Monday, September 17, 2012

Reworking Leadership A Bit

Sandwyrm here. I've been giving some thought to how we might make our Leadership tests more reliable, and I think I've come up with an interesting solution.

Currently, our system is a straight D6 test with a roll target between 2 or less and 5 or less. This is similar to how Flames of War does it, although we were expanding the range of possible values by 2.

The problem with this system (confirmed in our test game) is that it feels pretty random. It's also the #1 complaint that I hear about Flames from new players. I think what most folks are after is some kind of curve, with a bottom of something like 50% odds. Which is what we're used to in 40K.

GW does this by rolling 2 dice and adding the scores together. But...

...the problem is that it doesn't leave a very large range of usable values. Below Ld7, the curve starts working against you instead of for you. So you never see any unit with a Ld of less than 7 (IG Troops). While the decent units (IG Sergeants and Marines) are all 8, the good units are all Ld9 (Marine Sergeants and Lesser Characters), and the good characters are all Ld10.

So that leaves us with only 4 usable Ld values out of 11 possible roll results. Five if we make Ld11 a legal value (which is what 'fearless' really should be).

Let's see if we can do better.

Making Leadership 2-Dimensional

We've already discussed having a separate Nerve (or Motivation) stat and a Ld stat. But instead of treating them separately, with their own separate tests, let's think about combining them into one system.

The idea being that a unit has a base motivation rating, of say... 3 for bog-standard Laansguard. In a D6 system that would give them a 50/50 chance of passing any particular Ld test. But, we'll then say that their Ld stat is actually how many dice they get to roll to pass the test. If that unit has a base Ld of 2, then they get to roll 2 dice every time they make a test. Upping their chances of passing the test to 75%. If a character then attaches with a Ld of 3, then they could roll 3 dice. Giving them an 88% chance of passing the test.

Here's a chart:

So if our intent is to be no worse than 50/50 in terms of running away for even our worst troops, Nv2 with a Ld2 would be our 'floor'.

Ld1 represents units with no leader.
Ld2 represents units with a leader.
Ld3 represents minor heroes/commanders.
Ld4 represents major heroes/commanders.

Beyond Ld4 it gets a little silly unless the troops' Nv is 3 or less.

As for Nerve:

Nv2 represents conscripts.
Nv3 represents regular trained troops.
Nv4 represents veteran troops.
Nv5 represents fanatics.

So that gives us 16 possible starting combinations of Ld and Nv, of which we'd be likely to predominantly use 12. With 6 more possibilities for extreme Leaderships combined with lesser Nerve ratings.

Here's a chart of the probability curves which, unlike the 2D6 additive roll, only curve upwards.

So as you lose Ld to command losses, you would descend the curve for your Nerve. While if your unit loses Nv to Fear, Terror, and enemy Psykers, you would drop down to the next curve down. Or jump up to the curve above if you have something that boosts your Ld.


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