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Battle of Waterloo 1815

The lack of Mass Combat rules in Ghastly Affair might seem glaring in light of its default setting, the era of the French Revolution and Napoleon. What follows is an attempt to rectify that omission. It makes possible scenarios such as a Company of British infantry cut off from its Regiment and facing down revenants in the Tabernas Desert during the Peninsular War, or a Troop of French cavalry from the Grande Armée attempting to flee Russia while threatened by werewolves and General Winter alike.

The tentative method of mass combat here presented is to treat whole military units (Battalions, Companies, etc.) as single beings (much as Ghastly Affair does with Angry Mobs). Fights involving military units therefore use exactly the same rules as those involving individual adversaries – including determining Initiative , and checking Morale at appropriate times. In general, units with more members should have higher Hit Points than those with fewer, but a relatively underpopulated unit might have high HP on account of its good health, or exceptionally thorough training.

There is, of course, a great deal of abstraction assumed in the presentation. The composition of military units could, of course, vary greatly from nation to nation – and even in the same nation across the assumed time period of 1765 to 1820. This is particularly true in the case of France, where the semi-private pre-Revolutionary army was very different from the fully nationalized military commanded by Napoleon. Therefore, the treatment of units that follows is fairly generic – good enough to figure out what happens when an Infantry Platoon faces off against a family of crazed cannibals, or a Battalion battles a dragon that has been slumbering for centuries, but admittedly inadequate for realistically recreating Waterloo. Doubtless, any experienced war-gamer could probably find innumerable faults with my presentation of 18th century military units and tactics as it relates to any specific historical military unit.

An Overview of 18th Century and Napoleonic Infantry

The ordinary rank and file infantry of the 18th Century were often called “Fusiliers”, especially in the French army of the late 18th century and Napoleonic era. They are typically armed with a smooth-bore musket, a bayonet, and possibly a straight-bladed sword (although in many units only officers carry swords). Each Infantryman carries his own bedroll; a canteen; and a supply of black powder, wadding, and bullets. Spare clothing and personal items (such as a shaving kit and playing cards) are carried in a backpack. The uniforms of ordinary Infantrymen are colorful because 18th century battlefields are blanketed with obscuring gun smoke, and drab clothing will inevitably result in friendly units firing on each other frequently. Before the French Revolution, most Infantry units wore tricorn hats. In the Napoleonic-era, this changed to the cylindrical “shako” hat, usually embellished with a plume.

Specialized infantry units include “Grenadiers” (prestigious heavy infantry armed with grenades), “Chasseurs” (light infantry who march ahead of other units), and “Sappers” (demolitions experts).

On the battlefield, it is usual for only half the members of an infantry unit to fire their muskets at a time. This allows the other half time to reload their single-shot guns.

Infantry officers are distinguished by their more elaborate uniforms (which they often have made for themselves at their own expense), and different headgear (often a bicorn hat rather than a tricorn or shako). Sergeants carry spontoons (wide-bladed spears), which they use for signaling, to correct the aim of line soldiers, and as a weapon in hand-to-hand combat. A minor officer called an “Ensign” is in charge of protecting the unit’s flag or standard. Besides the ordinary men and officers, units larger than a squad will also have a drummer and fifer (flute-player), who help to keep time in marches, convey orders on the battlefield, and keep up morale. The drummer may be a boy, but is usually just a young enlisted soldier.

It was common in the 18th century for Infantry (and Cavalry) units to be raised, trained, and equipped not by the national government, but by individual noblemen. The nobleman who raised the unit would then either command it himself, or give command to his son. It is very common for units to be comprised of foreigners and other people who first loyalty is to their commander and fellow soldiers, rather than the sovereign of the nation they nominally serve. Other units may be composed of forcibly conscripted or “impressed” men who would, if any real opportunity presented itself, either desert, or mutiny and become brigands. Such conscripted men are likely take out their frustration at their predicament by committing atrocities against civilian populations.

Military units more than a day’s march from a fort are almost always accompanied by numerous “camp followers” – private food merchants, cooks, entertainers, seamstresses, washerwomen, nurses, and prostitutes who provide much of the actual logistical support for the army. Among the camp followers will also be the wives and children of soldiers, who are (unless they are the commanding officer’s family) expected to help with cooking, washing, cleaning, and repairs. There can be as many camp followers as there as soldiers in the unit.


Napoleons retreat from moscow

INFANTRY BATTALION

360 to 720 soldiers on foot, acting as a unit.

Creature Class: Antagonist
Number Appearing: 1 – 4
Initial Impression: Several hundred armed and uniformed men, marching to the sounds of drums and flute.
Size: Large (500’ x 10’ in Line, 10’ x 500’ in Column, 60’ x 60’ in Square, 500’ x 50’ in Skirmish Line)
Perversity: 13
Disposition: Aggressive
Charisma: 11 (or same as commanding Lieutenant Colonel) Intelligence: 9 Wisdom: 9
Strength: 5,400 Dexterity: 11 Constitution: 9
Speed: 6 in Line, 9 in Column, 3 in Square, 9 in Skirmish Line
Armor Class: None (+2 if wreathed in Gun Smoke, +2 if in Skirmish Line)
Hit Dice: 150
Attacks: 1 (musket volley; or muskets, bayonets, and swords) [½ Damage when in Column, Square or Skirmish Line]
Special Abilities: Dissolve into Companies, Form Column, Form Line, Form Square, Form Skirmish Line, Immune to Single Target Magic, Multiple Attacks, Set Bayonets Against Charge.
Weaknesses: Gun Smoke, Musket Inaccuracy.
Possible Assets (+3 Bonus): Brilliant Commander, Marksmen, Seasoned Troops, Fanatical
Possible Afflictions (-3 Penalty): Poorly Equipped, Incompetent Commander, Sick, Malnourished
Preternatural Powers: None (Unless a Magician or Mad Scientist is part of unit)
Level: 10

An 18th Century Infantry Battalion consists of 5 or 6 Companies of Soldiers, generally commanded by an officer with the title of Lieutenant Colonel, Chef de Batallion, or Major.

Two Infantry Battalions together form an Infantry Regiment commanded by a Colonel.

An Infantry Battalion reduced to 0 Hit Points devolves into three surviving Infantry Companies. The Presenter should assume that half the casualties suffered by the formerly intact Battalion are dead, and half are wounded to the point of incapacity.

Infantry Battalion Special Abilities

Dissolve into Companies: An Infantry Battalion can be dissolved into 5 or 6 Infantry Companies of 60 to 120 soldiers, each commanded by a Captain. This might be done in order to encircle an enemy, for example. It takes 10 Rounds to Dissolve into Companies.

Form Column: A Column is a narrow formation of soldiers in several files (usually about 5). A Battalion in a Column moves quickly at Speed 9, but it inflicts only half damage on a successful attack. Column form is therefore usually employed for marching, but seldom offensively. It takes 6 Rounds to Form a Column.

Form Line: A Line is a wide formation of soldiers in two rows, standing and firing shoulder to shoulder. This is the default formation for battle in the 18th century. A Battalion in a Line moves slowly at Speed 6, but inflicts full 1d6+150 damage on each attack. It takes 6 Rounds to Form a Line.

Form Square: A Square is a tight and compact formation just 60’ to a side. A Cavalry unit charging a Square loses all advantages (enjoying no bonus to the attack, and doing normal damage). A Battalion in a Square can only move at Speed 3, and inflicts half damage on a successful attack. It takes 10 Rounds to Form a Square.

Form Skirmish Line: A Skirmish Line is an open formation that allows soldiers to hide behind trees and walls, shoot from prone positions, and otherwise take advantage of available cover. A Battalion in a Skirmish Line enjoys a +2 AC, but only inflicts half damage on a successful attack. It takes 6 Rounds to Form a Skirmish Line.

Immune to Single Target Magic: Because an Infantry Battalion is an aggregate of individuals, it is effectively immune to Preternatural Effects that affect just a single Recipient. Unfortunately, this also means that Curing and Healing effects that only benefit individuals are wasted as well. Effects that target as area (such as Fireball), work normally.

Multiple Attacks: The Battalion can attack multiple targets or units instead of concentrating on a single one. The Battalion makes a normal Check for each attack, but its Damage Bonus is reduced as shown below:

Targets

Damage Bonus per attack

1

+150

2

+75

3

+50

4

+38

5

+30

6

+25

Set Bayonets Against Charge: An Infantry Battalion that spends a full Round preparing to meet a charging Calvary unit will inflict double damage (1d6 + 150, times 2) on the first Round of Hand-to-Hand fighting against it. The Battalion cannot attack, move, or take any other action while preparing to meet the charging unit, however.

Infantry Battalion Weaknesses

Gun Smoke: After firing its first volley of musket fire, a Battalion in any formation other than a Skirmish Line suffers a -2 Penalty on all further attacks, but also enjoys a +2 on its Armor Class. This is due to a large cloud of smoke enveloping the unit and obscuring sight. This Gun Smoke will last until the Battalion spends a full Turn not firing its muskets, or moves 50’ from its current position.

Musket Inaccuracy: Almost all Infantry Battalions are -2 on Attack Checks against targets further than 50’ distant, due to the inaccuracy of their smooth-bore muskets. Furthermore, their muskets are completely inaccurate past 450 feet.


Butler Lady Quatre Bras 1815

INFANTRY COMPANY

60 to 120 soldiers on foot, acting as a unit.
Creature Class: Antagonist
Number Appearing: 1 – 4
Initial Impression: About a hundred armed and uniformed men, marching to the sounds of drums and flute.
Size: Large (100’ x 10’ in Line, 10’ x 100’ in Column, 15’ x 15’ in Square, 100 x 50’ in Skirmish Line)
Perversity: 13
Disposition: Aggressive
Charisma: 11 (or same as commanding Captain) Intelligence: 9 Wisdom: 9
Strength: 900 Dexterity: 11 Constitution: 9
Speed: 6 in Line, 9 in Column, 3 in Square, 9 in Skirmish Line
Armor Class: None (+2 if wreathed in Gun Smoke, +2 if in Skirmish Line)
Hit Dice: 30
Attacks: 1 (musket volley; or muskets, bayonets, and swords) [½ Damage when in Column, Square or Skirmish Line]
Special Abilities: Dissolve into Plattons, Form Column, Form Line, Form Square, Form Skirmish Line, Immune to Single Target Magic, Multiple Attacks, Set Bayonets Against Charge.
Weaknesses: Gun Smoke, Musket Inaccuracy.
Possible Assets (+3 Bonus): Brilliant Commander, Marksmen, Seasoned Troops, Fanatical
Possible Afflictions (-3 Penalty): Poorly Equipped, Incompetent Commander, Sick, Malnourished
Preternatural Powers: None (Unless a Magician or Mad Scientist is part of unit)
Level: 10

An 18th Century Infantry Company consists of three Platoons of soldiers, and is typically commanded by an officer with the title of “Captain”. Five or six Companies typically form a Battalion.

An Infantry Company reduced to 0 Hit Points becomes two Infantry Platoons.

Infantry Company Special Abilities

Dissolve into Platoons: An Infantry Company can be dissolved into 3 Infantry Platoons of 20 to 40 soldiers, each commanded by a Lieutenant. This might be done in order to encircle an enemy, for example.

Form Column: A Column is a narrow formation of soldiers in three files. A Company in a Column moves quickly at Speed 9, but it inflicts only half damage on a successful attack. Column form is therefore usually employed for marching, but seldom offensively. It takes 4 Rounds to Form a Column.

Form Line: A Line is a wide formation of soldiers in two rows, standing and firing shoulder to shoulder. This is the default formation for battle in the 18th century. A Company in a Line moves slowly at Speed 6, but inflicts full 1d6+30 damage on each attack. It takes 4 Rounds to Form a Line.

Form Square: A Square is a tight and compact formation just 60’ to a side. A Cavalry unit charging a Square loses all advantages (enjoying no bonus to the attack, and doing normal damage). A Company in a Square can only move at Speed 3, and inflicts half damage on a successful attack. It takes 6 Rounds to Form a Square.

Form Skirmish Line: A Skirmish Line is an open formation that allows soldiers to hide behind trees and walls, shoot from prone positions, and otherwise take advantage of available cover. A Company in a Skirmish Line enjoys a +2 AC, but only inflicts half damage on a successful attack. It takes 4 Rounds to Form a Skirmish Line.

Immune to Single Target Magic: Because an Infantry Company is an aggregate of individuals, it is effectively immune to Preternatural Effects that affect just a single Recipient. Unfortunately, this also means that Curing and Healing effects that only benefit individuals are wasted as well. Effects that target as area (such as Fireball), work normally.

Multiple Attacks: The Company can attack multiple targets or units instead of concentrating on a single one. The Company makes a normal Check for each attack, but its Damage Bonus is reduced as shown below:

Targets

Damage Bonus per attack

1

+30

2

+15

3

+10

4

+8

5

+6

6

+5

Set Bayonets Against Charge: An Infantry Company that spends a full Round preparing to meet a charging Calvary unit will inflict double damage (1d6 + Damage Bonus, times 2) on the first round of Hand-to-Hand fighting against it. The Company cannot attack, move, or take any other action while preparing to meet the charging unit, however.

Infantry Company Weaknesses

Gun Smoke: After firing its first volley of musket fire, a Company in any formation other than a Skirmish Line suffers a -2 Penalty on all further attacks, but also enjoys a +2 on its Armor Class. This is due to a large cloud of smoke enveloping the unit and obscuring sight. This Gun Smoke will last until the Company spends a full Turn not firing its muskets, or moves 50’ from its current position.

Musket Inaccuracy: Almost all Infantry Companies are -2 on Attack Checks against targets further than 50’ distant, due to the inaccuracy of their smooth-bore muskets. Furthermore, their muskets are completely inaccurate past 450 feet.


The Bloody Massacre

INFANTRY PLATOON

20 to 40 soldiers on foot, acting as a unit.
Creature Class: Antagonist
Number Appearing: 1 or 2
Initial Impression: Approximately thirty armed and uniformed men, marching to the sounds of drums and flute.
Size: Large (35’ x 10’ in Line, 5’ x 30’ in Column, 10’ x 10’ in Square.)
Perversity: 13
Disposition: Aggressive
Charisma: 11 (or same as commanding Lieutenant) Intelligence: 9 Wisdom: 9
Strength: 300 Dexterity: 11 Constitution: 9
Speed: 6 in Line, 9 in Column, 3 in Square, 9 in Skirmish Line
Armor Class: None (+2 if wreathed in Gun Smoke, +2 if in Skirmish Line)
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks: 1 (musket volley; or muskets, bayonets, and swords) [½ Damage when in Column, Square or Skirmish Line]
Special Abilities: Dissolve into Squads, Form Column, Form Line, Form Square, Form Skirmish Line, Immune to Single Target Magic, Multiple Attacks, Set Bayonets Against Charge.
Weaknesses: Gun Smoke, Musket Inaccuracy.
Possible Assets (+3 Bonus): Brilliant Commander, Marksmen, Seasoned Troops, Fanatical
Possible Afflictions (-3 Penalty): Poorly Equipped, Incompetent Commander, Sick, Malnourished
Preternatural Powers: None (Unless a Magician or Mad Scientist is part of unit)
Level: 10

An 18th Century Infantry Platoon consists of twenty to forty soldiers trained to fire their muskets together in a single mass. A Platoon is typically commanded by a Lieutenant. Three Platoons form a Company.

An Infantry Platoon reduced to 0 Hit Points becomes an Infantry Squad.

Infantry Platoon Special Abilities

Dissolve into Squads: An Infantry Company can be dissolved into 2 Infantry Squads of 10 to 20 soldiers, each commanded by a Lieutenant. This might be done in order to encircle an enemy, for example.

Form Column: A Column is a narrow formation of soldiers in two files. A Platoon in a Column moves quickly at Speed 9, but it inflicts only half damage on a successful attack. Column form is therefore usually employed for marching, but seldom offensively. It takes 2 Rounds to Form a Column.

Form Line: A Line is a wide formation of soldiers in two rows, standing and firing shoulder to shoulder. This is the default formation for battle in the 18th century. A Platoon in a Line moves slowly at Speed 6, but inflicts full 1d6+10 damage on each attack. It takes 2 Rounds to Form a Line.

Form Square: A Square is a tight and compact formation just 60’ to a side. A Cavalry unit charging a Square loses all advantages (enjoying no bonus to the attack, and doing normal damage). A Platoon in a Square can only move at Speed 3, and inflicts half damage on a successful attack. It takes 3 Rounds to Form a Square.

Form Skirmish Line: A Skirmish Line is an open formation that allows soldiers to hide behind trees and walls, shoot from prone positions, and otherwise take advantage of available cover. A Platoon in a Skirmish Line enjoys a +2 AC, but only inflicts half damage on a successful attack. It takes 2 Rounds to Form a Skirmish Line.

Immune to Single Target Magic: Because an Infantry Platoon is an aggregate of individuals, it is effectively immune to Preternatural Effects that affect just a single Recipient. Unfortunately, this also means that Curing and Healing effects that only benefit individuals are wasted as well. Effects that target as area (such as Fireball), work normally.

Multiple Attacks: The Platoon can attack up to four targets or units instead of concentrating on a single one. The Platoon makes a normal Check for each attack, but its Damage Bonus is reduced as shown below:

Targets

Damage Bonus per attack

1

+10

2

+5

3 – 4

+3

Set Bayonets Against Charge: An Infantry Platoon that spends a full Round preparing to meet a charging Calvary unit will inflict double damage (1d6 + Damage Bonus, times 2) on the first round of Hand-to-Hand fighting against it. The Platoon cannot attack, move, or take any other action while preparing to meet the charging unit, however.

Infantry Platoon Weaknesses

Gun Smoke: After firing its first volley of musket fire, a Platoon in any formation other than a Skirmish Line suffers a -2 Penalty on all further attacks, but also enjoys a +2 on its Armor Class. This is due to a large cloud of smoke enveloping the unit and obscuring sight. This Gun Smoke will last until the Company spends a full Turn not firing its muskets, or moves 50’ from its current position.

Musket Inaccuracy: Almost all Infantry Platoon are -2 on Attack Checks against targets further than 50’ distant, due to the inaccuracy of their smooth-bore muskets. Furthermore, their muskets are completely inaccurate past 450 feet.


Francisco de Goya - The Horrors of War- The Same - 1922.519 - Cleveland Museum of Art (cropped)

INFANTRY SQUAD

10 to 20 soldiers on foot, acting as a unit.
Creature Class: Antagonist
Number Appearing: 1
Initial Impression: Approximately a dozen armed and uniformed men.
Size: Large (15’ x 10’ in Line, 10’ x 20’ in Column, 8’ x 8’ in Square,)
Perversity: 13
Disposition: Aggressive
Charisma: 11 (or same as commanding Sergeant) Intelligence: 9 Wisdom: 9
Strength: 150 Dexterity: 11 Constitution: 9
Speed: 6 in Line, 9 in Column, 3 in Square, 9 in Skirmish Line
Armor Class: None (+2 if wreathed in Gun Smoke, +2 if in Skirmish Line)
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1 (musket volley; or muskets, bayonets, and swords) [½ Damage when in Column, Square or Skirmish Line]
Special Abilities: Dissolve, Form Column, Form Line, Form Square, Form Skirmish Line, Immune to Single Target Magic, Multiple Attacks, Set Bayonets Against Charge.
Weaknesses: Gun Smoke, Musket Inaccuracy.
Possible Assets (+3 Bonus): Brilliant Commander, Marksmen, Seasoned Troops, Fanatical
Possible Afflictions (-3 Penalty): Poorly Equipped, Incompetent Commander, Sick, Malnourished
Preternatural Powers: None (Unless a Magician or Mad Scientist is part of unit)
Level: 6

A Squad is half a platoon. On the battlefield, one Squad of a Platoon will typically fire a volley of musket fire while the other one reloads. A Squad will rarely be separated from its platoon, but in such a case it will typically be commanded by a Sub-lieutenant or Sergeant.

An Infantry Squad reduced to 0 Hit Points breaks up into 5 or 6 individual survivors.

Infantry Squad Special Abilities

Dissolve Unit: An Infantry Squad can be broken up into its individual soldiers. This might be done in order to encircle an enemy, for example.

Form Column: A Column is a narrow formation of soldiers in two files. A Squad in a Column moves quickly at Speed 9, but it inflicts only half damage on a successful attack. Column form is therefore usually employed for marching, but seldom offensively. It takes 1 Round to Form a Column.

Form Line: A Line is a wide formation of soldiers in two rows, standing and firing shoulder to shoulder. This is the default formation for battle in the 18th century. A Squad in a Line moves slowly at Speed 6, but inflicts full 1d6+6 damage on each attack. It takes 1 Round to Form a Line.

Form Square: A Square is a tight and compact formation just 60’ to a side. A Cavalry unit charging a Square loses all advantages (enjoying no bonus to the attack, and doing normal damage). A Squad in a Square can only move at Speed 3, and inflicts half damage on a successful attack. It takes 2 Rounds to Form a Square.

Form Skirmish Line: A Skirmish Line is an open formation that allows soldiers to hide behind trees and walls, shoot from prone positions, and otherwise take advantage of available cover. A Squad in a Skirmish Line enjoys a +2 to AC, but only inflicts half damage on a successful attack. It takes 1 Round to Form a Skirmish Line.

Immune to Single Target Magic: Because an Infantry Squad is an aggregate of individuals, it is effectively immune to Preternatural Effects that affect just a single Recipient. Unfortunately, this also means that Curing and Healing effects that only benefit individuals are wasted as well. Effects that target as area (such as Fireball), work normally.

Multiple Attacks: The Squad can attack up to four targets or units instead of concentrating on a single one. The Platoon makes a normal Check for each attack, but its Damage Bonus is reduced as shown below:

Targets

Damage Bonus per attack

1

+6

2

+3

3 – 4

+2

Set Bayonets Against Charge: An Infantry Squad that spends a full Round preparing to meet a charging Calvary unit will inflict double damage (1d6 + Damage Bonus, times 2) on the first round of Hand-to-Hand fighting against it. The Squad cannot attack, move, or take any other action while preparing to meet the charging unit, however.

Infantry Squad Weaknesses

Gun Smoke: After firing its first volley of musket fire, a Squad in any formation other than a Skirmish Line suffers a -2 Penalty on all further attacks, but also enjoys a +2 on its Armor Class. This is due to a large cloud of smoke enveloping the unit and obscuring sight. This Gun Smoke will last until the Squad spends a full Turn not firing its muskets, or moves 50’ from its current position.

Musket Inaccuracy: Almost all Infantry Squads are -2 on Attack Checks against targets further than 50’ distant, due to the inaccuracy of their smooth-bore muskets. Furthermore, their muskets are completely inaccurate past 450 feet.


Grande Armée - Light Infantry Chasseurs

SPECIAL INFANTRY UNITS

Chasseurs : Light infantry that move at Speed 10 in Column and Skirmish Line. They can also Form Line (Speed 7), but cannot Form Square.

Grenadiers: Elite units comprised of the tallest and strongest soldiers, well-trained, and armed with grenades. Grenadier units have Dexterity 13 (rather than 11), and have the Asset “Intimidating”. Once per battle they can lob grenades for double damage at a target or unit 50’ – 60’ distant.

Mamluks: Egyptian mercenaries serving under Napoleon. They are skilled with their scimitars, and attack with a +1 Bonus in Hand-to-Hand fights.

Rangers / Jagers / Riflemen: Light infantry armed with rifles. They move at Speed 10, and do not suffer from the Weakness “Musket Inaccuracy”. They attack only in a Skirmish Line, however. Their guns are accurate to 750’.

Sappers: Units armed with axes, picks, and bombs to destroy obstructions and sabotage enemy fortifications. They have the Special Ability “Damage Structure”, which allows them to inflict full damage against things as reinforced doors, stone walls, buildings, and terrain features.

Skimishers / Voltigeurs: These units fight only in a Skirmish Line (like Rangers). They are specialized for rough terrain, and trained to use cover effectively. They have Dexterity 12 (rather than 11), and are AC 2.

Windbüchse Units: Elite Austrian units armed with cutting-edge Girondoni Air Rifles that use reservoirs of pressurized air rather than gunpowder, and can be reloaded in a second from a built-in 20 shot magazine. Their guns have the same range as muskets, but Windbüchse Units do not suffer the Weaknesses of “Musket Inaccuracy” or “Gun Smoke” (but don’t get the benefit of cover from the smoke either).


About Player Characters in Military Units

Player Characters serving as soldiers in military units are never killed or wounded in combat while part of the unit. If a unit is reduced to 0 Hit Point (and thus broken), any Player Characters are generally assumed to be part of a surviving sub-unit. For example, if a Infantry Battalion is reduced to 0 Hit Points, and thus reduced to three surviving Companies of soldiers, the PCs belong to one of those Companies (unless they indicate otherwise).

Player Characters offering a military unit in combat must make a successful Charisma Check for each command they issue. Failure means the command is either not heard, or ignored that Round. The choking gun smoke, incredible noise, and general panic of the troops makes it extremely difficult to control forces on an 18th century battlefield, and carefully laid strategies tend to break down quickly unless officers are exceptionally skilled. (One of the reasons Napoleon’s army was so effective was that his officers needed to actually demonstrate ability to get promoted – rather than just purchasing their commissions, as was the rule elsewhere in Europe.)