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Thread: Character stat for personal combat skill?

  1. #1
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    Character stat for personal combat skill?

    Should there be a skill in the game for personal fighting skill, separate from Martial? I think there should. Martial is clearly mainly meant to represent military leadership and tactical skill, something which personal fighting skill is clearly separate from, it's certainly possible to be good at one without being good at the other.

    A personal fighting skill stat could affect the likelihood of events like personal heroism during battle, the probability to die or get injured in battle, and win tourneys. All of which are highly relevant for a feudal lord.

    If it's too much to ask for that another character stat be added to the engine, could there be a character trait to signify exceptional fighting prowess, or a series of progressively better traits?
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    Similar results were done in CK1 with traits like coward vs. valorous. I think that the incidence of injury during battle was rather too high; I'm not so sure that lords and their marshals got involved in the thick of combat (unless things turned bad) as often as the frequency of injury events implies. That said, there should be some way to model the kind of military leader who got involved personally in combat. Of course, such a trait should be not so good for his longevity. This is the guy who is into jousting, boar hunting (more dangerous than stag or fowl), and single combat.

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    ministerialis Caranorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRooster81 View Post
    Similar results were done in CK1 with traits like coward vs. valorous. I think that the incidence of injury during battle was rather too high; I'm not so sure that lords and their marshals got involved in the thick of combat (unless things turned bad) as often as the frequency of injury events implies. That said, there should be some way to model the kind of military leader who got involved personally in combat. Of course, such a trait should be not so good for his longevity. This is the guy who is into jousting, boar hunting (more dangerous than stag or fowl), and single combat.
    Oh yes they did. Medieval battles were lead from the front. Not because of some stupidity of the commanders, but because it was expected of said commanders and because morale would have been greatly lowered otherwise and said commander and his family would have lost a lot of prestige. Also medieval battles, once the armies were in battle array, were hard to guide, so really once the forces were started into motion there was little a commander could do other than to participate in the battle...

    Of course there was tactic too, but it could probably be regrouped into two types a) pre-battle orders and plans, mostly how the armies were arrayed including the possibility of faints and ambushes by smaller contingents and b) repeated charges by the cavalry and refusal to get embroilled in a situation unfavourable to the horses (cavalry is superior to infantry as long as it's moving, so once a charge comes to a halt the cavalry has to withdraw, reform (and partially remount as can be seen in a number of historic documents) and charge again) where the commander at the forefront can make some adjustments. In this I'm largely refering to battle as delivered by feudal contingents, from the late 11th to the mid 14th century roughly (in some areas probably longer). Of course some commanders (often the low born marshal) would be placed in the rear echelon of a "battle" (problematic if a word has multiple meanings, here I mean battle as in vanguard, centre etc.), but that was a position of low prestige and honour so higher borns would usually refuse it...

    Oh and I forgot that there of course also was another good reason to place the highest born in the front rank of the front echelon (many battles were fought 3 "battles" wide, 3 echelons deep and each echelon of 3 ranks, though actual formations would greatly depend on terrain and size and organisation of the opponent). They were the best equipped and therefore the best shock troops, they would also afford the following less well equipped ranks some added protection...

    I'm not sure whether it was Verbrüggen or Lehnarts who debunked the old idea of individual duels before medieval battles. Mostly it was formation against formation fighting, usually banner units as the lowest cohesive unit, banners regrouped into conroys, conroys into the various echelons of a "battle" and 3-4 "battles" into the full array. Of course that would still allow individual fights (as for instance between Walram of Luxembourg and John of Brabant (and there the fight was decided by a squire who came to Brabant's rescue) at Worringen)...

    So risk of wounding was quite high for even the highest ranking noblemen in this period. Then again, the consequences, due to good armour and preferring taking prisoners to killing, were not necessarily as harsh as in CK-I. A knight reaching old age could well have received half a dozen serious wounds in his campaigning years (including tournaments which could be as risky as battle) in addition to scores of cuts, bruises and scratches...

    For me, martial skill best represents both tactic abilities and personal combat skills. Simply because there was no way to exert either without the other in battles of the period. Someone entirely unskilled in personal combat would not be able to convince other men to be their leader (even if he is their liege lord, not leading from the front would be seen as cowardly and unchivalrous, therefore either the other nobles would refuse to head the liege's orders or simply not show up at muster). On the other hand, even the densest brute who survived a few battles would gain some understanding of medieval tactics and make an adequate commander (longevity in battle was one of the ways to gain command beyond one's birth station)...

    Oh I should note that anywhere were I said battle (without quotation marks) I could equally have said tournament as long as tournaments were conducted in full battle array (which was the case into the early 14th century). Tournaments were essentially realistic military formation manoeuvres...
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  4. #4
    Second Lieutenant Annibal's Avatar
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    Most medieval battles in Europe were like duels relying on chevalier ethics. We cant talk about pure tactical battles. This is a late medieval topic. And with gunpowder, tactics became more important than morale.
    But I dont want something like personal fighting skill. I think it is not so important.

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    Major galuska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caranorn View Post
    Oh yes they did. Medieval battles were lead from the front. Not because of some stupidity of the commanders, but because it was expected of said commanders and because morale would have been greatly lowered otherwise and said commander and his family would have lost a lot of prestige. Also medieval battles, once the armies were in battle array, were hard to guide, so really once the forces were started into motion there was little a commander could do other than to participate in the battle.
    Battles were not lead from the front. Well, maybe in HRE or France (maybe England) but the map covers also the Rus, Hungarian, Byzantine, Turkish territories too, where it was not common that the commander led the charge. Sometimes it happened that the commander thought that the charge from his personal bodyguard could turn the tide, but if all went well, the commanders, and especially kings/princes preferred to have an overview, which meant they rarely fought hand to hand with the opposition.

    This is for the commander of the battle.
    However other nobles (which in game terms would include most males at court) actually had to lead formations. (commander of left wing for example) Which meant that they can become injured in battle.

    Basicly I partly agree. The battle was not lead from the front, but formations were, so there should be a chance for injury. I also concur with the idea that a battlefield injury shouldn't mean death in a year like it did in CK1. Nobles had the best armor, and if taken prisoner were usually taken care of well. (in hopes of ransom)



    Quote Originally Posted by Annibal
    Most medieval battles in Europe were like duels relying on chevalier ethics. We cant talk about pure tactical battles.
    This is not true.
    There were numerous campaigns by HRE into Hungary, where HRE troops:
    - were surrounded
    - were actually forced into small skirmishes
    - had their supply lines cut (ships were sent on the Danube with food, but those were sunk)
    - scorched earth were used often

    Also, Polish, Rus Druzhina, or hungarian, serbian, croatian royal servants, italian infantry, Byzantine cavalry, had the opportunity to train together as a unit, and they were used like that in battle too.




    As for the original question, a trait would be enough, a new skill is not necessery.
    Like someone who is leading from the front has decreased martial, but increased prestige, who is leading as a real general has increased martial.
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  6. #6
    As you have no insight into what's going on on the battlefield in CK I think it would be something of a waste to have a whole new stat for it. The old method of combining traits and health score worked fine IMHO.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caranorn View Post
    For me, martial skill best represents both tactic abilities and personal combat skills. Simply because there was no way to exert either without the other in battles of the period. Someone entirely unskilled in personal combat would not be able to convince other men to be their leader (even if he is their liege lord, not leading from the front would be seen as cowardly and unchivalrous, therefore either the other nobles would refuse to head the liege's orders or simply not show up at muster). On the other hand, even the densest brute who survived a few battles would gain some understanding of medieval tactics and make an adequate commander (longevity in battle was one of the ways to gain command beyond one's birth station)...
    I agree in principle, but I think you are taking the equivalency too far. Certainly, for the reason you state, it would be impossible to be a brilliant commander and a worthless fighter, or vice versa. I maintain, though, that it's possible to be exceptionally good at the one and only be average at the other. The prodigious tactician would have to charge at the head of his force without flinching, but he'd only need to stay stuck in combat and survive, he wouldn't have to go on a wild killing spree to make the charge count, not when he's only one guy in a large formation. And while the combat brute on the other end of the spectrum would get some grasp of how leadership, he wouldn't necessarily turn into Napoleon either.

    But simply because of the significant connection, it might be more relevant to represent fighting ability with traits that modify Martial only for the purpose of determining the odds of the relevant personal combat events firing.
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    ministerialis Caranorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galuska View Post
    Battles were not lead from the front. Well, maybe in HRE or France (maybe England) but the map covers also the Rus, Hungarian, Byzantine, Turkish territories too, where it was not common that the commander led the charge. Sometimes it happened that the commander thought that the charge from his personal bodyguard could turn the tide, but if all went well, the commanders, and especially kings/princes preferred to have an overview, which meant they rarely fought hand to hand with the opposition.

    This is for the commander of the battle.
    However other nobles (which in game terms would include most males at court) actually had to lead formations. (commander of left wing for example) Which meant that they can become injured in battle.

    Basicly I partly agree. The battle was not lead from the front, but formations were, so there should be a chance for injury. I also concur with the idea that a battlefield injury shouldn't mean death in a year like it did in CK1. Nobles had the best armor, and if taken prisoner were usually taken care of well. (in hopes of ransom)





    This is not true.
    There were numerous campaigns by HRE into Hungary, where HRE troops:
    - were surrounded
    - were actually forced into small skirmishes
    - had their supply lines cut (ships were sent on the Danube with food, but those were sunk)
    - scorched earth were used often

    Also, Polish, Rus Druzhina, or hungarian, serbian, croatian royal servants, italian infantry, Byzantine cavalry, had the opportunity to train together as a unit, and they were used like that in battle too.




    As for the original question, a trait would be enough, a new skill is not necessery.
    Like someone who is leading from the front has decreased martial, but increased prestige, who is leading as a real general has increased martial.
    You are of course correct. I was mostly considering feudal type armies as indeed in the HRE, France, England, Spain, Scotland etc. Armies greatly influenced by Roman and/or Turkic traditions would behave quite differently and might actually afford someone to take command decisions from less exposed positions and directly intervene at crucial moments...
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  9. #9
    Honestly, I think the idea of a personal combat skill is rather pointless, as one single fighter alone did not particularly make much of a difference in a battle outside of myths and fanciful stories. The idea of a single man turning the tide of a battle which probably had at the very least 100-150 people involved is quite frankly rather silly.

    Keep in mind that this was a time where people were wearing relatively heavy equipment and using melee weapons or ranged weapons of, at best, questionable singular accuracy within the middle of a pitched battle. Stories of singular fighters carrying a battle can pretty generally be attributed to stories told in exaggerated terms for the sake of prestige, I'd say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Annibal View Post
    Most medieval battles in Europe were like duels relying on chevalier ethics. We cant talk about pure tactical battles. This is a late medieval topic.
    What gave you that idea?

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    Second Lieutenant Annibal's Avatar
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    Historical facts from what I have read gave me that idea. For comparison you can look at history of Japan. If you read something about Japan's military history and its evolution and compare it with early medieval military you can understand what I mean. There were tactics indeed but it was far far away from being organized, deploy and move together.

    @galuska
    You maybe right but you cant talk about professional training. And you cant talk about infantry that origined "Italian". You cant even talk about "Italians". There were no such an infantry type.
    About Drujinas, they were noble cavalries, I dont think if they could gathered and practice together. I dont know any training center or fightng manuel or something about drujinas. Do you?
    Apart from that talented generals in early medieval possibly made good maneuvres but it doesn't make them Napoleon or Frederick.

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    Well, on target with the OP, you could have traits that give you an advantage in actual personal combat, in terms of jousting and duels. But I'm not so much up on medieval strategy to comment on training or discipline. I would imagine that there usually would not be much of either among levies, maybe more among full-time fighting men like knights and men-at-arms; and of course the mercenary companies who made their living that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velger View Post
    Honestly, I think the idea of a personal combat skill is rather pointless, as one single fighter alone did not particularly make much of a difference in a battle outside of myths and fanciful stories. The idea of a single man turning the tide of a battle which probably had at the very least 100-150 people involved is quite frankly rather silly.
    You should read the OP: the idea of this characteristics is rather an ability to survive battles.
    It could also be checked in some events like hunts, tournaments... or clash with rivals.
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    ministerialis Caranorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annibal View Post
    Historical facts from what I have read gave me that idea. For comparison you can look at history of Japan. If you read something about Japan's military history and its evolution and compare it with early medieval military you can understand what I mean. There were tactics indeed but it was far far away from being organized, deploy and move together.

    @galuska
    You maybe right but you cant talk about professional training. And you cant talk about infantry that origined "Italian". You cant even talk about "Italians". There were no such an infantry type.
    About Drujinas, they were noble cavalries, I dont think if they could gathered and practice together. I dont know any training center or fightng manuel or something about drujinas. Do you?
    Apart from that talented generals in early medieval possibly made good maneuvres but it doesn't make them Napoleon or Frederick.
    Galuska as I already mentionned, this notion of no tactics in medieval battles and chivalric duels has been debunked since the 1950's by historians like Verbruggen and Lehnarts. They have demonstrated that what's often described as duels in chronicles actually represents the fighting of entire formations (when Heelu describes John of Brabant fighting Walram of Luxembourg-Ligny he did not concentrate on the other combattants in the central "battles" of both sides who didn't just stand by and watch, they kept fighting in their well established formations, wheeling in and out of battle (as do John and Walram at least once as John has to remount at one point iirc, though that could be after Walram's death). Sometimes of course discipline can be low, but that's mostly the case in less experienced bodies or if the lower echelon commanders have little respect for higher echelon commanders, or of course the old trick of goading someone into a rage was played before battle in the war council (if someone pled caution in the council and was called a coward by others for doing so he would be more likely to expose himself and his formation in the following fight, thereby possibly breaking formation etc. But again due to this largely being an experience issue it would play a greater role once the battle-like-tournaments had been replaced by sports-like-tournaments as well as prohibition of feudal conflicts within a realm with the accompagnying loss of formation cohesion (I wonder whether anyone ever looked at that aspect of the HYW, essentially since Philippe le Bel's reign french cavalry must have lacked training)...

    But gotta run to work now (almost wrote battle)...

    P.S.: Knights are per definition professional combattants and far better trained any any troops we know today. They can be assumed to have had a minimum of 14 years of military training (7+ as pages, 7+ as squires). Other cavalry would be less trained but still quite professional. And again, as long as battle-like-tournaments and feuding were common there was a lot of formation training and experience...
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    Major galuska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annibal View Post
    There were tactics indeed but it was far far away from being organized, deploy and move together.
    How can you encircle and skirmish without fighting together?
    These (and many more) happened all the time


    You maybe right but you cant talk about professional training.
    What do you call a training which meant at least 14 years under the guideance of a veteran? Plus regular tournaments and regular hunting?
    (and with hunting I mean with a spear against a huge bear, not what we have today)


    And you cant talk about infantry that origined "Italian". You cant even talk about "Italians". There were no such an infantry type.
    I meant 'disciplined infantry formations from the cities of Northern Italy'.
    Venice or Milano for example. Of course I didn't mean italian as 'citizen of the republic of Italy'


    About Drujinas, they were noble cavalries, I dont think if they could gathered and practice together. I dont know any training center or fightng manuel or something about drujinas. Do you?

    ? For one, not all druzhiniks (Druzhina members) were nobles and/or mounted!
    These were personal bands of the knyaz's, payed by the leader, but there was no vassal relationship or anything. A druzhinik could always leave his lord and join an other one. They got payed and got to loot.
    Of course the size varied (the polish king had a bigger druzhina then the lord of cr.ptown), but what was certain is that they were payed during peace time too, and had to be available all the time for their boss.
    Of course they had chances to practice together.

    The fact that there was no 'manual of war' for them, doesn't mean that the training was not professional. What can happen is that if a country doesn't fight offensive wars for long, only minor skirmishes or defensive wars, the nobles don't know how to maintain a siege properly anymore. This happened in Hungary for example, basicly because of the lack of documentation. But still, battlefield tactics were always used, and not niche-knowledge like sieges or attacking a river flottila.
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    @ Caranorn and Galuska, I find what you have posted very interesting. The western European nobility was a warrior caste after all, and war was their main occupation and concern. Military training was on par with joining a guild or more precisely a brotherhood; there was a great emphasis on passing down traditions that were not written down, did not need to be. Manuals are for people who do not know how to do something or to standardize a process (as in Maurice of Nassau's).

    To throw in my two cents, by the XI century, Spanish colonization of lands taken from the Muslims involved establishing municipalities. Men were granted land based on whether they could or could not provide a horse if called upon for military service. The caballeria remained the basic unit of land for centuries, and it meant the amount of land necessary to support a grazing horse. Spain remained famous for its horsemen, and Machiavelli explain's Aragon's dominance of Italy in terms of its cavalry, which by and large Italian city-states lacked. Although not a professional army per se, Spain's jinetes (light cavalrymen) were the tactical descendants of Berber light mounted troops (and indeed developed in order to fight the North Africans successfully), and went in armed with shield, javelin, and sword. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinete quotes respected historian Charles Oman on their tactics, which involved a lot of taunting and wheeling, which does take a considerable amount of discipline.) And the Spanish conquest of the Americas relied heavily on light cavalry, again not "professional" in the sense of the Byzantines or their Ottoman successors or the later tercios, but men who knew how to fight on horseback and keep discipline until the day was won. Then of course the looting set in.

    Back to the OP, it seems to me that military stat should cover ability to inspire, to show your point of view on military matters, and to organize expeditions. Being able to deploy, in my example, some 13,000 light horsemen in late VX century Castille and keep man and beast well provisioned for a campaign was a skill for a good commander to have. But it does not mean that he could hit the broad side of a barn with a javelin himself, though he should probably not let any of his men see him fail in the attempt.

    The Rock, Paper, Shotgun preview article out today has some interesting details about battlefield tactics if you have not yet seen it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Frakas View Post
    You should read the OP: the idea of this characteristics is rather an ability to survive battles.
    It could also be checked in some events like hunts, tournaments... or clash with rivals.
    This.

    Nobody is suggesting that the killing power of an individual champion should be enough to defeat the enemy on its own. Well, not me at any rate.

    Yet, to add to the above, a particularly badass commander should have a positive effect on the morale of his underlings, and thus indirectly contribute to victory through his courage and badassery. Richard the Lionheart is an example of this. All contemporary chronicles point to a man who won his battles not as much by tactical brilliance as by being gung-ho enough to keep his troops fighting beyond the point when another army led by a lesser man would have broken.

    Though, just for flavour, the "You display exceptional heroism in battle" event could have an additional effect of, say, inflicting another 10 casualties on the enemy. Not that 10 extra casualties would (or should) make much of a difference, but it's flavoury, and in a game which tracks army sizes down to individual soldiers, why not?
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