D@W Battle Rating and Unit Cost Questions.

Okay - as part of my plans for an upcoming campaign I'm trying to convert some stats from 5e into ACKS. I've got some set descriptions and want to determine the BR equivalent as well as the unit support costs. I'm matching an existing setup to ACKS rules, not building the unit from the ground up.

Let's assume that we have a 7th-lvl fighter captain leading an elite platoon of aerial cavalry. He has 15 3rd-lvl fighters under his command and they collectively ride 12 giant vultures (treateas giant hawks).

  • The giant vulture mounts are the easiest - as per D@W giant hawks they're each BR 0.639 and cost 400gp/month in "wages" plus 64gp/month in supplies.
  • Each giant vulture will be ridden by a skilled Knight. Let's assume that they're 3rd-lvl fighters. If I plug stats for the 3rd-lvl fighters into the BR calculator (D@W Campaigns, p.70), I get 0.200 apiece. A 3rd-lvl henchman has a salary of 100gp/month, and human troops have a supply cost of 3.08gp/month from D@W - or is this increased to 100-450gp per month, since they're higher level (as per ACKS p.39)?
  • The Captain alone ranks a BR of 1.050, as per D@W Campaigns. As a 7th-lvl fighter, he receives 1600gp a month. I assume his supply cost is still 3.08gp/month, or is it 450-200gp per month?

Now to get the total BR for the unit as a whole. There are 12 vultures, 15 Knights, plus the Captain: 12*0.639 (for the vultures) plus 15*.0200 (for the fighters) plus 1.050 for the Captain. This sums to a BR 11.7, which rounds to 11½. But here's some questions:

  • Does the Captain contribute to the unit's BR, or does he act as a separate commander? Without him, the unit's BR is reduced by 1.
  • To be fair, I don't think the "unmounted" Knights will be able to contribute to battle. This will adjust the unit's BR down by ½.

In any case, this elite unit appears to be worth as much in battle as 1200+ light infantry. Is this correct?

When I'm doing garrison math for the domain, do I use the unit's salary or total cost for the "Keeping the Peace" calculation? Total monthly costs for the unit are 7900gp in salary plus at least 817gp for supply costs.

Unfortunately you can't simply add the BR of the mount to that of the rider to find the BR of cavalry! Would that it were so easy. I would calculate as follows:

1. If the rider or giant hawk is killed, the unit is destroyed (as its flying, etc.); 50% of hits will strike either; the rider with 3 HD is the weaker of the two; so we will treat the unit as having 6 HD.

2. We will use an AC halfway between that of rider and mount. Rider is in plate with shield. Therefore AC is (6+1)+(3)/2 = 5. 

3. We will assign the unit one special ability for its flight and one for dive ability

4. A company of large sized creatures is 60. A platoon of large sized creatures is one-fourth that, or 15.

5. BR formula is (Number of Creatures) x (Creature’s AC+1) x (Creature’s HD) x (Creature’s HD + 1) x (1 + Creature’s # of Special Abilities) / (8 x # of Infantry per Regular Unit).

6. Therefore, BR at Company Scale is (15) x (5+1) x (3x2)+(4x2) x (1+2) / (8 x 120) = BR 13.5.


Or we could do an approximation of the BR system from DOW: Battles by starting with the "known" BR of Heavy Cavalry (6) and then modifying them as follows:

1. Speed Modifier will be 450' versus 120', or x3.75. 

2. UHP will be (mount + rider HD) versus (mount + rider HD) or (3+3) v (3+1), or x1.5, divided by 4, or x.375

3. Formation multiplier will be FLY (2)  v FM (1.15), or 1.74

So that works out to 6 x 3.75 x 0.375 x 1.74 = 14.7

So I'd reckon somewhere between 13 and 15 BR.


Can a captain or lieutenant be part of a unit, or do they "stand alone"? Does he contribute to the unit's BR?

(In my particular scenario, I would see the captain/lietenant as being one of the Feathergale Knights leading his "fighter squadron" into battle.)

I don't believe any of the rules suggest the unit leader should contribute to the BR; I'm not sure some of the extra complexities are worth it (at what point does the leader die when the unit takes damage?) though they can often be available for heroic forays, and they and their compatriots could contribute as their individual stats in that case. I'd agree that the option is compelling at the point you start getting to units of 10-15 or less individuals though.

This reminds me I'd always wanted to base a campaign on the action of the arcade game Joust.

Yeah; Joust was one of my favourites as a kid. Probably the reason that I liked the Feathergale Knights so much from the 5e Princes of the Apocalypse adventure. There are actually some cool ideas for elemental factions in that one.

Alex, is the first formula you posted consistent with how one calculates BR for a mounted unit?  Before we settled on just using heroic forays, we were trying to figure out how to calculate the BR of heroes on horseback, although I suppose that might mean a different interpretation of point #1.

Jard, the only 100% accurate way to calculate BRs is by using the full system outlined in Domains at War: Battles. Everything else is an estimate. Either of the methods I've used above are probably "Good Enough" for play.

It's also important to realize that "accurate" BRs are simply BRs calculated using the same method as those in the book rosters. Extensive mathematical testing to determine whether the BRs precisely represent the capabilities of units in D@W: Battles was beyond my capabilities. They seem to work relatively well but when you get to the difference between a 10 BR unit and an 11 BR unit, you're getting an "estimate" no matter what method you are using.

If you're sticking with Domains at War: Campaigns, the main thing is just to make sure that wage rate and BR correlate properly, to avoid a situation where you can buy cheap troops for too little gold. If you're vacillating between Campaigns and Battles, you can have some oddities sometimes occur when unit X is "better" in one system than the other.