The Battle System
In King of Dragon Pass, a battle has two stages, as follows.
|“||The initial clash is when the two sides size each other up or try to force their vision of how the battle should be fought onto their enemy.||”|
–King of Dragon Pass Manual
During the initial clash, the tactics you have decided to take are compared to the enemies' tactics. Winning this initial stage will give you a bonus for the second stage. However, it does not guarentee victory, the tide of battle is unpredictable.
|“||Melee begins when the warriors have moved from missile weapon distance into sword-and-spear range. The melee ends when one side breaks and runs.||”|
–King of Dragon Pass Manual
If you win this second stage, you win the battles, and the spoils are yours!
Sometimes, during the melee stage, your nobles or your leader will face a choice. The action you choose will play a part in decided their odds of surviving, as well as other things, like your clan's reputation.
At the top of the screen, you will see an overview of your forces and your enemies'. Judging by this, you can tell whether you are outnumbered or not, which will help you determine which course of action to take.
The magic bar will allow you to decide how much magic, if any, you want to spend. Spending magic points during sacred time increases the odds of victory significantly more than spending them in the battle screen. That said, spending magic can give just the edge you need to overpower your enemies' magic during the initial clash. This can turn the tide of battle.
This is sort of a blind dice roll: if you spend more magic than your enemy, you will inflict more and take less casualties, but you won't know if the enemy spent more magic than you until the battle is over.
You can use one of your battle treasures, if you have any, to help with the battle. Some battle treasures guarentee success, no matter the odds, like Humakt's Raven Banner, some simply improve the odds of winning, while others help you capture thralls.
If you want to sacrifice to Humakt or Orlanth for luck on the field, here is your chance. Sacrificing to the gods gives different advantages depending on whether you are on the offensive or the defensive.
- Sacrificing to Orlanth: Increases odds of winning the initial clash, thus netting you a bonus for the melee stage.
- Sacrificing to Humakt: Increases the odds of winning the melee, thus the battle. Also reduces the effectiveness of the enemy's auxiliaries.
Foregoing sacrifice can be useful at times though, because it is time-consuming. Especially if you invest in some magic to win the initial clash. If the enemy's still locked in prayer you can cut them down by surprise... Likewise, too many sacrifices give your foe time to inflict heavy losses.
Note that the time it takes to sacrifice is cumulative: sacrificing to both Humakt and Orlanth will take twice as long as sacrificing only to Humakt (for example).
|Objective||Casualties||Use when||Works well with||Victory odds|
|Drive them off||Normal||Outnumbered||Skirmish & Charge||Normal|
|Kill as many as possible||Higher||Forces are even||Maneuver & Charge||Normal|
|Take captives||Highest||You outnumber them||Maneuver & Charge||Low|
|Survive||Lowest||Completely outnumbered||Evade & Skirmish||High|
|Burn steads||Few||Minimal||Weakens population, future attacks are easier||5|
|Kill as many as possible||Highest||Some||Significantly weakens population, future attacks are easier||3|
|Destroy fortifications||High||Some||Significantly weakens population, future attacks are easier||4|
|Seize their land||High||Land + Some loot||Usually takes a few attacks to seize land, can only be performed on adjacent clans.||1|
|Take captives||High||Captives + Some loot||Weakens population, future attacks are easier||2|
|Survival||Lowest||None||Use if completely outnumbered||7|
* The success of attacks is rated from 1 to 7, 1 being the hardest/most prone to failure and 7 being the easiest/most successful.
Tactics affect the outcome of the initial clash.
|Skirmish||Increases the odds of wounding the enemy.||Normal|
|Maneuver||If the enemy doesn't charge you, you'll have a high chance at victory.||High if enemy doesn't charge|
|Charge||You take more damage if the enemy skirmishes, but you avoid maneuvers and negate their sacrifices.||Lowest|
|Evade||Inflicts very little damage, but you take little to no damage.||Extremely high if enemy charges|
|Elmal||Shield||Reduces the number of deaths and wounds among weaponthanes.|
|Elmal||Steadfast||Improves chances when defending|
|Humakt||Battle Luck||Improves chance of winning a battle|
|Humakt||Morale||Improves the ability of warriors in battle|
|Humakt||Truesword||Weaponthanes fight with the strength of two|
|Orlanth||Lightning||Deals out more wounds in battle|
|Orlanth||Thunderstone||Improves the effectiveness of skirmishers|
|Orlanth||Woad||Reduces the number of deaths and wounds among farmers|
|Urox||Berserker||Increases the chance of victory, with more deaths and wounds on both sides|
|Urox||Sense Chaos||Helps warn against chaos incursions|
|Urox||Smite Chaos||Improves chances of fighting against chaos|
|Vinga||Fyrdwomen||Allows the women to defend the tula|
- Loot (cattle, food, goods and horses) can be acquired while defending as well as attacking, but is not guaranteed. Naturally, you will get more when successfully plundering another clan's tula.
- Experience suggests that when you inflict more casualites, you average more captured horses if you win. The number of horses you can capture against Orlanthi foes is limited, but against horse spawn it will occasionally be quite high.