Cavalry, infantry, and morale

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Cavalry, infantry, and morale

Postby Galloglaich » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:17 pm

I've been reading some books on European warfare in the Medieval and Early Modern period, which once again bring me back to the issue of morale, which is so important historically.

I know most players don't like the idea of a morale system wedded to the fundamentals of the game.

But I was thinking of two special cases to maybe add as rules: a morale effect from facing a cavalry charge, (maybe requiring a saving throw for Fear) and a morale bonus (maybe a free dice on a Fear saving throw) when standing with experienced infantry.

I'm also interested in how music (drums and flutes for example), symbols like standards and religious icons, and leadership effect morale.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Cavalry, infantry, and morale

Postby drkguy3107 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:54 pm

I echo the believe that morale is unnecessary for a small heroic style game. For battles it is fine, but the heroes should not have their free will taken from them. Similarly the drums and so forth are more about big battles than small team combat. If you want to add fear effects, then make them different than the srd, make them into penalties.
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Re: Cavalry, infantry, and morale

Postby Galloglaich » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:42 pm

Well my counter-argument has always been, in a typical RPG you can have your will taken away by something like a charm or suggestion spell.

The context here would be for one of two things, either 1) having small unit battles, 10 vs 10 or thereabouts, in which the players have a key role, (and those who have the various group fighting feats would excel) and 2) letting players participate in big, full scale battles, as part of the story, in which they would have a relatvely minor role but maybe, for example able to capture a standard or something, or have to fight their way out of a rout, or try to catch fleeing prisoners during a victory and claim good loot and etc.

The first case would be particularly applicable to cavalry actions I think. This would also tie in to the horse having it's own morale in some cases.

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Re: Cavalry, infantry, and morale

Postby drkguy3107 » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:38 pm

Good enough.
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Re: Cavalry, infantry, and morale

Postby Galloglaich » Sun Jan 06, 2013 9:32 pm

Like for example, if you are fighting with a unit and your standard is intact under a strong leader (or in a strong unit with good esprit de corps) you gain a +1 'Free Dice', if the standard goes down, you lose it.

Maybe even a similar effect for music?

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Re: Cavalry, infantry, and morale

Postby Galloglaich » Wed Jan 15, 2014 8:02 pm

New Morale Rule

I thought of what I think might be a cool way to handle morale.

So lets imagine a typical scenario in which two groups are facing off. A fight is looking more and more probable.

Each person in each group makes a morale roll. If you pass the roll, you get "bennies", a fixed number of Free Dice that you can apply once each, at any time (for any die roll) that you want to during the next encounter.

So say after your morale roll, you get 4 "bennies" (I'll have to call them something different but lets call them that for now), you can then add one of these to your initiative roll, to your first attack, your first defense, for a saving throw, use it for movement, to change range... basically exactly the same way as any Free Dice, but only once per "bennie" and then it's gone for the rest of the encounter.

If you fail the roll, you still get bonus "bennies", but these can only be used for defense or for escaping / evading the encounter, including for bluff or intimidation checks intended to avoid a fight.

So either way you lose nothing. You still have all your normal abilities, and your full martial pool, but you just get bonus 'Free Dice' based on your morale roll.

===================================================================================
Further thoughts

The initial die roll
The DC would be equal to the number of enemies you face, plus 1 point extra for each armored or particularly well-armed enemy (loaded crossbow or a gun for example), plus another 1 point extra for each mounted opponent.

Conversely, you would also get a die-roll bonus for every ally you have on your side, for other factors like protection (being behind cover) etc.

The build up to the fight
The opening exchange could be enhanced (I.e. die roll modifiers) by words or acts of intimidation (imaging Clint Eastwood spitting tobacco juice on a lizard in the build up to a potential shoot-out with strangers). You would normally use the intimidate skill from the SRD for this. You could also use bluff, but if you failed your contested bluff check, it would backfire. I think you could use diplomacy for defense (to avoid a fight). Your opposition for intimidate or bluff checks of course is based on the sense motive skill.

Other things like your appearance, scary or fancy armor or clothes for example, or noise, could also effect the initial die roll modifiers.

And so could things like doing a flourish / indimidating display (I think I made an MF for intimidating display) as you see in so many of the fencing manuals.

Anyway, just some initial thoughts.

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Re: Cavalry, infantry, and morale

Postby Frantz » Tue Jan 21, 2014 7:53 pm

Some thoughts :
- the threshold for the test depends on the difference between the two sides : twice as much, more, equal, a little less, half, flea
- as for the players, here is the system of Qin which I find interesting : the player can choose wether he exposes himself to the danger: front to back. Then, there is a roll on a table where an event or an opportunity is triggered : take the standart, fight the champion/general, protect the standart, charge the bowmen, and so on. The player has the choice to take his chance or not. You could imagine give each event a bonus/malus wether the player succeed or not.
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Re: Cavalry, infantry, and morale

Postby Galloglaich » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:59 pm

Cool ideas, I really like that. I'm going to put together an updated version of this tonight.

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Re: Cavalry, infantry, and morale

Postby Galloglaich » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:08 pm

Looks like a really good 'new' source for cavalry stuff:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Riding-Ev ... ery+saddle

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