Part 3 of 11 in The Imperfect Warlord
Chapter 3: Bogroll, Stanley&Wanda, TheBoard, Leroy, Levelling, KeshiksArrows, WaitingGame
Light was coming through the window. I was, again, awake but hadn't gotten up yet. Instead, I was considering the past two days and, given all the things I had done, I had come to a single, inescapable, conclusion.
I was smarter then I used to be.
The way I had been talking to the others? That wasn't how I talked, it was how I wished I could talk. The way I imagine myself talking when I created conversations with myself and I had time to pick out exactly how it would go. The sort of talks that I could only create when I sat down and wrote it out. I was saying things the way that I would if I could pause the world for five minutes to carefully contemplate EXACTLY how I would reply. I was no longer getting caught without a thing to say. Wasn't constantly repeating myself saying, 'you know'. Nor was I stumbling over my words. I also was a lot more decisive and confident in myself, to boot.
Out of all the things that I had come across so far, this was the most appreciated.
“My Lord Toma, dawn is threatening once again,” Bogroll's cheerful voice called out. I gave a stretch, got out of bed and put my glasses on.
Race: Twoll
Class: heavy (large)
Level: 2
Move: 0 (garrison)
Hits: 12
Combat: 4+1= 5
Defence: 5+1= 6
Special: Fabrication. Subterranean.
The really fascinating thing is that he didn't seem to need a weapon or armor and yet still had combat stats that high. It seemed that heavy units weren't as item dependent on items as light type ones.
“Bogroll,” I began as I lifted my arms to the side so he could put the armour on. “Describe the traits of heavy units.”
“Oh,” Bogroll thought a moment. “Well Lord, all heavies are bigger, stronger, have more hit points, have a damage reduction to damage when hit, and can cleave.”
Cleave, that sounded familiar. AH! It's a D&D term, “by cleave, you mean can hit more then one target with the same hit?”
“Yes, Lord,” of course. While the keshik did two attacks per round, heavy units could strike multiple targets with the same blow. I remembered that happening in the comic, now that I thought about it. During the Battle for GK, Sizemore got one of his golems to kill off both the enemy warlords with a single hit.
Damage reduction sounded clear as well, but I really should confirm, “so when a heavy unit gets hit, an attack that would do one point of damage to a light unit would do nothing to a heavy?”
“And larger units, like dwagons, can soak up attacks that do at least twice as much damage,” he replied. Not much was said about heavies in the comic, but clearly they were absolute tanks. I could see the advantages of them now. Given how weak armour seemed to be for the light units, it was no wonder the heavies didn't bother. Their skin was stronger then anything that was generally made.
On the other hand, even though a piker had only a +1 attack compared to a +4 of a twoll. One twoll was worth eight pikers, in production terms. In that case, even with a damage reduction, the twoll would be crushed. They didn't seem to be that valuable, in combat terms. I was missing something...
“Done Lord,” Bogroll had finished up with putting the armour on. “Lets go to the situation room. Tool Stanley is waiting.”
We started to walk as I though about the situation. Okay, while a twoll could beat single infantry units, as soon as they stacked themselves, they could beat the twoll. So, cost wise, wasn't it better to have infantry? Except... Except... Wait!
“Bogroll, can you stack yourself with other units?” Bogroll stopped at that and turned around. I had clearly asked something incredibly, mindbogglingly, stupid. I could see it in the expression in his face.
“No Lord, only command units can arrange stacks,” he finally replied.
“Ah, thank you. Sorry for asking something strange.”
He scratched his head and turned around, walking at a brisker pace, “we should hurry, Lord. Tool Stanley is waiting.”
I had clearly embarrassed him. How could I have not known something so basic? That was huge. No matter how much I tried learning from the comic over the years, some things just completely blindsided me. Warlords weren't just strong because of the leadership bonus. Without them being able to arrange stacks, even strong units were only a portion of the true strength they could be. I'd bet that units with the rider special were able to stack with their mount as a part of the ability. My eyebook was open, and I quickly wrote down everything I had learned. I barely finished just before we got to Stanley.
“Hey Hamster,” he greeted. “HEY! I can see your stats now.”
“Yes Tool, “ I replied while fingering my veil ring. “I have acquired a new item that lets me show stats just like every other unit.”
“Neat! Think you are going to get anything else?”
“I think so. Can't be sure until morning rations...” POP, they suddenly appeared. I was pretty darn impressed by how well they timed things so that I ended up in the room just before turn start.
“Ha! Nother one of those stupid meals.”
“Which probably means a new toy to play with,” I replied while opening the box up. Sure enough, there was the sleeve that created Parson's famous mathamancy bracer. “Ohh.”
“What is it?”
“It's a converter for this,” I said, showing off my calculator watch. “In my world, mathamancy is another field where we have become highly developed. We have mass produced magical items that can calculate much more frequently then a mathamancer can.”
“Huh. So what's the problem with it?”
“Incapable of gathering the variables needed to make the calculations. If I'm right, this should fix that. One moment, Tool,” there was the slot for the watch. Seems I didn't need to unstrap it to make it fit. Just press here and...” it clicked into place and started to glow. "Done!"
“Neat, you gonna test it?”
“Yep, just as soon as I get the strap here on my arm,” it didn't take long. “Alright, chances of our side surviving this turn are... 99.97%.”
Stanley frowned at that. “Why not 100%?”
“Not sure, Tool. Maybe it's worried you might trip and fall down the stairs?”
“Not likely! So, yer like a caster now?”
“Maybe even better. This baby could do a hundred calculations a turn!”
“Wow, that's a lot.”
“Yea, while I can't do anything else, in terms of pure mathamancy, I'm pretty sure this thing can do more then even a master class.”
“Sounds useful. Well, lets dig in.” we fell into silence for awhile as we ate the food that had popped for us. My eyebook was open and, once again I was copying information down from the stupid facts.
Did You Know?  All units are one of two types, heavy and light.
Did you know?  Most units are further broken down into six categories. Tiny, small, medium, large, massive and colossal.
Did you know?  Wearing armour gives a defense bonus for units that are of the race of Man, but interferes with certain specials, such as flight, casting, and dance fighting.
Did You Know?  When a unit gets an unusual special, such as flying, this replaces a more common special, such as rider.
Right. While Flying tended to be a really showy special in canon, it wasn't necessarily better then rider. Especially if the kingdom has mount units that can also fly. Earlier, I had used my glasses on the dwagons, so I knew they were massive sized units. Which was appropriate, they were at least the size of a small bus. I supposed that made those megawiffs colossal sized. While there were some art discrepancies, I was betting the new guy that did that battle between Stanley and Jillian got the proportions right, which meant a mega was about FOUR TIMES the size of a dwagon. Yikes!
Also of interest was the information that human units could benefit from armour in ways that monster units could not. That may be why you never saw units like gobwins, hobs, and twolls with armour. Marbits wore it though...
“So Hamster,” Stanley said, as I turned my attention to him. “I was thinking of that whole signamancy thing and was wondering if you knew what my signamancy said about me.”
It means you are a moronic George W. Bush parody that goes around starting a bunch of wars. A guy that doesn't pay attention to what's best and does what he wants. Boop the consequences.”
I did not say this to him.
Needed a more flattering way to put my reply. Hmm, how did Colbert put it?
“There are many rulers that lead from the head. They listen to their advisers and try to work out logical solutions. Your signamancy clearly says you lead in a different way, a better, Titan inspired way. Back at home, we call this 'truthiness'.
“Basically it is a quality characterizing a "truth" that you assert or argue that you understand and know intuitively "from the gut" or because it "feels right". This is your perfect truth, regardless of evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts. You don't need those things. Those are for people without the mandate of the Titans. Your signamancy clearly shows your 'greatness'.”
I couldn't completely remove the sarcasm from that last word.
“Gee,” he said. Clearly touched by what he perceived to be a complement. He didn't notice then. “It really says all that?”
“Oh yes, my Tool.”
“Isn't that incredible, Wanda? Any signamancer can just tell how awesome I am just by looking at me,” I froze.
“Indeed it is Tool, a most impressive description,” her voice came from behind me. Boop it. Demn it. “However, it's time to begin our move.”
“Right,” Stanley said. “Casters, fire up the battle board.” I got up and walked towards the setup. Such a pity they couldn't create a magical item to do this instead. I'd really miss the tactical control it gave.
“So,” Stanley questioned. “We really going to withdraw from all the battles? That just feels wrong.”
“Winning isn't the point, my Tool. It doesn't matter how many men they have, if they can't break through the walls. Besides, this is more to scare Ansom into attacking then anything. I fully intend to be getting those pliers this turn,” I rubbed my hands together, it was time to get this battle started.
“I want all units to go here,” I told the linked casters, who relayed the information to the rest of the raid group. “This will be the base hex for the attack. I want Leroy Jenkins a full hex in front of the others, by himself, while traveling to the location. That way we can make sure he croaks off any scouts before they can see the total force.”
The board quickly showed them doing so. Along the way, Leroy croaked a bat. That may not sound worth noting but, had I bunched all my units together, just that one tiny unit would have shown them the exact make up of my forces. Obviously, I didn't want them to know just how many units I was committing to this attack. Phase one complete.
I looked over the board. The coalition army numbered well over ten thousand troops, and the main convoy was spread out over exactly twenty-four hexes, although there were numerous other hexes with smaller troop counts. The make up of each hex were similar in proportions. They each had two siege platforms. They were massive affairs, having six levels, with eight digger units per level. Forty-eight units were inside each one alone.
Since siege can't move themselves, they were being pushed by two cloth golems, with a couple more in the area. Seemed to average four to five cloth golem per siege, with one or two being the battle-bear type. The bears were also siege and, therefore, a priority target. There were also the wiener-rammers but they were in the back end of the column, and I wouldn't be running into them. Taking all the units together, each hex had around four hundred and fifty troops of various types. The number might be important, maybe there were penalties for having over five hundred at a time? I added it to the eyebook to look into later.
"While most of the hexes are similar, the front and back hexes have a larger amount of archers and heavies in them. The leadership was all gathered around the center, so we should avoid that too. Therefore, we'll start on the second hex and raid the next nine before breaking off,” in canon, Parson had said 'second stack', when he was in my situation. In addition, a little while later, Vinnie had mentioned that 'the dwagons should have wiped out at least five or six stacks in a row before they were defeated'. These were correct statements but very misleading to the reader because every unit in the hex was part of the same stack. Since non-command units can't stack themselves, I would suppose that the warlords did it for some reason, or perhaps all allied units in the same hex automatically stack at the end of turn? Could also just be a general way of saying, 'I have to kill all enemies in the hex' type deal instead. I needed to research this.
“Raids will be sent out in three stacks of five dwagons apiece. The colours will be a red, a green, two yellows, and either a pink, blue, or purple for the final member,” I continued. The colouring was important. Dwagons had various special abilities which were dictated by their colour. Red breathed fire, green breathed gas, yellow pooped out battle-crap bombs, pink breathed out sticky incapacitation bubbles (that could also suffocate you to death), blue shot lightning, and purple (which were a retconned colouring that replaced the black ones) fired sound waves that were especially effective against solid structures, like walls.
Moreover, red and green dwagon had excellent synergy, creating an effect that far surpassed what either could do alone. Given that the siege were wooden structures, having them attack it together to burn it down was the fastest method, and the easiest way to kill all the units manning it. Yellows were also ideal for this sort of environment, as they could launch attacks on units and not worry about being hit by melee units. They could soften up the targets before going to close range.
“Each stack will have a warlord, two keshiks, and two archers riding,” The stacking bonus for the configuration was only +5. I had hoped that the fact that rider units didn't count towards the malus meant that that I could add basic infantry without losing anything... but it didn't work out. Five dwagons, plus three riders make an eight stack. If I'd put additional rider class infantry on the remaining two it would have kept the full +7 bonus, but adding even one non-rider throws it off.
I supposed that was a big reason why you didn't often see infantry being added to mounts. When you added it up, these stacks were actually stronger without them in it. That said, I needed my archers to level. I might drop them after they get to level 3 though. All depends on how fast it happens.
With the preparations complete, it was time to see how it worked.
“Begin bombardment,” I ordered as they flew in at range. The yellows immediately started some selective bombardments on the battle bears. I had talked to the Tool and he had informed me that yellows can poop out twenty battle-crap bombs a turn at level 1, more if they eat in between bombings to refill themselves. Since I intended to hit ten hexes, I limited each yellow to two bombings each before closing in. I had my ranged units withhold fire for now, as I worried there might be penalties from shooting at far range. Why hadn't I asked about that when I'd had the chance???
The enemy archery, on the other hand, immediately started attacking. I paid close attention to the arrows that hit the dwagons. It was... well, one could say it was completely futile, in all honesty. Even though they pierced the scales and got stuck, it was all cosmetic. They didn't lower the hp at all. I supposed this was the power of damage reduction.
I issued my next order after preliminary bombing was over, “move down to attack. While swooping down, make sure to have have Leeroy give out a battle cry. “Goes like this. 'Leeroooooooooooooooooooy Jenkins.'”
Heheheh. Ah, Leroy. Best warlord or bestist warlord? I had thought about sending someone else to this suicide mission instead but I honestly didn't think he'd have a better chance to shine then in this battle, so he ended up coming.
“Dwagons and warlord hit the battle bears and tower, in that order,” the heavies were the only serious threat to the dwagons. It made no sense to let them get free hits while destroying the siege, and the first focus had to be on the siege type golems.
"Keshiks," I continued, "aim for the infantry, with a preference for archers, then stabbers. If you feel that there is a heavy that's damaged enough to be taken down within a round though, do so.” I was assuming stabbers gave slightly more exp since they appeared to be stronger than pikers and archers. "Archers will focus their fire on the damaged infantry in the siege engines, after they've been lit up, then on other marbits."
With stacking and warlord bonuses, all keshiks units were capable of killing low level infantry with a single hit. The normal archers couldn't always manage it though, so having them aim at burned marbits was the best way of maximizing their kill rate. Marbits having a lower base amount of hit points than regular infantry did. I wasn't especially worried about the return fire from archers, since they hadn't hurt the warlords in the story but I couldn't afford to ignore them either. The keshiks were incredibly effective at their jobs. Mowing down infantry faster then I could see.
Not faster, though, then the battle-board could catch. I had each infantry unit tagged. I wanted to figure out how many kills you needed to upgrade. During the attack, my ranged units used up all their arrows. The keshiks had a 95% accuracy rating and every shot they hit killed another infantry. The archers, on the other hand, had 80%-90% and one out of ten of the units hit survived or ended up incapacitated.
In terms of leveling, all six of the level 1 archers ended up at level 2 and Jade had actually managed to get to level 4 by killing an enemy with every shot she made, one of them being a battle bear (she needed both arrows for the round to manage it though)! Twenty-three in total. I felt good about this, but I also realized I had made some mistakes. First off, it had not occurred to me to check to see how many arrows the back quivers held. Normal archers had twelve arrows, while the keshiks had twenty-four. I should have had the twolls make bigger ones for all of the units. Second, they couldn't get to the spare arrows while in combat as they needed a more stable platform to do it safely. I made more notes to fix that problem next time around.
After the attack was done, I had the dwagons steady out, so that the archers could reload for the next hex. I spent a few minutes talking about trying to fit more arrows in their quivers when I found out something surprising. Their quivers could be re-sized to comfortably hold even more arrows. When I realized this I asked about re-sizing the arrow carrying cases but was informed that they could not be re-sized because they were manufactured, not popped. Another case of my ignorance shining through. Luckily, I had been discrete enough to avoid Stanley's attention in the matter but Wanda had overheard me. I wanted to find out more about this but I had already asked too many questions on this topic, so I just accepted that I wouldn't be stuffing the quivers full of arrows for the raid.
The destruction was impressive. Two siege, each holding forty-eight units (destroyed to almost a man, with the archers picking off any that escaped the flames), plus seven heavies (three of which were battle-bears), plus another hundred and fifty from the keshiks, and archers that didn't shoot the siege diggers...
I had decimated close to two hundred and fifty units. More then half the numbers of the entire hex and hadn't suffered a single loss. Not one of my archers was even hit. Which didn't make sense, honestly. Even though their arrows did jack all to the dwagons, they insisted on not targeting the vulnerable riders on top of it? I was pretty sure there was a reason for that, which was just another thing I really needed to learn about.
It was completely insane. THIS was the army I was sweating bullets over? I was going to run out of arrows at this rate. How many did I have packed anyway?
The answer was a case of fifty arrows for each of the thirty-two archers (1600), in addition to what their quivers already carried (480; 2080 total). Minus using an entire quiver's worth of arrows... Hmm. I put the numbers into the bracer. Yea... I was gonna run out before I was done, even with the best of management. I'd need to ration the number of arrows used per hex. No matter.
Second hex, same as the first. Four of the archers leveled and three of the keshiks did as well. After giving it some thought, I decided to do stay in the hex, even after all the siege were destroyed, so that the other units could level before moving on. They weren't exactly in any danger by this point as all enemy ranged units were dead. I was actually surprised by how low the contingent of archery was. Less then 20% of all infantry were archery.
They used up most of their remaining arrows but everyone ended up levelling, except for Jade, who I had told not to bother this time around. Now my group had six level 3 archers, five level 5 keshiks, and Jade. The devastation was even worse then the first time around.
Running on empty, ammo-wise, I had the group go into the forest and switch out. I took out the six level 3s and replaced them with the two remaining level1s and four of the twelve level 2s. I also replaced two of my 5s as I with level 4s. Finally, I had the arrows picked off the dwagons and added to my ammo. There weren't as many as I would have liked but I got another hundred off of it.
Third hex had both my level 1s level, and one of the level 2s. I could have switched out the new level 3 but I decided to push through to the next hex directly instead.
Fourth hex, all of the archers were level 3. Jade also got to level 5. Now all my keshiks were where I wanted them.
I took another hex break to fill up the arrows and added six new level 2s, from my remaining eight, to the mix. I realized that, by this point, I was going to make my goals. With the arrows collected by the dwagons, I'd even have enough ammo to last the full ten hexes, with a bit to spare.
By the time I had FINALLY finished, every single archer was at least level 3, and all the keshiks were at least level 5 (Jade had gotten to level 6 on the last hex).
With a few hexes that had a third siege in it, the average kill count ended up being 200-250 units killed per hex, meaning I had just killed off over TWO THOUSAND units, over fifty of which being siege, with less then fifty attackers. Unreal.
All this killing had also given me a rough idea of how leveling worked. Assuming you were killing, say, level 1 archers (with the killing of stronger units speeding up the process), it would probably work like this.
Kill 8 units to get to level 2.
Kill 16 units to get to level 3.
Kill 32 units to get to level 4.
Kill 64 units to get to level 5.
Kill 128 units to get to level 6.
I assumed the number kept doubling every level after that. To get to level 3 then, you needed to kill a maximum of sixteen units, which was a bit above what the archers carried. With all I had been doing, there might not have been time if it wasn't for hex relativity.
Hex relativity is the mind bending concept that every hex is in it's own time bubble. You could go to one hex, spend an hour and return to the previous one and from the viewpoint of anyone in the first hex, only minutes might have passed on by. The differences were so complete that you could actually watch the sun change position, just from moving from one hex to the other. I tried not to think about it too hard.
That said, the important thing to take away is this, a lot more can happen to the hexes you are commanding then take place in the hex you are in. So, even though all the time killing those enemy units, removing arrows from the dwagons and reloading the archers, took far more then eight hours, which was how long my side had from when we had started before Ansom got his turn, because of hex relativity, we could fit it all in.
“Aright Tool, I think we sent the message to Ansom. Now we bait the trap,”
“Why now? We're doing great. We have plenty of dwagons and some move left,” Stanley noted.
“That's all true but more half the casualties came from the archers and they are out of arrows. Plus, I don't want to risk any more of the dwagons then I have too. We can do more, sure, but we still aren't gonna be able to kill enough of the coalition before the fliers get back. We're gambling on getting the Arkenpliers.”
I had done well with the dwagons. A bit better then Parson had. An interesting thing I'd found out is that, while the unled units didn't go for the riders, they still seemed dimly aware which dwagon had the warlord on it. As a result, all three of the warlord mounts had taken a higher percentage of the attacks and needed to be swapped out. One of them still had more then half it's hp left. I decided that it was strong enough to add to the dwagon guard ring I was forming.
I formed a circle of dwagons and my ranged units and made sure they were properly stacked. The placement was like this.
I had placed the dwagon with half hp on the 5/2 hex and the bigger stacks were facing the enemy. The object was to get Ansom to move his troops to the back hex with only the three of the weaker type level 1 dwagons and break into the hex to try and kill the dwagons he would assume were inside of it. It had worked in canon, it would work here.
There were still left over dwagons, of course. Nine of them, in fact. Two soldiers could ride each one comfortably, and a third could be added, as a captured unit. The carrying cases needed to be dropped to manage but they were all empty anyway. Besides, I could use them to my advantage if I left them behind. There was just enough for me to carry the remaining twenty ranged units far away from any chance of being attacked.
“Nothing to do but wait,” we've set up everything we could. I couldn't help but wonder if I hadn't dropped the ball though. This raid had gone better then I had dreamed when I first started. If I had gathered more arrows or decided to make hitting the army as my main goal. Maybe promoted more of the archers. I could have easily wiped out double these forces. Triple. Could I have been able to wipe out every hex except the leadership one?
I guess I'd never know but it made me regret assuming that it was impossible to win against so many units. I was feeling a bit stressed out from all the work I had put into this so I spent the remainder of our side's turn resting.
Mechanics Corner: 
  • Twolls: Twolls are subterranean. It says this exactly no-where in the story but I am convinced it is the case. The capital doesn't have a gate. The only way out is so fly or go underground, it was even said that the spidews and dwagons were popped to take this fact into account, yet it can also pop trolls? Plus, there were twolls in the field, Jillian croaked one, so shouldn't they be able to return and enter GK? It just makes sense to me that they are.
  • Damage reduction: You see dwagons peppered with arrows and be fine. Tramennis mentioned that his cloth golems could go through unled stacks untouched. Are they untouched because they can't be hit? Absurd. They are big, easy, targets. If weak hits only do cosmetic damage though, due to having damage reduction, this can make sense.
  • Cleave: We've seen heavy units kill two enemies with a single hit multiple times. Sizemore's rock golem, killing the two warlords in the tunnels, for instance. There are also not really any examples of light units doing the same that I can't explain away with special circumstances, like Ansom can kill multiple uncroaked per round because of the arkenpliers. I say this is a special trait of heavies. Perhaps of heavy humanoid units, as mounts seem to kill one at a time as well.
  • Units can't self stack: It's canon that stacking is natural date-a-mancy, and the implication was that it had a lot to do with commander units. It's also been shown that stacking increases damage output by a fair bit. Even without a warlord, they can do a lot of damage just by making an 8-stack. So I figure that this is an ability they don't have to keep them weak. All passages I have noticed also have had warlords creating stacks themselves too. I figure this is another one of the advantages of being a commander, along with being able to direct infantry to hitting specific targets, and such.
  • Size categories:  This is a further way to break up how hit points and such should be distributed to units. For example, man units count as medium type and have the normal base, 4 for infantry. If an infantry was as big as Ace he would count as a large unit and have 5 hit points instead. Marbits are infantry that are a fair bit smaller, so I put them as being small type that have 3 hit points. Bat are tiny, so they get a single hit point. Likewise, heavy units can be very different sizes. Megawiffs count as colossal, dwagons as massive, spidews/twolls/battlebears as large, and gwiffons as medium, as they seem barely bigger then their riders, yet count as heavies. So they would have various differences in their base stats as well.
  • Armour limitations: You don't see units using armor when flying, or casting, or dance fighting, among other things. The reason I give for this is that armour interferes with the function. Remember, singing during battle, does not mean they are dance-fighting. Singing gives a bonus that is independent of it. So Sammy can wear armour while attacking Ansom, and still sing. There are also magical exceptions, like Wanda can have her armoured uncroaked dance fight, and the archons' combined specials can allow the troops to dance fight.
  • Siege numbers: A lot of the images in Erfworld showed many battle bears. I feel this is simple artistic licence. They are also hard to make, as only the dollamancer can create them and it takes multiple turns to do so. On top of that he also has to create other golems as well. So I feel it's more realistic that the number of battle bears is smaller then shown and keep the siege engines limited. at about two to three a hex. I also think there was a mention of that over 50 siege was destroyed, representing 40% of the forces but I can't find the reference...
  • Battle Crap: I know it runs out, eventually. I have no idea how many times yellows can bomb. I picked a number that sounded reasonable.
  • Resizing: Jillian could resize Bart's sword in book 0. There was nothing special about the sword, seemed standard equipment and FAQ didn't have a caster that made magical items. On the other hand twoll made stuff, like the picnic basket, could not be resized. Therefore, I feel that popped equipment can be resized but manufactured stuff can't, unless enchanted.
  • Leveling: We saw a level 1 heavy hobgobwin knight get to level 3 by killing some infantry and a level one warlord. I figure that saying getting to level 2 by killing 8 infantry, the amount that a city produces per day, is reasonable. Then I just doubled the amount needed per level, since it was stated that the requirements for leveling grows exponentially. I understand there are plenty of intangibles for this but I feel my reasoning is a good baseline. 
  • Archer numbers: This isn't really a battle mechanic but just a note of surprise from me. Archery really does seem to not be used much. The Jetstone defensive force had 6k men but only 600 archers. 20% might be overestimating their numbers, in all honesty. I also found it interesting that the Unaroyal Stabber had a lot of training, even though he never fought, as opposed to the Jetstone archer, who was fairly old, but had never been trained. I think that highlights the different attitude between the two classes.  

Word Count: 5.7k


Part 3 of 11 in The Imperfect Warlord


    • Thecommander236

      If keshiks are considered non-riders then wouldn't the number of units add up to 9 units? Shouldn't the bonus be +6? If keshiks are riders, then the stack's malus would be 7 as warlords are riders, right? The stack bonus would still be +6.


      I like the size categories. That always bothered me that gwiffens and dwagons were both heavies and that megalos had the exact same bonus as heavies. Then the bats hit as heavies when they fought with Caesar? What did they also have the same HP? I thought it would be stupid if they did have the same HP as a gwiffen so I always assumed that they didn't somehow. This explanation works perfectly.


      I always don't don't quite agree with how you state that leveling is linear, but you did state that this is only compliant up to Book 3 Page 79. Bad luck with the timing there since Pg 80 stated Date-a-mancy was more important than kills, so I'll let that pass.


      I can't really argue that much with the armor reduction, but I assume that the fractions of damage will eventually add up to a point. Like 5 arrow hits will cause one point of damage. That or dwagons just have completely ridiculous amounts of health or only archers will two damage can stick the dwagons with all other arrows bouncing off.


      I was going to call foul on the armor limitations, but Sammy was rocking which is better than dance fighting so if there is a armor limitation, rocking eliminates it. I'll just say that only heavy armor will prevent dancing fighting which makes sense. No one who dances is wearing full plate armor. They lack upper arm and quad plates; presumably they still wear mail on their quads as their the plate skirts-I forget the name of that type of equipment- don't protect them there. Plus they don't wear face masks so they can dance with their peripheral intact. Carry on.


      It also pisses me off that Jetstone didn't train their archers, though. And yes, I would make my army at least 40% archers like in Medieval Total War II. That makes more sense to me. Jetstone just likes their infantry/heavy combo (and Ossomer preferred stabbers over heavies), so I guess it makes sense that they neglect their range units. Still, not how I would run things.


      I love the story so far. It was weird, but I like the idea of you asking different questions that Parson did, getting a different picture of the situation and the rules. That makes sense. I like a lot of your ideas. I'm impressed so far.

      • TomaO2

        Ah good. Finally, a comment about mechanics.

        Well, the first public comment about mechanics.

        Anyway, keshiks are, indeed, considered riders. It's the ARCHERS that are not. Each group consists of 5 dwagons and 1 warlord (same as in canon) to start.

        In addition, there are two keshiks (which, again, count as riders). This makes an 8 stack.

        The problem comes with the two archers that also join the stacks. They don't get the rider bonus. If it had been two more knight class units, then it would have still been a max stack but, because they are not, it pushes it to a 10 stack equivalent. Therefore, the bonus is +5 (7-2). 

        The bit about creating an additional category besides heavy/light went through several revisions. My original idea was to divide medium and down as exclusivly light units with large and up being heavies. That didn't take into account units like Ossomer that are almost as large as twolls, yet still count as light unit (Ossomer can ride mounts). On the other end, gwiffen  seem barely bigger than infantry through most of the story. So I ended up making six categories with large and medium being able to interchange from light to heavy. 

        The bit about bats is something that I also spent time on. I created an entirely newmechanic specifically to handle that quote. I'll wait for it to show up in the story though. Feel free to ask about it then. :)

        You mean, exponential leveling? Eh. I don't know if date-a-mancy is more important. I don't think good date a mancy can drop leveling by 50% or something. I mean, lets look at Parson, he is level 2, that means he needs  8, 16, 32 units. He killed a wiener rammer (worth 8-16), a doll (probably worth 8), and a king Slately, a warlord, (worth 16+). That certainly fits in with an appropriate amount of exp for leveling to three. 

        In the end, intangible factors are impossible to estimate at this time. Unfortunately, I need a rule of thumb so I can decide what level various people are. So I need to keep that sort of thing for simplicity's sake. I don't think there is enough in page 80 to really change anything for my formula.

        It's hard to say how many minor hits a dwagon can take before armor reduction lets a point through. I'm not worrying too much about it. For the purposes of the story, they can have a lot of arrows stuck on them with no real worries.  Dwagons DO have a lot of hp but also keep in mind that 4 knights can kill one in a single turn. Which is why I turned knights into major damage dealers, with armor ignore feat, and no damage limitations.  

        Dance fighting will be explained more in depth in a later chapter. Please hold off thinking to hard about it until then.

        Glad you are liking the story so far and thanks for the comment! 

        • Thecommander236

          So the Warlord isn't considered a rider? That seems odd.

          I wonder if scales work on Erf... Like how much does Ossomer weigh in pounds? Did he weigh more of less when he was decrypted or did he weigh the same?

          I heard some weird rules may exist for bats and spidews that allow them to form bigger stacks without penalty. Not sure if that's true.

          Yeah, but we don't know what levels those units were and we don't know if another unit would level up if they killed the exact same units. But fair enough.

          If I was summoned to Erfworld, I hope I would be given enough warning to write down the lyrics to my favorite rock songs to lead the army.

          • TomaO2

            What? No. Warlords are riders too. How did you get that?

            There are 3 stacks.

            In each stack, there are 10 units. They are...

            5 mounts (dwagons)

            3 riders (1 warlord and 2 keshiks)

            2 non riders (archers)

            =10 stack

            I think weight is about the same for stuff but the same amount of space can pack a lot more hit points, if the unit is a heavy, as opposed to a light.

            Leveling is a big pain. I know, for instance, that higher level units are worth more exp then low level ones but no idea how much. We also know that royals "level slightly faster. Now there is this date-a-mancy thing. until we get hard information it is just too hard to manage what you need to level unless you simplify a bit. As long as it doesn't go against a hard line of canon, I'll have to ask for latitude on my interpretations. 

            Unlimited stacking is something that rob mentioned while talking about how staking works. He didn't seem to have any firm ideas on how that sort of thing works or even if he was going to actually incorporate. I'm currently ignoring that particular bit because I got NO CLUE on how many units a warlord should be able to lead. I'd imagine it's in the hundreds, at least.

            • Thecommander236

              Hmm, I was under the impression that riders and their mounts count as one unit, but you're saying non-riders in the stack screw up that rule.

              I was thinking:

              3 mounts with riders (one being the warlord)

              2 mounts

              2 non-riders

              So 7. Or:

              2 mounts with riders

              3 mounts

              3 non-riders (one being the warlord)

              So 8. But you say the archers make the riders not count with their mounts. Okay that's what I was confused about. I can see that going one way or the other, but this works.

              • Thecommander236

                Also, it was something like spidews and bats can be stacked up to 16 and still get the same bonus as an 8 stack or something. Like only those units and (and a maybe a warlord with the stack). Something like that. That, honestly, may have been a joks. I need to check the wiki.

                • TomaO2

                  Mounts always count as +1 for stacking purposes. 

                  What you are having trouble with is that Riders count as +1 in terms of getting to the max bonus but DON'T count in terms of the malus.


                  4 riders on 4 mounts (8 units) = +7 bonus (max)

                  8 riders on 8 mounts (16 units)= +7 bonus (max)

                  9 riders on 9 mounts (18 units)= +6 bonus (only the mount is counted for reducing the stacking bonus)

                  4 norms on 4 mounts  (8 units)= +7 bonus (max)

                  8 normal units = +7 bonus (max)

                  10 normal units = +5 bonus

                  14 normal units = +1 bonus

                  15 normal units = 0 bonus

                  8 norms on 8 mounts = 0 bonus

                  So in the story we have...

                  1 warlord & 2 knights on 3 mounts + 2 unmounted mounts  (8 units total)= +7 bonus (max)

                  Now, add 2 normal archers riding the mounts??? = +5 bonus (stack now counts as a  10 stack.

                  I hope this clears up any confusion. 


                  As for what the rules are for bonuses regarding bats. Again, I haven't set anything up.

                  • Orangepeels

                    Really enjoying the story so far, and especially the deep dive into mechanics! I've had a lot of abstract thoughts about how the rules might break down over the years and appreciate you taking the time to cross-reference against canon so thoroughly :-)


                    I'm a little confused on the stacking with mounts as well - the breakdown I see would be like this:

                    For getting to the bonus, you want to count as many units as possible, until you hit 8 at which point it doesn't matter. So:

                    5 mounts = 5

                    3 riders (2 knights, 1 warlord) = 8

                    and you're at the full +7, unless some is taken away by the malus. For the malus, you want to count as few units as possible, to stay under the cap at which penalties accrue (9). So for the malus:

                    5 mounts = 5

                    3 riders (2 knights, 1 warlord) = don't count against malus when mounted

                    2 non-riders (2 archers, count whether they're mounted or just in the stack) = 7 - which is not enough to start getting penalties.

                    So wouldn't this stack have the full +7?


                    Either way, thanks again for all the time you put into writing these - looking forward to reading more!

                    • TomaO2

                      There has to be a penalty for not having the proper unit type mounted. It's not really something you want to do. Which is why people in Erfworld DON'T DO IT. If you look around, normally mounts are not ridden. Heavies are stacked together, with no one mounting them, normally. Obviously, it is better to have a stack of 8 heavies, as opposed to a stack of 4 heavies and 4 stabbers. 

                      Therefore, I needed a reason as to why this is. Clearly, it's not because normal units are incapable of being able to ride, just like all units are able to swim. I needed a more subtle mechanic. So whenever non-riders get on a mount, it screws up the numbers.

                      In terms of counting the stacks, Riders are always counted BEFORE non riders, in terms of getting to the max bonus. After max bonus is reached, they no longer count but they still counted until you get to that point. Therefore, even 1 non rider over the limit will drop the numbers.

                      8 riders on 8 mounts = +7 bonus

                      7 riders & 1 piker on 8 mounts = +6 bonus. It screws things up, so you are stuck.

                      It's just like the reasoning for them not using fliers to relay units around until parson did it. They consider this sort of thing a waste and never do it. Having non-riders on mounts always causes a penalty when going over an 8 stack.


                      That said, there are still exceptions. Such as Jillian's group when she fought Stanley. 


                      Maggie said 2 megas and 6 gwiffens apiece, all with riders divided in two stack, plus the third stack Stanley wiped out. 

                      We know these are not knight class units, nor are they all warlords, but if the riders gave the stack a malus then there would be no point in keeping the 16 stacks. Especially since there are more then three commander units.

                      I say the reason for this is that a single trait, such as rider, can be promoted on an infantry, but it's normally not done. Jillian turned the former GK troops and then promoted them to rider. 


                      I didn't think this would be so confusing to people. Hopefully, I've finally cleared this up.

                      • Thecommander236

                        Yes, okay. Cool. I get that now. Yeah, that kind of makes sense. malus just mean penalties basically. So 4 non-rides on 4 mounts with 1 rider on a mount would give you a bonus of +6. 4 riders and 4 mounts gives you a full stack, but once you go about 8 units, the riders stop being counted towards the malus. The assumption of you SI was that the riders don't count towards UNIT COUNT, but they do. They just don't give a penalty for being there. Only the non-riders and the mounts count towards the malus. I wonder if that mean that you can have multiple riders on the same mount and not suffer a penalty for it. Something like that happened in Book 3 where Jillian was having her units catching the falling knights.

                        • TomaO2

                          Great question. It's something I haven't given much thought towards. I had the basic idea but hadn't bothered to fully think it through.

                          However, now that you mention it. The formula cleared in my head.

                          Two riders on one mount = a rider and a passenger.

                          It's like on a ship. You have a crew, which mans' the ship and the passengers that are taken along with it as cargo. From that standpoint, mounts have a crew of 1. Only that person gets the stacking bonus. They also can probably control the mount a lot better then a non-rider can, if they are put in control. Same as when a non-seafarer tries to crew a ship. They don't know how to do it properly and the act causes a malus on the top move speed of the ship.

                          Thinking about it like that. There is a good chance that if a warlord wasn't in the stack, that the mounted archers would have had a LOT of trouble flying on the dwagons, because the dwagon would be making all the decisions on how to fight. In this case, you could say that the dwagon was both the ship and the crew, while the archer is just along for the ride as a passenger.

                          From this point, I am now calling all non-riders, passengers. I think that makes the relationship more clear.

                          • Beeskee

                            Re-reading this, I thought units don't get XP if they withdraw from combat?

                            • mortissimus


                              we have different canonical information on this. Stanley tell us "Your warlords won't level up!" On the otehr hand we also know that units - like Bogroll - can level in a fight from killing an enemy unit.

                              One way of getting these two to work together is by assuming that leveling works roughly as described here, but that warlords also get a (substantial) bonus from winning engagements.

                              • TomaO2

                                It's exactly as Mortissimus says. You can get XP for different things. The main way is to kill enemies personally. Another way is to train, which is slow. A third way is to command troops and win engagements, without retreating. Not sure how that works, since we only got a single throwaway comment from Stanley to go on though. I believe only command units get this bonus, perhaps only Warlord units do.