Sunday, October 18, 2020

Domains at War: Men, Brigands, Part 1: Troops

I've been thinking about mercenaries again, and how what you really want in the wilderness is not a bunch of risk-averse garrison mercenaries who really just want to stay in town drinking and whoring.  What you really want are the guys from the Men: Brigands monster entry, who have lived out in the wilderness, take big risks for money, and collect orc scalps for fun.

I realized that my players had actually recruited from the Men monster entry in two previous campaigns, and that I haven't seen mass combat stats for them.  I also recalled that in a previous campaign I had the thought "boy these PCs are low level to be running domains, I feel like some jumped up bandit could knock them over."

This post, Brigands and Berserkers.  Since the monster description says that they're first-level fighters, I have given them fighter damage bonus, just as dwarven and elven troops get.  Between that and the d8 HD, they're broadly better in melee than orcs.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.


2/4/6 Irregular Foot, AC 2, HD 1+1, UHP 10, ML +4, 4 two-handed weapon 9+ (7+ vs humanoids).

A warband of berserkers is half a platoon (fights at platoon scale as a unit with 5/10 HP).  The 4th level leader of each berserker warband is qualified to serve as a lieutenant at platoon scale.  I know that there's no connection between brigands and berserkers in the rules, but since they occur in the same environments and they're both chaotic I would not feel bad attaching a warband or two of berserkers to a bandit lair.  If you're a berserker leader with 15 guys and you're in the same hex as a bandit warlord with 200 guys, I don't care how good your morale is, you join them and get to be their best melee, you beat feet to a different hex, or you get perforated.

Berserkers have a company BR of 1.5, an individual BR of 0.012, and a monthly wage of 9gp.

Brigand Infantry

Brigand infantry is interesting - they're basically veteran bowmen with shields.  With their equipment, it's possible to organize them as either Formed or Loose Foot, and since they're bandits Irregular is also plausible, though the monster entry mentions that many are "renegade mercenaries" and they do have a lot of high-level leadership around to keep people in line.

2/4/6 Loose, Formed, or Irregular Foot, AC 3, HD 1, UHP 8, ML +0, 3 sword and shield 10+ or 3 shortbow 10+.

A band or outpost of brigand infantry is about a platoon.  The 4th level fighter leading each band is qualified to serve as a lieutenant at platoon scale.

Fighting as Loose Foot, they have BR 4, individual BR 0.032, monthly wage 24 gp.
Fighting as Formed Foot, they have BR 3.5, individual BR 0.029, monthly wage 21 gp.
Fighting as Irregular Foot, they have BR 2, individual BR 0.017, monthly wage 12 gp.

Which raises an amusing possibility, that the difference between brigands and veteran brigands might not be personal prowess but ability to fight in formation.

Brigand Cavalry

As with brigand infantry, brigand cavalry's equipment allows them to be organized as either Loose or Formed Mounted.  They're definitely odd; armed and armored mostly like medium cavalry, but mounted on light warhorses, and no lances or bows.

4/8/12 Loose, Formed, or Irregular Mounted, AC 4, HD 1, UHP 8, ML +0, 2 sword and shield 10+ (and 3 hooves 9+ on charge if Formed or Irregular).

A band or outpost of brigand cavalry is about two platoons.  The 4th level fighter leading each band is qualified to serve as a lieutenant at platoon scale.

Fighting as Formed Mounted, they have BR 4.5, individual BR 0.038, and monthly wage 27 gp.
Fighting as Loose Mounted, they have BR 2.5, individual BR 0.020, and monthly wage 15 gp.
Fighting as Irregular Mounted, they have BR 2, individual BR 0.016, and monthly wage 12 gp.

Brigand Hounds

Another omission I realized - there's no mass combat listing for war dogs.  At platoon scale, this is two creature handlers in leather with shields and melee weapons and 28 war dogs.

2/4/6 Irregular Foot, AC 3, HD 2+2, UHP 19, ML +2, 3 bite 8+, unpredictable.

There's a note about halving BR for units made of up animals, so I guess these are BR 1.  That gives us individual average BR of 0.009, individual average wages of 6 gp/mo, and total wages of 180 gp/mo for a platoon.  This works out fairly close to DaW:C's entry for War Dog in the costs table.

Brigand Armored Hounds

As brigand hounds, but the dogs have dog armor and the handlers have chainmail, shields, and melee weapons.

2/3/4 Irregular Foot, AC 5, HD 2+2, UHP 19, ML +2, 3 bite 8+, unpredictable.

Collective BR 2, individual BR 0.019, individual average wage 15 gp/mo.   There's a lot of staying power for your dollar here.  Regular heavy infantry has a wage of 12 gp/mo, less than half the HP, comparable AC, comparable or worse speed, weaker morale, and weaker attacks (but, Formed Foot so they can Defend and Ready, and they won't flip out and maul you if they fail morale).

In conclusion: war dogs don't stop being OP when the game changes from dungeons to wilderness.  You just need more of them.

Total Costs of Operation

In the style of Simplified Mercenaries,

TypeBRCompany TCO, gp/moCompany kgp/moPlatoon gp/moSquad gp/mo
Brigand Infantry, Formed3.528903750150
Brigand Infantry, Irregular218101.75450100
Brigand Infantry, Loose432503.25825175
Brigand Cavalry, Formed4.526702.75700150
Brigand Cavalry, Irregular219502500100
Brigand Cavalry, Loose2.517701.75450100
Brigand Hounds1960125050
Brigand Armored Hounds221202500100

It would be interesting to characterize a setting as down-and-dirty by making these the standard mercenary types available in most markets (perhaps in non-veteran variants - non-veteran bandit infantry might be called poachers, non-veteran berserkers might be goons or brutes), but this is already going to be a healthy-sized post.  Maybe some other day I'll figure out availability.


  1. This sorta reminds me of the birthright setting mercenary army units.....if you failed to decommission them properly (i.e. get them killed in battle) they'd turn into bandits/brigades to trouble your realm. I suppose it's not that surprising that there would be bands of near peer veteran renegade mercs out there looking to make up for losing a regular paycheque.

    1. I really need to read Birthright one of these days