We’ve talked about Ultimate War and the kinds of things that will be contained within, but it feels like it’s about time to give you an honest-to-goodness peek inside the pages. I could tell you about the mercenary company generation rules, or about the inclusion of both simple and complex ship rules – the former with just six basic ship types if you mostly want to use them to ferry troops and cargo and to serve as offshore batteries when attacking armies and fortifications on land, the latter with over 20 ship types and rules for engagement on the high seas. But I think instead I’ll focus on sieges. The basic rules for siege weapons are greatly expanded, from one generic “siege weapons” piece of equipment in the official rules to almost 30 different siege engines, but the bigger evolution of the siege rules is in the introduction of unique siege tactics that let you do a lot more than just shoot at each other turn after turn. For example…
As noted above, the prosecution of a siege does not require any specialized weapons. In fact, given that defenders protecting their home know it intimately and will have a Battlefield Advantage (+2 bonus to OM and DV, as described in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Campaign) when fighting house to house in the streets and alleys inside their city, it may be the path of wisdom to simply starve them out or ravage the population hemmed in by your armies by unleashing fire and plague. In short, you have many options for reducing the strongholds of your enemies, both conventional and unconventional.
Blockade: This tactic relies on preventing people or goods from passing into or out of the blockaded city. Requires: 100 soldiers to blockade a city (if using the Ultimate Rulership rules, 50 soldiers can blockade a town, 20 soldiers a village). All armies being used to blockade the city must be defeated, destroyed, disbanded, or routed in order to end the blockade. If the city has a water border, a blockade takes double the normal amount of time to take effect, unless a shipboard army or army with a swim speed aids in maintaining the blockade.
Effect: No new buildings or improvements can be constructed within the blockaded settlement or the hex it occupies, and every week that the blockade continues, the defender’s kingdom must succeed at Stability check with a penalty equal to the number of weeks the blockade has continued. If failed, all settlement bonuses provided by improvements in that settlement are reduced by 1, to a minimum of 0. In addition, the kingdom must succeed at a Loyalty check with a penalty equal to the number of weeks the blockade has continued or the city surrenders to the blockaders. This check is made with a +1 bonus per 100 soldiers inside the city (not counting emergency conscripts), but with a -1 penalty for each building that has been significantly damaged (more than half its BP value), increased to -2 for each building that has been destroyed. Each Cistern or Granary within the city delays the effect of a blockade by 1 week. After 1 month of blockade, armies defending the settlement become fatigued and cannot remove this condition without magical aid.
If the city remains blockaded on your next kingdom turn, there is a 25% chance each kingdom turn that a dangerous settlement event occurs in that settlement, as described in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Campaign and in expanded form in Ultimate Rulership. This event, if it occurs, is in addition to any settlement event that would normally occur.
In Ultimate War, you will find similar rules for bombardment, special bombardment with fire and plague, escalade, infiltration, sapping, and volley fire. For those wanting a more robust treatment of some of the more specialized forms of warfare, this is the product for you!