Excerpts 03/08/2006


Power of Faerûn Excerpt
By Ed Greenwood and Eric L. Boyd



Power of Faerûn is a comprehensive guidebook to playing high-level heroes and running high-level campaigns in the Forgotten Realms. This supplement introduces new options to players and Dungeon Masters as well as guidelines for starting a temple, running a guild, leading an army, serving the crown, and participating in political intrigues. The excerpts below include information on earning titles, leading armies, adding dragons to your adventures, and using the merchant prince prestige class in your game. You can get more information from recent previews for this book, as well, so be sure to check there for cover copy and dragon statistics, too!

Leading Armies

The primary role of military leaders is commanding the troops that make up an armed force. Military leaders must make judgments about how to supply their forces, define their objectives, and create battle plans by which the objectives can be achieved. Like playing pieces on a game board, each unit must be given achievable orders that are likely to be obeyed so that the collective effect of their actions has a reasonable chance of victory. Depending upon the army or police force, such leadership might take the form of charging into combat in the vanguard of the troops or planning deployments in a secure rear base.

Giving Commands to Subordinates

Every organized military (as opposed to a true horde) has a chain of command. Commanders in the chain of command can give orders or make requests. Orders given by ranking superiors are expected to be obeyed, but invariably some orders are resisted or ignored, subject to a unit's morale.

In game terms, an order is represented by an Intimidate check, whereas a request is handled as a Diplomacy check. In both cases, the DC is determined using the Influencing NPC Attitudes sidebar on page 72 of the Player's Handbook. An order automatically fails if the orderer does not outrank the orderee. You must make a Diplomacy check if the NPC is immune to fear. Table 2-2 details additional modifiers that apply to Intimidate and Diplomacy checks when giving orders or making requests:

TABLE 2-2: GIVING ORDERS

The Orderee Is . . . Diplomacy and Intimidate Modifier
Lower ranking than the commander The difference between the commander rating of the orderer and the commander rating of the orderee
Influenced by the orderer + Influence modifier
Lawful +5
Chaotic -5
Heartened[1] +5
Shaken[1] -5
Frightened[1] -10
[1] These are morale conditions, as defined on page 74 of Heroes of Battle.

Mobilizing Troops

Armed forces regularly lose troops. Casualties are most common in times of war, but accidents and minor skirmishes occur in times of peace as well. Some troops desert or choose not to reenlist when their terms of service expire, due to low morale, advancing years, or other opportunities. Many armed forces maintain a core fighting force and only mobilize additional troops in times of imminent need. Military leaders are expected to maintain troop strength through regular voluntary recruitment and/or conscription.

Players are encouraged to roleplay attempts at troop recruitment and retention. Likely tactics include motivational speeches, adjusting pay rates, and acting on behalf of the local population. Alternatively, a mechanical substitute for maintaining troop levels is a monthly DC 25 Diplomacy check (in the case of troops who join voluntarily) or a DC 20 Intimidate check (in the case of troops who are conscripted). The base DC is modified as noted in Table 2-3, depending on the morale of the troops and the targeted population for recruitment. (In the case of conscription, treat the attitude of troops and population as being two steps worse, to a maximum of hostile.) If the check is successful, recruitment and retention exceeds attrition and casualties by 1% plus 1% for every point by which the check result exceeds the DC. If the check fails, recruitment and retention falls below attrition and casualties by 1% for every point of difference between the check result and the DC. Of course, a military leader should not recruit more troops than he can pay for.

For example, in times of peace the Purple Dragons of Cormyr rely on voluntary recruitment from the citizenry of the Forest Kingdom to maintain troop levels. During the reign of King Azoun IV, morale was high and the troops were considered helpful by their commanders, while the population was considered friendly. Therefore, maintaining troop levels was straightforward for a skilled and diplomatic leader such as Azoun IV, requiring a successful DC 17 Diplomacy check to maintain or exceed current troop levels each month. When the Devil Dragon and her army attacked the Forest Kingdom, the population became helpful and considered itself under attack (DC 5).

In contrast, the Zhentilar rely on conscription to maintain their ranks. They recruit troops from the citizenry of Zhentil Keep and the surrounding lands (including fallen Teshendale). Since the return of Bane, morale has been good and the troops have been considered friendly by their commanders. In contrast, the population is unfriendly with regards to the Zhentilar. As such, Scylla Darkhope (described on page 164 of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting) must make a successful DC 28 Intimidate check to maintain troop levels each month. Her job became much more difficult after her army's crushing defeat in Shadowdale battling the Lord Seiveril Miritar's army of elf crusaders from Evermeet in the Year of Lightning Storms (1374 DR), for the population considered the invasion ill-conceived (DC 32).

TABLE 2-3: MOBILIZING TROOPS

Attitude of Troops[1] Modifier to DC
Troops are hostile +5
Troops are unfriendly +3
Troops are indifferent +0
Troops are friendly -3
Troops are helpful -5
Attitude of Population[1]
Population is hostile +5
Population is unfriendly +3
Population is indifferent +0
Population is friendly -3
Population is helpful -5
Population disapproves of current military activity +5
Other Modifiers
Population is threatened -5
Population is under attack -10
Size of armed forces as percentage +1 per 1% of population total population[2]
[1] In the case of conscription, treat the attitude of troops and population as two steps worse.
[2] Divide this modifier by 2 for hordes or if the armed forces include both male and female troops, and divide this modifier by 4 if both of these conditions are true.

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