View Full Version : Marine Structure for D&D Armies

2007-02-27, 03:53 PM
Since there are so many powerful abilities in D&D, it sort of seems like a good standard for a military unit in D&D might be the Marine Fire Team. This is pretty rough... I didn't serve as a Marine so someone who did could quickly correct anything I've said that isn't accurate.

Marine Fire Teams are usually four men and can have a mixture of components, including a team leader.

Three teams form a squad, and there is a squad leader.

Three squads are a platoon, and there is a platoon leader.

So in D&D terms, this puts firepower on the battlefield without exposing low level troops to non-stop area spells. (not that you can't also use an onrushing horde, but that doesn't happen as often in modern warfare)

What if a Dwarven Community used a system like this for elite "Marine Style" units?

FIST - Five Dwarves, Leader (fighter type), Cleric, Wizard, Marksman, Infantry (tank). Maybe they range in level from seven to four, averaging out to a CR10.

HAMMER - Three Fists, often working around a Marshall (radius 60' auras will hit all 3 FISTS without clustering them too much if needed).

AXE - Three hammers with a powerful leader type and perhaps a bard cohort (A dwarf leading all the dwarves in a powerful song of battle).

In most cases, you could spread out the FISTS and have them leapfrog each other as they take damage and buffing spells run out (Haste, Bless, Blur, etc).

Over an entire AXE, perhaps one or two FISTS are JUST made up of Clerics or Wizards for counterspelling.

Then, as a basic infantry force, you could have lots of dwarven infantry in reserve to charge in more-or-less after the elite units begin the battle (sort of like taking out enemy defenses with artillery or air strikes prior to committing ground forces).

And if you ARE going to use mass infantry in D&D terms, it may come in the form of expendable slave races (like Goblins are to Drow or Duergar). Mass charges should usually take place under concealing fog or night, and perhaps be supplemented by a few counterspelling clerics or a couple mass protection or mass HP extending spells.

The low level army makeup in D&D terms are better for holding an area than taking it initially, since after the area is taken, the low level soldiers will typically be enforcing rule among L1 commoners and the like, and it's hard to take them out with area spells if they are mixed in with the populace.

I don't know if anyone else sets up their units this way?

I just can't see using Braveheart style tactics if the enemy has the equivalent of a cluster bombing tactic. You'd switch to smaller, stronger, better prepared units whenever possible, even if both sides had hundreds of thousands of troops.

I'm running a couple of large scale battles coming up, and I'm sure the PCs are going to blow the heck out of clusters of enemies, but, the way it's spread out and timed (and the Level being 10-11), the fight definitely won't end due to mass area damage spells.

By the end of the day, the casters are sure to be running low on spells, and everyone is sure to be tied up in dangerous hand to hand fighting. Knock on wood, hopefully it goes smoothly again. Last few large battles have worked fine, but, they're tough to predict and plan.

2007-02-27, 04:04 PM
I just can't see using Braveheart style tactics if the enemy has the equivalent of a cluster bombing tactic.

Basing tactics on a movie that dutifully omitted any and all elements and strategies used in the actual battles might be a bit silly, anyway.

Regarding the Battle of Stirling Bridge (the bridge not being present in the movie)...
"The bridge got in the way."
"Aye, that's what the English found."

2007-02-27, 04:08 PM
The size of individual units varies with their purpose. A company of Foot might be 120 strong, whilst a company of Horse 30 strong. I imagine the same standards might apply to D&D. I wouldn't use any particular real life organisation as a model, but look at the strengths and weaknesses of the fantasy army you are seeking to deploy.

If you are planning on using a lot of Spell Casters, you are going to have to think very hard about how you want them to impact strategt and tactics. Heroes of Battle would likely be a sound investment.

2007-02-27, 04:52 PM
Look towards the back of Complete Warrior, under "Modern military-style War". It's got pretty much this. It also points out that Knights shouldn't exist on the battlefield because a mage can be completely kitted out to make a "MG team/Bazooka team" equivalent for cheaper than one armored horseman.

To this, I say "bah".