Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Sieges were a major component of Early Modern warfare. Towns and cities in the period were surrounded by defensive fortifications: walls, ditches, and bastions. Building and maintaining those defenses were expensive activities that required significant capital outlay. Defending or breaching those defenses where one of the most common, if not the most common, major military actions in the Early Modern period. These events are depicted in many drawings, sketches, and paintings, commemorated in song, and even make there way into fiction set in the period, e.g. the 1627-1628 Siege of La Rochelle is prominently featured in Dumas' The Three Musketeers and the 1757 Siege of Fort William is a key element in the movie Last of the Mohicans. Similarly games set in this period should, and often do, reflect this historical fact. 

In the original period RPG, "EnGarde!" out of the 60 possible force deployments only 26 are Field Operations. The remaining deployments are all related to fortresses with Siege: 14, Assault: 9, and Defense: 11. So characters will end up involved in Field Operations about 43% of the time while being one side or the other of a fortification occurs 57% of the time.

"Flashing Blades" has an even simpler method for determining the type of military operation (page 26).

Roll. . . . .Situation
1 . . . . . . .Siege
2 . . . . . . ,Battle
3 . . . . . . .Under Siege
4 . . . . . . .Repeated Skirmishes
5 . . , . , , .Attack
6 . . . . . . .Battle

Field Operations are 50% of the results (either Battle or Repeated Skirmishes) while deployments related to fortifications are 50% of the results (either Siege, Under Siege, or Attack). Attack is what is also called storming and this is where grenadier units, in their original meaning of soldier tossing fused explosives, are at a premium and count double in the Flashing Blades army combat calculation.

"Honor+Intrigue" is focused on the actions of characters rather army campaigns and does not include a dice driven system for generating or resolving military campaigns. It does, however, include a system for resolving ship-to-ship actions and battles. And in the section on battles we see an example for the above mentioned Siege of La Rochelle.

Example: In France, the fortified city of La Rochelle is in
rebellion. King Louis’ army is moderately better trained (+1),
and overwhelmingly larger (+4). However, the rebels have an
overwhelmingly advantageous position, being in a fortified city
that can only be attacked from one side (+4 to their Army Rating).
Louis’ men are much better supplied, however (+2). Both sides
have very competent commanders (+2 to each). This leaves King
Louis’ army with an Army Rating of 9 and the rebels with a 6,
giving Louis’ Army a +3 to its rolls. In all likelihood, Louis’
army will win the Siege, unless the rebels get reinforcements from
England to turn the tide. However, the actions of a small band of
Musketeers may be able to hasten victory before that happens.

I supplement my H+I campaign by using the military campaign rules from Flashing Blades. And have used the historical siege of Bergen op Zoom as a major campaign arc. 

In my next post, I'll highlight a new resource I found for sieges in the period.

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