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These thoughts were sparked by the piety/rites discussion in another thread, because of Shallam's lack of infiltration ability.
Pick a section and read it alone if it helps. Lot of text here.
So, city destruction was a good start, but ultimately it still doesn't quite cut it. Need more mechanics for brute assaults. Battering rams and contingents of more than 6 people to overtake a city. Just not enough large-scale troop movement I think. There should be more potential for a struggle within the walls.
A) Offensive raid denizens
Picture mobile denizen raiders. Expensive, but the city can employ 3-5 at one time.
- They'd have a minor individual advantage over city guards, so that they hold their own before dying.
- The "raidizens" and city guards would have to be programmed to attack each other first before engaging adventurers.
- Can be ordered/called by MoW and aides.
- MoW/aides can assess and heal raidizen health by a sacrifice of a tiny portion of their own experience.
- "Raidizens" take an amount of time to train so that the 5 max can't be replenished fast enough to spam the enemy city with attempts. Alternately speed up training with a gold penalty.
- 5-10 minute deploy timer so that when the first raidizen dies in the raid, it can't be reinforced instantly.
(1.) So if you have a raiding party of 6 plus 5 of those guards outside the enemy city, the defenders would think twice about engaging outside the walls and would wait for conflict within and seek to defend their own guards. Then the raiding party steps into the gate room and you'd have a party of 6 + 3 vs 6 + 5, instead of 6 vs 6 + 5 like now. Most likely, these raidizens will serve as a sacrificial buffer against enemy NPCs while pvp proceeds as normal, allowing the chance to either defeat the defenders before your raidizens die and then gain turn on the guards to gain your foothold in the city, or fail and retreat.
(2.) If the raiding party succeeds and has one or two raidizens standing, the aides would likely heal them up or let them regenerate, and then move on to either kill more guards, or summon spark somewhere, or both.
(3.) Just like adventurers, raid-npcs would have to receive a detriment the longer they remain in a city, to prevent continuous occupation.
This added expense for a raid would have to have a greater reward perhaps, like an xp bonus for number of "raidizens" in the room when it's destroyed, or just the simple greater chance of success. But since guard stacks can't exceed 5 now, it's probably best to cap the npc raiders at 3. So 5 or more in the city's employ, but only 3 deployed at one time.
Battering rams/siege weapons
There is an approved suggestion for allowing cities to lock their gates and stuff. So... battering rams and stuff, yeah?
- Game item: Battering ram. Adventurers pull it up to the gates. The lack of element of surprise is probably what would alert the defenders to close their gates
I'm thinking PUSH RAM <direction> to move it.
- PULL RAM and PUSH RAM swing the thing on a 10 second ram balance, dealing the gate 15% damage each time. (aka. 1 hit every 20 seconds)
- Defender-soldiers can buy time for defense to assemble with REPAIR GATE, on the same balance per individual (10), repairing 1% of the damage each time an an endurance and inventory gold cost.
- 8 people would thus effectively halt the breaking of the gate, but at the cost of their gold and stamina.
I know there are ballistas mounted in those random parapet rooms in Ashtan. Not sure what's up with that, but assuming battering rams and fort lock-downs, I think adventurers with bows should be able to man parapet/guardhouse rooms and view the siege/ram room safely, sniping select adventurers to make them temporarily abandon pushing the ram.
- Aiming and other archery-help wouldn't be available here, but SHOOT <adventurer> GATES would loose an arrow toward them and credit any kills as normal.
- Weaponry skill: Shielding. Yet another twist, ram operators may hide between their own balances with a skill that would function like an extra SoA but be broken by performing actions. While wielding any shield, BRACE SHIELD raises the shield defensively to give a 50-66% chance of absorbing blows. The catch in this scenario is that pulling/pushing the ram would take 4-6 personal balance, leaving openings.
The thing I also like about including Shielding is it could help stop all the LoS and ranging everybody loves so much and encourage more melee fighting.
- What you would then see here is raiders only sending their weaponry-capable people in with shields to break the wall, and then the extras to rush in when it's breached. (Just like real siege!)
To tie up and C), all inhabitants of a city would see "The foundations of the city tremble upon impact from a powerful battering ram swing [from Xith]." where the bracketed info is only visible to parapet archers, allowing them to identify the most vulnerable target.
And that's all I've got for now. Agree, disagree, expand, revise.