LOTR Army Lists for TRIUMPH!

Discussion of the upcoming fantasy version of TRIUMPH!
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David Kuijt
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LOTR Army Lists for TRIUMPH!

Postby David Kuijt » Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:30 pm

Okay, semester starts next week, and I'm bored. I'm also painting up a batch of LOTR Goblins in 28mm that I got at Fall In!, and thinking about my long term project of fighting the Pelennor Fields battle -- a dream I had long ago with DBA/HotT, that I've been gradually building armies for, for many years. Coming to a convention near you soon! (Okay, not soon -- but eventually, damn it, eventually).

The old ideas I had, with legacy systems, weren't bad, but Triumph! gives some major improvements to them. The major one, of course, is the existence of multi-types of crap foot.

So here's the initial draft of the Goblin list, covering all independent goblin and orc tribes after the first age. This is not the Mordor or Dol Guldur list under Sauron; this list would be good for the Dwarven-Goblin war (Azanulbizar), or for the Battle of the Five Armies, or for the Goblin forces attacking from the Misty Mountains against Lorien or Imladris at the end of the Third Age (War of the Ring).

    Goblin Tribes. Invasion 3, Maneuver 3 (due to their bad-going ambushy tactics, the rarity of them being caught in a battlefield they didn't want, their common tactic of flank marching a force as in the Battle of the Five Armies, etc.) Hilly topography.
  • General: Raider or Archer
  • 1-2x Raider Goblin guards in mail; man-sized and vicious
  • 1-4x (Beasts? Horsebow? Javelin Cavalry?) Wolf-riding goblins
  • 0-1x Archer Elite bow-armed goblins with mail and spear
  • 0-4x Bow Levy or Skirmisher Bowmen, possibly some in formed units
  • 4-8x Skirmisher skirmishing bow-armed goblins
  • 0-8x Light Foot Large goblins, nearly the size of a man
  • 6-16x Rabble Goblin foot
  • 0-6x Horde Goblin foot formed in close order units, often unwilling, mustered by whip-wielding officers
  • 0-2x (Elephants? Elite Foot?) Trolls

    Allies:
  • Wild Wargs (under their own Warg commanders, with their own language. Same rating problem as the wolf riding goblins above.
  • Dwarves (but not the tribe of Durin)

Note two major areas of uncertainty (unlikely to be resolved for a long time, until we start working seriously on Fantasy Triumph, which won't be until this summer at an absolute minimum and maybe not for a year) is how to class wolf-riding goblins and trolls. Elephant works pretty well for Trolls -- very fierce, very aggressive, difficult to control, hard to kill. Warg riders is a bigger problem because nothing in straight-up Triumph! is both (a) mounted and (b) not slowed by difficult terrain. Beasts (an element type term from HotT) is used here to designate something with those two characteristics, but no assumptions should be made about it except that the Warg Riders should be fast, impetuous (follow up on wins), and not slowed or fighting at a minus for difficult terrain. It might be that something closer to Bad Horse (with a follow-up and no difficult terrain penalties) would be better.

The first thing I want you to see with the army above is no Warband or Warrior. Goblins can be vicious, but are small -- even large goblins would be smaller than a man. Rank and file goblins did not engage in impetuous behavior unless the enemy had broken, and weren't prone to wild charges. Great goblins in mail in the guard of Goblin Kings could conceivably be rated as Warband or Warrior except that's not their behavior in the Battle of the Five Armies, where they fought in ranks and slowly pushed back spearmen rather than breaking them quickly.

Second thing I want you to see is that this army will be HUGE. HUGE, I tell you. A massive force of Rabble and Bow Levy and Skirmishers. In fact, the Rabble can have Skirmish Screen, which I think will be HILARIOUS.

I'm really looking forward to fighting a Dwarf v. Goblin battle where there is a mass of Dwarven Elite Foot fighting against huge masses of Goblin Rabble. It will be AWESOME.

PS: if you are interested in the historical debate of rating Tolkein army lists, I recommend Luke Ueda-Sarson's website. Some of the information in it is dated and relating to DBM back in the 2000-2005 timeframe, so his representations in DBM speak (whichever version of DBM they played a decade or more ago) shouldn't be taken in isolation, but his commentary on the primary source material is invaluable, and was of major utility in constructing the draft list above.
DK

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Bill Hupp
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Re: LOTR Army Lists for TRIUMPH!

Postby Bill Hupp » Sun Jan 15, 2017 1:41 am

DK,

Sounds great and thanks for sharing.

Found a new book called The Battles of Tolkien by David Day.

Bill
Bill Hupp
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I play lots of games and I like Triumph!

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Pavane
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Re: LOTR Army Lists for TRIUMPH!

Postby Pavane » Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:51 pm

Hi DK,

Are you planning to let players create their own fantasy lists like HotT, or will you use official lists only with a Meshwesh-like database (or a combination)?

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David Kuijt
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Re: LOTR Army Lists for TRIUMPH!

Postby David Kuijt » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:13 pm

Pavane wrote:Are you planning to let players create their own fantasy lists like HotT, or will you use official lists only with a Meshwesh-like database (or a combination)?


Both.

The point system in Triumph! will help avoid power imbalance. And as much as it pains me to see inaccurate HotT lists with Gandalf listed as a Magician as if he was in a Munchkin D&D campaign, the only way to support the full spectrum of fantasy battles, over all possible fantasy environments, and supporting creativity, is a "create your own list" mechanism.

With that said, we know more about the troops, leaders, and battles in Middle Earth than we do about the troops, leaders, and battles in 1/3 of the historical armies we cover in Triumph!, and as a card-carrying Tolkein Geek, I don't see any reason not to have proper army lists made up. For Tolkein it is possible to do much of the work without having Fantasy Triumph! up and running yet, as almost all of his battles can be described with historical troop types. The only exceptions in the books are Beorn, Eagles, and Nazgul if we stick to the Third Age, although Balrogs, Dragons, and other more fantastic creatures appear in battles the First and Second Ages.

Whether such lists appear on Meshwesh or not is something I haven't discussed with the team yet. There are probably legal ramifications, although Luke Ueda-Sarson's LOTR lists for an older version of DBM have been up online for 15 years or more now.
DK

Piyan Glupak
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Re: LOTR Army Lists for TRIUMPH!

Postby Piyan Glupak » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:05 pm

I know Ents are/were/would be an uncommon troop type, but the best representation that I have seen of them in previous rules is the WADBAG house rule for Hordes of the Things, 'Brutes' (permanently double-based warband for a slightly reduced points value). It worked better than 'Behemoth', and didn't suffer a bad going combat penalty. I have also used it for trolls, although it would have been nice to use a troop type for trolls that wasn't used for Ents in the same game.

For wolves, wargs and wolf-riders in HotT, I ended up using the 'Beasts' troop type (a bit brittle compared to other mounted, but crucially did not suffer bad-going combat penalties). I had experimented with having wolves and wargs as Beasts and wolf-riders as Knights, but ended up preferring Beasts for all.

By the way, you might choose to think carefully about publishing lists for Tolkien's Middle Earth on Meshwesh. At the very least, I would be inclined to ask someone more knowledgeable about intellectual property rights than myself. The army list database is closely associated with what is, in theory, a commercial product (Triumph!), even if vastly more work has gone into it than could be adequately compensated for financially. I get the feeling that the heirs of J.R.R. Tolkien see the intellectual property to do with Middle Earth as being a very valuable asset which would need protection, particularly against anything coming close to a commercial product. Luke Ueda-Sarson's lists were free, unofficial lists by a third party (as were your own DBA lists). They may not have been worth bothering about, or slipped under the radar. Posting official lists on the official database of rules that are sold may be different. It is noticeable that there have never been any 'Lord of the Rings' or 'The Hobbit' army lists in the HotT rule book, although I would be very surprised any of the authors hadn't read Tolkein's books.

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David Kuijt
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Re: LOTR Army Lists for TRIUMPH!

Postby David Kuijt » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:36 pm

Piyan Glupak wrote:I know Ents are/were/would be an uncommon troop type, but the best representation that I have seen of them in previous rules is the WADBAG house rule for Hordes of the Things, 'Brutes' (permanently double-based warband for a slightly reduced points value). It worked better than 'Behemoth', and didn't suffer a bad going combat penalty. I have also used it for trolls, although it would have been nice to use a troop type for trolls that wasn't used for Ents in the same game.


Although the Tolkien geek in me feels the need to point out that Trolls were created by Morgoth converting Ents...

Piyan Glupak wrote:For wolves, wargs and wolf-riders in HotT, I ended up using the 'Beasts' troop type (a bit brittle compared to other mounted, but crucially did not suffer bad-going combat penalties). I had experimented with having wolves and wargs as Beasts and wolf-riders as Knights, but ended up preferring Beasts for all.


Me too. I've seen other people trying all sorts of other things for Wolf-Riders, but to my eye in HotT Beasts is the only thing that fits. Luke Ueda-Sarson does some fancy hand-waving where he makes them into Ax(I) when in bad going or something (without any dismounting action required -- just being in bad going) but that's making a new troop type while pretending you aren't, to my eyes. And some rules nightmares associated with it.

Piyan Glupak wrote:By the way, you might choose to think carefully about publishing lists for Tolkien's Middle Earth on Meshwesh. At the very least, I would be inclined to ask someone more knowledgeable about intellectual property rights than myself. The army list database is closely associated with what is, in theory, a commercial product (Triumph!), even if vastly more work has gone into it than could be adequately compensated for financially. I get the feeling that the heirs of J.R.R. Tolkien see the intellectual property to do with Middle Earth as being a very valuable asset which would need protection, particularly against anything coming close to a commercial product. Luke Ueda-Sarson's lists were free, unofficial lists by a third party (as were your own DBA lists). They may not have been worth bothering about, or slipped under the radar. Posting official lists on the official database of rules that are sold may be different. It is noticeable that there have never been any 'Lord of the Rings' or 'The Hobbit' army lists in the HotT rule book, although I would be very surprised any of the authors hadn't read Tolkein's books.


Ya, probably.

In many cases it is less about violating IP than about having to defend yourself against a suit about violating IP, which isn't quite the same thing. When a billion dollar business threatens to sue a tiny one, the results are independent of who was right or wrong.
DK


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