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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

An Alternate Professional Skills list for Fighting Men/Warriors in Empire of the Petal Throne

After yesterday's run through of character creation, the thing that really stuck with me is that the skill list for fighters is broken. Melee skills except for sword and dagger all come before missile skills, and plain old bowman will take the fighter that rolls a 50 6th level and 51-80 5th level.

So taking a leaf from history, I'll organize skills along military battlefield roles, instead of specific weapons. It is not that different using an axe and a mace in terms of the skills and biomechanics, for example. By reorganizing this way, the progression is more natural, toward more heavily drilled and specialized combat forms and then leadership. A character will have all the basic combat skills a bit earlier, and the missile skills considerably earlier, with leadership skills a bit more fine grained at the top end. Later combat skills supercede earlier ones regarding weapons use, armor, morale, ability to lead, etc.

1  Skirmisher - Many ancient armies had their youngest members in the lightest infantry role, expected to throw things like javelins or rocks, and maybe melee briefly against other lights or disorganized/demoralized heavies. They can use bucklers, daggers, and clubs in melee, but not well, -1 to hit and damage with these. They can select one of the serious missile weapons in addition to the above. With archery, bolas, staff slings or slings they are -1 to hit and to damage. Crossbows are -1 to hit and an extra turn to reload. Reduce their range with all of these missile weapons by 1/2. They are not yet armor trained. -2 on morale rolls in melee situations. Simple maneuvers only, but are used to swarm outward and back and take advantage of defensive terrain.

2  Levy Spearman OR Warband: Levy spearman - Leather armor training, can fight in close order and use full shields. Decent at combat with a spear, a poleaxe or one handed weapons without particular skill or subtlety. -1 to hit with these.  Not particularly skillful in maneuvers. Not very steady. -1 on morale in melee. Can serve as sapper crew but not lead.    Warband, same but very poorly drilled and impetuous, no penalty with one hand weapons, no penalty on melee morale, -1 morale when subjected to missile fire. Cannot be a sapper crew.

3  Missiles - Armor training up to chainmail, can initially fight with full skill with one missile weapon, and -1 to hit and 3/4 range with others, gaining one additional weapon at full to hit and range at each character level after the first in which the skill is first gained. Trained to execute simple battlefield maneuvers. Can use bows, crossbows, slings, staff slings, bolas.  One handed melee sidearms without shield can be used at -1 to hit. -1 on morale in melee. Can serve as artillery crew. Can lead a squad of missile troops or skirmishers.

4  Phalanx - well drilled, all armor trained, close order. No penalties with spear or pike. Can use any shields. -1 to hit with one hand sidearms like swords, axes, maces, or two handed special pole arms like flails and halberds. Normal morale in melee. Can lead a squad of Phalanx or levy.

5  Legionary - extremely well drilled, capable of complex maneuvers like formation changes to allow line replacement without disorder, forming the tortoise or opening lanes to pass large enemies through their formation. All armor trained. Any shields. No penalties with one handed melee weapons, spears, javelins. +1 morale in melee. Can lead a squad of legionaries or any earlier skill type. Can be sapper crew.

6  Shock Troops - Fully skilled with two handed heavy weapons, any armor, well drilled. Skilled in breaking up spear and pike formations. +1 morale in melee. Grappling at +1. Can lead any combat infantry squad.

7  Fencer - +1 to hit, parry, and damage with a single sword or dagger and off hand empty. Can fight with sword and dagger together per the standard rules. Formed combat is not an issue. Armor is addressed by other skills by the time. +2 morale in melee. Not about leadership.

8  Junior Officer - lead a company sized formation up to around 100. More in a pinch at a penalty.

9 Sapper OR Logistics Officer - can manage entrenchment, mining operations, build mantlets, siege rams and towers OR  manage accounting for and supplying large formations

10 Catapult-Artillery Officer - as per the catapult/artilleryman skill in the book. Can command, target, and build artillery siege engines  OR Intelligence and Planning Officer

11 Command Officer - can lead a battalion sized formation, and includes whichever skill was skipped from 9.

12 Strategist - skilled in leading whole legions and armies, and includes whichever skill was skipped from 10.

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