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 When Large Numbers Are A DISadvantage

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tygerr
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PostSubject: When Large Numbers Are A DISadvantage   Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:21 pm

The basic game mechanic presumes that larger numbers are always an advantage in a conflict. This is certainly true MOST of the time, but not always. There are contexts when there is a distinct advantage to smaller numbers rather than larger.

The category that comes to my mind right now are conflicts in which one side wants to remain undetected: classic RPG 'thiefly' activities such as hiding, silent movement, picking pockets, etc. It's a whole lot easier to hide 1 person than 100.

Any thoughts as to how one might modify the basic game mechanic to accommodate that sort of conflict (asks he whose God has "Stealth" as a secondary domain)?
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PostSubject: Re: When Large Numbers Are A DISadvantage   Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:46 pm

Hi Tygerr,

I have been thinking on this and right now I am working on rules for elite followers and some skill sets to go with them.

My main objective is to make sure the skills just augment conflict rolls. Right now plans for an RPG based on the rules will be late this year early next year.

As for your question, right now the best thing to do is use the Celestial Garden Rules for Disguise and Scrying. Remember gods can see into their territory and can set up Wards as well. The best way to fool a god is to disguise your guys.

But as far as Stealth in Neutral Territory goes, I have not made anything up. But I have thought on this. I can see where this will come into play. Neutral territories will be hotly contested and both parties will want to send in assassins or scouts to search the area for goodies or each other.

I will work on a mechanic in the next couple of weeks for this opposing conflict. I am also open to suggestions as well.
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PostSubject: Re: When Large Numbers Are A DISadvantage   Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:58 pm

Well, I sort of see stealth actions as a mechanic directly proportioned to the actions of the forces involved. While yes, it is easier for a group of individual scale units to hide and move stealthily than it is for a group of village scale units, it is also more likely that if a village scale unit is scouring the area in search of hidden forces that they will find them as opposed to a group of individual scale units taking the same action.

I see the rules for any other conflict working perfectly well when incorporating non-divine stealth and non-divine detection methods. I consider stealth a function of Body and detection a function of Mind. Although if a reason is given why Stealth should be considered a mental discipline, like say hiding tracks or assembling make-shift camouflage, I might entertain the thought of allowing it.

Recently I had a player with a priest exploring near the edge of a watering hole infested with "large ambush predators" (crocodiles for lack of a better description), and I told her to make a Mind check for her units. It was a household scale unit consisting of of 3 Mind d8 units and 3 Body D8 units. Half the number rounded up were D8 mind, so a D8 Mind at household scale rolled the check. The Ambush Predators had Body d8+2, acted as household units, and there were two of them in the vicinity.

Two household units hiding versus one household unit detecting. In this instance it was more a case of numbers than it was a case of size. The humans saw one, but not the other. Still she had the humans leave the area. Thus beginning a pursuit conflict with the one they didn't see as it attacked from hiding.

One of her individual priests didn't escape the monsters, Ralph. He got eaten. She immediately made an illusion of herself appear and proceeded to force the monster to give birth to the priest it just ate, sending it into convulsions and leaving Ralph with a nice ridged forehead resembling gator scales. Fun scenario. Very creative. Even though she lost the conflict, she won the fight... At the time I didn't think she earned belief from that, but on review of the scenario, I believe she did. I'll have to have her roll for it when we meet again on Friday night.
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tygerr
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PostSubject: Re: When Large Numbers Are A DISadvantage   Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:02 pm

Varchild_Marquee wrote:
Well, I sort of see stealth actions as a mechanic directly proportioned to the actions of the forces involved. While yes, it is easier for a group of individual scale units to hide and move stealthily than it is for a group of village scale units, it is also more likely that if a village scale unit is scouring the area in search of hidden forces that they will find them as opposed to a group of individual scale units taking the same action.

I see the rules for any other conflict working perfectly well when incorporating non-divine stealth and non-divine detection methods. I consider stealth a function of Body and detection a function of Mind. Although if a reason is given why Stealth should be considered a mental discipline, like say hiding tracks or assembling make-shift camouflage, I might entertain the thought of allowing it.

Hmm. I guess I'd been envisioning stealth as ruled by Mind, for exactly the reasons you bring up--hiding traces, use of camouflage, thinking up clever hiding places, etc. Though yes, Body applies too especially in regards staying still, moving quietly, and suchlike.

I agree that numbers are an advantage for the unit(s) trying to find a stealthy unit. It's the effect of number on the stealthy unit itself that's got my tail in a knot. (Sneak thieves and commandos rarely go around en masse; as the rules stand now, they *should*....)
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PostSubject: Re: When Large Numbers Are A DISadvantage   Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:58 pm

How does this sound then?

Typically, only one side suffers a penalty. If the side with the smaller number is the detecting party, the detecting party receives the penalty. The stealth unit suffers no penalty, but units larger than household scale cannot use stealth actions.

After all, picking up an entire village and moving all the members through a forest is going to be a very un-stealthy (not to mention time consuming) activity. However a household sized squadron of trackers could go behind them and hide the trail for the whole village after they passed. This however would be an entirely different kind of detection vs. stealth check.
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