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  • Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

    Targeting units inside a castle I understand -- you just add the Defensive Bonus of the Holding to the Unit Defense. Okay, simple. Great.

    The text in Siege Weapons speak of Athletics to destroy a structure. But the rules give no stats for Fortification Difficulties beyond its bonus. Do buildings have Health like Siege Weapons do? AR? Are they considered "objects" under the Smashing or Breaking rules? If so, does the Narrator just make up arbitrary Difficulties based on how much resources have been assigned to the Holding? Where does Athletics even factor into it? Do you roll Warfare to target units, but Athletics test to target a castle? Or is Athletics the damage, which replaces the Catapult's normal weapon damage?

    Is the Def bonus the same as it's own Defense? If so, then let's say you attack a Superior Castle (+12 Def) with a Trebuchet, operated by a Trained Engineer unit with Warfare 4. The test would be 4D vs 12; Athl 12 x degree damage. That could completely demolish the Superior Castle, which seems way too overpowered to me. In a single round you just destroyed 50 invested resources. Should it really be that easy? I feel like I'm wrong in several places

    ...my head hurts.

  • #2
    Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

    The major issue I see with this is that warfare turns (and therefore siege weapon attacks) take about a minute. Destroying a castle with a single catapult? It'd take forever...

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    • #3
      Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

      The text in Siege Weapons speak of Athletics to destroy a structure.
      That's correct, but more importantly, the exact quote is:
      You may use a catapult to shatter walls and fortifications. For the purposes of smashing objects...
      This means that you use the rules for smashing objects on pages 172-173 when using a catapult to destroy a castle wall. The rules say that you roll a Fighting test to smash an object, but since siege weapons are fired using Warfare, it makes sense that you would use Warfare instead of Fighting in this case.

      The rules for smashing an object are simple - roll against the Difficulty of the object you're trying to smash. Stone walls are given a Very Hard (18) difficulty to break. If successful, you reduce the Difficulty by your weapon damage multiplied by your degrees of success (DoS). When the Difficulty is reduced to 0 or lower, the object is smashed. This means that the Difficulty is effectively also the object's Health.

      Example:
      You have a unit of engineers with Warfare 4D (they're veterans!) and a medium catapult (Athletics 7), and they're trying to knock down the wall of a stone hall. As narrator, I set the Difficulty to 18.

      The engineers manage an average roll of 13, meaning that their attack fails to beat the stone wall's Difficulty. The catapult has no effect.

      The engineers try again, and this time manage to roll a full 24, gaining 2 DoS - the best they can manage against Difficulty 18. The catapult does 14 damage to the wall (2 x 7 = 14), reducing the Difficulty to 4. One more shot and the wall is likely down!

      So we find that even for a veteran unit it's not all that easy to beat Difficulty 18, which is the lowest value I would consider giving a fortified stone wall. If they were attacking a large castle, I could easily see the Difficulty being Heroic (21) - remember, it's up to the Narrator to decide how tough the walls are!

      How should we interpret the results? The rules don't really say what it means to have smashed a wall. In the case of attacking a fortification, I would rule that you have successfully breached the castle wall in one place - the rest of the fortification is intact. I would rule that the defense bonus provided by the fortification would be reduced, and, if using the advanced rules (pages 190-191), you could attack without having to scale the walls.

      To completely destroy a fortification, I would require multiple hits that reduce the Difficulty to 0 or less. If you could somehow manage to inflict twice the Difficulty or more in damage on a single hit, I could also see this as completely destroying the fortification (it's the same rule as for ordinary troops).

      /rax
      Last edited by rax; 11-21-2014, 08:19 AM.

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      • #4
        Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

        Rax is technically right on this for the "Smashing Objects" method, but I had found that it was too easy to destroy fortifications using the "Breaking Objects" method with the huge Athletics ratings of various siege weapons, so I came up with the following system for siege warfare :

        ******************************************

        Siege Duration:

        During a siege, a well-provisioned Fortification will usually hold for a number of months equal to its Defense Bonus when fully garrisoned (more or less people may modify this duration accordingly). Specific House Holdings from "Chronicle System: Out of Strife, Prosperity" such as "Prepared for Siege" increases this duration. After that period, people inside will begin to suffer the effects of Starvation, unless they choose to surrender.

        ******************************************

        Attacking Fortifications:

        Fortifications are usually heavy stone walls reinforced to sustain and deflect massive blows from siege weapons. As such, they are considered standard stone walls for the purpose of breaking or smashing objects (Difficulty: 21 [Break] or 18 [Smash]), but they have an extra Structural Reinforcement "Health" rating that is reduced before the actual Object Difficulty. When you attack a fortification, you usually target a specific area of 10 yards x 10 yards on a battlefield (1 Square) that you wish to breach to create an opening for your troops to move through. Each of these "Breach Areas" have their own Structural Reinforcement rating and Object Difficulty. You can create multiple breaches by attacking different areas. Once a breach has been created, troops can easily pass through the rubble and attack the troops within or behind, ignoring the Defense Bonus provided by the Fortification unless the units use the Defend maneuver.

        Breaking Object Method (Siege Weapon's Athletics):

        - Targeting a Fortification's Breach Area: if using a ranged Siege Weapon, you must make a Warfare / Marksmanship (Siege) Difficulty: 9, missed if failed by 5+, random adjacent area if failed by 1-4. Each extra degree of success grant +1B on the next targeting roll.

        - If the fortification's wall is hit with a ranged siege weapon, or if you are using a ram or a similar Breaking "melee" weapon, roll Athletics (Strength) Difficulty: 21, Structural Reinforcement: 10 x Fortification's Defense Bonus. Structural Reinforcement is reduced by 5 per degree of success, as per the Breaking Objects rules. Once the Structural Reinforcement has reached 0, you reduce the Object Difficulty normally. Use a Siege Weapon or Covered Ram's Athletics rank if it is used to break down the fortification. A simple Battering Ram provides +2D to Athletics for the unit equipped with it.

        Smashing Object Method (Siege Weapon's Damage Rating):

        - Targeting a Fortification's Breach Area: Smash Attack Difficulty: 18 [Warfare / Marksmanship (Siege) if using Siege Weapon, or Fighting if using appropriate "melee" weapons such as crowbills or mattocks], Structural Reinforcement: 10 x Fortification's Defense Bonus. Structural Reinforcement is reduced by the weapon's damage per degree of success, as per the Smashing Objects rules. Once the Structural Reinforcement has reached 0, you reduce the Object Difficulty normally. Use a Siege Weapon's Damage rank if it is used to smash down the fortification.

        Attack Resolution (Breached/Destroyed Fortification) on Battlefield Area:

        - 10 x 10 Yards Square, Very Slow Movement (Massive Debris & Rubble). Units who were positioned on a wall or battlement where the breach was created falls into the rubble, suffering 5 points of damage x Fortification's Defense Bonus, ignoring armor.

        ******************************************

        Attacking Gates, Doors & Temporary Fortifications:

        Gates, Doors and Temporary Fortifications are usually heavy wooden walls also reinforced to sustain powerful blows, but they are not as strong as a fortification's walls. Thereby, they are considered standard wooden walls for the purpose of breaking or smashing objects (Difficulty: 15 or 12), but they have an extra Structural Reinforcement "Health" rating that is reduced before the actual Object Difficulty. Gates, doors and temporary fortifications usually have only a width of 10 yards x 10 yards (1 square) on a battlefield. Once destroyed, troops can easily pass through the rubble and attack the troops within or behind.

        Breaking Object Method (Siege Weapon's Athletics):

        - Targeting Gates/Doors or Temporary Fortification: if using a ranged Siege Weapon, you must make a Warfare / Marksmanship (Siege) Difficulty: 9, missed if failed by 5+, random adjacent area if failed by 1-4. Each extra degree of success grant +1B on the next targeting roll.

        - If the fortification's wall is hit with a ranged siege weapon, or if you are using a ram or a similar Breaking "melee" weapon, roll Athletics (Strength) Difficulty: 15, Structural Reinforcement: 5 x Fortification's Defense Bonus. Structural Reinforcement is reduced by 5 per degree of success, as per the Breaking Objects rules. Once the Structural Reinforcement has reached 0, you reduce the Object Difficulty normally. Use a Siege Weapon or Covered Ram's Athletics rank if it is used to break down the fortification. A simple Battering Ram provides +2D to Athletics for the unit equipped with it.

        Smashing Object Method (Siege Weapon's Damage Rating):

        - Targeting Gates/Doors or Temporary Fortification: Smash Attack Diff: 12 [Warfare / Marksmanship (Siege) if using Siege Weapon, or Fighting / Marksmanship if using appropriate weapons such as wildfire, axes, hammers, flaming arrows, etc.], Structural Reinforcement: 5 x Fortification's Defense Bonus. Structural Reinforcement is reduced by the weapon's damage per degree of success, as per the Smashing Objects rules. Once the Structural Reinforcement has reached 0, you reduce the Object Difficulty normally. Use a Siege Weapon's Damage rank if it is used to smash down the fortification.

        Attack Resolution (Breached/Destroyed Fortification) on Battlefield Area:

        - 10 x 10 Yards Square, Slow Movement (Small Debris & Rubble). Units who were positioned on a wall or walkway where the breach was created fall into the rubble, suffering 3 points of damage x Fortification's Defense Bonus, ignoring armor.

        ******************************************

        There you go...
        Last edited by Zeroed; 11-21-2014, 09:42 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

          Interesting rules but I don't clearly see the difference between "breaking" and "smashing". The final result would be the same, isn't it? a big hole into the fortification in which troops can attack.

          Antoher question as my group will probably go for a siege soon. They have a cavalry unit which will be used on the battlefield. Once (if) their ennemy is beaten he will likely retreat inside the castle wall. My pc group will want to use their cavalry during the siege..as an infantry. Dismount and assault the walls like any infantry unit would do.
          How would you rule it? Would you change their statistics to make them look like more as an infantry unit?

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          • #6
            Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

            Here are some thoughts I have made about additional tools for a siege - maybe they are useful...

            Trenches (1 Wealth Point per section)

            To dig trenches is a common manoeuvre during sieges. Trenches are designed to give troops cover against hostile bows, crossbows and even siege weapons. They could also be used to closing to the walls of the enemy, but to dig them under fire is a hard job. Sometimes the trenches are even covered so that the enemy could do nearly nothing against the troops in the trenches.
            Cost:
            1 Wealth per section (could span over up to 100 yards distance and give cover for one not-cavalry unit at once, could be used by several units one after the other), 2 Wealth per section for covered trenches
            Effect:
            - can not be used by cavalry
            - give 5 point defence against marksmanship-attacks (10 in the case of covered trenches)
            - to create trenches in a distance from 100 yards to 20 yards or so from the enemy’s walls the digging unit must made a successful warfare (9) test (more than one try is allowed), each time it made this test the unit could be attacked by the defending forces with long range-weapons
            - Trenches have AR 8 and Health 30 (AR 10 and Health 40 for covered trenches), and could only be attacked by siege weapons which throw stones. If they are destroyed while a unit is in it the unit looses half of its health and become disorganized





            Tunnels

            Tunnels are often used during sieges, mainly to crush the walls and buildings of the enemy from below by creating huge fires under the surface. Sometimes they also designed to create a way into the besieged town or fortress. They are a hard piece of work in creating, expensive (even more in rocky terrain or under difficult circumstances) but it is not easy to spot them and defend against such an attack. The only possible options beside a great counter-attack is a counter-tunnel or to erect an additional wall around the section which likely will be brought down by the tunnel. Tunnels could only be created by engineers or by units which have by sheer luck people who know how to dig them (if for example the house which want to create a tunnel have a mine himself or could find specialists, it could “upgrade” one of their units for one point wealth to be able to dig tunnels). Tunnel-warfare is very complex and dangerous, and some commanders (and many troops) try to avoid to taking part in this dirty war of rats.
            Cost: 3 Wealth in optimal terrain, 4-5 under harsher conditions (GM decides)
            Effect:
            - To create a tunnel the digging unit must win 3 tests (warfare or athletic) against a difficulty between 9 and 15 (depending on the nature of the ground and conditions like very unstable ground etc.). Each test, anyway if successful or not, need 1d6 days. A critical failure mean a part of the tunnel collapse, hitting the unit with a damage of 5 (no AR helps) and costing additional 1d6 days. The digging could be supported by a maximum of two other units, which must pass a successful warfare or athletic (9) test to add half of their warfare or athletic-rank to the result of the digging unit.
            - The fire in the tunnel has an athletic of 12 to burst through the walls and could attack up to three times if the attacker has enough wood (four if the attacker has “equipped” the tunnel with additional oil, six if he used wildfire). The difficulty lies between 21 (massive stone walls) and 15 (wood-and-earth-walls), any success reduces the difficulty by 5 (or 3?) per degree success. If the difficulty is reduced to 0, the walls fall. The new “entrance” is wide enough for one unit at once, but their movement is reduced to “slow” or “very slow” (depending on circumstances) because of rocks etc.
            The difficulty is designed for “normal” fortification. A tunnel to bring the Northern Wall down is beyond the possibilities of mankind (while it may be perhaps possible to create a small tunnel to sneak beyond it). Fortresses like the Eyrie or Casterly Rock, build on solid stone, are also immune, as are fortresses like Riverrun which lies in deep waters (a normal ditch – even filled with water – is not so a huge problem). Castles like Winterfell and Harrenhal may have a difficulty of more than 21.
            - Alternatively to a hole in the walls the tunnel gives access to the besieged fortress, but after the first breakthrough reinforcements for the first unit arrive only every 3 rounds (since the tunnels are very narrow). No mounted cavalry could be passing through a tunnel.
            - To spot a tunnel which creation is covered at least a bit (the dig-out earth is not placed in the open and the entrance is concealed – a warfare (9) test of the besieging commander tells him what to do) the defender must defeat a difficulty of 12 with his awareness (9 if he actively search after a tunnel – like placing plates filled with water on his walls and in the buildings etc.). The creation of a second wall needs 1d3/+2/+4 days, depending on the size, and cost 2 point of wealth, but give the defending forces a defensive-bonus of +2/+3/+4 as defensive-bonus. A counter-tunnel could only be created by a unit which is able to do so and follow the rules of creation of a tunnel. The counter-tunnel needs only one successful warfare or athletic-test, and if successful the defenders could attack the digging unit of the besieging army with a bonus of +1D, after that the combat under the earth goes as normal. Alternatively the counter-tunnel could be burned which resulted in a catastrophic collapse of both tunnels, dealing 10 damage (ignoring AR) to the digging unit of the attacker. However such a manoeuvre resulted also in at least two attacks with athletic 12 against the walls of the defenders, weakening their defence. The digging unit of the attacker could spot the digging of the counter-tunnel with an Awareness (9) test. If they are successful, they could be prepared against the attack which negates the +1D bonus of the defenders or allow them to evacuate the tunnel to avoid damage by a potential collapse.

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            • #7
              Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

              Originally posted by Seth View Post
              The major issue I see with this is that warfare turns (and therefore siege weapon attacks) take about a minute. Destroying a castle with a single catapult? It'd take forever...
              I always considered that when buying a siege weapon I'm not actually buying a SINGLE weapon, but an variable number that is sufficient to be used by a whole military unit. If my military unit has 100 men, then maybe they are using 5 catapults with 20 operating men each. But also as a houserule I scratch completely this idea of Warfare rounds as X minutes. I just make time fluid and maleable enough to be used as a plot facility. So if the plan of this specific battle is to discract the defenders so some players can sneak into the fortress, then the battle will last as long as it is needed, even if in practice it has only a couple of rounds.

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              • #8
                Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

                I thought here the rules are more or less clear. It is said (Using Siege Weapons in the chapter about Warfare, Step Five: Siege Weapons) that an engineer unit could control up to four siege weapons. In most cases the costs for a siege weapon is that for one catapult etc. (beside scorpions, which are three devices, but that made no difference in using it).

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                • #9
                  Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

                  But also as a houserule I scratch completely this idea of Warfare rounds as X minutes

                  Absolutely. Usually a siege starts with the install of the besieging camp, which takes a day or two, then a brief assault to test the defender's defenses. Usually that assault fails and the beseigers will spend a few days by trying to smash the walls by a regular bombardement. And they will send a few units foraging the land. Then, after a week or so, they will try a new assault. If it fails again, the bombardement will resume. Siege engines will work for days and the 1 minute round format is completely irrelevant. I would rule 1d6 dice rolls everyday and not more. Which leads to the problem of a limit of ammunitions...

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                  • #10
                    Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

                    Well, getting stones or simple arrows for scorpions should be a limited problem if you
                    a) have a support unit which could provide them (I mean that are simple work, as long as you have the stones, wood and iron you need)
                    b) could force or persuade civilians to help you (which mean if the people are not run away/hiding in the woods or in the castle etc.
                    c) have a nearby community which supports you.

                    Beside this I would say you could detach units to made ammunition, but that needs time and material (since most of the men surely are unskilled).

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                    • #11
                      Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

                      Is a Siege Weapon a "unit"? Do Siege Weapons take up a 10 yard square space? Can other units occupy the same space?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

                        A siege weapon is not a unit, but a engineer unit (for which the normal rules for units apply) can use up to four siege weapons (which is a catapult, a mangonel, a spitfire, a trebuchet or three scorpions which are count as one siege weapon).

                        So the engineer units which maintain and use the weapon do occupy the same space as their siege weapons.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Warfare - Siege Weapons vs Fortifications

                          I disagree on that. A mangonel or a trebuchet are big engines and you can't put one + 100 engineers into a 10 yards Square area. They will need space to move and work on the Siege engine. Even worst if the have 3 Scorpions.
                          I would rule that each Siege engine will occupy a 10 yards area with its servants. So, if the unit deals with 4 engines, it will take 4 areas.

                          Keep in mind that a unit occupies a 10 yards Square area when they are in combat formation, shoulder against shoulder.

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