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Morien

Table 6.4B: Followers' Fate Table (KAP5.2 Battles, p. 243)

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So this issue came up in a Discord chat, and I figured I'd post about it here, where it is easier to find and for people to comment on.

In short, I am not a fan of this table. For those who don't know it, it is basically a Skirmish resolution table, where the unit/skirmish commander rolls battle and it tells you how the NPCs did in the Skirmish. However, during the Battle resolution, it is rolled EVERY ROUND.

That is where the problem lies, since even a successful Battle roll entails 10% casualties (mainly wounded). Not that bad, right? Well, the problem is that in a typical Battle, you end up rolling half a dozen times, and end up with casualty rates around 50% (10% dead-dead), and that is when you are supposed to be winning! If you fail even once, it cuts your followers in half, which would be a cause for a rout there and then.

While the sources for the medieval battles are not always the greatest for numerical accuracy, we can take a look at things like Battle of Bouvines, where the losing side lost about 10% of their knights as killed, and another 10% as captured. Granted, I am sure that there were some wounded who escaped, too. Battle of Hastings is considered to be quite bloody, and it is estimated that maybe about 50% of the English side died, based on the count of named individuals (so take that with a grain of salt). But that is the losing side, not the winning side.

I also dislike the fact that the Followers' Fate Battle roll is totally separate from the Unit Battle Roll at the start of the round, since surely that roll should indicate how well ordered the unit is, etc? Now it is possible to crit UBR and fumble FF, or vice versa.

The final criticism is that now that the group bonus no longer exists, there is no real impact on the Followers' Fate Table. It simply never comes up if your eschille's NPKs are dead or not. I have some thoughts about that too, but I think I will save them for later.

As a quick fix, though, here is what I would personally do (if I tracked Followers' Fate, which I haven't, since there has been no point):

1.) Instead of a separate Battle roll, simply use the (C.) Unit Battle Roll to determine the fate of the NPKs, too. If you fumble as a unit commander, the NPKs will pay the price.

2.) Since the roll in Battle is per round rather than simply the end result, halve all the casualties in Table 6.4B. This still gives high-ish casualty numbers, but at least they will be a bit more reasonable over the whole battle.

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I generally ignore the followers fate table except to see what happens to significant NPKs who drop during a battle and are not rescued by the other PKs. For the most point all followers fates does it slow the game down. It's much easier/faster, and IMO more accurate to just roll once on the followers fate table, with a modifier based on the outcome of the battle.

It's much the same with the PKS rolling damage on most enemies. Unless the players are going to go into extended rounds to try and take prisoners there is really no need or purpose to rolling damage on the NPKs. 

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4 hours ago, Morien said:

2.) Since the roll in Battle is per round rather than simply the end result, halve all the casualties in Table 6.4B. This still gives high-ish casualty numbers, but at least they will be a bit more reasonable over the whole battle.

I am more tempted to make it thirds (or quarter) instead of half.  It will reduce numbers a bit. Since it is rolled per round, a fumble would raise it to 1/2. But, let me stew on this for a couple of days when I more time.

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I usually roll it once at the end of battle with battle roll modifiers based on the result. So a crushing defeat would give you a huge negative to your battle skill more likely resulting in more casualties. Then I take the result from that table and have everyone roll percentile dice for each of the "important" followers that come with them. 

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You could also use the result of the battle as a roll of the skill. So if the battle was a glorious victury (this is equal to a critical roll), a win is a success, a loss a failure and a crushing defeat equal to a fumble. The casualty rates are more consistent with that I think.

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I like the Followers' Fate table, but I agree that the casualties should be lowered for Battles vs. Skirmishes for the reasons Morien lists. I also think that I would add: tired/lost/disorganized to the list of 'losses'. The knights or foot soldiers are out of the battle but not the campaign.  

I could be wrong, but I've always played it that the unit events modifiers flowed through to modify the Followers' Fate roll. 

I would bring back some modifier for unit size, probably based on the conroi with some negative modifier for lost knights.

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13 minutes ago, Cornelius said:

You could also use the result of the battle as a roll of the skill. So if the battle was a glorious victury (this is equal to a critical roll), a win is a success, a loss a failure and a crushing defeat equal to a fumble. The casualty rates are more consistent with that I think.

You could. What I do is have the unit Commander makes a battle roll, and apply a modifier based on the outcome (+5 for a decisive victory, -5 for a decisive defeat). It gives pretty good results but I think is a little more accutate than just going with the outcome, as some units can take heavy casualties before the fight is won. 

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