"...somewhat more secure" settlements also means somewhat more wealthy...a wealthier city just makes a more juicy target for someone, or something.
Orfamay Quest wrote:
So I can't raise rust monsters for fun and profit off of magical iron walls then?
In much of the real world, 9-14 year old children work the farm, and fight and die in wars.
Coriat-I'll +1 what you said about combined arms.
My statement about the accuracy rates of M-16's was to counter the "thousands of times more accurate" statement I read earlier. As a rifleman is more accurate in practice, so too is an archer more accurate on the range versus being in a line firing en masse towards en-massed troops. That sort of massed fire is why armies stopped charging en masse. But 200K - 300K rounds per enemy KIA sounds a bit illogical to me. It was 10K-ish in Vietnam and we've gotten more efficient since them, not less. Remember too that the 5.56 mm NATO Ball Round fired by the M-16 and M249 were designed to wound not kill. Keep in mind also that not all fire is aimed to kill...suppressing fire and covering fire come to mind. Perhaps you can find a demonstration video on youtube of Marines firing FPF, or Final Protective Fire. It's the *ability* of that that keeps opposing armies asymmetrical.
I feel so sorry for the Iranian children during the Iran/Iraq war that purportedly wore "keys to paradise" around their necks as they charged en masse to their deaths. They were known as Human Wave Attacks, and although they cost the Iranians dearly, they were nonetheless often successful.
Modern military history is still rife with examples of why armies shouldn't meet en masse, face-to-face, on the field of battle, and why the "shoot-and-scoot" tactics of maneuver warfare make more sense.
However, large forces would still be needed; think about castle sieges, forces needed to ambush patrols, conduct prison breaks, guard cross-roads, secure bridges...AND, not all armies would be so-called modern. There is more to high-fantasy than magic. Think about hobgoblin hordes reinforced by hill giants and worg riders. I could go on, thus I say, a high-fantasy army needs to have flexibility designed into it.
Thanks for the insight Lightminder. That is a really good example of how assymetrical warfare works.
It is also a bloody-dang-good- A+++ kind of example of how good commanders can fight a good fight while minimizing the cost in troops and treasure to their kingdoms by thinking outside the box and thinking creatively.
Specific details aside, I think what Light is talking about could either be A) an alliance, B) conceptually using gate or teleport to penetrate enemy physical defenses, and C) sparing his low level mooks who I think are best used keeping the home-front economy functioning versus lining up in rank and file.
Question to everyone else: Which is the better use of that spellcaster, what Light said, or throwing fireballs from the front line? I say the latter.
Now I did say as one of the three key necessary components, Flexibility. This sounds like the job of an adventuring party...perhaps an adventuring party that owns a small keep in the kings land because the king has an alliance / debt of gratitude with them.
Awesome post Lightminder.
Zag, yes spell casters would likely be in charge, but in terms of game mechanics, Charisma based spell casters like sorcerers have better capacity to influence people. I could likely see some sort of "mageocracy" with a council or cabal of spellcasters *behind the scenes* but with some aristocrats and their deep business and multi-family connections bringing ever-so-powerful alliances into play.
Historically too, leaders have been charismatic, not smart...look at Hitler, Bashar Assad, Vladamir Putin (although he is starting to become quite politically adept methinks) and even...well, heck, look at Ammerica's last several presidents.
...and no Zag, I don't think the concept of divine intervention is a cop-out. I had a CO who got relieved of duty for reporting what he believed to be Divine Intervention.
"Magic-gone-awry" sounds house-rulish to me, and I think we're staying off house rules in this thread. But, the devastation of a landscape is all to acceptable. Ruined farmland, rivers changed course, left-over undead, left-over trigger activated magic traps, left-over mundane traps, left-over illusions, left-over battlefield modifications like pits, berms, and walls, roving bandits and third parties trying to scrounge leftover weapons and gear, and roving baddies who see dead humans and hobgoblins and horses as food or "material components".
But Zag, don't forget the "devastated landscape" scenario may also mean devastated economy too...left-over inflation (think about post WWI Germany if you will), burnt crops and starvation (post WWII Okinawa), muddy river-run off ruining farmlands by washing away topsoil and muddying coral reefs (Okinawa post WWII) shortages, war-profiteers, and counter-attacks from those vampires that just made a horde of undead from the battlefield to *now* attack you with. Of course those vampires refer in concept to any third party who may *now* be interested in joining the fight. It's not enough to win the fight, the economy has to survive too.
Good post Zag.
A Marine with an M-16 and iron sights can hit a man-sized target at 500 yards 7 out of 10 times. Take a squad. 4 M-249's, 9 M-16's 4 of which have M-203 grenade launchers. Nobody in their right mind would mass a charge against that...and currently, they don't.
Gav, it appears you don't really know much about modern warfare...magic replaces technology in a high fantasy setting, but the basics remain the same.
You are still talking about low-level mages with scrolls of fireball and concerned with ranges as though two massed armies will meet in the field. *That* is precisely what will *not* happen with two modern (by PF standards) armies meet. Thus the parallel with high-fantasy and modern. Mass armies don't really meet in the open now-a-days much anymore either.
You need to think about the game within the game within the game. While you bring up a small percentage of issues all of which are excellent points (leadership, recruitment, training etc) you forget about the diplomatic posturing, alliances, spying, false flags, false intel (ex Task Force Troy in Gulf War I), strategic marriages, sabotage, double agents, graft-corruption-war-profiteering (military-industrial complex,) third party opportunists (look up just how many factions were at war in Lebanon circa 1982), and that's all before the actual war starts. I haven't even mentioned economics yet.
Once war does start think about such variables as intervention from the Gods, demon servants gated in from the very pits of hell itself, burrowing monsters, amphibious troops like sahuagin, invisibility, mother nature herself (what was it called in Avatar, Eiya?) undead hordes, floating earth motes (for you Faerun fans out there), trained dinosaurs, dragons (enemy, allied, third party, and those with their own agenda), teleportation magic (oooh, there's a nice fantasy version of paratroopers methinks), and a host of other variables I cannot personally know, but the collective learned memory and written history of a kingdom of a thousand years would know.
Now on to economics. I said magic would be utilized, you said wielded...please don't think of magic as a destructive weapon *only*. Please don't think of armies as two fronts facing each other *only*, and please don't think that low-level mooks serving in the army make for good rank-and-file *only*.
Did you know, in the USMC there are 8 Marines on active duty for support in some capacity, for each 1 ground-pounder? And that is before we even talk about the count of farmers needed to feed such an army.
Why did the allies beat Germany in WWII? Mostly because the war was fought on German territory and it was Germany's economy that was decimated, and thus it was Germany's economy that could no longer sustain the machine that was necessary to sustain the war.
Now to define your fantasy army. (not in order of importance)
Whether it has a navy, air force, cavalry, etc depends in large part on terrain *and* on likely enemies. If your kingdom borders another kingdom, prepare for the diplomatic war, if your kingdom borders the badlands, prepare for an orc horde, if your kingdom *used* to be the territory of some bada$$ royal Drow Family, well, prepare for the underground war.
However, just as technology today is utilized *to the extent possible* in modern warfare, as an efficiency gain, so to will magic be *utilized* in high fantasy war *to the extent possible*
How much magic would be used in a fantasy army? The answer is simple really? I'll ask a question we've all heard: "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Answer: He would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could if a woodchuck could chuck wood."
Meaning? An army would utilize as much magic as it could. The OP presented a pretty cool scenario where a kingdom would / could generate a large number of casters in a human society as a good back-story with simple economic and political motivations.
From the discussion it also appears that a fantasy army in a high-magic (PF is *very high magic) that warfare would look like modern warfare.
Where the OP erred was in giving an example of two massed-armies facing each other with one side charging. That is *not* what modern warfare looks like.
The problems I see in this post, with one exception, is that most people posting here do not have much experience and knowledge of exactly how modern armies operate.
RAW vs RAI discussion, PF is very high magic, a kingdom of a million sentient humans and demi-humans, could easily field an army with many thousands of spell-casters...and even more if said kingdom did what the OP suggested he would do to create more casters. No problem there.
For spontaneous casters that need a bloodline...do some simple math...you have two parents, 4 grand parents, 8 great grandparents, by the tine you get to you great x10 grandparents you have over 4K of them about 500 years or so ago. Reverse that, one dragon blooded person with two off-spring would have 4K descendants with that bloodline alive today in just one generation, with perhaps 3 generations currently walking the planet. Now, imagine the potential bloodline for a 3 thousand year old dragon.
Armies with 10's of thousands of spellcasters are likely, now the question remains, how would they be used?
I'll come back to that on a ore lengthy post.
Fighters do seem weak when compared to all other classes at once...this thread is hardly a fair discussion. A fighter vs paladin discussion might be useful, ditto for a fighter vs barbarian or fighter vs ranger...but this discussion has devolved into a fighter who is not allowed to spend gold versus every class at once who with gold spent on whatever they want. Fighters also seem weak they are not allowed to buy any gear, but other classes are.
It seems to me also that Paladins have to have an array of useful bonuses *just* to compensate for the fact that they *are not* fighters so that they can have some combat relevancy.
Ditto for some of the special equipment out there...Wand of Instant Enemy? lol, please look me in the eye and tell that *that* item wasn't invented just to put the ranger on a more even combat footing with the figher.
I find in DnD and PF, there are a certain number of folks who try to demonstrate some sort of intellectual superiority by bashing the fighter; often with unfair comparisons and double standards...which is so clearly seen in this thread.
My final opinion from this thread: Fighters are such highly optimized death-dealing machines that the only possible way to knock them is to strip them of all their gear and compare them to the best class features of every class at once wearing the best equipment. Mynext character is deffinatly going to be a fighter.
I hand-wave carrying capacity to a point of reasonableness. Its too tediuos to calculate down to the miniscule detail, and actually if kept reasonable is quite doable.
While the players do keep track of what they carry where adventure-gear-wise, there is a general assumption as to how much a character can carry...relative of course to their size and class. This is done for enjoyability's sake!
In order to keep the game fun, the party always accounts for how to carry loot...bags of holding, portable hole, mules, wagons, and now captains trunk (or was it chest).
A large portion of my adventures feature non-standard treasure of a potentially really high monetary value, but of signficant encumbrance: the right to log a certain forrest, mineral rights on a specific hex, a sunken life-size osidian statue, borken pillars of exotically colored marble, plus the standard fantasy treasure-y stuff.
I got out of the United States Marine Corps a Staff Sergeant. I served in combat with the 1st Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division, and while there did a lot of study on military tactics…some for self-improvement, some mandatory.
The problem(s) I see with many of the tactics discussed relate to terrain and timing in the battle. Here is what I see…they are all right, and they are all wrong. There is a right time and place and a wrong time and place for each battle tactic / formation presented in this discussion.
Wars unfold across many fronts, some before the first “shot” is taken. Laid out in a somewhat chronological order, here are some “front’s” to consider
-- Political posturing and alliance building / or breaking depending on the politics.
-- Resource gathering and production…hey Clerics, a war is brewing, start making wands of CLW, farmers have their in-kind taxes increased, etc.
-- Home front, as in, getting the populace ready and behind the war effort.
-- Spying / information gathering and the counter-surveillance / counter-intelligence that goes with that.
-- Training, arming, and equipping…which is often used an excuse for pre-position and pre-posturing men, monsters, and materials.
Once a war starts you need to consider these hostile actions:
-- Spying; information gathering never stops, as well, attempts at diversion and presenting false information. Think Task Force Troy in the first Gulf War.
-- Infiltration and Sabotage…poisoning, burning, breaking, stealing, disabling, whatever the enemy has, has access to, or wants…think PC’s as commandos. Some of these shortfalls can be overcome by creation magic, but, one thing has not and will not ever change in war…most wars are fought over territory and you still need to have boots on the ground to occupy the conquered territory. Creation magic to feed tens of thousands in an epic battle will be too expensive and too concentrated…as in, not available for everyone.
-- Logistics, getting what you need to where you need it. Now in a fantasy setting things like folding boats and portable holes , teleportation magic and the like kick in.
Now for battle formations you may need to account for castle sieges, you may need to account for narrow mountain passes, you may need to account for plains, frozen tundra, unearthly hot desserts, tropical islands, towering cliffs, and if a Faerun fan, floating earth motes or whatever they were called.
Attacks may come from the air…think griffon mounted wizards, dragons, and giant owls. Attacks may come from the sea…think ships with large catapults and Marines, think aquatic elves and sahuagin, kraken and dragon turtles. Attacks may come from under ground…think ankhegs and bullettes, drow elves and dwarves. Attacks may come from marauding hordes of orcs, goblins, hobgoblins and giants. Attacks may come from other planes and may be summoned from the very pits of hell itself.
Now for every type of terrain, for every weather climate, and for every defense, there are strengths and weaknesses to numerous to list here because there are too many variables. For every type of offensive attack you can dream up, there are both strengths and weaknesses…and guess what, you won’t know the full capabilities of what you are attacking or of what’s attacking you.
The point is you have to know something about military tactics, your possible enemies, and appropriate counter-measures to defend or attack anything in both large scale military actions and squad sized military actions. Again, there are too many variables to list here or anywhere else. But you need to have contingency plans, backup plans, and options available. Therefore, you need to be prepared and equipped to potentially do a lot of different things.
But other than roll thousands of dice and account for an unlimited number of variables, use mass-combat rules, or use a system like “Heroes of Battle” by WoTC and have the war the background to the PC’s actions.
A good example of a city with a well-thought out fantasy defense is Waterdeep.
Pray you don’t ever face my armies on the fields.