Force of virtue (tabletop war-game)

Force of virtue (tabletop war-game)

Postby TheVor » Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:49 pm

Me and some friends have been playing around with a ruleset for a while now, I'd like some outside eyes.

Core concept
The concept of the game is to create a table-top wargame set in the small scale warfare of the the 15th and early 16th century at a model count of under 30. Models should be capable of being activated individually (no unit lock)
• The games mechanics should give a very cinematic feel and be capable of recreating the epic highs and lows that are portrayed in the period accounts of battles.
• The player should always feel that his choices matter and be forced to make hard decisions
• Combat should be more nuanced than roling dice
• Use of combined forces should be crucial to success.
• The game should focus on building and commanding a distinctive force of the players own constollation that grows and changes the more he plays it, without creating a power gap between players with often played forces and less advanced forces.
• The list building system should be able to accommodate the great variety in forces of the early renaissance.
• The list building system should accommodate strategic advantages of forces without recourse to specific scenarios.
• The game should have a strong command and control as well as morale element.
• Commanders and important units should have a distinctive personality
• It should play in under 2hrs.

Key word
PERSONALITY -> both in being true to the period setting and the mechanics and models
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Re: Force of virtue (tabletop war-game)

Postby TheVor » Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:49 pm

List building is on a card basis, both opponents agree a card count to witch the game is to be played. each card is equivalent to each other. There are four different kinds of cards…
• Logistic cards have weapons, armour, equipment and men on them these are usable over multiple games, this simulates your mercenary bands physical assets.
• Strategic cards give strategic advantages in deplyment and command and control as well as activation, this simulates your bands strategic standing in the conflict.
• Intrigue cards contain sudden reverses and treacherous acts as well as allies and military intelligence, this simulates your bands intelligence and political assets.
• Virtue cards allow for orders as well as veterency and intangible morale and spiritual factors including relics and banners, this simulates the esprit de corps and fighting tradition of your force.
Cards are gained and added to your “party deck” from which you construct your force for a game by accomplishing on board objectives, we are not yet decided on whether strategic and intrigue cards are always discarded from the party deck after being used in a game or not. Another option would be that the losing player must discard a card from his deck, we are afraid however this could lead to less experienced players being severely weakened before they learn how to play their band.
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Re: Force of virtue (tabletop war-game)

Postby TheVor » Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:55 pm

Virtuous cards
These are the command elements of your force, the elements that make sure the troops are on the board and have or lend a will to fight. These are cards such as veteran units, knights, leaders, characters banners and relics and have a pool of virtue dice. Banners are included as they were often revered as signs of past glory and rallying points for troops, the standing of banners and relics within the period psyche cannot be overestimated, banners also standing in for the designation of a unit who march under it, often the banner of their guild in who's name they march into battle.

Virtuous cards have five stats.
This defines the distance in inches inside of which the card may effect other units, if the range is zero then the card may only effect itself or the model it is equipped with it. If a virtuous card is within the command range of another the one with the higher command range is the commanding card and the virtue dice of the other card are added to the pool of the other.
Each virtue can lead to heroic deeds but also hides it’s own vice within itself, the number associated to each virtue on the card defines how many virtue dice of that type it posses.
this is wisdom and prudence it can lead to insight and wisdom or over caution
This is boldness and courage it can lead to seizing the initiative and acts of courage or brash foolishness
This is immovable stoic endurance and stability in the face of adversity or passiveness and inflexibility.
Speed and ferocity of action but can also lead to mistakes and sloppy execution.

Note: Variance in the stats of different virtuous cards effect play style and reflect the personality of the units themselves, being humans or representations of ideals rather than robotic warriors.

Virtue dice
Virtue dice are meant to carry the brunt of the mechanics for play itself and simulate both command and control as well as morale in one, as well as lend individual characters distinctive personalities. To activate a unit one uses a chosen amount of virtue dice and then declares which models will be activated with this dice, the amount of models may be as large as the player whishes’ as long as they are inside command range these then must all perform the same action and act in every choice the same. The action is then carried out with those dice. the strategic difference comes from the effect that a critical success or failure with that dice has. Each dice may be used for any basic activation, for every extra dice added this adds an extra dice that may be rolled to accomplish the action, adding multiple dice increases the chance of a critical success while lowering the possibility of a critical failure. The pool of available dice may be reduced through different methods by the enemy, this simulates morale damage caused by Clausewitzian friction. The fact that all units activated by the same dice, act the same represents the level of micromanagement at the command and control level, the better the moral and command and control the more complex manoeuvres in targeting, movement and combat available. Sending mobs of peasants at something is easy, use of combined arms is much harder as each must coordinate different actions.

Critical fails and successes
A Critical success is the result of a 6 on any of the virtue dice rolled, a critical failure the result of a 1 on all dice rolled. If multiple virtue dice on a roll come up as critical successes than the controlling player chooses which effect applies, in the case of a critical fail with multiple types of virtue dice the opponent chooses. This allows for some strategy in the actions taken as well as adds some character to the game, the allotment of dice to activation becomes crucial to prevent critical failures.

Discarded dice
If it says discard a die, this means that the die is lost and will not be added to the dice pool of the card in the following turn, this is lost moral and will to perform, reduction to zero dice means that upon it’s next activation it is assumed to have either surrendered or fled the board.
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Re: Force of virtue (tabletop war-game)

Postby TheVor » Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:56 pm

The stats pertain solely to the attributes that every model possesses
prowess This is the models ability with his chosen weapon and pertains to combat
Marksmanship This is the units ability with the weapon
Armour This is the models armour save which may be modified by giving him different armour
Reach/initiative This is how capable the model is of getting the first hit in close combat it can be modified by giving your opponent a longer or shorter weapon
Fitness This is how many activations it may make total in a turn, the more physically fit a model is the more activations it may make.
Faith This defines how many virtue dice may be used on this model for activations total, an activation using virtue dice equal to this stat will mean the models entire turn. This is how fanatical their sense of purpose is, highly fanatical troops will be more susceptible to commands and articles of faith.
Players take turns activating their virtuous cards, the player with initiative is decided by a role off using dice drawn from the virtuous card that the player first wishes to activate, if neither wishes to do this then it is decided on a 4+ the player who had it last may begin, if a critical success is rolled he may make to activations, if a critical failure the opponent may make activate two virtuous cards to begin.

There are three basic activations performed by troops
Move Select models that you wish to activate. The activated units move three + d3 inches, the effects of a critical success or failure (a 1 or 6) depend on the type of virtue dice used to activate
Shoot Select models that you wish to activate and declare the target of your shooting, the opposing player may select virtue dice from his pool with which he may make role his armour saves. Roll your activating amount of virtuous dice the higher of the two dice roles designates the amount of targets you may shoot at with this activation, the targets are chosen by your opponent, different critical successes in this role generate different effects (prudence successes allow for your own designation of models for example i.e. directed fire against a target). Then each model that was activated may shoot designating shots between the targets again different critical rolls create different effects.
Melee Select models you wish to activate, they may perform close a close-combat attack against a model in base to base contact, the targeted model or models may draw dice from the dice pool of the virtuous card for armour saves. Role dice to hit equal to dice used to activate the models, critical effects based on dice rolled.

There are also actions taken by the virtuous cards themselves.

Prepare These rolls must be done before model activations roll virtue dice from the cards pool if it results in a critical success this dice may be used for an activation during the enemies turn, or to perform an order (these are activatable abilities you can add to your force). This simulates troops preparing over watch or for a countercharge etc. A critical failure results in the card being incapable of further action and the opponent being able to activate his next unit, incompetent or misunderstood commands resulted in confusion and apathy.
Rally For every critical success gain a dice of that type into your pool, for every critical fail lose a further dice. This is troops regaining their courage and sense of purpose.
Models roll the virtue dice used to activate, every virtue die that has a result equal or higher than the models own Marksmanship is a success, every unanswered success results in a hit. Each critical success may either force an enemy do discard a die from his pool or a virtue based effect, critical fails add to the opponent’s dice pool.
Models roll the virtue dice used to activate them attempting to roll over the prowess of the model they are attacking, each success results in a hit. Each critical success may either force an enemy do discard a die from the pool of the commanding virtue card or a virtue based effect, critical fails add to the opponents dice pool.
Armour saves
For every hit caused the targeted model may roll an armour save, the amount of dice he may used are declared once the model to be targeted is designated. If the targeted player has no more dice in his pool or doesn’t wish to draw any from his pool and he has no dice added by cover or other modifiers then the model has no save and is immediately removed. The targeted model attempts to roll over his armour value. Critical successes give different effects. If the model fails the roll the model is wounded, the controlling player however may choose to discard virtue dice from his pool to negate wounds.
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Re: Force of virtue (tabletop war-game)

Postby TheVor » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:10 pm

A note on decks
I see there being great possibility in tailoring forces to historical groups via the deck the party is built from. For example the burgers who often relied greatly on strategic advantages could have more strategic cards and at their disposal but fewer knights (konstaffler in their case) and virtuous cards. Venetians and italian condottieri in general could have high amounts of intrigue cards and lower amounts of virtue cards because of their relatively bad reputation. The swiss would have few knights and manpower cards but large amounts of virtue cards and armament. The Hussites would be mainly religiously focused with high amounts of cards that boost virtue pools and lots of guns.

The literal personality of the force can also be demonstrated by the relative virtue stats of the virtuous cards, Burgundians high audatia, the swiss high fortitudo, english high prudence, tartars perhaps high celeritas.
I would make all the different cards slightly different in how the virtue stats are divided up, so you have a feeling of individuality of the model. For leaders or banners I was thinking of a simple formula of 7 points to distribute between the stats, 1 point either being +3 inches command range or 1 virtue dice, this allows for some commanders that are have low command but really destroy on their own account or highly command focused leaders who don't tend to get their hands dirty themselves. For knights or veterans 5 points to distribute I think is enough.
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Re: Force of virtue (tabletop war-game)

Postby TheVor » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:47 pm

An armed virtuous model may issue a challenge to another armed virtuous model within 12", the model selects a virtue die, if the other model accepts the challenge the models are moved together and the duel begins, if no one accepts the challenge the challenging model may add a die of the same type to the challengers virtue dice as his courage elates him. The challenge is fought as a normal combat until one side is killed or his pool reduced to 0, any critical successes rolled during the combat are added to his dice pool at the end of the duel, the act of heroism is truly inspiring.

This I think accurately reflects the rational behind battlefield duels and makes them tens high stakes affairs for players, especially if both sides have models that have lots of dice to roll and are biting their nails on which dice to add where.
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Re: Force of virtue (tabletop war-game)

Postby TheVor » Sun Apr 26, 2015 9:05 pm

Some weapons would have activatable abilities on the crits of certain dice, or add certain types of dice free. Armor piercing weapons effect the armor save negatively

Arming sword +0 Initiative, 0 pen
-> prudentia crit add one parry die / give one prudentia dice to armor role
I've always felt one handers to be very good for parrying, light and maneuverable
dagger -2 Initiative, 1 Pen
-> celeritas success roll another attack
Short but fast and good against armor once at distance.
Longsword +0 Initiative, 0 pen
-> add a Virtue die to your attack of your choice
It's the consummate dueling weapon of the era, flexible and a strong choice.
Halberd +1 initiative, 0 pen
-> not sure
somewhat loath to give something to them as it's the bog standard infantry weapon and I don't want to have every single model have too many options, same with pikes
Pike +2 Initiative, 0 pen
Pole-axe +1 Initiative, 2 pen
-> further 1 pen with Celeritas
this is what the big boys play with when they want to smash
All-pike +1 Initiative, 2 pen
-> further 1 pen with Prudentia
it's all about getting it in the hole.
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Re: Force of virtue (tabletop war-game)

Postby Galloglaich » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:10 pm

I really like the idea of using the 4 virtues. But I thought they broke down more like this:

Fortitudo is strength.
Audatia is daring.
Celeritas is swiftness.
Prudentia is 1) acquaintance,knowledge 2) sagacity, prudence 3) foresight

But I like the way you broke each one down to potential benefits and potential flaws

Why would a halberd not have the same advantages as a poll-axe? Halberds have the back-spike and front-spike which are quite useful for armor-piercing (especially the back-spike I think).

I'd really like to see an example of play

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