Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NTME - Military Units

This is probably the first of perhaps several attempts to hammer down the creation of the military in D&D using the NTME system I've been describing.  I think we want to limit the discussion here to those military units which would be available between 1100 and 1700, discounting gunpowder units.  Anyone able to follow this so far is free to go work on aspects of pre-Medieval or post-gunpowder units at their discretion.  For me, I'm satisfied to keep within this narrower framework.

The list of units would then include (with hammer costs):  macemen (70), knights (90), pikemen (60), longbowmen (50), crossbowmen (60), catapults (50), war elephants (60), galleons (80) and caravals (60).

I don't suggest that any D&D system be hammered into anything as simplistic as the above grouping.  I would personally continue to insist that men-at-arms be considered as something to be bought and paid for personally on an individual basis.  To me, the only value in assigning a "hammer" value to such men is to measure how long it would take to raise such a body of men and train them to act as a unit.  However, there's no sense in trying to find a workable measure until we can first determine how many men a particular Civilization IV (C4) unit actually includes.  Is it a battalion?  A regiment?  Does one praetorian, from earlier in the game, describe a cohort or a legion?

The tendency would be to go big - but I resist that because the map of C4 represents one hell of a lot of area.  One praetorian = one legion makes sense since the map is continental in size.  It does not make sense if we are talking about hexes or tiles that are only 5 to 20 miles across.

Since my world takes place in 1650 Earth - without common use of gunpowder - I would seek to compare the creation of a general military unit with 17th century measures.  The best army of the early 17th century was unquestionably the Swedish Army ... and it could be termed the best organized as well, though they learned much from the Dutch.  Prior to the rise of Gustavus Adolphus and the onset of the 30 years war, infantry companies in the Swedish army numbered about 300 men (I've seen figures of anywhere from 100 to 600, but let's go with a compromise figure).  It seems to me that a company of men would be expensive for a single village, but not beyond reason ... particularly if that single village had grown into a town of 7,500 or 16,000 residents.  With 60 hammers to accumulate in making a pikeman unit, it would take a long time for a 1,500 person village - but arguably that ten year period could be seen as the establishment of a tough, consistent local tradition, such as many similar-sized towns in Switzerland developed in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The fact that 1/5th of the village population may be part of that pikeman unit does not discount that they are also farmers and tradespersons.  Unless the unit is truly at war elsewhere, both the military unit and the people themselves can be considered part of the same resource.

Provided the king provides the instruments (mace, pike, bow, etc.), then I don't see much to be made of one type of unit as opposed to another.  Perhaps the reader would prefer that it took less time to create a longbow company than a mace company - I see the real difficulty in obtaining actual elephants for the war elephant troop.  Unless it was done in India, this would be an expensive proposition.

Regarding the caraval or the galleon - how many of each would be built with 60 or 80 hammers?  The caraval holds no military units according to C4, but we can ignore that ... but can we really expect to put 600 men (2 units) on one caraval?  We might get 900 men on one galleon, if it were part of the Spanish Armada - but even so, this seems tight.

We can fiddle or fudge or fustigate as long as we want on this, suggesting there should be three ships or that they can only carry one company or that it can carry so many military or non-military units, but what is really needed is figures.  We can easily set the weight of an individual soldier plus the soldier's equipment at 300 pounds - and this give us a value of 135 tons.  Therefore, the total amount of ship tonnage (and we don't need to make a distinction between caraval or galleon), regardless of the type or number of ship, is therefore 80 hammers to produce 135 total deadweight tonnage.  We can make that a rounder number, say 90 hammers to make 135 tons.  Beyond that, the party or ruler can determine what kind of ships to build.

Hm.  Having worked through that, I'm somewhat pleased.  D&D determines the cost of the equipment, including ships; the hammer system determines how many men can be gathered together into a unit, or how many ships can be built, in a given time frame.  Obviously, if it takes 60 hammers to make a unit of 300 pikemen, 1 hammer will make 5 pikemen; if it takes 90 hammers to make 135 tons of shipping, then 2 hammers will make 3 tons.  Which would also mean that you can work out how big in number of ships is your fishing fleet from the previous post.

Something I've only alluded to a couple of times is that you don't have to build things to 100% capacity in order to take advantage of the return.  One fishing boat will still catch fish.  You don't have to build the whole fleet in order to take advantage of the crabs offshore.  Since everything has been translated into flat numbers, the crabs that will increase from 300m calories to 1,500m calories with 30 hammers of fishing boats will still increase even if you create 1 hammer of fishing boats (40 million calories per hammer, to be exact).  The video game requires all in, but D&D does not.  One hammer's worth of farm, one hammer's worth of military, one hammer's worth of fishing boat, these are all completely doable without having to spend every hammer you have for ten years to make one tile fully productive.

The system is far more flexible than that.

I suppose I'll want to start getting into how flexible with my next post.  Anybody bored yet?


Arduin said...

Not yet. Still looking to see what/if you'll be incorporating Culture (formerly called luxury) or indeed, Espionage, from the later expansions.

I like this. It's simple enough that it could be grasped by someone not used to thinking on this level, but there is enough meat underneath to keep those real kingdom builders (who I wish would join MY games, dammit) occupied for a good while.

I was worried the CIV posts would wane thin and vanish, and now this. Damn Alexis, but you are full of surprises.

Lukas said...

Actually, this is where I'm getting very interested. It changes improvements of a hex to a min/max improvement instead of a binary improvement.

A "Farm" could be a series of farms, or a bigger or smaller farm. Hexagonal miles of territory are a lot for a singular farm.

Five units could be trained to help deal with a local menace, or at least deal with small threats rather than defending against whole armies.

The gradients are the fun part.

Andrej said...

Yes, yes... love this pixelated approach of breakng down the broad strokes of Civ into smaller bites.

I'm following so far, but the whole thing is screaming out for a big spreadhseet to run it all.