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I find the basic skirmish rules somewhat simple, since for example the casualties' roll doesn't get any modification depending on the number or the quality of the troops, or the Battle skill of the enemy.

For example, by the rules it doesn't matter if your troop y just 10 pitchfork-wielding peasants versus 50 berserkers, because if your Battle skill is 20 then you'll always win and end the battle with very little casualties.

I think it could be better to apply the modificators suggested in the Battles rules (strategic considerations section) to the casualties roll. What do you think? How do you handle this in your game?

Also, how do you determine the enemies casualties? If I read correctly only the PK's commander does this roll (and not the enemy commander).

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I agree that the troop quality and numbers should matter even in a Skirmish.

Another thing is that the PKs' success in their own personal fights should also matter a lot to how the whole skirmish ends up: if the PKs utterly wipe the floor with their own opponents, they are then free to help the others, and vice versa. Given that the PKs are likely a a significant part of the whole skirmishing force, I would be looking at something like +1/-1 per PK winning (and vice versa), or even higher bonuses if the skirmish is small.

Enemy casualties usually do not matter so much, which is why the Skirmish is not an opposed Battle roll. I argue that it should be, but also that the Follower's Fate casualties jump up a bit too quickly. Having a matrix of results to play with would make it possible to have more granularity. The casualties can simply be symmetrical, too.

Edited by Morien
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2 hours ago, Morien said:

I agree that the troop quality and numbers should matter even in a Skirmish.

Another thing is that the PKs' success in their own personal fights should also matter a lot to how the whole skirmish ends up: if the PKs utterly wipe the floor with their own opponents, they are then free to help the others, and vice versa. Given that the PKs are likely a a significant part of the whole skirmishing force, I would be looking at something like +1/-1 per PK winning (and vice versa), or even higher bonuses if the skirmish is small.

I think that is a good idea but I would leave it just in +1 (or -1 in a fail) per dead enemy as the skirmish follows the normal combat rules (not the "just one combat skill roll per round" rules). Also, I would give more bonus if the enemy killed is the commander or an important knight.

The thing is that I don't know wether is better to use the "quality and numbers modifier" just to the first battle roll before the battle, as this result already affects the follower's fate roll. Or apply it just to the follower's fate roll... or to both rolls! 😅

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52 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

+1 (or -1 in a fail) per dead enemy

Per defeated enemy, yes. That is what I meant by personal fights.

53 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

Or apply it just to the follower's fate roll... or to both rolls! 

I'd just apply modifiers just to the final roll, which would determine both the outcome of the skirmish as well as the losses on both sides. The first charge roll I'd have unmodified: regardless of odds, smart tactics are smart tactics.

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One thing I have done is to allow Recognize rolls to see if the the two sides recognize who they are facing.  Facing the Butcher of Salisbury would affect the combatants more if they have Sir Robin the coward.

But, the overall quality of troops are also inherent in the skills of the combatants.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For battles, there are default amounts in the Book of Battle — I don’t think that there are amounts given in the core 5e book, but I may have missed it.  The Book of Uther and GPC have scripted battles with set amounts of plunder for each (if the battle results in plunder).  Only Decisive Victories give plunder, and those are quite hard to achieve with the BoB against any equivalent enemy, so it might not come up that much outside the scripted BoU/GPC battles.

Skirmish is a vague category that basically just means a combat with too many combatants to track individually, but not a large enough number to count as an actual battle.  So of its nature there can’t be rules — it would depend on why the skirmish was taking place (e.g. was it a raid in which you were trying to plunder others, or are you the ones fighting off the raiders and trying to stop them from plundering you).  

But skirmishes can easily result in ransoms (which are more lucrative than plunder a lot of the time), and there are amounts for those on p.188 of the core 5e book. 

Edited by Voord 99
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Trading items is covered on p.183 of the core 6e book.  Basically, the lord will pay full “standard” price for anything except armour, for which he sends them to the blacksmith, who gives them half price.  Trading with a merchant is half price for everything, so the lord is the way to go.

If it’s coming up a lot, though, I’d think about complicating what the rules there say a bit.  For a start, their lord is, I believe, entitled to some of their plunder.  I think the amount varied, but 1/3 is probably a good default.  Second, this is dependent on being in good odour with their lord — if they are in favor, then the lord may estimate the third generously and recompense them decently for anything that they turn over to him, but if not, well, this is a less happy exchange.  Or he may take his third and leave them to sell the rest at whatever price a merchant will give them.  Depending on how realistic you want to be, you may want to take into account that arms do not necessarily survive combat undamaged.

Knights who never think to give something out of their plunder as a gift to somebody perhaps deserve Selfish checks and a certain amount of snark from their peers.  You are supposed to be generous.

Edited by Voord 99
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6 hours ago, Voord 99 said:

Trading items is covered on p.183 of the core 6e book.  Basically, the lord will pay full “standard” price for anything except armour, for which he sends them to the blacksmith, who gives them half price.

KAP 5.2, p. 185. I don't know if you had an earlier edition?

I'd just add here that at least in our campaign, the lord would have to have a use for the stuff you are looking to sell him for him to pay a full price. He is not just going to pay a full price for any old stuff, unless you are a favorite of his or something like that. Also, it would probably be more suitable socially for you to gift the loot to the lord, and hope that he will gift you back something about the same value. For instance, if the lord has access to a higher class of a warhorse thanks to his bigger and better horse herds, he might take the normal chargers you gift him (those household knights might need new horses, especially if there have been battles against the Saxons recently), and give you a better one as a return gift.

As for the Lord's Third, that is already taken into account in the Battle loots, I believe. I would impose it when the PKs are 'on duty', such as patrolling or at war. But I would not impose it if the PKs are out adventuring on their own time and happen to come across some robber knights or a buried treasure. However, giving a third of that kind of loot to their Lord on their return would certainly earn them brownie points from the Lord, as well as checks to Generous and Loyalty/Homage [lord].

Edited by Morien
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Posted (edited)

Well, they are playing the Rydychan campaign (lordly domains adapted by me for the GPC). The have beaten one of the usurpers in a skirmish using an ambush and it's been a massacre. They want to get the horses of the fallen knights to sell them and get money to hire more mercenaries to beat the other usurper.

The skirmish was between 20 Knights and 30 spearmen of the PKs and 20 kinghts and 50 spearmen of the usurpers. And they won and also killed the enemy commander.

Also, do the loot of the battle (as the pks are the commanders of the army) have to be distributed among the soldiers?

Edited by The Wanderer
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1 hour ago, The Wanderer said:

Also, do the loot of the battle (as the pks are the commanders of the army) have to be distributed among the soldiers?

Good way to get a rebellion or a desertion in your hands if you do not. Loot is expected, just like the PKs get loot in GPC's scripted battles even if they do not personally capture a horse, for instance.

Are all of those other knights and spearmen either mercenaries or sworn men of the PKs? Or other allies working on their own? Or are they (and the PKs) sent by the PKs' liege? In the latter case, the liege would expect a cut, too.

Here is the way I'd do it:
1. Calculate the total KV (knight value) of the winning army with a knight being 1, and a spearman being 1/8th.
2. Divide the loot by the knight value: remaining loot / total KV of the army. This is how much each knight gets.
3. Now it gets complicated: Each knight would give 1/3rd of their loot to their feudal superior / employer. (Theoretically the footmen as well, but they are getting such a tiny share that it is not worth it.)
4. Each 'middleman' knight would give another 1/3rd of their TOTAL loot to the Battle commander, who of course has gained his own share and 1/3rd of his own men. In the case of household knights, they would give that 1/3rd to their liege lord (even if absent) and 1/3rd of that (so 1/9th of a hhk's share) to the army commander, although if the army commander is a vassal of the same liege lord, he might consider letting the whole third slip him by.
5. The army commander, if he wants to keep his allies sweet, ought to think about showing some personal largesse, too.

 

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30 minutes ago, Morien said:

Here is the way I'd do it:

1. Calculate the total KV (knight value) of the winning army with a knight being 1, and a spearman being 1/8th.
2. Divide the loot by the knight value: remaining loot / total KV of the army. This is how much each knight gets.

I don't understand what is the KV ☹️

And I don't know how to calculate the total amount of the loot...

32 minutes ago, Morien said:

Are all of those other knights and spearmen either mercenaries or sworn men of the PKs? Or other allies working on their own? Or are they (and the PKs) sent by the PKs' liege? In the latter case, the liege would expect a cut, too.

The Knights that go with them owe homage to countess Ellen or baroness Gwendolyn, but have been put under the command of one of the PKs for the campaign. The spearmen are mercenaries.

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51 minutes ago, Morien said:

Good way to get a rebellion or a desertion in your hands if you do not. Loot is expected, just like the PKs get loot in GPC's scripted battles even if they do not personally capture a horse, for instance.

Honestly, aside from the practical consequences, I’d also think about a 1-point Honour loss (and Selfish checks, obviously).   In the later middle ages, there were elaborate written contracts specifying in detail how spoils would be divided.  In this period, it would be less formal, but breaking faith with an informal but fundamental understanding is still breaking faith in a way that will bother people.

One fun detail that is early medieval is that people might draw lots for the division, because there was no mathematically exact way of dividing up by value what was, after all, a bunch of different material things.  One could add a random element to battle spoils (e.g. £10 and a horse of some sort becomes 9+1d3 and a roll on the Captured Horse table) to reflect this and also maybe to cut down a little on the feel of everything being standardized by some bureaucratic Department of Division (Spoils and Ransoms).

Edited by Voord 99
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10 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

I don't understand what is the KV ☹️

Please reread point 1.

10 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

And I don't know how to calculate the total amount of the loot...

How many enemy knights were captured? How many horses? Most of the loot would be the knights' armor and horses, since they are probably all robber knights without much in the way of family or liege lords to pay their ransom. I mean, technically the usurpers might, but without armor and horses they would not be worth the money to the usurpers.

14 minutes ago, The Wanderer said:

The Knights that go with them owe homage to countess Ellen or baroness Gwendolyn, but have been put under the command of one of the PKs for the campaign. The spearmen are mercenaries.

OK then. See point 4. about household knights. Same would apply to the vassal knights of Ellen/Gwendolyn sent here by their lieges.

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3 minutes ago, Voord 99 said:

Honestly, aside from the practical consequences, I’d also think about a 1-point Honour loss (and Selfish checks, obviously).

Yeah, at the very least -1 Honor.

4 minutes ago, Voord 99 said:

One could add a random element to battle spoils

One could, yes. Honestly, just to reduce the overhead for the GM, I would just value everything at 50% and then split evenly, with the understanding that if you own a third of that charger, you will get your £3 d80 eventually when it is sold, don't worry about it. Or some wealthier knight might want a spare/replacement and use some of his loot to trade/buy it from the people owning those shares.

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3 hours ago, The Wanderer said:

They want to get the horses of the fallen knights to sell them and get money to hire more mercenaries to beat the other usurper.

I was going to comment on this... where are they going to get those mercenaries, by the way? You can't just press 'recruit a mercenary knight £1' button in a computer screen and the mercenary to materialize in your army roster.

In fact, pretty much the only way for them to get mercenaries 'on the spot' is to offer clemency for those enemy knights they just defeated. But of course then you can't loot them, or they would not be able to fight for you as knights. Not to mention that their loyalty might be suspect. And finally, those other victorious knights and footsoldiers might be looking for their cut; granted, you might be able to talk at least Gwendolyn's household knights around into supporting this idea to reclaim her lands quicker, and possibly even Ellen's, and then the footsoldiers can probably be bought off by any stuff from the dead/too badly wounded to be worth waiting enemy knights.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/1/2021 at 3:46 PM, Morien said:

I was going to comment on this... where are they going to get those mercenaries, by the way? You can't just press 'recruit a mercenary knight £1' button in a computer screen and the mercenary to materialize in your army roster.

Yeah, I know that, if the don't want to hire the mercenaries from the prisioners the only way to find proper men would be to go to Fernclad and hire them from the mercenary bandits that hold the hillfort. And that won't be easy of course 😉 

Edited by The Wanderer
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On 5/1/2021 at 1:51 AM, The Wanderer said:

I mean, my PKs are obsessed in selling all the weapons, armors and horses from fallen enemies 😭 and want me to tell them how do they earn from that...

The old d&d trick ^^

On 5/1/2021 at 12:29 PM, The Wanderer said:

The skirmish was between 20 Knights and 30 spearmen of the PKs and 20 kinghts and 50 spearmen of the usurpers. And they won and also killed the enemy commander.

Also, do the loot of the battle (as the pks are the commanders of the army) have to be distributed among the soldiers?

As Morien said. Each figther gains loot according to his status (Player Knight could have a x2 part if they are officers). 1/3 of the total is for the lord. You said it was a crushing victory so, there was from 25% to 50 % of loss (dead, badly wound, prisonners) and the rest fled.

The defeated spearmen are worthless. For each defeated knight, it's about 10 £ of loot (it's more if you count everything, but consider some horses were killed or ran away in the battle). 20 knights x 10 x25%(or 50% if you are generous) = 50 £ of loot. The part of the lord is 1/3, so 16 £ more or less. And you have to sell it.

Remember that even if they are commanders, it's not their money, but the lord's money.

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