First, Rich suggests armies be allow to be given commands, but only a very
limited subset (ATTACK, STACK, TRAIN).
1.) I like the limited sphere of influence due to only a few controllable
units. If you allow armies to be issued commands, then they probably can also
LOOK, and now a player can have a much larger sphere of influence. Yes, he
can't move troops without a COMPANION, but he can stick armies in every town
and have companions act as rapid response units, quelling unrest. This gives
one player a large sphere of influence, too large in my opinion. If only
companions can issue orders, then the lone player's sphere is much smaller,
meaning players must interact to build empires.
2.) It'll be real confusing to have one command set for COMPANIONS, and a
subset for ARMIES. Can you imagine how many "Well, my companion can do it,
so why can't my army" arguments we'll have? If armys can be given absolutely
no orders, they're like horses are now. It's pretty obvious that "MOVE" and
"STUDY" aren't allowed for horses.
Oleg asks how we can balance army supply:
Well, I think raising armies should be gold-limited, to the point that to
maintain a reasonable legion requires ownership of a province at least, maybe
even a town. So, the supply isn't the limiting factor, it's the maintenance.
For newbies, there should be a bunch of quick bootstraps to armies. First off,
Mages should be able to Call Undead, which would be enough to take your first
province. Also, armies should be somewhat cheap to raise but hard to maintain,
so the player could raise an army and assault a province quickly before too
many turns of maintenance need be paid. If he succeeds, he's got a province
to feed his army. If he fails, his reputation is tarnished, making it harder
to raise armies and attract companions in the future.
Oleg implies there will be a newbie problem (ie Revenge of Dr. Pain):
First off, newbies start with next to nothing - enough to get some weapons for
himself and a friend, and start a little bit of training. You've got to go
out and earn any more (BTW, with the demise of big factions, a more profitable
WORK, open only to PCs and COMPANIONS, would now be reasonable). So, newbies
aren't worth hunting. Also, since the warlord has a limited number of
companions, he'll need to find friends to control the borderlands and expand
the empire. A good way to do this is take a newbie under your wing, foster his
growth, and install him as governer of the borderlands when he gets to where he
can control armies.
P.S. Stay tuned - I'm going to make a draft of a complete COMPANION system
as a target for refinement.