Sunday, August 12, 2012

Basic Characterisics

Models are rated by Ranged Skill and Melee Skill:
  • A Skill rating of 0 does not bear contemplating. Such incompetents will almost never see the battlefield.
  • A poorly-trained unit or force will have Skill ratings of 1. It is typical of conscripts, cultists or militia.
  • A typical army will have Skill ratings of 2 across the board.  This represents a competent and professional force.  
  • An elite unit or army will have Skill ratings of 3.  (Or maybe just one or the other, depending on its specialization.)  This is the highest rating you'll see across a whole army.
  • A super-elite unit might have a single Skill rating of 4.  This allows us to further differentiate elite armies, giving them an "elite of the elite."  You'll probably never see such a rating for a whole army.

Models are also rated by Leadership.
  • 6+ Leadership is truly awful.  You will only see a 6+ on untrained draftees or civilians.
  • 5+ Leadership indicates unmotivated or poorly-led troops.  
  • 4+ Leadership is typical for a well-motivated and led professional army.
  • 3+ Leadership distinguishes highly-motivated, possibly fanatical troops.
  • 2+ Leadership goes beyond mere motivation and into the realm of non-human psychology.  Such troops are mighty heroes, insane berserkers, will-less robots, or mind-controlled insects.
Infantry models may have any of several special characteristics:
  • Toughness.  The model is tougher than a standard human.
  •  Armor.  The model wears personal armor that may deflect or absorb damage.
Special Characteristics have a rating.  A tough creature might be Toughness 1.  An even bigger one would be Toughness 2.  Etc.

Infantry models without special characteristics may be assumed to be human-equivalent, and wearing no appreciable body armor.

Geek Note

A model’s skill represents its ability to perform together with its squad at particular tasks.  So Ranged Skill doesn’t just rate the model’s ability to hit a bulls-eye; it represents the soldier’s behavior under fire, his coordination with his team-mates, knowledge of tactics, and all that big-picture stuff.  Melee Skill represents the unit’s ability to fight in formation, protect their squad-mates, predict the flow of melee, give covering fire with pistols, and so forth.  It’s not just a rating of their facility with a sword.

I intend to implement a system similar to Flames of War here.  In my opinion, Flames of War handles troop quality simply and brilliantly with its Skill and Motivation rating.  Two units with exactly the same equipment can vary enormously depending on their training.  This is in contrast to Warhammer 40k, where a model's skill doesn't matter much at all, and units are largely defined by their equipment options.

Toughness and Armor will be used to describe the better armored or super-human troops that are so much a part of so many space fantasy worlds. Queue the killer robots!

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