Arylon Family/Mentor Handbook
The Arylon Family Mentor Handbook is the collected works of the Arylon Family - the sum of all the family's knowledge relating to the conduct of a knight. This knowledge has been assembled into a publication, for the use in the mentoring of future generations of knights. Major credit for the information contained here must go to a close personal friend of the Arylon Family, Averyll Arete - who is responsible for teaching much of this information to the author of this collected work, Fisc Arylon.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 World Geography
- 3 Time Passage
- 4 The Chain of Command
- 5 Classes
- 6 Units
- 7 Unit Settings
- 8 Orders
- 9 Battles
As a mentor, I am responsible for teaching my students the following lessons:
- The world we inhabit, and how it works
- Recruitment and maintenance of units
- The chain of command - realm hierarchy, general and ruler
- Basic combat tactics
- Unit settings
In other words, I am here to teach you how to be a good soldier, and so this page is dedicated to my students for exactly that purpose. However, I will also try to answer any other questions you might have, such as how taxes work or what other classes will be available to you, so please do not hesitate to ask (using the in-game messaging system, of course!).
Here are the maps of the BattleMaster continents. Please download these images through right-click instead of repeatedly viewing them, because some of them are large and cause unnecessary traffic.
- Full Map - Full-size map before the Bad Tidings with region names and borders. (1.3 MB)
- Geographical Map - Full-size map before the Bad Tidings, geography only. (1.3 MB)
- Full Map - Full-size map with region names and borders. (1.3 MB)
- Geographical Map - Full-size map, geography only. (1.3 MB)
- Small Map - Smaller map with region names and borders. (292 KB)
- Small Geo Map - Smaller geographic map. (272 KB)
Calendar in BattleMaster is a hard topic to pick up, as it has been left on a quite vague ground.
An hour on BattleMasterra equals an hour on Earth, and every 24 hours on BattleMasterra sees two consecutive somrises (let's spare geek talks like "a sidereal day", "a solar day" in here). As such, we can safely assume the rotation period of BattleMasterra is the same comparing to that of the Earth.
Week is a pure artificial invention with no practical astronomical implications, and a week on BattleMasterra is the same with the one on Earth, consisting of 7 days.
From the views of the middle ages, a month would refer to a full period during which the referred moon has completed exactly one phase cycle. Since there are months on BattleMasterra, we are able to assert that there exists at least one natural satellite around BattleMasterra.
Moreover, the people of BattleMasterra seem to be following exactly after the style of months just like the majority of the residents of Earth nowadays (or the other way around; see below), leading us believing that this natural satellite of BattleMasterra shares roughly or exactly the same orbital period with the Moon of Earth.
We believe there are seasons on BattleMasterra, but this part of knowledge has never been made known to us.
There are two type of years used by the people of BattleMasterra - a Terran year, and a BattleMasterran year. What follows is a breakdown of what each year/time system is used for, and how exactly it works. Typically, the Terran year is used for historical descriptions of events, while the BattleMasteran year is used to describe in game mechanics.
- Terran Year - The Terran year is an incorporated part of the dating system in the daily usage by the people of BattleMasterra. It is, however, by its nature an artificially invented time period. Apparently it was crafted to integrate with the calender of the inhabitants of a parallel world, named earth. It has become common usage among the people of our land to use this calender to express "when" things happened. You will find the expression of time in this world is divided into longer months, days and years - apparently corresponding to the time system used on this "earth".
- BattleMasterran Year - A BattleMasterran year describes astronomically a full period BattleMasterra has to take for one full orbit around the Som. Although the usage of BattleMasterran years is no longer commonly seen lately in the mundanity of BattleMasterra, thanks to Gregor Relak, it still dominates many aspects of life. For the most obvious case, seasons are totally dependent on BattleMasterran years, and since the change of seasons has an unneglectable impact to all lives on a planet, BattleMasterran year still comes to be handy when a natural timing unit of proper scale is needed, such as age.
The most bizarre manifestation occurs at here, in which that the length of a BattleMasterran year does not equal to an Earthen year; in fact, it only counts up for 1.5 Earthen month!
The Chain of Command
Every realm has two hierarchies: a feudal hierarchy and a military hierarchy. The feudal hierarchy is led by the ruler of the realm, whereas the military hierarchy is led by the realm's general. Most nobles belong in some way to both hierarchies. Every noble (except free and non-aligned nobles) has sworn allegiance to a particular region, which in turn is aligned to a particular duchy, which in turn is aligned to the realm as a whole. In most realms, the chain of command follows this same path. Free and non-aligned nobles report directly to the ruler and general.
- Ruler - The ruler (often otherwise referred to as the Pontifex, Queen or some other such title) is the noble in charge of leading the entire realm, but many of these responsibilities are overseen in greater detail by others under his (or her) charge, such as the general (for military affairs), the banker (for taxes and trading), the judge (for legal matters) and the dukes and duchesses (for the administration of regions). Diplomacy, however, almost entirely depends on the ruler. Given the sovereignty of the position, many realms consider disobeying the orders of the ruler to be akin to treason; however, since most of the concerns of the ruler are non-military, the orders of the ruler do not often go to troop leaders but rather to region lords and other nobles in administrative roles.
- Duke (or Duchess) - The next in line in the feudal hierarchy are the dukes and duchesses of the realm. There is one duke (or duchess) for each duchy (a city and its neighboring regions). They are responsible for overseeing the general good and welfare of those regions and thus spend a great deal of their time coordinating their efforts with the various lords of the regions that belong to their duchy. Disobeying the orders of the duke or duchess of the duchy you are aligned with will carry serious consequences, but such orders will be very rare and, like marshals, you only have to answer to the duke or duchess of your duchy, no other (though it is generally considered both unwise and impolite to ignore your superiors, even if they aren't directly in your chain of command).
- Region Lords - The next in line in the feudal hierarchy is, again, region lords. Orders to troop leaders from rulers and dukes will be rare because most of their orders will go directly to the region lords. Region lords are as much the backbone of regional administration as troop leaders are the backbone of military affairs. Region lords will sometimes appeal to troop leaders for assistance, but usually their concerns are limited to the abilities of bureaucrats and traders, not soldiers.
- General - The general (often otherwise referred to as the Paladin Primus, High Marshall, or some other such title) is the noble responsible for determining the military strategy of the realm. He (or she) is usually also the realm's tactician, responsible for coordinating the efforts of the troop leaders on the battlefield. Most of the orders given to troop leaders will come from the general. The general works very closely with the ruler so that the military strategy and diplomatic strategy are not only consistent, but hopefully complimentary. Disobeying the orders of the general will often result in harsh penalties from the realm's judge.
- Marshal - The next position in the military hierarchy is the marshal. Every realm has one marshal for each duchy in the realm. Standing orders are provided by the marshal and, in the absence of the general, it is usually a marshal that will be in charge of military affairs. If your realm has more than one duchy, and therefore more than one marshal, than you report to the marshal assigned to your duchy (however, in the absence of the general, you should treat whichever marshal stands in as if he or she were the general). Disobeying the orders of your marshal will also usually result in a penalty from the judge, unless of course the marshal's orders conflict with the generals orders. The general's orders will always take priority over a marshal's orders.
- Region Lords - Technically, the next in line in the military hierarchy are the region lords, but their role in the military hierarchy is minimal. It is usually the duke or duchess that will fill in for a marshal if the duchy's marshal is temporarily absent; however, should the position of marshal become vacant, the position is rarely filled by the duke or duchess. It is usually filled by a region lord, and usually from one of the regions belonging to the duchy. Until that time, except in exceptional circumstances, region lords will not give orders related to the military affairs of the realm.
You may only change class while within the borders of your realm.
- Knight - The Knight is one of the basic classes in the game. There are no requirements for this class; however, if you are an adventurer, you have to get three letters of recommendation, 5 prestige and perhaps an unknown amount of honour.
- Trader - The other basic class. There are no requirements for this class beyond being "in the game" for at least 7 days.
- Bureaucrat - Help your realm internally by managing the production/morale/loyalty of regions rather than in battle.
- 20 Honour required.
- Mentor - Teach newcomers how to fight instead of doing it yourself.
- 20 Honour and 6 Prestige required.
- Priest - Spread religion and take an important role in the people's lives. Dedicate yourself to a religion at a temple, of at least size 3, and become a full member (no unit).
- Adventurer - You can only start as this class, not switch to it, as characters in it are meant to be disgraced nobles, or distant relatives of noble families. This class has a very different set of action options from the rest of the classes. Adventurers cannot lead units, they work solo or in collaboration with other adventurers. They also have the option of finding or creating items, which if "Unique" can be sold to nobles for a possibility of recognition. 3 points of recognition from nobles gives you the option of becoming a knight (and thus a noble).
- Hero - The inspiring fighter who joins his men in battle. Helps the troop's and region's morale as well as being able to sometimes recruit peasants. The Hero can die on the battlefield, and you can't switch out of this class.
- 15 Honour and 6 Prestige required.
- Cavalier - An advanced Soldier who can hire more Cavalry than others, and gains more honour in battle. Must have been a Knight for a month before changing class. To leave this class requires the sacrifice of 2 points of prestige, so consider carefully if this is your path.
- 50 Honour and 20 Prestige required. You must also be a knight or a lord (or presumably ruler).
- Infiltrator - The assassin. Least popular among enemies. They use their stealth to weaken, disrupt, and assassinate their opponents. To have an effective assassin you can't have a unit, so any soldiers will have to go.
- 50 Honour and 10 Prestige required.
- Martyr - Not a real class in itself. You can only become a Martyr if you are a Priest. When you declare yourself a Martyr, you become a Hero, simple as that.
- 15 Honour, 7 Prestige and Priest class required.
Obviously, the first order of business for a soldier is to acquire a unit to fight battles with. You probably already have a small unit of 20 to 25 men with decent equipment and a little training. You probably received this unit from your family (extra guards from the family manor I suppose). Eventually, however, you are going to need to recruit more men. There are five different kinds of units, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
- Infantry - Basic melee unit (can only attack units in the same column of the battlefield).
- Archers - Basic ranged unit (can attack units in adjacent columns, but very weak defense).
- Cavalry - Very effective against other melee units, but weak defense against ranged units.
- Mixed Infantry - A ranged unit that is significantly more effective in melee than archers.
- Special Forces - A melee unit that is very effective against all other unit types.
You cannot combine unit types. It's either all or nothing. Therefore, it is important to understand how to use each type effectively so that they don't get slaughtered at the outset of every battle. But before we get to combat tactics and military strategy, lets first worry about how to acquire a unit and, once acquired, how to keep them happy and ready for battle.
If tactics and strategy did not play a role in the outcome of a battle, than the only statistic you would ever have to worry about is Combat Strength (usually acronymed "CS"). But tactics and strategy do play a role. It may be helpful to think of combat strength like the term "par" in golf. Just like "par" is what you should score if you don't make any mistakes (such as hitting the ball into a pond), combat strength is an estimate of how well your unit is capable of performing in battle assuming you don't make any mistakes (such as ordering a unit of archers to charge a cavalry unit). Let us now take a look at how to recruit the best unit for the money, and later we will discuss how to use that unit to the best of its ability.
You can only recruit a unit in your realm's capital (unless you are a hero, but that's another lesson entirely). Below is the information you will be given when you are deciding what unit to recruit. (Note: ranged units, namely Archers and Mixed Infantry, will also have a "range", which equals the number of columns their arrows can "arch" on the battlefield. Battlefield columns are discussed later.)
- Troop Name - This is not an important factor. If you don't like the name, you can change it.
- Type - You can select any unit type you wish, so long as you don't already have a unit. If you already have a unit, you can only recruit men of the same type as the unit you already have.
- Train - The higher the better; however, training will improve over time with combat experience and training exercises. It is one of the most important attributes that factor into combat strength, but since you can improve it after recruitment, it is okay to recruit unit slightly less well-trained as you would prefer in order to save a few gold. (I tend to recruit men with training between 45% and 55%)
- Equipment - The first number represents the quality of the unit's weapons (their offensive statistic), the second number represents the quality of the unit's armour (their defensive statistic). These numbers will not change over time (but if you are adding more men to an already existing unit, the equipment value per man will be averaged). Along with training, this is a very important attribute. (I tend to recruit men with at least 50% in both, preferably more like 65%).
- Home - The region from which the unit was drafted. This is not important unless you are a region lord or are otherwise responsible for the administration of the realm.
- Mor. - Morale is an important factor (and reflects the morale of the units home region) but this will change over time, and is fairly easy to improve once recruited.
- Avail. - The number of men available from this recruitment center. Since you can only recruit from one center at a time, and each time you recruit it costs one hour of your time, this factor is only important if you are short on hours and need more men than are available (unless, again, you are a region lord, etc.).
- Cost - The cost in gold is per 10 men (though you don't need to hire 10 men at a time). Cost does not factor into combat strength, but higher cost generally correlates with higher combat strength. The other reason cost is important is because when you are done recruiting the men, you want to make sure you will still have enough money to pay their salaries (so don't spend your life savings on men who will abandon you after a week because you can't pay them!).
It is true that with more men in your unit, the higher your units combat strength will be, but what many troop leaders don't realize is that with each man you add to a unit, the combat strength per man decreases. For example, let's say unit A has 15 men in it, and unit B has 50 men in it, but both units have the same training, equipment, morale, etc. Unit A may have as much as 25 CS/man, but unit B might only have 10 CS/man. The reason is that no matter how good a troop leader you are, it is easier to keep 15 men in order than it is to keep 50 in order. So don't worry too much about always having the largest unit you can get. Sometimes there are more important things to worry about.
In the beginning, there will be one more factor you should take into consideration, and that is your own personal honour. Recruitment centers will not allow you to have more men than your honour deems you worthy of leading. The maximum number of men you are capable of leading is therefore determined by your honour. As you prove yourself in combat, your honour will increase, and with it so will the willingness of the recruitment centers to give you more men. Eventually, your honour will reach a point that they would be willing to give you more men than you would ever want to lead, and so it won't be a problem. But in the beginning, you will only be able to lead about 30 men at a time. But don't fret. I rarely bother with more than 40, and it is not uncommon for me to lead a unit of 20 really good men.
Combat Strength, or CS, is a numerical representation of the strength of your unit. The five direct factors that effect it are:
- Training % (how experienced your men are)
- Weapons/Armour % (how high quality your weapons and armour are)
- Equipment damage
- Morale (how happy your men are)
- Cohesion (how well your men know each other)
If you have high weapons/armour values, high training, high morale, high cohesion and low damage, your unit is at optimum fighting strength. All of these values affect your 'Combat Strength'.
Training is good, clearly, so you want that to be as high as possible. It will increase with training and battle.
Weapons/Armour quality depends on what your men were when you recruited. You can't increase or decrease this unless you add better/worse men (adding better men increasing, and worse men decreasing).
Equipment damage occurs every turn, except when you are in a city. Travel, training, battle, even simply being 'dug in' a region can cause equipment damage. Equipment damage reduces your CS, so you want this as low as possible. If your damage gets too high it can start injuring or even killing your men as they use badly damaged equipment or fight each other for the best equipment. Also, having your men fight over equipment will reduce cohesion. You can repair equipment in most cities and strongholds and some townsland regions. However, strongholds and townsland regions have only limited blacksmiths, and they will not be able to fully repair your equipment.
Morale varies both up and down. Typically, entertainment will have it rise, as will normal turn change. Being far from your realm will see it fall, and training will see it fall. Battle can either see it rise or fall, depending on what your unit is like. From there, it depends on the unit. Paying your men will only ever have it rise (if there is any effect at all). Clearly, more content men fight better than annoyed men, so keep it high. In order to keep your morale high when you are far away from your own realm, switch your men to mercenaries. They will cost 50% more in terms of wages, but their morale will not drop nearly as much as other units.
Cohesion is increased with training, battle and sometimes entertainment (if you find what kind of entertainment your men really like, but you can only use entertainment when morale is less than 100%), and at the turn change. It is decreased by adding new men, since these new men won't know the men in your unit very well, and your men fighting over equipment when it is highly damaged.
Some standard and good CS/man values are as follows: Infantry/Archers/MI: Average/standard: 10, Good: 20 Cavalry/SF: Average/standard: 15-20, Good: 20-25
Effect in battle
Now, having a huge CS does not mean you have won the battle. You can have a unit of 1000 CS Infantry, but that infantry might be 200 men, with 20% cohesion. They are very weak individually and the unit will break and flee the battlefield very easily. Compare a unit of 50 men with 95% cohesion, these men trust each other more and will fight better alongside men they know and have trained with, so will fight better and be much harder to make flee from the battlefield. Not only that, they are individually a match for at least 4 men from the other unit.
Just use some common sense. If your enemy have units that reach 60 men or more but only have a CS of 500, they aren't that good or have some serious issues (low morale, high equipment damage, low experience, etc). If your enemy have 40-man units that are 800 CS, you better watch out, those are some very well prepared and coherent forces that will be hard to break. Those judgments have to be made yourself.
Once you have a unit, you can check on their stats by either clicking on your name or your units name (both located at the bottom of the screen). As you look at the unit's stats (in the right hand column) you will notice several statistics that were not present at the recruitment screen (including Combat Strength, which we have already discussed above, and will be discuss in greater detail later).
- Type - The unit type (as discussed above).
- Strength - The number of men in the unit. Your combat strength will never decrease as a result of adding more men, but with each man you add, the CS/man will decrease (unless the men you add are significantly better than the men you already have).
- Training - The average percent of training that each man has (also discussed above).
- Weapons/Armour - The quality of the unit's equipment (also discussed above).
- Equipment Damage - As your men engage in activities, any activities, such as traveling or training but most especially in combat, the equipment that your men used gets damaged. As the equipment gets damaged, the effectiveness of your unit decreases. Whats worse, as the equipment damage increase, so does the probability that some of your men will be injured (even if they aren't in combat). Equipment can be repaired in regions with repair centers, and sometimes after a battle you can salvage decent equipment from the dead.
- Morale - Morale will decrease as your men engage in activities they do not like to do, such as traveling far away from home, doing manual labour (i.e. civil work), or watching their friends die in battle. If morale becomes too low, not only will your combat strength decrease, but your men can abandon you, or even mutiny. Morale can be raised by allowing your men a few hours of free time, or by entertaining them in a city.
- Cohesion - Cohesion is how well the men in your unit get along with each other. Cohesion will raise as your men do things together, such as train or get drunk, but most especially as a result of fighting alongside each other. Unfortunately, you want high cohesion before you fight a battle, so it is not recommended that you rely entirely on battles to raise cohesion. In addition to improving combat effectiveness, higher cohesion results in decreased probability that your men will retreat from battle. Every time someone in your unit dies, there is a chance your men will retreat, but high cohesion reduces that chance.
- Total Combat Strength - This is the statistic that matters most (though as I have already said, it is not the only thing that matters). Roughly, what it tells you is: if your unit were to battle another unit one-on-one and both you and the other troop leader were to lead your respective units as they should be led (which almost never happens) than the unit with the highest total combat strength would be the unit to win the battle. The unit would not emerge unscathed, of course, but it would emerge victorious. This is not strictly true, as you will see in the tactics section of this lesson, but it is true in general.
- Designation - Unit designation is discussed below in the "Unit Settings" section of this lesson. For purposes of maintenance, the relevant factor is the amount of pay the unit expects, and for information about that, see directly below.
- Last paid - Your men expect to get paid on a regular basis. If more than 5 days go by without being paid, your men begin to suffer a morale drop. If you don't pay your men in over a week, even if their morale is high, they might abandon you anyway. Paying your men will, of course, also cause a small increase in morale, but not if they've already abandoned you. Moreover, if your men abandon you because you didn't pay them, you will personally suffer a loss of honour.
Strictly speaking, that's all there is to it. But any experienced troop leader will tell we've only just begun. I haven't even mentioned paraphernalia yet, an integral part of every unit. For now, just try to keep your men paid and happy. You can only pay your men in gold (not bonds, which you can only cash in cities belonging to your own realm) so try to carry around at least 25 to 50 gold and that should take care of their pay for a couple weeks (but don't carry around more than 100 gold because the tax collectors will do you the favour of sharing the burden of carrying around so many heavy coins). As for morale, every unit is different, so you are going to have to pay attention and figure out what it is that they like and dislike.
Unit settings are part of the paperwork page. Most of what is involved with combat tactics comes down to unit settings, and so generals will usually issue orders that include the unit settings they feel are ideal for whatever it is they are ordering you to do. These orders are not polite suggestions. When troop leaders do not work in concert, everyone dies. Even if your general is an idiot, it is better to have all the troop leaders work together than have everyone running around the battlefield like headless chickens. The are four "settings" each with 4 or 5 options (though you are rarely ordered a "designation" since it is assumed you are set to "regular army"). The options for each setting are described below,
Conduct determines how your unit behaves once its on the battlefield (and to some degree whether or not there is a battle at all).
- Evasive - drastically increases the chance to evade combat with enemy units.
- Defensive - only engages enemy units if they engage you.
- Normal - initiates combat with any enemy units in the region (and sometimes neutral units).
- Aggressive - engages all enemy and neutral units (and sometimes even allies).
- Murderous - will attack anyone in the region, possibly even realm-mates and peasants.
Evasive is commonly used while trying to return home after having your unit "wiped out" in enemy territory. The remnants of your unit will still engage enemy troops unless you tell them not to. On the other end of the spectrum, murderous is almost never used. I have never once seen a general order his troop leaders to murderous, and with good reason.
When set to the other three options, whether or not there is combat is largely determined by diplomatic relations, and the effect of the units conduct is mostly limited to their conduct on the battlefield. On the South-East and South-West islands, diplomatic relations are easy to understand because everyone is at war with everyone else. But on other continents, diplomatics relations can be very complex. Even some of the oldest and wisest nobles are occasionally surprised at the causes and effects of diplomatic relations.
Anyway, units set to aggressive are more likely to advance (even into a wall of spears), whereas units set to defensive are more likely to hold their ground (even under a hail storm of arrows). Normal is normal.
Designation is easy to understand, but hard to explain. The simplest way is to say that while unit "type" determines in what fashion the unit is trained to fight, unit "designation" determines under what circumstances the unit expects to use their training. Again, that's not strictly the case, but nothing ever is.
- Regular Army - Your troops will start out set as Regular Army. You will use this setting most often. A Regular Army unit has balanced defensive and offensive abilities, which can also be enhanced by the Unit Settings (above).
- Sentry - This is a defensive designation and is helpful for alerting you to enemies in the region. Your men find ways to make themselves more hardy in combat using their knowledge of the lay of the land, creating additional makeshift armour and other things. While this increases their overall combat strength, it also requires 20% more gold to pay them, and additional time is required to move from region to region. They also suffer a morale loss when outside of their realm due to uncertain knowledge of outside lands. Sentry is generally reserved for units you intend to "drop" as militia. When you drop militia, their unit settings remain what they were before you dropped them, but once you drop them, you can't take them back or make changes to their settings. You don't have to pay them either (except for their last paycheck) because the realm is now responsible for their maintenance.
- Vanguard - Vanguard units move faster than other army types, but are not allowed to dig in. They may be more susceptible to surprise attack. These units make excellent scouts or fast raiding parties, and Units of over 40 men may often arrive a turn earlier if they are set as Vanguard. Units designated as vanguards lighten their burdens by opting not to bring redundant or excessive equipment, seeking out lighter superior quality replacements. This gives them the advantage of moving quicker, even in enemy territory. But for all their additional efforts and speed, they require 20% more gold than regular troops.
- Mercenary - Mercenaries and men hired men to fight your war, with no loyalty to you or your realm beyond their pay. Their morale stays high while far from home, but 50% more expensive than regular army (this is the only designation available to traders). When pursuing your Leader's agenda far from home, a Regular Army will get homesick before the week is out. Their Morale will suffer. When Morale is less than 50%, it can be a real problem. Combat Strength goes down, as does Cohesion. Morale can usually be salved with gold as a Regular Army will get a boost from regular payment. If, however, you discern that this will be a problem again, sooner than would be convenient, the Mercenary setting may be your choice. No morale concerns, so Combat Strength stays high, and your Unit is more effective in battle.
- Police - Police can search for rebels, raising Loyalty and Morale in a region, as well as hunt for infiltrators committing crimes in that region (to prevent an Infiltrator's deeds, your troops must find him beforehand). This is the only option for Bureaucrats. A troop leader with a Police Unit can perform Police Work in the region they are in and arrest locals suspected of supporting the independence movement. However, Police Units do not perform well in combat; they are not equipped for it, and it makes them very unhappy. Don't use this option if you have honour less than 15, as you won't have the option to do Police Work anyway.
The battlefield is divided into 11 columns (numbered 1 through 11, from left to right). The attacking army starts on the left, the defending army on the right. If the region has fortifications, then the 5 columns on the right will be colored gray and represent the area of the battlefield behind the fortifications. Which column your unit will begin in will depend on your field position.
- Front - If you are attacking, you will start in column 5. If defending, column 7.
- Middle - If you are attacking, you will start in column 4. If defending, column 8.
- Back - If you are attacking, you will start in column 3. If defending, column 9.
- Rearguard - If you are attacking, you will start in column 2. If defending, column 10.
Therefore, columns 1, 6 and 11 are always empty at the beginning of a battle (but they may become occupied as the battle progresses). If the defending units are dug in or are behind fortifications, it is not likely that they will "advance" from column 7 to column 6 until all the attacking melee units are disabled (i.e. wounded, retreated, etc.). If the region has fortifications, it is very difficult for the attacking units to "advance" from column 6 to column 7 without siege engines. Ranged units will only "advance" from toward the enemy if there are no enemy units within their range.
The last of the unit settings, unit formations are probably the least understood despite its being one the most critical elements of combat tactics.
- Line - Normal defense and attack against both ranged and melee units.
- Box - Improved defense against melee units, but decreased defense against ranged units.
- Wedge - Improved attack against melee units, but decreased defense against melee units.
- Skirmish - Improved defense against ranged units, but decreased defense against melee units.
I said earlier in this lesson that if your unit faced off alone against a single enemy unit, the result would be determined largely by combat strength, but I also said that that wasn't strictly true. I was referring to Unit Formations. Field Position determines where your unit begins, Conduct determines when your unit advances, and Unit Type determines what your men use in to fight with (swords and shields or bows and arrows), but Unit Formations determines the actual tactics your men employ once they are face to face with the enemy. An 200 CS archer unit can wipe out a 300 CS cavalry unit if both units are set to box formation, because every arrow will strike a rider whereas the riders will have to hack their way through the archers one body at a time.
Learn the unit formations. I am not kidding. Nobody ever does, and it is probably the most important unit setting of all. It is true that the larger the opposing armies are, the more important the other settings become, but unit formations are always important, and they are rarely understood correctly. Everyone knows that archers should be behind the cavalry by the time the enemy infantry arrive, but very few people understand what the units should do once they met each other on the battlefield. Those few people are called generals.
You can order your men to do various tasks depending on their unit type and the career you've chosen. Below are some of the commands available to your troops
For the Unit
- Repair Equipment - Repair your damaged equipment. This costs gold and time, depending on how badly damaged your equipment is. Equipment can only be repaired 2% in towns and 7% in strongholds, but fully in cities. (Can only be done if there are weapon or armour smiths in the region.)
- Pay your men - This is good to do if they haven't been paid for several days, or you are trying to keep up spirits. Sometimes it works for that, sometimes it doesn't.
- Rest troops or Field Camp - Tell your men to rest and relax. Resting troops can sometimes help boost morale and can also be used to delay your arrival while travelling.
- Training - You can put your men to work upping their statistics by having them do light, normal or heavy training. Unit cohesion and Combat strength usually go up when you do this, however your equipment is damaged and morale usually decreases.
- Rename unit - Change the name of your unit to something deceptive, or cooler. Costs money, and sometimes causes a drop in morale of you troops.
- Abandon your unit - If you want to trade one type of soldiers for another (i.e. infantry for archers), you can abandon your unit, and set them as militia. However, you have to have enough gold to pay them to abandon them.
- Loot - This allows you to steal gold, burn food or destroy things to harm your enemies resources.
- Raze Fortification - This allows you to destroy structures such as walls, recruitment centers, etc.
- Entertainment - Treating your men to some entertainment helps increase their morale.
- Civil Work - Repairing local infrastructures is a good way to win over the hearts and minds of a region, or to simply get production levels up, allowing for increased food and gold production.
- Police Work - Your unit has to be set to "Police" in order to do this, but you can patrol streets, join in on raids, all of which has an affect on the region, either by gaining more control of a region, or causing morale and loyalty to drop.
- Hang Rebels - The ability to hang rebels will get a region that is revolting under control quickly. It does cause a heavy morale loss in the region, so be sure to ask permission of your general before hanging rebels. (Can only be done in a region in your own realm.)
- Dig In - When your army is not in a city or stronghold, they can dig in and build minor protections against an invading army. Troops take less damage when behind these fortifications. You will WANT your units to be set to defensive and in the back in order to take advantage from the "Dig In" command. This can be done in regions without fortifications or with only a palisade.
- Hunt Enemies - After a victory, if you have 20 or more men, you can order them to hunt down any enemies who have fled. Beware, on occasion, it's said that the hunting party can be destroyed or take more casualties than the enemy they are hunting, but that is very rare.
- Forage Battlefield - If your unit stayed for the fight, and you won the battle, you'll be able to repair your equipment damage by searching the battlefield for left over equipment.
- Leave Wounded - Leaving your wounded behind with local healers is a dishonorable thing to do, and will cause you to loose honor and prestige. This can only be done in friendly towns, cities, or strongholds. (You can't just ditch them in the middle of no where. That's murder.) (Can only be done in a friendly City, Townsland or Stronghold region.)
- Take-over - Start a takeover of the current region.
- Send out scouts - Send out your scout to see what's in enemy lands, or in your own. Skilled infiltrators will not show up on a scout report, normally.
- Buy Paraphernalia - Purchase banners, healers, scouts, carts, etc.
- Abandon Paraphernalia - This allows you to dump things like banners, healers, scouts, carts, etc.
Battles are one of the most important features of the game. They are why troop leaders command units -- why they are called "troop leaders" in the first place! Through battle, realms live and die. Fortunes and reputations are made and lost.
When does a battle take place
A battle will take place when:
- The armies of two enemy realms meet in the same region.
- The armies of two neutral realms meet in the same region, and at least one unit is set to aggressive.
- The armies of two allied realms or two realms who are in peace meet in the same region, and at least one unit is set to murderous.
- The armies of any realm meet a rogue army.
In order to take part in a battle you will only have to travel to the region in which the battle will take place. You should also make sure that your unit's settings are set properly (you don't want to end up slaying, or get slaughtered by, your friends).
Rogues are hated by all. Rogue troop leaders represent a huge challenge to the very core values of BattleMaster society, just by virtue of holding armies, but swearing allegiance to no realm. Therefore, they are always attacked on sight. Monsters and undead, when they appear, are always rogue.
See this page for more details.
Preparing for a battle
There are several things that can be done on the eve of a battle, if one is anticipated. Line settings are usually given out, in whichever manner is chosen by that realm -- usually line settings are given as orders.
The realm that holds the field may dig in, constructing very basic fortifications around their camp as a mild deterrent and safety measure. So long as the unit remains behind their fortifications, they will be slightly safer than in the open field. Digging in takes a solid six hours of work, however.
Individual units may also decide that they do not wish to take part in the battle, and may either travel to a different region, or give orders to attempt to evade battle. Many commanders may consider this cowardice, however, and a troop leader who flees battle may face considerable repercussions.
How it works
All battles are calculated during the turn change. Battles take time - especially long battles may take so long that you are left with too few hours to do anything time-consuming (such as digging in) the following turn.
The armies left standing when the battle is over control the field. The realm that controls the field often has many more options available to it than they would otherwise. Even if your realm won the battle, if your unit was driven from the field, it is considered defeated.
Only a troop leader whose unit held the field until the very end of the battle may:
(These actions are of course subject to other constraints, such as unit size or ownership of the region)
When you win
- The size of the battle
- How long the battle lasted
- How much honour and prestige you already have
- Whether you successfully attacked or defended an important region
- Your units performance during the battle
Depending on what kind of unit you command, you might also improve your personal skills. Commanding any unit in battlefield gives you experience in Leadership. Commanding an Infantry or Special Forces unit will improve your Swordfighting skill. Commanding a Cavalry unit will improve your Jousting skill. There is no Archery skill, so commanding an Archer unit will not gain you anything special. The chances of improving your skill depend on:
- The size of the battle
- The current level of your skill. The higher your skill, the harder it is to improve.
Your unit might also gain some training and/or cohesion. Again, the amount of each depends on:
- The current training/cohesion value of your unit
- How long the battle lasted
- Your units performance during the battle
When you lose
During a battle both sides probably suffer casualties, to both the troops and troop leaders involved. Casualties include both the dead and wounded. Wounded troops stay with your unit until they either die or are nursed back to health. Wounded troop leaders and dead heroes have their own problems.
Additionally, armies will seek to capture enemy troop leaders in the thick of battle, to be taken back to prison and held for ransom. Even armies which are defeated can still take captives. This occasionally leads to the situation where a person is captured even when their side won an overwhelming victory!
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