Conquest of the Horde

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The Art of War CoTH Style! A Guide to Roleplaying War.

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Table of Contents!
  • General Overview
    Player Interaction
    The Big Picture on War
    The Finer Points on War
    War System

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General Overview: Okay! Welcome to reading this Art of War Guide. Before we go forward, know that I totally stole the title of it and probably face copy right laws, so that's super fantastic. On with the show! What you as a reader should expect from this guide are a few things; War and how to wage it in all aspects from both the soldier's perspective and the national perspective. How to run and organize an actual war event on Conquest of the Horde as a player or GM. And finally disclaimers for both In-Character and Out-Of-Character interactions before joining a war event.

Now what this essentially means is that upon after reading this guide - which mind you I believe will cover just about all aspects I can possibly think of on how to run a war event - you will be able to reference this as players and GMs to run your own war events from now on. This new system idea as well as guide should make the entire field on this style of role-play more effective and widespread, of course, for those who enjoy it. Now without further ado I present to you the rest of the guide!

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Player Interaction
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Out-Of-Character Interaction: Here we are at Out-Of-Character Interactions and here it's time we have a sit down with you as the player. The first I have to address is that when you even consider entering an event that is war themed know that war itself is very much so bearing the constant threat of death or maiming. After all, you don't enlist into the armed forces of your respective countries in real life without understanding that you are joining in order to serve and fight for your country; with that said you would run the risk of dying or getting seriously wounded in real life. Now I know that may sound morbid but there it is, war is exactly that, fighting battles etc. Now, that's not all war is, but you get the point.

The reasons why I say this are simple and that's because in the past when war events were attempted many players Out-Of-Character have had complaints on the interactions of their characters. Particularly when it is a character they have had for a long time and have had well developed; now don't get me wrong, I understand entirely your point of view, but you also have to understand that you have willingly entered your character into a war event and thus run the risk of death or maiming. It's just part of the gig, you can't have your pudding if you don't eat your meat, after all. Now, I apologize if that came off as rude or offensive to anyone, but it's the truth. So you have two options, either make a character designed specifically for the event of choice, or run the risk of one of your more played characters entering.

Another point on Out-Of-Character Interactions is drama. What I mean by this is obviously generic drama that you have about losing or winning a battle or war or anything involving things like that. Pretty much if Jeff fights Chris and Chris loses then Jeff goes ahead and starts bragging in BarrensChat or Chat then that is just messed up. I'm not saying you can't brag or anything, but try not to hurt anyone's feelings. That seems to be a very common problem we have on CoTH, but that is for a different debate. Point being simple is that if you join a war event abide to the rules preset or do not play in it.

What We've Learned
  • War equals risk of death or maiming.
  • Follow ALL rules preset or do not partake in the event.
  • Keep a cool head on.
  • Try and keep drama on the down or you ruin it for everyone. :P
  • Maybe make a throw away character for a war event.
  • Have fun!

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In-Character Interactions: Alright, now that we have covered Out-Of-Character Interactions in a nutshell, let's move right along to In-Character Interactions. This is much less of a worry to me in many ways, yet in other ways a larger worry. And let me tell you why, it's because a lot of players - at least in my experiences - seem to have delusions about what it means to be a soldier or mercenary while under an Army. The first thing to remember is that you are no longer an individual when you enter an Army or Armed Forces. That may sound harsh yes, but it's truth. Once you enlist or join, you are under the Chain of Command which essentially means that you take orders from your higher ups and nothing else. You act as a whole, not an individual. Your unit depends on you just as you depend on them.

I cannot stress that enough, however, that does not mean for the sake of roleplay that you can't have any heroics, though, it is very much so suggested you keep them down to a minimal state and don't try to stand out. Mainly because if you have everyone attempting to play the hero then essentially you will lose the battle. Now I know that may also sound harsh but it is just true, I'm sorry, but it is. In order to keep organization you need to maintain that sense of unity. This may sound difficult or not entertaining to some of you; but believe me there is a great amount of roleplay to be had when you act together with your garrison or battalion and look back after a battle or before a battle. It's a great way to make new friends and forge new bonds with one another... or even rivalries!

Now, one other point to cover is the topic of following orders by your superiors; as well as how to successfully roleplay a leadership position. First off lets cover following orders from an in-character perspective. You may come from troubled backgrounds or typical simple characters who simply enlisted and want to fight, war at least does one thing, and that's call people from different backgrounds together into one event. The point is that you should almost always listen to your commanding officer or face punishment; and when I say punishment I mean past the initial warnings giving, I am talking about punishments involving flogging and breaking you down until you are reborn a soldier. Now that does not go for every military, for example, nations throughout history have had militia forces or levy infantry that have very little training or organization and are generally not really that well organized. That's just one example of course. Either way, please try to listen to your commanding officers when you do decide to join one of these events.

On how to lead is a different story; after all, it is you who will be giving the orders. You will hopefully have a firm grip on how to tactically and strategically win the battles. You will need to be firm in your grip on your army or your soldiers will likely lose morale and organization; and let me tell you that is a nightmare scenario. So, it's my professional opinion that you should take the reigns and be firm in your rule as well as forgiving. It takes a great leader to maintain a strong balance between his firm and forgiving sides, yet it is very important. Alternatively remember that it is also dependent on cultures... for example an orc would obviously be much more strict and cruel to his soldiers, yet honorable at the same time than a human may be. It's really own personal preference, but there you have it!

One last point and that is that your characters will likely forever be changed by any war time they see... death is hard to see, especially when you see your own comrades cut down around you... it will change a person, I promise you that. At least then you have something to go off for your character! Imagine you can be in a tavern talking about it later down the line!

What We've Learned
  • Obey the Chain of Command!
  • How to act as a soldier!
  • How to act as a leader!
  • Death changes characters!

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The Big Picture on War: Alrighty now that we've covered Player Interactions let's move onto the actual major points of what war really is. On with the show!
Logistics: Logistics - The overall management of the way resources are moved to the areas where they are required. That is the definition of logistics and in war I most closely associate this with infrastructure and all that it applies to. Essentially this means that this is one of the most important aspects of war; how you may be wondering, well it's simple really, a nation's logistics determines their capability to wage war, the amount of resources they can allocate to certain aspects, as well as the over all infrastructure and economy of the nation.

What I am trying to convey is that when a nation begins a war, they must keep tabs on their logistics and appoint departments etc. to keep watch over all of these aspects. There are necessary requirements in order to keep the civilian and military population well-supplied and in order while at war with a foreign nation. Should certain aspects begin to falter then they may find themselves in a bit of a problem. This can include damage to over all morale for the population and support for war; or directly damaging an enemies supply lines etc. Needless to say, it is incredibly important. Let's try a scenario for try on what I mean.

Example: Theramore Expeditionary Force is on a force march for The Crossroads. On their way they maintain a constant guard on their supply lines coming in from Bael Modan. The Red Sand Irregulars, a mercenary band working for the Horde, has orders to cut the TEF's supply line to cut morale and serve as a distraction. The Red Sand Irregulars successfully block off the supply line and steal a few wagons meant to resupply the Theramore Expeditionary Force. Meanwhile, the TEF's morale begins to drop as hunger sets in and they are forced to attempt and open their supply lines. END.

While that was just one scenario, think about the repercussion that could offer for Horde forces to fortify their holdings etc. These are just some aspects that are important about logistics etc. They make and break a war for your side.

What We've Learned
  • Logistics are important!
  • Appoint a team to manage them!
  • Target an enemies logistics!
  • Logistics make and break a war!

Morale: Morale is perhaps one of the most important points of war on a large scale that I can think of. When I speak about morale I mean two types, civilian and military morale. You need to maintain a constant high or at least well off balance of morale in order to keep safe from unrest and possible revolt or heavy protest to the war.

First off I will touch up on civilian morale as it is the larger scale version. Civilian morale consists of your civilian population's over all feelings towards the war. There are quite a few ways you can damage and safeguard this type of morale. It goes both ways essentially say that you win a lot of battles and keep production at a good high, this way you will maintain high morale from the success of your military in battle, and you'll maintain a high on morale due to good production. However, this can also work against you! If you begin to lose a lot of battles you can lose support for the war and cause strikes or protests, coincidently this also effects production and can cause a decrease in production. Also the leaders can choose to take direct control of production and declare martial law which may also increase production, but decrease support heavily etc. Point simple, keep things on a cool level or face the consequences, it's hard to do both!

Second we'll touch up on military morale as it is nearly, if not, just as important as civilian morale. Military morale directly relates to the overall morale of your soldiers on campaign. Soldiers with low morale will likely perform at a lower capacity compared to soldiers with a high morale who would perform at optimal capacity. You can gain and lose military morale through a multitude of ways, the most common is through losing battles or heavy setbacks via espionage and other things similar to that line of work. If you lose too many battles, morale will fall, if you win battles, morale will rise. It's really that simple. Another point is the amount of leadership those who are commanding their forces have. A general or commander with great leadership can pull even the worst situations out and turn it into his advantage, of course, that is incredibly difficult, but you get the point, I hope.

What We've Learned
  • Morale is one of the most important aspects of war.
  • Morale can literally make the outcome.
  • Morale effects even those not directly involved!
  • Keep both civilian and troop morale as high as you can for the best results!

Technology: Technology is by far one of the most important aspects of a nation's capability to wage war. Of course, this can be taken into many different accounts. After all skill and training does come into play, a hardcore veteran can easily find his way through outdated technology to win victory. Either way technology easily adds an addition to how you win wars. You don't often see a cavalry charge against a line of rifleman in reality. But this is also warcraft we are talking about, so we have to take into account those aspects as well.

Essentially my point is that different levels of technology can easily affect the sway of a battle, or rather, war. Different aspects come into play from as far to weaponry and over to civilian technology. This can affect the way you successfully move supplies or to how you relay information. Obviously this also comes into effect when you have a catapult vs. a tank or anything on that line. The point is simple, make sure you keep it realistic on different levels of technology and you will succeed. Remember children, dynamite is often times much more effective than random catapult fire!

What We've Learned
  • Technology plays an important aspect in war.
  • Keep things realistic in terms of what your respective faction can do.

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The Finer Points on War: I covered the majority of the major points I could think of. So with that said I will cover the finer points on how to actually wage war in terms of military etc. One thing I'd like to make a note of here under The Finer Points is the distinction between tactics and strategy.
Tactics: The art or science of disposing military or naval forces for battle and maneuvering them in battle.
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Strategy: The science or art of combining and employing the means of war in planning and directing large military movements and operations.

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Espionage: Espionage relates to your amount of intelligence on a foreign faction. And it probably is no surprise to anyone that this is a very, very important aspect of waging war. Intelligence is key when it comes to victory in war, with great intelligence on your enemy you can outwit and maneuver a strategic victory or gain the intelligence on their battle plans and win a tactical victory. But espionage can also be used to sabotage enemy supply lines and all the other things you could possibly think of, be creative with this department. 

With all of that said it is important to allocate a nice amount of resources and money into your espionage department in order to properly equip your spies and agents to successfully get the job done. But also be careful about this; for if your agents are caught then it does not help your overall reputation very much on the global stage.

What We've Learned
  • Espionage, use it!
  • Pump plenty of money into it!
  • Don't get caught!

Terrain and Weather: Terrain relates to the obvious… the terrain in which you are waging battle. You best believe that terrain can play a large role in the outcome of a battle. Without proper preparation you can find yourself at a serious disadvantage due to the terrain itself. It can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Especially if you are not trained to fight in certain terrain conditions such as cold weather or desert heat , as far as to cliffs, mountains, hills, or anything like that. For scenario.

Example: Warsong Offensive position themselves on the top of a hill to prepare for the oncoming charge of Kul'Tiras Marines . As the Marines begin their charge up the hill, they find themselves slowed by the steep mound; just then, the Warsong Offensive makes a counter charge, their momentum increased by their charge down the hill and easily overcome the Kul'Tiras Marines.

Weather also plays a huge role in the outcome of a battle. If it is hardcore raining and windy, archers would be nearly useless; and soldiers will likely lose their balance easily in muddy soil. There are a numerous amount of ways weather can affect battle which are very similar to how terrain can alter the outcome of a battle, just hope that you can predict the weather or know what is to come.

What We've Learned
  • Learn the lay of the land before you march.
  • Hope you have a General who can point out these things.
  • Hope that weather is on your side.
  • Be prepared for anything.

Momentum: It is a common misconception that battle is all about valor and soldiers holding the line etc. Well… you know what, that is entirely wrong. I will tell you now that battle is ALL about momentum. Momentum of a unit bowling through etc. It is hard to describe so I will use a scenario as best I can.

Example: Two armies converge on the open plains, both locked to the death as they fight. Their momentum is equal and thus they are gaining and losing no ground, it is a stalemate. Then from the right flanks of one of the armies comes heavy cavalry. They charge hard into the right flank of the opposing army, their momentum did not cease and gave rise for their infantry to make a push. Once started the enemy continued to lose momentum and began to route.

Point short, keep up momentum, and try not to give ground or you may have a tough time on your hands. Hope your general can keep an eye out for where an enemy is making an offensive etc.

What We've Learned
  • Momentum decides the outcome of a tactical victory generally.
  • Keep up momentum, try to protect your flanks etc.

Winning: Winning a battle occurs when you route an enemy army. In order to do this you need to break the will of the soldiers or slaughter them. But remember, the goal is not to kill every single soldier as it is to force them into a route. Routing an enemy occurs when you break their will to fight or force them into total retreat via loss of momentum. Also, if you want to, try and take prisoners by not delivering lethal blows etc.

What We've Learned
  • Route the enemy to win.
  • Capture enemies if you wish.

Skirmishes: Before a battle a smaller battle generally occurs, this is known as a skirmish. These are the small battles that lead up to the major battles on a much smaller scale. Generally it involves scout units etc. leading the two armies to each other or to another camped army. For scenario!

Example: Horde Skirmishers had encountered a group of mercenary scouts hired by Alliance forces on their patrol. They began to skirmish with each other a bit, the mercenaries leading the Horde Skirmishers towards the Alliance encampment where their army was located. Meanwhile a scout was sent back to the Horde army and told the location as the skirmishers continued their skirmish with the scouts.

What We've Learned
  • Skirmishes generally occur before battles.
  • Generally small battles before armies meet.
  • There are skirmisher units, yes.

Fortifications: Hill Forts: A hill fort is a type of earthwork used as a fortified refuge or defended settlement, located to exploit a rise in elevation for defensive advantage. They are typically European and of the Bronze and Iron Ages. The fortification usually follows the contours of the hill, consisting of one or more lines of earthworks, with stockades or defensive walls, and external ditches.

Compounds: Compound is a type of fortification made up of walls or fences surrounding several buildings in the center of a large piece of land. The walls can either serve the purpose of being tall, thick, and impenetrable, in which case they would be made of wood, stone, or some other like substance; or dangerous to attempt to scale, in which case they could be made of barbed wire or electrified. Compounds can be designed to double as living spaces and military structures in the middle of hostile territory or as a military area within a country's territory; they are also used by the extremely wealthy, powerful, paranoid or criminal to protect against threats to themselves or their property.

Pele Tower: Are small fortified keeps or tower houses with the intension as watch towers where signal fires can be lit by the garrison to warn of approaching danger.

Keep: A keep is a strong central tower which is used as a dungeon or a fortress. Often, the keep is the most defended area of a castle, and as such may form the main habitation area, or contain important stores such as the armoury, food, and the main water well, which would ensure survival during a siege.

Castle: A castle is a type of fortified structure built usually to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. They take on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls and arrowslits, were commonplace.

Defensive Walls: A defensive wall is a fortification used to defend a city or settlement from potential aggressors. Beyond their defensive utility many walls also have important symbolic functions, representing the status and independence of the communities they embraced.

Dun: A cheaper, smaller, and less expensive hill fort. The dun consists of a trench, a cheap wall, and a hill with watch towers. The main purpose of a dun is for a fast-deployed hill defense in woodlands, and in this time period they serve a poor permenant defense.

Citadel: The epitome of a defensive stronghold. It is a multi-layered fortress defending a town from siege. In conjunction with bastions, this is easily the strongest fortification in the game, but it is also the most expensive.
Hilltop Contour: The classic hill fort; an inland location with a hilltop defensive position surrounded by artificial ramparts or steep natural slopes.
Interfluvial: An inland defensive position on a ridge or spur with steep slopes on 2 or 3 sides, and artificial ramparts on the level approaches.
Lowland: An inland location without special defensive advantages (except perhaps marshes), but surrounded by artificial ramparts; typical of later settled oppida.
Sea Cliff: A semi-circular crescent of ramparts backing on to a straight sea cliff.
Sea Promontory: A linear earthwork across a narrow neck of land leading to a peninsula with steep cliffs to the sea on three sides.
Sloping Enclosure: A smaller earthwork on gently sloping hillsides; not significant defensive position.

Univallate: A single circuit of ramparts for enclosure and defense.
Multivallate: More than one layer of defensive earthworks, outer works might not be complete circuits, but defend the weakest approaches; typically the inner circuit is original, with outer circuits added later.

Simple opening: Might indicate an enclosure, rather than a defended position; sometimes the main ramparts may turn inward or outward, and be widened and heightened to control the entrance.
Linear holloway: Straight parallel pair of ramparts dominating the entrance; projecting either inward, outward, or occasionally overlapped along the main rampart.
Complex: Multiple overlapping outer works; staggered or interleaved multivallate ramparts; zig-zag entrance way, sling platforms and well planned lines of fire.

Simple: Simplistic tower designed as a watchpost and often outfitted with a few archers.
Complex: Generally acting as a turret for many archers and as a connector for battlements and walls.
Siege Battlement: This is in practical terms, an added part to the complex tower in which there is a top tier added for siege weaponry such as trebuchets etc.

Disclaimers: Well now that you have read all of what I've posted let me just say for disclaimers sake that I truly hope that this has helped some of you see how war is waged. While I did give a boiled down version I do believe that I have put it into a better perspective; sorry for sounding arrogant and pompous! If I messed up on anything or you believe that you have a correction, please do not hesitate to let me know!

War System
Morale is what the new system for the overall war itself would be based off. Mind you, this does not equate to the battles themselves, though, it does influence them very much so. While this is still up for debate and tweaking, it will require that there are at least two Moderators for each war event, this could mean either player or GM moderators. Another thing is that this does require the use of NPC usage in some scenarios AKA making NPC armies. That in itself may be enough to throw this system into the gutter.

This will also require research on your part for executing strategic and tactical victories. Essentially what I am saying is do your research before you orchestrate one of these events. After all, a cavalry charge into pikes or spears doesn't end well... things like that, you know? That and you may want to have a clear understanding on the faction's abilities etc. A general consensus, really.

Provincial Morale: Provincial Morale is the key factor into determine political stability and happiness of a region. A province with slugging morale will produce less revenue than one with optimal morale. Political troubles of all levels will increase with a lower morale score. A province with 0 morale will automatically revolt; usually lead by an aristocrat or a pretender of the region. What affects the morale of a region is a number of things from supplies, to unemployment, to taxation, to the militia's numbers, to even religion of the area. Make sure all factors of a realm or province work in your favor and not against. This is mostly done automatically, but occasionally a report on each province's morale will be released.

Campaign Morale: This is the overall morale of the troops marching. It can affect the morale of a province marched upon, as a undisciplined squad will have less morale, and will thus cause more political instability while they stay in a city. Likewise, a well disciplined army can act as exemplars to the people. An army with higher morale will have access to larger rolling for initial morale (capping with a d100), will be capable of marching further, will less likely revolt, and will usually cost less upkeep. Each general/commander of a barracks will be given a morale score. Do not let it drop.

Battle Morale: Battle morale is essentially the scores and numbers allocated to each battle. We will have to use d100s to determine the battle morale, but in this game we are using d100s and lower based on the morale of a general. Buffs and tactics will add to one side's morale, and the difference between the two will determine how great the victory. Different events during the actual battle will also raise or lower this morale score.

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Special Thanks
Special thanks to Darkneon for editing all of the pictures, and special thanks to Jeff for help with the ideas and everything else! And a special thanks to everyone who read, please leave any thoughts or things in comments. Opinions are welcomed!
Very nice! Not that it bothers me, I just figured since you seemed to have spent so much time making this great guide, you might want to know that some color codes weren't input correctly, they are messed up on some spots.
Thanks for letting me know! I just went ahead and fixed the problems I think. :P
Great guide! a very enjoyable read.
This guide is really important. Obviously people aren't bound to follow guides, but I feel that this one in particular describes the topic in simple enough terms for everyone to understand, but in enough detail that you learn quite a lot about what you need to know. Having examples for each section is very helpful. Kudos to you for writing it, and I hope that lots of people take it to heart.

My only issue would be the scattered typos, but that's me being nitpicky.
Chris, you might want to fix the bottom part where you cut/paste from our Wars of Alosia system. We don't use d20s in WoW.
Nice guide!

Moving. :>
Jeff Wrote:Chris, you might want to fix the bottom part where you cut/paste from our Wars of Alosia system. We don't use d20s in WoW.

Done and done, though, I will need your help with creating a working system if you can.
What I read looked good, but I'll be honest: my screen resolution is small, and the size of some of the images made it so I had to scroll back and forth horizontally to read it, making it very difficult to overcome the frustration and force my way through it. Would it be possible to resize them down to something smaller?
Wonderful indeed, a very good guide to get started on leading an army, one thing that sure as hell can help with morale is the promise of a nice-afterlife should you die, and religious services... for a religious army at-least.
To.. many.. IMAGES! Awwh! :P Its quite annoying even in 1680x1050, but you did mention a lot of good stuff.
Alrighty I think I managed to fix the picture problem!

*Crosses fingers* Hopes spoilers solve the problems!
Amerason Wrote:Alrighty I think I managed to fix the picture problem!

*Crosses fingers* Hopes spoilers solve the problems!
Fantastic! Thank you.
Very useful and easy to read guide, Chris! My favorite section was Morale :3 Nothing makes me more giddy like rolling up the enemy line. Now that I know how to wage proper war, Imma go fire all my generals!

I think whomever made those pictures is the best thing since PB&J, but that's just my opinion.
Sorry for posting so much in this, just posted up the War System.
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