Q – OK, I’ve got my nation established and raised an army. How does one wage war?
The flexibility of the play-by-post gaming system is one of its strongest aspects, but it can also be one of the most intimidating prospects for those unused to it. Nowhere is this truer than warfare. The sheer scope of the options available to a commander in Shards of Olethros is comparable to those of a real-world general. In this guide, we’ll outline the basis of a good set of military orders.
Q – I’m new to this. What happens if I make a mistake in my orders?
If you miss something out of your orders, the GM will generally try to work around it or contact you to resolve it. We will do our utmost not to ‘fail’ an order i.e. where none of your orders actually happen. However, please don’t start taking us for granted. Learning how to write proficient military orders not only serves your nation better but also saves valuable GM time, leading to faster results, happier admins and all-round goodness.
Q - What should a basic war order consist of?
If you’re not a wannabe Alexander or Hannibal, that’s no reason to abandon all hope of military success in-game. A good set of war orders will cover a few essential points, listed below. If these bases are properly covered then your army shouldn’t meet with any orders-related problems, and it will be up to the enemy to thwart you.
- Target: Minimum which nation you are attacking, but you ought to be more specific.
- Forces: Which armies you are sending, with a ‘master list’ of troop totals beneath that.
- Objectives: What you plan to achieve, where you plan to capture, etc.
- Timeline: An overview of your campaign.
- Plan of Action: How your campaign will go, in chronological order.
- Logistics: Keeping your troop supplied – very important.
If you do aspire to greater things however, then the game can cater for that. Into the basic rule headers you can add plenty of nuance and detail. Furthermore, you can add new sections to your orders as you feel are appropriate. These addenda can cover anything from a reminder to the GM about favour with a deity or quest-significance, to counters for particular enemy tactics, to how you will besiege a particular town. Probably the most useful additional thing to consider is ‘Reactions’ – what your army will do if certain things happen (your supply lines are cut, you fail to take a vital town, etc).
Q - So is there no limit to the detail of my orders?
In theory, no. In games past certain players have become renowned for writing what are essentially novellas describing epic campaigns in quite intimate detail indeed. While this shows an impressive commitment to the game, it can stray over the line into unnecessary fine-print and waste GM time. It is advised to try to keep a reasonable limit on the length of your war orders, for if they are too long and the GM could overlook points, rendering all that work a waste. If kept within limits however, Shards of Olethros rewards commitment to orders and attention to detail.
Q – OK, my nation has explored out to the edges of the map posted in my forum and I’ve encountered a non-player nation AND a player nation… What do I do if I want to speak to them?
Ah good question and well done for not just throwing your armed forces at them at first opportunity!
A non-player nation can be spoken to by making a thread in your private forum with the title ‘Diplomacy with X’ with X being the nation you want to start dealing with. Alternatively, you’re welcome to communicate with nations you haven’t found yet by sending a PM to the GM (or in some cases the non-player character in question) to begin dealings.
For a player nation, you should probably contact the team leader of the team in question.
Q – How does trading work?
Trading works like it would in real life. If you have open borders, merchants will go in and out of your nation from many different towns and cities. For trade agreements between nations, see diplomacy above.
Subject to change.
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