTACK:  Red-D1U1, Method: Melee, Flanking
      • Result: 12, 21 (1 Hit) == 1 Damage, Target Disordered
    • Cyan-D1U2: ATTACK: Red-D1U2, Method: Melee, Flanking
      • Result: 4, 3 (misses)
  • Command: Grumsush
    Both units are threatened by the Cyan cavalry, and can do no movement but a disengagement, which invites a free attack. They choose to turn face and engage the cavalry.
    • Red-D1U1: Turn Face Left 1, ATTACK: Cyan-D1U1, Method: Melee
      • Result: 19, 11, 1, 14 (3 hits) == TARGET WITHDRAWS
        • Cyan-D1U1 - Withdraw 3, Damage Reduced to 0, Disordered
        • Red-D1U1 Irregular Foot, must follow: 
    • Red-D1U2: Turn Face Right 1, ATTACK: Cyan-D1U2, Method: Melee
      • Result: 10, 17, 13, 15 (4 hits) == TARGET WITHDRAWS
        • Cyan-D1U2 - Withdraw 4, Damage Reduced to 0, Disordered
        • Red-D1U2 Irregular Foot, must follow.
  • Command: Dhunraven
    • Cyan-D2U1: ATTACK: Red-D1U1, Method: Ranged, Flanking
      • Result: 16, 13 (1 Hit) == 1 Damage, Target Disordered
    • Cyan-D2U2: ATTACK: Red-D1U2, Method: Ranged. Flanking
      • Result: 10, 11 (misses)
    • Cyan-D2U3: March 2. E21 > E17. 
I restarted the instance and I messed up the positioning of Cyan-D1U1 and Cyan-D2U3. Pretend that didn't happen. I also reversed Red-D1U1 and Red-D1U2.

Ogres hit hard - four attacks at a throw of 6+. The non-phalanxed human units have 2 attacks at 11+, and the phalanx has 4 attacks at the same. Also, humans apparently can't roll for love nor money. The Cavalry, being Loose Mounted, can Withdraw to reduce damage, a hex per point. The ogres, being Irregular Foot, were forced to follow, which helped Cyan by maneuvering Red-D1U2 into a flanking position.



Round 4:

  • Initiative:  Dhunraven 7, Waetherford 6, Grumsush 6
    Tie to Grumsush.
  • Command: Dhunraven
    • Cyan-D2U3: March 1, E17-F16. ATTACK. Method: Ranged, Red-D1U1
      • Result: 19, 12 (1 hit) == 1 Damage. Target Disordered.
    • Cyan-D2U1: CHARGE 1, F18 > G19: Target: Red-D1U1, FLANKING CHARGE
      • Result: 18, 8 (1 hit) == 1 Damage, Unit/Target Disordered
    • Cyan-D2U2: CHARGE 1, F22 > G23: Target: Red-D1U2, FLANKING CHARGE
      • Result: 15, 3, 20, 13 (3 Hits) == 3 Damage, Unit/Target Disordered
  • Command: Grumsush
    • Red-D1U1, Change Face Right 1, ATTACK, Melee, Cyan-D2U1
      • Result: 9, 2, 9, 6 (misses)
    • Red-D1U2, Change Face Left 1, ATTACK, Melee, Cyan-D2U2
      • Result: 1, 10, 11, 11 (3 hits) == 3 Damage
  • Command: Waetherford
    • Cyan-D1U1: March 3, Change Face Left 1, ATTACK, Melee, Red-D1U1
      • Result: 20, 11 (1 hit) == 1 Damage
    • Cyan-D1U2: March 4, Change Face Right 1, ATTACK, Melee, Red-D1U2
      • Result: 12, 7 (misses)

How can you resist a flanking charge? Also, I know it's not actually the case, and it's all psychology, but after playing with this a bunch, Roll20's RNG makes me suspicious of it's intent.


Round 5
  • Initiative: Dhunraven 6, Waetherford 4, Grumsush 2
  • Command: Dhunraven
    • Cyan-D2U3: March 2, F16 > H16, Change Face Left 2, ATTACK, Flanking Melee, Red-D1U1
      • Result: 8, 9 (misses)
    • Cyan-D2U1: ATTACK, Melee, Red-D1U1
      • Result: 19, 16 (2 hits) == 2 Damage
      • SHOCK ROLL: Red-D1U1 - 2d6 (+1 General, -2 50% Damage, -2 Flanked, +2 Ogre)
        • Result: 3 ! FLEE ! - Change Face Right 3, Hustle H18 > K21
    • Cyan-D2U2: ATTACK, Melee, Red-D1U2
      • Result: 3, 18, 6, 5 (1 hit) == 1 Damage
  • Command: Waetherford
    • Cyan-D1U1: Change Face Right 1, March 2, I17>J20, ATTACK, Melee, Red-D1U1
      • Result: 4, 15 (1 hit) == 1 Damage
      • SHOCK ROLL: Red-D1U1 -2d6 (+1 General, -2 50% Damage, -2 Flanked, +2 Ogre)
        • Result: 7 ~ RECOIL ~ K21 > L20
    • Cyan-D1U2: ATTACK Melee, Red-D1U2
      • Result: 7, 19 (1 hit) == 1 Damage
  • Command: Grumsush
    • Red-D1U1: Turn Face Right 3, March 1, L20 > K19, ATTACK, Melee, Cyan-D1U1
      • Result: 14, 13, 12, 12 (4 hits) == TARGET WITHDRAWS
        • Cyan-D1U1 - Withdraw 3, Damage Reduced to 0, Disordered
        • Red-D1U1 Irregular Foot, must follow
    • Red-D1U2: ATTACK, Melee, Cyan-D2U2
      • Result: 8, 9, 3, 16 (2 hits) == 2 Damage, Target Disordered
There was a lot of movement this round - fleeing, recoil, withdrawal, and a follow. I think I maybe got the hat-trick of forced movement options? Grumsush was 1 point away on his unit's morale roll to a rout, which could have ended the battle - the other unit is flanked, and with the additional penalty of losing the general, a rout would have been likely. There's two bits of advice to handling these hard-hitting monster units - a unit with a lot of HP or AC or both (phalanx!) and flank as much as possible - you want to end the battle via fleeing/routing, not slogging it out with club-swinging monstrosities. 

Alex states here I could have phalanxed the HI and LI, averaging their AC, but it's not in the rules at this second so I didn't take the option.

Round 6:
  • Initiative: Dhunraven 6, Waetherford 2, Grumsush 4
  • Command: Dhunraven
    • Cyan-D2U3, March 2 H16 > J16, ATTACK, Ranged Flanking, Red-D1U1
      • Result: 21, 21 (2 hits) == 2 Damage
      • SHOCK ROLL: Red-D1U1 -2d6 (+1 General, -2 50% Damage, +2 Ogre)
        • Result: 3 ! FLEE ! - J20 > M21
    • Cyan-D2U1, Turn Face Left 1, Hustle 2, G19 > H22
    • Cyan-D2U2, ATTACK Melee, Red-D1U2
      • Result: 20, 19, 12, 4 (2 Hits) == 2 Damage
  • Command: Grumsush
    • Red-D1U1: Hustle 3, M21 < J24
    • Red-D1U2: ATTACK, Melee, Cyan-D2U2
      • Result: 19, 9, 15, 19 (3 hits) == 3 Damage
      • SHOCK ROLL Cyan-D2U2 (+1 Officer, -2 50% HP): 
        • Result: 5 ! FLEE ! G23 > C23
        • Red-D1U2 Cannot Follow, Threatened By Enemies
  • Command: Waetherford
    • Cyan-D1U1, March 4, F16 > G23, ATTACK, Melee, Red-D1U2
      • Result: 15, 14 (1 hit) == 1 Daamge
      • SHOCK ROLL: Red-D1U2: 2d6 (-2 50% UHP, -2 Flanked, -2 Disordered, +2 Ogre)
        • Result: -2 !!! ROUT !!! 
    • Cyan-D1U2, Turn Face Left 2, ATTACK, Melee, Red-D1U1
      • Result: 16, 10 (1 hit) == 1 Damage
      • SHOCK ROLL: Red-D1U1: 2d6 (-2 50% UHP, +1 General, +2 Ogre)
        • Result: 7 ~ RECOIL~ J24 > K25
  • MORALE PHASE: Red Unit Routed
    • Red-D1U1: 2d6 ( +1 General Officer, +1 General, -2 50% Damage, -2 Lost 50% of Army, -2 Lost More Units than Cyan, +2 Ogre)
      • Result (2d6-2) : 1 !!! ROUT !!!
And that's that. Both Ogre units were routed. Lesson for Grumsush: Have more ogres. Even one more unit may have helped take out the two non-phalanxed infantry, and if he could have held out long enough to take out the phalanx, the cavalry wouldn't have been able to stand for too long, most likely being forced to withdraw off the edge of the battlefield. 

PURSUIT PHASE

Dhunraven elects to purse the ogres. Grumsush's units are all infantry, so all of Dhunraven's units are eligible to pursue, and all gain a +4 bonus to the roll (it's a single throw).
  • 2 Cavavlry, Loose Mounted: Roll 7+: Results: 3, 8
  • 3 Infantry, Formed Foot: Roll 14+: Results: 18, 9, 4
There are two successes, so both Ogre units are destroyed.

Counting casualties is next. Both Ogre units were destroyed, so half of the ogres are dead/crippled. The other half, 60 total, are prisoners, which Dhunraven would decline to take, and they are summarily executed.

Only the phalanx (240 men) took damage. It's at 4 of 12 HP. Of the 160, 80 are dead, and another 80 are wounded, and those 80 will be back in a week.

Domains At War: Campaigns


Let's run that same thing under Campaigns.

Round 1:

Red - BR11, Units: 2, Break Point: 1
2 Ogre Infantry

Cyan - BR11, Units: 6, Break Point: 1
3 Light Infantry, 1 Heavy Infantry, 2 Light Cavalry

ATTACK:
  • Red results: 5, 16, 8, 18, 19, 7, 20, 13, 5, 7, 10  -- 4 hits
  • Cyan results: 13, 5, 15, 4, 3, 10 ,13 14, 17, 19, 17 - 3 hits
RESOLVE DAMAGE:
  • Cyan - Removes 3 Light Infantry (BR 4.5 total) - Remaining BR: 6.5
  • Red - Removes 1 Ogre Heavy Infantry (BR 5.5 total) - Remaining BR: 5.5
MORALE PHASE

  • Cyan - 3 units destroyed. 4 remain, break point not reached.
  • Red - 1 unit destroyed - BREAK POINT.
    • 2d6 + (-2 Lost 1/2 BR, -2 Lost More BR, +2 Ogres, +1 Leader, +1 Commander)
      • Result: 5 !! FLEE !!

If nothing else, this is a lot bloodier. I've removed all 3 Light Infantry. On the other hand, I've removed an entire Ogre unit - since damage is on a unit scale, even one hit from the Cyan side removes an entire Red unit.

Round 2:

Red - BR 5.5
Cyan - BR 6.5

ATTACK:

Red results: Fleeing, cannot attack
Cyan results: 17, 15, 18, 3, 16, 2 - 3 hits

RESOLVE DAMAGE:

Red - Removes 1 Ogre Heavy Infantry ( BR 5.5 total ) - Remaining BR: 0 - !! DEFEAT !!

There's that. We'll assume pursuit was successful. Cyan's 3 infantry units (360 men) are reduced to 180 men, losing the other 180 - that's 100 more men than lost in the Battles version. That's not a criticism - just something to note - especially if it's your own army.

Conclusions

D@W Battles is quick. I spent almost all my time futzing with Roll20 and making screenshots - I expect two people with moderate rules mastery (looking up morale rolls, unit stats, etc.) would have had that done in less than 10 minutes, allowing for thinking time. There's a lot of options, and despite my best efforts, it didn't turn into a stand-there-and-swing slugfest - the morale rolls and movement reactions made things dynamic.

I'd made this an encounter "balanced" by Battle Rating. I think had the Ogre's dice been hot, they could still have triumphed - the cavalry was having a hard time hitting them, and had they been able to wipe the two single Infantry units and concentrated on the Phalanx, it could have been a lot different.

Campaigns is even quicker. It went so quick I thought I did something horribly wrong. The per-unit resolution of damage makes things interesting - an army fielding nothing but large units at an equal BR will be all but guaranteed to lose a unit per round, but that's an unbalanced army anyway, and one unlikely to be fielded (it's honestly just not as interesting).

It seems to be very suitable for off-screen battles, or those in which the Heroic Forays are the main focus.

I've said as much at my overview of Domains At War, but I'll repeat it here - if you ever think you'll run an adventure path or campaign that features war, you owe it to yourself and your players to be able to use this to enhance your game.


No comments:

Post a Comment