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Scorpio rules

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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Jim Webster on Sun Apr 19, 2015 12:25 pm

I can see the problem that the legion is virtually wiped out but still fires the artillery at full effect. Also artillery that is contacted by an enemy is eliminated. If a legionary unit is hit in the rear or is pushed back, is the artillery overrun.
Also if it's cart mounted, can it then travel in areas that carts cannot usually go? And what happens to artillery the legion leaves behind? For example a legion that scales a wall, does it reform on the other side with mule cart and artillery.
I'm coming round to the idea that they should be modeled in some way.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by dadiepiombo on Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:50 am

let's see

The model should be present

Artillery could be lost in the same way as pilum or as an alternative is lost on contact. Usually art is lost as unprotected in ths weay we can see in a different way. Both could have sense, as pilum is probably easier to memorize.

Artillery can fire in ZOC as an alternative to the charge (reaction)

Legionaries with artillery cannot enter difficult terrain or assault fortification.
One option could be that the player can alway leave behind.

Treat them as artillery at all effects? Wagenburg come in mind as there are some similarities with WG with Art B. In that case is ART B at all effects. We can follow the same or design a different approach cosnidering a large number of weaker weapons.

I would go with 2 dice shooting up to short range (15U) and not artillery "abilities" but more like other shooting weapons. But so far it is just a question of taste.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by starkadder on Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:19 am

"The model should be present" - Unnecessary. We upgrade troops all of the time without too much worry (My Turks have 50% of CLs doing that almost all the time as I think the native Turkomen were better than the list allows)

As disorder and losses stop the pilum then artillery abilities can be degraded the same way.

You lose the ART ability permanently if you enter disordering terrain.

15U shooting is fine.

It would be nice to give the Liberators something back.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Gaius Cassius on Tue Apr 21, 2015 1:30 pm

I don't find the Scorpio rule very convincing, historically or gaming Impetus. The idea the legions can now project out 2 dice of firepower against infantry at long range as if they are VBU4 Crossbow A is silly to me.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by dadiepiombo on Tue Apr 21, 2015 2:44 pm

They had a true fire power, this is the fact. How this can be better modelled is another affair.
Maybe other ruleset never tried to model this with the result that Early/Mid Imperial Romans are crap armies in every set.

Maybe the dice can be reduce to 1 and maybe could be lost even at the first movement or at the first impact (I can accept they are not destroyed at the first impact if Romans are charged as legionaries protect them unless they recoil, that means to be no longer Fresh. Hard to see they can charge without leaving these behind).
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:14 pm

I don't doubt they had an effect, I'm just not sure just how effective they are on the grand scale we are playing - sure getting hit with one is bad for the individual, and I'm sure getting hit by them is not good for unit cohesion for troops that cant hit back, but in the end, aren't they just artillery?  

What makes them different to anyone else artillery?

The Early Imperial Roman list allows up to 2 Art B which is one base per 10 Legion bases (roughly). Is this not enough? If not surely the answer is to increase the numbers available?

I understand the need to try and buff the Legions, which have pretty much under performed in Impetus since day 1, but the arrival of supported flanks and quality bonus in the 2015 update does that quite well.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Gaius Cassius on Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:29 pm

I agree with Cyrus on this one.

I don't have my EI2 in front of me but doesn't the Roman lists give them artillery? My understanding is that Scorpios were typically used as siege weapons and grouped as artillery batteries on top of a hill (this is what the Wikepedia listing also seems to suggest.) The idea that they are imbedded right into the legion units seems a bit odd to me and also impractical.

Impetus is vague about what it represents with individual units. Is a legion stand a full legion or a cohort? Doesn't really matter and I am happy with that. A legion had only 60 Scorpios attached to it. Considering the magnitude of the size of the legion this is woefully small number of weapons to worry about in a system like Impetus. If they must be modeled then perhaps for every 4 Legion stands the player may purchase a Scorpio that is put on a half stand and functions like Artillery B in all respects.

The changes made that improve linear armies has already helped Roman lists. I think that there could be a lot of ways of improving Romans in Impetus and I am confident that there are plenty of ideas for this on the Forum. For me Scorpios isn't one of them
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by dadiepiombo on Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:36 pm

Roman legions didn't use scorpions just on siege. They were part of each legions in good numbers to give support fire as field artillery.

Those Art B already present represents detached artillery B and includes also bigger weapons like ballistas, less flexible like all Art B.

http://www.roman-empire.net/army/scorpion-pics.html

Now, for what reason Sparabara need absolutely a change to increase their firepower at no extra cost while Roman cannot even paying the upgrade?

How taylor this is another matter and the reason behind this discussion is to share ideas.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by dadiepiombo on Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:40 pm

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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Gaius Cassius on Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:35 pm

Lorenzo, the Sparabara are made up of 1 rank of spear and 9 ranks of archers. Yet at long range the Scorpio as proposed would have more dice. Go figure.

With respect to your larger point, Roman legions were human killing machines. Peter West in Fall of the Roman Empire shows just how devastating the legions were. With all respect, I don't think they were the dominant infantry of the ancient world because of the Scorpio or that the Scorpio even figures into the Legion's dominance. In fact, at the scale of Impetus I would be inclinded to agree with Cyrus and say that they have no impact on the battlefield.

Your citation above says,

"Scorpiones were typically used in an artillery battery at the top of a hill or other high ground, the side of which was protected by the main body of the legion."

This would suggest to me that they should be modeled as separate units and not imbedded into the legion stand.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by dadiepiombo on Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:06 pm

on the hill they can perform indirect fire at 400m, while they were effective at 100m on direct fire, that is what I want to simulate.
The first case is better represented by Art B used in battery.

Scorpio were just heavy crossbows manned by a single man. Two men were enough to move and that recalls to me more a MG.
All my reading confirm that the develop of such weapon was in the direction to have this lighter than possible, so it is clear that was for field battle and not (only) for siege, where heavier weapons are more useful.

Now, Sparabara roll at 15U 4 dice against foot and 5 dice against mounted, while here we are talking of 2 or even 1 dice for Romans. My idea was to limit the range at 15U hence the idea to threat them differently from artillery and more close to "bows".
Sparabara can fire until last man with the new proposed rules, while Scorpio could be lost at first contact or first loss. So much less impressive. By the way Roman must win with gladium, not with shooting.

As for legionaries themselves they are VBU 6 FP, the best foot possible in Impetus. No one can argue they are good foot in melee.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Gaius Cassius on Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:34 pm

Based on what you describe Lorenzo I would offer every Legion unit of the Empire a free Scorpio effect that gives them 1d of fire out to 15U. This fire would have no effect on S troops and could not be screened by them. The Scorpio effect would be lost when the unit becomes worn (like Pilum.)

One could consider giving the Scorpio an extra 2d6 when firing at large units.

I suggest free because the Romans are already expensive and other troop types get free attributes (ie. line exchange, shieldwall etc.) and the Pilum is already overpriced compared to other weapons systems.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:40 pm

Sorry Lorenzo I don't think your example of Sparabara is a good one or particularly supportive of your cause.

There are 1000 men in a unit of Sparabara - between 800 and 900 bowmen. There are 60 Scorpio in the Legion and each base I am assuming is a Cohort of 4-600men (?) so if you assume 10 cohorts share the 60 Scorpio that is 6 Scorpio per Cohort (base).

I'm not against representing them - I think they should, but I don't think adding missile dice to the Cohort is the best solution.

There are a couple of ways around this I can think of:

Firstly increase the amount of arty available and allow it to shoot through\over a Legionary unit in contact with it without penalty. This has a couple of advantages in that we dont need to re-invent the wheel and can just use the current \ normal arty rules.

Secondly we can get imaginative. One of the uses I read of the Scorpio was provoking warband charges. Why not allow Scorpio equipped Cohorts to interrupt an opponents move to force a discipline test on impetuous troops at a certain range, and if they fail they must take an additional (impetuous) move?

or simply force a discipline test on an opponent to your front at x U? You just need LOS

Both would surely screw up those well planned careful advances Warbands use to get within charge range, or other units that are trying to arrive together. Not having a factor to worry about would make them unique to the Romans

How does that sound?
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by dadiepiombo on Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:46 pm

the first is less abstract and has its pros, the others I need to focalize better.
A fourth could be that "Scorpio upgrade" increases the number of dice you roll during the "pilum phase" (defensive only)

Keep going on with the brainstorming.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:57 pm

I like the idea of the ability to force a discipline test or become disordered. I don't think the low numbers of shots can justify the ability to cause casualties in a loss of VBU sense. As for the rest, they are lost when you lose Impetus (Keep it Simple Stupid) and if you need a justification its a case of the local Centurion shouting at the crews to stop playing with their toys and get stuck in to make up gaps in the ranks. Cost is simple - the player buys his arty B as normal and can choose to deploy it with the Cohorts in which case up to 10 gain the Scorpio ability (cause any enemy within 30U and firing arc to take a discipline test and become disordered if they fail - normal firing priorities apply) or deploy it massed as Arty B.

This rules writing is easy - :0)
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Jim Webster on Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:46 pm

Going from the wiki, "3 to 4 shots per minute".
240 bolts per minute on the frontage of a legion which is somewhere between 200 - 240 meters depending on who's theory of frontage you go for. (In comparison 5,000 longbowmen at Agincourt might have put up to 20,000 to 40,000 shafts out over the same frontage in the same time)
Scorpio shots will be far more lethal if they hit, but you'll have overshoots and undershoots as well as the occasional one that somehow passes through the formation, or two that hit the same victim.  

So I think we can say that the optimum is one shot per minute per meter of target.



But looking at the cart, it's designed for the infantryman to fire standing on the ground. So it's not going to be great for overhead fire unless the legion is drawn up on a slope (Order of Battle against the Alans for example)

So to get the effect the carts have to be in front of the legion. The legion has to be standing still, and if the enemy get too close, the carts can scoot down lanes between centuries and escape before the Romans charge.

My thoughts are that
1) Forget overhead fire unless you're on a hill. Even there you'll not be able to target enemies close to you, so it's a long range effect.
2) Because the carts have to be in front of the legions then the legions have to be standing still. (Actually there's an Impetus mechanism which covers this anyway. -2 firing when moving, and if the factor is 2, problem solved Very Happy )
3) The carts never fire at less than 5u. If the enemy is that close the carts are already round the back out of the way. They also never fire at charging enemy because they're busy moving. On the other hand this allows us to say that pila can be used normally by defending legionaries.
4) If the legions charge, the carts cannot fire, they've been pulled back out of the way, but there again, the pila can be used as normal

Jim
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Tarty on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:30 am

I think they're a good idea and can only add more flavour which is always a plus in my book.
2 dice- reduce the range to 15U and no PB shooting. As Jim says the moving is already covered in the rules so nothing to be done here.
Not a big deal all up in my opinion....as has been mentioned already if you want to win with Romans you need to get stuck in close and personal this is where their strength is not in shooting with scorpions.

Scorpions must be modelled  Laughing  .......there's the rub.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Gaius Cassius on Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:25 am

I think it is a bit dangerous to imagine exactly what one stand represents in Impetus. A legion stand could represent a cohort, or two or even half a legion depending on the size of the armies for the period. Exactly how many scorpions any particular unit has becomes moot. Impetus tends to give approximate representation of attributes rather than literally representation.

I think the Scorpions should be positioned behind the unit. In truth they are probably a thin line in front of the legions but putting them at the back to represent the legion has attached scorpions is probably the  easiest way of representing them. The legion is able to fire from its base front. I agree with no PB firing. At this point the scorpions are being withdrawn. 2 dice seems fine to me up to 15U.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:15 am

I think Lorenzo may have a point about including them at unit level, but giving them actual missile factors is the wrong approach

Firstly I think we do need to look at numbers. The rules say a unit of FP is somewhere between 600-1200 troops (pg8). Given the army list and the structure of the Roman army at the time I think it not unreasonable to assume there are no more than ten bases of Legionary troops in a Legion, so calling one base a Cohort is a reasonable bit of shorthand.

We also know there were 60 Scorpios in the same legion, so whatever your interpretation, the number of Scorpios per base is not high at all – maybe 6 – whatever it is, it is not a lot, but they exist.

We know quite a bit about them, but also there are a lot we don’t know. We also know from Roman reports they are accurate at 100m and can shoot 400m with less accuracy. At massed targets they can shoot 4 shots a minute and hits are devastating for the individual. We know from reconstructions they can be carried by 2 men but we also know they could be cart mounted if mobility was required – that makes sense as two men can carry a sofa but you would not want to carry it far! We don’t know if this was a regular occurrence but there is no reason to think otherwise when looking at the regularity and organisation of the Roman Army.

We have two different versions of their use. One says they were massed to protect the flank, the other that they could be spread out and used as what we would now call an infantry support weapon directly attached to the Legion units.

Historically, I am not aware of ANY reports of dispersed Scorpio fire breaking an enemy unit. This is important. If we give them ANY missile fire dice then we are moving away from historical evidence. The mechanics of Impetus mean a single hit can cause significant casualties, and I just don’t see that being possible with the low numbers involved. OK the chance is low when looking at an individual dice roll, but when all the Legionary units have them the chances increase significantly.

For this reason I don’t think giving them a missile factor is a good idea.

What do they do? They can pick off individuals (I assume leaders) at shorter range, or hit units at long range causing a few but regular casualties. In game terms that is disorder.

That is why I think we can represent them simply by allowing them to force a discipline check on the target, with failure resulting in disorder. It is simple and I would argue, more accurately represents the real effect of the weapon. Given the range of 400m is past bow range it would need to be restricted to 30U, and after that you would need to restrict to Line of Sight etc, and our current firing priority rules do that well.

Can they shoot and move? Why not? Because we are representing a relatively small number of shots in comparison to massed bow fire, and there is no dice factors involved there is no need to restrict it or invent more rules to cover it.

When do they cease to be effective? You lose them when you lose Impetus – as I mentioned earlier we can justify that by saying once casualties start the crews are absorbed into the main body. In addition to being an easy existing mechanic to use we can justify it because casualties on a Legionary unit will almost always be the result of melee or serious missile fire – both of which would probably cause the Scorpio to be lost by being overrun or having those donkeys and crew shot.

Do we need models ? In this case no – and that is quite important as adding models will significantly increase the $$££ costs involved for the player (3 models for £20 in 28mm) and they will also cause problems with taking up table space. We also don't need to worry about placing them at the front or rear or wherever, nor do we need to track particularly which Legionary units have them - they all do or dont.

What would the in game effect of introducing this be, and what restrictions should be applied? Opposing units would be more likely to be disordered, making contact together more difficult.  To me that sounds about right historically. Additionally there is a particular Roman bonus in that disordered units are more vulnerable to the Pilum.

From a game design point of view there are some advantages too. Good game rule design relies on player decisions not dice rolling. Give the player the choices – buy artillery or not, keep them together or distribute them around.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by dadiepiombo on Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:38 am

considering the warbands with D=C it is very easy they disorder them at 30U, that is 60cm in 28mm games. That is about all units on the field (if Romans deploy 2 of them) must test. And I suppose they must test at every turn.
All these test are a little boring.

OK they don't make the loss as would be at the end with a roll of 6 on CT in 99% of cases, but automatic "hit" is pretty strong.

And above all the rule is very abstract. I don't say I don't like it, simply you can get about the same result in a traditional and more visual approach.

Limit the range to 15U (direct fire not parabolic), allow 2 dice, don't consider artillery and remove once the Unit have the first melee.

As for model need I just suggest you have at least a marker. The image of a scorpio seen from top is pretty cheap.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by starkadder on Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:43 am

Gaius Cassius wrote:I don't find the Scorpio rule very convincing, historically or gaming Impetus. The idea the legions can now project out 2 dice of firepower against infantry at long range as if they are VBU4 Crossbow A is silly to me.  

I would agree with that. One is more than sufficient and once there is any movement, the ability is lost.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:10 am

dadiepiombo wrote:.

As for model need I just suggest you have at least a marker. The image of a scorpio seen from top is pretty cheap.

No need - all legions have them or not so no need for markers, and having gone to the expense and effort of making Impetus such a nice visual game I would want to avoid littering the playing surface with extra markers.

dadiepiombo wrote:.considering the warbands with D=C it is very easy they disorder them at 30U, that is 60cm in 28mm games. That is about all units on the field (if Romans deploy 2 of them) must test. And I suppose they must test at every turn.
All these test are a little boring.  

Forcing a discipline test may well be an auto hit but the test itself will only work one time in 3 at best (on C class). That's one dice per legionary unit equipped. Giving them a fire factor actually involves twice as many dice rolls - shooting and then the following cohesion test so if that is your measure of boredom you have twice as much as this proposal :-P - If it is an issue reduce the range to 15 U

As I said, I cant see how you would justify giving so few actual shots the capability to cause real loss of VBU - and although you only say 2 dice against VBU4 units thats very potent and we are suddenly back to the same factors as our 1000 bowmen.
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by dadiepiombo on Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:14 am

all legions have them or not so no need for markers

don't think we have any evidence for this.

One option I was considering was that you can choose to use Art B like in the list to simulate the use on batteries (hence Long range /30U) or attach to single Units for close support (with range maximum 15U). Also the Scorpios I want to simulate are the smaller, more similar to heavy crossbows that were developed not for siege warfare.

One ART B could correspond to 2 Scorpio upgrades.

Reasoning on Cyrus proposal by the way, I would limit again the range to 15U.

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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by Cyrus The Adequate on Wed Apr 22, 2015 12:16 pm

dadiepiombo wrote:
all legions have them or not so no need for markers

don't think we have any evidence for this.

One option I was considering was that you can choose to use Art B like in the list to simulate the use on batteries (hence Long range /30U) or attach to single Units for close support (with range maximum 15U). Also the Scorpios I want to simulate are the smaller, more similar to heavy crossbows that were developed not for siege warfare.

One ART B could correspond to 2 Scorpio upgrades.

Reasoning on Cyrus proposal by the way, I would limit again the range to 15U.


Hi Lorenzo - Yes that is what I am saying - the player chooses what use he will put to his scorpios. sorry we are at cross purposes - I'm saying that if you decide to use Scorpios you pay for the real arty B unit then that allows you to equip up to 10 legionary units with Scorpio INSTEAD of using it as arty B, so in that case all legions on the table either have it or they dont - therefore no need for a marker
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Re: Scorpio rules

Post by dadiepiombo on Wed Apr 22, 2015 1:58 pm

ok, keeping the same cost and adding an alternative way to use scorpios (from "battery" to "regimental" use) is the way to go. For the rest let's continue the brainstorming. I would prefer something less abstract.
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Re: Scorpio rules

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