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Spartan Training

MaxKaladin

First Post
I'm trying to set up a group on my world that has a training program for their youth similar to the brutal conditions under which the Spartans raised their children.

Assuming someone had basically been through having all "defective" children killed at birth and 14 years of Boot Camp from ages 7 to 21...

* Would you give them any kind of bonuses and penalties to stats?
* Any other special abilities?
* What class would they be? Prestige class, fighter and/or warrior NPC class?
* What level do you think they would be?
* Assuming some of their number were seperated out about halfway through to be trained as clerics, wizards or sorcerers, how would that change your answers to those questions?

Thanks!
 

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Ace

Adventurer
MaxKaladin said:
I'm trying to set up a group on my world that has a training program for their youth similar to the brutal conditions under which the Spartans raised their children.

Assuming someone had basically been through having all "defective" children killed at birth and 14 years of Boot Camp from ages 7 to 21...

* Would you give them any kind of bonuses and penalties to stats?
* Any other special abilities?
* What class would they be? Prestige class, fighter and/or warrior NPC class?
* What level do you think they would be?
* Assuming some of their number were seperated out about halfway through to be trained as clerics, wizards or sorcerers, how would that change your answers to those questions?

Thanks!

The quick way to show the difference between a Spartan army and a regular one is to treat all of the Spartans as Fighters with 4d6 drop 1 stats. TReat regular joes as Warriors using average dice (+1 or 2 for prime stats)

As for the Wizards et all, well that depends on the -- highly stressed Wizards might be less effective than non stressed ones. Probably the easier solution is to make the surviving Wizards (and many would die in training) high level than normal; for their age.

The Trojans (FREX) might have say a bunch of 3-5 level mages average age 20 something. The Spartan warcasters would be 6 level with a level or 2 of maybe Warcaster or some cool PRC
 

MaxKaladin

First Post
Ace said:
The quick way to show the difference between a Spartan army and a regular one is to treat all of the Spartans as Fighters with 4d6 drop 1 stats. TReat regular joes as Warriors using average dice (+1 or 2 for prime stats)

As for the Wizards et all, well that depends on the -- highly stressed Wizards might be less effective than non stressed ones. Probably the easier solution is to make the surviving Wizards (and many would die in training) high level than normal; for their age.

The Trojans (FREX) might have say a bunch of 3-5 level mages average age 20 something. The Spartan warcasters would be 6 level with a level or 2 of maybe Warcaster or some cool PRC

Well, I imagine the surviving wizards would be very good under stress having grown up with so much of it and surviving. I can see them being higher level and/or having a couple of levels of some more militant class/prestige class due to their very, um, focused childhood and adolescence. Perhaps the warrior NPC class or a level of Rogue or two...

I suppose a different dice rolling method would be better to represent their training than a set of stat bonuses and penalties, though I can see those applying as well.

Thanks
 




hong

WotC's bitch
Nifft said:
Greeks had Rum?!?
:eek:

"The only traditions of the Spartan army are olive oil, sodomy and the lash." -- still probably not Winston Churchill


Hong "not to mention fetta cheese" Ooi
 
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Nifft

Penguin Herder
hong said:
"The only traditions of the Spartan army are olive oil, sodomy and the lash." -- still probably not Winston Churchill

Presumably in that order.

-- N, ducking and running
 


Eolin

First Post
Wine!

The greeks had wine, and spartans drank it with every meal. While they didn't get drunk like the athenians, it was one of the few indulgences.
 

Elder-Basilisk

First Post
I'd be tempted to simulate this either by creating a subrace or creating some regional feats for Sparta.

If a subrace: +2 con, -2 cha
They're tough from their training but don't tend to relate to people as well outside of the strict discipline of their society.

No human bonus feat, no bonus skill points. Spartan upbringing doesn't engender the flexibility and curiousity of most human upbringings.

Stability: +4 to resist trip attacks. Resisting a shield charge is an important element in Spartan training.

Weapon Familiarity: Spartan longspear (EWP: 1-handed longspear)
Racial Proficiencies: Tower Shield, longspear, shortspear, trident, shortsword
Skill bonusses: +2 concentration, +2 to all skill checks involving extended exertion (swimming, climbing, etc).
Saving throw bonus: +2 fort saves against subdual damage from forced marches, cold, fatigue, or exhaustion, +2 against mind effecting effects.
Human Blood: Magical effects treat Spartans as humans.

For a simpler solution, you could create a couple regional feats that all Spartans take:
Spartan Weapons Training: Tower Shield proficiency, shortsword, spear, longspear, trident, javalin proficiency.
Spartan Endurance: 1/2 strength endurance, +2 to saves against mind effecting effects.

You could represent the murder of "defective children" by placing a lower cap on stats. Any character with less than an 8 in any stat is killed--reroll them if rolling; if using point buy, you're set. For NPCs, simply use the non-elite statblock for all NPCs that would normally get the 11-10-11-10-11-10 statblock and give all of them at least one fighter level.

For clerics and wizards from such a culture, I would suggest that they all multiclass with fighter to represent early training before their special gifts manifested. Spellsword and Eldritch Knight will be much more common than single-classed wizards. Similarly, Warpriests, etc will be more common than single-classed clerics. Alternatively, you could give them the Spartan Training feats and focus their studies on battle magic. Perhaps all Spartan clerics take the war domain and all spartan Wizards specialize in Evocation of Transmutation, eschewing either Illusion, Enchantment, or Necromancy.

MaxKaladin said:
I'm trying to set up a group on my world that has a training program for their youth similar to the brutal conditions under which the Spartans raised their children.

Assuming someone had basically been through having all "defective" children killed at birth and 14 years of Boot Camp from ages 7 to 21...

* Would you give them any kind of bonuses and penalties to stats?
* Any other special abilities?
* What class would they be? Prestige class, fighter and/or warrior NPC class?
* What level do you think they would be?
* Assuming some of their number were seperated out about halfway through to be trained as clerics, wizards or sorcerers, how would that change your answers to those questions?

Thanks!
 

Kahuna Burger

First Post
the Jester said:
Since only the cream of the crop survives, roll their stats best 3 of 5d6.

Bad idea, unless you meant that to only apply to the str and con stats. Only the physical cream of the crop survives. The brightest, and wisest will likely be dead.

I would take the normal spread for a city. Then kill off everyone with a con under 12. Yes, this will give you a smaller population, the spartans didn't have big numbers, they had tough cookies. Next make everyone with a str or con less than 13 a commoner. No level advancement to speak of. Out of what remains, give them all twice the xp for their age you normally would and fighter levels. Pick the feats that simulate a group fighting style and give everyone identical feats.

Spellcasters should be rare. By the law of averages, you've likely killed off the ones who could have advanced far in infancy or childhood, or at best relegated them to commoner status. If there are folks in your main army with a CHA of 13 or better, give tham a few sorcerer ranks, or possibly bard.

What you will have is a small but formidable group of specialists. They will be soldiers, and very good at it, but they will fight the one way they were taught and not have a lot of magical backup. They may or may not triumph against a force which uses its whole population and finds the roles each individual is suited for. Thats life.

If you wanted to update the idea of the spartans to include the value of magic, and fit it into the D&D gender balance in one fell swoop, I would put the women through a similarly intense clerical/sorcerer training process. Still remove anyone with a con under 10, but relegate those with both wis and cha under 13 to commoner status. Give the rest 1 1/2 XP from average and cleric or sorc ranks. Probably strength and war domains across the board. Stick with the idea of specialists who fight one way and do it well.

Thats the way I'd do it, but I'm not as enamored of the legend of the spartans as many and would play up their weaknesses as well as strengths.

Kahuna burger
 

Elder-Basilisk

First Post
While I agree that rolling 3x 5d6 for each stat would be a poor way of simulating Spartan characteristics, your assertion that the brightest and wisest will most likely be dead seems to assume that poor health and weakness correllate to wisdom and intelligence. I don't believe that to be the case. AFAIK, a strong, tough individual is neither more nor less likely to be smart than a weak and scrawny individual. Thus eliminating the weak and unhealthy would not necessarily kill off any more smart people than it would dumb ones. Although the overall population would be smaller, I don't see it as any dumber or more foolish than it would otherwise be.

If one wishes to bring the law of averages and the mathematical distribution of D&D stats into this, there will be no fewer characters with 13 cha and 18 strength than there are with 13 cha and 3 strength. The distribution of one stat has no effect on the distribution of the others so having a high or a low score in one stat neither makes other stats more likely to be high or more likely to be low.

It is true that the odds of a character having every stat above 13 are low, however for a character who already has 13 in one stat, the odds that the other will be 13+ are identical. It's like flipping coins. The odds that a coin will land "heads" eight consecutive times is less than 1%. However, given seven consecutive "heads", the odds that the next flip will result in heads is still 50%.

(And in any event, it's likely that the Spartans also killed those they regarded as feebleminded so any eugenics enthusiasts might be justified in giving them a bonus to mental stats as well).

Kahuna Burger said:
Bad idea, unless you meant that to only apply to the str and con stats. Only the physical cream of the crop survives. The brightest, and wisest will likely be dead.

I would take the normal spread for a city. Then kill off everyone with a con under 12. Yes, this will give you a smaller population, the spartans didn't have big numbers, they had tough cookies. Next make everyone with a str or con less than 13 a commoner. No level advancement to speak of. Out of what remains, give them all twice the xp for their age you normally would and fighter levels. Pick the feats that simulate a group fighting style and give everyone identical feats.

Spellcasters should be rare. By the law of averages, you've likely killed off the ones who could have advanced far in infancy or childhood, or at best relegated them to commoner status. If there are folks in your main army with a CHA of 13 or better, give tham a few sorcerer ranks, or possibly bard.

What you will have is a small but formidable group of specialists. They will be soldiers, and very good at it, but they will fight the one way they were taught and not have a lot of magical backup. They may or may not triumph against a force which uses its whole population and finds the roles each individual is suited for. Thats life.

If you wanted to update the idea of the spartans to include the value of magic, and fit it into the D&D gender balance in one fell swoop, I would put the women through a similarly intense clerical/sorcerer training process. Still remove anyone with a con under 10, but relegate those with both wis and cha under 13 to commoner status. Give the rest 1 1/2 XP from average and cleric or sorc ranks. Probably strength and war domains across the board. Stick with the idea of specialists who fight one way and do it well.

Thats the way I'd do it, but I'm not as enamored of the legend of the spartans as many and would play up their weaknesses as well as strengths.

Kahuna burger
 

The Lone Badger

First Post
I would not give Spartan PCs any bonus. Rather, that's why they have the 16 Con listed on their character sheet and proficiency in all martial weapons. PCs are by definition exceptional people, the Spartan background is just one possible explanation for their exceptionalness.
 

MaxKaladin

First Post
I'm hardly enamored of the legend of the Spartans. Just a little while ago, I was telling a friend that they seemed just the sort of brutal barbarians the sadistic neanderthals who ran the PE program when I was in school would have loved to emulate.

I doubt I'll have many PC's of this group unless they want to do the "I'm leaving my evil and corrupt society" thing. I'm using the Spartans as a template for a very evil culture in my world and I'm mostly setting up rules for what I'll make NPCs like, though I also want to be ready if I need to do a PC as well.

I tend to come down on the side of saying that the brightest won't be killed off. My reading leads me to believe that the killing was confined to infants at birth. If the kid seemed weak or deformed, it was killed. Otherwise, it got to grow up to enter training. I don't think they killed many students (on purpose -- as brutal as their training was, I'm sure there were accidents) during training. There will be an appropriate percentage of population who are bright, wise, or charismatic enough to get tapped for training as spellcasters instead of fighters.

As far as stats are concerned, I'm really tempted to only give bonuses or extra dice to strength, dexterity and constitution. Spartan training did nothing to develop the rest but did a good job of developing people physically.

Edit: I did consider the idea of a subrace and may do that. As part of that idea, I considered what someone with Spartan priorities might have done in the way of magically enhancing the "race". What might they have added and how might it be balanced? (Probably just an ECL).

I also considered the idea of making sure eveyone had a level of thief and warrior/fighter (the rogue because they expected their kids to steal food to get enough to eat -- it was supposed to develop resourcefulness or something like that).
 
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Michael Tree

First Post
I wouldn't give them any special bonuses for their stats, but I would let them reroll if what they rolled was substandard.

I would also make all characters spend their a 1st level feat on Endurance, and make spellcaster spend a feat on Skill Focus (concentration).
 

Corinth

First Post
Use the Warrior NPC class. Give them Phalanx Fighting and Endurance. Give the unit leader Formation Fighting (from CW; the one that has a BAB +6 requirement and helps others in the user's vicinity to benefit from it). Go nuts with the breastplate/heavy shield/light weapon set-up; while in formation, base AC is 21+Dex modifier and they have a +1 to Reflex saves.

Now, you'll need some sort of workaround for the spear...
 

CCamfield

First Post
Corinth said:
Now, you'll need some sort of workaround for the spear...

I'd just define a new weapon, probably as: Hoplite Spear, Martial weapon, 1d8 (M)/x3 Piercing. One-handed, no reach, range increment 10'. Or use the Trident stats (1d8 (M)/x2), but change the name.
 
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Corinth

First Post
CCamfield said:
I'd just define a new weapon, probably as: Hoplite Spear, Martial weapon, 1d8 (M)/x3 Piercing. One-handed, no reach, range increment 10'. Or use the Trident stats (1d8 (M)/x2), but change the name.
It has to be a one-handed light weapon for it to work with Phalanx Fighting.
 

Agback

Explorer
MaxKaladin said:
I'm hardly enamored of the legend of the Spartans. Just a little while ago, I was telling a friend that they seemed just the sort of brutal barbarians the sadistic neanderthals who ran the PE program when I was in school would have loved to emulate.

Yes. But a lot of Athenian philosophers who are now considered intellectual giants wished to emulate it too. Which just goes to show that brutality is not confined to brutes. And remind us that neanderthals had larger brains than you Cro-Magnon lot.

MaxKaladin said:
I tend to come down on the side of saying that the brightest won't be killed off.

Indeed not. The Athenians jeered at Spartan ignorance and stupidity, but probably because the Spartans lacked the background and specific nurture to develop their intellects, rather than because the inherently clever had been selectively killed. The Spartans certain had some canny generals, and ones who were charismatic enough to raise armies from among the locals as they advanced through friendly/neutral territory. Consider the career of Gylippos.

MaxKaladin said:
My reading leads me to believe that the killing was confined to infants at birth. If the kid seemed weak or deformed, it was killed. Otherwise, it got to grow up to enter training.

That seems right, yes.

MaxKaladin said:
I don't think they killed many students (on purpose -- as brutal as their training was, I'm sure there were accidents) during training.

Remember the story about the boy with the fox inside his cloak. And recall that some boys are recorded to have been flogged to death in the festival of Artemis of the Brazen House. Although the Spartans probably didn't purposely kill many boys in training, there was probably s significant mortality.

MaxKaladin said:
There will be an appropriate percentage of population who are bright, wise, or charismatic enough to get tapped for training as spellcasters instead of fighters.

Consider that these might get a different training: just as austere, but perhaps not as physically strenuous.

MaxKaladin said:
As far as stats are concerned, I'm really tempted to only give bonuses or extra dice to strength, dexterity and constitution. Spartan training did nothing to develop the rest but did a good job of developing people physically.

The policy in your fictitious state might not be so one-sided. The Spartans might perhaps have trained wizards and bards if D&D magic had been available to them.

MaxKaladin said:
I also considered the idea of making sure eveyone had a level of thief and warrior/fighter (the rogue because they expected their kids to steal food to get enough to eat -- it was supposed to develop resourcefulness or something like that).

To make them good at foraging for food in the field on campaign. Perhaps a level of Ranger?

I think that the big thing should be that the full citizens be fighters rather than warriors or aristocrats. That ought to come out as a considerable advantage in the field.

Regards,


Agback
 

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