A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Beer View Post
    If you have multiple layers of armour, I suspect a more flexible layer somewhere would be helpful to absorb shock. I'm not convinced it would be a game-changer.

    Maybe you could mix up a non-newtonian fluid with water and cornstarch, change it's properties so it doesn't ooze out or evaporate and then incorporate it into a gambeson, that might be a highly effective shock absorber.

    The obvious priority is to take rigid metal armour and make it stronger, harder and probably lighter. You want a certain minimum weight I think for helmets because below a certain mass it might be too easy for your opponents to knock them into your skull.
    Non-newtonian fluids would give you a higher range of movement than solid plate - although not much more, because you'd need to incorporate it into a cellular structure, or it'd wind up sitting at the bottom of your armour.

    The sort of biomancy Frozenstep's talking about would be good with melee IMO, especially martial arts and blunt force weapons, to absorb the impact forces before they damage internal organs. Once you're into piercing weapons, and especially projectiles, you really need to limit the distance they can get through tissues, whether that's stopping them in place or deflecting the impact off at an angle. And even then, hits on the head can at least cause concussions, and potentially fatal injuries to blood vessels in the neck or cerebral haemorrages.

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    Question Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Hey everyone, I've got an adventure coming up for my group, and I'd like some advice on how to handle a few things. The players are going to be coordinating an armed revolt in an attempt to liberate a Germanic(ish) port city from the control of an occupying Byzantine(ish) force. Technology is approximately that of the 1450s, so gunpowder weapons such as cannons and harquebuses are available but not in widespread use. Not the most realistic scenario, I know, but I'm already dealing with a wizard and a centaur in the party, so there's that

    My question is twofold: What are some things the Germanic freedom fighters would do when not being given direct orders by the players, and what are some countermeasures the Byzantines would do to maintain control of the city?

    Please feel free to ask for more details. Thank you in advance.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
    Hey everyone, I've got an adventure coming up for my group, and I'd like some advice on how to handle a few things. The players are going to be coordinating an armed revolt in an attempt to liberate a Germanic(ish) port city from the control of an occupying Byzantine(ish) force. Technology is approximately that of the 1450s, so gunpowder weapons such as cannons and harquebuses are available but not in widespread use. Not the most realistic scenario, I know, but I'm already dealing with a wizard and a centaur in the party, so there's that

    My question is twofold: What are some things the Germanic freedom fighters would do when not being given direct orders by the players, and what are some countermeasures the Byzantines would do to maintain control of the city?

    Please feel free to ask for more details. Thank you in advance.
    One thing I can say without doing a ton of research (which I kinda wanna do for you, not gonna lie, this sounds fun), is that one of the key things most urban insurrections have done for pretty much as long as there have been cities is the art of the barricade. It's something anybody can throw together, with pretty much random furniture and stuff, and in addition to being an improvised fighting position, it slows the movement of the opposition who is more likely to be coordinating larger groups of regular troops, especially cavalry, compared to the rebels who are moving around with smaller groups of more lightly equipped fighters. In addition, the locals know the city a lot better than the occupiers, they know that if this street is blocked off they can cut through the walled garden two streets over, go down the alley behind the butcher shop, climb over the fence next to the plaza with the water well, and be at their destination only thirty seconds slower.

    Plus, if you have gunpowder at your disposal, you've got the possibility of having a hidden cache of it near said barricade, with someone waiting to set the fuse and run if a large enough group shows up to start tearing it down, on top of the traditional tactic of bringing some skirmishers out of hiding, hitting them in the rear, and breaking off contact.

    Also, pretty much anything to erode the occupiers' morale is essential, since that's what is really being fought here, rather than their actual military force. Burn their food stockpiles, assassinate officers, pick off any soldier who's alone. Scrawl graffiti where they can see it. Steal pretty much anything you can from them. Hell, the Swiss published a literal guidebook on how ANY CITIZEN can ruin the day of an occupying soldier called Total Resistance and while its obviously about the period immediately after WW2, the general takeaway from it is timeless; anything you can do to make the common soldier have a bad time increases his anxiety, keeps him from feeling comfortable or safe, and in time might even break his will. Keep him from sleeping by making loud noises outside their barracks at night. Put out any light sources around their positions when they aren't looking. If they ask for directions, give them wrong ones. If they ask for food, give them spoiled things. Be rude to them in public but never quite enough for you to be punished. If they make you build new structures, do it as shoddily as possible. If they make you drive a cart, take the worst, roughest roads you know.

    You can leave the sword fights and sabotage to the small percent of people who are actually taking up arms, but everyone can do these things.

    This treatment can be extended to anyone who cooperates with them too, to drive home the message that they are The Enemy and they are Not Welcome.

    As for the occupying force, to reference things like Jeffery Record's work Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Win or Andrew Mack's Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars: the Politics of Asymmetric Conflict, the occupying force has two general approaches to uprooting and ending an insurgency, assuming this is an ongoing conflict rather than a powderkeg moment where the insurgents attempt to transition to conventional warfare. The insurgency ends not when every single fighter has been hunted down and exterminated, because that's nearly impossible even today with all the technology in the world (though if there's any sort of thought reading magic, things may be different). Instead, the occupying force needs to convince the overall population that is supporting, hiding, and supplying recruits to the insurgency that its in their best interests to stop doing that. You've got two general routes, hearts and minds or total barbarism. Historically total barbarism has been preferred by empires like Rome or Byzantium; civilian reprisals (every time one of our men die, ten of yours will, even if they're just bakers or carpenters or farmers), extortionate taxation or commandeering of resources to drive the population into poverty, destruction of food supplies, and generally just letting their men sack and pillage at will. Obviously at first the population hates this and support for the insurrection will grow, but as time goes on and the rebels don't make any meaningful, visible gains or victories, and as the occupying force demonstrates that they simply will not stop doing these things until the rebels stop, the population will start to turn on them.

    Another key element for the occupiers is infiltration and surveillance of the actual leadership of the rebels; obviously its nice to be able to steal plans, discover identities, and locate supplies, but beyond that it instills a sense of paranoia and mistrust amongst the rebel leadership and forces them to start being more and more secretive which can begin impeding their actual effectiveness. If leadership is too paranoid to send messages except in complex ciphers delivered by their most trusted inner circle, then they're not communicating nearly as well as they were before. If one leader starts suggesting changes in strategy, the others might think he's a double agent or is being coerced. And if every other month a rebel group is ambushed and broken up, then publicly executed based based on spies and insiders, the public isn't going to be sending their young men to join it, nor are the insurgents going to be as accepting of new members that could be plants.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-12-01 at 02:11 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #814
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    NinjaGuy

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Milodiah View Post
    As for the occupying force, to reference things like Jeffery Record's work Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Win or Andrew Mack's Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars: the Politics of Asymmetric Conflict, the occupying force has two general approaches to uprooting and ending an insurgency, assuming this is an ongoing conflict rather than a powderkeg moment where the insurgents attempt to transition to conventional warfare. The insurgency ends not when every single fighter has been hunted down and exterminated, because that's nearly impossible even today with all the technology in the world (though if there's any sort of thought reading magic, things may be different). Instead, the occupying force needs to convince the overall population that is supporting, hiding, and supplying recruits to the insurgency that its in their best interests to stop doing that. You've got two general routes, hearts and minds or total barbarism. Historically total barbarism has been preferred by empires like Rome or Byzantium; civilian reprisals (every time one of our men die, ten of yours will, even if they're just bakers or carpenters or farmers), extortionate taxation or commandeering of resources to drive the population into poverty, destruction of food supplies, and generally just letting their men sack and pillage at will. Obviously at first the population hates this and support for the insurrection will grow, but as time goes on and the rebels don't make any meaningful, visible gains or victories, and as the occupying force demonstrates that they simply will not stop doing these things until the rebels stop, the population will start to turn on them.

    Another key element for the occupiers is infiltration and surveillance of the actual leadership of the rebels; obviously its nice to be able to steal plans, discover identities, and locate supplies, but beyond that it instills a sense of paranoia and mistrust amongst the rebel leadership and forces them to start being more and more secretive which can begin impeding their actual effectiveness. If leadership is too paranoid to send messages except in complex ciphers delivered by their most trusted inner circle, then they're not communicating nearly as well as they were before. If one leader starts suggesting changes in strategy, the others might think he's a double agent or is being coerced. And if every other month a rebel group is ambushed and broken up, then publicly executed based based on spies and insiders, the public isn't going to be sending their young men to join it, nor are the insurgents going to be as accepting of new members that could be plants.
    I'm not the one who asked the question, but thank you for giving this answer! This has given me a lot to think about for my own writing. Great stuff!

  5. - Top - End - #815
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    It's already implied by Milodiahs post, but a good way to annoy an occupying army is to force them to waste resources, such as manpower. If the invaders have to maintain a strong presence of sentries, patrols and bodyguards watching every bridge, road, water supply well, grain silo, storehouse, port facility, supply ship, army officer and important colloborators mansion, this a) stresses the hell out of the individual soldiers, b) hits the empires treasury really hard and c) drains strategic assets the invaders could proably use elsewhere, especially in the case of a large empire that might have to deal with several insurrections, insecure borders or open wars at any given time.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Berenger View Post
    It's already implied by Milodiahs post, but a good way to annoy an occupying army is to force them to waste resources, such as manpower. If the invaders have to maintain a strong presence of sentries, patrols and bodyguards watching every bridge, road, water supply well, grain silo, storehouse, port facility, supply ship, army officer and important colloborators mansion, this a) stresses the hell out of the individual soldiers, b) hits the empires treasury really hard and c) drains strategic assets the invaders could proably use elsewhere, especially in the case of a large empire that might have to deal with several insurrections, insecure borders or open wars at any given time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Milodiah View Post
    One thing I can say without doing a ton of research (which I kinda wanna do for you, not gonna lie, this sounds fun), is that one of the key things most urban insurrections have done for pretty much as long as there have been cities is the art of the barricade. It's something anybody can throw together, with pretty much random furniture and stuff, and in addition to being an improvised fighting position, it slows the movement of the opposition who is more likely to be coordinating larger groups of regular troops, especially cavalry, compared to the rebels who are moving around with smaller groups of more lightly equipped fighters. In addition, the locals know the city a lot better than the occupiers, they know that if this street is blocked off they can cut through the walled garden two streets over, go down the alley behind the butcher shop, climb over the fence next to the plaza with the water well, and be at their destination only thirty seconds slower.

    Plus, if you have gunpowder at your disposal, you've got the possibility of having a hidden cache of it near said barricade, with someone waiting to set the fuse and run if a large enough group shows up to start tearing it down, on top of the traditional tactic of bringing some skirmishers out of hiding, hitting them in the rear, and breaking off contact.

    Also, pretty much anything to erode the occupiers' morale is essential, since that's what is really being fought here, rather than their actual military force. Burn their food stockpiles, assassinate officers, pick off any soldier who's alone. Scrawl graffiti where they can see it. Steal pretty much anything you can from them. Hell, the Swiss published a literal guidebook on how ANY CITIZEN can ruin the day of an occupying soldier called Total Resistance and while its obviously about the period immediately after WW2, the general takeaway from it is timeless; anything you can do to make the common soldier have a bad time increases his anxiety, keeps him from feeling comfortable or safe, and in time might even break his will. Keep him from sleeping by making loud noises outside their barracks at night. Put out any light sources around their positions when they aren't looking. If they ask for directions, give them wrong ones. If they ask for food, give them spoiled things. Be rude to them in public but never quite enough for you to be punished. If they make you build new structures, do it as shoddily as possible. If they make you drive a cart, take the worst, roughest roads you know.

    You can leave the sword fights and sabotage to the small percent of people who are actually taking up arms, but everyone can do these things.

    This treatment can be extended to anyone who cooperates with them too, to drive home the message that they are The Enemy and they are Not Welcome.

    As for the occupying force, to reference things like Jeffery Record's work Beating Goliath: Why Insurgencies Win or Andrew Mack's Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars: the Politics of Asymmetric Conflict, the occupying force has two general approaches to uprooting and ending an insurgency, assuming this is an ongoing conflict rather than a powderkeg moment where the insurgents attempt to transition to conventional warfare. The insurgency ends not when every single fighter has been hunted down and exterminated, because that's nearly impossible even today with all the technology in the world (though if there's any sort of thought reading magic, things may be different). Instead, the occupying force needs to convince the overall population that is supporting, hiding, and supplying recruits to the insurgency that its in their best interests to stop doing that. You've got two general routes, hearts and minds or total barbarism. Historically total barbarism has been preferred by empires like Rome or Byzantium; civilian reprisals (every time one of our men die, ten of yours will, even if they're just bakers or carpenters or farmers), extortionate taxation or commandeering of resources to drive the population into poverty, destruction of food supplies, and generally just letting their men sack and pillage at will. Obviously at first the population hates this and support for the insurrection will grow, but as time goes on and the rebels don't make any meaningful, visible gains or victories, and as the occupying force demonstrates that they simply will not stop doing these things until the rebels stop, the population will start to turn on them.

    Another key element for the occupiers is infiltration and surveillance of the actual leadership of the rebels; obviously its nice to be able to steal plans, discover identities, and locate supplies, but beyond that it instills a sense of paranoia and mistrust amongst the rebel leadership and forces them to start being more and more secretive which can begin impeding their actual effectiveness. If leadership is too paranoid to send messages except in complex ciphers delivered by their most trusted inner circle, then they're not communicating nearly as well as they were before. If one leader starts suggesting changes in strategy, the others might think he's a double agent or is being coerced. And if every other month a rebel group is ambushed and broken up, then publicly executed based based on spies and insiders, the public isn't going to be sending their young men to join it, nor are the insurgents going to be as accepting of new members that could be plants.
    This is fantastic! Thank you :)

  7. - Top - End - #817
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Forged documents, or genuine ones you've gotten a hold of but can't use can be useful as well. A pretty solid adventure could be done where you're trying to slip notes on patrol routes or garrison rosters or whatever (such things did exist in the period) into the pockets of occupying officers. So that those documents will be discovered and that guy looks like a Resistance agent.

  8. - Top - End - #818
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
    Hey everyone, I've got an adventure coming up for my group, and I'd like some advice on how to handle a few things. The players are going to be coordinating an armed revolt in an attempt to liberate a Germanic(ish) port city from the control of an occupying Byzantine(ish) force. Technology is approximately that of the 1450s, so gunpowder weapons such as cannons and harquebuses are available but not in widespread use. Not the most realistic scenario, I know, but I'm already dealing with a wizard and a centaur in the party, so there's that

    My question is twofold: What are some things the Germanic freedom fighters would do when not being given direct orders by the players, and what are some countermeasures the Byzantines would do to maintain control of the city?

    Please feel free to ask for more details. Thank you in advance.
    Re: The Byzantine response.
    The most famous Byzantine way of dealing with enemies was to pay the foes of their enemies to make trouble and force the enemies to retreat and deal with the other foes.
    Another method they used was to mix populations that disliked each other, moving a group of ethnicity [A] into ethnicity [B]’s region and vice versa. Thus ethnic groups A and B would spend a lot of time fighting each other and less time resisting the Byzantines.
    The punishment for rebellion was blinding, and if provoked severely enough they could employ Emperor Boris II’s method of subjugating the Bulgars.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    This might be beyond the scope of what knowledgeable people are allowed to tell me, but how do stealth aircraft communicate? If the idea of survivability rests on a bus-sized hunk of electronics reducing its radio signature to the minimum possible extent, how does that coexist with the nature of communicating via bursts of emitted radio waves?

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by VoxRationis View Post
    This might be beyond the scope of what knowledgeable people are allowed to tell me, but how do stealth aircraft communicate? If the idea of survivability rests on a bus-sized hunk of electronics reducing its radio signature to the minimum possible extent, how does that coexist with the nature of communicating via bursts of emitted radio waves?
    The exact details of this are classified, so the people who know how it's really done can't tell you. What we have are fairly good guesses.

    The general idea is that you have two general solutions to this problem.

    First one is passive reception. After you go quiet, you don't send out any signals, merely receive the ones sent to you. While that may theoretically reveal that something is going on to the enemy, the signal is encrypted, so all they know is that something is being sent. In practice, the air is filled with all sorts of traffic, and being able to pick out one specific frequency as "this is a stealth jet" isn't really possible. After all, you don't necessarily need to say anything to the mission control, you just need them to send you updates.

    Second solution is directed signals. The easiest to get your head around are lasers, they go from point A to point B and are hard to see from the sides. You can do this with all sorts of electromagnetic waves, sending them out in a tighht cone instead of a sphere, the problem is that you need to claibrate your antenna direction fairly precisely. Also, this deosn't mean there will be no signal to detect outside of that cone (you can still see a laser from the side if it has to go through, say, mist), just that there will be a lot less of it and therefore harder to detect.
    That which does not kill you made a tactical error.

  11. - Top - End - #821
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    You can also keep the transmission power very low. If you're just sharing data with nearby aircraft, you don't need as strong a signal as it would take to transmit to base. Couple that with burst transmission, where each communication is extremely brief, and you don't make nearly as much noise.

    Playing with frequencies can do a lot as well, but that veers into the "this is really hard to answer because anybody who knows is not telling" area.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    I strongly doubt that this is the correct answer for modern stealth aircraft due to obvious drawbacks, but one hypothetical method to broadcast a message without revealing your exact position would be to eject a disposable transmitter that only activates after a short time (when you are several miles away in an unknown direction), sends a message pre-recorded on launch and then self-destructs.
    Last edited by Berenger; 2021-12-03 at 09:21 AM.

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    Chimera

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Even modern active radar has ways to pretty significantly reduce the ability of passive sensors to detect it, which is fairly important given that a receiver of equal sensitivity will always be able to detect an emitter/receiver set at a greater distance than the latter can if it knows what to look for. Frequency hopping and transmitting across a range of frequencies at once both serve as a means of reducing the degree of signature on any given frequency, thus making the same total amount of emissions less obvious even if you're looking at the whole spectrum, and more likely to be excluded as background noise. Managing emissions that aren't part of the main beam and messing with your scan pattern and beam width also helps a lot.

    There's certainly a lot of top secret stuff (most militaries are reluctant to even use their most advanced radar sets or algorithms in exercises because it would allow other participants to get a better idea of their quirks), but even publicly available info has a lot of pointers in terms of keeping radio transmissions as sneaky as possible. These same methods, particularly directionality, are applicable to communications, as the F-22's directional communications demonstrate (I was under the impression that they just used directional antennae as opposed to lasers). Hell, you can use a radar as a particularly big and complicated directional communications device if you want.

    As mentioned, there is also the brute force way of just emitting signals as little as possible. No matter how clever you are, still good to minimize emissions in the first place.
    Last edited by AdAstra; 2021-12-03 at 11:33 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    There is also the fact that in order to detect signals, you have to have equipment in place to detect signals, and it has to be functional and networked to have any sort of meaningful impact on triangulation and rangefinding. Which is why militaries have invested so much into electronic warfare options such as jammers, decoys, specialized attack aircraft targeting such equipment, and doctrines designed to minimize the advantages of such equipment.

    Honestly this is, as has been pointed out, one of the cutting edges of arms races, and its moving both so quickly and so secretly that outside observers have pointed out our current assumptions might be all wrong. The core concept of a 'stealth' aircraft is that as far as we know it's impossible to truly 100% cancel out all radar reflection, so the goal is to reduce it so much that its minimal apparent cross section gets dismissed as some birds, or atmospheric interference, or generally anything other than a warplane. But there's a lot of talk going around that some radar systems are being paired with powerful enough computers now that the deception threshold is much lower, and the pattern recognition capabilities of these processors have made the current generation of stealth aircraft obsolete because even the tiny, intermittent radar contacts generated by stealth craft is enough once all the random noise is more or less fully weeded out by a cutting edge system.

    But it sounds like the actual experts are conflicted on whether or not that's true, since nobody has the full picture, and even if they were certain that's sure not going to be something they outright say in a press conference. Its no doubt the focus of several multi billion dollars black-budget projects the Pentagon is running right now, of the type that come from the vague slush funds because even having it be a named item in a Congressional line item budget would be giving away too much.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-12-03 at 03:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    One method used in radio transmissions is burst transmissions. Basically the message is recorded, encoded, compressed then sent in a very short message. Something that might take 3 seconds of transmission by regular means can be compressed to less than 1/10th of a second.
    This also helps make your messages harder to decrypt.

    The drawback is that even if it is harder to detect, triangulate and decrypt it is a very distinct type of transmission.

    Another method involves bouncing messages off the ionosphere. The message is sent in a focussed beam that is sent to a known location.
    This involves having radio receptors in a wide range of locations that can relay the message securely to the base. I assume with advances in computing that you need less receptors than previously, but there is a limit to the possible pathways that can be used. Countries with a small physical presence will find this method almost impossible for aircraft, countries with a continent wide or global presence will find it easier.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Is there a consensus on what the 3.5 rules for a poleaxe should be?

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Eladrinblade View Post
    Is there a consensus on what the 3.5 rules for a poleaxe should be?
    I don't think so. Personally, I'd just use the values of a halberd, remove the "set against charge" option and add "bludeoning" to the damage options. I guess the developers omitted a weapon that has bludeoning, piercing and slashing damage on purpose so you can't sink all your wealth by level into one badass magic weapon that circumvents the "monster has damage reduction x vs. damage type y" minigame.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Greywolf View Post
    Second solution is directed signals. The easiest to get your head around are lasers, they go from point A to point B and are hard to see from the sides. You can do this with all sorts of electromagnetic waves, sending them out in a tighht cone instead of a sphere, the problem is that you need to claibrate your antenna direction fairly precisely. Also, this deosn't mean there will be no signal to detect outside of that cone (you can still see a laser from the side if it has to go through, say, mist), just that there will be a lot less of it and therefore harder to detect.
    I'd guess at that - up from the aircraft using a dorsal transmitter to satellites and/or a C&C aircraft. And if it's a squadron flying in formation, low powered pulsed laser semaphore generated and interpreted by computer for anything they need to communicate between them.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Eladrinblade View Post
    Is there a consensus on what the 3.5 rules for a poleaxe should be?
    Considering that any correlation between D&D’s combat system and reality is coincidental and unintended, no.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Berenger View Post
    I don't think so. Personally, I'd just use the values of a halberd, remove the "set against charge" option and add "bludeoning" to the damage options. I guess the developers omitted a weapon that has bludeoning, piercing and slashing damage on purpose so you can't sink all your wealth by level into one badass magic weapon that circumvents the "monster has damage reduction x vs. damage type y" minigame.
    Sensible. Personally I don't think any of a poleaxes ...weapons? would go up to 1d10, especially not that rinkydink little spear, but your version is simple and works.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Re: The Byzantine response.
    The most famous Byzantine way of dealing with enemies was to pay the foes of their enemies to make trouble and force the enemies to retreat and deal with the other foes.
    Another method they used was to mix populations that disliked each other, moving a group of ethnicity [A] into ethnicity [B]’s region and vice versa. Thus ethnic groups A and B would spend a lot of time fighting each other and less time resisting the Byzantines.
    The punishment for rebellion was blinding, and if provoked severely enough they could employ Emperor Boris II’s method of subjugating the Bulgars.
    I'll definitely use this one. Thank you

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Eladrinblade View Post
    Sensible. Personally I don't think any of a poleaxes ...weapons? would go up to 1d10, especially not that rinkydink little spear, but your version is simple and works.
    A few things about that “rinkydink little spear”. Talking broad strokes here and I’m sure more expert users in the forum can add more information/correct my errors.

    1) It is a purpose built armor penetrator, not a traditional spearhead.
    2) traditional spears are used with the front hand providing guidance and the backhand providing power. Poleaxes are built for both hands to deliver full power.
    3) the spearhead can do more damage than the axe or hammer. Swings are delivered faster but with only the weight of the head delivering mass, thrusts are delivered with the full weight of the weapon, plus an additional 80+kg of user mass behind them.
    4) Other polearms (spears, halberds, bills, glaives etc.) are designed to fight at distance. A lot of their use is prodding and poking to keep the enemy at range. Poleaxes are designed to be used in close (i.e. sword distance) and their use is predicated on using full force blows and relying on your armor to protect you.

    It’s a long time since I ventured into 3.5 territory but here are a few things.
    - it shouldn’t have reach like a spear or halberd, you should only attack adjacent.
    - it should give the user Power Attack, which is always on and can’t be turned off, except for stepping up to Improved Power Attack.

    Edit to add
    As for a weapon that does slashing, piercing and bludgeoning damage, I present the ubiquitous European longsword (bastard swords and 2 handed swords in D&D naming system)
    Regular use = slashing
    Half swording = piercing
    Murder stroke = bludgeoning
    Last edited by Pauly; 2021-12-06 at 03:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Yeah, many sources calling a pollaxe a "polearm" is probably leading to some confusion as to how they were used.

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    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2021-12-06 at 09:40 AM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Re: The Byzantine response.
    The most famous Byzantine way of dealing with enemies was to pay the foes of their enemies to make trouble and force the enemies to retreat and deal with the other foes.
    Incidentally, this was also the go-to foreign policy of most feudal Chinese kingdoms, yi yi zhi yi (以夷制夷) where they paid the closest set of 'barbarians' to act as a border force against other 'barbarians'.

    This policy hasn't worked all that well, with more than one set of paid barbarians overthrowing the Chinese regime and installing their own dynasty (and then they also falling into the same trap, a few emperors down the line).

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by SleepyShadow View Post
    Hey everyone, I've got an adventure coming up for my group, and I'd like some advice on how to handle a few things. The players are going to be coordinating an armed revolt in an attempt to liberate a Germanic(ish) port city from the control of an occupying Byzantine(ish) force. Technology is approximately that of the 1450s, so gunpowder weapons such as cannons and harquebuses are available but not in widespread use. Not the most realistic scenario, I know, but I'm already dealing with a wizard and a centaur in the party, so there's that

    My question is twofold: What are some things the Germanic freedom fighters would do when not being given direct orders by the players, and what are some countermeasures the Byzantines would do to maintain control of the city?

    Please feel free to ask for more details. Thank you in advance.
    In RL examples of this era, 'rebels' won due to one or both of the two things - figurehead(s) to rally around [perhaps in exile or hiding] and things to encourage a feeling of 'Us' [and not Them]. The first could be members of the deposed Royal Family, senior nobles etc, while the latter would often be either nationalism and/or religion.

    Therefore, savvy conquerors would try to eliminate one or both of these. And as the second is usually really hard to do, the first one is the best. Make sure the ruling line is as extinct as possible, slaughter the resisting nobles and give out their lands to your partisans, most of which will be loyal subjects from other places [the others being quisling locals]. If possible, find one of the latter to be your puppet ruler/viceroy.

    Then you apply the 'damp course' between our foreign nobles and native peasants - a large cohort of colonists from somewhere else to serve in what passes as the 'middle class' at this time [church, trading groups etc]. Divide and rule - the native peasants may be seething but they're basically unfocused, and they are unable to join up with either the nobles or burghers because they're all different and often these three groups would be at each other's throats anyway.

    Therefore, if the conquerors have a 'barbarous' reputation, the city-state might have surrendered and be play-acting compliance as they ready themselves for the 'Great Rebellion' - knowing they only have one shot at this.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    One thing about the occupation scenario I haven't seen come up, how long has the port city been occupied?

    Is this a very recent thing, or has it been going on for several years?

    The longer it's been going on the more likely the city is going to be run by locals loyal to the empire who are actually somewhat legitimate leaders, as opposed to purely by a military governor from the empire who rules by the threat of arms, which makes the situation more complex and potentially more fun.

    Subverted nobles, the town council, wealthy merchants and really anyone who's decided they benefit from the occupation and are averse to the city being restored to it's prior state would all have cause to try and thwart rebels to try and prevent the imperial military returning in force to implement harsh crackdowns.

    This would make the initial conflict primarily with quislings, the local guards and officials collaborating with the empire, with the return of the empire's actual forces being a looming threat that threatens to escalate the situation if the locals can't keep it under control.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Oni View Post
    Incidentally, this was also the go-to foreign policy of most feudal Chinese kingdoms, yi yi zhi yi (以夷制夷) where they paid the closest set of 'barbarians' to act as a border force against other 'barbarians'.

    This policy hasn't worked all that well, with more than one set of paid barbarians overthrowing the Chinese regime and installing their own dynasty (and then they also falling into the same trap, a few emperors down the line).
    The Byzantine response was slightly different. They would pay barbarians from further away to attack the closer barbarian. Which lead to a famous reply to a Byzantine suggestion that the Pechenegs attack the Turks. The Pechenegs reply was that since the Turks were both numerous and fierce that they’d rather not.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    We have to remember that it might not be a two-sided struggle either. Third parties might also be playing a game too, desiring the place for themselves. The pro-Independence forces might also be split; side X going for the last Prince's bastard kid, while side Y has chosen Noble A to start a new line, but side Z wants the old oligarchic republic [which X's great-granddad overthrew] to be restored...

    It might be that the occupiers are holding on not because they're popular or powerful, but their enemies are split and half the time, fighting each other.

    Another complication might be 'the Empire' may be in decline; that it's suffering from 'Imperial overstrech' and is weakening due to contant fire-fighting and wars on other fronts. A new conquest or not, the knowledge that their overlord's grip is fading might spur La Resistance [for example, the Empire has to pull out much of the garrison to fight elsewhere]
    Last edited by Mr Blobby; 2021-12-06 at 04:15 PM.
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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Another historical thing the Byzantines did to consolidate power was to offer local nobility a promotion, a bigger better richer fiefdom, but in wayovertheristan on the condition they give up their current fiefdom. The Byzantines could do this because their nobility wasn’t as tightly tied to the land in feudal Europe.
    Refusing the offer marked you as a rebel, or rebel in waiting. Accepting the offer cut off your local power base and made you dependent on the empire to enforce your will on the new fiefdom.
    This wasn’t used a lot as the condition to do it (a vacant fiefdom) wasn’t a common thing.
    The new guy the emperor would appoint to replace the current incumbent could be relied upon to be more loyal than the predecessor.

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    Default Re: Got a Real-World Weapon, Armour or Tactics Question? Mk. XXIX

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    Another historical thing the Byzantines did to consolidate power was to offer local nobility a promotion, a bigger better richer fiefdom, but in wayovertheristan on the condition they give up their current fiefdom. The Byzantines could do this because their nobility wasnÂ’t as tightly tied to the land in feudal Europe.
    Refusing the offer marked you as a rebel, or rebel in waiting. Accepting the offer cut off your local power base and made you dependent on the empire to enforce your will on the new fiefdom.
    This wasnÂ’t used a lot as the condition to do it (a vacant fiefdom) wasnÂ’t a common thing.
    The new guy the emperor would appoint to replace the current incumbent could be relied upon to be more loyal than the predecessor.
    Japanese central government (however it was called at the particular point in time) tried to do this regularly with varying degrees of success. Date under Masamune famously defeated two attempts at that (first by taking new lands which were not that far away and turning them into even better power base, and then by persuading Hideyoshi to rescind his demand for resettlement on Shikoku somehow - my only source talks about semi-staged semi-rebellion which semi-delivered semi-demands and Hideyoshi chose to focus his ambitions on Korea instead of making Date fall in line).
    Last edited by Saint-Just; 2021-12-07 at 06:36 PM.

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