Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Automaton - playtest 1

This playtest is a first shot at testing the automaton. The setup is simple: it is assumed that the player never address the automaton in any initiative. Three cycles are tested.

You are Edward, prince of Wales, heir to the English throne and better known as the "Black Prince". You landed from England with 1000 men-at-arm and their retinues and 500 archers on foot. Overall, this force needs 2000 horses but only 1000 have arrived in good health. You are encamped in the suburb of Bordeaux where your forces are getting restless. Supplies from England are insufficient both in gold and food. There is a shortage of arrows and your knights are complaining of the lack of steel armors from Northern Italy.

Weekly cycle against the Black Prince
  1. The food stock possibly become low.
  2. The fodder stock possibly become low.
  3. The ammunition store possibly become short.
  4. The attrition through desertion is very rarely significant.
  5. The attrition through the plague is very rarely significant.
Round 1
I break my army into three forces: one will go to Bergerac and the other to Angouleme. I remain in Bordeaux with the administrators, and entrust the two other forces to noble and effective leaders.
OK, reorganizing is a technical task and you are trained in this area (target: 12). There are plenty of good leader to choose from (+1), and the men are itching to leave the camp (+1). However, horses are in short supply (-2) and so are other goods (-2) which are required for military operations (food, fodder, etc.).
Target : 10 roll: 6. A smashing success.

Your forces split into three roughly equivalent groups and take their leaves. All is done on good order, despite the various shortages. 

Round 2 
Great, I send foragers up the Garonne River to collect food and fodder. All proceeds are stockpiled in Gascon's stores. This will work because the Bordeaux valley is very fertile and yet to be touched by raiding armies. 
I assume the planned outcome is that the food and fodder stores will be satisfactorily stocked once this is completed. I accept the fact that the valley is fertile (+1) and unspoiled by raiders in the last few years (+1). However, there are some resistance in the Gascon's camp to plunder within their own land (-2).
Target : 10. roll: 13. Failure. (Delay narrative after the automaton's turn).


  1. Food shortage (10), smaller force (-2), pre-existing hunger (+1). roll: 15. Food shortage is over.
  2. Fodder shortage (10), understrenght in horses (-2), already in a shortage (+1). roll: 12. Fodder is fine.
  3. Ammunition shortage (10), no battles (-2), already short (+1). roll: 15. Ammo stock are OK.
  4. Desertion (6), camp life is boring (+1), short in food (+1). roll: 7. Desertion is significant.
  5. Death from plague (6), camp life (+1), city nearby (+1). roll: 8. Plague affects the camp.

In large part because the Gascons have opposed, the foraging operation is stalling and you must spend too many good days trying to raise enough supply to furnish the camp. Meanwhile, the plague and desertion are taking too many good men from your ranks. On the up side, fewer people to feed means that the food and fodder stores are now appropriate. Camp life is demoralizing and unsanitary.

This ends the first weekly cycle.

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