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gwrfelling
03-10-2005, 04:58 PM
I'm looking for a discussion of the situation below, a few judgements on sportsmanship/values, and perhaps direct judgements on rules. So...

The Scenario:
1. Player A as forced Player B into tributary status.
2. Player A becomes involved in a battle with Player C.
3. Player A requires Player B to send an allied contingent to the field. (Player B may or may not be friendly with Player C.)

Player B Options:
1. Cooperate fully and help Player A to victory.
2. Refuse to cooperate, sit on the sidelines, and watch Player A struggle toward either victory or defeat.
3. Outright betray Player A by maneuvering behind his elements and blocking his recoils, actively insuring his defeat and reveling in vengeful satisfaction!

More than anything, I would like some discussion (on various levels) of Option #3. Setting aside the real-life interpersonal problems such actions might cause, what might such activity--or the mere possibility of it--add to or detract from a campaign? ;)

[ March 10, 2005, 14:31: Message edited by: gwrfelling ]

imported_JamesLDIII
03-10-2005, 07:04 PM
Originally posted by gwrfelling:
I'm looking for a discussion of the situation below, a few judgements on sportsmanship/values, and perhaps direct judgements on rules. So...
Player B Options:
3. Outright betray Player A by maneuvering behind his elements and blocking his recoils, actively insuring his defeat and reveling in vengeful satisfaction![/i]

More than anything, I would like some discussion (on various levels) of Option #3. Setting aside the real-life interpersonal problems such actions might cause, what might such activity--or the mere possibility of it--add to or detract from a campaign? ;) Of course there are some examples of history of "allies" not fighting enthusiastically, withdrawing, or even changing sides: how about Sekigahara for one example of such.

OK, aside from the real-life issues, you might consider what the consequences are to the tributary. In historical terms, a tributary had to provide hostages, accept garrisons on home territories, etc. Your situation described doesn't include this, so there may may not be enough negative consequences for the player who changes sides if you play it straight. You could add the ability for the overlord to place garrisons in tributary territory, for example, which might make the tributary think twice about revolting.
Another item to consider is the whole "flank march" for allied contingents. More often that
not, there weren't flank marches in history, at least how we commonly conceive of such as a planned maneuver by the general. At Kadesh, Ramses was luck that his "offboard" troops showed up at all, he wasn't planning for this action. Perhaps expanding the common conception of flank marches to include actions like Mago's ambush on the Romans at the Trebbia makes the idea of a flank march make more sense. But the more important point I am trying to get to is an option can be to have the overloard player place allied contingents on the board at the start of the battle in the deployment zone instead of them coming into the battle after it starts. Sort of like in DBM (and history) the player can then place his least reliable allied troops in a position where they have to fight, or switch sides and fight.

gwrfelling
03-10-2005, 07:19 PM
Thank you for your reply, JD. Yes, the scenario I described did not take into account such factors as you describe. I think that a rich campaign ought to do so, though. So, yes, if a tributary did decide to act so brazenly, it should be a hard decision to make. (I wanted the discussion to include the published DBA campaign rules, too--although I prefer customized formats--thus, the bare bones description.)

You mention Sekigahara as an example; I, myself, was imagining the possibilities of such options in a campaign in the Sengoku Jidai or even Three Kingdoms China--both periods featuring dramatic betrayals and reversals on the field of battle itself. :D

E_A_Lindberg
03-10-2005, 11:44 PM
The main problem with Option 3 is that the ally has the ability to royally ream his overlord with almost no danger to himself, since his overlord can't retaliate! (Short of somehow encouraging his enemy to attack the ally instead.)

The closest I ever came to doing this myself was in a Samurai campaign, in which I convinced my overlord to commit to an attack and then failed to provide any support at the appropriate moment. I even momentarily thought of moving my elements behind his at odd angles, but rejected the idea for the reasons I mentioned above.

So I think that it's already possible to do a great deal of damage to your overlord without having to resort to Option 3. I suppose you could come up with some reasonable rule to prevent it. I've just never seen it happen.

Timurilank
03-11-2005, 11:34 AM
gwrfelling wrote:
I'm looking for a discussion of the situation below, a few judgements on sportsmanship/values, and perhaps direct judgements on rules. So...

The Scenario:
1. Player A as forced Player B into tributary status.
2. Player A becomes involved in a battle with Player C.
3. Player A requires Player B to send an allied contingent to the field. (Player B may or may not be friendly with Player C.)

Player B Options:
1. Cooperate fully and help Player A to victory.
2. Refuse to cooperate, sit on the sidelines, and watch Player A struggle toward either victory or defeat.
3. Outright betray Player A by maneuvering behind his elements and blocking his recoils, actively insuring his defeat and reveling in vengeful satisfaction! As mentioned elsewhere, hostages were gathered to coerce the participation of newly conquered kingdoms. In the campaign system an allied contingent would still support Player A and once on the battlefield that is another story. However, the options you sketch might take place as a result of extra factors you may wish to add; a rebellion taking place within the occupied territory, change of leadership, etc. You might want to develop some type of results table that would give you these options rather than rely on the character of the player.

cheers,

Redwilde
03-11-2005, 02:09 PM
The cost of making a bad choice has to be something that hurts the treasonous player, plus there should be an expensive ante just to join the game. I would suggest:

* An automatic penalty for not engaging in combat with the enemy before the end of the game -- say a loss of 1 recruitment stand this year, plus the loss of 1 or more prestige points or any such thing being used in your campaign. This represents difficulty recruiting and of course a blatant loss of prestige.

* The cost is doubled if you do not engage in battle and your overlord loses. Retribution from the overlord compounds your woes.

* The cost is doubled if you attack your overlord and he loses the battle.

* The cost is tripled (or quadrupled) if you attack your overlord and he wins the battle anyway.

Something like this should ensure that treason is not a light and whimsical decision.

*****

Or:

If you use money in your campaign (each province held at the end of the year yields X amount of money -- money can be used to either buy recruits or stashed for other uses), then look at the money rules in the diplomacy board game Machiavelli. (These rules are good flavour choice for an Italian Condotta/Later Swiss campaign of course) Before the battle, each commanding general writes down if they are paying any money to their own (loyalty insurance) and/or to enemy ally contingents (bribes), and then reveals this simultaneously.

Say it takes 8 ducats to pay an ally to sit out the battle, and 16 to change sides -- that is the required cost above and beyond any money paid to an ally by their overlord. So if the overlord pays an ally 2 ducats, the enemy needs to pony up 10 or 18 for the bribe to work. There's no choice on the part of the ally, they just follow the money. And, the ally gets to keep all monies paid regardless of the outcome. They keep insurance money from the overlord even if the enemy doesn't attempt to bribe them, and they keep all bribes even if they are insufficient!

This shifts the cost burden from the ally players to the commanding generals.

As an extra option, the ally player could also write down if they are paying money to their overlord -- at the same cost of 10/16, above any insurance money, to sit out or change sides. This represents either mercenaries forfeiting contract money and/or an abstraction of later retribution. In this case, the overlord keeps the money even if it was insufficient to overcome any insurance payments, and the ally keeps the insurance payement -- this represents some retribution on the part of the overlord for the foiled shenanigans.

konstantinius
03-12-2005, 08:06 PM
How to discipline unruly vassals makes for a good and unaddressed campaign topic.
In my Earlier to High medieval campaign I outright forbid a tributary contingent to attack the overlord's army in any way during battle; the contingent is not obliged to engage the enemy, however, and I decide this with an additional roll upon the contingent's arrival. The roll is similar to the diplomacy roll which I'm using and which will be another topic. The point is that the friendlier the tributary is to the enemy of his overlord, the more the chances for the contingent to sit out the battle.
I can also eliminate any chances for a contingent by, as the tributary, moving my army farther than the two allowed movement stages. Since contingents are dispatched from the location of the main army, this would prevent me from assisting. This requires a bit of foresight but it's hard not to have that in a solo campaign of 22 nations smile.gif
I still lack for a way of retribution on behalf of the liege. Attacking one's vassal is out of question. Not assisting him in battle is one way but that increases his chances of losing to someone else and becoming a double vassal.
Both of Redwilde's suggestions seem reasonable. Not abiding by the vassalage code would be a major breach with medieval etiquette having various consequences that would affect income, status and recruitment. I like the idea of using moneys to buy off a vassal as means of neutralizing his participation. Perhaps that's the "foresight" mentioned above which will manifest itself in the turn previous to the upcoming battle between leige and third party ;)
May I suggest that in a medieval setting a papal anathema rule could also be used? When deemed politically suitable the Pope will anathematize the uncooperative vassal which would lead to loss of income from all the fairs, pilgrims, rights etc that now shun the area. The liege, in turn, can increase the chances for that happening by sending an equallly handsome contribution to the coffers of the See; upon succeding on the boosted diplomacy roll, the anathema will be brought out and the loss of income will take effect at the end of the that season. Loss of income always affects recruitment so it;s a good, hefty blow
to make the vassal reconsider.
Recall of the anathema doesn't cost anything. It is considered that the recall happens automatically upon request by the liege granted that relations between vassal and Pope haven't changed.

konstantinius
03-12-2005, 08:25 PM
How to discipline unruly vassals makes for a good and unaddressed campaign topic.
In my Earlier to High medieval campaign I outright forbid a tributary contingent to attack the overlord's army in any way during battle; the contingent is not obliged to engage the enemy, however, and I decide this with an additional roll upon the contingent's arrival. The roll is similar to the diplomacy roll which I'm using and which will be another topic. The point is that the friendlier the tributary is to the enemy of his overlord, the more the chances for the contingent to sit out the battle.
I can also eliminate any chances for a contingent by, as the tributary, moving my army farther than the two allowed movement stages. Since contingents are dispatched from the location of the main army, this would prevent me from assisting. This requires a bit of foresight but it's hard not to have that in a solo campaign of 22 nations smile.gif
I still lack for a way of retribution on behalf of the liege. Attacking one's vassal is out of question. Not assisting him in battle is one way but that increases his chances of losing to someone else and becoming a double vassal.
Both of Redwilde's suggestions seem reasonable. Not abiding by the vassalage code would be a major breach with medieval etiquette having various consequences that would affect income, status and recruitment. I like the idea of using moneys to buy off a vassal as means of neutralizing his participation. Perhaps that's the "foresight" mentioned above which will manifest itself in the turn previous to the upcoming battle between leige and third party ;)
May I suggest that in a medieval setting a papal anathema rule could also be used? When deemed politically suitable the Pope will anathematize the uncooperative vassal which would lead to loss of income from all the fairs, pilgrims, rights etc that now shun the area. The liege, in turn, can increase the chances for that happening by sending an equallly handsome contribution to the coffers of the See; upon succeding on the boosted diplomacy roll, the anathema will be brought out and the loss of income will take effect at the end of the that season. Loss of income always affects recruitment so it;s a good, hefty blow
to make the vassal reconsider.
Recall of the anathema doesn't cost anything. It is considered that the recall happens automatically upon request by the liege granted that relations between vassal and Pope haven't changed.

Timurilank
03-13-2005, 04:02 PM
Konstantinius wrote: May I suggest that in a medieval setting a papal anathema rule could also be used? When deemed politically suitable the Pope will anathematize the uncooperative vassal which would lead to loss of income from all the fairs, pilgrims, rights etc that now shun the area. The liege, in turn, can increase the chances for that happening by sending an equallly handsome contribution to the coffers of the See; upon succeding on the boosted diplomacy roll, the anathema will be brought out and the loss of income will take effect at the end of the that season. Loss of income always affects recruitment so it;s a good, hefty blow
to make the vassal reconsider.
Recall of the anathema doesn't cost anything. It is considered that the recall happens automatically upon request by the liege granted that relations between vassal and Pope haven't changed. You may want to add ex-communication to that option. The overlord in possesion of a papal edict with the name left blank. Oooh, keeping a clean slate?

I am curious if other gamers have dealt with superstitions or myths in their games? The ghost walls, serpents in marshes, etc. for their Dark Age games? Or Druidic influence with the elements while fighting the Romans?

cheers,

Macbeth
03-14-2005, 01:15 AM
In my campaigns two forms of non cooperation (if not actual treachery) a vassal can perform without being openly treacherous:

1) If operating before the overlord moves - launch their own attack. "Sorry my Emperor, I'd love to send a contingent but I have launched an invasion this season" A variation on this is to deploy the army as far away from the overlord's intended targets.

2) Sending a single element (of Ps perhaps) as the contingent.

Of course there is the problem of how a vassal can be disciplined.

I am mulling over a mechanism, where the overlord writes out the conditions that they need to be met to consider a vassal compliant. Only if they are not met can they then discipline the vassal, perhaps by the loss of a recruiting point.

It needs work. I can already see the evil overlords making life difficult for put apon vassals.

Lets not forget that a vassal has in all probability lost at least one battle and one piece of territory. They are weaker than their overlord.

As one of the ongoing threads of this section is how to keep a campaign going then I look at every effect in terms of "How Will This Effect the Lower Quarter of the Campaign Group" Overlord's punishing vassals looks to me like the sort of thing that will discourage an already mauled player.

Cheers

gwrfelling
03-14-2005, 05:29 PM
Overlord's punishing vassals looks to me like the sort of thing that will discourage an already mauled player.Very true. However, chances to thwart one's overlord can also give inspiration to a down-and-out campaign player. I suppose it all depends on how active that "thwarting" may be! ;)

I want to thank everyone for their thoughts thus far; I have a great deal to mull over now. But by all means, please keep the conversation running. :D

Bill Sumruld
03-14-2005, 05:30 PM
How about this idea for those using prestige points? It is simple and easy to apply, requiring no more than die rolls. It is for those games where reputation plays a role. An act of treachery (clearly defined) results in a die roll. On a 1-4, the effect on one's reputation and prestige points is negative. On a roll of 5-6 the effect is actually favorable. This will keep everyone guessing. Once it has been determined whether the effect is favorable or negative. Roll another die. If the initial effect was favorable a 1-4 yields say one prestige point, while a 5-6 yields two. It the initial roll was negative a roll of 1-2 yields a negative one result, 3-4 a negative two result, and 5-6 a negative three result. This mimics the importance of public opinion in the area of prestige. Is the act of treachery seen as bold and courageous against an overlord perceived as unjust in some way or is it perceived as a cowardly and back stabbing act of treachery. The overlord is still free to react. But here we can affect his incentives to do so in this way. If the original treacherous act was judged negative, then the overlord can punish the miscreant with no potential prestige damage to himself. If however the intial act was seen in a favorable light, then the overlord risks loss of prestige for punishing it, say 2 points or so.

The numbers can be adjusted to fit how you run your own campaigns but I believe the idea is simple to use and apply and can have interesting results for your campaigns. :D

Timurilank
03-14-2005, 10:30 PM
Macbeth wrote:

I am mulling over a mechanism, where the overlord writes out the conditions that they need to be met to consider a vassal compliant. Only if they are not met can they then discipline the vassal, perhaps by the loss of a recruiting point.

It needs work. I can already see the evil overlords making life difficult for put apon vassals.

Letís not forget that a vassal has in all probability lost at least one battle and one piece of territory. They are weaker than their overlord. Regarding losses; 4 elements would have been lost and two nodes including the main city. That still leaves 8 surviving elements but with one piece of territory remaining unoccupied. A cruel overlord might occupy the main city and deny the tributary access to the reserves and in addition restrict any movement for a year, thereby further reducing through a period of enforced peace the field army to 6 elements.

Let us assume the defender placed his field army in any one of the outlying territories and not the main city. In this case two battles will have been fought and two territories lost with only four elements to occupy the remaining territory. In either case, the tributary forced to supply a contingent to his overlord would be less inclined to rebel.

cheers,

Dhingis Khan
03-15-2005, 01:35 AM
Once in a campaign I sent an allied contingent. We played that troops pushed off the board counted as battle losses but were not destroyed for the campaign. I set up my contingent near the edge of the table and let the 'enemy' push me off. My 'ally' was furious.

konstantinius
03-15-2005, 02:44 AM
Heh, I hadn't thought of that...

gwrfelling
03-15-2005, 01:35 PM
That would be another way, although one would run the risk of losing an element in a kill. How did your 'ally' retaliate?
Originally posted by Dhingis Khan:
Once in a campaign I sent an allied contingent. We played that troops pushed off the board counted as battle losses but were not destroyed for the campaign. I set up my contingent near the edge of the table and let the 'enemy' push me off. My 'ally' was furious.

[ March 15, 2005, 10:36: Message edited by: gwrfelling ]

Dhingis Khan
03-15-2005, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by gwrfelling:
That would be another way, although one would run the risk of losing an element in a kill. How did your 'ally' retaliate?He was roundly thumped in that game. I'm sure I paid for it the next time we played. I used to have two or three one-day campaigns a month back when.

I did one campaign set in Italy early Renaissance where I was the Papal States, the Pope really. One of our guys, a lapsed Catholic with ISSUES attacked me from turn one and would not let up. I never used the Papal States in another campaign.

hammurabi70
03-15-2005, 09:17 PM
You may want to add ex-communication to that option. The overlord in possesion of a papal edict with the name left blank. Oooh, keeping a clean slate?
[/QB]In one campaign I played in you had to roll for survival each year; factors such as excommunication by the Pope worsened your chances of survival. Only game I have ever seen where the Pope was taken very seriously.

Timurilank
03-15-2005, 10:20 PM
hammurabi70 wrote: In one campaign I played in you had to roll for survival each year; factors such as excommunication by the Pope worsened your chances of survival. Only game I have ever seen where the Pope was taken very seriously. I like that. For those who have sucummed to evil the players should move forward to an HOTT game depicting the nine levels of Hell. Passing through each unscathed would have the sinner escorted out of Hell by Angels or some other spirits perhaps 46 percent proof?

Dominus sanctum, espiritu sanctum mea cup runneth over, cheers,

E_A_Lindberg
03-16-2005, 03:07 PM
The original question was about purposely positioning your forces to prevent an ally from recoiling. That strikes me as unfair, since it gives a player the ability to wreak even worse havoc than he could as an enemy. However, I have no problem with the fact that vassal powers are otherwise not forced to cooperate with their overlords.

In the larger scheme of things, the overlord has a number of inducements or threats he can use, just as the vassal can threaten to be uncooperative. Anyone who plays "Diplomacy" or other multi-player games will recognize the options.

You could try to engage your vassal/former enemy by promising the opportunity to pick up new territory and/or prestige points. (And, of course, following through on those promises.) If the vassal remains recalcitrant, you could always encourage other allies or vassals to take him down a peg.

But ultimately, the campaign game is only meant to represent a few years of history. In the original campaign rules, a player who lost the capital was eliminated from the game. Later, this was modified to give everyone a chance to play to the end. As a result, the new rules encourage players to seek to improve their positions, not to attempt permanent conquests, in which former enemies turn into occupied provinces.

If your objective is to simulate a particular period of history, then you could certainly come up with additional rules to better reflect the attitudes of the rulers of the period. However, it would be a shame if the opportunity for negotiation completely disappeared. And I'd only allow players to be eliminated if I were really desperate to designate someone for the next beer run.

Dhingis Khan
03-16-2005, 03:08 PM
Originally posted by hammurabi70: In one campaign I played in you had to roll for survival each year; factors such as excommunication by the Pope worsened your chances of survival. Only game I have ever seen where the Pope was taken very seriously. [/QB]If folks aren't rolling for survival - a nice touch - then maybe being excommunicated would cost a prestige point per year? Not that the Pope gets the point, but the malfactor loses it.
Of course, then one should draw up a list of offenses - something other than 'because the Pope says so'.

hammurabi70
03-16-2005, 09:04 PM
Originally posted by Dhingis Khan:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by hammurabi70: In one campaign I played in you had to roll for survival each year; factors such as excommunication by the Pope worsened your chances of survival. Only game I have ever seen where the Pope was taken very seriously. If folks aren't rolling for survival - a nice touch - then maybe being excommunicated would cost a prestige point per year? Not that the Pope gets the point, but the malfactor loses it.
Of course, then one should draw up a list of offenses - something other than 'because the Pope says so'. [/QB]</font>[/QUOTE]It could be because the Pope says so but presumably you can only be excommunicated once and if everyone gets the finger the Pope will be a popular target for aggression. Popes are never young so are at compartively higher risk and there can be other factors that might act on HIM.

gwrfelling
03-17-2005, 12:55 PM
Originally posted by E_A_Lindberg:
The original question was about purposely positioning your forces to prevent an ally from recoiling. That strikes me as unfair, since it gives a player the ability to wreak even worse havoc than he could as an enemy. However, I have no problem with the fact that vassal powers are otherwise not forced to cooperate with their overlords.Yes, as the official campaign rules (which I would normally employ only in spirit) are mute on an ally behaving in the manner I had described, I wanted to get many opinions on the topic. Now, as you say, it seems unfair; however, perhaps an overlord could be allowed to attack his allied contingent should the ally make moves contrary to the "game plan," as opposed to simply standing idle (which I think should always be a legal option)?

[ March 17, 2005, 09:55: Message edited by: gwrfelling ]

konstantinius
03-17-2005, 07:54 PM
Are we discussing allied and tributary contingents? I would forbid a tributary contingent from any hostile acts during battle. The most 'hostile" it could get would be by simply not engaging the enemy in any way. This can be very irritating to an overlord's plans by negating the extra elements factor that otherwise could be counted upon prior to the start of an attack.
Allied contingents should make an honest effort to contribute to victory, after all they have entered into the alliance voluntartily. As per rules, requests for contingents by both sides are made before battle; what's the point of agreeing just to go in and try to take the other guy down?

E_A_Lindberg
03-17-2005, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by gwrfelling:
perhaps an overlord could be allowed to attack his allied contingent should the ally make moves contrary to the "game plan"If by "contrary to the game plan" you mean moving so as to prevent the overlord's elements from retreating, what if the move was made at a decisive moment when the destroyed element routs the overlord's army and therefore gives him no opportunity to retaliate? And who adjudicates whether the poor positioning of the ally's elements was due to malice, bad luck, or incompetence?

In practice, I suppose I'd be as lenient as possible in letting an overlord recoil into an ally, but whatever ruling I made (the recoil is ignored, the offending allied element is destroyed, the allied element is recoiled even if not facing in the same direction, etc.), somebody will find a way to exploit that to a new, unintended advantage.

Not that I'm trying to be dismissive of the ideas here. I really like a lot of the stuff mentioned.

I've occasionally had in the back of my mind a multi-player scenario design in which one or both CinCs are told that one of their subcommanders is disloyal, and give them the ability to order a suspect commander removed. Then stand back and watch the paranoia grow. (Then I remember that scenario games are supposed to be fun, and not sadistic exercises by the designer, so I put the whole idea aside.)

E_A_Lindberg
03-17-2005, 08:20 PM
Originally posted by konstantinius:
what's the point of agreeing just to go in and try to take the other guy down? </font> Devious misdirection?</font> Legalistic fulfillment of a prior agreement?</font> Indecision?</font> Sociopathic behavior?</font> Kicks?</font> Or maybe it's just late at night and the gamer is getting a little punchy. It doesn't have to be a good reason, does it?

But, yeah, it should definitely be difficult or impossible to actively harm your alleged ally, as opposed to the ability to harm your declared enemy!

konstantinius
03-17-2005, 11:51 PM
If you are utilising Diplomacy-like diplomatic ratings amongst the nations (I do, anyway) it is these ratings that will judge the behaviuor on the battlefield of Allied and tributary contingents: requests for allied contingents are solved on a d6 where the DR for both other sides carried by the potential sender are taken into account. So, it'd make sense to ask for assistance from the nations with the highest ratings toward you. It therefore becomes important to seek alllies through improved relations. You can ony declare war on nations 3 (Hostile neutral) or lower, regardless of what their rating is for you. So you can't backstab nations 4(Friendly Neutral) or higher.
Diplomatic Ratings (DR) vary from 1 (Sworn Enemy) to 6 (Close Ally) and are a general way to assess how nations/players relate to each other on the map. You cannot attack, be attacked by or aid anyone unless you have a certain rating for them and they for you. Thus unfaithful allies are eliminated.
The ratings increase or decrease over the years according to things like outside attack (your rating for that nation automatically falls to 2(Enemy), diplomatic missions by others or factions within your camp seeking to increase or decrease this or the other rating (decided at a roll of d6--here Prestige plays a role as the one with higher prestige has an increased chance of the mission succeeding), as well as special rules, i.e. the Pope's DR increases by 1 for every Catholic nation who attacks "infidel" Muslims instead of christian nations etc.
Now, this rule makes for an interesting situation: It is very likely that either you or your tributary or perhaps both will have a rating of 2 (Enemy) towards one another since one;s capital (the one of two ways one becomes tributary, the other being one's voluntary acceptance of an overlord) must;ve ben recently taken in war.
Even if diplomatic embassies (granted that there IS a desire for improvement) are successful every year, it'll take anything from 2-5 years for relations to warm up. This scenario doesn't exclude the possibility of the vassal rolling for his own "embassies (the factions mentioned above)" every year to lower his own rating toward the overlord counteracting, thus, the overlord's missionaries who are trying to bump it up.
In other words, while these rules make certain that you'll never have an unfaithul ally, they almost quarantee that you'll start off on bad terms with a tributary. This is not altogether unrealistic since some resentment must remain after a defeat that leads to loss of independence. The rules also emphasize the role of diplomacy since now the winning overlord has to scramble to improve relations in order to be really able to use the contingent provided.
I play it so it's not untill the vassal''s rating towards the lord becomes 4 that the former's contingent will actively fight on the latter's side. Untill then the tributary contingent doesn't engage the enemy, though if I see a chance for the enemy camp I'll go for it with the contingent since taken camps add to Prestige Points. Keep in mind the rule about lossing two battles in a row which will reinstate all tributaries to their sovereign status. So, at first the tributary has absolutely no reason to back his lord, especially if he's looking towards independence again.
This is just some food for thought. Of course I still have to come up with how does the lord retaliate which, though probably lost by now, was the starting point of this diatribe.
Papal anathema cannot be standard since it might so happen that Papal DR towards the lord is lower than that for the vassal: again here a d6 roll will be taken for the outcome.

Dhingis Khan
03-18-2005, 03:00 PM
Originally posted by konstantinius:
I would forbid a tributary contingent from any hostile acts during battle... Allied contingents should make an honest effort to contribute to victory What about the Stanleys at Bosworth Field? Or the Byzantine reserves at Manzikert? And these last weren't even allies or subject contingents, they were part of the main army! Let's see.. the tartars who changed sides at Ankara too..

I think there should be plenty of room for treachery and such. Moving to cut your allies' retreat sounds like gamey crap to me and should be punished - perhaps by having the offending element destroyed. The rules as written forbid a contingent from changing sides, so no Stanleys.

But I certainly think an ally or subject should have the option of hanging back. It certainly happened often enough.

gwrfelling
03-18-2005, 07:36 PM
Originally posted by konstantinius:
Are we discussing allied and tributary contingents? I would forbid a tributary contingent from any hostile acts during battle. The most 'hostile" it could get would be by simply not engaging the enemy in any way. This can be very irritating to an overlord's plans by negating the extra elements factor that otherwise could be counted upon prior to the start of an attack.
Allied contingents should make an honest effort to contribute to victory, after all they have entered into the alliance voluntartily. As per rules, requests for contingents by both sides are made before battle; what's the point of agreeing just to go in and try to take the other guy down? In general (and for the purposes of most campaigns), I agree with your points wholeheartedly. In many ways, I am posing my questions in a vague manner in order to elicit a variety of opinions. ;) (By the way, I think that this discussion has been very fruitful and has really gotten my wheels turning!)
Originally posted by E_A_Lindberg:
If by "contrary to the game plan" you mean moving so as to prevent the overlord's elements from retreating, what if the move was made at a decisive moment when the destroyed element routs the overlord's army and therefore gives him no opportunity to retaliate? And who adjudicates whether the poor positioning of the ally's elements was due to malice, bad luck, or incompetence?
In practice, I suppose I'd be as lenient as possible in letting an overlord recoil into an ally, but whatever ruling I made (the recoil is ignored, the offending allied element is destroyed, the allied element is recoiled even if not facing in the same direction, etc.), somebody will find a way to exploit that to a new, unintended advantage.
Not that I'm trying to be dismissive of the ideas here. I really like a lot of the stuff mentioned.
I've occasionally had in the back of my mind a multi-player scenario design in which one or both CinCs are told that one of their subcommanders is disloyal, and give them the ability to order a suspect commander removed. Then stand back and watch the paranoia grow. (Then I remember that scenario games are supposed to be fun, and not sadistic exercises by the designer, so I put the whole idea aside.) Adjudication issues, I think, are so often unique to the specific campaign--and the natures of the players. But yes, I do think that you bring up a very good point, even if we simply chalk the issue up to "being constant" in one's judgements over the course of a campaign. (BTW: I like your scenario idea.)
Originally posted by E_A_Lindberg:
But, yeah, it should definitely be difficult or impossible to actively harm your alleged ally, as opposed to the ability to harm your declared enemy! Perhaps, again depending upon the nature of one's campaign, it is vitally important to differentiate between allied and tributary contingents, as has been previously mentioned.
Originally posted by konstantinius:
This is just some food for thought. Of course I still have to come up with how does the lord retaliate which, though probably lost by now, was the starting point of this diatribe. You have offered a number of good suggestions within a specific context; however, I think that the ideas can be "universalized" and viable for other campaigns--especially those that are very specifically historical in nature.
Originally posted by Dhingis Khan:
I think there should be plenty of room for treachery and such. Moving to cut your allies' retreat sounds like gamey crap to me and should be punished - perhaps by having the offending element destroyed. The rules as written forbid a contingent from changing sides, so no Stanleys.

But I certainly think an ally or subject should have the option of hanging back. It certainly happened often enough. Again, in general, I agree with your comments. Another thought (once again depending upon the nature of one's campaign): the degree to which one is punished on the game table for treachery might depend upon the forethought demonstrated away from the game table via narratives, communiques, etc. among the involved parties. So, yes, perhaps cutting off an ally's retreat is allowed, but you also lose the offending element if the plan was kept secret, being shared only at the highest levels of command--thus, reflecting the panicked nature of the troops in the situation; if the plan was shared at the level of the offending element's commander, then the element is not lost due to the troops being commanded in preparation for the maneuver. The trade-off might be an increased risk of the plan being leaked to the enemy ahead of time. Of course, all this requires a great spirit among the players and a creative gamemaster... :D

[ March 18, 2005, 16:40: Message edited by: gwrfelling ]

gwrfelling
08-31-2007, 01:35 PM
It has been a couple years since we last tackled this topic. What new approaches/judgements have all of you come up with? Has anyone pulled off anything particularly wicked?

Honestly, I am just getting back into DBA again after being a bit too busy to wargame regularly, so I have no new stories along these lines. For some reason, now that I have painted up some Huns I realy feel the need to revisit this topic!

Kvenulf
08-31-2007, 04:24 PM
This is a complex topic that I have grappled with over the years, so it is good to see I am not the only one.
In the European Middle Ages, vassals were a constant source of intrigue and conflict for kings. The agreements reached between lord and vassal were only as valid as it either served the purposes of the vassal or the lord was able to enforce them. In many ways, you have to think of a king as the first among his lords, rather than as the master, able to give orders and have them obeyed. Each campaign season was a new chance for the vassal to "renegociate his contract". Many kings spent most, or even all, of their reigns in series of retributive campaigns against their own vassals; the largest of these being civil wars.
It should also be pointed out that, while hostages were frequently given, the requirements of treaties generally stipulated that someone of prestigious "blood" be sent as a hostage. Probably more often than not, the hostage selected was valued enough to maintain good behaviour, but history records many instances when they obviously weren't. Extra sons, idiot children, etc were sent ( Vlad the Impaler was one such spare ). Generally, the hostage holders took one of two lines; they didn't wish to kill an innocent, and thus didn't execute them, or they had them killed. And sometimes, the hostage managed to escape! In games where families are tracked, the rule quickly becomes "an heir and a spare".
I like the suggestion about a random roll to determine public response to an act of treachery, as it best seems to fit history. Some revolted and were reviled; others were seen as justly refusing an overbearing lord. Just as important, other vassals would, if they saw it in the latter vein, be likely to support the rebel. Perhaps, once the die has determined the result, other vassals could join in and have an automatic positive result ( assuming the first result was positive), although the amount should be rolled individually.
I use something akin to the diplomatic ratings system mentioned. You can still fight against someone popular, but will find it difficult to raise troops. Conversely, there is a bonus if fighting a hated foe.
The computer game "Medieval Total War II" has an interesting system for the Pope. There is a list of "sins" which, each time they are committed, cause your diplomatic rating to decline. The lower it drops, the more likely the Pope is to excommunicate you. Excommunication ends when your leader, or the Pope, dies.
Long post, but one last note. Kobayakawa, the turncoat at Sekigahara, was not a vassal, but an ally, purchased by promises of position who decided that honour demanded that he support Tokugawa. A vassal would have lost great face for this kind of treachery; Kobayakawa is considered a minor hero in Japan.

gwrfelling
09-01-2007, 11:23 PM
Long post, but one last note. Kobayakawa, the turncoat at Sekigahara, was not a vassal, but an ally, purchased by promises of position who decided that honour demanded that he support Tokugawa. A vassal would have lost great face for this kind of treachery; Kobayakawa is considered a minor hero in Japan.
Many good points in your post. Your last example is an interesting one. I am reading Eiji Yoshikawa's "Taiko" right now, and it seems to me that the reaction to individual acts of treachery during the Sengoku Jidai and later depends upon perceived virtue of the lord to which a warrior is defecting. Earlier there was some discussion of prestige points; in some cases, perhaps, the boons/penalties for such treachery could depend upon the prestige/honor of the party most benefitted by the questionable action.

Also, Guan Yu (Yunchang) from Three Kingdoms China also comes to mind: while separated from his lord/oath-brother Liu Bei (Xuande), he actually served Cao Cao (Mengde), who was Liu Bei's mortal enemy. Honor demanded that Guan Yu keep his end of a deal, and although he served his lord's enemy for a time, he is considered a paragon of loyalty for being able to finesse honorable behavior in all such circumstances.

Just something to chew on...

Kvenulf
09-04-2007, 09:23 AM
I had not heard the story you told. Fascinating!
I have been giving some thought as to how to betray one's lord while still maintaining the illusion of loyal service. Depending on what your campaign allows, there are a number of options.
You could provide information to the enemy. Give him the army size, composition, and probable targets. That would give him a major advantage.
If you are using some sort of monetary system, you can pay money to your overlord rather than troops. This was called "scutage", shield-money, and was a common practice in Europe. It also allows you to maintain your forces.
Regardless of the above, unless your oath of fealty actually stipulates what forces you are required to send, you can send lower quality troops ( if using DBM type grading, for example) or inappropriate troops ( example, the fighting will occur on the steppes, so you send auxilia).
Much more difficult but always possible, when you "support your lord" in battle, you can always feign incompetence. Give bad advice, misunderstand orders, and take up strong defensive positions while refusing to leave them. Always do these things with sincerity and a look of grave seriousness.
Just some ideas of how to, as the Bard put it, "look the flower, but be the serpent under it".

gwrfelling
09-04-2007, 11:16 PM
I had not heard the story you told. Fascinating!
You can read the handful of chapters from the historical novel dramatizing the events I mentioned here.

http://www.threekingdoms.com/024.htm

The end of the chapter begins the scheme to change Guan Yu's loyalties. The translation is older, but you'll get the picture.

Kvenulf
09-11-2007, 01:25 PM
Thanks for sending me this Link! I haven't responded for a while ( lots of homework), but now I wish I had more free time; I'd definitely buy a copy of the book. It's good to see good stuff.

gwrfelling
09-11-2007, 02:49 PM
Thanks for sending me this Link! I haven't responded for a while ( lots of homework), but now I wish I had more free time; I'd definitely buy a copy of the book. It's good to see good stuff.
I suggest the Moss Roberts translation using the pinyin romanization of the classical Chinese names, places, etc. Much easier to use with maps these days. Also, get the unabridged edition; the skulduggery and issues we've been discussing will be better enjoyed! Drop me a PM when you (or anyone else reading these posts) have it in hand. I'd be up for a little book club discussion with you (or anyone else who wants to read one of the greatest historical novels of all time).