Author Topic: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege  (Read 434 times)

Demivar

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Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« on: April 18, 2017, 07:01:28 PM »
Standard stuff, we've managed to cut off a lot of the food being supplied to Valeria and have been besieging it for some time now with a lot of our troops. It's suffering from severe starvation, and the food being supplied there is nowhere near enough to feed both the besiegers and the besieged, the food stocks have run out and the city is close to breaking.


There's a catch, however. Someone, who is obviously really clever had the amazing idea to start shipping thralls into the settlement, rather than food. Instead of the settlement breaking down and collapsing under the enormous supply weight, the walls remain fully intact thanks to a constant stream of thralls that we can't touch.


Not sure how this can be fixed without other updates, but it's exceptionally annoying. Supplying a besieged fortress to prolong a siege is one thing, but through M&F population mechanics it's at a minute cost to the ones sending thralls, and can presumably be used to prolong a siege indefinately.
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Cipheron

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2017, 08:36:36 PM »
Yeah, that would seem to stack things too far to the defender side, since the attacker can't do much more than pile more troops in. It would change how you'd plan to fight if that becomes a common tactic, you'd want to repeatedly assault the town with waves of squads to wear the defenders down with sheer numbers. Much more costly.  It's too pro-defense, but it's a level playing field if everyone knows about it, so it's for the best for this to be discussed OOC. I'm kind of amazed that there are any tricks of that level of simplicity being discovered at this stage of the game, however. It just seems too basic to not have ever been stumbled on before.

One problem with a patch on this is that there's really no status of a town as "under siege" as far as I am aware. A siege is implemented as an outcome of the existing game mechanics, so the sending thralls thing is just bypassing that, because the game doesn't actually know you shouldn't be able to. We'd need a simple fix that could reasonably be applied to this situation and make sense.

Here's one suggestion:

Make the "Block Area" action include supply interdiction, if the receiving town's realm or leader is on the block list.

Some thoughts on a formula that would have some realistic parameters

- count each unit doing Block Area against the town

- effectiveness decreases linearly with distance from the town (since they can go around) and the angle you cover is half when distance doubles.

- effectiveness increases as square root of number of troops (because radius of your troop's area of full coverage increases as sqrt(troops))

- add up the "interdiction score" for each troop, then apply a log function, because a few always slip through.

What this formula would mean is that one huge army trying to do interdiction far from the town would be a lot less effective than many smaller forces camped right outside the town. Which is a realistic outcome, since 4 forces of 125 would be more mobile, thus better at interdiction than a single army of 500.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 08:55:16 PM by Cipheron »

Andre

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2017, 08:53:38 PM »
What about something basic like every troop can block 1 unit of anything coming trough (whether its from trade or looting, thralls count as 1 unit), and mounted troops can maybe block 2 units? Doesn't have to be those numbers but I think something simple like that for block area would be good. Though I think an added button would be good, either an extra button like "Siege", or a checkmark for Block Area for whether you want to only block troops or also loot and trade.

Cipheron

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2017, 08:56:54 PM »
I think I like my formula better, which is has it that smaller more mobile forces close to the town block more than distance forces which are centralized into large armies. Humungous 500-man armies should basically be worse at intercepting supply than the same force split between multiple commanders.

And if you just creep over the border and block area there, it's not realistic for that to be just as effective a siege tactic, as a proper close-in siege.

As for cavalry being much more useful in a siege, than infantry, basically I think that's historically questionable.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 09:04:05 PM by Cipheron »

Demivar

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2017, 08:59:30 PM »
Of course, if and when a siege system is implemented the system would change. Rather than the settlement being able to receive food, and both the besiegers and besieged being able to eat that food, it'd change to the defenders having their own food reserves and needing to be starved/assaulted out conventionally, with the attackers needing to find their own food. That'd change the dynamics of warfare slightly, but the system as is (without exploits) is good enough for both attackers and defenders to accept that they can delay the ending of a siege by pouring in food, but it'd take an astronomical effort to fully sustain a large settlement against a siege.


Now, however we're faced with an issue. I haven't seen this done before, but there's no way to influence the siege. We've had a large proportion of our army outside the walls for quite a while now, and given how thralls work we can't increase the supply pressure to break the settlement as intended. I don't know where it's coming from, and even then there's nothing I can do about it.


As with a lot of things, it'd be nice if they just fucked off and let the siege end naturally, or if they really want to they can provide more food, which would at least cost them something. Right now, they've got a free, more or less indefinite siege at the opportunity cost of a couple of FOs walking around with some militia and looting.


Hopefully they'll stop doing it, but I think if I asked them they'd probably start doing it even more.

Edit: In regards to what you said, I'm pretty sure a siege warfare overhaul is one of the more prominent updates that are hoped to be made in the future, but it's the kind of thing where a temporary fix like you suggested wouldn't help very much, as it'd be a mediocre solution where a full, new mechanic could do a really good job. The exploit/loophole is being used right now, and it is seriously impactful.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 09:03:25 PM by Demivar »
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Cipheron

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2017, 09:10:02 PM »
Block Area for a siege would effectively end the tactic straight away, I think. After all it would up to the devs how effective they want to make it. it could be 100% effective to stop thralls if they wanted. Which would end the loophole at basically no cost to an attacker, and without need to clutter the design with an entirely new subsystem just for that.

The only "cost" to the attacker would be the need to formally specify that they are doing the Block Area action, and to specify the target of the action in a list, which would then double as siege warfare. If there's a formal siege system in the future, at the very least there will be some type of "lay siege" action, and it might as well be Block Area.

I mean, what do you suggest for the mechanic of a siege in terms of player actions needed to indicate that there is a siege, and how that effects the game mechanics?
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 09:16:49 PM by Cipheron »

Andre

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2017, 09:14:21 PM »
I think I like my formula better, which is has it that smaller more mobile forces close to the town block more than distance forces which are centralized into large armies. Humungous 500-man armies should basically be worse at intercepting supply than the same force split between multiple commanders.

And if you just creep over the border and block area there, it's not realistic for that to be just as effective a siege tactic, as a proper close-in siege.

As for cavalry being much more useful in a siege, than infantry, basically I think that's historically questionable.
Its not historically questionable that cavalry would be better for making sure supply can't reach a fort. They wouldn't be as useful attacking the fort, but a few cavalry harassing supply caravans is definetly far more effective than infantry doing it.

Demivar

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2017, 09:20:32 PM »
I believe that there's been a lot of discussion on the matter in the past, and a full Siege/Assault warfare system would probably work really well in M&F. An interim system shouldn't be needed if this exploit wasn't there/wasn't used on this scale. This is a large realm fighting another large realm, and at the main focal point of the campaign the entire system has ground to a halt via this abuse.


What I said earlier is that siege warfare currently in M&F is quite functional, and I don't mind it. It serves its purpose and can continue doing so until a new system is in place. Even with people working their arses off to finally get the server move potentially sorted, the possibility for a fix to this is distant. Without this exploit, things are atleast fair. With this single exploit, the entire system grinds to a halt, and I've no idea how it can stop beyond asking nicely and hoping that people will want to play the game in good spirit.
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De-Legro

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2017, 12:21:30 AM »
Its not a new tactic, simply one that is rarely used. It requires reasonable co-ordination and good sources to steal the thralls from. The block area suggestion is good, but would need a far bit of reworking so that the system tracks that action against settlements. How about if Thralls were not instantly transported to their target settlement, but took time to arrive based on the distance between the two settlements? Would that make it more difficult to abuse thralls or just delay the effect?
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Demivar

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2017, 12:22:28 AM »
Its not a new tactic, simply one that is rarely used. It requires reasonable co-ordination and good sources to steal the thralls from. The block area suggestion is good, but would need a far bit of reworking so that the system tracks that action against settlements. How about if Thralls were not instantly transported to their target settlement, but took time to arrive based on the distance between the two settlements? Would that make it more difficult to abuse thralls or just delay the effect?
Given the timescale, I'm fairly sure that it would simply delay the effect.
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Constantine

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2017, 07:04:22 AM »
What if you actually had to escort thralls from their original village to your settlement? You loot for thralls and they appear as your entourage. Then you have to march back home and dismiss them in your town.

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2017, 07:24:13 AM »
What if you actually had to escort thralls from their original village to your settlement? You loot for thralls and they appear as your entourage. Then you have to march back home and dismiss them in your town.

An interesting idea, or they could be a new class of "prisoner". If we are moving that way though resource looting should probably follow suit and require some sort of transport
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Andre

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2017, 09:21:25 AM »
Would be intresting. I imagine this would also set limits to how much you can carry. Like you can't bring along a hundred thralls with one untrained light infantry and yourself for example. And camp followers could probably be the ones carrying resources and supply loot, seeing as they already do that for supply and food anyways. Though might be intresting to allow soldiers to carry some amount aswell, or if the carpenter could maybe construct carts that could be pulled by horses or maybe people even, which could probably carry a good amount of loot.

Cipheron

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2017, 10:01:33 AM »
idk if implementing a check for guards is needed. When you loot thralls, it's dependent on number of troops you have, and moving the thralls would require you to sort out logistics for that, e.g. food supply, plus you're slower since you have more total men. So there would already be ample constraints in taking thralls as prisoners.

A few troops can in fact control many slaves or prisoners in real life. Typical civilians aren't very brave, and these were civilians who already let themselves be captured, so you can assume the guards targeted the weak to start with when rounding them up.

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Re: Exploit: Thralls During a Siege
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2017, 10:17:16 AM »
We could add new buildable item for entourage to carry called shackles, and then make it so when you actually took thralls you had to carry them around a bit.

It'd make the travel speed calculations more fun to do though. Hm.
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