A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    One cloudkill vs. A packed formation over 10 minutes kills 75000 monks. An area of 1256 ft. Divided by 5 gives a kill count of 251 initially, then moving 10 feet a round and assuming half that is 75k. Even if it's only a quarter of the initial area it's 37.5 k. That bigger than most armies are going to get.

    Assuming standard blocking of medieval forces they are next to each other in 5 ft. Squares and all low level conscripts which are expert/farmer/commoner 1s. It will kill most lieutenants because they are maybe 3rd level fighters, and the few captains will be weakened.

    Once most of those conscipts see a literal cloud of instant death they break, run, and slow down everyone in the chaos overall likely causing more death. And that's assuming one cloudkill cast at the front of a formation. Box them in with a couple and its worse.

  2. - Top - End - #32
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    Quote Originally Posted by Efrate View Post
    One cloudkill vs. A packed formation over 10 minutes kills 75000 monks. An area of 1256 ft. Divided by 5 gives a kill count of 251 initially, then moving 10 feet a round and assuming half that is 75k. Even if it's only a quarter of the initial area it's 37.5 k. That bigger than most armies are going to get.

    Assuming standard blocking of medieval forces they are next to each other in 5 ft. Squares and all low level conscripts which are expert/farmer/commoner 1s. It will kill most lieutenants because they are maybe 3rd level fighters, and the few captains will be weakened.

    Once most of those conscipts see a literal cloud of instant death they break, run, and slow down everyone in the chaos overall likely causing more death. And that's assuming one cloudkill cast at the front of a formation. Box them in with a couple and its worse.
    I was doing the sparse army assumption specifically due to numbers like those.
    This kind of thing is why people do not have soldiers close to each other.
    Last edited by noob; 2021-09-21 at 07:11 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    *Sigh*

    And this is why you can't start making conclusions about how magic changes warfare if you don't know how it works in the first place. A standard medieval army doesn't have 75,000 soldiers, but even one that did would never be in any "formation" where that many could possibly be hit. If you cast a cloudkill at a standard medieval formation, you cut a hole through it. If they're standing in 5' squares (which they aren't, because packed formations pack closer than that, but that's not how DnD works), you get a 40' wide slice, which means 8x the depth of the formation. How deep is it? Maybe a dozen, couple dozen at most? You kill 100 soldiers.

    Sure, the rest flee because instant death makes people flee, but the maximum number of 5' squares affected means literally nothing to what actually happens. Except the rest quite possibly don't flee, because what you actually did was kill one unit, while the neighboring units are unaffected and hold, until they see a cloud coming at them (or they hold even if they do see a cloud coming at them, because this is DnD and they could very well be fighting against the end of all things, or supernaturally boosted in morale, or the DM just isn't using morale rules). Because ancient warfare does in fact involve maneuvering of separate units, not just two blobs of guys running at each other. Though even if it was that, a Cloudkill would still barely hit anything relative to its supposed maximum, because the total area it passes over is only 8 squares wide and it takes minutes to hit that entire area while moving at a speed I'm pretty sure a formation could just walk away from once they turned. In short, that is possibly the most nonsensical calculation I could expect for mass casualties with DnD spells.

    But this isn't new news. If (if) AoE magic is present on the battlefield, that just means that formations and shock combat are reduced in significance or adapt, and ranged weapons and fortifications that can resist them and mobile units move up in significance (these are actually aided massively by DnD's ranged weapons, which deal full damage regardless of range, and HoB's volley of arrows rules let you even ignore armor). Unless it doesn't, because the defending army has their own casters countering and dispelling such spells, so battlefield conditions are zero-sum with only a few spells from one side getting through. Unless that doesn't, because one side has a wand to burn down. And really, how does one hold territory in a world where the DM says lol magic just killed any amount of troops anywhere? And what even is the point of holding territory when the power of food and money pales so in comparison to the power of Bob the Wizard, who can only consume so much food and money?

    The ridiculous variability of DnD magic and its being completely tied to the choices and presence of specific individuals completely uproots the very concept of warfare, to the point that yeah, it might make more sense to replace the whole thing with calling out the enemy's casters and champions, if no one wants to go through the headache. Because they know that they don't have the information required to figure out how to fight an unidentified caster, despite any given caster absolutely having limits that could be exploited. But the cessation of war in the face of such "caster supremacy" would remove that outlet of demonstration of said supremacy, so people prefer to act as though people would still mass up to be killed over a change in tax collectors. Indeed, any caster who publicly proves their ability to slay whole masses of troops at once, should prevent the very formation of an army without their approval anywhere within their reach. Which is entirely on point for the sorts of stories with casters who have DnD style magic- and if we wish to speak of honor, it would likely earn fear and censure for such a caster to actually blast an army they've decided to oppose without a proper warning which would invariably cause them to back down. But then we circle back to the rarity of that sort of magic, because it is rare, by the base rules of the game, which means normal armies would still be raised to fight other normal armies when casters aren't around or getting involved, etc.

    As the phrasing goes- do you really want to get an actual university minor in pre-modern warfare in order to answer the question, or would you maybe rather just assume that magic is rare and balanced enough across the land that the fantasy game can have medieval-ish troop combat with an occasional spell from the PCs or their opposites? 'Cause unless you actually define everything from the the socio-political situation that begets strategic aims and the prevalence and level of magic and technology and supply logistics and available manpower and taxes and usable income and what everyone knows and doesn't know about all of those things and other things all the way down to the individual spell selections and disposition of each of the finite casters in the regions you've drawn up. . . there's a reason that there are entire genres of detailed computer game simulations about warfare, even without magic, which are still blunt abstractions, and yet involve dozens and dozens of variables which DnD has not assigned, let alone a particular DM for a particular campaign.


    Incidentally- the Philospher's Stone fixes also put a heavy crimp in the battlefield madness of DnD spells as well. If you have to be well within bowshot and the standard spell is only 10' wide, that's a doozy. I mentioned it in the War of the Lance thread for "tier 1" worries, but it also applies heavily to battlefield conditions, simply by limiting the solo caster's ability to target an entire battlefield with impunity.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    You should not be trying to kill armies with cloudkills. Battlefields are big, armies are spread out, and cloudkills don't cover that much area. One of the weird things about D&D magic, compared to much of the fantasy genre, is that magic is actually really tiny. If you look at what mages are doing in military fantasy, it's not blasts that are "about the size of a grenade". D&D magic kills the things it hits really dead, but it doesn't hit all that many things. What you want for anti-army duty are monsters (dragons being the best example, as they are immune to low-level troops and have two different AoEs, one of which is passive) and Warlocks (whose abilities do fairly crappy damage by the standards of level-appropriate monsters, but more than enough to kill low-level toops). The military roll of a Wizard is logistics (teleport, fabricate, scrying, and sending have big implications for armies) and summoning (a Wizard spending his 6th level slots on acid fog is far less useful than one spending his 6th level slots on planar binding to deploy some Hezrous).

    That said, it's incorrect to thing that armies will simply adapt to these tactics. That will happen eventually, but just as in the real world there are various examples of high-technology armies destroying opposition who weren't familiar with the appropriate responses to their weapons, the same thing will happen with magic users in D&D. There will be a first nation that convinces dragons to fight for them, and they will absolutely brutalize their opponents until appropriate anti-dragon tactics are devised. Showing up with magical artillery against a nation who isn't used to dealing with it will allow you to inflict brutal casualties.

    The question of the availability of magic is weird, because the game is not cross-consistent. There are certainly things you can point to that suggest a low level of magic (DMG demographic rules), but there are other things that suggest magic could be quite common (advancement rules, Leadership and Mentor, most published settings, monsters that are mid-level casters just for existing). Ultimately, you probably want magic to be fairly common, because that's the only way you get a military campaign at all. There are going to be high level characters and high-CR monsters, and the only way to defeat those are armies of mid-level characters. In a world where Great Wyrm Red Dragons exist, armies pretty much have to be recruiting 10th level characters in bulk to be a thing anyone cares about, and that implies something different from medieval warfare.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    And really, how does one hold territory in a world where the DM says lol magic just killed any amount of troops anywhere? And what even is the point of holding territory when the power of food and money pales so in comparison to the power of Bob the Wizard, who can only consume so much food and money?
    Those seem quite analogous to the questions posed by World War I, so as OP was originally asking about Eberron, I would say that "why the hell are we doing this when House Whichever can make more stuff than we can possibly get by doing war in like six months" is actually a very important question to engage with for the topic we're asking about.

    The ridiculous variability of DnD magic and its being completely tied to the choices and presence of specific individuals completely uproots the very concept of warfare
    Sort of. What it's going to cause is a very weird development of warfare, where you basically don't have state actors until you can start training Wizards (or at least Warmage-types) who can be trained to fill specific roles. The early history of D&Dland basically involves some guy or monster conquering as much territory as he can take, because there's genuinely no way to make an organized military with any kind of coherent doctrine since magical power is so important and your magical power is "whatever the dudes born in this region happened to learn". Militaries need to follow a relatively decentralized cell structure, as there's simply no way to issue top-down commands when you can't know if each squad's support caster will have illusion magic, healing magic, or something else.

    As the phrasing goes- do you really want to get an actual university minor in pre-modern warfare in order to answer the question, or would you maybe rather just assume that magic is rare and balanced enough across the land that the fantasy game can have medieval-ish troop combat with an occasional spell from the PCs or their opposites?
    That's backwards. The more like traditional warfare D&D warfare is, the more you have to know about traditional warfare. Because obviously. If you want to do something easy, just let people use the magic they have and let the player's innovations change the world, as innovations in war-fighting technology did historically change the world.

  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    That said, it's incorrect to thing that armies will simply adapt to these tactics. That will happen eventually, but just as in the real world there are various examples of high-technology armies destroying opposition who weren't familiar with the appropriate responses to their weapons, the same thing will happen with magic users in D&D. There will be a first nation that convinces dragons to fight for them, and they will absolutely brutalize their opponents until appropriate anti-dragon tactics are devised. Showing up with magical artillery against a nation who isn't used to dealing with it will allow you to inflict brutal casualties.
    Except most DnD settings assume that magic, monsters, and high level characters, have existed for hundreds (or thousands, or tens of thousands) of years. You have to set up a very specific situation for these things to have always existed, but people don't know about them now and have regressed to warfare that doesn't incorporate them, but suddenly they're back again because you want that in the campaign. Which to be fair does seem to be a fairly common standard, though one that I find annoying because it simply shifts the problem into why your "fall of rome" doesn't make any sense, particularly with DnD magic (oh no they burned the library, except all the important stuff was immune to fire and stored extradimensionally and we can literally ask the gods how to do X whenever we want).

    (advancement rules, Leadership and Mentor, most published settings, monsters that are mid-level casters just for existing).
    NPCs don't level up the way PCs do unless the DM makes them. Leadership explicitly does not create leveled characters out of nothing, only recruiting those that exist, and Mentor relies on people leveling up over time- which only matters if NPCs level up like PCs (it ends up not even breaking much with the city generated NPCs, unless you're just giving it on top of them, which still results in only a modest increase). Monsters that are casters or existential threats just by existing is the big one, particularly when they can be enslaved+bred or replicated, but the initial numbers/access/etc are still up to the DM.

    Ultimately, you probably want magic to be fairly common, because that's the only way you get a military campaign at all. There are going to be high level characters and high-CR monsters, and the only way to defeat those are armies of mid-level characters. In a world where Great Wyrm Red Dragons exist, armies pretty much have to be recruiting 10th level characters in bulk to be a thing anyone cares about, and that implies something different from medieval warfare.
    Strong disagree. If you're going to completely throw out the concept of high level characters in order to say you have armies at that level, you'll have to first rewrite all underlying assumptions about the world. Casters of Significant power are not that common normally, rare enough that the number with supposedly setting-altering magic can be individually accounted for (their spells known and motives that lead to the "strange" lack of setting alteration defined), but making it so those spells are supplied by hundreds and hundreds of characters actually does have the huge implications people like to assume.

    Those seem quite analogous to the questions posed by World War I, so as OP was originally asking about Eberron, I would say that "why the hell are we doing this when House Whichever can make more stuff than we can possibly get by doing war in like six months" is actually a very important question to engage with for the topic we're asking about.
    Indeed- apparently I didn't say it exactly in this thread, but I've found that the more I've read, the more it seems the correct place to look for answers on how to adapt DnD warfare to DnD magic is not "late medieval," but rather "early modern." Nice to see one of their series I haven't read yet is going there directly. Just, ya know, the same caveat that House Whichever can't actually make more stuff, because they don't actually have any defined ability to make stuff, or income, or standing assets.

    Unless some of that information is actually hiding out there- I remember one setting book I've seen actually flat-out stated the available army sizes of every place that had one, which is one of the most basic things and yet doesn't actually seem to ever happen except in modules that specifically go there. At which point you didn't really need it, because the module already assigned an appropriate antagonist. If Eberron actually did establish the barest of numbers somewhere, well that would be nice.

    Sort of. What it's going to cause is a very weird development of warfare, where you basically don't have state actors until you can start training Wizards (or at least Warmage-types) who can be trained to fill specific roles. The early history of D&Dland basically involves some guy or monster conquering as much territory as he can take, because there's genuinely no way to make an organized military with any kind of coherent doctrine since magical power is so important and your magical power is "whatever the dudes born in this region happened to learn". Militaries need to follow a relatively decentralized cell structure, as there's simply no way to issue top-down commands when you can't know if each squad's support caster will have illusion magic, healing magic, or something else.
    If your magic depends on exactly what your people can do, getting a full inventory of those abilities and assigning them will be one of the very first things you do- by top-down commands I guess you mean general "everyone does X" orders?

    That's backwards. The more like traditional warfare D&D warfare is, the more you have to know about traditional warfare. Because obviously. If you want to do something easy, just let people use the magic they have and let the player's innovations change the world, as innovations in war-fighting technology did historically change the world.
    If the comparison is "do nothing and let the players dictate the sudden change in the world (including apparently war itself in any capacity other than individuals dominating X area?)," well then yeah that's always going to be easier. But I still wouldn't call that a "war game": it's a game where there is war, but if the DM has no framework, no idea of how things should happen, they can't orchestrate that war to any particular goals. It's sandbox improv where the DM must either match the PCs on the fly, or risk massively over or under estimating something. This sort of thing also basically requires an in-world narrative conceit of why so few people level up and do anything interesting, but the PCs are a sudden group that does- something like Wheel of Time's ta'veren where some people are literally known (by those with the talent to see it) to be central to the Pattern. Otherwise you still have the question of why someone else didn't do all this already. With most settings wanting a "fall of rome" or three or a hundred to excuse dungeons full of loot, you can't also have it be the dawn of leveled characters and high level warfare as a concept without some excuse.

    But you can totally take the very light treatment the DMG gives on the subject, read some blog articles or watch some youtube vids, make some extrapolations and assumptions, and draw the lines for a given campaign where magic is involved to X amount and the DM has decreed Y and Z reasons it doesn't go beyond that (which the players may then attempt to flout or not as allowed). As long as that campaign isn't crossing the level-bands of large-scale significance and you don't demand things which the system can't actually account for. How much research and where to draw the lines is up to the DM.
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  6. - Top - End - #36
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    Except most DnD settings assume that magic, monsters, and high level characters, have existed for hundreds (or thousands, or tens of thousands) of years.
    But they also assume a steady stream of apocalypses, which presumably reset knowledge to some degree. Sure, there were people thousands of years ago that were dealing with cloudkills and bound Hezrous and dragons, but that doesn't mean there's an unbroken military tradition that covers those things. If you look at the rest of the genre, this is actually fairly standard. The Stormlight Archive has humanity starting off close to zero with respect to most of their magic. Lether in Malazan is in a magical stasis that leaves it unprepared for Malazanian tactics and magic.

    (oh no they burned the library, except all the important stuff was immune to fire and stored extradimensionally and we can literally ask the gods how to do X whenever we want).
    Well, the standard model of D&D gods is inconsistent with anything like a normal D&D setting, so that's not really a problem that any particular setting or campaign premise has as a reason to go back to the old model of the gods as being like dragons: powerful beings with particular interests and agendas you can just stab. But overall, I think you're barking up the wrong tree here. D&D civilizations are more vulnerable to collapse than historic ones were, because in D&D your infrastructure depends on specific individuals, rather than broad social institutions. In the real world, there's basically no one who could die that would stop us from being able to build computers or airplanes or satellites. But in D&D any of those things might be the providence of a single Wizard (or small group of them), who are also your first-line military units. If there's anything that's realistic about D&D's worldbuilding, it's the tendency of civilization to periodically collapse in a magical apocalypse.

    NPCs don't level up the way PCs do unless the DM makes them.
    And the world doesn't perfectly correspond to demographic guidelines unless the DM makes it. You can choose a particular source to use as your ground truth. But the reality is that there is not a single, internally consistent, model under the hood.

    Strong disagree. If you're going to completely throw out the concept of high level characters in order to say you have armies at that level, you'll have to first rewrite all underlying assumptions about the world.
    What "underlying assumptions"? There are no underlying assumptions. The game does not have an internally-consistent model for how the world works. You seem to have this notion that if you add "too much magic" something breaks, but the reality is there's nothing in there to break. You can't break 3e's economic model, because 3e doesn't have an economic model. In fact, many of the things people describe as "breaking the economy" are breaking precisely the lack of economy. fabricate doesn't cause problems because it violates some assumption about output levels relative to population, it causes problems because the economy doesn't respond to an influx of goods in the way that an economy does (by having prices fall).

    If your magic depends on exactly what your people can do, getting a full inventory of those abilities and assigning them will be one of the very first things you do- by top-down commands I guess you mean general "everyone does X" orders?
    States don't have the capacity to do that. A modern state probably doesn't even have the capacity to do that, and the medieval (ish, it's complicated) states of D&Dland certainly don't. Medieval states barely had the capacity to levy proper taxes. Without the ability to train casters to spec (which relies on the ability to consistently produce members of a specific subset of classes), your options are A) radically decentralized organization so that the people making decisions know what magic they have available or B) radically under-estimating the amount of magic you have so that people can consistently scrape together whatever magic you ask them for even when you're tapping a Beguiler for artillery support.

    As long as that campaign isn't crossing the level-bands of large-scale significance and you don't demand things which the system can't actually account for. How much research and where to draw the lines is up to the DM.
    The nature of D&D players is that there's at least a 50% chance that, however much research you do, one of your players has done more. Trying for realism is always going to fail. It's true that D&D doesn't have adequate rules for mid or high magic campaigns, but it doesn't have adequate rules for low magic campaigns either. There are just as no rules for the output of traditional medieval farming as there are no rules for the output of medieval farming boosted by plant growth and undead plow teams and supplemented by magic items or priests that create food from nothing. And so on for all the stuff that goes into war-fighting. You could do a bunch of research based on actual medieval battle and back-fit something from that, but you could just as easily base your research on the military fantasy stories you really like, and that would get results that are about as good.

  7. - Top - End - #37
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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPeasant View Post
    Well, the standard model of D&D gods is inconsistent with anything like a normal D&D setting, so that's not really a problem that any particular setting or campaign premise has as a reason to go back to the old model of the gods as being like dragons: powerful beings with particular interests and agendas you can just stab.
    Until the 3.x spells let you directly ask questions that your god answers because the spell says they do.

    But overall, I think you're barking up the wrong tree here. D&D civilizations are more vulnerable to collapse than historic ones were, because in D&D your infrastructure depends on specific individuals, rather than broad social institutions.
    Only if the infrastructure is actually built on those individuals. Which in the "default" setting, it is not, see also: the given methods of warfare not using a significant base assumption of magic.

    In the real world, there's basically no one who could die that would stop us from being able to build computers or airplanes or satellites. But in D&D any of those things might be the providence of a single Wizard (or small group of them), who are also your first-line military units. If there's anything that's realistic about D&D's worldbuilding, it's the tendency of civilization to periodically collapse in a magical apocalypse.
    And unlike the real world, nothing stops a new person from growing into a brand new high level character in a year or two, completely reinventing or newly inventing all of that tech, particularly if you assume NPCs can level up just as fast as PCs. And all that old tech is still sitting around, generally functioning perfectly hundreds of years later, when our real life electronics would quickly rust and corrode out, lose data including basic file compatability, have no electrical or long distance networks, and even gasoline expires.

    What "underlying assumptions"? There are no underlying assumptions. The game does not have an internally-consistent model for how the world works. You seem to have this notion that if you add "too much magic" something breaks, but the reality is there's nothing in there to break. You can't break 3e's economic model, because 3e doesn't have an economic model. In fact, many of the things people describe as "breaking the economy" are breaking precisely the lack of economy. fabricate doesn't cause problems because it violates some assumption about output levels relative to population, it causes problems because the economy doesn't respond to an influx of goods in the way that an economy does (by having prices fall).
    The underlying assumptions that things work as written, that you are not required or even seriously encouraged to write a massive detailed historical account of how magic affects your setting (or use a published setting which fails to answer that question anyway). City generation does assign a number of NPCs at X level, humanoid monster entries assign NPCs of Y level, the DMG does assume that warfare starts with medieval-ish armies, farming still exists because cabinets of infinite food are not a standard assumption, overland travel and wagons and boats still matter because portal and teleporation circle spam and dozens or hundreds of people with personal teleportation are not a base assumption, and so on, and so on. The default assumption of DnD is a faux-medieval society which also happens to have enough magic and monsters to enable dungeoneering combat, but not enough to shake up the underlying medieval setting in any way that the DM doesn't explicitly decide to include. And the given NPC levels do this far better than people give them credit for.

    The given numbers of high level NPCs are high enough to support the PCs and protect their population centers, but not high enough to personally cast enough spells to make massive changes to the setting (not without a ton of coordination and the DM generally choosing for them to do so, at least), and don't even actually reach the highest level on arcanists, nor is there even required to be a city of the largest given size. All non-published magic items (and also published magic items outside, or really even within the DMG) require DM approval, so magical infrastructure doesn't exist unless the DM says it does, and without magic item spam or arbitrarily high numbers of casters, it is very believable that spooky magic and monsters are kept limited to adventurer business.

    Changing the NPC level demographics from "just enough to enable Dungeons and Dragons" to "literally entire armies of things which used to be a handful per city and are now not," must change the setting, because you've directly overwritten one of the fundamental underlying assumptions. They present a bland starting point with few assumptions which can be customized in any number of ways, but that blandness itself brings certain assumptions.

    States don't have the capacity to do that. A modern state probably doesn't even have the capacity to do that, and the medieval (ish, it's complicated) states of D&Dland certainly don't. Medieval states barely had the capacity to levy proper taxes.
    You're telling me that an apparatus that can recruit these apparently so significant and powerful mages, probably putting them in significant positions of power, some of whom potentially having long-distance communication spells, can't be bothered to ask their own major elites to list their capabilities? Each lord has their casting retainers prepare a list of their capabilities and sends them up the chain. Done.

    No. You get that ability, and the leader doesn't dare start a war unless they have a good idea of what is available, or you fail before you've even begun. Or, they simply wage a mostly mundane medieval war and hope whatever casters they have are enough to counter whatever casters the enemy has, and it goes to adventurer business.

    Of course, if you're assuming hundreds of high level casters conscripted or recruited out of who knows where to form entire armies, then yeah that's ridiculous. And not supported by the default setting, so it's on you since you brought it in.

    Without the ability to train casters to spec (which relies on the ability to consistently produce members of a specific subset of classes), your options are A) radically decentralized organization so that the people making decisions know what magic they have available or B) radically under-estimating the amount of magic you have so that people can consistently scrape together whatever magic you ask them for even when you're tapping a Beguiler for artillery support.
    I'm surprised you're ignoring that whole thing where Wizards can literally prepare spells to spec (and Clerics just have the entire list). If you've got legions of casters, their spells are whatever you want them to be. If large numbers of them are fixed-list spontaneous casters, their abilities are acutely known. It's only with a small list of defined casters that the spell selection makes a difference, and the smaller the list, the less excuse there can possibly be for a general to not get that information. Intercepting that intelligence would also be a massive boon that could turn the tides of war and give rise to an actual target for espionage stuff with clear mechanical goals, that don't require precise mapping of troop movements and timetables etc.

    The nature of D&D players is that there's at least a 50% chance that, however much research you do, one of your players has done more. Trying for realism is always going to fail. It's true that D&D doesn't have adequate rules for mid or high magic campaigns, but it doesn't have adequate rules for low magic campaigns either.
    Define "adequate rules for low magic campaigns." Pretty sure the default is already what you'd call low magic, and it works just fine. The rule is "this stuff matters, this other stuff doesn't," and the DM can make up why if they want. This is no less valid than telling the DM to make up any other stuff.

    There are just as no rules for the output of traditional medieval farming as there are no rules for the output of medieval farming boosted by plant growth
    Plant Growth is one of the only spells to actually state its exact impact. It increases potential productivity in the area by 1/3. That's it. The knock-on effects, if any, are up to the DM. Thus the default assumption is that if Plant Growth is in wide use somewhere, the extra yield is being exported or used to cover something like general loss to monsters and raiders, which works out rather well considering the amount of raiders and monster damage used to motivate PCs.

    The nature of D&D players is that there's at least a 50% chance that, however much research you do, one of your players has done more.
    Then ask them, or incorporate whatever they point out as needing fixing. This is like saying that you shouldn't bother trying to build NPCs properly or use published monsters and just make up numbers, because one of your players is better at char-op than you. Not even bothering to try is not going to make them like the game better.

    You could do a bunch of research based on actual medieval battle and back-fit something from that, but you could just as easily base your research on the military fantasy stories you really like, and that would get results that are about as good.
    Yes, no matter what you do you're going to have to draw lines and make arbitrary decisions somewhere. That's DMing. As long as you're basing it on something, that's going to require some amount of research or planning, and will result in a more useful setting for a war game than making stuff up on the fly, since the very notion of a "war game" is that there's a war which is in motion which you are aiming to affect (as opposed to a military flavored sandbox or improve campaign), which requires the DM to have a war in motion. You don't seem to be disagreeing or addressing the part you left quoted about the level bands and things the system can't account for- the point there being that adventures and threats that make sense in the 5-8/10 band stop making sense in the 11-14 or 15-20 bands and you can't ignore that, and things the system flat out can't account for like infinite loops were never accounted for, for obvious reasons.
    Attention Imgur Users! Imgur apparently doesn't like hosting images anymore and only works in certain places or for people who already have the image cached: No one can see your avatars or images!
    Also Photobucket users? Don't know if it's a bandwidth or region lock or something, but I'm seeing some avatars blurred out with a watermark that looks like the photobucket icon.
    And Tinypic went down a while back, seeing plenty of old avatars showing their downed image.
    Quote Originally Posted by Violet Octopus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fizban View Post
    sheer awesomeness

  8. - Top - End - #38
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    I say a non caster build then you talk about spell slots.
    That build I gave have no spell slots at all and uses no limited resources and can not be zerged because the opponent can not know where he is: not even divination spells would work for finding that character.
    Lots wrong here. One, casting 2nd lvl spells is a requirement for Vecna Blooded, so it would be illegal. Not sure which divine minion template you are using, but if it is a petitioner, then I suggest you reread it. It has some strong draw backs for all the abilities it gets. Yes. You hide, you move silently, you attack, and your presence is revealed. Even if they can't pin point you exactly, there are are measures that can be taken.. ultimately it doesn't matter. I was also responding to the post mentioning cloud kill.

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    That is absurd: missions would not stop the opponent army from burning down the town if they were not stopping from burning the town while you were sniping one soldier trying to set stuff on fire per turn.
    I mean if you are killing the supply line which is the next fastest way to stop an army over killing its soldiers then the soldiers would have burnt the town faster because they would not even have been aware of the supply line dying before finishing the deed and none of the soldiers trying to set the town on fire would have been scared from seeing one of their friends dying per turn.
    It simply is slower and less efficient for stopping an army to do stuff other than killing it when you can kill this fast day and night.
    Also if that character had allies and could solo the opponent army all the allies would have to do would be to go somewhere else and sit(or help civilians evacuate away from the path of the opponent army) while the character kills 14400 soldiers a day.
    There is no way the opponent army would not disband quickly from morale issues by seeing so many of their soldiers die per day from an unseen opponent they can not fight while if they actually manage to fight something then they would disband to morale issues slower.
    You know what else can kill a soldier or footman a turn? An archer. Or a footman. In a battle of 1,000s, what is 1 more a turn?

    Whereas if you burned their supplies a few days before, intercepted and changed their orders, destroyed a bridge,, assassinated their leadership, etc... you might have delayed or even prevented the army from reaching said town in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    ... So armies of regular people are in fact not the way to go for warfare: you should only have hidden squads of high level people.
    Fizban answered this pretty well, but I will reiterate. High level characters by their nature are rare. Divinely chosen, template stacking, munchkin monstrosities even more so. Action economy is a thing, and a character can only be in one place at a time. Team work, strategy, and coordination wins large scale conflicts.

  9. - Top - End - #39
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    Quote Originally Posted by Bonzai View Post
    Lots wrong here. One, casting 2nd lvl spells is a requirement for Vecna Blooded, so it would be illegal. Not sure which divine minion template you are using, but if it is a petitioner, then I suggest you reread it. It has some strong draw backs for all the abilities it gets. Yes. You hide, you move silently, you attack, and your presence is revealed. Even if they can't pin point you exactly, there are are measures that can be taken.. ultimately it doesn't matter. I was also responding to the post mentioning cloud kill.



    You know what else can kill a soldier or footman a turn? An archer. Or a footman. In a battle of 1,000s, what is 1 more a turn?

    Whereas if you burned their supplies a few days before, intercepted and changed their orders, destroyed a bridge,, assassinated their leadership, etc... you might have delayed or even prevented the army from reaching said town in the first place.



    Fizban answered this pretty well, but I will reiterate. High level characters by their nature are rare. Divinely chosen, template stacking, munchkin monstrosities even more so. Action economy is a thing, and a character can only be in one place at a time. Team work, strategy, and coordination wins large scale conflicts.
    That is false: an archer does not kill a soldier a turn unless they reach quite high level or optimise a lot.
    As for the level 2 spell requirement there is ways to fit it such as the cleric spell that allows to transfer the ability to cast level 2 spells or just retraining.
    Also I was talking about the divine minion template that basically gives free action wildshape that makes you regain health which is not the petitioner template.(the divine minion template I am talking about is used as an ingredient in the level 2 variants of pun pun)

    The sparse army hypothesis means that instant communication from any point of the army to any other is possible with dnd rules since talking is a free action and since the army occupies such a wide area anyway then you can just have a soldier tunnel connecting to the capital of the army which also allows near instant resupplying with readied actions to throw the supplies.
    While you might try to cut the tunnel it takes a single move action from all the soldiers behind for reconnecting the tunnel so it is an exercise in pointlessness.

    Killing all the generals does not stops an army: good chains of commands can instantly reselect officers and so on since instant communication is a thing, Changing orders does not works because they can just receive updates instantly because the availability of instant communication, destroying a bridge changes nothing due to the sparse army assumption: if they had needed to cross the bridge then they would have taken weeks to do so and in one week you would have killed all the army or if the sparse army assumption is broken (like multiple soldiers cross the bridge at once) then you kill them all at a stupid rate (with siege weapon enchantments on an handheld weapon).
    (so they would find ways other than using bridges to cross the river)

    All the mission you suggested were bad: if morale is not an issue for the soldiers then killing all the commanding people is not an issue for the army either and disrupting the supply chain is as hard as killing the entire army and if they had to go through any sort of choke-point then you would have killed all the army while it was trying to go through it.

    As for characters being in one place it kinds of stop being true if you have level 5 good aligned wizards(or clerics or healers) and bags of holding: by that point you can teleport anywhere in the world for one hour per level 3 spell slot.
    Last edited by noob; 2021-09-22 at 12:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    I appreciate the discussions happening here, and I am following along and absorbing as much information as I can; I did want to make one point though, since it does seem to come up a few times. In the Eberron setting, gunpowder does not exist, and there are magical parallels for almost anything that would otherwise rely on it. For example, many foot soldiers were armed with wands, and trained in their use. So even without a large stock of casters, it is reasonable in canon to have higher than normal quantities of magic present on a battlefield. Granted, the wands are almost always level 0 or 1 spells, but there could always be higher level (2-3) wands in smaller quantities. Further, iirc, siege engines can be built by making a giant "wand/rod" out of a tree trunk which dispenses a magical payload.


    Strength is being able to crush a tomato, Dexterity is being able to dodge a tomato, Constitution is being able to eat a bad tomato, Intelligence is knowing a tomato is a fruit, Wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad, Charisma is being able to sell a tomato-based fruit salad
    But..... isn't a tomato-based fruit salad... salsa?

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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    Quote Originally Posted by Jarmen4u View Post
    I appreciate the discussions happening here, and I am following along and absorbing as much information as I can; I did want to make one point though, since it does seem to come up a few times. In the Eberron setting, gunpowder does not exist, and there are magical parallels for almost anything that would otherwise rely on it. For example, many foot soldiers were armed with wands, and trained in their use. So even without a large stock of casters, it is reasonable in canon to have higher than normal quantities of magic present on a battlefield. Granted, the wands are almost always level 0 or 1 spells, but there could always be higher level (2-3) wands in smaller quantities. Further, iirc, siege engines can be built by making a giant "wand/rod" out of a tree trunk which dispenses a magical payload.
    There is a dnd manual that gives siege weapon specific enchantments.

  12. - Top - End - #42
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    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    Quote Originally Posted by noob View Post
    That is false: an archer does not kill a soldier a turn unless they reach quite high level or optimise a lot.
    As for the level 2 spell requirement there is ways to fit it such as the cleric spell that allows to transfer the ability to cast level 2 spells or just retraining.
    Also I was talking about the divine minion template that basically gives free action wildshape that makes you regain health which is not the petitioner template.(the divine minion template I am talking about is used as an ingredient in the level 2 variants of pun pun)

    The sparse army hypothesis means that instant communication from any point of the army to any other is possible with dnd rules since talking is a free action and since the army occupies such a wide area anyway then you can just have a soldier tunnel connecting to the capital of the army which also allows near instant resupplying with readied actions to throw the supplies.
    While you might try to cut the tunnel it takes a single move action from all the soldiers behind for reconnecting the tunnel so it is an exercise in pointlessness.

    Killing all the generals does not stops an army: good chains of commands can instantly reselect officers and so on since instant communication is a thing, Changing orders does not works because they can just receive updates instantly because the availability of instant communication, destroying a bridge changes nothing due to the sparse army assumption: if they had needed to cross the bridge then they would have taken weeks to do so and in one week you would have killed all the army or if the sparse army assumption is broken (like multiple soldiers cross the bridge at once) then you kill them all at a stupid rate (with siege weapon enchantments on an handheld weapon).
    (so they would find ways other than using bridges to cross the river)

    All the mission you suggested were bad: if morale is not an issue for the soldiers then killing all the commanding people is not an issue for the army either and disrupting the supply chain is as hard as killing the entire army and if they had to go through any sort of choke-point then you would have killed all the army while it was trying to go through it.

    As for characters being in one place it kinds of stop being true if you have level 5 good aligned wizards(or clerics or healers) and bags of holding: by that point you can teleport anywhere in the world for one hour per level 3 spell slot.
    My general point is this: soldiers die in battle. Every round of combat between two large forces, quite a few soldiers are going to die. One more is hardly going to cause wide spread panic or turn the tide.

    We can go back and forth playing Calvin Ball, and say what if I did this... then you say that you would do that... but it doesn't help the original poster any.

    In my opinion it makes for a boring game rolling out one player killing individual cannon fodder for several sessions. A more enjoyable game is giving the whole party something that they can achieve together, something of importance, something requiring thought, planning and team work that can shape the outcome of the war.

    But hey, that's how I try and run games. You do you.

  13. - Top - End - #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonzai View Post
    My general point is this: soldiers die in battle. Every round of combat between two large forces, quite a few soldiers are going to die. One more is hardly going to cause wide spread panic or turn the tide.

    We can go back and forth playing Calvin Ball, and say what if I did this... then you say that you would do that... but it doesn't help the original poster any.

    In my opinion it makes for a boring game rolling out one player killing individual cannon fodder for several sessions. A more enjoyable game is giving the whole party something that they can achieve together, something of importance, something requiring thought, planning and team work that can shape the outcome of the war.

    But hey, that's how I try and run games. You do you.
    I did say explicitly that it is optimal to make your allies not fight because that way the opponent have nothing to fight back and is taking losses and thus their morale issues are compounded and it saves the lives of your allies to have them not fight and just retreat while all the opponent army is dying during their walk.
    The issue is that for allowing what you want to do (such as allowing the possibility to cut supply lines or to kill generals/change orders and have it affect the army) the opponent would need to be critically suboptimally using their army and at that point they are too easy to beat and never had been an issue in the first place.

    Dnd adds stuff like instant communication and supply lines (without any need for magic), varied wide area weapons, low level access to teleportation, calling shapeshifting demons from other worlds to try and infiltrate things, mind control, portals to other worlds of existence, ways to lower gold value to nothing (when using magic)

    If the opponent is trying actively to be defeated by using really extremely poor tactics (such as not using instant communication to prevent any misguiding through things like shapeshifting or implanted false orders) then you can defeat them with any tactic.
    Last edited by noob; 2021-09-24 at 02:49 PM.

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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Running a war game?? Seeking advice/guides/resources

    What I take from this is that Skull and Shackles had the right idea. The optimized strategy for an army fighting against wizards is so massively unoptimized against any army not organized for fighting wizards that the entire conflict is solely clearing the PC equivalents from the battlefield. So you just assume that my scrubs are fighting your scrubs and when my commanders finish beating your commanders we can give the order to form shield wall or phalanx or cavalry charge and wipe the enemy skirmishers off the field and maybe have the PCs narrate how they kill a bazillion mooks or whatever.
    Last edited by Gnaeus; 2021-09-24 at 04:51 PM.

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