Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2015-12-11 07:40pm

Cheat? Me? Oh no, we Daleks don't cheat :) We just find creative ways to exterminate people.

Obviously I won't be able to get nerve gas, but possibly chlorine...

EDIT: Interesting...turns out gas weapons were sort-of used as early as the 15th century, but were banned (sort of) around 1680 or so. Which means my brilliant Orion scientists could have had 100+ years to work on it, perhaps with magic helping to either produce more weapons or make them safer to handle....now I have an image of a magicially-lightened 36lb field gun lobbing a gas shell into one of Simon's pike phalanxes :twisted:
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Jub » 2015-12-11 07:50pm

Simon_Jester wrote:GHETTO EDIT:

EDIT: Esquire, by the way, when you're thinking about your own territory- note that I drew the western border of the Greater Ohioan Empire (working title) on a line running roughly from OTL Chicago to Cairo, Illinois, then back up the Ohio. As one might guess from the name, the Ohio River is the spine of the Empire. But one of the effects of this borderline is that most of Illinois is unclaimed territory.

I'd figured on it being a prairie populated by the equivalent of Cossacks- fiercely independent, nomadic, warlike people who consist in large part of defectors and renegades from the neighboring empires. This is the main reason I never asked that the Empire be allowed to push its border west to the Mississippi through Illinois; I thought the Cossacks would be more interesting.

With respect to territorial claims in Illinois... Would staying west of the Mississippi or at least the Illinois River be acceptable to you? I'd like to be neighbors and do cool stuff, but I'd also like to keep that zone of zany Cossacks in Illinois, though I can plan around its absence if I need to.
Speaking of your territory, let me know if you need me to touch up the map so everything lines up with your ideal borders.

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Simon_Jester » 2015-12-11 07:57pm

Re: Jub

Given that you're using a big global map from a strange viewing angle and without being able to see things like rivers or OTL political boundaries to act as guidelines... I honestly wouldn't presume to comment on the precision of your map. The borders are very close to where I imagined, to within the limits of my ability to determine; my compliments on that, by the way.

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Re: Eternal Freedom:

Trust me, if you're really trying to exterminate the Ohioan Empire, you're better off aiming for an honest fight. Plungers against pikes is practical, elaborate schemes just get you elderly gents in police call boxes. ;)

More generally, remember that pointswise, the Ohioan Army has sacrificed a significant proportion of its guns for spears specifically because that's what they've found to secure their defenses against the supernatural, the unnatural, and the weird. Reacting to their frustratingly sturdy anti-weirdness defenses by escalating your weirdness is probably not the way to go.

As for the rest...

Well, my story posts under drafting reveal a lot about how the basic capabilities of the Ohioan Army including its supernatural defenses fits together, but I'd rather not just infodump it all right here and now.

I'd like Captain Delatour to become a recurring character, come to think of it. He'll certainly have earned a reputation by the time he's done with this particular string of posts.
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Jub » 2015-12-11 08:47pm

Simon_Jester wrote:Re: Jub

Given that you're using a big global map from a strange viewing angle and without being able to see things like rivers or OTL political boundaries to act as guidelines... I honestly wouldn't presume to comment on the precision of your map. The borders are very close to where I imagined, to within the limits of my ability to determine; my compliments on that, by the way.
Thanks, I've tried to follow people's descriptions and the natural features where possible. Once things are more settled in terms of number of players and where nations are I'll grab some better pictures that show borders more clearly.

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Aasharu » 2015-12-11 09:03pm

If no one objects, I'd like to get in on this. Specifically, I'd like to create a necromantic nation-state called Tarn on the Colorado Plateau, along with OTL Las Vegas, with Death Valley serving as the westernmost edge of my territory.

My nation is populated mostly by free-willed undead like liches, ghouls, and vampires, with the army consisting of hordes of mindless undead supported by a few powerful necromancers. Using the 1 point = 1 human civilian rule, for my army 1 point would equal about 5 mindless undead (skeletons and zombies.)

The nation itself is a collection of feudal baronies that all owe fealty to the three ancient liches that founded Tarn - although only one of them is currently active. The capital is built where the Colorado and Green rivers meet, with another city in OTL Las Vegas that serves as home for the few still living subjects of Tarn. Surprisingly, the Tarnish undead don't really have any official issues with mortals - the inhospitable terrain serves to keep most people out. Their primary export would be gemstones mined from beneath the mountains, since mindless undead are so useful for that sort of labor. Primary import... well, vampires and ghouls still need to eat...

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2015-12-11 09:09pm

Very interesting. And it certainly gives the name "Death Valley" an interesting secondary meaning. :)

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2015-12-11 09:21pm

Just a little update on where we're at presently:

I'm currently reviewing everything we've discussed so far and adjusting the proposed rules as seems warranted. I'm hoping to post the revised version for your consideration sometime this weekend. If everything is more or less satisfactory, I'm hoping to post a thread for Orders of Battle during next week at the latest.

Right now I'm tentatively aiming for having the main story thread up shortly after Christmas. I'd try for sooner, but I figure a lot of people will be busy with holiday stuff anyway.

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by TimothyC » 2015-12-11 09:22pm

For the record, the Sioux were there to fill the gap, and was just a proposal. I've found I have a lot more fun at the world building part of these games than the playing part.
Esquire wrote:I haven't had time to read the whole thread, and I probably won't be able to do a full write up for a week or two (I'm on a foreign vacation just now), but I'm very interested, ideally as a vaguely Ottoman state centered on the OTL Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Unless someone's already got that area of course.
Go for it, I was trying to come up with something to fill the space. Even a reduced Sioux is possible on your northern border. with connections to the Cossacks of Illinois.
Crazedwraith wrote:Knowing nothing about North America. Are there any good mountain ranges left? I'm thinking of a polity that's a symbiosis of Goblin miners and underground citys and human barbarian hill clans. Like Erebor/Dale if they were one nation. Took up all of a mountain range and the Dwarfs were goblins.
You likely want something running from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the east south to the edge of the Colorado Plateau (actually south of the state of the same name), west to the great basin, and then north to the snake river (where Jub is). This would allow

US Physiographic Map
Eternal_Freedom wrote:Also, a matter of nomenclature. Are you pronouncing Ohioan as oh-hi-O-an or oh-hi-an?
I use the former, however the later is not uncommon, and seems to be spreading up from the south.


If you guys would like me to do a map, I have time for that, but not to play. So just let me know.
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2015-12-11 09:24pm

Well, we seem to be nicely filling out the centre of the map. Excellent.

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Simon_Jester » 2015-12-11 10:33pm

OK, canonizing "Oh-hi-o-an" as English pronunciation of

It sounds less dumb to me, the only person from the thread who actually lives in Ohio uses it, and it's what I was using privately anyway. :D

And in-setting, to heck with dialects coming from up south; the heartland culture of the Empire evolved on the north side of the river and spread south, particularly in the bluegrass country of Kentucky right around Kingsport (OTL Louisville). Their conquest of the territory more than a few dozen miles south of the valley was just that- conquest and the overlay of their language.

Note: this core 'Ohioan' culture, which was historically strongest within a relatively short distance of the river, and running up to the Great Lakes, speaks a language that sounds, in-setting, a lot like French. I decided this so that I could justify using French place-names as well as Native American ones (which I'm attributing to the ethnicities that lived in the area before the ancestral proto-Ohioans). As a side-effect, all my characters will have French names or names of French derivation, e.g. Henri Delatour.

The Romulan Republic wrote:Just a little update on where we're at presently:

I'm currently reviewing everything we've discussed so far and adjusting the proposed rules as seems warranted. I'm hoping to post the revised version for your consideration sometime this weekend. If everything is more or less satisfactory, I'm hoping to post a thread for Orders of Battle during next week at the latest.
I would like to tentatively suggest
Right now I'm tentatively aiming for having the main story thread up shortly after Christmas. I'd try for sooner, but I figure a lot of people will be busy with holiday stuff anyway.
I plan to be incommunicado from shortly after Christmas to a few days after New Year's, so perhaps we can open a bit earlier than that? I know that I, for one, will have content. On the other hand I could make the story in question prologue, taking place in the campaigning season before game start.

On which note, shall there be a standard calendar? I don't much care because Ohio almost certainly uses its own calendar. A very accurate, but idiosyncratic one, as is to be expected from a bunch of star-worshippers.
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2015-12-11 10:39pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:Cheat? Me? Oh no, we Daleks don't cheat :) We just find creative ways to exterminate people.

Obviously I won't be able to get nerve gas, but possibly chlorine...
How are you going to deliver it in that era? Think hard because in Iraq 10 tonne chlorine tankers were exploded at least a half a dozen times as suicide bombs and in each case fatalities from the gas were zero or near zero. Anyone close enough to die even from that much of the stuff was killed by the bomb anyway. Many non fatal lung injuries, but honestly you can get a lot of those out of a normal explosion, and fragmentation remains the best killer. Blackpowder shells fragmented absurdly poorly. 2-5 fragments total kind of bad in the USCW. That could have been improved on. Chlorine meanwhile was considered useless as an artillery munition in WW1. Few actual gasses make good chemical warfare agents, let alone at anything less then concentrations of 100+ tons at a time. Course if you can make chlorine you can turn it into Phosgene.

Now if you knew what to do you could actually make sulfar mustard and sarin in the far past. But the cost would be absurdly high, lots of people would be maimed in the production process (which happened anyway!) and basically every good chemical agent also happens to corrode stuff so badly that at a 1800 tech level you might be limited to using it in actual gas bottles as weapons. Many gas shells from WW1 corroded themselves in more or less 'real time' and the firing batteries constantly had to bury ones which were already leaking mere weeks after production. And that's ignoring all the ones that never got past the factory.

For lol the first British mustard plant had 40% casualties per work shift. The stuff leaked from every pipe joint and because of the delay action it took a while to convince workers it was dangerous.

For a fantasy setting maybe you should think in terms of 40% dead per shift.

EDIT: Interesting...turns out gas weapons were sort-of used as early as the 15th century, but were banned (sort of) around 1680 or so.
The earliest records of chemical warfare are from the Ancient Greeks using burning sulfur, something which kept happening on and off until around the apprenance of gunpowder in Europe. Several other chemical agents are thought to have been used from the time of Rome onward but evidence tends to be poor as to exactly what was involved.

Gunpowder killed it all off because gunpowder was expensive enough already, incredible expensive until the 18th century, but it was much more reliable in action and would have a greater area of effect then crude chemical agents used in small amounts.

Which means my brilliant Orion scientists could have had 100+ years to work on it, perhaps with magic helping to either produce more weapons or make them safer to handle....now I have an image of a magicially-lightened 36lb field gun lobbing a gas shell into one of Simon's pike phalanxes :twisted:
See the real problem is you put this in ~1800 and the world is industrial, the results of which can be seen in the huge musket and artillery armies of the Napoleonic Wars. Expensive gas would be pointless against a phalanx, 6pdr field guns of the time would completely annihilate it in ten minutes firing, while the phalanx or anything similar, would be utterly unable to produce a competitive amount of firepower. Even if every man has a musket AND a pike by magic weight reduction, the mere shape of the formation precludes it.

Save the gas for a siege in any event, where even a crude short range gas catapult sort of weapon, flinging glass bottles, could be decisive by sweeping the enemy off the top of a key bastion. That is usually where early chemical weapons appeared, offensive and defensively.

Though some pretty basic gas protection is also possible at this tech level, depending on the gas. Even the threat of nerve agents could be reduced in a serious manner with the proper impregnation of oilskins and activated charcoal, if anyone actually had the means to do the research. Atropine was discovered in real life in 1833.

If you guys want a diverse range of weapons and whatever though, and actual pre industrial, you should be thinking 1600-1650, which is around when the bayonet proliferated, and conveniently, and linked tech and industry wise, around the time the line ahead formation for warships replaced the line abreast + melee as the tactics of choice at sea. In 1600 you could still sorta have credible galleys too, as long as they were in large numbers and favorable waters.
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2015-12-11 10:41pm

Simon_Jester wrote:OK, canonizing "Oh-hi-o-an" as English pronunciation of

It sounds less dumb to me, the only person from the thread who actually lives in Ohio uses it, and it's what I was using privately anyway. :D

And in-setting, to heck with dialects coming from up south; the heartland culture of the Empire evolved on the north side of the river and spread south, particularly in the bluegrass country of Kentucky right around Kingsport (OTL Louisville). Their conquest of the territory more than a few dozen miles south of the valley was just that- conquest and the overlay of their language.

Note: this core 'Ohioan' culture, which was historically strongest within a relatively short distance of the river, and running up to the Great Lakes, speaks a language that sounds, in-setting, a lot like French. I decided this so that I could justify using French place-names as well as Native American ones (which I'm attributing to the ethnicities that lived in the area before the ancestral proto-Ohioans). As a side-effect, all my characters will have French names or names of French derivation, e.g. Henri Delatour.

The Romulan Republic wrote:Just a little update on where we're at presently:

I'm currently reviewing everything we've discussed so far and adjusting the proposed rules as seems warranted. I'm hoping to post the revised version for your consideration sometime this weekend. If everything is more or less satisfactory, I'm hoping to post a thread for Orders of Battle during next week at the latest.
I would like to tentatively suggest
Right now I'm tentatively aiming for having the main story thread up shortly after Christmas. I'd try for sooner, but I figure a lot of people will be busy with holiday stuff anyway.
I plan to be incommunicado from shortly after Christmas to a few days after New Year's, so perhaps we can open a bit earlier than that? I know that I, for one, will have content. On the other hand I could make the story in question prologue, taking place in the campaigning season before game start.

On which note, shall there be a standard calendar? I don't much care because Ohio almost certainly uses its own calendar. A very accurate, but idiosyncratic one, as is to be expected from a bunch of star-worshippers.
I could aim for a pre-Christmas start. As I said, that would be my inclination anyway, if not for the fact that the holidays tend to keep people busy. I'm certainly available, however, so if no one else objects, I'll aim for some time in the week before Christmas for the story thread.

I've given some thought to the calendar issue, but I expect it would be difficult to keep to closely because people post at different rates. Maybe something fairly loose/flexible?

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Simon_Jester » 2015-12-11 10:52pm

Er... I accidentally posted a partial version of my post.

OK, canonizing "Oh-hi-o-an" as English pronunciation of the country/ethnic adjective.

It sounds less dumb to me, the only person from the thread who actually lives in Ohio uses it, and it's what I was using privately anyway. :D

And in-setting, to heck with dialects coming from up south; the heartland culture of the Empire evolved on the north side of the river, the proto-Ohioans and several related cultures (such as the current inhabitants of Michigan) having jointly occupied the land between the Ohio and the Great Lakes. Over time, proto-Ohioan culture spread south, notably in the bluegrass country of Kentucky right around Kingsport (OTL Louisville). This process was relatively peaceful, at least until, oh, three or four hundred years ago.

The Ohioan conquest of the territory more than a few dozen miles south of the valley was just that- conquest and the overlay of their language, not too different from the process by which the Romans mposed Romance languages on what was formerly Gallic-speaking France. This is particularly true of the Tennessee Valley, which was originally occupied by a series of rather nasty necro-cratic states, and which the Ohioans developed their original pike tactics to combat. Things evolved since then, notably due to the invention of gunpowder.

However, the War of Souls (actually a series of campaigns stretching over four monarchs and roughly fifty years) didn't leave a lot of living survivors of the original population of the Tennessee Valley, and the region has been (hah) flooded by Ohioan settlers in the roughly three centuries since.

Expansion up and down the Ohio River, and north to the Lakes, followed on after this, the Imperial crown first being awarded to Louis I, styled the Fierce, approximately 190 years ago, around the time the Ohioan state cut their way to the south shore of Lake Erie. His son, Louis II the Builder, moved the imperial capital to Louisville (OTL Cincinnati), dug a canal around the Falls of the Ohio that resulted in the economy of the old capital of Kingsport (OTL Louisville) never being the same again, and then dug a much, much longer canal (officially the Grand Imperial Canal, colloquially the Erie Canal) linking Lake Erie to the Miami River near the new capital.

Things kind of snowballed from there.

Aaaand... hm, linguistics.

This core 'Ohioan' culture, which was historically strongest within a relatively short distance of the river, and running up to the Great Lakes, speaks a language that sounds, in-setting, a lot like French. I decided this so that I could justify using French place-names as well as Native American ones (which I'm attributing to the ethnicities that lived in the area before the ancestral proto-Ohioans). As a side-effect, all my characters will have French names or names of French derivation, e.g. Henri Delatour.

However, I obviously observe translation conventions, not least because I don't speak French. ;)
The Romulan Republic wrote:Just a little update on where we're at presently:

I'm currently reviewing everything we've discussed so far and adjusting the proposed rules as seems warranted. I'm hoping to post the revised version for your consideration sometime this weekend. If everything is more or less satisfactory, I'm hoping to post a thread for Orders of Battle during next week at the latest.
I would like to tentatively suggest
Right now I'm tentatively aiming for having the main story thread up shortly after Christmas. I'd try for sooner, but I figure a lot of people will be busy with holiday stuff anyway.
I plan to be incommunicado from shortly after Christmas to a few days after New Year's, so perhaps we can open a bit earlier than that? I know that I, for one, will have content. On the other hand I could make the story in question prologue, taking place in the campaigning season before game start.

On which note, shall there be a standard calendar? I don't much care because Ohio almost certainly uses its own calendar. A very accurate, but idiosyncratic one, as is to be expected from a bunch of star-worshippers.

At the end... oh hi, Skimmer!

The "pike phalanxes" in question have... evolved heavily, they have a good deal less depth than a historical tercio and the flanking musket formations do have the training to form some semblance of a firing line. The only reason pikes have survived to this point in the Ohioan Empire, which is quite capable of turning out flintlock muskets with ring bayonets, is literal magic; specifically, the magic that allows the Ohioans to send infantry armed with nothing deadlier than a smoothbore musket against firebreathing beasts and demon wizards and voodoo zombies without getting them massacred. Said magic works better on the pikemen for idiosyncratic reasons, so the Ohioans have been very conservative about phasing them out.

Honestly, I HAVE been picturing the dominant technological level at around 1650; E_F's "Orion" is technologically more sophisticated than my state and may well have advanced to the Enlightenment era while everyone else was toodling around.
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Imperial528 » 2015-12-11 11:14pm

So, how are we handling population? At current territory areas we are talking millions of people per nation even with low end medieval population densities.

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2015-12-11 11:29pm

Well, we've had quite a bit of discussion about this. One the one hand, there's the argument for just focusing on defining militaries and leaving population vague. But if we want a solid number, how about ten million as an upper limit (as I recall, Simon_Jester was thinking of having up to around ten million)?

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Simon_Jester » 2015-12-11 11:36pm

Given the physical size of my territory and the fact that it was (and is) a major agricultural breadbasket with enough rainfall that you don't even need irrigation to grow crops... ten million would be a quite reasonable estimate in my opinion.

Note that with outright magic being thrown around, we can HAVE populations that are different than what we'd expect, economies that are anomalously productive, and so on.
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2015-12-11 11:41pm

So is ten million acceptable as an upper population limit?

Of course, some areas might not be able to support as many, realistically. But then, magic could compensate for that, as you noted.

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Simon_Jester » 2015-12-12 12:38am

I wouldn't complain at ten million, as long as you don't count the ghosts.

While my territory might contain more than that, so many of them are likely to be subsistence farmers or de facto serfs that it's beside the point.
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2015-12-12 12:41am

Simon_Jester wrote: At the end... oh hi, Skimmer!

The "pike phalanxes" in question have... evolved heavily, they have a good deal less depth than a historical tercio and the flanking musket formations do have the training to form some semblance of a firing line. The only reason pikes have survived to this point in the Ohioan Empire, which is quite capable of turning out flintlock muskets with ring bayonets, is literal magic; specifically, the magic that allows the Ohioans to send infantry armed with nothing deadlier than a smoothbore musket against firebreathing beasts and demon wizards and voodoo zombies without getting them massacred. Said magic works better on the pikemen for idiosyncratic reasons, so the Ohioans have been very conservative about phasing them out.
If those are the threats, then one might still ask why bother with a square. Zombies would be a joke, and the other threats I would muse, are 'not swarming' and thus present little danger to your flanks or thin lines in general. The square defended against cavalry and allowed advances into the heart of large enemy formations without having a flank turned, both situations require a large number of mobile enemies whom aren't mindless. But then the square was also supposed to have heavy cavalry support anyway, to prevent multiple squares from being enfiladed by enemy artillery, which was a threat even at the earliest points. It was just frontal fire, and fast moving forces initially were not such a threat.

Even then I'd contend a lot of the effectiveness of the Spanish tercio was about how well paid, led and trained the men were, and the large cavalry support they had which was itself very expensive, all as part of a superior military system, more so then the actual tactic itself. Squares came and went several times in history , a favoring of defense over offense. They were always vulnerable to standoff attacks. Thus why the Romans had artillery integrated into the Legion, an idea which then went away for a long time for various reasons.

Anyway just trying to guard you guys against having more nonsense then you need up front. 1800 and pre industrial is a non sequitur, and yet it seems unlikely much of what people really want actually requires 1800 tech anyway. Setting a lower limit would make peoples google fu more effective.

That idea of 'equal to 100,000 spearmen' thing too. I mean, what are 100k spearmen supposed to be worth? If you really had a force that was exactly that it would for example simply be incapable of storming a major walled fortress. No way to break the walls, and no way to fight with a spear on a ladder! Its a serious abstraction problem when the other side actually could have 32pdr guns that fire more then once an hour.
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Simon_Jester » 2015-12-12 01:06am

Sea Skimmer wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote: At the end... oh hi, Skimmer!

The "pike phalanxes" in question have... evolved heavily, they have a good deal less depth than a historical tercio and the flanking musket formations do have the training to form some semblance of a firing line. The only reason pikes have survived to this point in the Ohioan Empire, which is quite capable of turning out flintlock muskets with ring bayonets, is literal magic; specifically, the magic that allows the Ohioans to send infantry armed with nothing deadlier than a smoothbore musket against firebreathing beasts and demon wizards and voodoo zombies without getting them massacred. Said magic works better on the pikemen for idiosyncratic reasons, so the Ohioans have been very conservative about phasing them out.
If those are the threats, then one might still ask why bother with a square. Zombies would be a joke, and the other threats I would muse, are 'not swarming' and thus present little danger to your flanks or thin lines in general. The square defended against cavalry and allowed advances into the heart of large enemy formations without having a flank turned, both situations require a large number of mobile enemies whom aren't mindless.
The original threat profile was fairly fast zombies actively marshalled by necromancers who would support them with death magic directed against enemy soldiers personally. Said zombies were capable of hysteric strength, generally of using crude tools. Most of them would tear themselves to pieces after a sustained period of exertion, but by that time against a typical medieval army. There were also, naturally, human levees.

A hedge of pikes didn't deter the zombies but did at least physically slow them down, to an extent that a shield wall would not have done. What really made the difference was the clergy figuring out how to turn the whatever spot the pike block stood on into de facto sacred ground, deflect the death magic by doing so, and drastically weaken the zombies so that organic damage inflicted by hand weapons would actually stop them reliably. All this was being done with roughly 1400-1500 level technology, so the 'shot' component of the pike-shot team was limited to a handful of matchlock arquebuses at best. By the end of this round of wars against the zombie masters, the gunners were becoming more common, among other things because they did enough raw damage to actually stop a zombie reliably, especially on 'sacred ground.'

As time went on, the basic pike block was augmented with arquebusiers, then more of them, following a roughly historical path of reform over a period of about 200-250 years, evolving into something Maurice of Nassau, and later Gustavus Adolphus would have recognized. They still call 'em tercios, though.

It is necessary, for the given magical defense method to work, for the soldiers to be tightly concentrated. If anyone invents the Minie ball they're going to have to find another way, and I'm not sure they can... but with incremental evolutions of the magical defense tactics, it should work tolerably well against anything short of Napoleonic field artillery, and might even screw up that surprisingly effectively. I would, again, prefer not to just infodump all the details about how things work now rather than actually showing them in the story thread.
But then the square was also supposed to have heavy cavalry support anyway, to prevent multiple squares from being enfiladed by enemy artillery, which was a threat even at the earliest points. It was just frontal fire, and fast moving forces initially were not such a threat.
The squares were designed to come with heavy cavalry support, as the bluegrass country of OTL Kentucky supported a thriving heavy cavalry tradition. Still do; there are lancer formations attached to quite a few of the existing regiments.
Even then I'd contend a lot of the effectiveness of the Spanish tercio was about how well paid, led and trained the men were, and the large cavalry support they had which was itself very expensive, all as part of a superior military system, more so then the actual tactic itself.
Agreed. The Ohioans don't normally form squares anyway- but they're a traditionalist culture and they try to cling to whatever bits of a tradition they can even when they know they have to change. In this case, they kept a name which we'd translate as 'tercio' well after adopting a fundamentally different system of pike-and-shot coordination. And, again, they haven't abandoned the pike component because they have an actual need for it, whereas a real world army with the same technology probably wouldn't need it, and would abandon them.
Anyway just trying to guard you guys against having more nonsense then you need up front. 1800 and pre industrial is a non sequitur, and yet it seems unlikely much of what people really want actually requires 1800 tech anyway. Setting a lower limit would make peoples google fu more effective.
Thank you and I agree.

That idea of 'equal to 100,000 spearmen' thing too. I mean, what are 100k spearmen supposed to be worth? If you really had a force that was exactly that it would for example simply be incapable of storming a major walled fortress. No way to break the walls, and no way to fight with a spear on a ladder! Its a serious abstraction problem when the other side actually could have 32pdr guns that fire more then once an hour.[/quote]I agree. Honestly, I'd just say "one well armed soldier," the sort of thing that a PC nation with its functional economy and (presumably) successful military tradition might reasonably consider baseline. If we're talking screaming hordes of peasants waving clubs (or something else unlikely to actually take down an armed and trained man one-on-one, such as a mind-controlled wolf or a shambling zombie), I'd say having more than a hundred thousand is reasonable, especially since we potentially have national populations of several millions.
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Simon_Jester » 2015-12-12 01:16am

Ah, crap, I posted a prototype post again. Here's the full one.
Sea Skimmer wrote:
Simon_Jester wrote: At the end... oh hi, Skimmer!

The "pike phalanxes" in question have... evolved heavily, they have a good deal less depth than a historical tercio and the flanking musket formations do have the training to form some semblance of a firing line. The only reason pikes have survived to this point in the Ohioan Empire, which is quite capable of turning out flintlock muskets with ring bayonets, is literal magic; specifically, the magic that allows the Ohioans to send infantry armed with nothing deadlier than a smoothbore musket against firebreathing beasts and demon wizards and voodoo zombies without getting them massacred. Said magic works better on the pikemen for idiosyncratic reasons, so the Ohioans have been very conservative about phasing them out.
If those are the threats, then one might still ask why bother with a square. Zombies would be a joke, and the other threats I would muse, are 'not swarming' and thus present little danger to your flanks or thin lines in general. The square defended against cavalry and allowed advances into the heart of large enemy formations without having a flank turned, both situations require a large number of mobile enemies whom aren't mindless.
The original threat profile was fairly fast zombies, magically animated and actively marshalled by necromancers. The necromancers would usually provide support for them by directing death magic against enemy soldiers. Said zombies were capable of hysteric strength, generally of using crude tools. Most of them would tear themselves to pieces after a sustained period of exertion, but by that time against a typical medieval army they'd produce enough corpses to replenish their armies and permit the necromancers to repair some of the damaged ones by black magic. There were also, in many cases, human or humanoid levees, and they were often used as archers or cavalry auxiliaries to the zombie swarm, because the zombies couldn't handle tasks like that.

So basically, it was an actual recognizable military force, not just a swarm of mindless directionless shamblers a la World War Z. The necrocracies of the Tennessee Valley were actual countries, in the same sense that, oh, ISIL is. It's just that they were governed by lich lords whose subordinates and apprentices ran and maintained the country by terror and the slave labor of easily controlled zombies rather than bothering to cultivate the art of leadership or governance as we know it.

A hedge of pikes stopped human auxiliary cavalry, of course. It didn't deter the zombies but did at least physically delay them, if only because a zombie can't impale itself and slide up two spears pointing in different directions at once. Thus, it acted as a defense against zombies in a respect that a shield wall would not have done.

But this would not have made much difference by itself. What really made victories possible was the clergy figuring out how to turn the whatever spot the pike block stood on into de facto sacred ground, deflect the death magic by doing so, and drastically weaken the zombies so that organic damage inflicted by hand weapons would actually stop them reliably.

All this was being done with roughly 1400-1500 level technology, so the 'shot' component of the pike-shot team was limited to a handful of matchlock arquebuses at best- and probably crossbows to counter living enemy archers. By the end of this round of wars against the zombie masters, the gunners were becoming more common, among other things because they did enough raw damage to actually stop a zombie reliably, especially on 'sacred ground.' An arrow sticking out of a zombie generally wouldn't do that.

As time went on in the wake of the scouring of the Tennessee, the Ohioan Empire expanded further, and the basic pike block was augmented with arquebusiers, then more of them, following a roughly historical path of reform over a period of about 200-250 years, evolving into something Maurice of Nassau, and later Gustavus Adolphus would have recognized. They still call 'em tercios, though.

It is necessary, for the given magical defense method to work, for the soldiers to be tightly concentrated. If anyone invents the Minie ball the Ohioans are going to have to find another way, and I'm not sure they can... but with incremental evolutions of the magical defense tactics, it should work tolerably well against anything short of Napoleonic field artillery, and might even screw up that surprisingly effectively. I would, again, prefer not to just infodump all the details about how things work now rather than actually showing them in the story thread.
But then the square was also supposed to have heavy cavalry support anyway, to prevent multiple squares from being enfiladed by enemy artillery, which was a threat even at the earliest points. It was just frontal fire, and fast moving forces initially were not such a threat.
The squares were designed to come with heavy cavalry support, as the bluegrass country of OTL Kentucky supports, in this game, a thriving heavy cavalry tradition. Still do; there are lancer formations attached to quite a few of the existing regiments. Also light cavalry who are, essentially, the mercenary Cossacks of Illinois; I've mentioned them in passing
Even then I'd contend a lot of the effectiveness of the Spanish tercio was about how well paid, led and trained the men were, and the large cavalry support they had which was itself very expensive, all as part of a superior military system, more so then the actual tactic itself.
Agreed. The Ohioans don't normally form squares anyway- but they're a traditionalist culture and they try to cling to whatever bits of a tradition they can even when they know they have to change. In this case, they kept a name which we'd translate as 'tercio' well after adopting a fundamentally different system of pike-and-shot coordination. And, again, they haven't abandoned the pike component because they have an actual need for it, whereas a real world army with the same technology probably wouldn't need it, and would abandon them.
Anyway just trying to guard you guys against having more nonsense then you need up front. 1800 and pre industrial is a non sequitur, and yet it seems unlikely much of what people really want actually requires 1800 tech anyway. Setting a lower limit would make peoples google fu more effective.
Thank you and I agree.
That idea of 'equal to 100,000 spearmen' thing too. I mean, what are 100k spearmen supposed to be worth? If you really had a force that was exactly that it would for example simply be incapable of storming a major walled fortress. No way to break the walls, and no way to fight with a spear on a ladder! Its a serious abstraction problem when the other side actually could have 32pdr guns that fire more then once an hour.
I agree. Honestly, I'd just say "one well armed soldier," the sort of thing that a PC nation with its functional economy and (presumably) successful military tradition might reasonably consider baseline. If we're talking screaming hordes of peasants waving clubs (or something else unlikely to actually take down an armed and trained man one-on-one, such as a mind-controlled wolf or a shambling zombie), I'd say having more than a hundred thousand is reasonable, especially since we potentially have national populations of several millions.
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Esquire » 2015-12-12 01:43am

Simon_Jester wrote:GHETTO EDIT:

EDIT: Esquire, by the way, when you're thinking about your own territory- note that I drew the western border of the Greater Ohioan Empire (working title) on a line running roughly from OTL Chicago to Cairo, Illinois, then back up the Ohio. As one might guess from the name, the Ohio River is the spine of the Empire. But one of the effects of this borderline is that most of Illinois is unclaimed territory.

I'd figured on it being a prairie populated by the equivalent of Cossacks- fiercely independent, nomadic, warlike people who consist in large part of defectors and renegades from the neighboring empires. This is the main reason I never asked that the Empire be allowed to push its border west to the Mississippi through Illinois; I thought the Cossacks would be more interesting.

With respect to territorial claims in Illinois... Would staying west of the Mississippi or at least the Illinois River be acceptable to you? I'd like to be neighbors and do cool stuff, but I'd also like to keep that zone of zany Cossacks in Illinois, though I can plan around its absence if I need to.
I love the Chicossacs; I'm happy to stay west of the Mississippi. We're close enough to interact and argue over who should control Illinois, but not actually directly bordering except maybe for a short distance down South. I'm haven't entirely worked out my borders - again, I'm vacation, this is being done from my phone - but broadly I'm thinking Missouri and points south for the Nottomans.
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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by AMT » 2015-12-12 02:10am

Are there still openings for this? It seems like most of Texas and Mexico are open and I had an interesting idea for a cabal of mages seeking to jumpstart the development of mankind with some not so nice experiments, which they use as the backbone of their military while pushing the envelope for more. Probably came from South America a long time ago (perhaps driven away by powers or nations there) and would be establishing itself in North America proper.

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Aasharu » 2015-12-12 02:25am

The history of Tarn: The original settler of the Colorado Plateau was the lich Arjuna, an ancient necromancer prince who had found himself on the losing side of a dynastic struggle in his home nation. Six thousand years ago, he was exiled, and after a few decades wandering, eventually found his way to the intersection between the Green and Colorado rivers. Being in the middle of a desolate wasteland, the location appealed to him, and he used magic and minions to create a large fortress at the fork of the rivers.

Two thousand years later, Gilgamesh wandered in one day. Gilgamesh is one of the most charismatic and likable liches you will ever encounter. He charmed Arjuna with his urbane manner, and the two struck up a lasting friendship. It was through Gilgamesh’s aid and magic that the entire Colorado plateau was claimed, and it was his suggestion to establish it as a haven for intelligent, free willed undead. It was also at his suggestion that this new nation was named the Barren Baronies of the Territory of Tarn. (Yes, he has an obsession with alliteration.)

For almost three thousand years, the new nation expanded. Slowly, as more and more liches, vampires, deathknights, ghouls, and others found their way to their court, Arjuna and Gilgamesh devised ways to test their new subjects; those found to be exceptional were awarded baronies throughout the Barrens – functionally independent, so long as they all swore binding magical oaths of fealty to the throne of Tarn. Those found wanting were also forced to swear oaths of allegiance, but to their new barons as well as their kings. It was within this time that the famous mines of Tarn began to flourish. An intrepid vampire named Korin was digging around OTL Grand Junction, trying to create an underground fortress, when he discovered diamonds. Arjuna made him a baron on the spot, and Korin quickly expanded his mining operations, staffing the mines with tireless skeleton workers crafted from grave dirt; unsuited for combat, they were more than capable of handling brute labor like mine work. Other barons soon followed suit, and several lucrative mines of amethyst, opal, and sapphire were soon founded.

Five thousand, one hundred and forty nine years after Arjuna built his fortress, and one hundred and fifty years after Korin first found diamonds, the third ruler of the Triumvirate of Tarn arrived. Lu Zhi the Everqueen, Empress of a destroyed people, found her way to Arjuna’s Fortress. Unwilling to settle for being reduced to a baroness, she approached Arjuna and Gilgamesh and declared that she would rule with them as an equal. It is likely the shear absurdity of such a statement that saved her then; formidable though she was, the two kings sat at the height of their power, and could have destroyed her with a thought. But instead Gilgamesh asked her why they should treat her as an equal, and her response was to create, with a single spell and the sacrifice of her imperial crown, the sorcerous city of Sanctuary just outside the borders of the plateau (OTL Las Vegas). She then told the two that they could either treat her as an equal, or a rival.

In truth, the two kings were growing tired of kingship. The millennia were beginning to wear on them, and yet Lu Zhi proved to be an energizing force. A diplomat born and bred, it was she that began sending out diplomats and traders to other nearby nations. Though Tarn had long been considered nothing more than a particularly large nest of undead by neighboring kingdoms and empires, they soon learned that black robed strangers bearing chests and crates overflowing with precious gems would pay vast sums for similarly vast quantities of seemingly basic commodities; paper and ink, wood and cloth, and many other goods that one takes for granted unless one lives in a wasteland. The barons of Tarn began to draw upon their wealth to craft grander and grander (or larger and gaudier) towers and fortresses for themselves. This lasted almost a century before Gilgamesh put a stop to the worst excesses; trade has trickled off somewhat since then, but a small, yet functioning economy had formed nonetheless.

The city of Sanctuary was founded to serve as a safe place for mortals to inhabit; due to this, the city quickly boomed in the wake of the new trade rush. As her literal crown jewel, Lu Zhi took special interest in the city, and it benefited greatly for her attention. It has become a city of diplomats and spys, full of plots and intrigue. Unknown to all but the Triumvirate, Lu Zhi has complete awareness of all that happens within the city limits. She allows all the intrigue to occur, only ever intervening if a plot becomes dangerous to her city as a whole.

Four hundred years ago, Arjuna grew weary of his realm, and decided to depart his body in spirit to explore the outer realms. One hundred years later, Gilgamesh departed to join him in his wanderings. Since then, the Everqueen has been the only reigning monarch of Tarn. The youngest and most inexperienced of the three, she remains a lich with over a millennia of experience, and has proven herself a canny ruler. She has begun to explore opening actual diplomatic contact with the nearby nations, for her own entertainment more than anything else.

And that brings us to the present day. Thoughts? Opinions? Ideas for how to alter this to fit with nearby nations? Simon, I imagine those necro-cratic states could have been rogue barons from Tarn.

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Re: Pre-industrial Fantasy STGOD OOC/Rules Thread:

Post by Simon_Jester » 2015-12-12 02:42am

AMT, Definitely still plenty of room in the American South and Mexico.

Esquire, yes- although strictly speaking the Ohioan Empire holds the site of OTL Chicago as an embattled frontier outpost. Between the pirates on Lake Michigan and the Cossacks, though, it's a very embattled outpost indeed.

Aasharu, I love it- and it gives me something to imagine a certain viscount of Terre Haute doing with his life. Because to be honest, the Ohioan Empire's sole interest in Tarn would be to find a way to burn it all to the bedrock. Trading with them would be a dangerous game for an Ohioan citizen, and a violation of oaths they truly do hold sacred- but many men would be forsworn for a pouch of jewels.

The death-mages of the Tennessee may have learned some, or all, of their arts from Tarn; I couldn't say. I'm open to the idea, but also open to the idea that there is more than one way for things to happen and for evil things to be brought about.

Oh, an interesting point- Tarn has, based on this, existed for roughly half the time since the last Ice Age. Even without any magical cataclysms, the geography of North America was in some ways different then; there are rivers that have changed course in the last few thousand years, lakes that have drastically changed in level, and so on. Just been thinking about that lately, having done some research while Wiki-surfing.
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