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Squaredeal Sten

Battle skill?

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Would someone please enlighten me about what the Battle skill is and does?

I don't see an explanation in the RQG rules.

I might try telling the GM at the beginning of a fight that I want to roll my battle skill to see what the enemy's  plan is.  Other than that I have no idea what this can do for my character.

 

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Its been used in some unusual ways in my game - the Babester Gor Warrior Sang a song of war and death (augmenting her Sing skill with Battle) - the Sable Rider told his Khan of the Battle of Dangerford using Battle instead of Orate - it has been used in place of scan to avoid obvious ambush sites (could be used to find the best site too if you wanted to make an Ambush).

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You mean besides what is listed on page 176?

I had a couple of PC's told to form in the middle of the shield wall, and battle skill was the only way they could figure out what was going on.    Because they are used to RPG's where the action is generally only small gang fighting, they haven't yet really figured out

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As a gamemaster, I use it to abstract large battles, as outlined in the core rulebook on page 176 so that we're not playing out ~100 rounds of melee combat. I also occasionally use it for smaller encounters when we don't have the time to run the encounter—for example, a skirmish with bandits on the road. I imagine it'd be useful for an adventurer to represent both tactical knowledge ("Hey GM, I want to roll my Battle to see if my adventurer knows a good strategy here that I don't.") and insight into preparing for combat ("Your successful Battle roll indicates that those high cliffs would be perfect for an ambush... if someone's not already up there.").

As a writer, I use the Battle skill to abstract how experienced a non-player character is with warfare, and to give a guideline on how they might behave. For example, an NPC with Battle 15%, but Broadsword 80%, is probably an excellent duelist, but has no clue how to make a shield wall. Likewise a character with Battle 90% but Short Spear 55% knows a lot about tactics and surviving a big conflict, but isn't personally an excellent warrior.

I also find the Battle skill useful as gamemaster shorthand for an NPC's combat skills.

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1 hour ago, Crel said:

I imagine it'd be useful for an adventurer to represent both tactical knowledge ("Hey GM, I want to roll my Battle to see if my adventurer knows a good strategy here that I don't.") and insight into preparing for combat ("Your successful Battle roll indicates that those high cliffs would be perfect for an ambush... if someone's not already up there.").

This is exactly the used we had: Allowing characters to tactically analyze a situation when the players themselves don't have the ability to do it (arcs of fire, height advantage,...). We also had 1 usage when 1 player tried to outmaneuver a group of opponents by tricking them in the open.

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20 hours ago, Crel said:

 ... For example, an NPC with Battle 15%, but Broadsword 80%, is probably an excellent duelist, but has no clue how to make a shield wall ...

As you say, a skilled duelist; an excellent way to phrase it!  I would extend their weakness beyond the "shield wall" instance, though.

Like, "situational awareness" -- in a complex melee, they won't notice the foe over there giving them the side-eye, so when the skirmish over there is done, the duelist won't particularly realize said foe is after them, next.  Like recognizing the signs of where their own line is about to break, and they could step in with their combat strength and shore up both the tactical situation AND the morale.  Etc.

Basically, EVERYTHING to do with fighting & warriors' skills, that isn't what you practice & train in a courtyard or a dojo or whatever.

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21 hours ago, Kloster said:

when the players themselves don't have the ability to do it

I also use it to decide what happens when the adventurers don’t have the abilities of the players.

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I believe its usefulness will be expanded in the upcoming GM guide, with the skirmish and mass battle rules. 

It is probably intended to be used in a similar way to the battle skill in Pendragon, a general ability for gauging both leadership and tactical/strategical skill.

 

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As suggested, give page 176 a skim. But it's an abstract way to do mass combat with your PCs involved... not really a skill for a party of PCs to use against another small encounter. Although, i can't see why you couldn't use that way if you wanted to. You can have both sides do an opposed Battle check with the winner having some sort of advantage and base that on the degree of success.

I also play wargames and was a Marine back when i was young. So seeing this skill, using it at the squad level, or PC level, i'd say use it to:

-Determine avenues of approach by the enemy or how you would approach.

-What would be the best place to put your line of defense and would your opposition think this as well. Or best place to attack.

-Is ambush possible or a chokepoint to impede movement... where would that be and would the opposition think the same.

-In my overall goal of the engagement, would it be best for me to interdict, delay, observe, directly engage, etc.

-Is there terrain i can use that would lend to what i'm trying to achieve.

-If the enemy flees or if my forces flee, what is the best egress... can i force my opposition to retreat a certain direction, should i flee and also do i establish a fall back position.

So, i'd go from there with Battle skill checks (let the GM roll it hidden). Then during the battle, an opposed Battle check (hidden) can obviate certain advantages/disadvantages. You or opposition gets +25% to attacks for this phase, or you or opposition get +3 armor points because of the terrain your in, or you get a free attack because of an ambush, or you get an ambush against you... anyway, have fun.

Cheers, Gil

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For RP purposes, the PCs roll a Battle check, as do NPCs on.both sides.

If the commanding officer/leader orders something, do the PCs follow? (Not knowing if their rolls were better or not)

Comparing levels of success, the Crit obviously gets greater advantage... So, Crit v Special, for example, the Special thinks they've forced the attackers to flee, but the Crit has just pulled off a great feint leading to a trap and complete rout.

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Battle skill isn't only about strategy and tactics.  It is also, importantly, about a character's familiarity with the environment of massed battles, and how to fight them as a warrior/soldier.  It will include things such as fighting in formations, knowing signals given by flags and musical instruments, anticipating the enemy and the flow of battle so the character doesn't get into a situation they can't get out of.  In short, battle skill applies as much to being a grunt as it does to being an officer.

It is important to note that most human beings can't fight for more than about 15 minutes (as long as your average Divine Spell lasts).  After that, they are likely to be too physically exhausted to continue.  The ancient romans used the simple expedient of blowing a whistle every few minutes allowing front line troops to fall back and a fresher rank of troops to take their place.  This allowed Rome to create a professional army, as their troops stayed in the field longer, and weren't lying about exhausted after one 15 minute fight.  I would be surprised if a similar trick was not employed in the Hero Wars, as such a simple expedient is easily duplicated even at bronze age tech level.

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