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Field Battles

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Whenever armies belonging to Lords that are at war with each other are in the same territory, a field battle will happen if at least one of them has an order that allows him to start a battle. If any army has such an order, a field battle takes place and each side calls all friendly/allied armies in the territory that are available to participate (see Military => Orders for details) in the fight in their side. The armies that may join a side for the battle are other armies of the same Lord and armies that have a diplomatic relation of friendship or alliance towards him that are at war with the opposing side.

Contents

Checking for battles

Field battles are the very first thing checked in each day. So if a army arrived somewhere the day X, he will be available for battle the day X+1 still with march orders, and only after that day’s check for a possible battle will he start the queued order for that territory, and be (eventually) available for battle with the queued order the day X+2. This is also true for armies that didn’t move. For example, in a 30 days per turn game, if a army is in train and changes his order to battle, on day 1 of the next turn when the check for a possible field battle is made he will still be in train (with possible disastrous effects for a fight), during day 1 he changes to battle, and on the start of day 2 he will fight in the order battle, if there an enemy to battle.

Before the battle starts, the contingents that will form the opposing sides are chosen from the units present in the territory. When a given army is eligible to take part in a field battle, all its contingents will participate.

Battle1.png

Morale and Cavalry Superioriry

Before starting the battle, each side’s morale is calculated. Then the cavalry superiority bonus (if any) is calculated for the side with more cavalry. This can have a great influence in flat terrain, and is calculated according to the proportion of cavalry between the opposing sides.

After the participating contingents are determined and each sides initial morale is calculated, the battle it self starts.

Battle Steps

  1. Ranged Combat. In this phase, ranged weapons are fired, starting with the long range weapons (long bows), and then both long and medium ranged weapons (other bows and crossbow);
  2. Charge. In this phase, all ranged weapons are fired, including the short range ones (javelin). This is the moment just before the hand to hand combat actually takes place, when the opponents are really close to each other, running towards the enemy. Physical damage will only be caused by ranged weapons, but the close quarters fighters will inflict morale damage. So for example a Kataphract will not cause physical damage (casualties), but will cause morale damage, and quite a lot of it (it’s a challenge to see them running towards you and stand your ground!);
  3. Shock Combat. In this phase, all units fight in hand to hand combat in the initial clash between the sides, when cavalry spears and pikes are more efficient;
  4. Melee Combat. In this phase, all units fight in hand to hand combat. This is the part of the battle after the initial clash, when the charging momentum is gone and the units are more static in dense close quarters fighting, where shorter and more maneuverable weapons are more effective, such as swords and maces; At the end of the battle there are several possibilities:
    • If no side breaks (has a negative morale), the loser (the side will less morale or both if they end with the exact same morale) will retreat in good order and thus he will not suffer a pursuit;
    • If both sides break their morale, but one has more morale than the other (and therefore wins), the losing side will flee in panic but he will not suffer a pursuit, since the winner is to broken down to start one;
    • If both sides break their morale and both have the exact same morale, they both lose and retreat. There is no pursuit;
    • If the winner still has a positive morale and the loser has a negative morale, there will be
      1. Pursuit. This phase will happen if one of the sides breaks its morale and the opponent did not. A pursuit is made against the broken army, and the amount of damage inflicted will depend on three factors:
        • The battle readiness still left on the winner side (given by its final morale), where, of course, the more battle readiness the more deathly the pursuit will be;
        • The terrain where the battle took place. In flat lands pursuits are violent, and as the terrain becomes difficult the pursuits become weaker;
        • The relation between the speed of the winners contingents and the losers one. So, for example, if an army with a large component of cavalry defeats a slow foot army and has a lot of battle readiness (morale) left and the end of the battle, the pursuit will be devastating. If a slow foot army defeats a cavalry one, the pursuit will be negligible;

Damage

Battle2.png
During each of the sequential phases one to four, participating contingents inflict damage on the opposing sides units, both physical damage (casualties) and morale damage (“scaring” your opponent until they break and flee). Note that the concept of casualties where is a military one, so it includes all that will no longer be able to fight, regardless of the reason (dead, seriously injured, deserted…). Effects caused during a phase are applied before the next one takes place, so for example a Swordsman killed by ranged combat will not do anything during the close quarters phases.

The actual amount of physical damage per phase 1-4 inflicted by a unit depends on:

  • Its type, which will determine what capabilities it has in each phase;
  • Its experience. The more experienced the contingents, the more damage they inflict. This effect is not equal for all contingent types. Those that are equipped with complex weapons, such as cavalry and longbows, will be extremely good with a lot of training and near useless without training, troops equipped with simpler weapons, like militia, will not have such a huge gap of performance between experienced and inexperienced troops;
  • Its efficiency in the terrain of the battle. Namely, archers other than Elves are not efficient in dense forests, cavalry is not efficient in difficult terrain, specially in mountainous terrain, and each race has its preferred environment;
  • The modifiers introduced by the order the unit has;
  • The target contingent’s armor, according to it’s type;
  • The level of ironworks the opponent has. For each level he’ll suffer 10% less casualties.


The physical damage will be distributed by the enemy contingents in a proportional manner to its composition. Since each contingent will possibly have different armor values, the number of casualties they have will not be proportional. For example a army with 50% militia and 50% Heavy cavalry will receive the same amount of damage in each of these 2 contingents, but the number of casualties will be much larger for the militia since their armor is very poor.

The morale damage inflicted to the opponent in each phase 1-4 will be determined by:

  • Its capability to inflict physical damage;
  • The composition of the armies in each side. In each phase there will be an average between the capabilities of the best 20% of the side in the current phase and the remaining 80%, to determine the side’s ability to inflict morale damage. This favors a balanced composition, since it will allow good performances in each phase;
  • The relation between the opposing sides number of men. If a side is very small when compared to the other the amount of morale damage it produces is reduced. This effect starts in a relation of five to one, and increases as the odds get bigger;
  • The modifiers introduced by the order the unit has;
  • The percentage of casualties a side already has. If that percentage is high, the morale damage suffered will be greater.


Since the morale for each side is calculated in beginning of the battle, there is no morale damage distribution by the opponent’s contingents, it’s simply inflicted upon the side’s morale.

At the end of each phase, it is checked if any of the sides is dead, or broken (has taken more morale damage than it’s starting morale). The possibilities are:

  • If one side is dead, the battle is naturally over with the dead side being the loser;
  • If only one side is broken he’ll try to flee in panic (every men for himself, run, run, run for your lives!). The procedure will be different according to the moment when it broke:
    • If this happens during one of the ranged phases (1 and 2), there will still be a shock phase (3), but with the broken side greatly penalized (will inflict about 10% of the damage it would normally inflict), and suffer only half the normal amount of casualties the winner would normally produce during the shock phase (since the loser is already running away!), and there will not be a melee phase (4).
    • If it happens during the shock phase (3), there will be no melee phase (4);
    • Regardless of when did the loser broke its morale, there will be a pursuit phase (5) at the end of the battle.
  • If both are broken the battle stops. In this case, the winner is the side with more morale left (less negative). There in no pursuit (5). In the rare case of a tie, both sides lose;
  • If both are unbroken at the end of phases 1 trough 3 the battle continues, and the next phase starts;
  • If both are unbroken at the end of phase 4 the battle ends. There in no pursuit (5). The winner is the side with more morale left and again, in the rare case of a tie, both sides lose.

Retreat

At the end of the field battle, only one winning side (if any) will be able to remain in the battle field (the territory where the battle took place), and having taken the battle field, will recover a portion (10%) of his casualties. This represents the fact that the loser, by abandoning the field, would always have to leave men behind, while the winner could take advantage of the fact that the battle field was his to try to recover some of his injured men.

The loser will retreat to an adjacent territory, and this retreat will be done in a very fast and not at all battle ready fashion, using the “panic” speed for the march. To choose that territory, the preferences are (higher to lower):

  • Diplomatic status. Armies will first try to go to a friendly territory, if not possible then to a enemy territory, finally if not possible then to a neutral territory;
  • Safeness. Retreating armies will prefer a territory with no known enemy armies, if not possible then one with no conquer attempts going on;
  • Fastest to travel to, in marching days;
  • Higher level of fortress.

Other battle consequences

After the battle both side lose some status in its contingents, depending on the percentage of casualties suffered and whether or not it won the battle (the loser loses more status). In a closely contested fight, the status for both armies may become very low, and they should be rested to perform adequately (players choice, nothing is compulsory). This represents the fatigue of the survivors and need to take care of injuries.

When a battle takes place, there will be a report generated in Land => Repots => Army reports. Usually, the report will include the total number of men in your side, the number of casualties on your side, your armies estimative of the numbers of the enemy and his casualties, and a link to a detailed report of the battle, where you can see the armies totals divided per contingent types, with the average morale and status for each contingent type and for the total army, and the information of what happened in each combat phase. In that detailed report, when a phase did not take place, it will say that there is no battle report of that phase. When an army breaks its morale (becomes 0 or less), the displayed morale will be outlined in red (having no green lights doesn’t mean 0 morale, only a really low morale).

There will be a probability of an army not generating all this information if the army is totally destroyed, and it’s numbers where small, regardless of the opponent’s size. Example, when the 300 famous Spartan saw they where going to die at Thermopile, they sent one dude back to give the news, and one million (or so they say) Persians could not prevent that report that included an estimative of the Persian armies totals and composition. But if you have 1 dude fighting and dieing in a battle, you will surely not have a detailed report. There is no fixed “boundary” for this, there is a probability of generating a detailed report according to the initial number of men, that is 100% for a decent force a 0% or just about for one man.

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