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"Army Management and Logistics for Miniature RPGs." Topic

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1,350 hits since 6 Nov 2012
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Ganbare Inactive Member07 Nov 2012 12:42 a.m. PST

I am working on an RPG that focuses on letting the players gather together their own force to take with them on jobs/quests/heists/explorations/dungeon diving and etc. This way, they can take on tasks far larger than the individual player characters can handle by themselves.

One example would be a campaign where the players are mercenaries whom slowly develop an army as they gain wealth and reputation.

Remember, this NOT a wargame campaign where players focus on waging battles. This game aims to be more like actual role-playing adventures as in games like D&D.

What I want is your opinion on how would you implement the issues of managing an army WITHOUT overwhelming the players or the GameMaster.

Some issues to look at include…

1. Food, clothes, ammunition supplies
2. Wages
3. Training
4. Discipline, Desertion, Mutiny, internal conflict
5. Health
6. Communications
7. Organization

Feel free to designate any other element of management/logistics I may have missed.

FABET0107 Nov 2012 4:15 a.m. PST

Have you ever read Forsyths "Dogs of War"? Great novel about the raising of a mercenary company that may give you some ideas. A bit lengthy though.

Mako11 Inactive Member07 Nov 2012 4:36 a.m. PST

Transportation and maintenance.

A base of operations, and expenses to keep that running, and/or hidden from others.

Maddaz111 Inactive Member07 Nov 2012 5:33 a.m. PST

Insurance, Death benefit, Division of bounty?

Support of magical means (assuming magic is available)

Taxes, Clerical dues, Tolls?

Collecting your wage from your Patron.

What is the focus of the game?

Maddaz111 Inactive Member07 Nov 2012 5:40 a.m. PST

Look at rules for running a mercenary company in revised recon, gurps spec ops. for a start!

I would design for effect, and keep the costs coming to force the troops to fight. Perhaps something from Dux Brit, with your big man having to make spends to improve, and having to build up the forces to balance risk and reward.

Ganbare Inactive Member07 Nov 2012 9:50 a.m. PST

To clarify,

1. Each player creates an individual ingame character to roleplay as.

2. As those characters go on quests and adventure they earn fame and money.

3. Unlike typical RPGs that only let players have 1 character, my game allows players to build up their own armies.

4. Battles are scaled according to the scale of battle involved allowing skirmish, small and large scale battles.

5. This system designed is for more historical and realistic RPGs.

I want to create a system that I can build more accurate and plausible way people gain power and wage battles. After all, who'd really be able to take on dozens of troops single handedly (unlike typical RPGs that turn characters into virtual demigods)?

I want to know how you would implement these things rules-wise.

DMoody Inactive Member07 Nov 2012 11:32 a.m. PST

I already do this, really. I'm currently running my 3rd "integrated" campaign in L5R/Clan War. The two previous campaigns have had 4 segments, and the current campaign is designed for 5 segments.

The usual structure is that each segment is designed as 3 to 6 role-playing sessions where the PCs have individual adventures and work collectively towards objectives that will impact the next battle. Usually, they are maneuvering to gain access to elite units, or increase their overall army point size; but sometimes they even work to deny units to the opposing army.

Just over a week ago, the PCs (as Scorpion clan) won a resounding victory over the forces of evil (a Maho/Undead army) at 12VP to 6VP.

Stryderg07 Nov 2012 11:43 a.m. PST

In a effort not to overwhelm everyone with actual logistics, wrap up food, wages, and maintenance costs into a single value (GP = gold pieces, MP = maintenance points, whatever). Depending on how detailed you want to get…

Foot soldier: cost 1MP per day
Cavalry: cost 2 MP per day
Horse: costs 3 MP per day
Seige engine: cost 5MP per day

Taking a job for the local warboss pays 1d6:
1 = 80% of a week's worth of MP
2 = 90%
3, 4 = 100%
5 = 110%
6 = 120%
You might have a negotiation skill to raise or lower that result. Opens the door to a string of low paying jobs that don't meet costs…do you let some soldiers go, or get a better negotiator.

Hiring a trainer (for ?MP per day) slowly raises a troop's stats. Could be specialized, or not. 'This trainer only teaches archers', or 'everyone gets +1 during the next battle'.

BigNickR07 Nov 2012 12:16 p.m. PST

Battletech has some pretty gnarly mercenaries rules, and if you remove the giant robots (if you don't LIKE giant robots), the mechanics of it apply to any modern/futuristic campaign where one would need to focus on the logistics of a mechanized force


thehawk07 Nov 2012 1:49 p.m. PST

The original DnD rules had some of this. Players used the loot from quests to build castles etc. One of the pathfinder series has this too the campaign with the Stag Lord in it. There was a computer game about 20 years ago which did the same thing, it was based on an ADnD RPG set of books like Ravenloft or similar. The player was a prince that funded his army by dungeon exploration. The concept was interesting but the game was a dud as the two set of tasks (dungeon exploration and military battles were too disjoint and flipping between individual exploration and army command was boring).

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian07 Nov 2012 4:37 p.m. PST

You might want to dig deep into Traveller. Mercenary, Striker (1 and 2), Pocket Empires, etc. had loads of stuff about equipment, oragnization and logistics.

Easy enough to fit to a near future setting

Mako11 Inactive Member07 Nov 2012 4:57 p.m. PST

You could always simplify things, if they don't want to keep track of them, and charge a flat administrative fee for taking care of the issues above.

Zardoz08 Nov 2012 4:43 a.m. PST

Just abstract the lot as one task. Otherwise it seems like an RPG based on resource management….. which isnt' an RPG… it's a day job. and it's dull.

Andy ONeill10 Nov 2012 3:48 a.m. PST

I was pretty much going to post what Zardoz said.
I've played in a long running dark ages campaign which was realistic and resource management took like 99% of the time we played.
It's dull.
Medical stuff wasn't realistic in that game.
You definitely don't want real effects from wounds.
It's bad.

Managing people is a PITA, full of the banal.
In real life people argue bitch and moan, they misinterpret what you ask them to do. Sometimes to the extent you can't believe they could really think you meant what they seem to think.
This is moderns or sci fi?
You can get books nowadays which have lists of things to take.
Back in the day, people took the wrong stuff – went to the pole with ponies rather than dogs.
You wouldn't believe the calories you need to eat in polar conditions.

I'm not so sure about your initial assumptions.
There are games where players cannot fight 10 people at the same time and win.
Switch to gurps style health rather than dnd hit points and one guy with a pistol can kill your character.

I think long lists of possessions are real life dull rather than the stuff of enjoyable gaming.
I kind of like limited slots for unusual stuff and an acceptance you have what's appropriate to your character.
Then you can drive the plot along in the most entertaining direction.
"Maintaining fire superiority is using up a lot of ammo".
"They're gaining on you. Sweat drips into your left eye blinding you temprarilly. Your boots feel like they're full of lead and your bag of ammo starts to feel like it weighs ten tons."

Ganbare Inactive Member10 Nov 2012 2:29 p.m. PST


It is more of a general game system (like GURPs).

Actually, entertaining action is what I am aiming for. I wanted to make players make decisions like leader would.

- To be able to have supply raids, by and against the players. That tension of trying to protect your precious lifeline from ambush.

- Dilemma on whether loot a helpless village or risk mutiny in your army. What's the right decision? Looting could cause reprehension from their lord.

- Hired a bunch of mercs for a mission (who are loyal to money). What are the chances they will be bribed or switch to the winning side?

- How can you siege a town when when you are low on artillery ammo? The Greeks came up with an interesting solution for Troy.

I agree that a lot of those stats can be abstracted. But, doing what Zardoz said would be over simplifying. I want players wrangle with those choices which can lead to some great plot directions.

Thing is, I have trouble figuring out how to implement those choices in the rules.

RudyNelson11 Nov 2012 7:45 a.m. PST

Ironically, I worked on a similar project while I was at the Quartermaster Officer's Advanced Course.

This was in the days before the high use of Computers 1980s.

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