I prepare a custom move for a city under siege with soldiers left, but broken chain of command. Input welcome!

I prepare a custom move for a city under siege with soldiers left, but broken chain of command. Input welcome!

I prepare a custom move for a city under siege with soldiers left, but broken chain of command. Input welcome!

**Give an order:**

If you have earned the respect of the solders or the one they vowed fidelity to, and there is no effective chain of command, and you attempt to give an order, roll+CHA.

Gain +1 if the order does not seem to be particulary dangerous.

On a 10+, choose 1. On 7-9, choose 2.

– They will run away when facing imminent death.

– They expect you to protect them.

– They move very slow and act extremly cautious.

6-: They will deny your order, completely or partially.

Soldiers might accept minor tasks (bring message, answer question etc.) without roll, unless they consider you a foe. GMs call.

8 thoughts on “I prepare a custom move for a city under siege with soldiers left, but broken chain of command. Input welcome!”

  1. This effectively is a move that makes all the soldiers left in the city your de facto hirelings, without the need to actually hire them.

    A smart playing group will just get the highest CHA character to order any group of soldiers they see and send them in to any dangerous spot first. Conversely, the hireling move is a +LOYALTY move and you have to earn the hireling’s loyalty through deeds and actions.

    On the face of it, it would take longer to be able to order a hireling to do an act that you could just turn up and order some soldiers to do straight away.

    Having said that, you do have the same ‘deeds and actions’ trigger here with the fictional trigger: ‘If you have earned the respect of the soldiers …’ but only where that ‘IF’ is meaningful. So, you have to work that fictional trigger as GM and the players have to know the garrison doesn’t take orders from folk that haven’t earned it!

    I would change the first sentence to ‘If you have earned the respect of the soldiers and give an order’: I don’t think the chain of command stuff is necessary for the move itself as that is an aspect of the fiction, and the GM will be able to determine whether there is an officer about that will counter and your order.

  2. Thanks for your ideas. I intentionally don´t use the hireling mechanism: We are in a city under siege with the heroes assuming defacto command. The soldiers are already paid and on duty to protect the city, but yet have to accept orders from an outsider.

    Your worries about the party not knowing that they have to earn respect is on the spot. I´ll make a note to give that hint through an NPC. I also like your shortening of the first sentence.

    You point out that the group could exploit the situation. Well, if too many soldiers are drawn from defending the walls, I´ll sure show the consequences. Yet – do you have any suggestion how a missed roll should be handled? My first idea is a rebellion-countdown, but that adds a hell of complexity.

  3. I would make it something like “when you give a dangerous or unusual order.” If they’re trained soldiers, used to following orders, I wouldn’t make them roll for anything routine–imitate the hireling rules that way.

  4. I don’t think there should be any penalty for failing a role: they’re professional soldiers after all, and if someone gives them an order and they don’t think it’s a good idea then they’ll laugh and tell them to piss off.

    There should be a consequences for the players who convince soldiers to go along with orders that result in a complete failure, or all the soldiers get killed.

    I would actually just give the soldiers their own Front, and the Grim Portents would reflect the soldiers preparing to escape the city and abandon it to its fate. The Impending Doom would be something like ‘The Legion rallies from the East Gate and leads a bloody fighting retreat as they abandon the city’

    Progression through the portents might be from a Hard Move of its own accord, or as a consequence of failed player actions such as them ordering some soldiers to hold a position and getting everyone else killed.

    Negative setbacks in the defence of the city should basically move the Soldier front toward their ‘Impending Doom’.

    If the siege goes badly and the city gets sacked, it isn’t a complete loss either: that’s some nice dynamic fiction to drive your game world. If the soldiers escape they might become a new campaign front in their own right: nothing is worse than bored, angry soldiers with nothing to do after all …

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