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Prax Ostrich Combat Jockets = Terrible IRL

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On 1/3/2019 at 9:00 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

Haven't the point that Ostrich Riders do best as skirmishers been made like six or seven times now? Is there anything more to squeeze out of that?

I think the question becomes:  how can ostrich/impala/etc lightweight "skirmishers" win vs. bison/rhino tribes?

Can you maneuver enough to flank-and-kill?  Can they wolfpack the bear?

And can your noncombatants flee fast enough not to be captured/enslaved, become hostages, etc?

They are better skirmishers ... can that be enough?

 

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19 minutes ago, g33k said:

They are better skirmishers ... can that be enough?

Depends on the day, I suppose.

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17 minutes ago, g33k said:

I think the question becomes:  how can ostrich/impala/etc lightweight "skirmishers" win vs. bison/rhino tribes?

Can you maneuver enough to flank-and-kill?  Can they wolfpack the bear?

And can your noncombatants flee fast enough not to be captured/enslaved, become hostages, etc?

They are better skirmishers ... can that be enough?

 

That's why the Ostrich and Bolo-lizard tribes aren't one of the Five Great Tribes of Prax. Their best tactic is to utilize rough terrain their two-legged mounts can traverse but that four-legged hooved animals cannot, or cannot at speed. Coupled with ambush, this is their one advantage.

The Impala have the advantage of numbers and can swarm an enemy and then scatter in enough different directions to foil pursuit - and have ambushes ready for pursuers.

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In my Glorantha? I honestly don't focus much on this stuff. I'll tell you why. This will largely amount to a drive-by shooting on much of Glorantha and its fans. But hey, the thread's got previous. (Now it's my turn to start a fight. 😃)

I'm a military historian by background and training. M.A. and Ph.D. in military history, written a book, got a medal, the full monty.

Hardly anyone focuses on this stuff at academic level. You sure as hell won't get funding for it. Why? A few reasons. But the determinism—particularly technological determinism—you see in popular military history (I like to call it mankind's—and it's most definitely *man*kind's—earliest form of geek culture) doesn't get as much play. Military history can be a bizarre mix of the reductive and the fetishistic; a cross between Top Trumps and Hermann Goering guest-editing Marie Claire.

I mean, if you look at two armies who are about to inflict untold murder, mutilation and misery on each other, and then force their will on a defenceless populace, and your first instinct is to pedantically look at, say, what type of shield they've got... well, it's a bit weird, isn't it? War is presented in the abstract; the pristine ideal, with little thought for the consequences. Look at all those Osprey illustrations — the soldiers look like their mum's taken a picture of them before their first day at school. You just know they have their name sewn in the label of their armour. You never really see Osprey Veterans Administration Hospitals 1964–1975, do you?

And war is a mess. It's nowhere near as coherent as people like to pretend. Honestly, it's more like Animal from the Muppets playing the drums. One of the first things I always did at a new archive was look at the courts-martial records; as to what happened when it all went completely and utterly wrong.

The funny thing is that, though the original post wound us all up, it is actually right. Certain aspects are privileged in physical violence and confrontation. One thing any military historian will tell you is that war is not fair. Violence has its own perverse internal calculus; it doesn't care for social justice or equality, or how noble your cause is.

Or women.

Unsurprisingly, the urge of humanity to solve its problems by lining up in a field and physically kicking the crap out of each other hasn't helped women much. The degree to which women can reciprocate with any degree of proportionality when men escalate or threaten to escalate any conflict to the level of physical violence is a principal pillar of patriarchy. Escalation dominance. The only acceptable answer to this, of course, is the radical feminist answer to entirely disestablish the system of violence and ridicule its use at every opportunity (especially in geek culture, which is appalling for the witless way it infantilises, valorises and fetishises violence, not that we care). I'm being entirely serious when I write this. If you've not turned into a radical feminist after studying military history, you've either not been paying attention or... well.

Anyone here have the courage to argue for the introduction of sex-based characteristic modifiers in RuneQuest? Thought not. It much easier to ignore it and pretend that we can make violence equal, rather than demolishing the system itself and completely changing the nature of how we find and promote efficacy and catharsis in kicking the shit out of each other.

But if we're normalising men and women in the practice of violence, why not anything else? Why not pygmies or ostriches? Typical white middle-class feminism that, ignoring ostriches!

I realise I'm in a distinct minority. Loads of people—blokes, for the most part—love this stuff. I get it, and I'll shut up from now on. I just see all these posts—here or on the Facebook page—and I feel the need to make the counterpoint. There is always another way.

Anyway. That's it from me. I'm not even that drunk as I type this.

Just don't worry about it too much. That's all I'd advise. You're not doing as much a disservice to history as you might think. Do what's fun. Glorantha is about myth – which is just a posh way of saying stories and the power they have over us. Don't forget myth. And by that I don't just mean magic characterised as a logically coherent system adapted to a real-world framework ("Magic as artillery!"), but story power; its resonance in our minds and at our tables.

It's a game where we pretend to be duck wizards, after all. 😃

Edited by Quackatoa
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6 hours ago, Quackatoa said:

Anyone here have the courage to argue for the introduction of sex-based characteristic modifiers in RuneQuest?

What the hell.

Sure.  I'll argue for it.

It's not P.C. these days, tends to get a hardcore eye-roll when you spout this; and I'll argue it SHOULD get that hardcore eyeroll, because RPG's are "G"s after all -- GAMES.  And gender'ed characteristic-mods are just not fun for a hefty percentage of the population.  It's really only anal-retentive simulation dweebs who argue for this shit (misogynists do it too, of course; because keeping women in their place is more important than ANYTHING else.).

So, trying to step away from the misogyny and put on my anal-retentive simuationist hat... men "should" get a +1 to their rolled STR, women should get a -1.  Ditto for SIZ.

Furthermore, those mods should also apply to their respective species maxima ...   Men really are from Mars, & women are from Venus.  They only meet in Glorantha.

erm... Am I being suicidally provocative enough?

OK... uhhh... Oh, yeah:  women should get an effective +2 on their CON (for everything except HP-calculation).  Any sort of are-they-tough-enough "Roll CONx3" or similar check.

And CHA.  Women seem to be inherently more-social beings.  They just get people better than guys do.  +1 (but not to the species-max scores, because I don't think women's CHA actually tops out above men's, the way the biggest & strongest men are bigger and stronger than the biggest and strongest women).

 

I guess in the end, though, I'll wimp out, and not actually argue that it "should be" in Runequest (the published rules), because (as noted) it's liable to render more people unhappy than it pleases.

 

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14 hours ago, g33k said:

I think the question becomes:  how can ostrich/impala/etc lightweight "skirmishers" win vs. bison/rhino tribes?

Can you maneuver enough to flank-and-kill?  Can they wolfpack the bear?

And can your noncombatants flee fast enough not to be captured/enslaved, become hostages, etc?

They are better skirmishers ... can that be enough?

 

The answer to that question is mainly "no", I think.  The ostrich tribe are only 1000 strong, and the bolo lizards aren't much better.  The Impalas get how to skirmish, bringing immense numbers and great speed, but the minority tribes are failing.  Of course there is a bizarre exception that defies all logic...

Compared to even the Ostrich tribe there is one Praxian tribe that has a lot of trouble justifying its existence... the Morokanth tribe.  Humans are just awful mounts, but comparatively the Morokanths are doing okay for themselves.  Does anyone get how that is possible?

Edited by Darius West

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On 26 December 2018 at 1:01 PM, David Scott said:

They mainly survive as part of the Two-Legged Alliance, an ancient pact with each other and the Morokanth.

This is new to me, I always thought that the third member of the two legged alliance was shrouded in mystery.

Functionally it would make a lot of sense for the Morocanth who are weak in scout/cavalry/skirmishers to have a working arrangement the egg-layers who are weak in numbers/mass but quick. The only snag is the light and dark rune attachments of the Ostrich and Morocanth.

The morocanth are really smart. So smart that they convince other tribes that they're only a bit smarter than them, rather than a massive humongously scary amount smarter than them (they're smarter than Waha after all). The morocanth and their awakened herd man agents secretly run everything* in the wastes.

*in the Orlanthi sense of 'everything'.

(This is a personal interpretation - the Enduring Morocanth Conspiracy commits nothing to knots)

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22 hours ago, Quackatoa said:

Look at all those Osprey illustrations — the soldiers look like their mum's taken a picture of them before their first day at school. You just know they have their name sewn in the label of their armour. You never really see Osprey Veterans Administration Hospitals 1964–1975, do you?

Osprey's books focus upon the armour and weapons, and even when there's a dead body in the scene are often sanitized, often, I suspect, because the books appeal to people of various ages, and you'll find them in school libraries. There's therefore a filter on the illustrations, though at times the text can be quite grim in its implications. However, Osprey do go into the blood and gore in several books, though they are epub rather than print:

A Doctor at War
My Journey as a Combat Medic

22 hours ago, Quackatoa said:

And war is a mess. It's nowhere near as coherent as people like to pretend. Honestly, it's more like Animal from the Muppets playing the drums. One of the first things I always did at a new archive was look at the courts-martial records; as to what happened when it all went completely and utterly wrong.

Yes, war is a mess: whether Ancient, Medieval, Modern, it's a horror of often unspeakable atrocity. There's a letter in which Wellington summed it up:  Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won: the bravery of my troops hitherto saved me from the greater evil; but to win such a battle as this of Waterloo, at the expens of so many gallant friends, could only be termed a heavy misfortune but for the result to the public.

Potential self-publicity/I've written a fan book about warfare in Glorantha, and one of the things covered is just how nasty combat on a battlefield can be, and the implications of the sorts of injuries you can expect, and it's basically blood and wounds even magical healing might not completely treat. Although Glorantha, like most roleplaying has its roots in wargaming, where war is always neat and percentile, has from the earliest days mentioned that the availability of healing magic makes Gloranthan battlefields even nastier than terrestrial ones. I also briefly explore the impact of these physical and mental trauma would be. My personal background was in defensive weapons mounted on ships, and before working on them, I did some serious reading on the sorts of things they were defending against; the most easily accessible were studies on injuries caused by missiles/shells upon bodies - some experiments using sedated pigs - and it was gory to the extreme (and oddly most of the stuff I read (some of which gave me nightmares) was published by the Swedes). I also read the reports of the effects of a strike on HMS Sheffied - some accounts not widely published, and having been in compartments on sister ships, the thoughts of being in there with racks of equipment sparking and burning, with crew trapped in choking smoke endure./self publicity ends.

There is, however, deeply embedded in our culture, a fascination in war as a neat tidy exercise of uniforms and weaponry. Anti-war films are often more closely focused upon atrocity than those that make war somehow heroic.

It's a fact that virtually all human cultures have tales of heroic war, whether it be Beowulf, the Battle of Maldon, or whatever. The two I mention are slightly unusual because they include the effects of defeat.

The one thing RuneQuest does, that many other games don't, is put the player characters in a social context, and if they go off on raids, steal from neighbours, go off to war, there will be implications for them, and their communities. I believe that in Greg Stafford's campaign, set during the Lunar Occupation, his PCs were off raiding Lunar caravans, killing patrols, and then had the implications when the Lunar Army came calling thrust upon them.

So this thread is dealing with the 'intellectual' aspects of tribal warfare, without mentioning the emotional and physical cost of such warfare - most people surely realize that real war is an exceedingly nasty brutal business, but that's perhaps because people compartmentalize. Chess is the most abstract wargame, with no thought of the civilians butchered, enslaved, or fled from the black and white squares.

 

Edited by M Helsdon
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On 1/4/2019 at 9:50 PM, g33k said:

I think the question becomes:  how can ostrich/impala/etc lightweight "skirmishers" win vs. bison/rhino tribes?

They can't.

If you play Nomad Gods, an outright fight between the Bison nation and Ostrich Roiders is so one-sided it's not worth doing.

Individual skirmishes might be different, 20 Ostrich Riders should be able to defeat a few Bison Riders, by peppering them with arrows. 

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On 1/4/2019 at 9:50 PM, g33k said:

I think the question becomes:  how can ostrich/impala/etc lightweight "skirmishers" win vs. bison/rhino tribes?

The solution is easy:

Get a copy of Vassal (http://www.vassalengine.org/index.php), it's free (Mac, Windows, Linux, or compile yourself).

Get the Nomad Gods module: http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Nomad_Gods

Buy a PDF copy of the rules: https://www.chaosium.com/nomad-gods-rule-booklet-pdf/ (pretty cheap IMO)

You now have the original source of these tribes and can see how they interact.

Find a friend to play with.

UNKNOWN_GREY_1.png.8360814ed767bf237b8ec3187a710410.pngINDEPENDENT_BOLO_LIZARD_FOLK.png.f72cb4d1bad9772c390d56f388b59ff9.pngIMPALA_CLAN_225_LEFT.png.3b391a35be6306aebae75329e1326401.png versus BISON_CLAN_544.png.2ecc8b99ade6a62431302a9e67d1c5a9.pngINDEPENDENT_RHINOCEROUS_RIDERS.png.3522264f22952adb17e1abfb805247a0.png = ?

 

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