Thursday, October 22, 2009

Basic Set Soldiers, Logistics (adventuring's less popular expression

Soldiers and Logistics, Translate to Adventurers and Adventures. Some GMing fundamentals I keep revisiting because I always find new ways of using and expressing them.

The Roman Legionary


The Roman Soldier is one of the best base line examples of a professional warrior. It is a template that can easily be altered to fit appropriate equivalents common in great variety of eras and cultures. What makes them such great examples, is their focus of operational and organizational skills that make them very effective fighting force. They are not great individual fighters, but they work great as a team, a focus that is central in an RPG.

Attributes [20]: ST11 [10]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 10 [0]; HT 11 [10].

Secondary Characteristics [0]: Dmg 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 [0]; HP 11 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Per 10 [0]; Will 10 [0]; Spd 5.25 [0]; Move 5 [0]; Dodge (light + DB2) 10 [0].

Advantages [20]: Combat Reflex [15]; Patron (Army) (Minimal intervention -50%; Provides equipment +50%) (freq-6) [5]

Disadvantages [-30]: Duty, Hazardous (12) [-10]; Wealth (Struggling) [-10]; Sense of Duty (Family, Friends, and Comrades) [-5]; Code of Honor (Professional) [-5].

Social background [0]: Read Common Language (Broken) [-2]; Speak Imperial Language (Accented) [2]

Total Skills [40]:

Primary Skills [20]:

Soldiering Skills [20]: Soldier (A) IQ+2 [8]-12; Hiking (A) HT+1 [4]-12; Running (A) HT-1 [1]-10; Swimming (E) HT [1]-11; Riding (A) DX-1 [1]-9; Stealth (A) DX-1 [1]-9; Survival (Wooded) (A) Per-1 [1]-9; Navigation (Land) (A) IQ-1 [1]-9; Packing (A) IQ-1 [1]-9; Savoir-Faire (Military) (E) IQ [1]-10.

Secondary Skills [13]:

Swordsman Combat Skills [13]: Shortsword* (A) DX+1 [4]-11; Shield (E) DX+2 [4]-12; Throwing Spear (E) DX [1]-10; Fast Draw (Spear) [1]-11; Wrestling (A) DX-1 [1]-9; Brawling (E) DX [1]-10; Knife (E) DX [1]-10.

Background Skills [7]:

Rural Peasant Background [7]: Housekeeping (E) IQ [1]-10; Scrounging (E) Per [1]-10; Farming (A) IQ+1 [4]-11; Savoir-Faire (Neighborly) (E) IQ [1]-10.


  • Leather armor DR2 (Torso, Groin) $100 10lbs

  • Legionary Helmet $150 6lbs

  • Clothes (Status -1) ($60) 2lbs

  • Shoes $40 2lbs

  • Cloak, Light $20 2lbs

  • Total 22lbs $310


  • Cheap Medium Shield $36 15lbs

    • Skill-12, Block-10 (DB2, DR7, HP40, OP17)

    • Dmg thr 1d-1 cr

    • Holds 2 Javelins

  • Cheap Shortsword $240 2lbs

    • Skill-12, Parry-11

    • Dmg thr 1d+1 imp/ 1d+2 cut

  • Cheap Large Knife $24 1lb

    • Skill-10, Parry-8 (no shield)

    • Dmg thr 1d-1 imp/ 1d+2 cut

  • 2 Javelins $60 4lbs

    • Skill-10

    • Acc 3, Dmg thr 1d imp, Range 16/27

    • AoA:D + 3 sec Aim (behind shield cover) = Skill-14 at 5 yrds

  • Bottle, Ceramic (1L) $3 3lbs

  • Total $488 25lbs


  • Backpack $60 3lbs

  • Blankets $20 4lbs

  • 2 Sets of Clothes ($120) 4lbs

  • Wine Skiin (4L) $10 9lbs

  • Travel Rations, 2-days $12 3lbs

  • Personals $5 1lb

  • Total $102 24lbs

Total $850 71lbs.

Group Basics, for a small squad of 8 people

  • 2 Small Mule $2000

  • 2 sets of Saddle Bags (holds a total of 160lbs) $400 12lbs

  • 2 Tent, 4-man $300 60lbs

  • Group Basics $50 20lbs

  • Portable Carpentry Toolkit $300 20lbs

  • Total $3500

Note: these group basics are in adition to the Travel Load outs and have 60lbs of available allowance for basic supplies. Typically travelers stop for water at least once a day. Water availability actually determines travel routes and not just the shortest distance between two points. Characters marching would need about 1pint or liter of water per hour of march per day. This means marching for 10 hours will require about 20lbs of water (2lbs per liter or pint). Given the weight allowance, each member can store as much as 7.5lbs of supplies with the mules. Typically these allowances are usually tools, rations, extra supplies of water (via extra water skins). A Good starting point is having extra 2 liters of water (a water skin half filled 5lbs $10), an exta day's worth of rations (1.5lbs $6), and 20 arrows ($24 2lbs) alternating with Regular bow (2lbs $100) bundled for hunting purposes.

Notes on Tactics:

Throwing weapons. Throwing a weapon before engaging is simple one of the easiest and opportunistic tactics in melee. It is an attack that requires incredible reach and a ready throwing weapon used to reply. Historically, throwing weapons are meant to disable shields but the rules don't fit this quite well. As a simple fix, if you want to reflect this, if the base damage the throwing weapon deals is 4+ roll Shield breakage. I recommend B483's Damage to Objects' simple HT roll instead of the complicated system in B274.

Note on Money: Soldiers are usually given an allowance enough for food (roughly $6 a day). It depends on the kind of commander how much is really given. As adventurers they carry and appropriate amount of wealth depending on what they are tasked to do. As a default assume they carry a month's allowance $180. The rest of the pay is usually given annually (and often late, up to even years late!). A soldier is usually paid a Solidus, which is usually worth a year's worth of wheat, plus an allowance and income from their farm land grants. Roughly a soldier is at struggling, even with all that pay. After all, their jobs cost them blood, bone, sweat, hunger, disease... you get the picture.

Logistics, is what happens behind the scenes that make an adventure possible.

Logistics is one of the fundamentals of warfare. When the GM asks the player to roll their soldiers or professional (adventurer) skill when as they are marshaling out, there are very many things that can go wrong. Call this the Murphy Roll, roll this when conducting operations at reasonable stress and risk.

Even a simple act as moving from A to B can be pretty complicated, and filled with unexpected thrills and side-adventures. GMs who think the hazards of the adventure are not enough and have the players already over their head, can still throw this as another challenge (to distract them and a challenge of keeping focused and goal oriented). Arbitrarily, if you have a whole mess of an adventure planned you can simplify this roll to an average of all, but if you have time to spare or want to draw an edge of anticipation you can roll in secret for each player.

On a failed roll, the GM looks at all the Soldier's Skills and rolls beginning with the worse skill (if none) :

Packing – Equipment storage problems, this can happen quite often given the varying degrees of rush. Something can happen to undo all the time consuming packing and organizing of equipment. Packing also involves problems with the pack animal. Often sometimes these ornery animals may just not be as cooperative for some reason.

Navigation – Degrees of lost, eat up time and can often lead to trouble. Even just a slight change of

Survival (Wooded) – the soldier runs into trouble with one of natures many hazards. One typical problem is when a soldier is bind-sided by the day's weather.

Hiking – a travel related injury, possibly injury from not taking proper attention to trekking conditions.

Stealth – Attracting unwanted attention. Typically a factor when traversing enemy territory. Stealth is usually part of forward intelligence or reconnoitering. This could also be a possible failure of there.

Swimming – if there is a water hazard, this will certainly come up. There are many paths across water that have no bridges but low enough to be crossed. This can be a problem.

Observation or Perception – This is part of forward intelligence and reconnoitering like stealth. Failure here has similar repercussions.

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