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Blackadder
10-20-2006, 12:26 AM
I wanted to share an idea I'm working on for a rather offbeat two person campaign, something a little different from the usual "rise/fall of Rome" or "sea peoples." (Not that those aren't great subjects!) It will also involve rarely used armies. I'd appreciate any input or ideas anyone might have. Originally I was going to make it over the top with actual priests, priestesses, and gods clashing on the field, using the Hordes rules, but on reflection I thought it would be more fun and challenging to do it as a basically plausible, quasi-historical campaign instead. This campaign idea was originally inspired by reading the works of feminist and revisionist historians who theorize prehistoric Europe was once inhabited by peaceful, matriarchal moon worshippers who were supplanted by invading hordes of militant patriarchal sun worshippers. Let me hasten to add that I'm not endorsing these problematic theories; I just think they make for a neat background.

At the beginning of the campaign all of the map (representing some vague area in Europe circa 1500 BC) will be under the control of the Moon Folk, represented by list 14c. The chariot-using Sun Folk migrants (list 14d) will begin arriving from the east and putting the moon worshippers to the sword. I haven't worked out all the details yet, but the mechanics will definitely be very different from the campaign rules in the DBA rulebook. For one thing, even though I've decided not to use overtly magical elements, I want the two factions to be quite superstitious; random omens, portents, and natural disasters will affect the campaign on both the strategic and tactical levels. For example, an army who gets bad entrail readings might take a -1 on all PIP rolls, an eclipse of a particular heavenly body might give a -1 on all combat rolls to the army that worships it, and so forth. I plan to use the regular DBA rules for the most part, except for not using camps or BUAs. Instead, in a number of places on the map, the Moon Folk will have shrines they must defend. When a battle is fought at one of these locations, there will be a HOTT-type stronghold that the Moon Folk must protect or lose the battle. I have in mind a 25mm-40mm Venus of Willendorf surrounded by a circle of megaliths decorated with Lascar-style painted figures. Losing these shrines will result in a loss of fertility and fewer reinforcements for the Moon Folk; sacking all the shrines is the key to a Sun Folk victory. I hope to fine tune the campaign to make winning as the Moon Folk (and thus reversing the "historical" result) challenging but not impossible. My current plan is to use M.Y. early bronze age archers for the Moon Folk army and later M.Y. bronze age figures for the invading Sun Folk. Taking a page from R.E. Howard, I'll probably make the Moon Folk olive-skinned and dark haired and the Sun Folk garishly Nordic; this is not intended as any kind of serious historical or racial commentary. I hope it's pretty obvious it's not a "serious" campaign I have in mind.

So that's the basic idea. I do have a question for seasoned players: how is the tactical balance between these two armies? The Moon Folk are Wb General, 9 Bw, and 2 Ps. The Sun Folk are 2 LCh (because I don't think cavalry was used this early), 2 Bd, 6 Sp, and 2 Ps. Keep in mind there won't normally be camps or BUAs to protect and about a third of the contested territories will be classed as Forest, a third Hilly, and a third Arable. Is one army likely to consistently massacre the other? If so, I may have to make strategic adjustments (maybe ambushes, etc.) to keep the campaign competitive. I would appreciate any comments on the game balance and any other input or suggestions about this campaign idea (other than the fact that it's probably bogus history; I know!)

Spanikopites
10-20-2006, 01:43 PM
Sounds most cool.

If your going to riff on the REH school of racial interactions and speculative anthropology, dont forget the Picts.* You might want a third party of stunted, grim, muscular warriors of the shadows who care nothing for the effete moon-people or the arrogant sun-people but make pacts with dark gods best not spoken of.

Of course, it could just be me trying work Wb armies into everything....

Otherwise it sounds brilliant. A bit of a hard slog for the moonies. What Aggression were you thinking for either side?

-Sean

* No, not the real Picts. Read 'Worms of the Earth'or 'Men of the Shadows'.

Blackadder
10-20-2006, 03:12 PM
Thanks! I love "Worms of the Earth." The Moon Folk were originally going to be more "Howard Pict-like" if I did this as a Hordes campaign (complete with Lovecraftian monsters on the table), but I decided to tone it down a little. I still may paint the Moon Folk's faces, depending on exactly what the figures look like. And I do still intend to include a hearty dose of omens, portents, auspices, and "the gods are displeased" to give the campaign a more surreal flavor.

So do you think 14d would slaughter 14c in an open battle? I know bows can't stand up very well to most of the Sun Folk troop types. The Moon Folk would own all the real estate at the beginning, so they would usually be the defender unless they made a counterattack. I also planned to give the Moon Folk +1 pips when defending a shrine (to reflect desperate fanaticism) and the Sun Folk -1 pip to reflect superstitious awe. Of course, when a shrine is captured the Sun Folk will desecrate it and rededicate the ground to the Sky Father, removing it from the campaign. I was thinking there would be about fifteen territories (five each forest, arable, and hilly) and seven of them would have shrines. The Sun Folk could win by either controlling 10 territories or removing all the shrines. The Moon Folk would win by default in a given number of turns (possible), or if they destroyed all the Sun Folk armies (less likely). I'll try to work up a basic set of campaign rules and post them here for comment.

Pthomas
10-20-2006, 03:37 PM
Given the parameters you have set out the moonies would seem to have a reasonable chance of holding out for a long time against the sunnies. It will be very challenging for sun worshippers to capture any territory if the moonies don't come out of the bad going. I'd run a few test games and make any changes that might be required before you start the campaign.

Spanikopites
10-20-2006, 08:05 PM
BA, I think you're almost moving to a constructed scenario type campaign.

i.e. Scenario 1 Harvest of Doom.
Terrain arable, Sun People Attack, Moon People Defend.
Sun People objective-sack BUA
Moon People Objective, Kill 4 enemy units.

and so on....

Forcing a very specific victory condition for one side or both would force the armies to meet and for the most part avoid terrain cheese tactics like Pthomas said. In the above scenario, the moonies would have to come out of the trees and meet the sunnies in the open (more or less) and defend their BUA.

But I better run, late for the big fertility ritual.

Cheers,
-Sean

Mike Johnson
11-14-2006, 02:04 PM
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I LOVE IT! anytime we can destroy feminist revsionism and celebrate dark gods is ok by me! add in a dose of speculative anthropology and you have a recipe for fun fun in the sun, or moon...

Blackadder
11-14-2006, 03:17 PM
Thanks (I think).

I'm still working on this campaign; I couldn't seem to get it to gel as a mapped campaign so it's probably going to be more of scenario type campaign as Spanikopites suggested. Hopefully I'll get an early version posted for comment in the next week or so. Of course, I also hope to start painting the two armies in the next week or so, so I guess we'll just see how that goes!

Blackadder
11-16-2006, 12:08 AM
I've finally started putting this campaign in writing. One important element will be the "Signs, Omens, and Portents" roll before each battle. This is mainly to add flavor but it will likely also affect the course of the battle. Here's a first draft of the table. I'd like to know if the penalties sound unreasonably severe or not harsh enough. The events furthest from 7 are of course less likely. I have assumed that it is worse to lose a PIP (and possibly be unable to act at all) than to take -1 on all combat rolls. If the consensus is otherwise, I'll change the arrangement on the table.

SIGNS, OMENS, AND PORTENTS (roll 2d)

2- The Sky Father hides his face. Solar eclipse! -1 on all Sun Folk PIP and combat rolls.
3- The poets are hostile. The bards are denied favor and viciously satirize the chieftain. 2 Sun Folk elements do not participate in the battle.
4- The auguries are dire. The druids see doom in the bird entrails. -1 on all Sun Folk PIP rolls.
5- This ground is haunted. There are hungry ghosts on the battlefield. -1 on all Sun Folk combat rolls.
6- The rains are endless. Muddy ground reduces mounted movement to half.
7- The gods are silent. Battle resolved normally.
8- The season is inauspicious. The stars are not right. -1 on all Moon Folk combat rolls.
9- A sibyl has spoken. A priestess sees blood on the moon. -1 on all Moon Folk PIP rolls.
10- The sacrifice is blemished. The sacrificial victim is imperfect and not accepted. 2 Moon Folk elements do not participate in the battle.
11- The Dark Lady withdraws her favor. Lunar eclipse! -1 on all Moon Folk PIP and combat rolls.
12- A fiery sword seen in the sky. A comet! No battle.

Swamps
11-16-2006, 04:03 AM
It does work out less favourable for the Moonfolk than the Sunfolk - is that intentional?

PK

Blackadder
11-17-2006, 12:15 AM
Hmmm... I set the table up that way because lunar eclipses are more common than solar ones in the real world, but maybe that's not the best criterion for a semi-historical campaign!

On the other hand, muddy ground only affects the Sun Folk (because the Moon Folk have no mounted) and a comet affects both players. Maybe I should increase the penalties when the Sun Folk get bad events? I do want it to be balanced. I have a feeling 14d is going to slaughter 14c in a straight fight; luckily some of the battles will be ambushes (by the Moon Folk) and woodland skirmishes, both of which I hope will give the Moon player a chance to score some points.

Swamps
11-17-2006, 03:58 AM
Perhaps the solar eclipse could give some benefit to the Moonies as well as a minus to the Sunnies - it is a a (momentary) victory of the Moon over the Sun after all 8)

PK

Blackadder
11-18-2006, 12:43 AM
Hey, that's a good idea! I'm probably going to rewrite the events table completely so more of them penalize the Sun Folk (to partly offset their military advantage). I also realized that the Moon Folk are supposed to have a great deal of astronomical knowledge (they built Stonehenge after all) so they really shouldn't be surprised or dismayed by a lunar eclipse anyway. I want the Sun Folk to be more superstitious and sensitive to sudden omens, and the Moon Folk to be more fatalistic and resigned to defeat when "the stars are wrong." I guess I'll keep working on it!