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Dhavaer
2007-10-13, 10:04 PM
How does it work?

Massed troops wouldn't seem to be effective; a fireball, a hill giant or a mid-level warblade could massacre any number of low-level melee troops. Archers and long range casters would seem to be the name of the game, as well as monsters who are either powerful enough to brave the gauntlet or have special abilities to bypass enemy fire.

Azerian Kelimon
2007-10-13, 10:06 PM
Complete warrior and heroes of battle would like to speak to you.

Matthew
2007-10-13, 10:10 PM
How does it work where? In the Forgotten Realms? Greyhawk? Dragonlance? Eberron? There are various potential models for this sort of thing. Heroes of Battle and the Complete Warrior provide both 'traditional' and 'modern' perspectives, the latter of which is focused more on the 'fantastic' possibilities.

TheOOB
2007-10-13, 10:11 PM
WotC wrote the book on the subject...literally, heroes of battle.

The basic idea is this, since your side has powerful characters, it's reasonable to assume that the opposing side does as well, and that it's a waste of resources for both sides to send these powerhouses against grunts. So the PCs spend their time not on front line, but rather attacking elite units/officers, disrupting supply lines, aiding a unit that is broken off, capturing an important command point, guarding important officers, and so on. The book uses a VP system where instead of the players fighting the war, they earn VP(victory points) as they complete objectives, the more VP the bigger they influence the battle (larger battles require more VP to change the outcome, as a small group needs to do more and more to make an impact).

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-13, 10:33 PM
The simple fact is that D&D doesn't do massed battle well at even medium levels, much less high levels.

Heroes of Battle is nice but it doesn't really work.

A single teleportation circle that comes out inside the walls of the enemy capital allows you to bring your full army inside of those walls and without any warning to the enemy. That's 1 spell or a scroll that costs less than 5,000 gold.

Teleportation Circle removes supply lines, the opportunity for ambush, and gives strategic surprise.

A single level 20 wizard can defeat entire traditional armies. You can make a level 20 fighter that literally can't be hurt by any 5th level or lower fighter, even when they roll a critical hit it does no damage. A couple of guys with Wands of Fireball can take out massed troop formations easily.

TheOOB
2007-10-13, 10:35 PM
The simple fact is that D&D doesn't do massed battle well at even medium levels, much less high levels.

Heroes of Battle is nice but it doesn't really work.

A single teleportation circle that comes out inside the walls of the enemy capital allows you to bring your full army inside of those walls and without any warning to the enemy. That's 1 spell or a scroll that costs less than 5,000 gold.

Teleportation Circle removes supply lines, the opportunity for ambush, and gives strategic surprise.

A single level 20 wizard can defeat entire traditional armies. You can make a level 20 fighter that literally can't be hurt by any 5th level or lower fighter, even when they roll a critical hit it does no damage. A couple of guys with Wands of Fireball can take out massed troop formations easily.

I think the point of HoB is we ignore all that, send the PCs on special missions, and have fun :P

Matthew
2007-10-13, 10:41 PM
I think the point of HoB is we ignore all that, send the PCs on special missions, and have fun :P

I agree. We need Dhavaer to more strictly define the question, otherwise we're just going to ramble on about theoretical Golem Armies and such.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-13, 10:53 PM
I think the point of HoB is we ignore all that, send the PCs on special missions, and have fun :P

Why though? I'm the general. I can send the PC's to destroy some supplies or I can have then bring our entire army inside the enemy capital and win the war.

Any General who took the first option would be immediately hung by his superiors for treason.

At low levels it works out ok (below about level 10) but then you get the problem of the PC's being the highest level people the army can come up with. 5,000 GP for a scroll of Teleportation Circle. Every army should invest in 20 or so (at least). A sailing ship costs 10K and is more dangerous and can move fewer goods.

One of the few ways to make real warfare make sense in D&D (when the PC's are low level) is to have the PC's be the advance party. They are sent in to the enemy city a week or so before the invasion and prepare things so that the invasion is easier. Assassinate the head of the guard, poison food supplies, start some riots, map out the area, etc. Then the Teleportation circle opens up and your army pours in. If the PC's have done a good job of finding the guards schedules or disabling them then the invasion goes easier. If the PC's are detected then the enemy city might be prepared and it's more difficult. Stuff like that.

Dhavaer
2007-10-13, 10:55 PM
I agree. We need Dhavaer to more strictly define the question, otherwise we're just going to ramble on about theoretical Golem Armies and such.

Very well then:

How would a human civilisation make an army in the D&D universe, as standard tactics are invalidated by the presence of magic, monsters and incredibly powerful individuals? What would be the standard tactics and army organisation? How would you use mercenaries of certain races, or tamed monsters (stone giant or griffons, for example)? How useful are certain classes?
Assume you can get a single character of about level 11, a few dozen level 7, a few score level 3, and a whole bunch of level 1 npc classed schmoes.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-13, 11:01 PM
I'll go and find some of my old threads about the effects of magic on the world. Suffice it to say that it makes for a VERY different world. Borders become virtually non existent, navies don't exist (neither does any real sea travel for that matter), etc.

Dervag
2007-10-13, 11:37 PM
I saw a resolution of the problem of area effect spells on this board a while ago. Something called "nullstone."

Casting a spell in a region such that its area of effect includes nullstone requires... I think a Spellcraft check, or maybe a caster level check. The difficulty of the check goes up by one for every ten pounds of the stuff in the area of effect, with (I think) a base DC of 10.

The stuff was balanced so that it would be effectively impossible for one person to carry enough nullstone to protect themselves reliably, but relatively easy for a formation of troops or a ship or a static fortification to do so.

Also, nullstone was moderately rare, so that you didn't have peasants building houses out of it but might see an army where every soldier carries a few pounds of it.


Why though? I'm the general. I can send the PC's to destroy some supplies or I can have then bring our entire army inside the enemy capital and win the war.Well, they may not be high enough level to do that.

Moreover (and this is important):

It isn't fun. The passage you quoted contained the word "fun" for a reason.


Any General who took the first option would be immediately hung by his superiors for treason.I don't know what military tradition your home nation adopts; in mine this would be considered excessive. A general who fails to win, even catastrophically, is not normally executed for failure except in societies that don't really care about the fact that their generals are afraid to do anything without orders.


At low levels it works out ok (below about level 10) but then you get the problem of the PC's being the highest level people the army can come up with. 5,000 GP for a scroll of Teleportation Circle. Every army should invest in 20 or so (at least). A sailing ship costs 10K and is more dangerous and can move fewer goods.It isn't actually hard to explain a relative dearth of high level characters in a universe where NPCs don't face level-appropriate encounters all the time. In such a world, many or most first level adventurers would get massacred in short order, and there would be a nasty attrition rate involved before you got up to high level. Moreover, the risk would be high enough to maintain a constant incentive to retire at every level, which would lead to a lot of adventurers 'dropping out' of the road to high level for their own neck's sake.

Hawriel
2007-10-14, 12:44 AM
this is not a hard question. You are all making magic way to complicated and over powing. A wizard can cast fire ball. big deal its still one wizard. formation of archers can deal with it. or the enemies number one priorety will be to have their wizard kill yours. you think heavy infintry in a high magic world will not have mages assined to them? they would cast protection spells, or counter enemy spells. Lets have a unit of shock troops with rings of protection X. If its a special unit that may just be standard equipment. Magic trumps magic. So does tech and ingenuity.

IF your all fans of D&D then Im sure you have read many of the novels. R.A. Salvatore has many large scale battles with magic. The enemy did not just sit down and die because one side had a mage and the other did not.

here other other books

Lord of the Rings. The Black Company. Wheel of Time Also fanacy books by Harry Turtledove or Mickaele Stackpole. All have medieval armies clashing with magic. Magic does not make the need for armies, navies or commercial shiping go away. Shadowrun is another example of magic and warfare The other thing is how many wizards are their? Are they 1 in 10 peaple? 1 in 100, a 1000, 10000.....? IF they are rare then is the leader of a country going to risk his top mage(s) in open battle whare they will most likly be killed?

Oh Just because you capture a capital city means jack squat. Jomine was righting to an audience, even though his theories are valid to a point,they are not absolute.

Mexican American war, U.S. revolution, War Of 1812, The continuing Iraq war, are just afew wars whare capitals of been captured sacked and burned yet caused in no way the definet end to the war.

seeing as its D&D warfare here I leave with this. A kings D&D forgoten realms style army will fight another army if a similar type. Kings guards vs orc hord. Mage/cleric vs mage/shamans.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-14, 01:24 AM
I saw a resolution of the problem of area effect spells on this board a while ago. Something called "nullstone."

Casting a spell in a region such that its area of effect includes nullstone requires... I think a Spellcraft check, or maybe a caster level check. The difficulty of the check goes up by one for every ten pounds of the stuff in the area of effect, with (I think) a base DC of 10.

The stuff was balanced so that it would be effectively impossible for one person to carry enough nullstone to protect themselves reliably, but relatively easy for a formation of troops or a ship or a static fortification to do so.

Also, nullstone was moderately rare, so that you didn't have peasants building houses out of it but might see an army where every soldier carries a few pounds of it.
Meh. IF you want to do it that way no one's stopping you. I personally find it clunky and it still doesn't solve the biggest problems of magic in battle.

In all warfare the most important attributes are (in order of importance): Strategic Surprise, Strategic Speed, Strategic Coordination/Communication, Tactical Surprise, Tactical Speed, Tactical Communication, Offensive Strength, and Defensive Strength.

Null Stone doesn't have any effect on any of the 3 most important attributes. I can teleport my forces to any location at a whim and attack. Walls don't matter, they just contain your forces. Teleportation gives both strategic surprise and strategic speed. It is minimally helpful in a tactical sense but still can play a role. Telepathic Bond can be used to create the ultimate communications grid. So with 2 spells my side has achieved the 3 most important things in any war. And Null Stone has no effect on either of those spells.

Null Stone effects the rest of the list but that isn't a large concern.


Well, they may not be high enough level to do that.

Moreover (and this is important):

It isn't fun. The passage you quoted contained the word "fun" for a reason.
Fun? I find it quite fun. I find supreme stupidity to be quite boring. Their are many fun ways to use low level PC's in battle without the use of supremely stupid commanders.


I don't know what military tradition your home nation adopts; in mine this would be considered excessive. A general who fails to win, even catastrophically, is not normally executed for failure except in societies that don't really care about the fact that their generals are afraid to do anything without orders.
The general isn't being executed for failing to win. He is being executed for high treason because the government is of the opinion that no one who has made it to the rank of general can be so supremely stupid.

If the general gets out maneuvered or ambushed and looses catastrophically then I would say learn from your mistakes and don't repeat them. Bad luck can happen to anyone.

For a modern analogy:
A commanders job is to take out a machine gun position with a fixed field of fire. He chooses to send wave after wave straight at the machine gun until it runs out of bullets.

I execute him for treason, murder, and wasting military property.

Another commander is given the same job in the same situation. He takes his men and circles around to the back of the machine gun position and starts to take it out. Enemy reinforcements happen to show up and the attacking team looses the same number of men as the first commander did. I tell the commander to remember to set an overwatch and leave a few men back for emergencies.


It isn't actually hard to explain a relative dearth of high level characters in a universe where NPCs don't face level-appropriate encounters all the time. In such a world, many or most first level adventurers would get massacred in short order, and there would be a nasty attrition rate involved before you got up to high level. Moreover, the risk would be high enough to maintain a constant incentive to retire at every level, which would lead to a lot of adventurers 'dropping out' of the road to high level for their own neck's sake.

The point is that 1 single level 20 wizard can take out a regular "midevil" D&D army of 100,000 without a problem. We have run it on these boards before and I have never lost with the wizard.


And you can always plane shift to Union or Sigil and buy your expensive/high level magical items there.

streakster
2007-10-14, 01:24 AM
Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.


A DND war would be analogous to a real one - dragons and other flying units would be the jets and planes; mages would be the artillery, the transport, etc; giants, golems, etc would be the tanks. Magic replaces gas and electricity as the resources needed to run a military action. Your average "guy with bow" is the soldier.

Of course, a DND war isn't exactly the same - tactics would be different. Letting all your men die so you can raise them as skeletons might be a valid move, for instance. Mages would be researching new spells and constructs to slaughter the enemy.

As for classes, bards would do really well here. They can turn an average force into an exceptional one.

Harry Turtledove did a whole series based on this. Forget the name. Good stuff.

Fizban
2007-10-14, 01:24 AM
I saw a resolution of the problem of area effect spells on this board a while ago. Something called "nullstone."


I copied it into a text file:

The house rule is that each 10lbs in the spell's area gives a +1 SR. A Fireball effects a 20' radius, so a castle wal section 40'long wieghs a lot, and thus just FB'ing the defeders to sweep them off will have to overcome an enormous SR to work. Targeting a single defender with Charm to get him to look the other way while a rogue scales the wall, or hitting a few defenders with Magic Missile is not so tough, but it's not going to break the whole concept of ancient/medieval/renaissance warfare, so no biggie.

We figured that 10lbs was the most any soldier could reasonably carry or wear before it became silly, so a bunch of guys in formation could make a Firebal fizzle from the accumulated SR, or a seige tower or ram coudl have some of the suff on it. It makes mass battles work ok, since the mages need to use small targeted spells, or utility spells rather than just Nuke the World spells. Without protection, the mass of low level Warriors just died in droves from AoO spells. High level lords may as well not bring the army for how much good it did.

In our campaign, the stuff is mined and sold by a clan of dwarves who control the price and availibility much like the diamond supply is controled today. Obviously siunce there is so much of the stuff around their delvings, they are very hard to attack or conquer, since you'd be relying almost totally on mudane means. But they remain very neutral, since they know they have a good thing. This keep tem from just breaking the game world.

We usually price it as 1 gp/lb, which makes it expensive but within the means of most rulers who'd want to protect castles, ships, armies, etc.

The flip side is that it has next to no effect on adventures, because even enemies who could have access to it generally don't have enough on any individual to really nerf the caster.

Was in response to:
So, could you give a more detailed account on how you rule this and it's cost, in the thread or by PM?
Right now I'm thinking you have it so every 10lbs in the area of the spell grants SR+1, am I right?

Of course, that's not actually how SR works, IIRC, but the idea is that if you cast an area spell that would affect a bunch of nullsone, you have to make a caster level check or your spell fails.

Edit: oh, and I dispute Turtledove's Into the Darkness series as relevant. It's deliberately WWII in a "fantasy" setting. The magic is all just WWII tech with different labels, there is no teleportation, or any of the relevant war-winning magic there is in DnD.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-14, 01:38 AM
this is not a hard question. You are all making magic way to complicated and over powing. A wizard can cast fire ball. big deal its still one wizard. formation of archers can deal with it. or the enemies number one priorety will be to have their wizard kill yours. you think heavy infintry in a high magic world will not have mages assined to them? they would cast protection spells, or counter enemy spells. Lets have a unit of shock troops with rings of protection X. If its a special unit that may just be standard equipment. Magic trumps magic. So does tech and ingenuity.
You are making the big mistake. You are assuming that 2 side meat in some big battle. Any commander who allows such a big battle to occur is an idiot.

And just how many casters does each side get? Remember, most NPC's use the NPC classes. Can a nation scrounge up a hundred or so high level PC classed people? Sure. Can they have 10% of their army be casters with PC classes and at least 5 levels? Nope.


IF your all fans of D&D then Im sure you have read many of the novels. R.A. Salvatore has many large scale battles with magic. The enemy did not just sit down and die because one side had a mage and the other did not.
Yep again, a supreme failure of the commanders by ever letting it reach the point of a large scale battle. And all of the Salvatore I've read has been lacking in high level magic, or even medium level magic.


here other other books

[quote]Lord of the Rings. The Black Company. Wheel of Time Also fanacy books by Harry Turtledove or Mickaele Stackpole. All have medieval armies clashing with magic. Magic does not make the need for armies, navies or commercial shiping go away.
LotR: Magic doesn't work like it does in D&D.
Never read The Black Company.
Wheel of Time: Please. The One Power isn't used in battle because of the Three Oaths. Every time it is used it is devastating. Remember the first time the Asha'Mahn were used in battle? Less than a hundred took out an army of a hundred thousand without a single loss. Rand killed an entire army on his own. His forces teleported around and used it to great effect. Massive armies were used, yes. But teh One Power was a lot more effective in many ways and was used effectively.


Shadowrun is another example of magic and warfare
Please. The Native Americans managed to defeat the UCAS army with it, easily.


The other thing is how many wizards are their? Are they 1 in 10 peaple? 1 in 100, a 1000, 10000.....? IF they are rare then is the leader of a country going to risk his top mage(s) in open battle whare they will most likly be killed?
It doesn't matter. 1 level 20 wizard can easily topple a government. And for the strategic uses of magic the wizard is never in danger.


Oh Just because you capture a capital city means jack squat. Jomine was righting to an audience, even though his theories are valid to a point,they are not absolute.
No, it matters a lot. I hold your entire leadership. I hold your treasury. I hold your elite. They are all my hostages. What would happen if China managed to grab the President and all of Congress? It could pretty much dictate terms while only holding 1 small city.

Renegade Paladin
2007-10-14, 01:50 AM
Large cities should have equally large defenses, Tippy. What say there's a mythal in place preventing wanton teleportation? Or for defending on a budget, any number of lesser effects inhibiting teleportation? You always assume that any given wizard can waltz into any given situation, not be countered, and simply win by dint of his glorious presence. Let's say you open your teleportation circle and there's a wonky teleport redirect that dumps you into the nearest active volcano. What then? The wizard doesn't just automatically win.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-14, 02:04 AM
Large cities should have equally large defenses, Tippy. What say there's a mythal in place preventing wanton teleportation? Or for defending on a budget, any number of lesser effects inhibiting teleportation? You always assume that any given wizard can waltz into any given situation, not be countered, and simply win by dint of his glorious presence. Let's say you open your teleportation circle and there's a wonky teleport redirect that dumps you into the nearest active volcano. What then? The wizard doesn't just automatically win.

Ok. Your starting to get the idea. Good. The counters for your ideas are in the spoiler.

1. An Artifact level item. How many cities have 1?
And even if you have a way to stop all teleportion into a city, you can't use teleportation to bring goods or people in or out, meaning siege warfare is possible.

There is also more than just cities in your nation. I slaughter the men in the outlieing villages. Unless you can stop all teleportation into your nation.


You can defend a city, true. But you can't defend a nation. Borders are meaningless. So is the physically location of pretty much everything.

So you end up with a collection of heavily defended cities because they are all that can be defended. And a lot of wilderness. Nations don't exist in any current sense of the word.

/I'm sleepy, sorry if this doesn't make much sense. I'll polish it up later.

SITB
2007-10-14, 07:02 AM
Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.


The problem with that, and also incidentally why technology is usually better than magic, is that all that power is concentrated in the hands of one individual.

The power of a wizard rises exponentially every time he gains more power in magic. From a single man comparable to a gun, to being comparable to a tank, to being comparable to a nuclear arsenal. Warfare would probably be forgone and MAD would quickly arise since one high level caster can destroy countries.

Matthew
2007-10-14, 07:10 AM
It's also a phrase often used inaccurately, as people often assume that it means Magic = Technology, which is just misguided. That advanced technology may appear to be magical does not necessarily imply that magic may appear to be advanced technology. Magic often defies physics, technology does not.

Xefas
2007-10-14, 07:23 AM
I think warfare in the context of a high-fantasy game would be simply a lot of deterrence. Why don't you warp your high level mage into our city and turn it and everyone in it to smoldering ash? Because then we'd send our's over and then neither of us would have a city.

Everyone who doesn't have a high level mage is screwed. The world becomes instantly divided into who has the right to exist by virtue of them having a high level PC-class person in it, and who have to conform to some other nations way of life or be ground into the dust.

There wouldn't even need to be a military at all. Everybody has a superweapon, nobody uses it for fear, life goes on.

SITB
2007-10-14, 07:37 AM
It's also a phrase often used inaccurately, as people often assume that it means Magic = Technology, which is just misguided. That advanced technology may appear to be magical does not necessarily imply that magic may appear to be advanced technology. Magic often defies physics, technology does not.

I thought that phrase meant that to the average person advanced technology would appear as magic, for example turning on the TV and seeing colorful images. And, I assume that if people that come from a high tech world would see some of the uses of magic, they could assume it as generated by advanced technology.

Grey Paladin
2007-10-14, 07:45 AM
Tippy: Yet another reason to not play silly high powered/High Magic games,

In the 2E metagame, where a level 11 Wizard was worshiped as a god by those that didn't knew better, and where 9th level characters were legendary heroes of Hercule's caliber and rarity, such a problem wouldn't occur except when a creature of *godly* power would take sides.

kpenguin
2007-10-14, 07:47 AM
Edit: oh, and I dispute Turtledove's Into the Darkness series as relevant. It's deliberately WWII in a "fantasy" setting. The magic is all just WWII tech with different labels, there is no teleportation, or any of the relevant war-winning magic there is in DnD.

Besides the "point to a place on the map and boom" magic the Kuusamans developed? Besides, I don't see many fantasy settings with dragon carriers, despite that being an interesting tactic with flying beast cavalry.

TheLogman
2007-10-14, 08:12 AM
The often disliked Miniatures Handbook gives detailed instructions for Banding, Disbanding, Commanding, and Attacking with Units of your army. The Rules are actually made for units of Minis, but it is really easy to change the rules to traditional D&D.

Shas aia Toriia
2007-10-14, 08:18 AM
I think warfare in the context of a high-fantasy game would be simply a lot of deterrence. Why don't you warp your high level mage into our city and turn it and everyone in it to smoldering ash? Because then we'd send our's over and then neither of us would have a city.

Everyone who doesn't have a high level mage is screwed. The world becomes instantly divided into who has the right to exist by virtue of them having a high level PC-class person in it, and who have to conform to some other nations way of life or be ground into the dust.

Thank you. You people seem to be forgetting that BOTH SIDES have these things. In terms of NPC's, these places are usually equal in numbers, unless you go to a country like Halruua (Country that is about 30% NPC wizards).

Why doesn't everbody just send superwiz against armies? Because the other countries would realize you're too powerful, and make a coalition against you. You're also forgetting, in a world of magic, people don't fight in huge open battles, it's like today, with everybody taking cover and hiding.
Giants could be tanks, dragons could be jets, people with a comp-longbow and that feat that doubles range are snipers. Easy, no?

Fizban
2007-10-14, 08:36 AM
Besides the "point to a place on the map and boom" magic the Kuusamans developed? Besides, I don't see many fantasy settings with dragon carriers, despite that being an interesting tactic with flying beast cavalry.

Uh, nukes and fighter planes? It says on the back of the book (maybe not the first, but on the others after that) that it's deliberately WWII in a fantasy setting, so I have it on good authority.

bosssmiley
2007-10-14, 09:49 AM
Races of War (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=681572) homebrew has an interesting take on this (particularly posts 9-11).

Basically the author argues that class-levelled characters and powerful monsters *own* the D&D battlefield. The masses of peons with pikes (aka "the squishies") are nothing more than mobile scenery brought along to give the battlefield a fitting scope and scale.

General rule of D&D warfare: guy with the biggest heroes wins. If your big heroes are out of the loop for whatever reason when the BBEG invades, well, enjoy your La Resistance (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LaResistance).

Matthew
2007-10-14, 10:16 AM
I thought that phrase meant that to the average person advanced technology would appear as magic, for example turning on the TV and seeing colorful images. And, I assume that if people that come from a high tech world would see some of the uses of magic, they could assume it as generated by advanced technology.

Yes, as far as I understand it, that is what many people mistakenly take it to mean, but it really only goes in one direction. High technology is indistinguishable from magic to people unacquainted with high technology. However, it doesn't follow that magic must therefore be indistinguishable from high technology, as there are things that magic can do that are just impossible [i.e. no matter how far technology advances it will never be able to mimic the result]. There is, of course, a lot of overlap.

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-14, 10:54 AM
Why doesn't everbody just send superwiz against armies? Because the other countries would realize you're too powerful, and make a coalition against you. You're also forgetting, in a world of magic, people don't fight in huge open battles, it's like today, with everybody taking cover and hiding.
Giants could be tanks, dragons could be jets, people with a comp-longbow and that feat that doubles range are snipers. Easy, no?
Coalitions don't matter much in MAD games. One level 20 wizard vs. an arbitrary number of targets protected by a small number of level 20 wizards? It'd be an interesting challenge for the defenders but I think without custom items they'll lose. The deterrence is that you'll get all your cities, towns, hovels, and hermits living in caves leveled if anyone decides it's worth rolling out the wizard.

Incidentally, we managed to have some tactical battles with cold-war era weapons despite the availability of the nuclear option. Is it impossible that people might manage to have a fight that neither thinks is worth mutual annihilation?

Giants can't be tanks. They aren't ranged attackers, they have ridiculously large silhouettes, and they don't have anything comparable to tank armor. Dragons are a lot slower than jets, and a lot less damaging too. And, uh, the ground fire from 'regular' ground forces is a lot more dangerous to them. You can't shoot a longbow from a prone position. That should be about enough for that, really.

And what are the automatic weapons? The riflemen? APCs? Heavy artillery? If you did have tactical combat, it wouldn't be a rip-off of modern tactics. It would involve mostly scattered troops rather than close formations, and lots of powerful things around and explosions, but a lot of aspects don't carry over.

Raum
2007-10-14, 11:24 AM
Never read The Black Company.I highly recommend reading it, the first three books are some of the best dark fantasy I've read. Stick to the first three unless you like his writing style though, the subsequent books are decent but not great. BTW, the series illustrates your contention that magic rules the battlefield. The battle at Charm, for example, is decided by mages & stealth in a single night after months of ineffective siege.

In general though, I doubt high level mages would see much direct combat in a world like Faerun. As soon as one of them committed to a battle and destroyed an army, city, or small country others of similar level will take advantage of the first mage having used up his high level spells. Now the attacking country no longer has said high level mage. It's not just MAD, limited spell slots per day give the reacting mage a significant advantage. Scrolls are still a limited resource, so adding those to the mix leaves the same problem, just with a lot more destruction up front.

Just as current day, most "wars" get fought via proxy. One or both of the competing sides simply arms and funds their ally. And neither side uses their most destructive weapons. After all, everyone else would have to respond if they did...else they might be the next target.

Yahzi
2007-10-14, 11:44 AM
So you end up with a collection of heavily defended cities because they are all that can be defended. And a lot of wilderness. Nations don't exist in any current sense of the word.
That's exactly right. And that's the Iron-Age/Vancian post-apocalypse world that D&D is supposed to be played in. In Vance's books, there were random city-states sprinkled around the world, with wildly different levels of power and magic, insanely different customs and rules, and virtually no knowledge of each other. As Frank&Trollman point out, D&D is about wandering criminals stabbing people in the face and taking their stuff. Like the Illiad. Did anybody in that story wonder why the Cyclops didn't corner the wool market, or why Circe didn't rule the world with her magic?

The problem is that people want to play in the High Middle Ages, with huge Crusader armies and decadent French nobles and such. The mechanics of D&D just don't make a global government possible - at least, not one that looks anything like medieval Europe.


Back on topic: as we all know, the first round is the only round that matters. So the low-level mook's job is to a) locate the enemy high-levels, and b) suck up whatever resource they can. If they die while doing this, well, so what? If you are fireballing a bunch of mooks when I attack you, I get initiative, you are down one spell, and that equals win. So what are you gonna do? Deploy your own mooks to find me, and incidentally to stop my mooks from finding you.

So a D&D battle is a bunch of low-levels fighting each other with pointed sticks, for possibly hours or days, until one side can't stand to see their mooks getting stomped on. At which point they slaughter all the enemy mooks, and then get slaughtered in turn. - in the space of 12 or 18 seconds.

You know - hand-to-hand trench warfare until the air-strike shows up.

So with that in mind, I would like to move to the next level: What are the cheap, cheap, cheap things one can do to boost one's mook army, without revealing one's location? Summon spells, but only if they last for hours. Telepathic communication is useable, as is scrying. How about Symbols painted on shields? What other semi-permanent effects are there that let your mooks beat his mooks while trying to find the BBEG, but don't give away your position or consume too many of your resources?

mostlyharmful
2007-10-14, 11:54 AM
It would be if defensive magic weren't so powerful. As it is DnD warfare should look much more like cold war detent, with espeonage, trade warfare and propoganda (ala thay vs aglarond). See elminsters little skit in the faerun base book about the facts of high level magic users getting involved in squabbles and causes, subltey and diplomacy are far more likely to get you where you're wanting to be and allllll high levelers should know it and behave accordingly, those that don't or can't get wiped out be vastly more powerful alliances of those interested in the status quo.


And also just because a wizard can conquer the economy and provide instant safe reliable transport doesn't mean they'll want to, the only way to reach the top of the magical game is to put all you time, effort and ambition into it. Which kind of precludes the mindset outside academia and ivorytower debating. Once you have the power to shake the world you will have automatically come to realize the more intellectually satisifying power of the snarkily worded academic critique of your rivals work

NEO|Phyte
2007-10-14, 12:04 PM
So with that in mind, I would like to move to the next level: What are the cheap, cheap, cheap things one can do to boost one's mook army, without revealing one's location? Summon spells, but only if they last for hours. Telepathic communication is useable, as is scrying. How about Symbols painted on shields? What other semi-permanent effects are there that let your mooks beat his mooks while trying to find the BBEG, but don't give away your position or consume too many of your resources?
Have a bard cohort.

Renrik
2007-10-14, 02:51 PM
Remember, though, that the cost of magicians, magical beasts, and monstrous mercenaries prohibits their use.Unless you can get powerful wizards to volunteer for the defense of the realm, and monsters so nice you don;t need to pay them for their services, you're still going to end up with a lot of peasant levies. There's always the possibility of hiring mercenaries, of course. This is usually what the PCs end up being, as PCs are, at the core of the game, wandering bands of thugs who perform dangerous tasks for money.

Still, the proper use of monsters can turn the tide of the battle.

Dragons rarely would show up on battlefeilds simply because dragons like treasure too much to work for free, and their cost would be outrageously high. Wyverns would make better flying mounts, but first you have to capture, domesticate, and train them, and that is difficult.

Giants, on the other hand, make great additions to the army. They can be used as manual labor before the battle, and mobile artillery peices, and as shock troops to break up enemy formations.

But the best army in D&D? Goblinoids.

Don't laugh, it's true. Goblinoids have huge numbers, a highly organized militaristic society, and a propensity for ambush and traps. You get a few barghests and goblinoid warlords together and unite a few tribes. Form a core of the army around units of highly trained, highly motivated hobgoblin warriors, create units of goblin worg-riders (lead by hobgoblins on Guulvorgs), goblin light infantry, and goblin infiltrators, and hire some giant or ogre mercenaries.

In guerilla warfare, you can have the goblin light infantry, who, although Small creatures, have a move speed of thirty feet, to ambush and harass enemy troops. The fast-moving worg riders can join in the harassment and attack flanks or can go about sacking isolated settlements and leading the enemy troops on a merry goose chase into the hands of the waiting goblin ambushers.

In open warfare, you have the giants throw rocks o break up the enemy ranks or simply charge them as shock troops. With the enemy ranks now broken and possibly engaged in fighting giants, the enemy will probably not be in a sheild wall or have a hedgehog of spears ready. You send in the worg-riders to cut down the disorganized enemy, following them up with the main core of hobgoblin troops to mop up while hemming the enemy in with light infantry attacks to the flanks. Leave a few worg-riders and hbgoblins in reserve to give an extra push when necessary.

In castle seiges, send in the goblin sneaks to poison wells, kill livestock, sabotauge machinery, and weaken defences. Have the goblin force surround the castle out of bow range, and the goblin engineers (the goblins are good at making traps, and thus probably have a good understanding of machinery) assemble seige engines. Send the giants away. They cost too much to keep for a long seige. Have the worgs patrol the countryside, raiding villages for food to keep the besieging forces fed and cutting off any messengers seeking aid. Have the seige engines chuck rotting animals and disease-ridden peasants into the fortress. Disease and starvation are better weapons than rocks, and it is more effective to kill or force surrender from the beseiged humans than to knock down the walls and loose a bunch of goblins swarming the place.

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-14, 03:16 PM
If we're playing poverty warfare, try a stack of troglodyte pikemen.
-Crazy armor class. Especially if you can afford semi-decent armor. (scale or splint are top picks, but hide is acceptable.)
-Stench. DC 13 fort save or sickened. For each troglodyte you're in range of. Normal troops can't even get near them without -2 penalties.
-Reach weapons dominate.

Another handy monstrous unit is the kobold crossbow unit. Kobolds have to be about as dirt cheap a life form as you can get, but they're respectable shots with ranged weapons and naturally disciplined. Issue light crossbows and your choice of armor. And bucklers.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-14, 03:21 PM
*sigh*
Siege Warfare isn't possible in D&D. Magic means that supply lines are non existent and that I can bring them past your entire army without a problem.

--------
Why do nations exist and what is their main purpose? They exist to defend their residences from outside threats.

Now magic means that anyone located anywhere can bring a 100,000 troops into a village of 20, if they were so inclined, at any time and then have them gone before your forces can respond.

No nation can defend it's people against such attacks, the attacker always has the advantage. So what happens? The people move into the cities because it is much easier to always defend 1-5 places than it is to defend an entire nation.

So you end up with each nation just being a collection of cities and a few agricultural settlements that supply food. The geographic location of all of these cities and settlements doesn't matter at all. So the whole world is a collection of city nations.

They live in a state of MAD. A superpower could easily take a weaker nation. But if they do then the other superpowers will respond because the aggressor is upsetting the balance of power. Now if anything is foolish enough to attack one of these cities they face armies of thousands of golems, and millions of men (or anything else you want to throw in). Anything except another superpower can never hope to win.

So what happens to the rest of the world? It's wilderness. All of the monsters live out here. Along with the people who didn't move into the cities or have been kicked out (fugitives, etc.).

Here's another thread where I went into more detail about this.
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50169

Oh and heres some of the fluff for a world I made that actually took into account magic in its creation.

The world of Areth is split into two distinct groups. Those who live in the cities and those who donít. Almost five-thousand years ago (0 AC) a group of powerful mages got together and formed a small shipping company. With the use of teleportation magics they were able to eliminate nearly all overhead and risk inherent in shipping goods. They priced themselves competitively and insured that their service was just a little faster and just a little safer. They were very careful to hide how they were moving goods and deliberately stole a number of things they were supposed to transport to give the illusion that it was lost in shipping. After about 50 years of this these mages had amassed a very large fortune. They closed the business and disappeared from the world for the next 50 years. Everyone assumed they were dead.
But these mages werenít dead. They were using their fortune to construct a world wide teleportation network. They eventually finished and had a network that allowed instantaneous travel from any of the hundred major cities in the world to any other. Virtually overnight they managed to put all other shipping firms out of business. Within 20 years the cities not linked to the network crumbled and were deserted. The whole world was changed forever and these mages where the new world power, above every government. Their position lasted for another 280 years. No one is quite sure what happened but their was a war among the council of mages and the teleportation network was destroyed (400 AC & 0 CW)
Each of the 5 mages on the council had a large number of cities backing them in the war. A few cities said they were independent and held themselves aloof. The next 1,700 years was a time of continuous warfare, great engines of destruction where invented by all sides in the conflict. Millions died in a day. Cities rose and fell. Slowly the mages were killed one by one, and the cities backing them all started squabbling amongst themselves, becoming a bunch of independent city states. The last two members of the council struck each other down and the Council War came to a close. (1,700 CW)
After the council war the world was left in a state of turmoil. Some cities conquered others, some allied, a few where destroyed, a few more rose. The next 400 years was spent with the cities jockeying for position and power. In the end the world was left with around 30 separate and roughly equal nations in addition to around a hundred independent city-states. This marked the start of the current age (0 CE).
It is now the 2,873 year of the current era (CE). The whole 2,873 time period between the start of the current age and now has been marked with nations rising and falling, cities being founded and others abounded.

-An except from ďA brief history of Areth and the rise of the CitiesĒ by Joseph Grespo

So the cities are high magic places of wonder. Outside if the cities is the Wilderness. A largely uncharted land that makes up over 99% of the worlds surface (and the world is about 20 times larger than earth). Small groups of people have banded together to survive out in this harsh world. Magic is rare.

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-14, 03:36 PM
You are assuming the availability of a 9th level spell that costs 1000 gold just to cast. Not every world can afford that. Just getting at a level 17 wizard at all is not a sure thing, and spending 2530 gp on one spell is not necessarily affordable. You can adequately arm troglodyte pikemen for 20 gp each. If they don't come with their own weapons.

Incidentally, how do you deal with the 10-minute window of vulnerability while you're setting up the teleport circle? If anyone can divine that you're casting then, a timestop assassination can very likely kill off your level 17+ wizard.

BRC
2007-10-14, 03:41 PM
Right now I'm working on a rather hapazard and low quality system for combat with about 30 people on each side. Hell if I know why, the offical books proably have better system.

Leicontis
2007-10-14, 04:29 PM
Yes, high-level characters can have a huge effect on a battle/war.

But how many high-level characters are actually going to do so?

First off, in any setting that allows low-level PCs and NPCs to exist, a large portion (anywhere from 50% up to 90%) of the world's population will be low-level NPC classes. Most of the rest will be low-level in PC classes. A good rule of thumb is this: The total power possessed by all characters of the same level is constant. What this means is that if all of the level 1 characters in the world fought against all of the level 20 characters in the world, it would be about an even match. When you consider the rate of attrition that would be suffered by the level 1s, that should give an impression of how incredibly rare lvl 20 individuals are. Now how many of those tiny handful of individuals are going to be sufficiently interested in a conflict to go to the effort and risk of direct intervention?

Keep in mind, anyone above level 10 is likely to be very well-known (unless they specifically avoid notice), above level 15 is probably widely recognized, and 20 and up almost certainly world-famous.

Also, there is the MAD factor. If one super-high-level character intervenes, others will get involved, and not necessarily on the same side. Even if it's not a direct battle in an open field, this is battle - are you going to slaughter the peons that can't even hurt you, or worry about the guy that's on par with you? Regardless of whether it's open battle or hit-and-run strategic warfare, high-level characters will gravitate towards each other, in order to eliminate the only significant threat/obstacle. If they both avoid each other, then both sides lose.

edited to add:
Also, remember divine magic and gods. High-level characters tend to get noticed by gods as well as mortals, and in many settings deities tend to interfere with the mortal world on a regular basis. Almost any significant act or event will have deities that want it to happen and deities that don't want it to happen, and both will have their mortal agents promoting their agendas.

Another thing to remember: This is a GAME. It is meant to be FUN. If that occasionally requires a little hand-waving or other tweaking of reality by the GM, that's part of the game. Fun and gameplay always take precedence over verisimilitude.

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-14, 04:35 PM
A good rule of thumb is this: The total power possessed by all characters of the same level is constant. What this means is that if all of the level 1 characters in the world fought against all of the level 20 characters in the world, it would be about an even match. When you consider the rate of attrition that would be suffered by the level 1s, that should give an impression of how incredibly rare lvl 20 individuals are. Now how many of those tiny handful of individuals are going to be sufficiently interested in a conflict to go to the effort and risk of direct intervention?
This rule of thumb cannot hold in D&D if a level 20 wizard exists. You probably don't need a level 20 wizard, but there just isn't a number of level 1 characters that can make an even match for one.

Leicontis
2007-10-14, 04:45 PM
This rule of thumb cannot hold in D&D if a level 20 wizard exists. You probably don't need a level 20 wizard, but there just isn't a number of level 1 characters that can make an even match for one
I take it, then, that your level 20 wizard has infinite hit points, infinites spells per day (or spells with infinite duration), and never needs to sleep or eat? Attrition takes its toll, even if slowly. As battle wears on, damage will eventually get through the wizard's defenses, he'll run out of spells, he'll get tired and hungry, and if all of this fails to bring him down, he's slaughtering hundreds of clerics and paladins - how is he going to avoid cheesing off the gods?

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-14, 04:52 PM
It doesn't matter how rare high level wizards are.

A single level 20 wizard who decides that he wants to become rich is all that it takes. Once one single wizard commercializes teleportation circles (which cost less than 30K to set up permanently) the world is changed forever. Or once a high level wizard who is loyal to his country intervenes on his countries behalf to stop an attacker or to spearhead an invasion.

Now as for how the numbers actually work out. Let's do a thought experiment.

Let's take a world with a population of 1 billion.
Now say 10% of the worlds population has PC levels. That is 100 million people with PC levels in the world.
Figure 10% manage to make it past level 5. That is 10 million people.
Now figure 10% of those make it to level 10. That is 1 million people.
Figure 15% of those are wizards. That is 150,000 people.
Now lets figure 1% of those make it to level 20. That is 1,500 level 20 wizards.
Let's figure 10% of those are interested in temporal power and wealth (even if only to further their magical goals). That is 150 level 20 wizards who are willing and able to do what I'm talking about.

Now these are very, very intelligent people. If they work together they can take over much easier than if they work against each other. And they all will still get the power and money they want. If even 5 of them decided to work together they are more than a match for any 1 of the other wizards.

They start setting up the teleportation network and controlling all shipping. This is very profitable. And within 50 years they rule the world.

---------
Oh and becoming level 20 isn't that difficult. You can do it in under 2 game years. Especially if you are a wizard.

bingo_bob
2007-10-14, 04:56 PM
In response to the original question:

A major effect is that you're less likely to find countries with their own armies. At best, your countries will have a small army, and use mercenary companies otherwise.

Monstrous troops are used heavily: Your standard, out-of-the-box Gnoll is superior to your standard human. There's a reason, after all, that villages need adventurers if they want to deal with a gnoll problem.

As a result, your average country's force in a war is going to consist of a large quantity of conscripted peasants, maybe a couple of companies of low level mercenaries, and maybe two or three heavy-hitting 'units' (not necessarily individuals), such as a party of PCs, a small air squadron, or artillery giants.

Note that this makes the assumption that countries are relatively small.

Basically, everything just happens on a smaller scale.

EDIT: Yes, Tippy, you can become level 20 in under 2 years. However, I seem to recall that your explanation was rather complex, and was centered around power-leveling on Ysgard, on your trainees staying completely loyal, and that you'd be able to get the money together to do so.

Also, your percentages there seem rather off. I really don't think you'd have 10% above level 5. Maybe .1%.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-14, 05:23 PM
EDIT: Yes, Tippy, you can become level 20 in under 2 years. However, I seem to recall that your explanation was rather complex, and was centered around power-leveling on Ysgard, on your trainees staying completely loyal, and that you'd be able to get the money together to do so.

Also, your percentages there seem rather off. I really don't think you'd have 10% above level 5. Maybe .1%.

Nah. This has nothing to do with power leveling. It just requires semi intelligent people who will run away when they are outclassed.

You have a group of 4 wizards, level 3 or so. They have just finished up their training at Ye old wizard school and are heading off to explore the world and what not. They do small time adventures, dealing with the Orge thats bothering a town and what not.

You are supposed to level up every 13 equal CR encounters. Let's go with 1 equal CR encounter per day (on average). So 1 level per 13 days. Call it 100 days to reach level 10. Say another 100 days to reach level 15. Another hundred days to reach level 17. And another 100 days to reach level 20.

S0 400 days to reach level 20. And we have 4 level 20 wizards who are friends and who have been adventuring for less than 2 years.

Oh yes, and once you get plan shift you can head off to Ysgard and level up their with no problems. Or adventure around the planes.

----
As for the percentages I used, they are probably to low. What percentage of the PC's that you have played with have died by level 5? And remember, you don't have to kill something to overcome the encounter. Technically 2 PC's can fight each other (say with merciful weapons) and the winner counts as overcoming an overwhelming encounter.

Grey Paladin
2007-10-14, 05:24 PM
Leveling up depends on the *metagame*, In a world where reaching level 20 in under two years is not incredibly difficult, all of the existing foes would scale up as well or be wiped out of existence - survival of the fittest.

(You must assume that whatever your character could think up with his mortal intelligence, Dragons Demons Angels and any other similar foe have already performed and optimized)

I've seen a parody of such a situation, its called DBZ.

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-14, 05:30 PM
I take it, then, that your level 20 wizard has infinite hit points, infinites spells per day (or spells with infinite duration), and never needs to sleep or eat? Attrition takes its toll, even if slowly. As battle wears on, damage will eventually get through the wizard's defenses, he'll run out of spells, he'll get tired and hungry, and if all of this fails to bring him down, he's slaughtering hundreds of clerics and paladins - how is he going to avoid cheesing off the gods?
He never takes HP damage. He's invisible and flying any time he's near the enemy, unless he's in a timestop. And maybe behind a windwall and out of thrown weapons range just to make it more abusive. Oh, and protection from arrows just because he can.

He runs out of spells, but he then goes to some inaccessable, unknown place and rests in a rope trick or MMM. If you want it to be even in a metadivine decreed cage match, that's different. That takes most of the wizard's power away. Er, probably.

If the gods step in, we're no longer talking about a level 20 wizard versus arbitrarily many level 1s. Unless you count 'probably can get a god to help them' as part of the powers of the level 1 characters...:smallconfused:

Let's take a world with a population of 1 billion.
Now say 10% of the worlds population has PC levels. That is 100 million people with PC levels in the world.
Figure 10% manage to make it past level 5. That is 10 million people.
Now figure 10% of those make it to level 10. That is 1 million people.
Figure 15% of those are wizards. That is 150,000 people.
Now lets figure 1% of those make it to level 20. That is 1,500 level 20 wizards.
Let's figure 10% of those are interested in temporal power and wealth (even if only to further their magical goals). That is 150 level 20 wizards who are willing and able to do what I'm talking about.
Drop the population by a factor of 10 and the first two survival numbers by at least a factor of 10 each. Suddenly we're at 1.5 level 20 wizards, without reexamining the survival rate for the second 10 levels, the wizard rate, or the PC-class rate, all of which can easily be lower.

PCs cheat hard. PCs get served encounters they are expected to beat. PCs, in many games, can't go 24 hours without some pitifully outclassed creature attempting to kill them and thus feeding them XP. These are not legitimate assumptions for the world in general, even just the world of high-powered people in general.

deadseashoals
2007-10-14, 06:03 PM
It doesn't matter how rare high level wizards are.

A single level 20 wizard who decides that he wants to become rich is all that it takes. Once one single wizard commercializes teleportation circles (which cost less than 30K to set up permanently) the world is changed forever. Or once a high level wizard who is loyal to his country intervenes on his countries behalf to stop an attacker or to spearhead an invasion.

Now as for how the numbers actually work out. Let's do a thought experiment.

Let's take a world with a population of 1 billion.
Now say 10% of the worlds population has PC levels. That is 100 million people with PC levels in the world.
Figure 10% manage to make it past level 5. That is 10 million people.
Now figure 10% of those make it to level 10. That is 1 million people.
Figure 15% of those are wizards. That is 150,000 people.
Now lets figure 1% of those make it to level 20. That is 1,500 level 20 wizards.
Let's figure 10% of those are interested in temporal power and wealth (even if only to further their magical goals). That is 150 level 20 wizards who are willing and able to do what I'm talking about.

Now these are very, very intelligent people. If they work together they can take over much easier than if they work against each other. And they all will still get the power and money they want. If even 5 of them decided to work together they are more than a match for any 1 of the other wizards.

They start setting up the teleportation network and controlling all shipping. This is very profitable. And within 50 years they rule the world.

---------
Oh and becoming level 20 isn't that difficult. You can do it in under 2 game years. Especially if you are a wizard.

One billion people, eh? The world has only had above one billion people in the last two hundred years, that's purely a result of industrialization (which, even a ubiquitous magic setting like Eberron has failed to entirely replicate). Your napkin math is also completely arbitrary in terms of the percentages it allows for. Basically, the level 20 wizard breaking down the game is even possible only in some settings (e.g. Eberron has few characters above level 5). Furthermore, in many other settings, sufficient checks and balances exist so as to make this not so much of an issue (Elminster and the other numerous higher-level wizards in FR, pretty much EVERYONE in Planescape, sorcerer-kings in Dark Sun, etc.).

Also, XP is purely a metagame construction. It doesn't apply to characters that aren't the players. If you apply it to NPCs on a macro, world-building level, it doesn't make sense at all, it exists ONLY as a mechanism by which to dole out rewards and advancement to your own players.

Chronos
2007-10-14, 06:14 PM
Let's take a world with a population of 1 billion.
Now say 10% of the worlds population has PC levels. That is 100 million people with PC levels in the world.
Figure 10% manage to make it past level 5. That is 10 million people.
Now figure 10% of those make it to level 10. That is 1 million people.
Figure 15% of those are wizards. That is 150,000 people.
Now lets figure 1% of those make it to level 20. That is 1,500 level 20 wizards.
Let's figure 10% of those are interested in temporal power and wealth (even if only to further their magical goals). That is 150 level 20 wizards who are willing and able to do what I'm talking about.
Personally, the rule of thumb I use is that characters of level n are 2.5 times as common as characters of level n+1. So out of your 1 billion people in the world, you'd have 600,000,000 first-levels, 240,000,000 second-levels, 96,000,000 thirds, 38,400,000 fourths, 15,360,000 fifths, 6,144,000 sixths, 2,457600 sevenths, 983,040 eighths, 393,216 ninths, 157,286 tenths, 62,915 elevenths, 25,166 twelfths, 10,066 thirteenths, 4027 fourteenths, 1611 fifteenths, 644 sixteenths, 258 seventeenths, 103 eighteenths, 41 nineteenths, and 16 or 17 twentieth-level characters. Furthermore, not all of those twenties will be adventurers, and not all of the adventurers will be wizards, and not all wizards will be interested in wealth or wars. So it would actually be a fairly rare occurance to have a 20th-level wizard involved in warfare.

As for the percentages I used, they are probably to low. What percentage of the PC's that you have played with have died by level 5?Not all that many. But I've had a heck of a lot of PCs who retired by level 5.

Renrik
2007-10-14, 06:54 PM
Let's not forget that all the adventuring characters will be good-aligned, and the ensuing infighting will kill of lots of them. Let's not foget tht some will retire.Let's not forget that a high-level qizard might have something more important to do than engage in petty border disputes. Let's not forget that if the invaders are invading a country with at least one 20th level character in it, they'd have to be retarded not to forsee the possible problem, and wouldn;t be invading unless they had something they thought could handle the 20th level character.

War would still be played out by the masses.

Matthew
2007-10-14, 10:07 PM
Wow. When did people stop listening to the request? I'll repost what Dhavaer said in Post #9, after we asked for clarification of the question:


Very well then:

How would a human civilisation make an army in the D&D universe, as standard tactics are invalidated by the presence of magic, monsters and incredibly powerful individuals? What would be the standard tactics and army organisation? How would you use mercenaries of certain races, or tamed monsters (stone giant or griffons, for example)? How useful are certain classes?
Assume you can get a single character of about level 11, a few dozen level 7, a few score level 3, and a whole bunch of level 1 npc classed schmoes.
Note: there are no Level 20 folk in this set up. Level Six Spells are as high as we're able to go.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-14, 10:49 PM
This is on topic.

Armies will be knowing like they generally exist in D&D games. Or even in the modern world.

The single most important asset of any fighting force is strategic speed. If you are strategically faster then you can attack where your enemy isn't and retreat before he can respond.

Teleportation Circles (which you can get scrolls of, Plane Shift to Union or Sigil and buy a couple thousand) give the ultimate strategic speed. Undetectable, instantaneous, strategic travel. Even if your enemy has a force ready to counter you and someone capable of casting Teleportation Circle it still takes them 10 miniutes. One of the first people through the TC on the attackers side is the guy who makes the TC back home. He starts casting it immediately upon arrival. He will finish before the enemy caster.

Telepathic Bond provides instant, undetectable communications.

Your enemy will never be able to defend agaisnt your strikes, his only recourse will be to go on the offensive.

So what does this mean? It means that the only battles ever fought will be when the attacker has overwhelming force and is attacking an unprepared enemy. Terrain becomes a lot less important. Defense in depth is impossible. Intelligence will become the ultimate necessity for every nation. The only way you will ever stop the enemy is to know where they plan to attack, and be there when they attack.

So war becomes a rarity. MAD is the name of the game.

Small, deniable teams become the way of war. Think Shadowrun instead of D&D.

Matthew
2007-10-14, 10:51 PM
He said a single character above level 11. I get a level 20 wizard.

Look again, "about", not "above".

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-14, 10:55 PM
Look again, "about", not "above".

I noticed that right after I made my post and edited my post to reflect that before you posted.

Matthew
2007-10-14, 11:06 PM
So, what are we looking at with a Level 11 Character? It would have to be a Cleric or something similar to get Plane Shift as a Spell. Then, you execute your interplanar plan to acquire sufficient resources to transform the nature of warfare? I dunno whether that's really the answer Dhavaer is looking for...

Dervag
2007-10-14, 11:10 PM
Wow. When did people stop listening to the request? I'll repost what Dhavaer said in Post #9, after we asked for clarification of the question:

Note: there are no Level 20 folk in this set up. Level Six Spells are as high as we're able to go.Wizards are useful but not transcendently so; you don't have enough wizards of high enough level to run everything by themselves. Anything that can do mass-effect buffs will be important because you're going to need a way to turn small or medium groups of moderate-to-low level combatants into a powerful fighting force.


This is on topic.No, it is not; it lists numerous options that have absolutely nothing to do with the list of options available to the kingdom being discussed. You just copied your earlier ideas and stuck them down here.

hamstard4ever
2007-10-14, 11:14 PM
I hope your level 11 general has plans for killing off gods, because whoever has War in their portfolio is probably not going to be too thrilled about some uppity mortal wizard mucking things up.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-14, 11:30 PM
Wizards are useful but not transcendently so; you don't have enough wizards of high enough level to run everything by themselves. Anything that can do mass-effect buffs will be important because you're going to need a way to turn small or medium groups of moderate-to-low level combatants into a powerful fighting force.
Again. That is only a tertiary concern. Wizard's don't need to run everything themselves. Or even be involved. You just go and buy some scrolls.

You are dealing with tactical issues. I am dealing with strategic issues. And until the Strategic side is countered the tactical side doesn't matter at all. You can have a hundred level 20 fighters equipped with all the magic items you want except long range teleportation items (those are strategic speed) and I get a hundred level 5 warriors armed with knowing except regular (non magical items) and 1 guy who can cast Teleportation Circle from a scroll.

I will win the war. Your forces are stronger, faster, smarter, better trained, better equipped, and better lead. But that doesn't matter because I only fight on battlefields where your forces aren't currently located.

Fireballs, buffs, etc. They are all tactical spells.


No, it is not; it lists numerous options that have absolutely nothing to do with the list of options available to the kingdom being discussed. You just copied your earlier ideas and stuck them down here.
Only because it is a valid position that everyone else is ignoring because they want big ass armies fighting each other. Everything I have said is possible for the OP's kingdom to do.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-14, 11:41 PM
I hope your level 11 general has plans for killing off gods, because whoever has War in their portfolio is probably not going to be too thrilled about some uppity mortal wizard mucking things up.

Your making a false assumption. That this is anything new. You are assuming that wars are normally fought by massed armies. That hasn't been true since magic first came to the world.

Just like the gun made the calvary charge obsolete and the machine gun made tactics important. Airpower has made ground forces obsolete for all total wars (WW 3 won't even field tanks or any infantry besides special forces). Drones are making scouts obsolete. Communications Satellites changed warfare entirely. ICBM's made invasions of the possessors an impossibility. SLBM's ensure that no nation possessing them will ever be invaded by a state actor.

Do I need to continue?

War evolves. War is not fair. War is not honorable. If you attack an equal enemy than you are doing something wrong. You use every cheap trick, strategy, and tactic in the book. You lie, bluff, threaten, and anything else that you can think of to gain an advantage.

Dervag
2007-10-14, 11:41 PM
I hope your level 11 general has plans for killing off gods, because whoever has War in their portfolio is probably not going to be too thrilled about some uppity mortal wizard mucking things up.Huh? Why?

Presumably there will be plenty of war; level 11 characters lack the power to upset the cosmic balance or abolish war. All that will change is who fights the wars and who wins the wars, no matter what a bunch of level 11 characters do, and if the gods of war cared who won they'd hardly ever get any rest.


You are dealing with tactical issues. I am dealing with strategic issues.No, this is not the case. I am in fact, dealing with strategic issues. One of the most important strategic issues is the ratio of force to space. If one is to control the theater of operations with a small force, the theater must be small relative to the speed of the force in question. Moreover, the force in question must be above some critical threshold of power or it will be impossible for them to win in a decisive way; an enemy who adopts a purely defensive strategy can hold them off, no matter how mobile they are.

This leads to the important strategic consideration: "one eleventh level wizard and a few dozen seventh level characters who probably aren't all wizards aren't going to be able to replace an entire national military, and will be unable to fulfill all the missions required of such a military, especially if opposed by wizards or other PCs of equal level."

Just as I am attending to a critical strategic issue, you are ignoring a critical strategic issue, namely that the resources you want to use do not exist in the setting for the purposes of the discussion.

By analogy, it is technically true that Napoleon could surely have won the battle of Waterloo if he'd had air support from a squadron of Cobra gunships. However, this is irrelevant because there were no such gunships to be found anywhere in the world at the time, and therefore no way for Napoleon to obtain them.

By developing the point that Wellington's army had no defense against Cobra gunships with laserlike focus, you are ignoring a much more important issue.

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-14, 11:44 PM
You are giving said kingdom millions of gold pieces?

How do you justify this?

Hamster_Ninja
2007-10-15, 01:06 AM
The thing is, even with incredibly useful weapons, nations will adapt and force new tactics to be developed. Teleportation Circle may allow Nation A to win its first several battles, but then every high level wizard in every other nation will develop large-scale anti-teleportation spells and cast them on all important places. Large-area blast attacks will cause things like the nullstones mentioned above to become used. Either that or it will go down similar to the post nuclear world: countries who might be making nukes (wizards) will be punished/possibly invaded, with a select few nations having wizards.

Yahzi
2007-10-15, 01:56 AM
But how many high-level characters are actually going to do so?
Well... that is what high-level characters do. Fight things. In fact, that's how they got to be high-level... :smallbiggrin:

Really, the high-levels have got nothing better to do, and a habitual need to stab things...


Another thing to remember: This is a GAME. It is meant to be FUN. If that occasionally requires a little hand-waving or other tweaking of reality by the GM, that's part of the game. Fun and gameplay always take precedence over verisimilitude.
Well, that's fine for you, but I can't have fun without verisimilitude. :smalltongue:

Yahzi
2007-10-15, 02:01 AM
I take it, then, that your level 20 wizard has infinite hit points, infinites spells per day (or spells with infinite duration), and never needs to sleep or eat?
A handful of knights ruled over a near-infinite supply of French peasants. And they were what, level 1? :smalltongue:

You underestimate the weakness of large groups without leadership. And the peasants can't have leaders when the wizards can read minds.

Yahzi
2007-10-15, 02:06 AM
The thing is, even with incredibly useful weapons, nations will adapt and force new tactics to be developed.
I think Tippy has an important point that people are overlooking.

All of D&D is about offense. The spells are designed for a small group of people who are attacking a lair of some kind. Thus, the observation that a small group of people can always overcome any kind of static defense in D&D is... unremarkable.

Tippy is right. There are no nations, and if there are multiple high-level wizards, they only exist by ignoring each other.

Dhavaer
2007-10-15, 05:23 AM
I may be hijacking my own thread with this, but has anyone noticed that the number of guards and soldiers for a city is really, really low? I just generated a small city with enough casters to make up 3/4 its standing army and militia put together. More than that, if you count Rangers.

More on topic, someone said before that giants don't have a ranged attack. They do: rock throwing. High damage and long range, Red Hand of Doom uses hill giants as artillery.

Matthew
2007-10-15, 06:12 AM
A handful of knights ruled over a near-infinite supply of French peasants. And they were what, level 1? :smalltongue:

You underestimate the weakness of large groups without leadership. And the peasants can't have leaders when the wizards can read minds.

A handful? 50,000, you mean? Even if you are looking at a later period, that's still a very misleading comment.


I think Tippy has an important point that people are overlooking.

All of D&D is about offense. The spells are designed for a small group of people who are attacking a lair of some kind. Thus, the observation that a small group of people can always overcome any kind of static defense in D&D is... unremarkable.

Tippy is right. There are no nations, and if there are multiple high-level wizards, they only exist by ignoring each other.

I don't think anybody is missing Tippy's point, this isn't the first time its been aired. The question is really how relevant it is in this Thread. It's not just D&D where a concentrated attack will overcome most any defence, what form that offensive and defence take is another question.


I may be hijacking my own thread with this, but has anyone noticed that the number of guards and soldiers for a city is really, really low? I just generated a small city with enough casters to make up 3/4 its standing army and militia put together. More than that, if you count Rangers.

Hmnn. 5% of the total population are Warriors, that's a fairly large segment of the population. You're right, though. Whilst in previous editions it was stated that Fighters were by far the most common Class, in 3e the number of Spell Casters seems to be a lot higher.

Dhavaer
2007-10-15, 06:28 AM
Hmnn. 5% of the total population are Warriors, that's a fairly large segment of the population. You're right, though. Whilst in previous editions it was stated that Fighters were by far the most common Class, in 3e the number of Spell Casters seems to be a lot higher.

I don't mean the number of warriors, I mean the soldiers and militia. 1% are full time soldiers and 5% are militia.

Matthew
2007-10-15, 06:35 AM
I don't mean the number of warriors, I mean the soldiers and militia. 1% are full time soldiers and 5% are militia.

That's probably just historical accuracy bleeding through. 1% is about right as an order of magnitude for the Ancient and Medieval world and 5% is perhaps a reasonable estimate for the number of part timers. Population of England around 1100 has been estimated to be less than a million and the number of Knights Fees at 5,000 or 0.5-1% of the total population. Of course, that doesn't take into account 'part time Knights' (i.e. those armed only at need) or paid Knights (mercenaries or Household Knights) nor servants who might perform a military function, which might well bring the total to something approaching 5%.

Grey Paladin
2007-10-15, 06:38 AM
Thing is, in the described setting earthly combat wouldn't even matter/happen, level 50 mooks would have caused the extinction of all the mortal races long ago.

Matthew
2007-10-15, 06:42 AM
Thing is, in the described setting earthly combat wouldn't even matter/happen, level 50 mooks would have caused the extinction of all the mortal races long ago.

What Setting is that? Actually, it's Setting before Rules. Where the Rules contradict the reality of the Setting, it's always the rules that are wrong. As far as I am aware, Greyhawk has a very conventional military setup and history with a bit of magic thrown in (and the occasional apocolypse).

Grey Paladin
2007-10-15, 06:47 AM
Assuming we wish to keep it verisimilitude-(err)istic, that would be the realistic situation.

If the setting is always correct, there is no point in ever discussing it as it has no capability of evolving through the players, as the players can only interact with the the setting through the rules.

Matthew
2007-10-15, 07:04 AM
I wouldn't go quite that far. It depends to what degree you want the Player Characters to be able to affect the Game World via rules exploits. The same problem existed in previous editions where Players wanted to invent gun powder or what have you. There are always limits and they should ultimately defined by the setting, rather than the rules. The rules are subserviant to the game. That doesn't prevent the game world from evolving through player action, it just sets limits on how they interact.

To put it another way, the game rules are a description of the game world, but they are an imperfect description.

Fhaolan
2007-10-15, 08:28 AM
Re: Emperor Tippy Ė No specific post, just in general.

So... In other words, this is yet one more piece of proof that high level magic breaks the verisimilitude of the classic D&D campaign worlds like Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, etc.

Since Iím not *interested* in playing a game where there are a stupid number of level 20 wizards who threaten the entire gaming world with mass extinction, and I want to play a game where wars happen and big armies actually are a threatÖ I have no choice but to nerf spellcasters in serious ways, or have several Epic/Deity-level creatures who specificaly prevent any spellcaster from getting above mid-level?

I donít wanna re-write my entire campaign because of this. :smalltongue:

Matthew
2007-10-15, 08:48 AM
Actually, come to think of it, Expeditious Retreat Press have added a Warfare Chapter (http://www.yourgamesnow.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1136) (which is available to download separately as a PDF for $5) to their much lauded A Magical Medieval Society - Western Europe (http://www.xrpshop.citymax.com/catalog/item/3906392/3605517.htm) D20 Sourcebook. I haven't had time to read it yet, myself, but it appears to have been well received, so it's probably worth looking into.

Yvanehtnioj
2007-10-15, 09:13 AM
*sigh*
Siege Warfare isn't possible in D&D. Magic means that supply lines are non existent and that I can bring them past your entire army without a problem.

--------
Why do nations exist and what is their main purpose? They exist to defend their residences from outside threats.

Now magic means that anyone located anywhere can bring a 100,000 troops into a village of 20, if they were so inclined, at any time and then have them gone before your forces can respond.

No nation can defend it's people against such attacks, the attacker always has the advantage. So what happens? The people move into the cities because it is much easier to always defend 1-5 places than it is to defend an entire nation.

So you end up with each nation just being a collection of cities and a few agricultural settlements that supply food. The geographic location of all of these cities and settlements doesn't matter at all. So the whole world is a collection of city nations.

They live in a state of MAD. A superpower could easily take a weaker nation. But if they do then the other superpowers will respond because the aggressor is upsetting the balance of power. Now if anything is foolish enough to attack one of these cities they face armies of thousands of golems, and millions of men (or anything else you want to throw in). Anything except another superpower can never hope to win.

So what happens to the rest of the world? It's wilderness. All of the monsters live out here. Along with the people who didn't move into the cities or have been kicked out (fugitives, etc.).

Here's another thread where I went into more detail about this.
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50169

Oh and heres some of the fluff for a world I made that actually took into account magic in its creation.

The world of Areth is split into two distinct groups. Those who live in the cities and those who donít. Almost five-thousand years ago (0 AC) a group of powerful mages got together and formed a small shipping company. With the use of teleportation magics they were able to eliminate nearly all overhead and risk inherent in shipping goods. They priced themselves competitively and insured that their service was just a little faster and just a little safer. They were very careful to hide how they were moving goods and deliberately stole a number of things they were supposed to transport to give the illusion that it was lost in shipping. After about 50 years of this these mages had amassed a very large fortune. They closed the business and disappeared from the world for the next 50 years. Everyone assumed they were dead.
But these mages werenít dead. They were using their fortune to construct a world wide teleportation network. They eventually finished and had a network that allowed instantaneous travel from any of the hundred major cities in the world to any other. Virtually overnight they managed to put all other shipping firms out of business. Within 20 years the cities not linked to the network crumbled and were deserted. The whole world was changed forever and these mages where the new world power, above every government. Their position lasted for another 280 years. No one is quite sure what happened but their was a war among the council of mages and the teleportation network was destroyed (400 AC & 0 CW)
Each of the 5 mages on the council had a large number of cities backing them in the war. A few cities said they were independent and held themselves aloof. The next 1,700 years was a time of continuous warfare, great engines of destruction where invented by all sides in the conflict. Millions died in a day. Cities rose and fell. Slowly the mages were killed one by one, and the cities backing them all started squabbling amongst themselves, becoming a bunch of independent city states. The last two members of the council struck each other down and the Council War came to a close. (1,700 CW)
After the council war the world was left in a state of turmoil. Some cities conquered others, some allied, a few where destroyed, a few more rose. The next 400 years was spent with the cities jockeying for position and power. In the end the world was left with around 30 separate and roughly equal nations in addition to around a hundred independent city-states. This marked the start of the current age (0 CE).
It is now the 2,873 year of the current era (CE). The whole 2,873 time period between the start of the current age and now has been marked with nations rising and falling, cities being founded and others abounded.

-An except from ďA brief history of Areth and the rise of the CitiesĒ by Joseph Grespo

So the cities are high magic places of wonder. Outside if the cities is the Wilderness. A largely uncharted land that makes up over 99% of the worlds surface (and the world is about 20 times larger than earth). Small groups of people have banded together to survive out in this harsh world. Magic is rare.




Mr. Tippy has it very accurate. Maybe in a setting where resources are low, and the soceities are not very sophisticated, we would see army battles like those in the "Braveheart" movie. But, even then, imagine what would be different about it if you added even a few mages with fireball...

What Mr. Tippy has spoken of you can see very, VERY clearly if you google Netheril. The Netheril Empire of Forgotten Realms was such a nation of city-states, albeit floating city-states.
They were rivals with one another, constantly trying to obtain an advantage over each other. But...together their might was, well...mighty. They built cities under the ocean, and even in the Underdark!

In summation: Emperor Tippy said "it" when he said it all comes down to whether someone has the proverbial 'nuke' or not.

Matthew
2007-10-15, 09:54 AM
Er yeah, but Faerun is not the Default Campaign Setting nor is the degree of magic available during the domination of Netheril currently available in the Forgotten Realms. In short, so what? The parameters of the question were set above by the OP.

Dausuul
2007-10-15, 10:20 AM
What I would expect to see in D&D is something like the modern world, with high-level wizards (and, to a lesser extent, other casters) as stand-ins for nuclear weapons. The high-level casters would establish some kind of balance of power that would prevent apocalyptic magical warfare, because that sort of war is in nobody's best interest, least of all the casters who would be waging it. Upstarts who threatened to overturn that balance would be dealt with swiftly and harshly by the existing archmagi.

But when you have that kind of MAD, what happens? Exactly what happened during the real Cold War--you get wars by proxy. The U.S. never fought the Soviet Union directly, but each nation had its puppets and satellite states to fight on its behalf. Sometimes the U.S. would attack a country and the Soviets would covertly support that country; sometimes the Soviets would attack a country and the U.S. would covertly support that country; sometimes neither superpower was directly involved in a conflict, but both were funneling money and weapons to the respective belligerents.

It would be much the same in a D&D world. The great arcane powers of the day would circle each other warily (in a metaphorical sense), not willing to risk all-out war, but waging constant low-level skirmishes through proxy nations. And those skirmishes would probably involve conventional troops and tactics.

Also, why on earth would you put your population into cities? Wizardry represents an immense concentration of power, making a city into an ideal target. Spread-out populations are much harder for a handful of wizards to terrorize and destroy. A wizard could lay waste to a kingdom if he really tried for long enough, but it would be a lot more work than laying waste to a city, it would tie him up for weeks or months when he could be doing much more useful things, and it would expose him to counterattacks by the enemy's high-level hit squads. A high-level wizard is far too valuable an asset to expend on a task that can be done just as well by a mass of low-level troops.

The sensible approach is to put your key assets into heavily defended magical fortresses, then spread the rest of your population out as much as possible. Use an army of low- and mid-level soldiers to keep order in your realm and wage the aforementioned proxy wars, while your high-level wizards remain strategic assets, used mostly for logistics and intelligence purposes, their offensive powers held in reserve in case the Great War ever comes. Sure, you can teleportation circle your army into one of my tiny hamlets. Congratulations, you just blew a 9th-level scroll to gain control of a couple dozen farmers. Whoop-de-doo. The more spread-out my nation is, the less valuable any single target becomes, and the less economical it is for you to call in your magical firepower (be it an actual wizard or just a scroll) in order to take that target.

Nerd-o-rama
2007-10-15, 10:29 AM
Does anyone else here think that perfectly efficient and "realistic" application of magic to D&D warfare would make any war scenarios in the game, y'know, not fun? I'm perfectly willing to suspend my disbelief for the purpose of having longbow volleys and cavalry charges in a war campaign, because those are way the hell more interesting to me than a cold war where everyone's locked up in magocratic city-states and the countryside is filled with teleportation circles financed by permanent gates to the Elemental Plane of Amber Dust and you're more likely to die of Cloudkill than a stab wound.

Then again, I seem to be in the minority here in thinking that "because it's more fun that way" is a sufficient answer in building a fictional world.

Dausuul
2007-10-15, 10:36 AM
Does anyone else here think that perfectly efficient and "realistic" application of magic to D&D warfare would make any war scenarios in the game, y'know, not fun? I'm perfectly willing to suspend my disbelief for the purpose of having longbow volleys and cavalry charges in a war campaign, because those are way the hell more interesting to me than a cold war where everyone's locked up in magocratic city-states and the countryside is filled with teleportation circles financed by permanent gates to the Elemental Plane of Amber Dust and you're more likely to die of Cloudkill than a stab wound.

Then again, I seem to be in the minority here in thinking that "because it's more fun that way" is a sufficient answer in building a fictional world.

It's not a sufficient answer because the fictional world needs to be internally consistent in order to be believable. It doesn't make sense to have a world where this sort of magic exists, yet no one uses it in war. It's like a late 20th-century world, with all its technology, in which people still fight on horseback with sword and spear--it's just not credible on its own.

If the PCs get involved in politics and reach a sufficient level, they'll start using exactly the tactics described in this thread, and they'll dominate everything because the rest of the world has no defenses against them. God knows I've seen it happen. And then, if they're smart, they'll start asking why it is that no one else has done this before.

Now, there are ways to justify the continued existence of conventional medieval warfare in a world with high-powered magic. But you do need to take the time and effort to account for such things.

Rex Blunder
2007-10-15, 10:45 AM
I don't know if the RAW can be used to extrapolate a world that makes any darn sense at all.

One of the problems is the assumption that the published WOTC spells are all the spells that exist in any campaign world. This doesn't make any sense: nearly all the spells are of primary interest to wandering predators - i.e. PCs.

Given the interests of the rest of the world, we would expect that there should be lots and lots more spells doing stuff like a) weather, b) animal husbandry, c) curing cattle and crop diseases, d) calling down blessings on marriages and children, e) determining the purity of various precious metals, f) warding off small predators, g) various comforts and luxuries - getting rid of bugs, making smelly things not so smelly, preserving foods, not having to shave every day.

Those spells aren't in the PHB or splatbooks because they're not of much interest to PCs. But I think we should assume they exist. Likewise, many defenses for castles and cities are not available because being lord, mayor, or king is only a small, not-very-well supported part of the 3e D&D game. But I'd assume that in a magic-rich world, cities and castles would have various defenses - magically strong walls, nonflammable wood, blocks against undesired teleportation and scrying - that are not available in the D&D rules.

D&D rules present an illogically predator-friendly world, because PCs are predators. If you're going to try for realistic world simulation, I think you'll have to do a heck of a lot of homebrewing.

Nerd-o-rama
2007-10-15, 10:46 AM
Dausuul: "High level spellcasters - high level characters, for that matter - are rare, and those that exist can roast alive any monarchs that try to draft them."

Simple, efficient, and stands up unless you nitpick the numbers. And it's already a core idea of a campaign setting.

Matthew
2007-10-15, 10:46 AM
And then, if they're smart, they'll start asking why it is that no one else has done this before.

That's the real question. It's the source of the disconnect between the Campaign Setting and the Rule Set and one of the many reasons I don't use 3e for my D&D campaign world or lengthy campaigns. The short answer is that the DM needs to come up with reasons why such tactics are either not used or don't work.

However, that's straying somewhat beyond the parameters of this Thread.

Blanks
2007-10-15, 10:53 AM
Thoughts about how to protect the campaign, battlefield tactics and the novel My army feature

Thoughts about how to protect the campaign
I have run some solo campaigns with my player wanting to build an army and forge an empire. Naturally this came up often. My experience is primarely with 2nd edition but the results should be the same.

If we go completely by the rules, everything will be dominated by the highlevel characters. But just a few minor additions will change the result completely.

Remember that the list of spells in the players handbook is just a couple of spells, there can easily be others, for example:

Blanks teleport protector
5rd. level arcane spell
makes a 1x1x1 kilometer cube impossible to teleport into. The MUST be centered around a building which is prepared with special (insert something expensive here) and takes 3 months to complete.

Presto! no teleporting into keeps, the players can't cast it while adventuring due to casting time and the price means big castles have it but smaller fortifications don't.

By the way, I thought nullstones where quite clever as well :)

So lets continue to other problems:

(Mass) invisibility (spells)
True seeing + dispel magic should solve this one.


(Mass) fear (monsters esp. dragons)
Help please ? :)

area of effect spells
erm... more help ? :)

battlefield tactics
Dragons are a problem seeing as they never need to participate to kill an army. Just fly over the enemy army one time and its frightful presence will mean that they are in serious trouble. Panic in your ranks is bad news.

Medusa or anything with a Gaze attack. How effective are armies when everybody have to be blindfolded ;)

Damage reduction is also problematic, if you can't hurt it, its hard to defeat it.

Trolls plus someone to carry water ( for dousing flames). This assumes that people will stoop to this level (using trolls)

My army
My army contains a medusa with all the buffs i can get, a rented dragon, and a whole lot of peasants to charge in when the dragon has panicked the other army :D

Whats your army?
Remember we are low magic, noone above 11. level so you can't wish away my dragon.
That said:
Come fight me :D




-----------
Dammit, it took me so long to log in that my best points are already made :smalleek:

Dausuul
2007-10-15, 11:43 AM
Dausuul: "High level spellcasters - high level characters, for that matter - are rare, and those that exist can roast alive any monarchs that try to draft them."

Simple, efficient, and stands up unless you nitpick the numbers. And it's already a core idea of a campaign setting.

As long as you have an explanation for why one ambitious high-level spellcaster doesn't decide to become king himself (or use a puppet monarch) and take over the world, this holds up pretty well. The simplest explanation for that is probably "Other high-level casters take a dim view of this sort of thing, because they prefer not to have to worry about temporal politics interfering with their studies; so the archmage who decides to become a wizard-king is likely to get nuked by several other archmagi who don't want to deal with wizard-kings."

As I said, if you want a world with standard medieval warfare, it can be justified without a whole lot of trouble. What I, and many of the posters here, object to is the idea that you can just handwave it away and ignore the whole question.

And it's worth noting that this decision does have consequences for the PCs. If a high-level PC wizard starts getting too deeply involved in political matters (or too visibly involved), he's apt to get a message from the NPC archmagi to the effect of, "Dude... don't go there." If he persists, prepare for fireworks.

Morty
2007-10-15, 11:48 AM
Does anyone else here think that perfectly efficient and "realistic" application of magic to D&D warfare would make any war scenarios in the game, y'know, not fun? I'm perfectly willing to suspend my disbelief for the purpose of having longbow volleys and cavalry charges in a war campaign, because those are way the hell more interesting to me than a cold war where everyone's locked up in magocratic city-states and the countryside is filled with teleportation circles financed by permanent gates to the Elemental Plane of Amber Dust and you're more likely to die of Cloudkill than a stab wound.

Then again, I seem to be in the minority here in thinking that "because it's more fun that way" is a sufficient answer in building a fictional world.

I agree fully here, and I'm in this minority myself. Though with properly designed magic, i.e other than what we have in D&D, you don't have to stretch belivability in order to have interesting warfare and politics while still retaining high fantasy feel.

Leicontis
2007-10-15, 12:11 PM
As an expansion of something that was mentioned before:

The standard list of spells is heavily predator-oriented, and contains few spells whose primary uses aren't adventuring-related. Also, these spells are balanced around the concept of small numbers of combatants. I doubt the spells were designed with much thought towards strategic usage. Yes, many spells can be exploited to ridiculous advantage by an ambitious archmage. There is a term for such an archmage - "BBEG".

A Cold-War-type scenario is entirely believable - all of the major powers do technically have high-powered magic at their disposal, but they know that if they use it, so will everyone else, and that kind of ultra-destructive warfare is, as was pointed out, not in anyone's best interest. Therefore, warfare is restrained somewhat, with proxy wars, minor skirmishes, and the occasional epic battle.

Also, I know this is a bit of a stretch, but consider the aerial portion of World War II. Both the Germans and the British were within easy bomber range of each other. Both sides expended resources on air forces. Neither side considered it a waste of their resources to develop fighter/interceptors. They could have devoted all of their air forces to bombers, but both sides decided to develop fighters. Why? Because both knew that even if it meant building fewer bombers, being able to deploy fighters would decrease the number of bombs that fell on them. In the same way, if you have a situation of significant magical offensive power, both countries and mages would decide that defense was useful. If no suitable defensive spells existed already, they would research them. Careful, regular use of low-level divinations can provide advance warning of a magical attack. Higher-level divinations can then yield sufficient details to enable a countermeasure. This, of course, leads to attempts to disrupt enemy divination, and you have a magical equivalent of the Cold War intel race.

Jorkens
2007-10-15, 12:52 PM
Those spells aren't in the PHB or splatbooks because they're not of much interest to PCs. But I think we should assume they exist. Likewise, many defenses for castles and cities are not available because being lord, mayor, or king is only a small, not-very-well supported part of the 3e D&D game. But I'd assume that in a magic-rich world, cities and castles would have various defenses - magically strong walls, nonflammable wood, blocks against undesired teleportation and scrying - that are not available in the D&D rules.

D&D rules present an illogically predator-friendly world, because PCs are predators. If you're going to try for realistic world simulation, I think you'll have to do a heck of a lot of homebrewing.
This makes a lot of sense to me. Attacking and defensive techniques and equipment tend to develop at approximately equal rates for obvious reasons.

For instance, I could imagine magic being developed whereby a few high level wizards, a bunch of magic items and a network of lower level wizards spread out across the countryside can maintain a few defensive spells (anti teleportation, anti scrying, maybe detect out of the ordinary magic like someone invisible levitating around the place) across a whole country. Important leaders would have the best defensive casters they could afford as well as bodyguards and food tasters. In a remotely evenly matched battle, both sides would have enough counter-magic ready that the casters would be roughly in balance and cavalry charges could still make the difference.

(The idea of magic that can be done collaboratively by a lot of comparatively low level wizards is a particular one that would have relatively little interest for an adventuring party but a great deal of interest to a state.)

Rogue 7
2007-10-15, 01:09 PM
You are dealing with tactical issues. I am dealing with strategic issues. And until the Strategic side is countered the tactical side doesn't matter at all. You can have a hundred level 20 fighters equipped with all the magic items you want except long range teleportation items (those are strategic speed) and I get a hundred level 5 warriors armed with knowing except regular (non magical items) and 1 guy who can cast Teleportation Circle from a scroll.

I will win the war. Your forces are stronger, faster, smarter, better trained, better equipped, and better lead. But that doesn't matter because I only fight on battlefields where your forces aren't currently located.


OK, fair enough. What do you do when 10 each of those uber-buffed fighters defend 5 critical towns each, and the other 50 march to attack your cities?

Dausuul
2007-10-15, 02:11 PM
OK, fair enough. What do you do when 10 each of those uber-buffed fighters defend 5 critical towns each, and the other 50 march to attack your cities?

Exactly. The high-level fighters can't be everywhere, but they sure can be somewhere, and wherever they are, they'll utterly dominate that place. If that place is the enemy capital, it doesn't matter how mobile the low-level fighters are. (Of course, this assumes no one else on the battlefield.)

Mobility is a great thing in warfare, and often decisive. But it is not the only thing.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-15, 02:49 PM
No nation has only 5 critical locations.

Every village, every mine, every trade route, every little town. They all are critical.

Take 9/11. 2 buildings were attacked and 5,000 people were killed. Not great but really, more people die in car accidents each day. Yet it completely changed US politics and foreign politics, spawned 2 wars, and messed up the world economy.

The DC area sniper. Brought the area to a virtual stand still. 2 guys with a sniper rifle who killed less than 20 people yet brought the most powerful area in the world to a standstill for over a week.

You don't need to attack strategically important targets to win the war. Destroying random towns, villages, hamlets, etc. continuously and consistently all over a nation is far more effective. It shows that the government is failing in its primary objective, to protect its citizens.

Your citizens will demand action. But their is nothing you can do to stop the attacks, except give me what I want.

You say that you will attack me. How? You need to move your army to my nation. Which could very well be on the other side of the world.

And if we assume that you manage to get your army into my country and start doing the same thing to me that I was doing to you. We both agree to a truce because neither one of us can support the war.

----
War is psychological as much or more than it is physical.

Rogue 7
2007-10-15, 02:58 PM
While you're doing that, and assuming a large country and limited use of teleport, you're not doing it very often, my men are taking your critical cities, and the news reports are blaring this everywhere, stressing that your nation will soon be crushed under our powerful heel and that happy days are soon here again. While you've dedicated a large portion of your resources to harassment tactics that have little functional value (one group will never do enough damage to an entire country to seriously impact national production), I'm attacking your now-weakened cities.

Grey Paladin
2007-10-15, 02:58 PM
Most villagers never left their village in their entire life, Terror does not works if the news cannot spread - terror requires mass media to function.

You keep repeating your own points without ever even attempting to counter our own, which have already dealt with yours.

this is not a discussion at this point, merely attempting to shout louder then the opposition seems to be the game we are playing.

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-15, 03:06 PM
Consequences of a pampered age. Modern first-world residents may not be any more prone to panic under threat of death, but they're a lot more able to broadcast it and can often afford to just bunker up until unaccustomed threats go away.

If you pick off a batch of merchants, some bridges, and a hamlet here and there you're doing about as much damage as a mild case of bandits and the weather.

Now, if you actually go for reasonably valuable targets and punch out a couple small towns per day, you can probably produce the effect you're going for.


Of course, your opposition can get a Divination cast, find your next target, and meet you there...

Rex Blunder
2007-10-15, 03:14 PM
No nation has only 5 critical locations.

Every village, every mine, every trade route, every little town. They all are critical.

(references terror attacks in NYC and Washington)

How do attacks on NYC and Washington DC bolster your argument that attacks on little villages and towns are devastating? Those aren't among the US's 5 critical locations?

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-15, 03:47 PM
Broadcasting what is happening is easy. You manufacture it. Rumors have dethroned kings before.

And you can't just let me take out all your smaller settlements. What do they mostly produce? Food. The numbers work out to something like you need 3 farmers to feed each city resident and themselves.

Killing a hundred farmers (1 large village) causes 33 people to go hungry in the city. Killing a thousand farmers causes 333 people to go hungry. Killing 10,000 farmers causes 3,300 people in the cities to go hungry. At that point you are talking food riots.

That also fails to account for the merchants who loose money because their old trade routes to those destroyed villages are now worthless. And all the other goods those villages produce that are now scarce. Now throw in a few people in each city who buy up what food they can and send it back to your nation through the teleportation circles. And who spread rumors that food is getting scarce. Even if it is a false rumor, it is almost impossible to counter.

The average city has a 3 day supply of food (in real life). My guys are killing the merchants and traders who bring the food, are destroying the food shipments before they arrive.

Even reducing the food available to a city by 25% is enough to cause riots. Especially when you are nudging those riots along.

What is true doesn't matter. What is believed to be true is all that matters. 1 guy torches a dozen buildings one night. Or a few publicized incidents towns being destroyed. Or a rumor that the king is trafficking with devils. Or that the kings troops destroyed a town because of talk of rebellion.

War is not massed armies. It is deception, fear, strategy. Magic doesn't do much on a tactical level. It has to be accounted for but it won't change much unless one side is making extreme use of it (every solider is wielding a wand of fireball for example). Where magic changes warfare is in the strategic and psychological areas.

The gun changed warfare, but only on a tactical level. People still lined up and shot at each other, it was just from farther away than they did with swords. The gun eventually got good enough that lining up and shooting at each other had a prohibitively high cost in men. Tactics changed. WW 1, the machine gun was first really used in war. Commanders who were considered brilliant took out machine gun positions by charging with more men than the machine gun had bullets. They quickly realized that this was a bad idea. Tactics changed, but the strategy was still largely the same (charge the enemy). WW 2 came along, air power was added to the mix and it changed strategy in a major way. Ground forces could be bypassed on the way to the enemy city (the bombing of London for example). Communications were getting better, allowing for better coordination.

Now let's look at a modern military. The US has continuous video surveillance of most battlefields. Troops are coordinated by an eye in the sky who can see where everyone is. Small unit's are now a strategic asset instead of just tactical. SLBM's make invasion of any country possessing them an impossibility. Airpower means that a modern nation can strike anywhere at any time with near total impunity. Subs can deny the seas to anyone.

Magic does the same thing as tech. With it you can strike anywhere. Various spells solve the communications problems. Divinations are a great help in intelligence gathering. A high level wizard or 2 replaces the SLBM for ensuring that an invasion never happens.

Mass battles were fought because the forces couldn't be coordinated over any great distance. And travel took to long so that it was virtually impossible to move an army before the other side could respond.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-15, 03:54 PM
How do attacks on NYC and Washington DC bolster your argument that attacks on little villages and towns are devastating? Those aren't among the US's 5 critical locations?

Not really. DC being wiped out doesn't degrade the US's power to fight a war. Same with NYC. No military assets are their. No military industry is located in either place. DC is important for psychological reasons, Baltimore is a better target from a physical standpoint. NYC is likewise important for psychological reasons but it is also important for physical reasons (it's a major port).

But the WTC wasn't important for any physical reason. It only had psychological significance.

Just like the DC area sniper. Take the DC sniper and replicate it in a hundred different cities and towns all across the US. Or people walking into McDonald's around the nation and shooting them up. Neither is of any physical value, but both are of great psychological value. It shows that the government can't defend it's people.

Look at the Madrid train bombing. It caused a change in government and the removal of Spanish forces from Iraq.

Yakk
2007-10-15, 03:59 PM
All of this talk of 20th level characters and mooks...

Assume that there is a 2-factor attrition ratio between level N characters and level N+2 characters.

Then in a city-state of 1 million people (including rural), we have:
1 L 20
2 L 19
4 L 18
8 L 17
16 L 16
32 L 15
64 L 14
128 L 13
256 L 12
512 L 11
1k L 10
2k L 9
4k L 8
8k L 7
16k L 6
32k L 5
64k L 4
128k L 3
256k L 2
512k L 1

So the half-million L 1 mooks are there, as are the L 20 demigods.

But there are also the ones in between.

The force of 10 L 5s will cut through entire swaths of L 1 mooks. But the L 10s will do the same to the L 5s. And a horde of 1000 L 1 mooks will at least cause the L 10 to blink.

...

Remember that the attack on NYC did less damage than a few weeks worth of car accidents do.

Emperor Tippy
2007-10-15, 04:05 PM
All of this talk of 20th level characters and mooks...

Assume that there is a 2-factor attrition ratio between level N characters and level N+2 characters.

Then in a city-state of 1 million people (including rural), we have:
1 L 20
2 L 19
4 L 18
8 L 17
16 L 16
32 L 15
64 L 14
128 L 13
256 L 12
512 L 11
1k L 10
2k L 9
4k L 8
8k L 7
16k L 6
32k L 5
64k L 4
128k L 3
256k L 2
512k L 1

So the half-million L 1 mooks are there, as are the L 20 demigods.

But there are also the ones in between.

The force of 10 L 5s will cut through entire swaths of L 1 mooks. But the L 10s will do the same to the L 5s. And a horde of 1000 L 1 mooks will at least cause the L 10 to blink.

And you have 15 wizard capable of casting 9th level spells. Any 1 of them can take out an entire army on their own. They are the D&D equivalent of SLBM's.

...

Remember that the attack on NYC did less damage than a few weeks worth of car accidents do.
Exactly my point. Yet it started 2 wars that are now occupying the time of over a hundred thousand US soldiers.

Nerd-o-rama
2007-10-15, 04:06 PM
As long as you have an explanation for why one ambitious high-level spellcaster doesn't decide to become king himself (or use a puppet monarch) and take over the world, this holds up pretty well.
In addition to the worthy answers you proposed to this, you could just call him the BBEG and sic the party on him.

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-15, 04:09 PM
If your strategy is a whispering campaign, why even bother validating the rumors? You don't need to kill any peasants to claim that the king is dealing with devils. You don't need to do anything at all to claim that food is short.

The average city in the middle ages had more than a three day supply of food. During the winter, they would necessarily have enough of most staples to last until the first harvest, because there wouldn't be any more until then. The modern economy prioritizes efficiency, where the medieval economy aims more for security...

Massed battle also happens when you just need that much firepower in one place, or because of logistical issues. World War II armies had the potential (though not always the fully developed ability) to communicate and move on a fairly small-unit level. I don't think that means that every pitched battle of the war was a stupid mistake.

More on topic, someone said before that giants don't have a ranged attack. They do: rock throwing. High damage and long range, Red Hand of Doom uses hill giants as artillery.
I said it, but rock throwing certainly counts. At 2d6+7 I wouldn't call it high damage, though. A CR 7 humanoid with a bow has more damage output and competitive range.

------------

No city in the US is really important for war-fighting power after mobilization in a modern war. If you're wiping cities, there really isn't any chance of useful production after the festivities start.

Dausuul
2007-10-15, 04:21 PM
Broadcasting what is happening is easy. You manufacture it. Rumors have dethroned kings before.

Fine, I manufacture rumors and spread them in your kingdom. This has nothing to do with teleportation.


And you can't just let me take out all your smaller settlements. What do they mostly produce? Food. The numbers work out to something like you need 3 farmers to feed each city resident and themselves.

Killing a hundred farmers (1 large village) causes 33 people to go hungry in the city. Killing a thousand farmers causes 333 people to go hungry. Killing 10,000 farmers causes 3,300 people in the cities to go hungry. At that point you are talking food riots.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. How are you killing 10K farmers here? Your guys are just torching hamlets. 100 soldiers are not going to burn enough hamlets to make a serious dent, unless you are literally teleporting them from one hamlet to the next. And if you're doing that, how in the name of all that's holy are you paying for all those scrolls? And who's providing the intel, since you can't teleport without a detailed description of the location?

That's to say nothing of the fact that attrition will wear your forces down. 5th-level warriors are tough but far from invincible. If you're attacking dozens of hamlets a day, you'll be taking losses just from lucky hits by 1st-level commoners.

And God help you if you happen to teleport into a place where one of my boys--just one--happens to be passing through on his way somewhere. I can spare a few soldiers for patrol duty, and the more hamlets you hit, the greater the odds that you'll meet one of them. And once you do, you're toast. He can chase you right back through your own teleportation circles and keep on killing until every one of your troops is dead. Particularly if he starts by butchering the fellow who's casting teleportation circle...

Meanwhile, fifty 20th-level fighters are marching grimly toward your capital. It may take them a while to get there, but not that long, considering you allowed them anything short of long-range teleportation (which means they can have things like wings of flying). And those guys are invincible, or the next thing to it. Certainly nothing you've got will even slow them down. When they get to your capital, they fly in, sack the place, and burn it to the ground. Then they move on. While you're piddling around with hamlets, I'm razing whole cities. Eventually I'll cripple your economy to the point that you can no longer pay for all those scrolls.

Hawriel
2007-10-15, 04:28 PM
Tippy whare does your theories on warfare come from? IF you studdy the opening of the Great War at all you know that "strategic speed" does not automaticly grant you victory. Taking a capital means jack squat unless your an officer coming out of the academy who as only been taught Jominien theory. You also tried to debunk my statment with out countering my examples. Prove to me that the Mex/American war was won as a direct resust of taking Mexico City, or that taking Bagdad ended the war, prove to me why we are not part of the British empire because England captured and burned DC and other important cities. oh one last thing the US dropped more bombs in North Veitnam than in all of WW2 yet, we lost that war. B52 = 20th level wizard.

Yeah the Great Ghost dance put a huge hert on the US as a country. It was a one shot deal though. IF you remember most of the peaple invalved died dering the spell. Effectively it one a one time use nuke. The NAN won because that one spell scared the crap out of US polititions. They where unwilling to use nuke to counter, witch would have been justafied. Keep in mind this was the first use of magic in that world. with in ten years evry one had high powered wizards/shamans in there armies.

If you have not read the Black Company (some one here did he touched on it) Magic was used as a hammer at times. Mostly it was used like we use alot of are tech now. recon, stealth, misdirection, medical. The wizards of the black company found it much more usefull to cast mutlaple Ilusioins on the infintry or alter the battlefield. Fantom soldiers, fog, and alot of other psycological aplications that attacked moral. A 20th level fireball may take out 100 men, but using magic to cause terror will kill an armies will to fight.

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-15, 04:36 PM
If you have not read the Black Company (some one here did he touched on it) Magic was used as a hammer at times. Mostly it was used like we use alot of are tech now. recon, stealth, misdirection, medical. The wizards of the black company found it much more usefull to cast mutlaple Ilusioins on the infintry or alter the battlefield. Fantom soldiers, fog, and alot of other psycological aplications that attacked moral. A 20th level fireball may take out 100 men, but using magic to cause terror will kill an armies will to fight.
Most of the Black Company magicians couldn't do anything beyond illusions. Magicians with the power for real effects used those, and had quite a lot of impact with them. Especially when we get to the bit with the mundane-usable energy cannon of the later books...

Lapak
2007-10-15, 04:56 PM
Exactly my point. Yet it started 2 wars that are now occupying the time of over a hundred thousand US soldiers.The huge, critical difference between that scenario and this one is that the real-world enemy force has no set base of operations to hit, or the whole things would have been over ages ago. In your fantasy conflict, this is not true. If the 20th level soldiers flatten/depopulate your major cities, you lose the ability to pursue the war in the way you describe. And they are fully able to do it.

As for the fiction comparisons, I still hold that the Malazan books are a fine example of high-level D&D style magic in combat. When the 20th-level-equivalent magicians aren't around, it's all about the soldiers who are fighting, sometimes using the equivalent of magical items to give them a boost or hit a strongpoint. When the big magicians step in, everyone else becomes utterly irrelevant. Mundane defenses like walls are shattered, huge groups of soldiers are wiped out in the blink of an eye, and entire armies are put to rout.

Since there are very, very few such magicians, mundane and semi-mundane armies are still useful. But they've been completely decisive in every battle they've been present at.

Grey Paladin
2007-10-15, 05:01 PM
Counterpoint: "I Wish Rival Kingdom didn't exist using the Book of Truespeech"
:smalltongue:

Indon
2007-10-15, 05:22 PM
Teleportation Circle removes supply lines, the opportunity for ambush, and gives strategic surprise.


Yes, yes, generally ridiculous D&D rules-exploitation is not pursued in militaries, to keep things interesting.

But if we're going to...

We might as well spread Lycanthropy throughout our entire populace, with a brief and mandatory form-control training. Werebears have been mentioned before (as they are generally Lawful Good); a nation of Werebears is immensely more potent than a traditional army.

Even your civilians, with one NPC class level, can kill multiple level 1 soldiers each.

And it's all free. You just gave your entire country like +6 ECL at no cost.

mshady
2007-10-15, 05:24 PM
One thing I've noticed is in reviewing DnD spells is that, of course, they are oriented towards adventurers and combat at their level. More or less.

Just like we do not see the agricultural, medical, entertainment, weather and manufacturing spells so much, do we truly see the ones available for warfare?

Just looking at the FR city profiles, they all maintain relatively large armies. Now while I would not credit the designers with thinking throgh mass combat with magic, I think it easily could coexist. I'd submit there are quite a few spells and items that allow an army to operate in this environment to an extent.

Also... give them a skill item and load them up with dispells, I've found lowish level mages reasonably capable of taking the bite off the damage higher level mages do.

MShady

Rogue 7
2007-10-15, 07:16 PM
SNIP

^

What he said.

Dervag
2007-10-15, 08:49 PM
Most villagers never left their village in their entire life, Terror does not works if the news cannot spread - terror requires mass media to function.

You keep repeating your own points without ever even attempting to counter our own, which have already dealt with yours.

this is not a discussion at this point, merely attempting to shout louder then the opposition seems to be the game we are playing.I wrote a reply that this ninjas.


Broadcasting what is happening is easy. You manufacture it. Rumors have dethroned kings before.In time, yes. Time. Time is the element that your unstoppable god-weapon plans tend to neglect. It takes time to start rumors, time to make people afraid of invincible teleporting bandits who are everywhere and nowhere.

What security do you have against your enemies in that span of time?


Killing a hundred farmers (1 large village) causes 33 people to go hungry in the city. Killing a thousand farmers causes 333 people to go hungry. Killing 10,000 farmers causes 3,300 people in the cities to go hungry. At that point you are talking food riots.How long will it take you to kill ten thousand farmers? How many farmer-days worth of food do I have in my storehouses? How much of your nation's food can I steal during the time you are busily killing my farmers?


What is true doesn't matter. What is believed to be true is all that matters. 1 guy torches a dozen buildings one night. Or a few publicized incidents towns being destroyed. Or a rumor that the king is trafficking with devils. Or that the kings troops destroyed a town because of talk of rebellion.Half this stuff was just as possible in real life as in fantasy worlds using cavalry raids; why didn't it dominate the world of real-life warfare prior to the industrial age?


I said it, but rock throwing certainly counts. At 2d6+7 I wouldn't call it high damage, though. A CR 7 humanoid with a bow has more damage output and competitive range.OK, give your giant a bow and arrow.

Renrik
2007-10-15, 09:53 PM
Your making a false assumption. That this is anything new. You are assuming that wars are normally fought by massed armies. That hasn't been true since magic first came to the world.

Just like the gun made the calvary charge obsolete and the machine gun made tactics important. Airpower has made ground forces obsolete for all total wars (WW 3 won't even field tanks or any infantry besides special forces). Drones are making scouts obsolete. Communications Satellites changed warfare entirely. ICBM's made invasions of the possessors an impossibility. SLBM's ensure that no nation possessing them will ever be invaded by a state actor.

Do I need to continue?

War evolves. War is not fair. War is not honorable. If you attack an equal enemy than you are doing something wrong. You use every cheap trick, strategy, and tactic in the book. You lie, bluff, threaten, and anything else that you can think of to gain an advantage.

You make several false statements.

1. The gun did not make the cavalry charge obsolete. Cavalr charges lost their effectiveness graduall, the general starting point being around the battle of Agincort and the displaying of the power of massed groups of ranged attackers. Even then, cavalry charges were occuring with success well into the Napoleonic wars and even into the American civil war. The widespread use of artillery, machine guns, and poison gas, along with the stationary nature of trench warfare, finall ended most nations' use of cavalry. Poland, however, continued to feild cavalry into WW2 (that didn;t go so well), and in Mongolia, some cavalry units still exist, though with limited use.

2. Tactics were important long before the machine gun. Example? Greece vs. Persia. The greeks won because they used phalanx tactics and fought as a cohesive unit against a vastly larger enemy. Using tactics like these, as well as larger-scale tactics concerning the movement of the army on the feild itself, they won Marathon and drove off the Persians years later when Xerxes invaded. The macedonians developed the Phalanx tactic further, and made it an almost unbeatable force. The Romans were masters of tactical warfare, using sheild walls, the tortoise formation, and other tactical advantages. The huns and mongols introduced new ways to fight with horses, and their tactics defeated the romans at numerous battles. The English longbowmen used their tactic, namel ranks of peasant bowmen behind dismounted men-at-arms, to break the french at several major battles in the hundred years' war. At Bannockbourn, the scots used the poltron tactic of massed spears to defeat the English cavalry. In the colonial age, the naval tactics of the British won them dominion over the seas. In the Napoleonic era, a tactical mixture of cavalry, cannons, and infantry was need to win the day, and the complexity of Napoleonic warfare continue to fascinate to this day. Need I go on?

3. Ground forces are not, never have been, and never will be, obsolete. Air power has limited effectiveness, and ground forces will always be needed to mop up, get into hard-to-reach areas, and drag the enemy, kicking and screaming, out of their foxhole or bunker to surrender. Any military planner can tell you that a war cannot be won exclusively on air power. Only 1 battle in history has been fought completely in the sky- The Battle of Britain- and it was only a preamble to a planned German ground invasion of England. If air superiority granted victory in any conflict, America would be winning in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are not. Why? Becuase airstrikes and bombing are innefective against guerilla tactics, and ou need a sustained ground force presence to even begin to deal with guerilla fighters. And, as the rift between the military might of the developed world and the developing world increases, as the effectiveness of guerilla tactics becomes even more apparent, we can expect to see more and more guerilla tactics being used. Air superiority will never be enough.

4. World War 3 implies that there will be a third war in the World War series. There will probably not, as the reasons for WW1 and WW2 are pretty much resolved, and German is basically pacifist. If WW3 occurs, it will not be called WW3.

5. ICBMs do not make invasion impossible. Anti-missile defense systems can be developed. Besides, war isn;t about invasion anmore. It's about using puppet states and funding guerilla armies to ensure the world superpowers' interests in developing nations. It's kind of like a new kind of colonialism. When 2 superpowers go to war, they do so vicariousl through puppets.

6. SLBMs follow the same rule as above.

Likewise, the use of magic does not automatically destroy the possibility of warfare. For one thing, magic is expensive. You have to train, supply, and/or hire wizards. Nonmagical communities can fight back by attacking economic interests and cutting off funding for the magical agressors. Moreover, wizards eventuall run out of spells and get tired. Finall, how man uber-powerful wizards are ou going to have? Maybe 10 in the most extreme campain worlds, maybe 3 in the least. Not enough to change the very course of warfare.

Warfare isn;t about who has the best technology or the most soldiers or who kills the most people. It's about economics. Whoever can kill most efficiently, whoever can feild the cheapest army still capable of holding their own in conflict, whoever can exhaust their enemy's economic resources first, can win a war. That's why guerilla warfare works. It's dirt-cheap to use, and forces the enem to spend huge amounts of money keeping a standing arm on police dut in low-intensity areas just so they have a chance of being there when the shooting starts.

Raum
2007-10-15, 10:15 PM
Most villagers never left their village in their entire life, Terror does not works if the news cannot spread - terror requires mass media to function.History doesn't support that. I can make a good argument that the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire was largely initiated by the republic's response to an act of terrorism.

All terrorism requires (beyond the act itself) is communication. In some ways slow communication may actually add to the terror. After all, you don't know what else may have happened...

Besides, I could easily see a gossip network covering entire countries using low level spells like Animal Messenger. Still slower than radio but much faster than waiting till someone is going the right direction to send a note.

Yahzi
2007-10-15, 10:22 PM
A handful?
Comparatively speaking, ya.

The point is that super-powers + organization beats infinite peasants.

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-15, 10:33 PM
History doesn't support that. I can make a good argument that the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire was largely initiated by the republic's response to an act of terrorism.
Please do? That sounds interesting.

All terrorism requires (beyond the act itself) is communication. In some ways slow communication may actually add to the terror. After all, you don't know what else may have happened...
It requires credible communication, and a response.

If the news is passed by travelers, or at best a loose gossip-net of magic users, are you really going to be confident that some hamlet you've never heard of was burned down? You'll never see any evidence of it...in fact, a moderately wary and amoral government could probably ensure that no one will see evidence of it beyond the hamlet no longer being present.

And if you do know that something bad is happening, what do you do? You don't have a lot of options as a hamlet-dwelling commoner. If you stay home and keep working, how scared you are doesn't make a lot of difference to anyone at the top. You've got to be so frightened you're willing to abandon your livelihood and your ancestral home and flee either to the wilderness or the cities before the terror has actually achieved anything.

Renrik
2007-10-15, 10:36 PM
It's not the peasants were activel tring to shake off the yoke of knightly rule ever waking second. The two sides weren;t in active conflict. The peasants lived on the feudal lords' lands, sevred in their armies, and payed duties and tithes. They generall werent trying to hack apart the knight. If the had been, though, things would have been different. A swarm of peasants with sharp sticks can take down a knight simpl by grabbing on to him and pulling to the ground to be stabbed through the throat with a splinter of wood. Want proof? See the Yellow Turban rebellion in China, about 220 AD. Huge uprising of peasants will sticks and virtuall no armor, take down the entire ruling Han dynasty and all their professional soldiers. Masses of untrained, ill equipped, ill-organized peasants, in enough numbers, can beat the hell out of knights.

Yogi
2007-10-15, 11:03 PM
*Enter hammer of Non-Reality Check*

Consulting here (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pop-in-eur.html), the population of Europe at around the year 1000 was around 38.5 million people. This is in the middle of the medieval period. Obviously, this number will vary significantly depending on the population and surface area of your Prime Material Plane, but for a medieval setting, 10 billion is out of the question. Consulting this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe) Europe's land mass is around 10.2 million square kilometers. This comes out to around 3.77 people per square kilometer.

Second, consulting the handy DMG v 3.5 in the very largest city size (metropolis, population > 25,000 people) the highest level wizard is level 1d4 + 12. This makes level 16 the highest your normal NPCs will go to. A city of this size will cover over 6,630 square kilometers worth of people. Of course, the metropolis will cover significantly less space, but getting an idea on how the population to territory ratio should make it quite clear how rare these cities are. The official Rules as Written from the DMG puts them at around 1% of the total number of urban areas. One step down from the list is the Large City, which requires only 3,180 square kilometers to support. These cities can have level 1d4 + 9 wizards, which means that 13th level is what they can muster. This is NOT including the masses of towns and villages needed to support such large cities. High level tactics will therefore only be available to the most powerful cities, ones that are already empires.

Let's take this one step further. According to the DMG, for each Metropolis (with minimum population 25,000), there will be
3 Large Cities @ minimum 12,000 each
10 Small Cities @ minimum 5,000 each
15 Large Towns @ minimum 2,000 each
30 Small Towns @ minimum 900 each
20 Villages @ minimum 400 each
20 Hamlets @ minimum 80 each
10 Thorps @ minimum 20 each

Hence, in order to have any mages above 13th level, your empire must total 177,800 people at least, covering a total of 76,200 square kilometers. That's around the size of the Czech Republic.

So it's not impossible for a kingdom to have high level casters, it's just that they're "only" 16th level, and very very rare.

Rex Blunder
2007-10-15, 11:19 PM
Tippy mentioned 1 billion, not 10 billion, but agreed, I think 9th-level spells are out of the question. For one thing, the OP specified that each army had access to one ~11th level character, tops.

So Teleportation Circle is out of the picture. Depending on how far away from 11th level we are able to go, Greater Teleport might be out of the picture too. (Teleport, however, is still possible.)

So what would this army look like? Would masses of infantry be feasible against an enemy with only a handful of 7-12-level characters? Would you bother to build castles?

Raum
2007-10-15, 11:48 PM
Please do? That sounds interesting. Briefly, pirates sacked Ostia in 68 BC. They burnt the port, destroyed a consular war fleet, and kidnapped two prominent senators. The senate's panicked response was drafting and passing a law which allowed Pompey to raise an army and destroy the pirates. Of course the law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lex_Gabinia) also concentrated a significant amount of power in one man's hands and played a role in leading up to the First Triumvirate.


It requires credible communication, and a response.Does it? Possibly it simply requires credulous people... Seriously, if gossip and rumor are your major method of news they'll be just as believed as CNN. And probably just as accurate.

The Roman Senate's response to Ostia shows how prone scared people are to over reacting. Terror has been a tool used throughout history. For a more famous, and sensationalized, example look at the Nizari Isma'ilis - sensationally better known as the Assassins.

Going back to D&D warfare, as long as spells duplicate (or improve) modern capabilities, warfare with said spells will be similar to modern war. The most destructive magics / technologies are seldom used. Wars between the most powerful countries or entities (including gods) are fought via proxy. Whether the proxy is an adventurer or a client state's military is immaterial. Either way you'll seldom see direct opposition between Powers simply because of the potential for escalation and mass destruction. Unless you have a Power whose goal is destruction instead of conquest...

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-16, 12:12 AM
Briefly, pirates sacked Ostia in 68 BC. They burnt the port, destroyed a consular war fleet, and kidnapped two prominent senators. The senate's panicked response was drafting and passing a law which allowed Pompey to raise an army and destroy the pirates. Of course the law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lex_Gabinia) also concentrated a significant amount of power in one man's hands and played a role in leading up to the First Triumvirate.

...

The Roman Senate's response to Ostia shows how prone scared people are to over reacting. Terror has been a tool used throughout history. For a more famous, and sensationalized, example look at the Nizari Isma'ilis - sensationally better known as the Assassins.
Your examples of terror are not at all what Tippy seems to be talking about, or really any part of the modern conception of it. Stampeding the Roman Senate, a collection of the Republic's elite, is not the same thing as spooking the man in the street. Let alone the man in the dirt track through the village. We'd need to characterize the governments involved before we could talk about intimidating the leaders.

Similarly, the assassins were a terror to rulers, not to the general public. People might be demoralized by seeing their overlord cut down in a public place, but the goal is to demoralize anyone considering taking that overlord's place.

Does it? Possibly it simply requires credulous people... Seriously, if gossip and rumor are your major method of news they'll be just as believed as CNN. And probably just as accurate.
In that case, either you won't even have a civilization or your people are nearly impossible to worry. Seriously, consider the things that were considered solid facts about the world in medieval Europe. Idiotic stories fabricated out of whole cloth got circulated as eyewitness accounts. There's no way someone getting the news even second-hand could know the difference between a real attack and some traveler with a good story.

Going back to D&D warfare, as long as spells duplicate (or improve) modern capabilities, warfare with said spells will be similar to modern war. The most destructive magics / technologies are seldom used. Wars between the most powerful countries or entities (including gods) are fought via proxy. Whether the proxy is an adventurer or a client state's military is immaterial. Either way you'll seldom see direct opposition between Powers simply because of the potential for escalation and mass destruction. Unless you have a Power whose goal is destruction instead of conquest...
Spells have some key divergences from technology, particularly in that they are extremely difficult for anyone but specialists (who fall somewhere between engineers and theoretical physicists) to use.

Perhaps even more, there aren't really any overwhelmingly destructive magics. Unless you count the ones that actually break reality (titan-gate chain, epic stuff), just about all offensive spells are clean and focused weapons. The threat to any sort of conventional warfare is in the non-combat magics.

Dervag
2007-10-16, 12:20 AM
The Roman Senate's response to Ostia shows how prone scared people are to over reacting.Yes, but to achieve that the pirates had to hit the Senate where they lived. Literally where they lived; they could look out their windows and see the smoke rising from Ostia. And even then there was a long period of time between the initial event (the sack of Ostia) and the consequences (Pompey's fleet of biremes and eventually the rise of the First Triumvirate).

It's that lag time that creates the real issue in any attempt to decide a war by terror tactics. Moreover, terror tactics are inherently upredictable. The pirates probably didn't set out to destabilize the Roman Republic and pave the way for the rise of the Empire, and certainly didn't want Pompey to raise a fleet to defeat them, either. Terror tactics have unpredictable consequences because they rely on the reaction of your enemy to achieve your aims. If you terrorize a nation with unstoppable teleporting bandit attacks, they might surrender. But on the other hand they might ally with another nation of teleporters and use their combined forces to ravage your economic core territory, leaving you just as badly off as the nation you attacked if not worse. You can't predict the consequences of things like whisper campaigns, and they tend to turn around and bite you for that reason.

Blanks
2007-10-16, 03:49 AM
It seems everybody is neglecting the fact that we are talking about people here.

"My 20. level wizard will annihilate your capital!"
Will he? He seems rather evil to me. Are all the high levels evil?

The question wasn't what would modern warfare be like with magic instead of nukes.
Please remember that the medieval area had certain morals and rules that just doesn't exist today ("You killed a priest??? You godless heathen!")

Now we are not even talking medieval ages here, we are talking medieval fantasy. Your high level wizard will be chased by an army of paladins and priests from his own country.

People also talk a lot about balance of power meaning no one will attack. The problem is, I just can't see orcs acting that way. If the only way to wage war is high level wizards, every evil race which does not have them is wiped out. Seeing as there are orcs, they must have wizards. And are their wizards going to say: "gee in this situation its best to lead a life of peace" ? Not likely when Grumsch gives you a free ticket to heaven on first class if you launch the first nuke/wizard.



Please everyone - back to fantasy roleplaying, none of my knights have studied Clausewitz and not all wizards are evil enough to cast cloud kill on innocent people.

Foxer
2007-10-16, 06:24 AM
The single most important asset of any fighting force is strategic speed. If you are strategically faster then you can attack where your enemy isn't and retreat before he can respond.


Nope. The most important assets of any fighting force are logistical, not strategic. The capacity to produce, maintain and launch a fighting force in the first place is more important than the speed with which you can do so.

If we're talking about a world in which magic is sufficiently commonplace and sufficiently powerful as to negate standing armies and produce a situation where warfare is a matter of surgical strikes by PC-leveled elites and/or M.A.D. by means of high ranking spellcasters, then we have to ask how any nation (or city-state) is producing and maintaining these assets. Who's making the magic items and scribing the high-level scrolls wielded by the PC-leveled strike units? Who's training the 20th-level wizards? Sure, if you have these things you can whip pretty much any opponent in the world today, but how do you do so tomorrow? If your defense policy revolves around a single 20th-level caster, what do you do when he dies of old age, or falls in battle against a similarly skilled enemy, or decides to translate himself to a higher plane of existence? (And just how many 1st-level wizards do you need to train to produce that one lucky individual who goes "all the way" to the 20th level?)

If this is the sort of world we're talking about, any nation will be forced to maintain the facilities (such as magical academies) to replenish their stock of magical munitions and high-level casters, and not only maintain them, but defend them too.

I would suggest that a nation (or other political body) with a high-level caster at their beck and call would more likely want to keep said caster at home, training his successors and protecting them against other high-level super-weapons. Think of the Star Wars universe for a moment: sufficiently experienced Jedi can trump armies (which is why the Old Republic doesn't have an army in Episode I), but the Jedi fell because they left their training facility open to attack. If Obi-Wan and Yoda had stayed in the Jedi Temple, leading from the back like good commanders, Anakin wouldn't have been able to slaughter the next generation of Jedi and the Order would have recovered from its losses on the battlefield.

Nor need my stop-at-home high-ranking caster restrict himself to teaching duties. He should also be engaged in long-term defensive projects, such as warding my city against teleporting saboteurs and dive-bombing dragons. Magical artifacts last longer than the wizard who made them, so they're a good investment for the future too. Over time, my capital city should become immune to magical assault, and that seems right for the setting; fantasy literature going back to the Trojan Cycle abounds with artifacts that keep their home city from falling.

And if I can render my home city invulnerable to magical attack, so can my enemies. Obviously, I can't shield my whole kingdom, so perhaps Tippy is right to say that the city-state (rather than the nation-state) will be the prevailing model in a D&D world, and perhaps there is still a place for defense via the deterrent of Mutually Assured Destruction. After all, the people in my city still depend on food from the surrounding countryside, and even a relatively lowly spellcaster should be able to burn my crops and slaughter my farmers with impunity.

Back on topic:

Does this suggest a historical model for warfare in a D&D world?

I think it does. During the Classical Period, the Greek city-states were largely immune to assault by the other cities, owing to the poor quality of Grecian siege warfare techniques and the relatively small armies each city could field. Instead, each city fought by attacking their rivals' non-urban assets, burning crops and blockading trade routes, for instance, which is pretty much the pattern suggested above.

So, D&D armies, following the Greek city-state model, are small, very well-trained and equipped, and are deployed in such a fashion as to pressurize the foe into accepting your political demands (e.g. "sign the treaty or I burn your crops"). Mercenaries are frequently employed, and battles are small, low-key affairs which occur when one side intercepts another's raiding force.

Dausuul
2007-10-16, 07:50 AM
And if I can render my home city invulnerable to magical attack, so can my enemies. Obviously, I can't shield my whole kingdom, so perhaps Tippy is right to say that the city-state (rather than the nation-state) will be the prevailing model in a D&D world, and perhaps there is still a place for defense via the deterrent of Mutually Assured Destruction. After all, the people in my city still depend on food from the surrounding countryside, and even a relatively lowly spellcaster should be able to burn my crops and slaughter my farmers with impunity.

Not necessarily. Remember that for a raiding mission to do significant damage, it has to stay for more than a few rounds--the peasants you're targeting won't be all clumped together for you to kill. They'll be out working their fields. If the defender can set up an intelligence network that can report an attack quickly enough (admittedly, I'm not sure offhand how to do this, but I'll bet I could find a way if I hunted for a while), a response team of mid-level wizards and high-level fighters can teleport to the location of the enemy strike force and engage it. The strike force may or may not succeed in teleporting back to safety before they take substantial damage, but there is certainly a risk; if the strike force's wizard falls before he can get them clear, they're in trouble.

Moreover, teleportation favors the defender simply because of the requirement of familiarity with the target. The defender can use a crystal ball to scry on a friendly agent in the target village, or simply have a bunch of transport wizards who make a practice of acquainting themselves with every village in a given area. The attacker must figure out how to get the necessary intel for every teleport.

(Hmm... one possibility I just thought of for a defensive network is to hand out scrolls of fireball to low-level wizards in the various villages. When an attack begins, the wizard uses the scroll to throw a fireball 600 feet in the air. That signal will be high enough to be seen from quite a distance; a "watch wizard" stationed on a high point in the area can use a scroll of sending to alert the defending forces, who then use a crystal ball with telepathy to scry on some pre-determined resident of the village under attack and find out the situation.)

Leicontis
2007-10-16, 09:56 AM
Careful use of divination spells, especially in conjunction with more conventional intelligence-gathering, could tell you if, when, and where these mass-teleporting armies will attack. With enough advanced warning (potentially several days), it becomes trivial to ready a lethal ambush. An illusion spell like False Vision can deal with any attempt by the attackers to check whether they can teleport in safely, and a regular or greater Anticipate Teleportation spell would make life even harder (and shorter) for the attackers.

Foxer
2007-10-16, 11:11 AM
Not necessarily. Remember that for a raiding mission to do significant damage, it has to stay for more than a few rounds--the peasants you're targeting won't be all clumped together for you to kill. They'll be out working their fields.

So I attack at night. Burning hands to the inn's thatched roof, fireball the tithe-barn and windmill, drop a cloudkill on the village square to get the locals as they run out to see what all the noise is about and then fly or teleport the heck outta there. How much damage do I really need to do? After all, getting the peasantry to flee their fields and take refuge behind the city's warded defenses actually works out even better than killing them does. Frightened refugees will be lobbying the local government to make peace and let them get back to their homes, as well as gobbling up the stored food in the city.

And, something I should have said earlier, my raiders don't need to be magic-users. In fact, I'd probably prefer to keep my serious spellcasters back home, churning out wands, which can then be wielded in the field by low-level casters and rogues.

Of course, it isn't a risk-free strategy, and the countermeasures you suggest are a good starting point. If your response teams are alert and lucky, my raiders could take some serious losses, but (a) that's war and, (b) every guy you've got watching out for my raiders is a guy who isn't raiding my kingdom.

Yogi
2007-10-16, 12:26 PM
You know, I can think of a few real world countries that have been under a steady stream of terroist attacks over many years now and are nowhere near surrendering. I would also like to point out that terroist attacks are usually made by the weaker party against the stronger, usually to make the occupation force's lives miserable. That's the thing about a few units doing hit and run terror attacks, all they do is make someone's lives miserable. You need quire a large number of standing troops to actually occupy a significant area, and stop the Insurgents Terroists La Resistance from wrecking havok with some low level spells, then running away.

Of course, there is the option of "kill them all" but that still requires an army to do so. That, or the high levels could try to do so themselves, which involves facing masses of desperate pesants with nothing to lose, plus several times their reccomended daily allowrence of angry Adepts. Adepts suck, but according to how the DMG calculates population there are a LOT more of them then there are PC classes.

Hence, in case you want to occupy an enemy city, you'd have to drag along tons of adepts and warriors to police the population and discourage insurgents. If you want to frighten small towns, several semi-expendable mid-level Adepts would be better suited than wasting a high level mage's time.

Storm Bringer
2007-10-16, 01:37 PM
Hmm...

when all is siad and done, the plans being bantered about here are pretty reliant on ubiquitous magical aid , which is fair enough.

but, a fair few hinge on mundane concepts that would not be true in such a high magic setting. For example, their is the assumption that the speed of infomation is as fast as a horse can gallop, when thier would be several commerical and govement networks of magical communication, leading to news being able to travel as much faster speeds.

another example? the realiance on farmland to produce food. A good alinged wizard of very high level (of which the debate assumes are common enough to be available to every nation-state) whould not find it impossible to create an artifact (or even a non-artifact magic item) that could create a large amount of bland but edible food, if he was so inclined. and why wouldn't he be? he could ease the suffering of thousands of poor, and safeguard the city agianst the threat of starvation. And a few decanters of endless water would keep a city in supply for as long as needed. that gets rid of the need for food and water.

in short, any setting with enough magic users to allow teleport-bases strike forces to be a viable mass warfare tactic would have it's infastructure aided by the abundant magic avialable.

just some food for thought.

Dervag
2007-10-16, 02:02 PM
Think of the Star Wars universe for a moment: sufficiently experienced Jedi can trump armies (which is why the Old Republic doesn't have an army in Episode I), but the Jedi fell because they left their training facility open to attack. If Obi-Wan and Yoda had stayed in the Jedi Temple, leading from the back like good commanders, Anakin wouldn't have been able to slaughter the next generation of Jedi and the Order would have recovered from its losses on the battlefield.Of course, it was precisely Palpatine's evil genius to create a situation where Obi-Wan and Yoda (and their peers) were urgently needed both at the front and in the rear. If the senior Jedi had stayed in the rear, on Coruscant, Palpatine would have been unable to pursue his plan to destroy the Jedi. But on the other hand the CIS would have been more successful and conquered more of the galaxy. Indeed, they might well have conquered so much and so far that Palpatine could effectively overthrow the Republic, Jedi and all, and rule the galaxy as 'emperor' of the CIS under his Darth Sidious identity.

One of the worst situations to be in during any war is the one where you must choose between two of the three types of defeat- suffer a strategic defeat or a logistic defeat, or some such thing.


Not necessarily. Remember that for a raiding mission to do significant damage, it has to stay for more than a few rounds--the peasants you're targeting won't be all clumped together for you to kill. They'll be out working their fields.And they're going to run like hell as soon as the raiders arrive- distance and escape are their only defenses against the attacks of such powerful enemies.

Indon
2007-10-16, 02:13 PM
Not necessarily. Remember that for a raiding mission to do significant damage, it has to stay for more than a few rounds--the peasants you're targeting won't be all clumped together for you to kill. They'll be out working their fields. If the defender can set up an intelligence network that can report an attack quickly enough (admittedly, I'm not sure offhand how to do this, but I'll bet I could find a way if I hunted for a while), a response team of mid-level wizards and high-level fighters can teleport to the location of the enemy strike force and engage it. The strike force may or may not succeed in teleporting back to safety before they take substantial damage, but there is certainly a risk; if the strike force's wizard falls before he can get them clear, they're in trouble.


Pssh.

My werebear nation just eats any teleport-raiders; one field's worth of commoners should be enough to kill a few fighters, leaving only the wizard as a threat, to say nothing of werebear militia. Why would they be afraid of normal soldiers when they have Racial Hit Dice?

And if I find out what nation the raiders come from, well, bears will become the number one threat to that entire country.

PlasticSoldier
2007-10-16, 02:26 PM
Pssh.

My werebear nation just eats any teleport-raiders; one field's worth of commoners should be enough to kill a few fighters, leaving only the wizard as a threat, to say nothing of werebear militia. Why would they be afraid of normal soldiers when they have Racial Hit Dice?

And if I find out what nation the raiders come from, well, bears will become the number one threat to that entire country.

Man I can just imagine stephen Colbert reading that last line, and one question aren't werebears Chaotic evil or something similar?

Indon
2007-10-16, 02:38 PM
Man I can just imagine stephen Colbert reading that last line, and one question aren't werebears Chaotic evil or something similar?

Werebears are CG, which is why they get chosen to infect your populace over the CE Werewolves.

And yes, D&D threatdown is the intent of the Werebear Strategem.

Dausuul
2007-10-16, 03:03 PM
Werebears are CG, which is why they get chosen to infect your populace over the CE Werewolves.

And yes, D&D threatdown is the intent of the Werebear Strategem.

Actually, werebears are LG, not CG, which works out even better for you. If they were CG, you might have some trouble keeping control of your kingdom.

...Dang. If you're a good-aligned monarch, there really is no reason not to afflict your whole friggin' kingdom with lycanthropy (well, obviously you wouldn't give it to anyone who didn't want it, but you should encourage everyone to get bitten). Suddenly your entire populace consists of Lawful Good bad-ass bears.

Storm Bringer
2007-10-16, 03:19 PM
well, thier IS a counter arguement about ethics and wether a LG monarch is really good if he is willing to force lycanthropy upon his populance.....but that relies on the 'Good' element being more important than the 'Lawful' element.

Dausuul
2007-10-16, 03:22 PM
well, thier IS a counter arguement about ethics and wether a LG monarch is really good if he is willing to force lycanthropy upon his populance.....but that relies on the 'Good' element being more important than the 'Lawful' element.

Heh, I was just updating my post to reflect that. You wouldn't force it on anybody; you'd just strongly encourage everyone to Share the Bear.

Storm Bringer
2007-10-16, 03:38 PM
ignoring the homosexual overtones of that tag line for a minute....... (:smallbiggrin: :smallbiggrin:)

the first counter that comes to mind after that is one based on a lycanthropic-speicfic counter (for example, a plague that only infects lycanthropes), but that's pretty much a @$$pull, as it would certianly be a setting speicfic thing (thier aren't any plagues only a lycanthropes can catch, are their? or at least one that works very well agianst them)

the 2nd is that anyone trying to take you on could load up on silver/ bane(lycanthropes) weapons/whatever else is good at killing your breed of lycanthropes. you couldn't keep your nature a secret if 70% of the populance are lycanthropes (indeed, keeping it secret wouldn't be needed if thier was no social stigma).

the 3rd is more along the xenophobia line: a nation of lycanthropes may find it hard to find allies, as people might distrust them and good old racsim kicks in. hell, if people have been repressed for a cosmetic difference like skin colour, imagine what it might be like for a group of people who can do all sorts of impossible things..........

more to come as i think of them.

Dausuul
2007-10-16, 03:58 PM
ignoring the homosexual overtones of that tag line for a minute....... (:smallbiggrin: :smallbiggrin:)

the first counter that comes to mind after that is one based on a lycanthropic-speicfic counter (for example, a plague that only infects lycanthropes), but that's pretty much a @$$pull, as it would certianly be a setting speicfic thing (thier aren't any plagues only a lycanthropes can catch, are their? or at least one that works very well agianst them)

None that I know of.


the 2nd is that anyone trying to take you on could load up on silver/ bane(lycanthropes) weapons/whatever else is good at killing your breed of lycanthropes. you couldn't keep your nature a secret if 70% of the populance are lycanthropes (indeed, keeping it secret wouldn't be needed if thier was no social stigma).

A lycanthrope-bane weapon costs 8,300 gp minimum. You aren't going to be able to arm very many of your troops with those. As for alchemical silver, that certainly helps, but it doesn't change the fact that Bear Kingdom's peasants all have 60+ hit points and can turn into bears.


the 3rd is more along the xenophobia line: a nation of lycanthropes may find it hard to find allies, as people might distrust them and good old racsim kicks in. hell, if people have been repressed for a cosmetic difference like skin colour, imagine what it might be like for a group of people who can do all sorts of impossible things..........

But consider the other side of the coin--namely, what Bear Kingdom has to offer its allies. I think a lot of monarchs would get over their xenophobia pretty quickly after considering the benefits of an ally whose "peasant levies" are in fact an army of bears.

mostlyharmful
2007-10-16, 04:24 PM
the 3rd is more along the xenophobia line: a nation of lycanthropes may find it hard to find allies, as people might distrust them and good old racsim kicks in. hell, if people have been repressed for a cosmetic difference like skin colour, imagine what it might be like for a group of people who can do all sorts of impossible things..........

Actually this'd make them MORE likely to have allies and international trust and LESS likely to suffer from xenophobia. You're a nation of inherently Lawful and inherently Good creatures that are powerful enough to not be a target. Xenophobia is useually a combination of lack of trust (lawful creatures so predictable and aminable to diplomacy & treaties), suspicion of their intentions and character (see inherently good populous) and a certain amount of preying on the weak (which pretty much no-one's gonna pull with an army of freaking werebears:smalleek: )

The only real downside to this is that all your casters now have a whopping LA to work off which according to certain members of this forum both gymps your PC and gymps your national defense at a strategic rather than tactical level

Renrik
2007-10-16, 04:29 PM
Yeah, but where the hell would you find the werebear in the first place? Has anyone here ever encountered a wearbear?

Remember, D&D doesn;t have to be high-magic. In fact, it shouldn;t be all that high in magic. Why? Because magic costs lots and lots of money.

Storm Bringer
2007-10-16, 04:40 PM
no, dnd doesn't HAVE to be high magic, but that's the vein of the setting we appear to mining right now.

I'd aggree that i prefer lower-magic settings the the stuff being bandied about in this thread, mainly becuase i think the stuff here isn't being carried though to it;s logical concludsion (see my above post about magical infastructure). when you start adding in the amounts of magic some of these plans require, it stops being a medival setting and quickly advances though the early modern period until you're playing a modern setting with tech by another name.

Leicontis
2007-10-16, 04:57 PM
Another bit for the werebear peasantry: Long-term planning. Your first generation of werebears are going to be infected lycanthropes. All subsequent generations are going to be almost exclusively natural lycanthropes, who have much better control over their shape.

PlasticSoldier
2007-10-16, 05:07 PM
The only real downside to this is that all your casters now have a whopping LA to work off which according to certain members of this forum both gymps your PC and gymps your national defense at a strategic rather than tactical level

True but with all the planning it would take to turn your populace into werebears your nation shuld be smart enough to realize that werebears are good at

1.Clerics- A +2 Racial Wisdom Bonus will be great for your clerics plus that Dr10/Silver will allow them to shine even more at melee, also your population being noble priests of Valor and good and stuff will make you more popular with the LG gods who can easily take care of any of your magic deficiencies.

2. Paladins- Like above Wisdom and Dr10/Silver will be great for paladins.

3. Any deficiencies in your magic will be overcome from the awesomeness of your fighters who always are a bigger part then your magicians.

Dausuul
2007-10-16, 05:13 PM
Just ally yourself with the nearest kingdom of grey elves. You provide the brawn and they provide the brains. :smallbiggrin:

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-16, 05:30 PM
Magical infrastructure of the sort you describe isn't that likely. Food production by magic? Well...Core, you've got the spoon that feeds 4 at 1350 gp each. If you permit Heroes of Battle, you can feed a person for 350 gp. Miniatures Handbook brings us the box that feeds 15 people for 133 gp each. A year's wages for an unskilled worker is 365 silver. Even using the rather suspect source, you're paying more than 3 years worth of wages up front for the bottomless food supply.

PlasticSoldier
2007-10-16, 05:32 PM
Magical infrastructure of the sort you describe isn't that likely. Food production by magic? Well...Core, you've got the spoon that feeds 4 at 1350 gp each. If you permit Heroes of Battle, you can feed a person for 350 gp. Miniatures Handbook brings us the box that feeds 15 people for 133 gp each. A year's wages for an unskilled worker is 365 silver. Even using the rather suspect source, you're paying more than 3 years worth of wages up front for the bottomless food supply.

Or you could just have a werebear cleric learn Create Food and Water.

Ulzgoroth
2007-10-16, 05:37 PM
Or you could just have a werebear cleric learn Create Food and Water.
That isn't Stormbringer's infrastructure. Also. Third level spell. If you can feed your population on that, high magic doesn't begin to describe your setting.

Tor the Fallen
2007-10-16, 07:06 PM
The simple fact is that D&D doesn't do massed battle well at even medium levels, much less high levels.

Heroes of Battle is nice but it doesn't really work.

A single teleportation circle that comes out inside the walls of the enemy capital allows you to bring your full army inside of those walls and without any warning to the enemy. That's 1 spell or a scroll that costs less than 5,000 gold.

Teleportation Circle removes supply lines, the opportunity for ambush, and gives strategic surprise.

A single level 20 wizard can defeat entire traditional armies. You can make a level 20 fighter that literally can't be hurt by any 5th level or lower fighter, even when they roll a critical hit it does no damage. A couple of guys with Wands of Fireball can take out massed troop formations easily.

Presumably level 20 wizards wouldn't be ****ing around with that sort of low level ****, and be off on other planes or parts of the prime where everyone was level 10+.

Raum
2007-10-16, 08:39 PM
Your examples of terror are not at all what Tippy seems to be talking about, or really any part of the modern conception of it. <snip>They may not be what Tippy was referring to, I was merely addressing the potential for terrorism prior to mass media and fast communications. Dismissing the potential out of hand is a mistake. As for who was terrorized, myths stemming from the Nizari Isma'ilis have made a lasting impression on Western culture even though there was only one Western nobleman confirmed killed by Isma'ili assassins. Ironically, Ostia gets overlooked by most even though it had a far greater real impact.


Seriously, consider the things that were considered solid facts about the world in medieval Europe. Idiotic stories fabricated out of whole cloth got circulated as eyewitness accounts. There's no way someone getting the news even second-hand could know the difference between a real attack and some traveler with a good story.Call me a cynic, but this hasn't changed much. I'll avoid examples to avoid dealing with current events but just look critically at popularly accepted news over the last five years.


Spells have some key divergences from technology, particularly in that they are extremely difficult for anyone but specialists (who fall somewhere between engineers and theoretical physicists) to use.

Perhaps even more, there aren't really any overwhelmingly destructive magics. Unless you count the ones that actually break reality (titan-gate chain, epic stuff), just about all offensive spells are clean and focused weapons. The threat to any sort of conventional warfare is in the non-combat magics.True, but even the low to medium level effects will change warefare. Fireballs and other area spells will make battles between massed cohorts suicide. The tactical unit will be squads...or even mercenary adventuring groups. :)


Yes, but to achieve that the pirates had to hit the Senate where they lived. Literally where they lived; they could look out their windows and see the smoke rising from Ostia. And even then there was a long period of time between the initial event (the sack of Ostia) and the consequences (Pompey's fleet of biremes and eventually the rise of the First Triumvirate).Sure it took a while, even today governments don't change overnight.


It's that lag time that creates the real issue in any attempt to decide a war by terror tactics.Please note, I never said it was fast. Frankly, change on that scale takes time. Even when a coup appears to happen nearly overnight there's a lot behind the coup and the situation allowing it that took time to build.
Moreover, terror tactics are inherently upredictable. Terror tactics attempt to cause one thing - destabilization. Those behind the tactics may hope to take advantage of the instability to cause change in their favor, but the instability itself is the goal.

Tor the Fallen
2007-10-16, 09:07 PM
D&D is NOT meant to be about squad combat. It's about 3 to 6 adventurers kicking in dungeon doors and fighting CR appropriate challenges.

So it stands to reason that
a) the mechanics and
b) the magic
are for that sort of setting. This of course leads to: it's Wizard's World! Oh noes!

If you want to keep high magic, and a "let's go on a crusade" setting, just make up some NPC only spells that require the sorts of resources that only a kingdom could field, and are only really that good on soldiers in soldiering situations, and require taking levels in a class no player would ever dream about going into.

Raum
2007-10-16, 09:47 PM
D&D is NOT meant to be about squad combat. It's about 3 to 6 adventurers kicking in dungeon doors and fighting CR appropriate challenges.Why limit yourself? But even if you do, you're describing squad combat, just using different terminology. I'd even argue that adventure groups are based on a squad model - a medic, a heavy weapons guy, maybe a sniper, and a couple fighters with differing specialties. In other words, a cleric, a mage, a rogue, and a fighter. paladin, or ranger. It's just a squad by another name! :)

GoC
2007-10-17, 01:36 PM
That isn't Stormbringer's infrastructure. Also. Third level spell. If you can feed your population on that, high magic doesn't begin to describe your setting.

An infinite use item of Create Food and Water costs 27,000gp and feeds roughly 200,000 people.

Indon
2007-10-17, 02:31 PM
The only real downside to this is that all your casters now have a whopping LA to work off which according to certain members of this forum both gymps your PC and gymps your national defense at a strategic rather than tactical level

There's but one thing to consider:

LA only affects PC's. NPC's gain CR instead.

And Caster levels, for a Werebear? Non-associated.

Doresain
2007-10-17, 02:45 PM
you know guys, this is all at the DM's discretion...warfare in DnD is completely possible at any level if the DM wants it to be

Prometheus
2007-10-17, 08:37 PM
I would equate the soldiers to civilians. Yes sometimes you need to harm them to defeat the real military, but in most cases it comes down to overpowering the opposition forces. Such battle would be big vs. big, with the losing side conceding to that. Of course, an evil and/or chaotic army would have no problem attacking mass soldiers if it granted them a strategical leverage (like distracting the good/lawful guys), which is why the PCs will have the more interesting challenge.

Another problem though is this sort of elitism makes all the plight of the armies essentially worthless. The way this can be remedied is this idea of occupation vs. insurgency. War fought over land needs people to extract the resources. War fought over people needs someone to enslave them. This kind of logisitics is biased against a few number of people and even a loosing force will have some sort of mid-level residents (especially if they resurrect people, but recognize their loss). So a winning force needs an army to occupy territory, and a losing force needs an army so that it can resist occupation. Again soldiers are essentially civilians in this kind of context.

One of my campaigns have a mechanic that tends to level the playing field. The government is extremely prolific in magic items, but keeps a strict monopoly with them in regards to anyone else. These are unique items, so they couldn't really be used or sold if they were stolen without causing more problems than they are worth, and they also don't require a lot of skill to use them. Consequently the empire gives its minions these magic items to keep control.

Renrik
2007-10-19, 07:19 PM
Why would the chaotic side have any less moral qualms about attacking large numbers of people than the lawful side? Are elves more prone to mass slaughter than dwarves? Are goblins less prone to brutality than orcs? There is no reason a lawful aligned enemy would have any problems with slaughtering huge numbers of enemy soldiers. Not any more than a chaotic army would. Killing is about morality, not ethics.

Raum
2007-10-19, 09:38 PM
I agree with you Renrik though not for the reason you state. In a world whose cultures (or individuals) are polarized into opposing alignments any of the alignments would be willing, perhaps even duty-bound, to slaughter those of opposite alignment. The lines becomes blurred when some alignments are shared, but otherwise they're too dissimilar. Chaos won't willingly coexist with Law any more than Good will with Evil in world of polarized, detectable, alignments.

I'm not convinced that morality is Good/Evil and ethics is Chaos/Law though...it's an arbitrary association at best. It's a common association on the boards but doesn't fit the definition of the words. Part of that is simply because the entire alignment system is an arbitrary and simplified set of ethics.

Back on the subject of warfare in D&D, I suspect it would either evolve to the point of massed cohorts watching champions fight to decide the matter at hand or simply never evolve beyond the level of squad combat to start with. After all, if a tribe can keep others off their hunting grounds by sending out their best warrior, shaman, tracker, and healer why would they feel the need to gather the rest of the tribe to do anything other than cheer?

Yakk
2007-10-24, 10:34 AM
So here is a riff on these thoughts...

It was only in the last 200 years that people figured out high level magic, how to produce a regular stream of adventurers, and generally gain "high level" character technology.

This resulted in the "good" races spreading out and pushing back the "evil" races. Humanity was the first to figure it out, followed by the elves. Most recently the Dwarves figured it out (and it worked like gangbusters for them).

A Human Empire now controls a good chunk of the world.

About 100 years ago the Dwarves started on the game. Unlike Humans, their adventurers didn't die, and they have ancient records pointing the way to holy Dwarven shrines in the underdark. 50 years ago, the Dwarves soundly tromped the Elves in a surface border dispute over a range of hills -- the confict resulting in the Dwarves merging into one state under the King of Prophesy. It was a controlled war of honor and treaties, done in the traditional manner.

Over the last 50 years, the Dwarves have been pulling out ancient treaties and deals with the ancestors of various people, and agitating that they be accepted today.

Last week, the Duke of Fellhill was assasinated by the a member of the Gnomish Liberation Army. The Dwarves invoked the ancient Treaty of Molehill, which (among other things) promised Dwarven defence of Gnomish lands in Molehill (now Fellhill). The Human Empire objected, as Fellhill was an ally.

This is WWI, in Fantasy land. No war has really been fought between the great empires of civilization with their current glut of high level adventurers, magic and tactics.

All hell is about to break loose.

(Note that not every spell in D&D 3.5 should exist at the start of the war -- each side will frantically research warfare magics as the other side pulls new rabbits out of their hats. The war starts with everyone using massed army tactics, which fail horribly as each side also has massed medium and low level casters.)

Murderous Hobo
2007-10-24, 11:00 AM
This is WWI, in Fantasy land. No war has really been fought between the great empires of civilization with their current glut of high level adventurers, magic and tactics.

All hell is about to break loose.

(Note that not every spell in D&D 3.5 should exist at the start of the war -- each side will frantically research warfare magics as the other side pulls new rabbits out of their hats. The war starts with everyone using massed army tactics, which fail horribly as each side also has massed medium and low level casters.).

I was thinking of WW1 when I started reading the thread. DnD seems to be exactly in such a state where rather old fashioned armies have been improved with all sorts of new weapons that have never really been tried out before.

People still expect their enemies to fight the old way while they dig in, they don't expect both sides will do this and somewhat massacre thousands on a daily basis.

The prospect of trench warfare is even rather ironic because like the generals of those days everybody expects old fashioned battles full of honor and valiance, but what it comes down it is going to be a straight nightmare.

hewhosaysfish
2007-10-24, 11:27 AM
In a world whose cultures (or individuals) are polarized into opposing alignments any of the alignments would be willing, perhaps even duty-bound, to slaughter those of opposite alignment. The lines becomes blurred when some alignments are shared, but otherwise they're too dissimilar. Chaos won't willingly coexist with Law any more than Good will with Evil in world of polarized, detectable, alignments.


Eh? LE and CE may start slaughtering each other (Blood War, anyone?) but I can't see a bunch of paladins saying "Those CG priests are handing out candy to those orphans in a completely arbitrary manner! There's no order, no structure, the orphans can't seem to maintain an orderly queue! Clearly we must kill them all!"
...Actually I can see paladins saying that, but only because complete morons sometimes play paladins, especially in hypothetical situations. But you get my meaning, I hope.

Indon
2007-10-24, 11:32 AM
All hell is about to break loose.


Werebearia immediately declares neutrality.

Nobody complains. :P

GoC
2007-10-24, 12:03 PM
*snip*
This is WWI, in Fantasy land. No war has really been fought between the great empires of civilization with their current glut of high level adventurers, magic and tactics.*snip*

Very accurate.

Indon: LOL!

elliott20
2007-10-24, 01:26 PM
This has already been touched upon by several people, but I don't think D&D magic as is is really worth a damn for incorporating into warfare. Tippy touched on one of the major reasons: lack of defense.

There is no way to effectively and quickly defend against things like teleportation because there are no spells that were designed to cover large areas and do precisely that. This is an extremely unrealistic assumption about the defender as it assumes they wouldn't want to create a defense against this sort of thing. It's not a matter of how they would know to defend against it as so much it's just an eventuality. I mean, when teleportation has become such a powerful tactic that it trumps all other tactics, it's reasonable to assume that all the major players in the world are going to try to find ways to defend against it effectively the moment they learn of it's existence.

The same can be said of things like pocket dimensions, MMM and such. If these are in fact such invincible methods of escape for the wizard, at some point, somebody is going to find a way to find/develop counter measures against these, probably in the form of creating new spells.

I don't think it's unreasonable to assume these are but the eventual evolutions of fantasy warfare.

Yakk
2007-10-24, 01:39 PM
.. and yet, nobody has designed a defense against nuclear bombs. Wouldn't the powers of the real world really like to have a "nuclear bomb dampener"?

Maybe you can't defend against teleportation magic? Maybe those extradimensional hiding spots are really hard to deal with?

elliott20
2007-10-24, 01:45 PM
well, that's the beauty of magic. It is entirely possible for someone to simply fabricate a spell that can defend against it. The reason why we don't have a nuclear bomb defense is simply because nobody has managed to develop it, not that we wouldn't want one. If people are convinced there is a way to defend againsts, say a nuke, don't you think we would have developed and employed it by now?

Raum
2007-10-24, 03:04 PM
Eh? LE and CE may start slaughtering each other (Blood War, anyone?) but I can't see a bunch of paladins saying "Those CG priests are handing out candy to those orphans in a completely arbitrary manner! There's no order, no structure, the orphans can't seem to maintain an orderly queue! Clearly we must kill them all!"
...Actually I can see paladins saying that, but only because complete morons sometimes play paladins, especially in hypothetical situations. But you get my meaning, I hope.Reread the section you quoted again, particularly the part stating "The lines becomes blurred when some alignments are shared..."

Mr.Moron
2007-10-24, 03:13 PM
It's really rather pointless to ask, the system as it is just isn't designed for that kind of thing.I think the natural assumption given the settings that these games use, is place is that war does take place.Obviously for that to happen, there are things in place that prevent a lot of the problems people have brought up. However the mechanics as they are just aren't set up to represent whatever those factors may be.

Sure supplements here and there have set up little rules and guidelines to try and jerry-rig it in, but I just don't buy that, it's too flimsy. I think to get a really good idea of how wars, and anything on a national, continentals or world scale worked there would need to be a new system put in place on top of the existing one.

Indon
2007-10-24, 04:18 PM
.. and yet, nobody has designed a defense against nuclear bombs. Wouldn't the powers of the real world really like to have a "nuclear bomb dampener"?

Maybe you can't defend against teleportation magic? Maybe those extradimensional hiding spots are really hard to deal with?

There can be defenses against nuclear weapons, such as anti-ballistic missile defenses.

They're generally banned by treaties, in order to maintain MAD, and thus, peace.

Aquillion
2007-10-24, 05:51 PM
The simple fact is that D&D doesn't do massed battle well at even medium levels, much less high levels.

Heroes of Battle is nice but it doesn't really work.

A single teleportation circle that comes out inside the walls of the enemy capital allows you to bring your full army inside of those walls and without any warning to the enemy. That's 1 spell or a scroll that costs less than 5,000 gold.

Teleportation Circle removes supply lines, the opportunity for ambush, and gives strategic surprise.

A single level 20 wizard can defeat entire traditional armies. You can make a level 20 fighter that literally can't be hurt by any 5th level or lower fighter, even when they roll a critical hit it does no damage. A couple of guys with Wands of Fireball can take out massed troop formations easily.I quoted the above, but this really applies to several other more recent posts here, too...

I think that for D&D warfare to work, you have to assume that high-level spellcasters are rare and do not involve themselves in it directly (and, therefore, that high-level scrolls and any other ways of casting high-level spells is similarly a rare, one-step-from-artifact level of power as far as most people are concerned.)

A 17th level character is nearly epic, and, in fact, practically a step from a demigod.

In fact... there's a series of fantasy books that touches on this exact topic. The Malazan Book of the Fallen series (which focuses heavily on heroic party-based fantasy in war) has characters called "Ascended" who are, basically, akin to very high-level D&D characters. They are viewed as very nearly gods (and, often, are gods; it's not uncommon for them to be more powerful than the more limited gods, too.) An Ascended could easily change the course of a battle (at the opening of the first book, the entire Imperial army is being held at bay by a single Ascended with an extremely small force.)

The thing is, though, that Ascended are very jealous of each other, and they like to meddle, so as soon as one starts to get involved in a battle, five or six others do, as well, and everything goes to heck. Since they've been around a while, most of them also have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Because of this, they usually try to interfere discretely, by, say recruiting lower-'level' characters to do things for them without being noticed.

Hectonkhyres
2007-10-24, 06:55 PM
The thing is, though, that Ascended are very jealous of each other, and they like to meddle, so as soon as one starts to get involved in a battle, five or six others do, as well, and everything goes to heck.
Ah, yes. The old power-draws-power maxim.
God, I love that series. *sob*

Collin152
2007-10-24, 07:07 PM
There can be defenses against nuclear weapons, such as anti-ballistic missile defenses.

They're generally banned by treaties, in order to maintain MAD, and thus, peace.

Right, because we certainly don't have any of those! Heh heh... augh.....

Aquillion
2007-10-24, 07:38 PM
Ah, yes. The old power-draws-power maxim.
God, I love that series. *sob*I thought that the way they described the Bridgeburners was an excellent way to do a military-themed campaign, too... make the players some sort of 'legendary regiment'. Toss them directly into the fire on their first campaign, and whoever survives that becomes legendary (even if they're still only level 3 or 4). New recruits can ride on their fame. This lets you "bend the rules" for the players... they can buy their own equipment, ignore the chain of command (to an extent) and so on because they're walking legends. This also gives a reason to make all the missions they're given "special." As long as everyone is low-level, it's not so much of a problem.

Modeling that solution to higher levels could be tough, though. If I was going to... let's see...

The big problem is that in 3.0 and 3.5, it's too easy to reach higher levels. Players do it almost automatically. Yes, you can say that it's just because PCs are special, but still... for warfare and modelling a larger world, AD&D's system (where lower levels were easier, and higher levels--especially for wizards--were much, much harder) was better. Still, we can handwave that away and say that most people don't progress the way PCs do.

Second, though, the game needs to place more emphasis on a character's role changing as they go up in level. (This is another thing 2.0 did better.) Take some of the 3.0/3.5 D&D supplements on warfare, for instance... they talk about PCs raiding supply lines, say, or attacking a vital point. This is fine for low and mid-level characters, but high-level casters make supply lines redundant anyway. If you want to run a high-level warfare game (which I'm not sure I'd recommend), you'd have to find a way to have the players go from being a heroic commando unit to being one of the major players in the world conflict in their own right. If your players aren't interested in this, they probably wouldn't like a high-level war game.

In order for MAD to work, there needs to be some way for high-level characters to keep an eye on each other. Make it so, say, the use of any spell over level X can be detected by anyone with a CL over Y to a distance of Z miles (teleportation in particular would be very "loud".) And the higher level you are, the more "noise" you make, so that if a level 17+ spellcaster teleports anywhere or casts any level 9 spells, every other high-level spellcaster in the world instantly knows that they're up to something, and has a very general sense of where.

In general, for a war game, you'd probably also want to place some limits on bringing back the dead, too. It's just harder to take it seriously when anyone can be zotted back to life so easily. Since you don't want players to die constantly and stay dead, of course, you could give them something like Fate or Hero points that let them escape death...

Hawriel
2007-10-24, 08:43 PM
well, that's the beauty of magic. It is entirely possible for someone to simply fabricate a spell that can defend against it. The reason why we don't have a nuclear bomb defense is simply because nobody has managed to develop it, not that we wouldn't want one. If people are convinced there is a way to defend againsts, say a nuke, don't you think we would have developed and employed it by now?



Thats what the star wars program that Ronald Ragen was supporting dering his presidency was about. It failed for many reasons. Mony, it was a mony hog and was not producing. The drive for dissarming of nukeclear weapons had support not only in government but with the general populess. MAD. Part of the logic of MAD is use them or lose them. If the US did creat a missile defence system that would guarantee servival against a soviet first strike the soviets would launch a first strike befor such a system was operational. If the US did get a defence system in place the fear was that we would fire first because we would be relativly immune to retaliation. Also the first strikes primary targets where the other sides missile silos. Gearge W Bush has been pushing congress and the defence department to start up a missile defence program. Basicly Politics is the number one thing keeping the US from having a viable missile defence system.

I cant remember who it was but he said all you needed to do was to attack at night. Untill 15 years ago no general ever wanted to attack at night. You can not maintain coordination and communications with a mediveal army at night. You cannot tell who is the enemy at night when engaged. You cannot SEE at night. Thoughs of you who live in cities forget this. IT is pitch black at night, a full moon may give some light but no whare neer enough to coordinate an army. There are and always have been small units that do night raides but for some exeptions thats all that heppened. The US army today and maybe the British, is the only army right now in the world that is capable of conducting warfar at night. two reasons modern comunications and night vision. I said 15 years because the US conducted the ground war in the first Iraq war 24 seven. Some of the major tank battles where at night. Today almost all of are soldiers have night vision. Back in Veitnam that tech was only used sparingly with a platoon maybe haveing two night vision scopes the size of a mail box.

Yakk
2007-10-24, 11:48 PM
There can be defenses against nuclear weapons, such as anti-ballistic missile defenses.

They're generally banned by treaties, in order to maintain MAD, and thus, peace.

... except, of course, they don't actually work.