Draft Campaign System

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This system is intended to track companies on campaign; as a question of design philosophy, it is supposed to minimize armchair strategy, making success and failure more dependent on a character's skills, and instead put choices with political or ethical implications into the hands of characters.


The campaign system tracks the broad scope of companies on campaign over a period of fortnights. Each fortnight, one or more companies (an army) will go to a place - usually defined by the name of the major town in the area - and perform some action. Common actions include defending that place, dispersing in the area around that place to pillage, raiding the area around that place in force to lure out the defenders, or directly attacking that place. Depending on what the armies of the enemy are doing, there may be one or more battles that occur to resolve these actions.

Armies can only go to place and take actions within their range, which is gauged relatively roughly by a squint at roads and distances for infantry and cavalry. Hover, air and mechanized units can act almost anywhere within the Shining Gulf within a fortnight, and space units can act almost anywhere on the planet within a fortnight. Mechanized units can participate in any battle if they have a few days' notice, while hover, air, and space units can participate in any battle if they have a few hours' notice.

In the background, special units may be performing other actions; the two most common special actions are scouting the enemy or cutting their supply lines.

Timing: Fortnights

The campaign system tracks military efforts roughly every fortnight, or two IC weeks. This represents a manageable amount of IC time; depending on the time flow, it may be from anywhere between ten days to a few weeks of RL time, giving folks a chance to scene and make plans about developments in the last fortnight.

Campaign Units: Companies and Armies

The core unit of the campaign system is a 'company', which is a force of soldiers under a single commander. Almost always, a company will represent the soldiery of a single town or manor, though very large towns may field several companies. This means that any barony is likely to have several companies it can raise, representing the men of the baron's vassals - the baron of Margat, for instance, might have Lord Grantham's Company (73 armsmen raised by a baronet). the Free Guard of Margat (120 legionaries paid by the burghers of Margat town), the Barking Dogs of Sheldon (94 armsmen from the Sheldon hills commanded by the Laird of Sheldon), the Old Count's Men (88 armsmen commanded by the steward of Count's Lodge), the Red Watch (101 armsmen from the sheriff of Redgaard), the Knights of the Sheaf (an order of 50 mounted knights funded by the Baron of Margat), and the Baron's Own (3 armored cars, 4 jeeps and 40 veteran legionaries). Companies can be divided, but they operate best at the company scale; subdividing a company so that part of it goes to one place and part of it goes to another will impose a -1 Morale.

The second sort of unit used in the campaign system is the army. An army is the total combination of companies in a single area engaged in the same general task - in essence, an army is a group of units in one physical location. Battles, by definition, occur between two armies; it is an army which disperses to pillage a fief, and it is an army which lays siege or defends a keep. Sometimes, an army will be composed of a single company; other times, it will include multiple companies.

Movement: Places and Ranges

Each fortnight, an army will move to a place or remain in its current place. Places are almost always defined by their capital towns like Arsuf, Meekham, Ash-Shallalat or Malaga, though sometimes staff may define an arbitrary 'place' if there is no nearby town that matches an appropriate description. The Kurgans might set up a camp at the edge of the desert, for instance, and this camp could be defined as a place. Generally, however, the goal is for places and fiefs to align, since that makes tracking the effects of war much easier.

Armies containing infantry or cavalry will have a range. In a fortnight, infantry (an ox-carts) can usually make about 200 miles on roads, 150 miles through open terrain or 50-100 miles through hills, thick forest, or mountains. Cavalry can make around twice that. Higher ranges can be achieved with a forced march, though exhaustion at the end will leave the unit suffering Light casualties for each fortnight they force march.

Mechanized, hover, air and space units have very high ranges that will allow them to reach any place in the Shining Gulf region within a fortnight.

Skills: Warfare or Command?

Many rolls allow a character to roll either Warfare or Command - they may call, for instance, for a Wits + Warfare or Command roll. Unless otherwise notice, which skill to be used depends on the size of a commander's army. If the army is below 700 men, the skill is Command. If the army is above 1000 men, the skill is Warfare. For battles between 700 and 1000 men, the better of Command or Warfare is used.

Campaign Actions

Each fortnight, an army can take an action at the place where it is going. The most common actions are:

  • Defend - The army defends a town or fort, patrols its territory, and can meet attackers in the field if necessary.
  • Attack - The army proceeds to enemy territory in force, where it can either:
    • Raid in Force - Burn and pillage the countryside as an army.
    • Siege and Sack - Assault a town or fort, and if the defenders are overcome sack or occupy the town.
  • Disperse and Raid (also known as Reiving) - Rather than moving in force, the army breaks apart into many small units that raid outlying farmsteads, undefended merchants and the like, pillaging what they can while avoiding battle


Armies which are defending a town are on campaign (not garrison) service and are actively manning a fort's walls while sending regular strong patrols out into the countryside to scout enemy positions, guard caravans and ward off raiders. An army which is defending a place can meet any attacking army it chooses in the field, or it can remain behind the walls and let an army that intends on besieging the town come to it.

A defending army also recovers casualties if it is supplied; its casualty level goes down by one every fortnight it does not move.

Patrol Rolls

Defending armies also make Patrol rolls against forces that are engaged in reiving, cutting supply lines, or a variety of special operations actions. Patrol rolls are the defending army’s Raiding + Command or Warfare, plus synergy from the following sources

  • Synergy bonuses for appropriate blessings and careers
  • Synergy bonuses for having very many defenders, with one synergy bonus for every full tenth of a fief’s households that are defending.
  • Synergy bonuses for having very advantageous terrain or infrastructure for patrolling

Attack: Raid in Force

An army which is raiding in force is moving as a main column into enemy territory, burning and pillaging whatever it comes across. This action is usually intended to draw the enemy out of their keep; in essence, the attacking army is trying to force a battle by threatening continuing economic harm if they are not met in the field.

At the end of a fortnight, the attacking army which has been raiding in force will pillage; they will receive 5 fb a soldier in pillage.

Attack: Siege and Sack

An army which is seeking to siege and sack a town is moving in force towards the enemy capital; if they are not met in the field, they will siege the town or just assault it, seeking to outwait or overcome its defenders.

At the conclusion of a successful siege, the army will sack the town and receive around 100 firebirds for every household in the town, if it has not been sacked within the last several years. Sack is will be somewhat randomized from that 100 fb figure; staff will roll in the background to adjust up or down.

Disperse and Raid (Reiving)

Reiving armies are not moving in force; instead, they break into small parties - usually no more than a dozen men, perhaps less - and fall upon outlying farmsteads, hamlets, merchant caravans and the like. Reivers do not meet the enemy on the field of battle; instead, they retreat when challenged, trying to evade pursuit by defending patrols. Reivers will almost always come home with some wealth, though the strength of patrolling forces may make a difference.

Reiving actions are resolved as a contest between the Raiding + Command or Warfare of the reiving army and a Patrol Roll by the defenders of the fief.

Reiving earns 10 fb for every soldier committing to dispersing and raiding. If the attacker scores VPs on their contested roll, they will earn 3 fb more for every VP. If the defender scores more, the reivers will earn 3 fb less for every defender VP.

If either party fails their roll, they will take a level of casualties. Reivers will also take an extra level of casualties if the defenders roll so well that the raiding force would be taking home a negative amount of firebirds.

Raiding also will increase the poverty of a fief; for more details on poverty, see the economy sysyem.

When Do Battles Occur?

A battle occurs whenever:

1.) A defending army meets an attacking army in the field
If a territory is subject to an attack - either an attempt to besiege or a raid in force - the defending army can choose to engage the attacking army in the field, and a battle will occur. An opposed Wits + Warfare or Command check will determine which of the two armies has advantageous terrain or other circumstances.
2.) Two attacking armies meet at a border
If two armies try to attack the territories of the other, they will meet in the field at the border. For example: if Sidon sends an army to raid Ash-Shallalat in force and Ash-Shallalat sends an army to besiege Sidon, the two armies will meet somewhere in the border and a battle will take place. Companies defending one or both territories can join that battle if they wish if their generals make a successful Mobility + Warfare or Command check. An opposed Wits + Warfare check will determine which of the two armies has advantageous terrain or other circumstances.
3.) A siege or other special situation provokes a battle
The siege rules may dictate that a battle occurs, or some other special situation may provoke a battle. Sometimes, starting positions will be determined; in other situations, a Wits + Warfare or Command check will determine which side has the advantage.

Resolving Battles

Battles can be resolved using Quick Battle resolution, Narrative Battle resolution, or Complex Battle resolution. Quick battles are appropriate for most situations; when multiple PCs are involved, a Narrative or Complex battle may be appropriate.

Quick Battle Resolution

The quick battle mechanic uses the same unit traits as the Battle System but far fewer rolls. Commanders follow the following steps:

1.) Planning Roll
The opposing commanders make a contested Wits + Warfare or Command test. The winner of this contested roll, if any, adds a +1 to all other rolls they make during the Quick Battle.
2.) Mobility Roll
The opposing commanders make a contested Mobility + Warfare or Command test. The winner of this contested roll, if any, can choose the unit trait used in the middle of the battle. If the Mobility roll is a tie, each commander can choose which combat trait (Skirmish or Assault) they wish to use.
3.) Combat Rolls
The battle takes place in three phases, a beginning, middle and end. In the beginning phase, both commanders make contested Skirmish + Command or Warfare tests. In the middle phase, both commanders test either Assault + Warfare or Command or Skirmish + Warfare or Command, depending on who won the Mobility roll. In the end phase, both commanders test Assault + Warfare or Command. Add up all the VPs earned from these rolls.
4.) Morale Roll
The opposing commanders make a contested test of Morale + Warfare or Command. Add the VPs from this roll to the VPs earned in the Combat Rolls and compare to the following chart:
+Victor:Defender Ratio
Victor VPs 4:1 3:1 2:1 3:2 1:1 2:3 1':2 1:3 1:4

If a side suffers no more than medium casualties, assume that it has withdrawn more or less gracefully from the field. If it has suffered heavy casualties or higher, some portion of the army is in a rout.

Mercenaries and Casualties

Units with the 'Cost/Benefit Analysis' rule suffer one step fewer casualties than the chart would indicate.

Narrative Battle Resolution

Particularly important battles will instead be run as story-told scenes. In the background, staff will often be rolling dice in a fashion similar to the Quick Battle System, but the actions of players will have much greater effects in the form of bonuses and penalties to those rolls or the running VP total. Moreover, the numbers will be reasonably opaque, focusing instead on the story at hand. Still, at the end a narrative battle will produce some sense of casualties and trigger a reform roll, below.

Complex Battle Resolution

Main Article: Complex Battle Resolution

The battle system is spiritually similar to personal combat and involves one or more commanders on a side maneuvering to beat their opponent.

Battles occur between opposing armies that range in size between a few dozen men on a side to many thousands. These forces are grouped into battalions, which are units under the control of a single commander. Each side will also have a general who has overall responsibility for the battle. In very large battles, there may be several divisions each commanded by a general, one of whom is the general-in-chief in charge of the entire army. Additionally, sometimes commanders may have sub-commanders who control individual units within their battalion.

Battles generally begin with the two sides facing each other, with battalions from each side squaring off. A series of contested planning rolls between generals determine which side, if any, has a more favorable starting position.

After battle begins, combat occurs between each battalion. Battalions are either skirmishing, where they are maintaining distance and engaging with ranged weapons or brief melees, or in an assault, where they are in a close, hard-fought melee. Each round generally has a winner and loser, and the loser may have to check morale; on a failure, the unit will become shaken and ultimately break. At the end of a round, both sides choose an engagement type (skirmish, assault, or retreat) for the next round; if the two sides have chosen a different posture, they will make a Mobility check to see which side's choice takes effect.

After the Battle: The Reform Roll

After a battle and after casualties are tallied using either the quick battle, standard battle, or narrative battle systems commanders need to determine if their army is still functional. If any of the army's battalions have routed, the army commander must make a Reform Roll, a Morale + Warfare or Morale + Command check for the entire army. If the check is passed, the army can continue to perform its action (possibly resulting in another battle) or it can withdraw back to Defend the place it occupied at the start of the fortnight. If the Reform Roll is failed, the army will not be able to act for the rest of the fortnight as it retreats and reorganizes.

An army that fails its Reform Roll is in retreat towards a nearby safe place. If another army decides to pursue it for the remainder of the fortnight rather than take some other action, they can cause an additional level of casualties to the retreating army. However, the pursuing army will be vulnerable: any army that attacks them will automatically win the Wits + Warfare roll to determine advantageous circumstances.

Desperate commanders can leave behind routed units and press on even if they fail their Reform Roll, though unrouted units take a -1 Morale for leaving their fellows behind. In exceptional circumstances, staff may waive or counteract this penalty.

Logistics and Supply

All companies must be supplied, either by drawing a supply line to a friendly fief or by living off the land. Supply is a binary question; a company is either supplied or it is not. Companies suffer a -1 dissonance penalty to all rolls for every fortnight they have not been supplied; the first fortnight they are not supplied they are at Dissonance -1, the second fortnight Dissonance -2, and so on.

Supply Lines

Companies can draw supply from friendly fiefs. A fief can support a number of soldiers in the field at any given time based roughly on its population. The distance it is sending those supplies acts as modifier to the number of soldiers it can support.

We do not track /how/ supply lines are maintained - they may be through an expensive airlift, ox-carts on the road, sea travel, or anything else. For the sake of ease, we abstract the question of supply lines - and cutting supply lines - and assume all of the above methods are being used at a given time.

Short Distance
Short distance campaigns are fought in a fief or its immediate neighbors - any place within a fortnight’s travel. For example, any campaign fought in the Vale would be at a short distance for Olivet. A fief can can support four soldiers for every ten households it has at short distance.
Medium Distance
Medium distance campaigns are fought within roughly a month's travel by ox-cart, or about 300 miles in open terrain. Most campaigns in Johburg or Leon would be a medium distance for Olivet. Soldiers cost about twice as much to supply at a medium distance, and so a fief can support two soldiers for every ten households at medium range.
Long Distance
Long distance campaigns are fought anywhere beyond a month's cart-travel. Soldiers cost about four times as much to supply at long distance, and so a fief can support about one soldier for every ten households at long distance.

Distance is measured in travel time, and so improvements that can reduce travel time will extend supply lines. The Pilgrim Road, for instance, is faster to send supplies along, and the Kurgan monorail system is exceedingly fast. Characters that invest in travel time-improving infrastructure will see corresponding benefits to their supply lines.

Usually, about half of a fief's supply goes to its line armsmen and legionaries, while the other half of its supply goes to maintaining its "special" troops - its mechanized vehicles, flitters, or elite troops.

Note that at long distances, fiefs usually do not support all of their troops; instead, they rely on closer allies or the land itself to support them.

Living Off The Land

Instead of being supplied from afar, soldiers can live off the land. They then derive their supply from the peasantry, usually by raiding farms and villages in the same way as a raiding force might. Soldiers living off the land are not vulnerable to having their supplies cut, but there is a personal cost for the land they occupy and over time they will reduce its value.

Living off the land is much like raiding one’s own fief; like reiving, it will increase the poverty level of a fief. For more details on poverty, see the economy sysyem.

Cutting Supply Lines

Raiders or special forces are often tasked to disrupt supply lines. Raiders are measured in companies (for regular troops) or teams of ten (for Special Forces.)

When a unit tries to cut supply lines to a territory, its commander makes a Raiding + Command, Warfare, Sabotage or Espionage roll contested against the opposing fief’s Patrol roll.

If the supply line cutter wins, he cuts supply lines to a number of companies equal to his VPs. If more than one company or team is cutting supply lines, they act as a multiplier; if two companies are cutting supply lines, then they cut supply to two companies for every VP they score.

  • NB: Companies usually are around one hundred soldiers. Companies that are unusually large or unusually small may require more or less supply.

Cutting supply lines is resolved at the end of a fortnight and takes effect for the entire duration of the following fortnight. This means that a company that has had its supply cut can instead choose to live off the land.

The choice of which companies do not receive supply belongs to the controller of the target territory.