The Dragon Pass Renaissance

From: Joerg Baumgartner (joe@sartar.toppoint.de)
Date: Thu 21 Nov 1991 - 09:56:33 EET



David Cheng in X-RQ-ID: 2251

DRAGON PASS

# There always is the conventional way - move close and beat 'em up. I
# always felt that the strength of the cavalry Sartarite MU is their high
# combat efficiency - first burn off the spirits as effectively as
# possible, then at it with swords.

+ Victory = Cities just doesn't work for me. Furthest is 'just another Lunar city,' not Glamour by any standard, and most good Sartarites distrust them dang 'city-folk' in Boldhome anyway.

   Victory points should come from killing heroes, troops, and taking strategic objectives (like sacking the Temple of the Reaching Moon).

# or dowsing the Flame of Sartar in Boldhome. I feel that the TotRM ought
# to be a fortress in mundane as well as spiritual sense. E.g. give units
# inside an infinite magic factor. Same goes for Old Wind, Dragon Eye, and
# Shakers' Temple.

+ Add an elf unit or two, to be allied by emissary, but penalize their combat and magic factors if they leave the Stinking Forest. Let them move thru the SF at 1MP per hex.

# Values: 2** - 4 - 3 (Plant Rune) - X
# The famed elf-bows at work. And make that any forest, plus let them
# ignore terrain modifiers due to forest on the other side.

+ Add a SF troll unit or two, to be allied by emissary. They would not be as good as Cragspider's 6-6-6's, however.

# Values: 5 - 3 - 4 - X
# This would be a warband with a strong contingent of dark trolls, while a
# warband mostly consisting of trollkin would have
# 2* - 2 - 4 - X

# The Dagori Inkarth warbands in Troll Pak are affirmatively from a DP-like
# wargame, as a private divination yielded.

+ Add some chaos units that could ooze forth from Snakepipe Hollow. The Lunars would probably have an easier time getting them.

# Lots of interesting counters. The hands, individual giants, scorpion men,
# broos, ogres, gorp

# Also make up for it by giving the Snak Pipe Dancers SBs special
# chaos-stopping powers.

+ Add emissary counters. They would ignore ZOC, but would still have to move onto the home of the neutral. Give them names and bonuses: ie Redbird the Sage would be a Sartarite emissary who gets +1 to ally Cragspider, and/or the Stinking Forest Trolls.

# Neat idea. Counters similar to Keener Than, although a lot slower...

+ I'm thinking of deducting a movement point off most units. I think the game 'moves' too fast.

# I don't think so. If you reduce movement rates, you'd have to prolong
# most scenarios by several turns. And a lot of tactical considerations
# goes into "How do I slow the enemy's advance withoout losing too much
# troops, until turns run out, or I get reinforcements". I'm not sure how
# these would work with reduced MP.

+ None of this silliness about flying units getting stuck by ZOC. If you don't want the Stormwalkers smashing the mirrors in the TotRM, garrison it properly! (You'll have plenty of troops to do so - see below)

# Not totally, but reduce ZOC by one hex - i.e. only if moving through
# hexes with enemy units they would be stopped.

+ I've got dozens more in my notebook. One of these days I'll dig them out and try to implement some of these ideas.

# Well, they even managed to ally the Alda-Chur Tarshite-speaking
# sartarites for a while (1611?). The Telmori ought to change into a
# neutral unit, too, since they often caused havoc in Sartar.

This is how I see the diplomatic game:
The Lunars and Sartarites still allocate Diplomacy Points (DPs). Alliances are still handled the same way. However, each neutral has a pre-determined DP modifier. For example, the Tarsh Exiles modifier might be +30 Sartar. Sartar starts the game with 30 DPs already applied to the Exiles, in essence.

# A bit high, but the general idea appeals to me. But rather make it -30
# points for the Lunars; the Exiles share hate for the Lunars with the
# Sartarites, not love for each other.

The Lunars would _not_ be bidding to gain allies in most cases. Instead, they would bid to keep allies from the Sartarites. Sartar will inevitably get the Exiles, but if the Lunars dump loads of DPs to Tarsh, they can delay the alliance. The Lunar diplomatic game becomes one of "which allies can I afford to let Argrath have early, and which ones must I really try to delay/prevent?..."

# Not the case for the Grazelanders and Ethilrist, and the Dragonewts are a
# neutral force, too. Maybe let the Dragonewts hire out as mercenaries as
# well as in an all-out alliance, for a "single use" mission (keep 'em
# until they die, they don't mind, and you can rehire them).

To balance, the Lunars get huge unit replacement pools, and even more exotic stuff, like Moon Boats, a Yara Aranis counter, etc.

# Yeah, that's more like it. All subjected to random factors, as the Empire
# is chaotic.

Sorry to bore 85% of the readership with this, but this is a topic close to my heart. As I've said before, I always like to think of how micro issues will affect the macro picture. I think the RQ <=> Dragon Pass relationship is an especially good one.

# How did you come up with that number? Time for a Dailies-questionnaire?


Nick Brooke in X-RQ-ID: 2258

John Medway said:

> A trio of tenuously-related questions about WBRM & Dragon Pass:

> What range in sizes is there between counters?

I generally assume one infantry unit to be around 1000 men (support: Pavis Lunar garrison) and one cavalry unit to be 500 strong. These assumptions underlie what follows, and are indeed central to it.

# Greg stated somewhere that the Eaglebrown warlocks were about 600
# warriors and 40 or so priests (out of memory)

> What percentage of the total forces of the Lunars do the units in > Dragon Pass represent?

A biggie. Hope you don't mind me going on a bit...

If we use the late Roman Empire as a model for the Lunars, troop strength from the Heartlands ought to be around 1% of total population. A lot of these will be the Sultanate/Satrapy militia; the rest can join the Heartland Corps. Formerly barbarian Satrapies and Provinces can raise perhaps 5-10%. Tribal barbarian peoples (like the Char-un and Hungry Plateau Sables) will have in the region of 20% of their populace available to fight -- in the event of a full mobilisation only! In the normal course of events, a few "units" would serve with the Lunars under treaties; the full strength would be held back until the homeland was threatened. I'm deliberately leaving any unit associated with the Lunar College of Magic out of what follows.

# Thanks for the numbers. Something to work upon for Kethaela...

The above tedious mechanical number-crunching speculation should give us some kind of framework to work from (or argue about). It seems the Heartland Corps on the board is nowhere near the full strength of the Lunar army, and that a load of "counters" could be mustered from the various barbarian provinces and allies. The fact that they aren't raises questions about how safe it would be to do so... remember how Rome fell, anybody? ("Well, Caesar, we'll just ask our army of Germans to guard the frontier with the Germans..."). Especially, I'd be surprised to see large numbers of Carmanians, Char-Un or Sables committed outside of the West Reaches, Erigia, or the Hungry Plateau. Those are their homelands; taking all the troops away would leave them completely defenceless. Sartar is fortunate to be fighting a war on its home ground, allowing the use of desperation measures to maximise its available manpower.

# Plus receiving considerable help from Maniria, e.g. Goldgotti (FA).

In conversation with Greg, he's said that the countermix for Dragon Pass greatly overemphasises the role of cavalry in the Lunar army. It has lost several infantry counters from White Bear & Red Moon (the Beryl Phalanx, Nest Thieves, Iceland Starclubs, and University Guards). Certainly, any rational observer would expect to see more Phalanxes, and some Peltasts (where did the Silver Shields spring from, eh?). I'd guess this is where the bulk of the "unallocated" Heartland Corps and Sylilan troops should go.

I've probably left something important out above, and stress that my assumptions (all stated, I hope) are open to all sorts of challenges.

######

Now with all these figures, let me contemplate the Building Wall battle:

The Holy Country would have mustered all of its standing army, plus the local militia - i.e. Esrolites (lots), trollkin (swarms) - and mercenaries from Wenelia and Sartar.

Shadow Plateau sports at least 40000 trolls and trollkin, which would make up but a third of the Holy Country trolls. Since their culture can be compared to Orlanthi WRT war customs, 10% of these (4000) would be regular troops, one third elite uzko/uzdo troops (2 units a 500 trolls 6 - 6 - 6 - X), the rest Argan Argar trollkin spearmen (4 units 3 - 2 - 3 - X), plus a militia of hunters (2 units 5 - 4 - 4 - X) and little trained trollkin (6 units 2 - 1 - 3 - X), plus two units of shamanesses (3 - 6 - 6 - 6), one of sorcerers (3 - _6_ - 5 - 6), and maybe some Dehori (X - 7 - 6 - 3) and shadows (X - 4 - 6 - 1).
Other regular trolls would have more militia and trollkin units, maybe 3 regulars and 5 trollkin.

Kethaela has 500 000 inhabitants and is on the verge between barbarian and civilized. If we estimate 8% of the populace as available military force, and assigne 3 fifths of that to the battle, we get 24000 warriors, or roughly 30 units of Sartarite quality. The magicians would be different, though - it is stated that Argrath invented the Esprit de Corps, so the magician units would be fewer, and different in organisation. maybe ten 3 -3 - 3 - X footmen, five or so 2* - 2 - 4 - X archers, six 4 - 3 - 5 - X cavalry, four 4 - 3 - 3 - X cavalry, and some goodies. One source for Heortlending magician units would be the Aeolian church's magicians. They might command sylphs (like the Wind Children in DP), or lightning as physical effects. The Storm Walkers from Old Wind Temple could be used as well, and maybe some foot magicians similar to those of the Sartarite MU. No magicians' cavalry yet, but maybe Aeolian knights with 6 - 5 - 5 - 0 like the Bullocks etc.

Caladraland would send its contingent of spearmen; with 10% of 450 000 inhabitants and maybe half of these present one would get 25 units, including a few temple guards with fire powers. No cavalry to speak of.

God Forgot would send interesting troops, no doubt, especially magicians with exotic abilities. Their 50000 inhabitants might provide 2 units of Holar warriors (6 - 5 - 4 - 0) for this battle, and some mercenary units from the Casino city guards etc: 4 - 3 - 3 - X (like Goldgotti), maybe one Humakti unit (6 - 3 - 3 - X), or indebted Wolf Pirates.

>From the Rightarm Islands there might be 2 units of stalk walkers or marine infantry, no big deal.

Wenelian mercenaries would be similar to the (Praxian, probably Pol Joni) Barbarian Horde or Sartarite City Militia. Give them a hero, Greymane _(4)_! - 10 - _6_ - X, and units equivalent to the Barbarian Horde plus five units of foot militia. Make them susceptible to bribery or similar.

Most important would be the Esrolite battalia: 1.8 million inhabitants would produce 1% standing army and another 3% low-skilled militia, resulting in about 20 regular units and 60 militia units. Make them many, make them ineffectiveexcept for the sheer fore of numbers: lots of 3 - 3 - 3 - X militia with axes and shields, even more 2 - 2 - 2 - X militia with sickles and hoes, a few Babeester Gor units, and the several queendoms' guard units. Several earth magician units similar to the Exile Old School counter, and one at least with the exotic magical power to turn troops into a wall, thereby sacrificing their agent (gnomes) as well.

The Nochet troops alone would be equal to the Wintertop Exiles, allowing for greater sophistication, i.e. less percentage of fighting power. There would be the same power of magicians.

The Pharaoh would be a hero at least, with the power to return from the dead on 2 to 6 on d6. His magical powers would include the bridge from the City of Wonders, which may place reinforcements at a few critical positions, a dedicated bodyguard (Humakti with lottery swords? - remember, it's luck and death!) of 5 units (of similar quality as the Red Emperors Imperial Bodyguard) which may heroically escape if stacked with the Pharaoh, superheroic abilities in defense, ... lacking inspiration right now.

Other Holy Country allies might be dwarves from Gemborg, Aldryami from Arstola, dinosaurs from Ryzel, Wolf Pirates and the Beast Men of Ironhoof.

The Lunars would have the entire Lunar battalia except the bat (?), the Emperor and Beat-Pot, but plus the Grazeland pony-breeders, the Exiles minus the Earth Shakers (representing the Tarshite Sartarite mercenaries), the dragonewts of cities 2, 3, 4 and 5 and Sir Ethilrist's Black Horse Troop. They'd command all of Dragon Pass' dinosaurs, the Sartarite Sun Domers, the Tusk Riders and lots of Peltasts missing in the Dragon Pass game.
The Lunar leader could be Fazzur Wideread, not featured in the Dragon Pass battles because he was retired by that time. His values would be those of Ethilrist. Else Euglyptus the Fat would be in command of Sartar, and probably of this mission as well. KoS has no information at all about this incident, but since we know that Fazzur was punished for a previous failure, this might have been it.

--
-- Joerg Baumgartner joe@sartar.toppoint.de


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