Cry Havoc!, and Let slip the Dogs of War
Give me twenty good men
Welcome back folks! Today should be a pretty interesting day as we’re gonna be following the actions of Harald the fighter as he progresses through a few levels here during Duke Absolutelyhasaname’s conquest of the Orclands.
First off, I’d kinda been shortcutting the process for leveling up with Ian and Bill and wanted to make sure I hadn’t missed anything there. Specifically with AD&D these past few months I’ve grown accustomed to a sort of masochistic form of progression with heavy training costs and time investments. Those training costs are appropriate for that system, and add in some potential roleplaying opportunities to try to trade off services in exchange for reduced cost training.
Looking over the information for character advancement here it would look like pretty standard fare. Record the XP eared and amount needed to the next level, gain additional HP, add any new or improve character abilities, proficiencies, and then attack & saving throws. With just the single limitation of no more than one advancement per adventure, but all the way up to 1 experience point short of reaching that second advance. This is typically only ever an issue for low level characters having just recovered a sizable haul.
However, even though the advancement rules themselves do not explicitly include training time or cost, as we saw with Bill, there was a presumption of training involved when he leveled up in order to go learn new spells (at least 1 week per level plus potential travel time to the guild or his master). I didn’t see anything comparable for fighters & thieves, but I’m ok with that. They probably get to spend enough time laying in bed recovering from stab wounds to make up for the time mages need to spend learning new spells.
Anyway, when Harald reaches 3rd level he picks up the riding proficiency and joins up with the Duke’s cavalry, then at 5th level he picks up the next rank of Manual of Arms becoming capable of training cavalry units. While Ian and Bill picked up magical research abilities when they reached 5th level, Harald the Fighter will gain Battlefield prowess granting a +1 morale bonus to his followers. I know that doesn’t sound as impressive as gaining the ability to create new spells and magical items, but the ability to hold troops together in battle is the commander’s primary function. It’s often quipped that the warlord’s prime requisite should be Charisma and given the effects of Charisma on domain management which I’ll hopefully cover more in a future piece.
For now a castle and lands are still a bit out of Harald’s reach, but he does have a few thousand gold burning a hole in his pocket and visions of his own conquest of the wilderness dancing through his head. With about four months remaining before returning to meet up with the rest of the ACKSgrinders Harald travels back to the provincial capital (a class II market) and gets to work.
First off he seeks to hire a number men and train them into a unit of light cavalry, with his ability to train 50 soldiers at a time. In order to train light cavalry he needs three months of time. The thinking here might be that since there are 5d20(~57) light infantry available for recruitment each month in a Class II market in comparison to only about 11 light cavalry. Actually the more I think about it when considering the need to also purchase warhorses to equip the self trained group when the mercenary horsemen come with existing warhorses. With light warhorses running 150gp, a typical class II market would only provide 2 light warhorses each month, and if he were to attempt to commission light warhorses in that town he might be able to commission 5 light warhorses but they would take ~150 days to fulfil the order. I think the general vibe I’m getting here is that it’s probably not going to be a cost or time saver to try to train up new cavalry soldiers himself.
So let’s take another tack here. Harald is going to look to hire some more competent help while he’s here in the capital. Looking over the table and rollin’ some dice Ive got the following henchmen available for recruitment this month with a total expenditure of 4d10+40 = 69 gp (noice) for four weeks of recruiting:
Lvl 4 Cleric
Lvl 4 Fighter
Lvl 3 Thief
Lvl 3 Mage
Lvl 3 Craftpriest
6 Lvl 2 henchmen
3 Lvl 1 henchmen
74 normal men
I think he’s just going to go with the top five henchmen on the list to be the lieutenants and officers of his mercenary company. He makes his pitches and quite a few 2d6 rolls later we have a refuse, refuse, try again (offers dental and gets a accept from the thief), refusal from the mage and acceptance from the craftpriest along with two lvl 2 fighters.
At the end of negotiations Harald has a group of henchmen including.
lvl 3 thief (quartermaster) - 20% share, plus 100 gp / mo wage
lvl 3 craftpriest (armorer) - 15% share, plus 100 gp / mo wage
lvl 2 fighter (lieutenant) - 15% share, plus 50 gp / mo wage
lvl 2 fighter (lieutenant) - 15% share, plus 50 gp / mo wage
Now with his core team assembled he is going to give each of them a bag of suitable funds and send them out to nearby cities to recruit some light cavalrymen. Harald will be in the capital recruiting for two months while each of his henchmen will go out and travel for up to two weeks to get to a nearby city, then spend a month recruiting and then up to two weeks to come back with the new recruits. Bringing us to three months of recruitment time total for Harald’s operation giving him just enough time to bring his newly assembled forces to Origin to meet with his old companions in style.
During this period his henchmen hire (1,4,4,9) 18 light cavalry from the nearby class III cities, and Harald himself personally recruits (4, 4 yes those were both 2d10 rolls :’( ) 8 cavalry himself during those two months. Now with his four henchmen and 26 cavalrymen in tow he rides off towards his old companions and new opportunities. His monthly expenses for his henchmen total 300gp and the mercenaries are running 780gp. That’s a total of 1080gp / month going toward his unit. He’ll need profitable work fast to sustain himself, and that’s a pretty good motivator to keep going forward.
I think overall what I’ve learned from this is that the market pretty much controls the growth of a mercenary force and that these market constraints truly limit a player or high level character from rapidly buying a force. Pretty neat stuff. I’d really expected to be able to cheese that manual of arms rank to pump out some fast heavy cav (even though heavy cav takes six months to train).
For now I’m going to wrap up and call this a night. Tomorrow I think we’re going to try to unpack the market along with all of its vagaries through the process of a pair of thieves going on some mercantile ventures. What could possibly go wrong? Find out at 11.