Rules Clarifications

This web page exists to answer rules questions for players of Robert's Rules of Warfare. Answers which are official (that is, direct from the publisher or the designer) are marked like this; other answers are the best guesses of staffers here at THE MINIATURES PAGE.

If you have rules questions, please email them to us and we'll try to get an official answer for you.

Q: Can a unit break up actions into smaller groups of stands so as not to have them all fail on a single roll?

A: Yes -- a failed action only prevents those stands within the unit that were involved in the action from performing further actions for the current phase. This applies to all phases.

What are the odds? The average number of succeeding stands doesn't change, but gambling all on a single roll increases the chances that either all pass or all fail. Breaking up the actions will more often get *some* stands to succeed, but the chance that all will succeed is very slim compared to a single roll.

Q: Could use some explanation of Skirmishers vs non-Skirmisher Unformed troops. I'm having troubles picturing what non-Skirmisher Unformed units are like.

A: I had 2 historical ideas for unformed units: first, the peasant mob. Just a whole bunch of uncoordinated stands that you don't want to try to maneuver or even move. They just act like a temporary obstacle to enemy troops. Great for driving a cav wedge into... but if your opponent does get some good Action Rolls, the peasants might be able to turn enough to get lots of flank attacks when you are deep in the mob...

The other was nomadic horse archers/light horse. Being Unformed, they can really swarm all over the table. "Mounted skirmishers" should really be unformed light horse. They are much like sturdier skirmishers.

I also had a fantasy idea of a core of monsters with some support troops (ogres, trolls) running around in single-stand warbands.

Q: On the Point Values chart on pg. 36, the "missiles(#)" entries are not explained.

A: Should probably have been stated "MAV(#)". This is for missile attack strength.

Q: In the Formulas section on pg. 40, I could use more of an explanation of how the weapon classes work.

A: I'll try again...

Because of the proficiency rule, Romans with short swords are class B, but archers with short swords are probably class C.

Q: When calculating Defense Values, do I correctly understand that any troop without plate armor or a shield is considered "unarmored"? Even in chain mail? It seems like a soldier in leather is still better than a peasant with no armor.

A: Correct, even in chainmail. Chain, leather, or small breastplate make perfect sense as a personal strategy, but don't matter a whole lot in terms of winning or losing a battle -- a sword cut that would have killed you by taking off your arm now only breaks a bone if you are wearing chain; you live to fight another day so the chain is better. But in either case you are probably out for the day's battle. So no DV bonus at this level of abstraction.

However, knowing that a slash will not kill you, you feel much better about fighting and are in good spirits -- hence, the "chainmail" optional rule about lower morale for lacking the chain or breastplate (or even leather if you like).

Q: When designing new troops, do "logical" limits apply to equipment, or is this abstracted? That is, can I give troops both a 2HW weapon and a shield (worn on back?)? Or two 2HW weapons? Or a bow and a 2HW?

A: Yes, you have to be logical.

You can certainly have a bow and a 2HW; the English did this (switching weapons is automatic). Probably wouldn't be proficient though (but could be if you really wanted).

Can't have 2 2HW unless you are a four-armed fantasy creature! (probably give +1 AV or something) Can't use 2HW and shield at same time, even if on back, but can certainly carry both to switch at appropriate times (like when under missile fire). There should be an extra point cost for that, however.

Q: When designing your own troops, I'm not clear on how to figure out MAV for artillery stands.

A: These values I arbitrarily assigned in the artillery troop type section. There is no way to calculate them. "Small" and "large" just mean MAV high or low. I didn't want to get into rate of fire, penetration, and velocity issues so you either get the equivalent of horse archers MAV(2) or normal archers MAV(3).

One more thing about artillery point cost: I assumed you'd have 3 crew with secondary swords and no armor for the 3-2 combat rating, but I didn't want to make a big deal about crew because you might only want to base 2 crew (for base size) even though more are actually there. So the 3-2 rating is automatic and the base cost includes the "lack of armor" discount. If you want to equip your crew differently, well, then, the point value system needs to be revised and the number of crew figures will have to matter.

The example of the Roman army should have said "small bolt shooter MAV(2)" instead of MAV (3).

Q: In the description of Heavy Mounted stands on pg.5, it says "shields are assumed." How does this affect the formulas and point costs when creating Heavy Mounted troops?

A: Whenever I say shields are/aren't assumed, that's only to explain how I got the DV for the sample units. Different armor would give a different DV.

Q: Can an Attribute be bought more than once? Or, can I buy both Impetuous (which includes Eager) AND Eager, to get a better bonus?

A: Yes, you can. As a generic system, any modifiers are possible. It probably won't be historical. But maybe you're playing fantasy, or maybe you're an expert on some obscure historical unit that performed some amazing feats and you need extra modifiers to simulate this.

But I will point out that the point value system breaks down when extra bonuses start getting laid on heavily, because the game system is purposely non-linear.

Q: Shouldn't all Heavy Foot take the Vulnerable attribute to cheapen their point cost, since it gives them no added penalty? That is, Vulnerable means there's a chance you only retreat 20mm, and Heavy Foot only go that far anyway.

A: All Heavy Foot are intrinsically vulnerable already; it's built into their base depth. I should have made this more explicit. No-op attributes don't count. An attribute that doesn't ever do anything can't be bought.

Q: Which Action is used in order to get a unit to "form square"?

A: Change face.

Q: When using Actions, must every stand in the main body of the unit follow that Action? Or can you take an Action Roll, then apply it only to certain stands? For instance, can you "About Face" one column and leave the other stands as they are?

A: No, yes, yes.

Q: On pg. 20, it explains that Line of Fire is blocked if anything comes within 1/2" of that line. I believe you mean to say anything sideways to the line of fire, but not anything measured from the ends of the line. For instance, something BEHIND the firing stand will not block fire.

A: Yes, off to the side. An enemy unit blocking fire can always become a target, however.

Q: On pg. 20, it says that the target of missile fire must must be "within the firing arc." Entirely, or partially?

A: Partially.

Q: In the Rout section, it says that "if it lost any stands" the unit must pass a Break Check. Is this if it has ever lost any stands, or just if it lost stands this phase?

A: Only in the current combat phase.

Q: Again in the Rout rules, it says: "Missile fire casualties neither trigger nor modify break checks." Do you mean to say that players need to keep records as to what kinds of hits they've received?

A: No, this isn't necessary because you only count the stands lost in the CURRENT Combat Phase as modifiers for the check; not cumulative stands lost. It shouldn't be too hard to remember how many hits a unit took in a single combat when the morale roll is immediately following the combat.

We debated whether rout depended more on total casualties or casualty rate. We use a combination:

So we more heavily weigh casualty rate, but don't neglect total losses.

Q: The rules state that "Generals may also control or influence Regular units..." How many units can one General influence? All within his range? Only one?

A: All.

Q: When calculating points for characters, must the "elite status" be paid for, or is it part of their base cost?

A: Must pay. Some might be cowardly. Same for leaders and generals.

Q: How are point costs figured for fantasy races? Do the races have a different base cost than humans? Must the required attributes be paid for, or do you get them for "free"?

A: Both the fantasy and point-value sections are the weakest currently. So fantasy point values are especially difficult. I should make a flat modifier for each race probably. For now, just buy the attributes that are listed if they apply at all times.

Q: The combat values for the Ogres will be different, depending on whether you assume 1 Ogre + 2 Runners vs. 2 Ogres per base. The example values assume the 2 Runners configuration. So why would anyone take the other basing, then?

A: The support troops can be assumed to be there even if you don't base them. So using 2 ogres per stand would just be for visual effect. (1 with no runners would look too lonely).

A dragon figure, however, is probably imposing enough that you can dispense with actually basing the runners and it would look fine. In fact, the dragon's support would probably be a brood of dragonlings which you wouldn't have figures for anyway. Or, if you really wanted to get serious, you could use foot troops and drop off 2 skirmishers whenever the dragon flies...In these cases basing is a matter of figure availability.

Q: In the section about Unicorns on pg. 33, it says they are "...Swift (even when based as Heavy Mounted)" Is there supposed to be a restriction about not giving Swift to Heavy Mounted troops?

A: No restriction, it just isn't usual and I wanted to make clear that such a thing was indeed possible.

As a generic system, units in RROW are a set of numbers: AV, DV, base depth, etc. and a bunch of modifiers to these numbers that apply at certain special times or perhaps globally; some common modifiers have been given fancy attribute names. Any combination is possible; any modifiers are possible, even if not listed as an attribute. I won't guarantee historical accuracy or play balance, however! It's design-your-own.

Last Updates
19 June 1996reorganized
6 April 1996reorganized
Comments or corrections?