Rise of Nations
An army’s commander helps maximize its effectiveness and can provide special bonuses to an army. The commander can be a PC or NPC. Unless you decide to command an army personally or the GM allows you to recruit an exceptional commander through adventuring and roleplaying, a new army’s commander is an unexceptional leader who provides no bonuses to the army.
The army sheet has a space to record information about the commander of each of your armies. In addition, there’s also a space to record information for a general— a general is a character (often you) assigned to administrate your armies, but is primarily a figurehead and grants no bonuses himself unless actively leading a particular army. The relevant information is as follows (assume a value of 0 unless otherwise specified):
Name: This lists the commander’s name (and class and level, if notable).
Charisma Modifier: This lists the commander’s Charisma modifier. It is added to the army’s Morale checks.
Profession (soldier): This is the commander’s rank in Profession (soldier). Divide the number of ranks by 5 (minimum 0) and add that number to the army’s Morale checks.
Leadership: The commander’s character level + Charisma modifier. If the commander is a monster, use HD instead of character level. If the commander has the Leadership feat, increase this value by 3. This number is prerequisite for some boons.
Boons: This lists the boons the commander knows. A commander’s maximum number of boons known is 1, plus 1 for every 5 ranks in Profession (soldier). A new or unexceptional commander might know no boons at first, but can gain them from victories in battle. If you’re a kingdom leader acting as a commander, you automatically have one boon appropriate to your leadership role.
The commander must be active with the army to grant a bonus on Morale checks or a boon to the army. Being active requires spending at least 3 days per week with the army. An army without a commander (whether because the commander is dead or because he isn’t spending enough time with the army) loses 1 Morale a week. You may offset this loss by doubling the army’s Consumption that week.
If you have an army without a commander and you have no commanders available to fill that role, you may promote a unit from the army to be an unexceptional commander. This commander has a +0 Charisma modifier, 0 ranks in Profession (soldier), and a Leadership score based on the level or HD of a typical unit in that army.
Boons are special abilities a commander grants to an army. Most of these boons affect the rolls and statistics for battles, and the commander must be present at the battle to provide their benefit. A commander grants the army all the boons he knows (he doesn’t have to select just one).
Advanced Tactics: The commander is well-versed in art of warfare and has studied military history. Increase the army’s OM by 2; however, this bonus is halved if the target army also has Advanced Tactics or Defensive Tactics. A commander must have at least 5 ranks in Profession (soldier) to select this boon.
Bloodied but Unbroken: The commander inspires the army to be at its greatest in the most desperate times. When an army’s hit points are at half its full normal hit points or fewer, it gains a +1 bonus on Offense checks. A commander must have Leadership 4 or higher to select this boon. At Leadership 10 or higher, this bonus increases to +2.
Bonus Tactic: Choose one tactic. The commander always knows this tactic, and the commander’s army can use this tactic even if it doesn’t know that tactic on its own. You can select this boon multiple times; each time you select it, choose a new tactic.
Death Before Dishonor: The commander is skilled at rallying his troops, even in the face of adversity. An army with this boon reduces Morale penalties or reductions, regardless of their source. All effects that would cause a -1 penalty to Morale have no effect, while larger Morale penalties or reductions are reduced by 1. The commander and the soldiers in the army must all have the aura of courage or bravery class feature, or Iron Will feat for this boon to have any effect.
Defensive Tactics: The commander is especially good at defensive tactics. Increase the army’s DV by 2. A commander must have Leadership 5 or higher to select this boon.
Flexible Tactics: The commander trains the army to be receptive to multiple orders during a battle. The army gains a +5 bonus on Morale checks to change tactics during a battle. A commander must have Leadership 6 or higher to select this boon. At Leadership 12 or higher, this bonus increases to +10.
Hit and Run: The commander drills the army in quick attacks followed by a fast retreat. After attacks are resolved in the Ranged phase or the first Melee phase, the army may use the Withdraw tactic with a +2 bonus on its opposed Morale checks. A commander must have Leadership 5 or higher to select this boon. At Leadership 10 or higher, this bonus increases to +4.
Hold the Line: The commander is skilled at convincing the army to maintain morale against dangerous opponents. If the army fails a Morale check to avoid a rout, it may reroll that check. It must accept the results of the second check, even if it is worse.
Last Stand: The commander is able to inspire the army to fight to the last, even if it would mean their destruction. If the army is reduced to 0 hit points or below, it is not defeated or destroyed if it receives a Magical Healing boon or uses Healing Potions before the end of the current Battle phase sufficient to restore it to at least 1 hit point. Even if it does not receive this healing, it remains engaged with any enemy armies until the end of the next Melee phase, and it can make at attack in that phase against an army engaged with it, though it cannot move, retreat, disengage, or attack armies not engaged with it. The commander and the soldiers in the army must all have the rage class feature, ferocity or orc ferocity special quality, or Diehard feat for this boon to have any effect. Note that this boon does not prevent an army from being routed; it must still pass a Morale check to avoid a rout when its hit points first drop below a quarter of its maximum.
Live off the Land: The commander makes the army trap game, hunt, and fish to augment its food supplies. Reduce the army’s Consumption and speed by half for any week this boon is used. The GM may rule that Huge and larger armies deplete the available resources from a hex over 1d3 weeks, requiring the army to move if it wants to maintain the reduced Consumption level.
Loyalty: The commander inspires great loyalty in the army. The army gains a +2 bonus on all Morale checks. A commander must have Leadership 6 or higher to select this boon. At Leadership 12 or higher, this bonus increases to +4.
Magical Advantage: The commander buttresses the army with his spells. The army gains a +1 bonus on damage rolls and gain a +1 bonus to Morale checks if the army they attack does not have Magical Protection. The commander must be able to cast at least one spell of 3rd level or higher for an army of Medium-size or smaller, with the spell level increasing by 1 for each army size category above Medium, up to 7th level or higher for a Colossal army, for this boon to have any effect.
Magical Barrage: The commander learns to coordinate his offensive spells with the army, launching a devastating volley of magic at the beginning of battle. The army gains a bonus to its OM during the Ranged phase equal to the 1/2 the level of the highest-level spell the commander is able to cast (if the army does not have ranged weapons, this boon will allow it to attack during the Ranged phase as if it’s OM was +0). The commander must be able to cast area-effect evocation spells of 3rd level or higher to take this boon.
Magical Healing: The commander instructs the army in first aid basics and uses his spells to heal the wounded. Once per battle, the army can heal itself of 2d4 damage or a single allied army of 1d6 damage at the end of the Battle phase. The commander must be able to channel at least 3d6 positive energy for an army of Medium-size or smaller, and increasing by +1d6 for each army size category above Medium, up to a minimum of 7d6 positive energy for a Colossal army, for this boon to have any effect.
Magical Protection: The commander can use his spells to shield his army from attack. The army gains a +1 bonus to DV and reduces damage from all attacks by 1 point. In addition, modifiers from enemies using Magical Advantage or Magical Barrage are negated. The commander must be able to cast abjuration spells of 4th level or higher to take this boon.
Merciless: The commander encourages the army to be ruthless in its tactics and spare no wounded enemies. The army gains a +1 bonus on opposed Morale checks to prevent another army from withdrawing and on the last Offense check against a routed army or one using the Withdraw tactic.
Quick Repairs: The commander trains the army to conduct emergency repairs in the midst of battle. At the end of a Battle phase, an army inside a fortification can repair 1d2 points of DV (this cannot increase the fortification’s DV bonus past its maximum) if it does not attempt an Offense check. A commander must have at least 5 ranks in Knowledge (engineering) to select this boon.
Sharpshooter: The commander drills the army in precision ranged attacks. The army gains a +2 bonus on Offense checks against armies using fortifications. This boon has no effect if the army can’t make ranged attacks.
Triage: Whether using magic, alchemy, herbalism, or folk knowledge, the commander drills the army in using emergency methods to treat wounds. Once per battle, the army may take a –4 penalty on its Offense check and heal damage equal to half its ACR (minimum 1). If the army has the healing potions resource, it also gains the healing from this boon (without the Offense check penalty) when it uses healing potions.
Kingdom Leader Commanders
If you have a kingdom leadership role (Ruler, High Priest, Grand Diplomat, and so on), you may take the role of an army commander. To determine your bonus on Morale checks and the maximum number of boons you can know, use either one-fifth your ranks in Profession (soldier) or one-sixth your character level, whichever is higher (minimum 1). As with other commanders, you must remain active with the army to grant your commander bonus on Morale checks, and must be at the battle to provide tactics and bonuses.
Your leadership role determines what boons you automatically know (even if you don’t meet the Leadership requirements for those boons). If a role lists multiple boons, you must choose one when you become a commander. (Others may be gained in the normal manner).
Ruler: Bloodied but Unbroken, Loyalty
General: Bonus Tactic, Flexible Tactics, Merciless, Sharpshooter
Grand Diplomat: Defensive Tactics, Merciless
High Priest: Hold the Line, Live off the Land, Triage
Justicar: Bonus Tactic, Merciless, Sharpshooter
Magister: Flexible Tactics, Loyalty
Marshal: Live off the Land, Hit and Run, Sharpshooter, Triage
Spymaster: Hit and Run, Merciless, Sharpshooter
Warden: Defensive Tactics, Hold the Line, Loyalty
If an army is destroyed and the commander is an NPC, the commander is killed (01–20), captured (21–70), or escapes (71–00). An army of mindless creatures kills all captured NPC commanders. You may ransom a captured commander by paying BP equal to the commander’s army’s Consumption (if captured by another kingdom, this goes to that kingdom’s Treasury). A commander with a history of losing battles, being captured, and being ransomed gains an unlucky reputation among your troops and reduces the Morale of any army under him by 1.
If you are the commander and your army is destroyed, the GM should present you with an opportunity to escape with serious injuries (at 25% hp or lower), otherwise you are captured and held for ransom. The other PCs may pay BP, gold, or other treasures to ransom you, or the GM may allow the other PCs to have an adventure where they attempt to rescue you instead of simply buying your freedom.