Army Characteristics for DBA Campaigns
By Jason Ehlers
Army lists used in historical or semi-historical campaigns would be rated in four Characteristics:
As the DBA campaigns are now, all armies have NORMAL Valor, Siegecraft, Facility, and Resourcefulness. If players use these optional rules, they will agree some armies will not have NORMAL characteristics, but will have HIGH or LOW characteristics.
Players can include only the characteristics they believe to be historical for their campaign, or they can include characteristics to simply balance a campaign.
Players could instead devise a random system to determine characteristics for an army.
Players may decide only one characteristic applies to an army, or two (one High and one Low), or three (two High and one Low). Or perhaps a different number of characteristics apply to the armies to get the desired effect of either play balance or more historical detail.
Players should all agree before any optional rules for army characteristics are included in a campaign.
The strength or weakness of the general and their element in hand-to-hand combat.
Normally, the general's element is +1 in combat, But if they have High Valor, the general's element would be +2 in combat (e.g. Northern European armies such as Celts, Germanics and other WB types). Historically, some armies such as those mentioned were led by men whose position and rank was based upon their personal combat ability. Often they would attack in a wedge or similar formation directly following the strong leader element.
If they have Low Valor, the general's element gets no "+" in combat (e.g. Theocracies and decaying Monarchies, unreliable personal bodyguards, etc such as many Egyptian armies or Late Achaemenid Persian armies). Historically, some armies were most vulnerable at their general, who was more of a figurehead than a warrior. These armies were careful to keep their "general" out of direct combat.
The stength of the army when defending or attacking in a siege roll of the dice in the strategic part of the campaign.
An army with High Siegecraft modifies the siege die roll one number in their favor. An army with Low Siegecraft has siege die rolls modified one number to theie disadvantage.
Examples of High Siegecraft armies include the Byzantines, Ottoman Turks, Sumerians and other long-settled peoples and/or innovators of siege/defense techniques. Sieges and fortifications were central to their campaigns.
Examples of Low Siegecraft armies include Sarmatians, Alans, Huns, Hannibal's Carthaginians, and other armies of herding peoples that rarely depended on fortifications for defense and/or were rarely successful in taking well-defended camps and cities. They depended on armies in the field.
The ability or inability of the generals of these armies to consistently command and control their troops on the battlefield, especially when they were in seperated groups or attempting complicated manuevers.
Armies with normal facility use d6 (one six-sided dice) to determine their MPs for each turn. Armies with High Facility use d6+1. Armies with Low Facility use d6-1.
Examples of High Facility armies are Hannibal's Carthaginians, Belisarius' Byzantines, Japanese Samurai, and other armies of long-standing, permanent, well-trained armies, who manuevered well on the field.
Examples of Low Facility armies would be many of the Western European armies of the Feudal and early Medieval period. They did not have the training or imaginative leadership to conduct any tactics but the most elementary.
The ability or inability to quickly replace losses in a campaign.
Armies with Normal Resourcefulness can replace two elements from their capital, and one for other regions each year.
Armies with High Resourcefulness can replace an extra element each year. Armies with Low Resourcefulness replace an element less than Normal each year.
Examples of armies with High resourcefulness include Islamic Arabs, many Northern Europeans, and other armies of peoples undergoing strong religious motivation or population expansion.
Examples of armies with Low Resourcefulness include late western Roman, some of the Greek City states, Aztecs, and other armies of peoples undergoing plagues, catastrophes of economics, or with a limited population.
I hope players will let me know of any mistakes or ways to improve the playability or accuracy of the above optional semi-historical campaign rules.
Last Updated: 24 August 2005
Questions, comments, suggestions welcome.