So I was looking at Master of the Desert Nomads, the old expert level module, and imagining somehow tweaking it to be used with D@W (maybe just getting inspiration). There are armies on the march,etc… Could it be gamed out, is what I was thinking.
Obviously, the module doesn’t imagine you’d try this… The actual tactical situation is absent. It’s a high level commando raid. Still, it gave me a frame to think about things.
The giant desert in the scenario is effectively impassable for an army because of supply. Not so much for a small group, but once you get to scale, you can march them into the desert, but they would die there. It’s uninhabited, so there’s no getting supplies from the local population, either.
So here’s the question… Could you do something like send an army of cavalry into a situation like this, and take the damage to the mounts, and emerge with an army of infantry? Or somehow lead a train of camels for supply and food on a one way trip, hoping to resupply once you got across? Heck, could your units of orcs live off of each other or a band of captives?
More simply, how would you make a desert caravan work?
Note: I think the supply rules are awesome, and would shape such a war across a desert in major ways, mostly by making the armies go around it. I’m just looking for a way to think about crossing one
Dr Pete -
The main issue with crossing a desert is not one of food, but rather one of water. Pack animals consume a lot of water. When no water is available at all, the amount of water the pack animal has to carry consumes more and more of its entire ability to carry supplies - at about three days the math becomes inexorable.
That said, the rules do not reflect the possibility of using camels as pack animals. Camels can go 5 days without water in the summer and 6 months without water during the winter. Therefore in winter months an army using camels as its pack animals could definitely cross the desert, and during summer you could cross a short desert. I'll have to do some math to figure out how far.
I poked around on the Web, and in the rules to think about this…
Create water assumes 4 gallons of water are needed per day for each man and his mount. At one stone per gallon, you could store the water needs of one such pair for one week on a camel and still move at full rate. It may make sense to scale this down if the camel is not drinking, but it should probably be scaled up, too, since were talking about the desert. Call it 2 Weeks per water camel, maybe, in winter in the desert. In summer, the camel will need water after a week, and the water need of a man is more like 4 gallons/day, so you will hit a wall, but you could load up a giant train of camels for the winter.
This brings up a point I wasn’t totally clear on… Armies move 4 days, then resupply and tend the animals, and the penalty for not stopping shows that they need the rest. Supply is paid in weekly installments. Does an army go out of supply immediately on having it’s supply line cut, or does it operate fine until the next required rest and resupply break? The later would allow leaps across short deserts, but the former would make a week of desert travel impossible.
It seems like they should be allowed to continue for the 4 days, at least, before the penalties kick in, maybe with an option to oversupply ahead of anticipated disruption for a cost. Also, since the rest is for resupply, it makes sense to require a rest when you come back into supply after a disruption. Maybe this is too much detail, but it makes sense to me.