Military Strategy

The Military Strategy proficiency grants a bonus to “mass combat initiative”. It’s clear that this requires multiple combatants, but there’s no precise definition given anywhere, so here are some questions:

  1. How many combatants are required before this bonus kicks in?

  2. Could a character with this proficiency sell his services as a specialist tactical advisor? Would his advice impact a battles’ result? (forgive me if this is covered in the complete D@W, as I don’t have it yet).

2a. Could a character purchase the services of such a specialist? If so, how much would it cost?

I allowed the bonus to kick in whenever the PCs had a squad or more of mercenaries that used a single initiative number for my personal convenience.

I assumed it only applied when using the D&W mass combat rules

This has, in fact, been covered in D@W Battles. Essentially, the initiative bonus for an entire division of your army is determined by the “strategy rating” of the officer commanding it. Strategy roll is determined by adding your greatest bonus from int/wis (if any) minus your greatest penalty from int/wis (if any) plus the number of levels in military strategy you have, giving a total modifier of between -3 and +6 (charisma is important for determining how many units you can effectively command and how far away you can easily command them).

Hiring costs of mercenary officers are listed in D@W, but it is more a matter of class level and overall ability to command men than merely the number of strategy proficiencies. There are minimum levels to be officers (special exceptions exist, however) and there are more considerations than strategy rating to consider for officers. There might be a niche for pre-battle strategists, however, in which case you can look at tiered proficiency hirelings, like healers, for price guidelines.

I don’t believe military strategy helps with initiative at the smaller scales, but should still help with general knowledge, i.e. helping the players determine that their hair-brained scheme is a BAD PLAN or that it might be improved by a few modifications.

Oddly, in all the D@W I’ve played, winning initiative often meant I’d be delaying between commanders on the same side so I could act with them in a more advantageous manner.

As far as letting it have it’s intent-as-written in the man-on-man game, if you figure Alex has already taken D@W to the platoon level, dropping that one more to the squad (~8-13) or even the fireteam level isn’t that much of a stretch.

I’d make it tactically sitational - if the group being led by the person with Military Strategy is actually operating as a group, then let it apply. If they’re spread across dungeon rooms or outside what you’d consider a zone of control for the character (at the platoon level, the ZOC being in 30’ hexes, and I guess 15’ hexes in squad level, if that makes sense in your game, and 5’ hexes at the minimum for fireteam level)

That’d be some extra bookkeeping on your end though, and this was much more simply put by Thomas (i.e., whenever it works for the DM)

I agree, allowing it to apply to squad-level battles gives a little extra filip to the player who spent a Proficiency on it. With the proviso that the character in question has to be able to meaningfully lead and direct their allies.

A higher “strategy rating” also allows a commander to delay his initiative longer than a lower strategy rating opponent (allowing him to go to act at the exact moment he wants).

As for the use of Military strategy at individual scale, I am still on the fence. Sure tossing a bone to someone who took a proficiency that is otherwise of limited use in the early game is good. On the other hand, on the smaller scales individual’s reflexes tend to matter more in initiative than the wise council of a strategist.

That's why squad-level, not fireteam (or individual) level. The whole point is that there has to be an actual force to lead, not just the PCs. And the PC in question has to actually be the leader, able to command the group and have them respond.

That’s basically the situation I’m thinking of:

3-4 PCs, plus their 6-12 henchmen, possibly more if the DM is permissive about henchman trees (i.e. henchmen taking their own henchmen). One character (who happens to have taken the Military Strategy proficiency) is hired as a tactics expert, and the others follow his commands in battle. I want to know if the men taking orders from him would benefit from the bonus to initiative.

Besides, the proficiency is a justification to play a dungeon crawl like one imagines a medieval SWAT operation would look like. At least then, I can roll a 3+ on a d20 to make the DM stop objecting so much.

In my game, it's 4PCs plus their 25 henchmen (no henchmen-of-henchmen yet, just personal ones).

Yeah, I was making a conservative estimate, assuming players who would only part with 45-60% of their personal treasure shares (3-4 henchmen each).

Your PC’s have a lot of Charisma and proficiencies to increase the henchmen-cap? Under normal conditions, the cap would be roughly 4 each, or 16 total.

Every single PC has a Charisma bonus of at least +1* (and one has +3!), and another one has Leadership. So they vary from 5-7 henchmen.

I'm not doing XP, and I don't think the players actually care that much about having to divide their spoils. They're 5th level and are more interested in getting into trouble, rather than settling down to establish things at the moment.


*For the PCs, we used a semi-random method to generate an array, where anyone could use anyone else's, then assign at will with 2 points of re-assignment to taste. Everyone ended up using the same array 17, 17, 15, 15, 11, 9. Henchmen I generated with a less generous version of their semi-random method, though it was still assigned at will. We still ended up with one henchmen with better stats than the PCs (she's an Assassin).

Maxing out the number of henchmen will benefit them in the long run, if they can keep them alive, well-treated, and loyal. The +1 morale score for every level a henchman gains in the adventurers service can potentially be very useful when PCs start passing off vassal-states to them, since asking for services without giving favors warrants a henchman morale roll. More henchmen will also means that each individual vassal will have a harder time rebelling, since they control smaller fractions of the PC’s realm.