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 Post subject: Fantasy Soldier MOS's?
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:34 am
  

Wanderer

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Here's an idea I had while I was out on a walk this morning:

In the Dead Reign book, when you choose a "soldier" as your O.C.C., you get a basic suite of skills that are common to all soldiers in the late 20th/early 21st century, and can then give your character a Military Operations Speciality (hereafter MOS). Each MOS gives your character a set of more specialized skills to turn them into, for example, a dedicated Demolitions Expert, Comms operator, transport expert/driver etc.

I thought it would be interesting to modify the Soldier class from Palladium Fantasy to give a similar level of flexibility, including skills from all across the Megaverse where appropriate - for example, by including W.P. Cannon from Rifter 79 and Marathon Running from Rifter 19, I think it would be possible to create a single "soldier" class that would remain easy to modify for basically any setting from antiquity/High Fantasy to a period equivalent to just prior to WW1 (which IIRC was when people largely began abandoning the "rank and file" style of warfare in favour of Dead Reign's small-squad, skirmish style of warfare). Even through the Napoleonic period, where black powder weapons were very much a thing, the weapons weren't accurate enough to force armies to abandon most of the tactics that had been in use since antiquity - ranks, marching in formation, use of cavalry charges etc. The three questions I would like to address here are:

  • What MOS's would be good? Such as Army Cook, Surgeon, Infantryman, musketeer/Rifleman, Archer, Siege Engineer (which may or may not include the use of siege weapons, I haven't decided yet) - more variety is always a good thing here.
  • What sort of skills would you give to each MOS? In Dead Reign, each MOS has about 7-8 specific skills, which the basic Soldier does not have, and usually one or two of those skills is a "choose A or B" type choice - which does not necessarily preclude you from taking the other skill later as a secondary or other skill
  • What skills would you drop from the main O.C.C. to accommodate this?

I'm completely inexperienced in making significant modifications to classes, so any pointers/advice/opinions would be much appreciated. The tricky thing, I think, will be designing MOS's without completely negating any of the existing classes, such as the Longbowman, the Mercenary, the Ranger etc. - I want those characters to still have their place within an adventuring party, and for there still to be a reason that big armies would employ characters of these types.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:23 am
  

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Well, think about a few positions, and what you want to fit under the "soldier" umbrella.

Cavalry (heavy will usually be Knights, but light cavalry would be soldiers)
Arbalist (crossbows)
Mounted Infantry (ride horses to get to the fight, then fight on foot)
Heavy Infantry
Light Infantry
Pikeman
Engineer (build defenses and seige weapons)
Sapper (break defenses)

Longbow, of course, is its own OCC. Scouts would most often be Thieves or Rangers, but you might have a Scout MOS.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:11 pm
  

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Mounted Infantry (ride horses to get to the fight, then fight on foot): Are Jannisaries, which are found in the Western Empire book.
Heavy Infantry: Look up tercio. They are pikemen.

The problem with MOS's is that there are more useful in a regular military formations. Not as adventurers. So unless the game is centered around a military unit they are not very useful.

See the RT2 for examples of MOS type classes.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2020 11:56 am
  

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Wolfen Empire provides some specialties for its soldiers straight out of ancient Roman specialties, though it does not provide these with skillsets or equipment lists. A while back, I came up with a Wolfen Soldier NPC Generator for GMs, where I did just that; I'll summarize how I interpreted them in parenthesis.

Legionnaire: (carries shortsword, 2 pila throwing spears, large shield, and a half suit of heavy armor)
Clibania: Light Infantry (same skills, but only carries one pilum, wears a half suit of light armor, uses a small shield, but can march twice as far)
Quatoria: Police (Mission-dependent armor, Blunt weapon instead of a sword, carries rope for restraints)
Hastaria: Anti-Cavalry with Pole Arms (Full suit of heavy armor, doesn't use a shield)
Tormentia: Bows (wears half suit of light armor, standard shortsword, and a crossbow)
Ballistia: Siege Weapons (wears half suit of light armor and standard shortsword, often carries carpentry tools)
Dolabria: Engineers (wears half suit of light armor, uses an axe and knife as tools and weapons)

I also included appropriate skills for the equipment/role. This is content I put together for a project I'm working on with Glen Evans.

The Western Empire also has a standardized national army. The description of the Janissary indicates that they fight in regimented formations, which would require standards of equipment and skill. That said, the Western Empire is also fractious, so I'd expect each regional and provincial army to have its own standard for equipping and fielding troops.

And really, that's how I'd expect you'd see specializations and standard skill/equipment packages: they'll all vary according to the customs of the folks who train and arm them. If it's a big, organized, and wealthy central government, then yeah, you'll see standardized skills and gear, but there aren't many of those in the world. Bizantium, the Eastern Territories, and most feudal areas are going to field armies with a wide mix of units, training, and equipment.

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Last edited by Hotrod on Tue Jul 21, 2020 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2020 7:42 am
  

Wanderer

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drewkitty ~..~ wrote:
Mounted Infantry (ride horses to get to the fight, then fight on foot): Are Jannisaries, which are found in the Western Empire book.
Heavy Infantry: Look up tercio. They are pikemen.

The problem with MOS's is that there are more useful in a regular military formations. Not as adventurers. So unless the game is centered around a military unit they are not very useful.

See the RT2 for examples of MOS type classes.


Hmm, those are some good thoughts :) I'm not familiar with the RT2 acronym, what book is that?


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:35 pm
  

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Kind of an interesting idea. My only concern with it is that the idea of the military providing training a la MOS style is more of a modern concept that might not be as applicable. I could be wrong, for example, but I get the impression that even during the Napoleanic Wars & possibly up even to the American Civil War, many of the support roles were handled by people whose training was strictly dedicated to those jobs -- horse/mule handlers, wagon drivers, stevedoers/laborers, cooks, etc. -- rather than by actual soldiers who received MOS training in those duties in addition to their basic combat training.

That being said, I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksennarion series, & Duke Phelan's mercenary company does have a sort of MOS-style to its training. Their new recruits are taught some basic soldier skills -- including things that may not translate well to specific skills, such as keeping their barracks straightened up -- but while they all have the same basic combat training & some weapon familiarization, they also have certain "specialists" -- i.e. bowmen, spearmen, etc. -- that (either because of natural ability or manpower needs) receive specific training that others do not.

So, perhaps as long as the MOS training focused more on combat MOSs, & were limited based on how organized a political entity's military forces were (i.e. large standing army vs. relying on conscription & levies), but avoid the "non-combat" MOSs.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:57 am
  

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green.nova343 wrote:
Kind of an interesting idea. My only concern with it is that the idea of the military providing training a la MOS style is more of a modern concept that might not be as applicable. I could be wrong, for example, but I get the impression that even during the Napoleanic Wars & possibly up even to the American Civil War, many of the support roles were handled by people whose training was strictly dedicated to those jobs -- horse/mule handlers, wagon drivers, stevedoers/laborers, cooks, etc. -- rather than by actual soldiers who received MOS training in those duties in addition to their basic combat training.

That being said, I'm a big fan of Elizabeth Moon's The Deed of Paksennarion series, & Duke Phelan's mercenary company does have a sort of MOS-style to its training. Their new recruits are taught some basic soldier skills -- including things that may not translate well to specific skills, such as keeping their barracks straightened up -- but while they all have the same basic combat training & some weapon familiarization, they also have certain "specialists" -- i.e. bowmen, spearmen, etc. -- that (either because of natural ability or manpower needs) receive specific training that others do not.

So, perhaps as long as the MOS training focused more on combat MOSs, & were limited based on how organized a political entity's military forces were (i.e. large standing army vs. relying on conscription & levies), but avoid the "non-combat" MOSs.


In the Napoleonic wars, pretty much all sides had line infantry, grenadiers (big dudes/shock troops), light infantry, and skirmishers, and that's just the infantry. For cavalry, you had heavy cavalry (shock), light cavalry (fast), Dragoons (mounted infantry), and lancers (pointy sticks). For artillery, you had field artillery (cannon on wheels), siege artillery (howitzers and mortars), and horse artillery (smaller, lighter, faster field artillery). Then you had admin (paperwork), quartermasters (supplies), engineers (building forts/walls), medical staff, and all the many, many irregular/local troops that participated.

Whether you'd see formal specialties in a given force is a question of how organized/professional the force is, and that's been pretty true for a long, long time.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 10:23 am
  

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green.nova343 wrote:
Kind of an interesting idea. My only concern with it is that the idea of the military providing training a la MOS style is more of a modern concept that might not be as applicable.


The idea of an "MOS" as a formalized idea may be modern, but "Put the big guys in one group and give them all the same sort of weapons" is pretty old. You wouldn't be in a turtle formation one day and riding as cavalry the next, and finish up the week by being an auxillary slinger from Majorca (unless you're the hero of a fantasy novel)... you'd train with a given set of weapons and tactics, and not be expected to do really well outside of that.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:57 pm
  

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So maybe a Formation skills bonus. WP polearm if in a tercio / 'pike formation'. or a WP crossbow if put into a archery formation. (No, I would not give out WP bow or Long bow just for a formation bonus. they take too long to learn.)

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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 2:53 pm
  

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drewkitty ~..~ wrote:
So maybe a Formation skills bonus. WP polearm if in a tercio / 'pike formation'. or a WP crossbow if put into a archery formation. (No, I would not give out WP bow or Long bow just for a formation bonus. they take too long to learn.)


Personally, I would be inclined to make the formation a separate skill... so Massed Fire would require WP Archery, but would, when working with others with Massed Fire, cause certain effects.

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[T]he Republicans [are] unique relics of the past. - Sourcebook 1 (revised, p. 6)
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Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 5:49 pm
  

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Well, I think Hotrod has the solution. Start with a type of soldier, think what that soldier might be called upon to do, and then what sort of weapons and armor that soldier might use. Then you prpvide the necessary weapon proficiencies and skills that the soldier would need to fill that niche. As you do this a few times, you can see what skills you're adding in often, and you drop those from the main OCC skills. For example, you drop the W.P.'s and those only come from your M.O.S..

-Vek
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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 8:54 am
  

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One trope that I would actively avoid with creating MOS's is turning any specific MOS into a "super-soldier" that simply out-classes others. While elite training from an early age is certainly a thing (real-life jannissaries of the Ottoman Turkish empire, knights of the middle ages, samurai of feudal Japan, and Spartans of ancient Greece), that's an entirely different way of life and should be its own OCC, not a specialty within an occupation.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:47 pm
  

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Greetings and Salutations. Well, I decided to give this a shot. This isn't a fully fleshed out idea or tested, but at least wanted to try and help. The ideas might still be rough, so modification may be in order and I'm not opposed to making changes. However, I didn't want to spend a lot of time refining it if this doesn't suit anyone's needs. Included in a Spoiler tag to make it easier for people who would like to scroll by.
Spoiler:
Boot Camp (Standard)
Attribute Minimum Requirements: P.S. 10, P.E. 8 or higher.
Forced March
Languages: NativeTongue at 98% plus one of choice (+10%)
Military Etiquette (+20%)
W.P. Shield
W.P. One of choice
Hand to Hand: Basic
Hand to hand: basic can be changed to hand to hand: expert for the cost of one O.C.C. Related skill, or to martial arts or assassin (if evil )for the cost of two O.C.C. Related skills.

In addition, the character should select one M.O.S. Most have additional requirements (in addition to those above).

Basic Training M.O.S.
Requirements: Standard
Climb/Scale Walls (+5%)
Body Building & Weight Lifting
Running
W.P. Spear
W.P. One of choice

Armor: Chain Mail

Armorer M.O.S.
Requirements: I.Q. 7
Field Armorer (+10%)
Recognize Weapon Quality (+10%)
General Repair/Maintenance (+5%)
Fashion Tools (+5%)
W.P. Blunt

Armor: Chain Mail

Heavy Infantry
Requirements: P.S. 12, P.E. 10
Boxing
Body Building & Weight Lifting
W.P. Pole Arm
W.P. One of choice
Hand to Hand: Expert
Hand to hand: expert can be changed to hand to hand: martial arts or assassin (if evil )for the cost of one O.C.C. Related skill.

Armor: Double Mail

Archer
Requirements: P.P. 10
Athletics (General)
Sniper
W.P. Archery
W.P. Targeting
W.P. One of choice

Armor: Studded Leather

Medic
Requirements: I.Q. 10, M.E. 7
Biology (+5%)
Surgeon/Medical Doctor (+10%)
Brewing (+5%)
Mathematics: Basic (+10%)
W.P. Knife

Armor: Studded Leather

Cook
Requirements: Standard
Cook (+10%)
Identify Plants & Fruits (+5%)
Preserve Food (+10%)
Skin and Prepare Animal Hides (+5%)
W.P. Knife

Armor: Studded Leather

Scout
Requirements: I.Q. 8, P.E. 12
Detect Ambush (+10%)
Detect Concealment (+5%)
Heraldry (+10%)
Intelligence (+5%)
Land Navigation (+10%)

Armor: Studded Leather

Recon
Requirements: I.Q. 8, P.P. 12
Stalk/Capture (+10%)
Camouflage (+10%)
Prowl (+5%)
Track Humanoids (+5%)
Wilderness Survival (+5%)

Armor: Studded Leather

Cavalry
Requirements: I.Q. 7, P.P. 10
Horsemanship: General (+10%)
Land Navigation (+5%)
Play Musical Instrument: Bugle or Horn (+5%)
W.P. Sword
W.P. One of choice

Armor: Chain Mail

Sapper
Requirements: I.Q. 9
Siege Engineer (+10%)
Rope Works (+5%)
Masonry (+5%)
W.P. Siege Weapons
W.P. Incendiaries

Armor: Chain Mail

Military Intelligence
Requirements: I.Q. 12, M.E. 8
Intelligence (+10%)
Literacy: One of choice (+5%)
Cryptography (+10%)
Forgery (+5%)
Interrogation Techniques (+10%)

Armor: Chain Mail

Judge Advocate
Requirements: I.Q. 8, M.A. 10
Barter (+5%)
Law (+10%)
Language: One of choice (+5%)
Public Speaking (+10%)
W.P. Sword (formal attire)

Armor: Studded Leather

Other changes ...

O.C.C. Related Skills: Select seven other skills of choice at level one, plus select one additional skill at levels three, six, nine, and twelve.

Armor: See M.O.S. selection.
This effectively removes the two O.C.C. Related Skills that had to be Military or Espionage, as well as some of the standard O.C.C. skills and let's them fall into M.O.S. The Basic Training M.O.S. is close to the standard Soldier O.C.C. as presented in the main book. Let me know what you think. Farewell and safe journeys.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:44 am
  

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Veknironth wrote:
Well, I think Hotrod has the solution. Start with a type of soldier, think what that soldier might be called upon to do, and then what sort of weapons and armor that soldier might use. Then you prpvide the necessary weapon proficiencies and skills that the soldier would need to fill that niche. As you do this a few times, you can see what skills you're adding in often, and you drop those from the main OCC skills. For example, you drop the W.P.'s and those only come from your M.O.S..

-Vek
"I think that style goes all the way back to the First edition Southern Cross Robotech book."


I would agree with that as well. What I'm wondering is, from a historical perspective, when did the more organized armies transition over from the idea of "support personnel that aren't expected to engage in combat on a regular basis may or may not be professionally trained, but are essentially civilian 'experts' contracted to perform those duties either on a long-term or an as-needed basis" to the more modern "support personnel, even if they aren't expected to go into combat -- & especially if they're members of the USMC -- are expected to first go through the same front-line combat training that all of the actual front-line soldiers go through, so that their AIT-style training is in those non-combat support roles that they'll be performing"? That's particularly important in the fantasy RPG settings, which are going to fall more along the lines of pre-Napoleanic (or to be honest, probably even pre-French & Indian War) organization & standards.

In fact, take the Western Empire from the books. Probably one of the largest armies (~500,000, which per PFRPG WB8 puts them just under the entire population of the Island Kingdom of Bizantium), & doesn't include their Reservists (another ~250-500k) nor their Regional Armies (~300-500k). Page 21 talks about their typical garrison, which has ~1,500 troops: 750 infantry, 300 cavalry, 300 archers, & 150 combat engineers. It doesn't include the 10-20 mages that are essentially auxiliaries...nor does it include the "500 craftsmen and 250 other servants" that live with the garrison & provide support. That right there is what I'm referring to. In your modern real-world armies, your motor pool/maintenance engineers & techs, logistics & supply staff, medical doctors/nurses & corpsmen, the cleaners & laundry staff, all of the base personnel that keep things running when you're not out in the field, & all of those other support staff that you need to run an army? They're what the Imperial Army calls "craftsmen & other servants". The Western Empire doesn't consider them "soldiers"...so unless those craftsmen & servants all happened to have served previously in the Imperial Army, they're not going to be trained to be 'soldiers first/craftsmen second', & probably not even trained as 'craftsmen first/soldiers second'. They have to deal with & follow the rules for being in that garrison, but they're not part of the chain of command.

The other contender for "most organized army on Palladium" would be the Wolfen Empire. Again, though, their troops are all based around front-line soldiers. Each legion is made up of 10 Cohorts, & they have 16 Legions, so they have 160 Cohorts in total: 60 Heavy Infantry, 25 Light Infantry, 10 Scouts, 12 Heavy Artillery (Catapult/Ballista), 24 Light Artillery (Bowmen), 9 Anti-Armor Infantry (not exactly sure what they're comprised of), 15 Engineer, & 5 Cavalry (which are specifically mentioned as being made up 100% of human Knights, Paladins, & Mounted Soldiers from the Kingdom of Havea). Each Cohort is strictly made up of soldiers: 20 Maniples per Cohort, 25 soldiers per Maniple, so (depending on casualties, trainees, & retirees) about 500 troopers per Cohort (which works out to ~5,000 per Legion). Obviously, with that kind of organization & their rank titles, we're looking at a Romanesque organization here. And their "Secondary Army" has a similar organization of auxiliary troops -- basically those that don't qualify for Imperial service and/or aren't full citizens. Again, each Imperial Legion has an associated Secondary Legion, each with 10 Cohorts. The example of the I Imperial Legion's assigned Secondary Legion is 4 Orc Cohorts, 3 Goblin Cohorts, 1 Coyle Cohort (specified as being from the Moonstone Horde), 1 "Heavy" Cohort of mixed Ogre & Troll Maniples, & 1 Labor Cohort of military convicts. Most of those Cohorts are larger than the Imperials (up to 50 per Maniple, up to 2,000 per Cohort in some cases), so their Secondary Army is much bigger. But again...no mention of "Imperial" or "Secondary" Legion members that provide "non-combat support" in addition to having Legion training: no cooks, no blacksmiths, no craftsmen, no servants, nada.

So again, I think it would work to have multiple MOS available for the different types of combat roles in PFRPG armies...but I'm not so sure about "non-combat" roles. So while I do like Prysus' suggestions, I'm not so keen on the Armorer, Cook, & Judge Advocate options -- the first two for some of the reasons I've pointed out; the latter might just be more of a name thing (again, I think the term "Judge Advocate General" is way too modern for the setting), & though I'm sure there are lawyers on Palladium I'm not 100% sure how many would receive their training through their military service, unlike JAG lawyers in the modern world. Especially since even though I can find some material that shows Roman legions actually having medical professionals (& possibly some of the other skilled tradesmen) that were actual Legionnaires, they even admit it's unclear if said medical professionals (or any of the other Immunes (specialists like doctors, surveyors, engineers, craftsmen, etc.) & Discens (trainees for a full-fledged Immunes position) were included in the personnel of each Legion's Centuria & Cohorts or were part of the attached "support personnel".

That being said...it's a fantasy game, & Kevin always says, "If you don't like the RAW, you can always change it in your game".


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:23 am
  

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Medieval armies often foraged their way along, buying while in friendly territory and pillaging in enemy territory. Thus they didn't require much logistical support until army sizes ballooned in the 16th century. Troops basically supplied themselves and often paid themselves through plunder. This is also why castles were a thing; sieges were very expensive to sustain once the immediate area around a castle was picked clean. A lot of support roles that the troops couldn't see to themselves (remember, a lot of them were part-timers with useful skills) like blacksmithing (which needs specialized, heavy tools) would get filled by professional camp followers or locals. Otherwise, the troops themselves would take care of most of the basics: cooking, cleaning, digging, building, medical care *shudder*, and other such.

The exceptions I see would be areas where there's a strong national government and large standing armies as green.nova says. The Western and Wolfen Empires would have a more sophisticated system for supporting their huge armies. Bizantium is a bit of a special case; its fleet IS its standing army, and it regards its marines as niche specialists.

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Arenas of Atlantis, Rifter 69
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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 10:47 am
  

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green.nova343 wrote:
So again, I think it would work to have multiple MOS available for the different types of combat roles in PFRPG armies...but I'm not so sure about "non-combat" roles. So while I do like Prysus' suggestions, I'm not so keen on the Armorer, Cook, & Judge Advocate options -- the first two for some of the reasons I've pointed out; the latter might just be more of a name thing (again, I think the term "Judge Advocate General" is way too modern for the setting), & though I'm sure there are lawyers on Palladium I'm not 100% sure how many would receive their training through their military service, unlike JAG lawyers in the modern world. Especially since even though I can find some material that shows Roman legions actually having medical professionals (& possibly some of the other skilled tradesmen) that were actual Legionnaires, they even admit it's unclear if said medical professionals (or any of the other Immunes (specialists like doctors, surveyors, engineers, craftsmen, etc.) & Discens (trainees for a full-fledged Immunes position) were included in the personnel of each Legion's Centuria & Cohorts or were part of the attached "support personnel".

That being said...it's a fantasy game, & Kevin always says, "If you don't like the RAW, you can always change it in your game".

Greetings and Salutations. I'll make a few comments ...

1: For the comments regarding the Armorer, Cook, & Judge Advocate
1a: Armorer I view more as the guy who does patchwork to keep things going until the professional can get there. He's not the blacksmith or engineer, but having something that works with duct tape (I know, doesn't exist in fantasy, but it's an analogy) during a siege is probably better than having something that doesn't work at all.
1b: Cook ... *shrug.* I can take it or leave it as well. I don't really see anyone selecting it per se, but the skills were there and I started thinking of Pearson from Red Dead Redemption II ... so I just went with it.
1c: Judge Advocate ... yeah, I'm kind of with you on this one. This actually started more of a negotiator concept. Someone who would talk terms of surrender (either way), or talk to the lord whose territory you want to pass through without starting a war, etc. Then they could just kind of do the military lawyer thing on the side, but not really their specialty. I thought about calling it Negotiator, but I didn't like that either. I'm also not sure if it would really fit into the military, but I can see it being something that might interest some players, so I included it for that purpose (because it's really about the players for me). Judge Advocate is just what kept popping into my mind (I did NOT want to use it), but it started getting late and I didn't want to spend a lot more time on a concept that might not work for the OP anyways. I'd definitely prefer a name change myself.

2: M.O.S. may not work best for a medieval setting. But, from a game design, I think it's better. I'd, personally, rather have the 1 O.C.C. with skill packages for customization instead of 10 different O.C.C. that are practically the same (which is Palladium's standard method, and annoys me). So even if not the term M.O.S. specifically, I prefer the overall game design concept. With that said, as you stated, it's a fantasy setting. The setting has magic, psionics, and thousands of years to refine these concepts, it's already not historically accurate and M.O.S. (for me) isn't going to be the step too far. Everyone has their differences of what something should be though, and I'm okay with that. In this case, the OP asked for M.O.S., so that's what I went with. If this works for the OP, I'd probably still want to refine it more.

That's all for now. Break at work is over. Farewell and safe journeys.

_________________
Living the Fantasy (fan website)

Rifter #45; Of Bows & Arrows (Archery; expanding rules and abilities)
Rifter #52; From Ruins to Runes (Living Rune Weapons; playable characters and NPC)
Rifter #55; Home Away From Home (Quorian Culture; expanded from PF Book 9: Baalgor Wastelands)

Official PDF versions of Rifter #45, #52, and #55 can be found at DriveThruRPG.


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