Programmed Leaders in DBA Campaigns (Variant Rules)

DBA Resource Page

Variant Rules

Programmed Leaders in DBA Campaigns

The following system is designed to allow the inclusion of one or more non-player countries in a DBA campaign. It "programs" the actions of non-player leaders by use of simple die rolls to determine movements, invasions, battles, sending of allied contigents, and resort to tributary status. It is based almost entirely on P.J. Raper's "Programmed Leaders for DBA Campaigns," which appears in Wargames Illustrated. I have adapted it here since I not sure where/how to obtain the necessary permissions to reprint this article. This adaptation retains the basic ideas of Raper's original with additions and expansions. It varies the textual presentation to avoid violating copyright, which interestingly enough protects the mode of expression but not the ideas themselves. Despite my tinkering, all credit, however, goes to P. J. Raper for his original ideas.

As a general rule, all dice rolls concerning a programmed leader should be done by an impartial campaign umpire or by the player who has the least interest in the outcome of the specific die roll.

Leader Type

At the start of the campaign, players will need to identify the nature of each programmed leader. This basic nature remains unchanged throughout the campaign. Roll 1D6 and consult the following table:

1 Feeble Leader (timid, fearful, even cowardly; lacking martial skills.)
2-3 Incompetent Leader (not feeble, but lacking in sound military judgment)
4-5 Skilled Leader (a veteran commander who uses sound strategy and tactics to maximize the odds of military success).
6 Rash Leader (an ambitious, even impetuous leader who consistently takes dangerous risks against long odds).

Movement

Non-player leaders and their armies are placed in their capital at the start of the campaign game and return to the capital at the close of every campaign year. The position of non-player armies should always be visible on the campaign map.

Feeble and incompetent leaders may only move one map route per seasonal turn. Skilled and rash leaders may move up to two map routes per season. Possible movement directions are subject to the following restrictions:

  • Feeble leaders will not voluntarily move beyond their own borders or into combat with another nation. Feeble leaders will retire from invading aggressors toward their capital, and may not move forward into a province adjacent to a foreign army for fear of provoking a conflict. Otherwise movement will be determined by random die roll.
  • Incompetent leaders will always invade the nearest available city/territory, regardless of its strength or weakness. If there is more than one option, determine movement by random die roll. Foolish leaders will not hestitate to use sea or mountain routes in Fall or Spring.
  • Skilled leaders will always seek to gain territory and avoid battle, by invading the nearest undefended city/province or weakest available opponent (choosing the nearest if there is more than one option). The weakest foe is determined by comparing the size of the respective armies in number of elements (regardless of composition and without accounting for possible allied contigents). Skilled leaders will use sea or mountain routes only in Summer.
  • Rash leaders will always seek battle by invading the nearest available city/province garrisoned by an opponent's army, regardless of strength or weakness, and will cross sea/mountain routes in Fall or Spring.

Where there is more than one movement option or direction, assign equal probability to each option and resolve by random die roll.

Invasion

When invading a non-player leader's nation, roll 1D6 and consult the following table to determine the non-player leader's reaction:

Feeble Leader
1-4 Abandons his province to seige, retiring his army directly to his capital
5-6 Abandons his province to seige, retiring his army to the nearest adjacent province on route to the capital, otherwise does not move if already in another province.
Incompetent Leader
1-2 Stands seige (retiring his army to the nearest adjacent province, otherwise does nothing.)
3-5 Stands seige (without retiring army if present, otherwise does nothing.)
6 Gives battle (regardless of odds)
Skilled Leader
1-3 Stands seige (retiring his army if present to the nearest adjacent province).
4-6 Gives battle unless outnumbered by 4 or more elements, otherwise same as 1-3.
Rash Leader
1-2 Stands seige (leaving his army in the city/province if already present, otherwise does nothing)
3-6 Gives battle, regardless of the odds.

If a programmed leaders army is besieged for more than one season, roll 1D6 and consult the following table to determine what action the programmed leader will take:

Feeble Leader
1-4 Continue to stand seige.
5 Sally forth and give battle.
6 Surrender and accept tributary status.
Incompetent Leader
1-4 Continue to stand seige.
5-6 Sally forth and give battle.
Skilled Leader
1 Continue to stand seige regardless of odds.
2-3 Continue to stand seige (unless army enjoys a numerical advantage over the opponent, otherwise see 4-6).
4-6 Sally forth and give battle (unless army is at a 3 or more element disadvantage, otherwise see 1).
Rash Leader
1-2 Continue to stand seige.
4-6 Sally forth and give battle (regardless of odds).

Battles

When a battle involving a programmed leader must be fought, the programmed leader's army will be controlled by an otherwise unoccupied player in the campaign. If there is more than one eligible player, then roll a die to determine who will fight the programmed army or by mutual agreement assign command to a player who has the least to gain by the programmed leader's defeat.

The player controlling a programmed army in battle suffers the following constraints depending on the nature of the programmed leader:

  • Feeble Leaders have a -1 PIP modifier (and may not move on a result of 0 or lower) and the General's element suffers a -1 combat modifier for close combat or missile fire.

  • Incompetent Leaders have a -1 PIP modifier (and may not move on a result of 0 or lower) and the General's element fights without the +1 bonus for close combat or missile fire.

  • Skilled Leaders roll an unmodified PIP die and the General's element receives the regular +1 modifier in close combat or missile fire.

  • Rash Leaders enjoy a +1 PIP modifier (maximum of 6 PIPS) but the General's element fights without the +1 bonus for close combat or missile fire.

Allied Contingents

Players may provide an allied contingent to a programmed nation any time they wish. If more than one player wishes to provide an allied contingent, then players roll die, with the high result earning the priviledge of offering allies.

Players may seek an allied contingent from a programmed nation once per season. To determine whether a programmed leader accepts an invitation to provide an allied contingent, roll 1D6 and consult the following table:

Feeble Leader
1-5 Refuses to provide an allied contingent.
6 Provides an allied contingent.
Incompetent Leader
1-4 Refuses to provide an allied contingent.
5-6 Provides an allied contingent.
Skilled Leader
1-3 Refuses to provide an allied contingent (unless the prospective ally already enjoys an advantage of 3 or more elements, in which case see 5-6).
4-6 Provides an allied contingent (unless the prospective ally is already at a disadvantage of 4 or more elements, in which case see 1-3).
Rash Leader
1-2 Refuses to provide an allied contingent.
3-5 Provides an allied contingent.
6 Provides an allied contingent to the requestor's opponent.

As provided in the DBA Campaign Rules, a programmed leader may not provide an allied contingent if it has already made an attack for that season; otherwise, a programmed leader will provide as many contingents as are successfully requested.

The requesting player who is granted an allied contingent may select the number (1-3) and type of elements forming the contingent from among the available elements in the programmed leaders army. Elements used in a previous allied contingent during that same season are not available.

A programmed leader may also request an allied contingent from a programmed leader. To determine whether a request is made, roll 1D6 and consult the following table:

Feeble Leader
1-2 Requests.
3-6 Does not request.
Incompetent Leader
1-3 Requests.
4-6 Does not request.
Skilled Leader
1-5 Requests.
6 Does not request.
Rash Leader
1-4 Requests (unless army already outnumbers opponent without allied contingent, otherwise see 5-6)
5-6 Does not request.

If a programmed leader decides to request an allied contingent from another programmed leader, then consult the preceding table to determine whether the allied contingent is actually provided. A neutal player (determined by die roll or mutual agreement) will then select the number and type of elements from those available to form the allied contingent).

Tributary Status

At the end of each campaign year, each player may make one attempt to subject a programmed leader into tributary status. Attempts are made in the order of movement for the yearly turn just completed. If an attempt is successful, the player becomes the overlord of the programmed leader, who remains under the player's control until either party is knocked out of the campaign.

To determine whether an attempted subjegation is successful, roll 1D6, add +1 if the player controls twice as many cities/provinces as the programmed leader in question, and consult the following table:

Feeble Leader
1-3 Rejects tributary status.
4-6 Accepts tributary status.
Incompetent Leader
1-4 Rejects tributary status.
5-6 Accepts tributary status.
Skilled Leader
1-5 Rejects tributary status.
6 Accepts tributary status.
Rash Leader
N.A. (A rash leader will never voluntarily accept tributary status).

In addition to these extensions, all other DBA Campaign Rules apply.


| Top of Page | Variant Rules | Campaigns | DBA Resource Page |


Last Updated: May 5, 2000.

Questions, comments and suggestions welcome. Send feedback to Chris Brantley at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.