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Luca Cherstich

Sieges: any house rule?

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I love castles and I love sieges, and Castles under sieges are one of the most dramatic setting to play a great story....but unfortunately KAP rules does not really help in this sense.

We've been waiting for Book of Castles for ages (and that's really the book in which I'm most interested in!)....but since this is bound to happen only after KAP 6, I guess that another 1-3 years will pass before we see Book of Castle...

In the meanwhile, what Homerules on Sieges do you use?

I mean the mechanics in GPC or Estate for Siege are easy.....but far too quick and too simple for my tastes.

Does anybody come out with some way to do Siege in a more proper way?

Maybe a way to integrate Siege into the Book of Battle rules???

I'm looking for something which have some kind of battle rounds where one can intertwine the story, as we can do now with the battle system, and definitively not a Siege which is resolved with only one roll.

Thanks a lot!

Edited by Luca Cherstich
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If you haven’t seen them yet: I personally quite like the look of the  Advanced Siege mechanics in Paladin, and I’ve been thinking about possible ways to adapt them in Pendragon.

Anyway, that system has multiple rounds, with different possible tactics chosen by  the attacker.  However, it doesn’t match the Battle rules (simple or BoB)  for presenting things from the perspective of the individual combatant, and that is perhaps a problem for what you want.  The GM is instructed to have things for the player knights to do, with a brief list of suggestions, but the actual mechanics are very much a commander’s eye view of the siege.  That being said, it’s fairly easy to see how you can riff off the tactics chosen, and the rolled results, to generate tasks and problems for the knights.

I particularly like the focus that those rules have on the morale of the two sides: does the commander keep his nerve, do his knights maintain their faith in him — and what about the commoners shut up in the fortification?   I’d identify that as a particular area where you could interwine the story.  Instead of having morale checks triggered (or only triggered) by certain results, have the player knights trigger them by their successes or failures.

There are also more complex siege rules in Lordly Domains, although not as complex as the (advanced) ones in Paladin.

Edited by Voord 99
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I've generally failed back on a mix of early siege rules (Nobles Book/Lordly Domains), the quite rules in the GPC,  the battle rules from the Book of Battle (Assault a position, etc.), and some home brew stuff (sallies, supplies, morale). It kinda works, but mostly because I customize things to fit each siege and make it playable. I try to keep in interesting for the player knights with opportunities for personal heroics. Ultimately, I could see siege rules being run as some modifiers and special maneuvers for the standard battle system, probably with an adjustable time scale.

I don't have Paladin and have wondered just how much of it would be worth porting over to a standard Pendragon campaign. From what I've seen so far , I think I prefer Pendragon's rules to Paladin's for my campaign, but then I never knew about the "Advanced siege" stuff. 

 

 

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Interesting, I own Paladin and never even knew they were in there. 

Right now in the GPC where I am (and I think in the whole book actually), all sieges have been scripted, and since knights generally don't assault the walls, regular BoB rules for the occasional assault a position have been fine for me. I bet I could find a way to bolt the Paladin siege rules to some version of BoB though. 

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10 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I've generally failed back on a mix of early siege rules (Nobles Book/Lordly Domains),

You find this rules  in the Boy King as well. It's what I use if I must.

10 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

the battle rules from the Book of Battle (Assault a position, etc.),

Good idea!

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5 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

You find this rules  in the Boy King as well. It's what I use if I must.

Yeah. The main prblem with the siege rules, IMO, is that sieges are pretty long drawn out boring things where a knight has little chance to make a difference. So to make them interesting and get then to "work" in the game I use the pre-existing siege rules (basically I use the ones from the GPC, but roll for each ring of defense) and marking off supplies/morale as a sort of weekly backdrop, and then spice things up with sallys and breaches in the walls and such. 

5 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Good idea!

It was a way to handle the breaches in the walls and sallys and such. The idea was that the results of the mini-battle would affect the siege, with the knights reducing the enemy forces, stealing or destroying supplies, taking a tower or ring of defense, or conversely the opposite if they lose.

 

I was wonder if sieges could be handled a bit more like normal combat with opposed skill  rolls and a damage roll?

  • Both commanders would roll their battle skill
  • Damage dice would be based upon the commander's skill (say skill/4 in d6?) and how aggressively both sides fought
  • DV would act like armor and/or maybe a shield
  • DV, men, morale, and supplies would act like hit points

Just brainstorming here.

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Thank you all for all these suggestions, it looks like I'll have to take inspiration from multiple sources and try to make a system of my own, summarizing different things.

I would like to keep the Siege skil, as well as a level of compatibility with Book of Estate/Warlord, etc.

In this sense, I've noticed a certain difference about how DV is dealt in different books.

 

The GPC and Estate/Warlord, for example, have totally different DV values.

- A Motte & Bailey in the GPC page 16 has DV 5/3

- However, a Motte & Bailey in Estate p.81 has DV 5/11/2 (and the same values can be seen in lists of the Warlord sourcebook).

 

In both systems (GPC and Estate) Assault Gear/Siege Equipment diminish DV....however, after making all subtractions, there's another HUGE difference about how the remaining DV is treated.

- In GPC p.17 each point of DV is added to the Siege skill

- In Estate p. 79 & 82 each point of DV adds +5 (!!!) to Combat skills and the Siege skill of the defenders.

 

It is obvious that from the GPC to Estate, Greg Stafford changed idea about the strength of castles, and especially about Motte & Bailey which becomes incredibly more effective.

Not only Motte & Bailey's DV is so much better, but it gives FIVE times the bonus it used to give before.

 

I feel that, while writing some homebrew stuff of my own, I'll try to be as much consistent as possible with the more recent Estate system, expecially since I use Estate in my games.

However, at this point, I'm really curious about what DVscale/system will be used by the next Book of Castle....although I feel that we'll have to wait a lot before discovering it. 

 

Edited by Luca Cherstich

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16 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

It was a way to handle the breaches in the walls and sallys and such. The idea was that the results of the mini-battle would affect the siege, with the knights reducing the enemy forces, stealing or destroying supplies, taking a tower or ring of defense, or conversely the opposite if they lose.

So, do you integrate Intensity into the months-long siege?

Or is Intensity only relevant to the specific assault?

Edited by Luca Cherstich

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5 hours ago, Luca Cherstich said:

It is obvious that from the GPC to Estate, Greg Stafford changed idea about the strength of castles, and especially about Motte & Bailey which becomes incredibly more effective.

Having a Motte & Bailey castle should be a major undertaking to assault. And probably fail quite miserably unless you have plenty of siege equipment & assault gear (ladders, rams, arrows...) to overcome its DV.

However, note one HUGE difference between the two systems:

In Estate, if the attacker WINS, the castle is taken.

In GPC, the defender has to fumble and the attacker needs to succeed, OR the attacker needs to critical and the defender needs to not roll a critical. Thus, there is a huge penalty that is 'hidden' from the casual look, as it is just in the results table.

There is also the fact that Estate actually gives modifiers for having more and/or better troops, too. Since the defender can retreat to an inner fortification, this could be taken to mean that you should not sum the defensive rings together, but fight against each separately. Thus, you might take the Bailey easily enough, but the Motte itself would be a problem. That is probably the way I would GM it, personally.

The GPC system means that you need to basically to first overwhelm the DV of the castle with the siege equipment (SE), and then have enough SE left over boost your skill, hopefully, to 39 to be sure that you will take the castle. By contrast, the Estate System says that you need to have enough SE (including AG in this case) to counter the DV, and after that, you can probably trust your skill and outnumbering the defender to take you the rest of the way to victory.

Ironically, the Estate system makes taking castles easier, and you can even overwhelm poorly fortified and manned manors with numbers and ad hoc siege equipment. Which is how it should be. If all you have is a DV 1 manor, it should be bad news if 100 Saxons show up, rather than them having a 10% chance of success (a Saxon crit or a defender fumble). By contrast, it still remains almost impossible to just overwhelm an actual castle with numbers, which, again, is how it should be.

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9 hours ago, Luca Cherstich said:

So, do you integrate Intensity into the months-long siege?

I don't, but the outcome of any "battles" or skirmishes that take place during the siege can affect the course of the siege.

9 hours ago, Luca Cherstich said:

Or is Intensity only relevant to the specific assault?

Only relevant to the specific assault, if at all.Since most siege based fighting is location goal specific (attack a potion, etc.) most fights won't have a decisive outcome in terms of the overall battle. For instance is the knights sally forth and attack the enemy siege engines or supplies and then retreat, their action won't affect intensity per say, but could reduce the enemy's DV and supplies (during a long siege I might start tracking how many man-days/man-week/man-months of supplies each side has), and that could affect how the siege plays out, as might any casualties.

The intensity might mater in terms of how thick the enemy is though, and I'd apply modifiers for things like a surprise rally, and the spread out nature of a besieging army (they might start off with only half their intensity and get an additional 1d6 or so), but only if the defender chose to open the gates and fight a pitched battle. 

My overall approach is to:

1) Run the long term siege using the siege rules, as a sort of backdrop.

2) Add in some events such as sallies, breeches in the walls, treachery that can be played out and will affect how the rest of the siege goes.

In my current campaign, which I started very early, in the year 410, and is just now reaching 480,  I've had two major sieges.

The first was the Siege of Uffington, in 425AD when some knights were sent by Count Salisbury to help Lord Uffington defend against Baron Sparrowhawk of Marlborough.  The knights took a roundabout route there (to avoid going through Malborough's lands) and one PK, who was Salisbury's Deputy Marshal, ened up in charge of the defenses when Lord Uffington got wounded. During that siege the PK in charge had to worry about supplies, keeping enough trained soldiers to man the defenses, and keeping the walls intact so as to keep out the much larger attacking army. Player events consisted of a couple of well timed sallies, including one which took out most of Sparrowhawk's siege engines, and throwing back attackers when they assaulted the defenses. In the end the defenders won because they were able to destroy Spaarrowhawk's siege engines and draw out the siege past 40 days, when Sparrowhawk had to start paying his men-something that quickly gets expensive. So he had a costly army that couldn't get past the defenses. 

Note that this siege was open ended in the outcome. It didn't matter to the timeline, and the die rolls and player actions really determined how this one played out.

The second one was the Siege of Aquileia, in 452AD where the PKs found against Attila the Hun under General Aetius of Rome. In this siege Atilla had the upper hand in terms of troops, and Aetius was mostly trying to slow him down. Most of the action consisted of the PKs manning the walls to keep out attackers, and riding to various breaches and trouble spots to try and keep the Huns out of the city. In the end Attila took (and destroyed) Aquileia, but a good number of Aetius' men (as well as the PKs) managed to escape - thanks in no small part to the timely arrival of General Marcellinus who sailed up the Adriatic with some catapults and elephants and surprised the Huns long enough for many to escape the city to the lagoons (where they will eventually found Venice). 

This siege, in contrast to the first was scripted. That is the outcome was predetermined (by history). The PKs action therefore mostly determine their own fates and glory. While it might have been possible to defeat the Huns or even to kill Atilla - it wouldn't have been all that difficult for my campaign to have Atillia die off in 542 since he dies anyway in 453, it wouldn't have been all that easy. The PKs had a previous history will Atilla, though (their father's helped saved his life) and they might have been able to intercede (something then ended up doing later on at the Pope's request). 

 

 

I hope that helps to illustrate what I meant by mixing in the battle and skirmish  rules with the siege rules.

 

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I found this Homebrw system, maybe I can integrate it into the Estate siege system, just to create some variety and open up to PC's roles in the siege.

I've yet to properly work on it and really think about it but, for the moment, I kind of like it.

 

https://chivalry-is-magic.obsidianportal.com/wikis/siege-rules

Edited by Luca Cherstich

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