In the recent Opelenean Nights playtests, the players have frequently wanted to “get the drop” on the enemy by marching out early, and/or wanted to do a force march to go further. The rules didn’t cover that. Now they do!
When necessary, armies may engage in a forced march, traveling 12 hours per day instead of the usual 8. A leader may order a force march either before initiative is rolled or during his initiative. If the leader orders a forced march before initiative is rolled, he gets a +2 bonus to his initiative score. This represents awakening the troops early for a pre-dawn start. A leader who orders a forced march during his initiative does not get this bonus. Either way, the army’s daily movement rate is increased by 50% because of the forced march. However, each day of force marching counts as two days of marching for purposes of rest and recuperation. This penalty applies even if the army does not actually move more than its normal daily movement.
EXAMPLE: A Roman army and a German warband are each 18 miles from a nearby Roman fort. The Roman army has a daily movement rate of 12 miles. The Roman general wants to make sure his army gets to the fort first, before the Germans. Before initiative is rolled, the Roman general orders a forced march. This grants a +2 bonus to his initiative score. The Roman general beats the German general’s initiative score, and takes the opportunity to go first. Because of the forced march, the Roman army’s daily movement rate is (12 miles x 150%) 18 miles, enough to reach the fort!
It is now the German general’s initiative. Angry at allowing the wily Roman to get the drop on him, the German general now orders a forced march as well. This does not impact his initiative score, but does increase his army’s daily movement rate by 50%. He arrives after dark to find the Romans safely behind the fort’s walls.