Ultimately, since troops are the “weapons” of the BE universe, I want to get a more concrete idea of how to handle them in BE. When the fight comes down, it’s seems like it’s always totally arbitrary: 10 guys in Iron vs. 10 street punks. This is an attempt to formalize what unit sizes are available to different characters (roughly), and also how a commander can enhance his forces, so that players can operate more strategically: resource rolls to maintain their forces, training and resource tests to increase the power of their forces, mobilization and logistics tests to field their units at maximum effectiveness. For example, make a resource test to get your street punks some sensors and a guy who can train them to use them.
I’m discussing Anvil forces here, but the principles apply to Hammer as well.
Affiliations are from 1-3 dice, and also can represent the force pool available for a firefight. Affiliations should also have a troop component to them, which represents how large or small the associated troop pool is:
1D: large pool of non-combatants (EX2) or a small pool of EX 3 combatants
2D: large pool of exponent 3 combatants, or a small pool of exponent 4 combatants
3D: army of EX2-3 troops, large pool of exponent 4 troops, or small pool of exponent 5 troops
In other words, the exponent of the troops an affiliation gives you is as listed for a small pool of troops, but can be dropped to “buy” a larger pool. This would be chosen during character burning, and could be raised through training, resource tests for up-gunning,etc…
2. Lifepaths and Traits
Among the human lifepaths, the most obvious ones that will give a character a troop pool are the Anvil/Hammer/Forged Lord traits. But other lifepaths also offer characters pools of men they can call on. Starting at the highest, macro-level and working down:
Armies: Characters in command or leadership positions may start play with large armed resources. These would be armies that the character doesn’t lead personally, but whose orders they (hopefully), follow. The armies would be composed of Battalions.
Access: Activating an Army would involve a series of building rolls, making a logistics roll to get the unit supplied and mobilized, circling up a commander and giving him orders. But these powerful characters would have immediate access to a Battalion or two of Guards that they personally command (the Imperial Guard in France, the Emperor’s Crimson Guard in star wars, etc…).
Personal Guard: up to 2 Squads (depending on the occasion and ostentation of the character)
Exponents: The Armies will have a core of veterans at the listed exponent, the rest being one exponent lower. The Guard is as listed for the first Battalion, reduced by one for the second.
Lifepaths/Traits: Cotar Antistes, Cotar Arderes, Lord Steward, Executive Official, First Speaker, Forged Lord (if the ruler of one or more planets), Void Lord.
Battalions: Armies are composed of Battalions. In the Iron Empires, battalions are personal armies, which characters can employ with relative freedom (they also are responsible for maintaining them). These are units of fixed size. They would start play at the affiliation exponent. Void Lords aren’t bound by the imperial restrictions on force size, so they could choose larger force pools of lower-exponent guys. Forged Lords also are permitted more lattitude, and could field multiple battalions.
Lifepaths/Traits: Anvil Lord, Hammer Lord, Forged Lord, Void Lord, Cotar Fomas
Access: The Battalion must be maintained (the listed resource roll). Other than that, it’s the lord’s personal army, to mobilize as he wishes. Full mobilization should require a building scene in the previous maneuver (logistics, resources or equivilent roll), otherwise, only a portion of the Battalion will be prepared to fight at the drop of a hat. Say one company in a battalion at EXP 3 or less, and two companies in a EXP 4 or higher battalion.
Personal Guard: up to a squad.
Exponents: As listed for a single battalion. A Forged/Void Lord can increase his forces by additional Battalions, but each Battalion added has an Exponent of 1 less than the last (example, a Forged Lord with an Affiliation of 3 wants 3 Battalions. The first is at the listed exponent, 5, the second is exponent 4, the third is exponent 3). This increases the maintenance costs astronomically.
Sub-Units: Characters who are unit commanders have troops under their direct command, but are also, themselves, under the direct command of a Lord or Church leader, and wouldn’t have a free hand in how those troops would be employed. These force pools would range from a battalion down to a company or so for Lieutenants/X-O’s and the various Captains.
Lifepaths/Traits: Cotar Fomas, Lord Pilot, Hammer Captain, Lieutenant, X-O, Anvil Captain, Sodalis-Captain, Inquisitor, Circle of 10,000, Ship’s Captain
Access: These commanders have access to their security detatchment, but must operate under orders from their superiors for any larger mobilization. The sub-unit doesn’t need to be maintained by the commander (no resource rolls), but logistics and bureaucracy stand in for the maintenance. The squeaky wheel gets the ammunition.
Personal Guard: a security detatchment (fire team).
Exponents: As listed for a company, reduced by one for a battalion.
Non-Military: characters with connections to unofficial military assets (thugs, rebels, etc…). These are polyglot forces that can range from a dozen thugs to hordes of rebels. They will be low exponent troops as a rule, so large numbers of men could be available for small affiliations. Also, whether or not the character can use the troops with a free hand is more open to the character concept: are you a crime lord? Free hand. Are you in command of a unit of rebels, but not the rebellion’s overall leader? Less of a free hand.
Lifepaths/Traits: Owner-Aboard, Rebel Priest, Freebooter, Insurrectionist, Outlaw, Pirate, Smuggler, Criminal, Traveler
Access: This has got to be worked out at the table, since there’s so much variation in these organizations. For a small group (smuggler’s crew, outlaw’s band of thieves), treat it as a Personal guard equal to a squad or two. For a larger group (pirate fleet, crime family, rebel monastery), treat it as a Battalion or Sub-Unit depending on whether or not the character is running the show or is just a lieutenant.
Personal Guard: varies.
Exponents: The unit’s starting exponents will be reduced by one outside of the personal guard in all cases.
Personal Bodyguards: The lifepaths listed here don’t have any military to call on per se, but could certainly have a personal guard, up to a squad in size.
Court Lord, Lady, League Official, Cabinet Member.
I’ll consider what skills the commander can draw upon in these different groups next time (I realize there’s already some of this dealt with in the book, but I don’t have it at my fingertips).
Any thoughts, comments, additions?