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Ignatius
2010-11-22, 12:25 AM
Astartes, Avenger, Nisassa, Luxum, Xantaris and Abram - read no further!


OK - so my heroic campaign may be leading to a full scale war between three opposing forces for control of an artifact which will allow the controlling force to basically take control of the other two and thereby either save the day and/or lead into a paragon campaign sometime next year based on the outcome of the battle and the life/death of the characters.

This will be the final session of a year long campaign (in the real world) and I want to go out with a bang and leave everything up to the roll of the dice and the strategy of the players.

So, how have you guys run full scale wars? Do you just do skill challenges and role playing to determine what goes on? What about using actual encounters? Has anyone ever had the party vs an army of 500?

What I would really love to do is have three large armies setup with approx 250 minis in each and actually have some sort of system for the damage that they do on their turn... maybe roll percentage to see how many hit the target, and then multiply that by their normal damage?

Also, I have been toying with letting the players use at-will powers as a minor action so that they can get through the hundreds of minis that are opposing them. Do you think this would work?

Tvtyrant
2010-11-22, 12:28 AM
I have no idea about how to run 4E, but if your going to run a war you need to give your party a way to turn the tide of battle without having to actually run a whole battle. For instance, have a group of your sides troops turn on you during the battle. If your party can cut their way to the traitorous leader and take him captive they won't attack your army from behind, and your side wins.

Ignatius
2010-11-22, 12:35 AM
I am looking to run the session as a big war where the outcome is not guaranteed to be the one the party wants.

I want it to be a hard slog like a real war and have them run out of powers, healing surges, magic items etc in the potential quest to get the magic items to the one location they are needed and then win the war.

Is it too much to ask for a party to come up with their own solution to turn the tide of the war by themselves? To look at the battle from afar and determine where and how they are going to get to where they need to be and then dealing with the consequences of a potential large scale battle?

Tvtyrant
2010-11-22, 12:56 AM
I am looking to run the session as a big war where the outcome is not guaranteed to be the one the party wants.

I want it to be a hard slog like a real war and have them run out of powers, healing surges, magic items etc in the potential quest to get the magic items to the one location they are needed and then win the war.

Is it too much to ask for a party to come up with their own solution to turn the tide of the war by themselves? To look at the battle from afar and determine where and how they are going to get to where they need to be and then dealing with the consequences of a potential large scale battle?

Well, yes. In RL its not possible for a small group to turn around a big battle (if its a small battle then yes). If you run it the way your talking about the group could win their portion and the battle still be lost, which removes alot of the appeal of D&D. In RL a lot of what you do is rendered pointless by the world around you, why would you want to play a game where the same thing is true?

Hard slog is fine; have them guard a pass against hundreds of enemies by themselves or have them stand behind the gate during a siege, but a real battle cannot be won by 4-8 people. Not unless they are so powerful the enemy shatters on them, and then why have a battle? Your army could go home and let the level 20 wizard summon a couple pit fiends.

Tiki Snakes
2010-11-22, 12:57 AM
I'm not really sure that D&D is really best suited to running a large scale combat in. If nothing else, it would take either substantial homebrewing, or a LONG time for it to resolve.

You could speed things up by treating squads as a single creature, in theory. Vulnerable, perhaps, to Area attacks, etc.

I'd favour the skill challenge/series of skill challenge idea. Present the Pc's with lots of choices, and lots of small tests.

Different parts of the army would have different objectives. To acheive the objective, that part of the army must successfully complete, say, three more minor goals.
For example, Objective - Secure Region A.
Goal 1 - Sieze and hold the bridge at the heart of Region A, allowing you to control who passes through the area, effectively.
Goal 2 - Route the enemy, who have fortified the village that overlooks the bridge
Goal 3 - Kill or capture the leader of the enemy forces in the region.

Each goal would present it's own individual tests and difficulties,
something like;
Goal 1
Problem - The bridge may have been rigged with explosives to prevent you siezing it. How will you take the bridge without damaging it?
Problem - Scouts/Sentries are patrolling the bridge, can you stop them from notifying the enemy garrisoned in the nearby fortified village?
Problem - How will you defend the newly taken bridge from attempts to re-establish control?

Goal 2
Problem - They have improvised walls to defend the location, do you force the walls, sneak past, or come up with another method to breach their defences?
Problem - Once inside the walls they will attempt to fall back into the buildings and alleyways of the village, what steps do you take to prevent a drawn-out 'urban' conflict?
Problem - Forced out of the village, they torch it as they leave. Pursue the foe or put out the Fires?

Goal 3
Problem - You do not know the Enemy Commander's location, where is he?
Problem - The Enemy Commander is staying hidden in the nearby forest and is highly mobile. Do you attempt to ambush him as he moves throughout the region, or force him to join the larger fray?
Problem - He's hard as nails and accompanied by his elite troops, how do you deal with him once you have him engaged?

I figure 2/3 problems dealt with makes for a successfully completed goal. 2/3 goals an objective. Failure on a clause (goal or problem) wouldn't mean that nothing happens, as much as it cost more in some way. Lives, time, etc. you'd have to lose on a lot for no progress to be made.

Just for example, Failing on the third problem of goal 3 would, if the other two problems have been deal with very well perhaps mean that he takes a large number of your troops down with him. A success could mean that he is killed quickly, captured alive, or even talked into surrendering.
If you capture the bridge, but only after they have damaged it beyond repair, and you complete the other goals, then you'd control the region but traffic through it would be hindered, restricted to risky forging of the old crossing.

And so on. You wouldn't just ask for rolls, of course, break the situation down into problems like that and just RP it through. Just keep note of the over-all tally, yourself.

The alternative would be to go whole hog, and switch to a proper tabletop war game for the clictic battle, but finding one that's easy enough to learn on short notice, amongst other things, could be tricky?

Felhammer
2010-11-22, 01:00 AM
The easiest way to do a full scale war is to focus on the PCs local area. Their success or failure should greatly determine the temp of the battle. Also, try giving them missions like defeat the outflanking cavalry, capture the small fortification, teleport behind enemy lines and assassinate the enemy General, etc. This will make the PCs feel more special and allow their actions to have more weight as well as letting you deal with a lot of the grander battle off the table top.

The Glyphstone
2010-11-22, 01:05 AM
Agreeing with previous - 3.X was bad enough handling mass combat, 4E would be even worse. Don't try to match your PCs against an army alone, it'll be long, boring, and repetitive.

Instead, have the party as the 'spec-ops' team for an NPC army, as mentioned. They sabotage supply lines, assassinate officers, ambush scouts or flanking troops. If you want, make up a flow-chart that branches based on how well the party succeeds at their mission, allowing the main army to gain or lose ground. If they finish enough, the war is won.

Ignatius
2010-11-22, 01:39 AM
I guess the problem I have having with these suggestions (not with the suggestions, cause they are great, but with implementing them) is that the war these guys will be part of will be the last great battle. Armageddon style.

They will show up from another plane to find that the city they are returning to is surrounded by three opposing forces who are trying to beat down the doors to the city to take control of the artifacts that the party is bringing back.

I guess ultimately I am looking for some mechanic or way of letting the players decide which route they will take into the city through hostile armies in order to deliver the magical items.

I found this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=111403) that talks about using swarms as connected squares. This sounds like a good idea that I could use. Has anyone had experience with this?

Tvtyrant
2010-11-22, 01:54 AM
The issue is you lose. Swarms get engulf; they can simply run over your characters. If your looking to fight your way past an army to get to your city, I would suggest making it a night operation with killing posts and sentries on your way to the walls. If you slip up the camp becomes a chaotic battle ground where most of the army doesn't know your group is the enemy, and your basically killing your way through random startled groups to the wall. Interspersed with the normal soldiers are elite soldiers, who look the same but are group level and give you a heck of a fight. Your group "wins" when they get within arrow range of the wall, where they throw down cover fire for you.

Alternate is to have your party wait until the battle starts and then simply cut through one of the legions and mount the boarding ladders. This will probably get you killed though, since the enemy cavalry will not have anything to do but kill you (can't charge a wall).

If you want to see a good example of how to do a war with PC's, look at the Red Hand of Doom campaign. It's the only really good example I know of.

Dr.Gunsforhands
2010-11-22, 03:00 AM
They will show up from another plane to find that the city they are returning to is surrounded by three opposing forces who are trying to beat down the doors to the city to take control of the artifacts that the party is bringing back.

I guess ultimately I am looking for some mechanic or way of letting the players decide which route they will take into the city through hostile armies in order to deliver the magical items.

Are they well-known in the city? More to the point, would the local militia be willing to work with them or be led by them if they seem competent? You could model a degree of influence over the battle with skill challenges if that's the case. Even if they don't have the clout to organize ambushes or give strategic advice, they can still scout or stalk or diplomatify or whatever creative ideas your players come up with to advance their agenda.

Here's how I see it breaking down:Go around the table until you have as many well-reasoned successes as players. (If you want this to be the 'war is hell' part, dock everyone a healing surge each time around until you've hit your threshold. Maybe let them blow a daily power for an auto-success.)

At that point, they've sniffed out and/or manipulated up a pretty good path to where they need to go. Then the encounters start. Fighting may or may not be optional.

After a while of slogging through minion-infested streets, the party gets to the central temple or whatever, only to find that the three Big Bads have already gotten there and are arguing frustratedly about where the heck their macguffins have taken off to.

They turn to see what our heroes are holding, then back to each other, wide-eyed. All at once, the three bosses and their henchmen start their charge, pushing and shoving each other out of the way because it is on like Donkey Kong.
I hope that helps for inspiration. Just be ready if your players decide to just leave, lay low for a while, and sneak back in after the thing blows over. After all, are the bad guys going to keep up the siege once they've conquered the city and realized that the artifacts were actually missing this whole time?

Anonomuss
2010-11-22, 05:03 AM
I don't think this is an idea for the faint hearted, but I'm sure it could be done well some way.

I had tried something similar briefly in my own game, where the party participated in a siege, and a large cavalry battle afterwards. I found that the best way to run something of sufficient magnitude is to give the characters a challenge, of suitable levels, something specialised, think fantasy spec ops, and have their actions have noticable effects (positive or negative) when you "pan out" to the rest of the conflict.

Admittedly, it would be awesome to be able to do a large scale battle with miniatures as the OP suggested. I just think it suffers too much from a "processor load" problem, where too much time is spent away from the PCs. Maybe have a relatively large "mini-battle" focusing on the PCs, with the larger battle influenced by it? If they want specific numbers, it might be best just to fudge, or if they really want it ruled by dice rolls, maybe come up with some sort of roll off mechanic for the forces.

Possible sample system (Extremely Basic)

Say you roll a certain dice per standard "unit" of each army, say a d6 per 10 men, and increase/decrease across the armies depending on combat effectiveness in certain situations.
(Ranged would be good against Melee, Ranged would suffer vs Magic, Magic would be at a disadvantage vs Melee etc.)
Then maybe depending on the respective quality of equipment you could give each army an AC. Each side chooses whether to fight offensively or defensively Roll off the respective numbers and subtract the defending army's AC (representing those saved by superior armor etc), and compare the numbers.
If they are fighting defensively they do not deal any casualties unless they exceed the opponent's number, but subtract their number from their opponent's when calculating their casualties. If they fight offensively, their number directly represents the number of casualties they inflict.)


It's just an idea, and as the casualties would be rather high, i'd suggest that it represents a decent length of time, Say maybe 5-10mins?

Also, if you go with the large scale combat, and most of the enemies are going to be minions, you're controller is going to be ruling the show, and/or loving it.

FelixG
2010-11-22, 05:59 AM
I would note that a war or city siege is rarely a single day affair, go with the end of Kingdom of Heaven, that was some epic city defense.

What you should do, is come up with some encounters, things that they can identify that need to be destroyed to break the armys moral, give them a time limit X nunber of rounds days or hours how ever you like, but make it reasonable.

Then you assign points to those tasks, each side needs X number of points to win, if the enemies assets are not destroyed in their individual times the points go to the enemy instead. Each victory should drop moral and raise the time they have on others.

Some examples could include
-There is a charismatic leader rallying their troops: 25 points, 5 day time limit
-There are siege towers and battering rams being assembled, destroy them 25 points if construction is stopped 50 points if they are completed and brought down 5 hour time limit
-They are using constructs to load their catapults, go kill the loaders and destroy the catapults 10 points per construct killed 10 points per catapult destroyed 1 hour time limit

Each side needs 100 points to win the battle.

That way you present some visible things that need to get done, you don't have to TELL THEM the mechanics you are using, you could just describe the battlefield and let them make the judgment on what they want to do.

If they try to slug it out with the mook army their side is going to loose, if they go after strategic points their side will be able to break the siege.

AslanCross
2010-11-22, 06:08 AM
D&D, which originally started as an adaptation of a wargame into an RPG, has divorced itself so far from its roots that it doesn't really do well as a wargame system.

However, the 3.5 book Heroes of Battle has a perfectly serviceable system that you can port to 4E, as it essentially says that instead of running every single creature in the war, you just have the PCs go on highly important missions (each a series of encounters, and with 4E's encounter building system that can work quite well) that can affect the course of the battle running in the background. Whether the PCs succeed or fail in each mission earns them a certain amount of victory points, which determine how successful the background battle is.

Sipex
2010-11-22, 09:05 AM
I tried this once (with 4e no less) and it was a bad, bad idea. My players found it boring (even though they were really into the idea of it) and it just slogged through. The system simplified so much it felt like they had barely any choice.

Then, on the next session they invaded a city as a spec ops team, fought the leader and participated in the heat of the war. The only control they had over their army was the tactics before hand (ie: Do this when you get the signal). They LOVED this part and still talk about it to this day.

What I suggest is go the spec ops/travelling commanders route. Give your players several options for missions they can easily pick out (ie: Side A has catapaults which will take down the wall in minutes. Side B is effectively defending a company of archers which are making short work of their enemy, Side C has a dragon, Your men at point X need assistance, they are pinned down.) and they go off on whatever they see as most important. If they come across a company of their men you allow them to tell them what to do next.

J.Gellert
2010-11-22, 09:22 AM
Don't listen to the naysayers. Run the battle.

Just don't run numbers for it.

Instead, do this: The PCs jump into the fray, in the middle of their own soldiers. Then they meet the enemy, and fight a series of encounters in the setting of the battle.

In what other setting can they can fight 15 soldiers, a few huge monsters, a dragon, the enemy commander, and the enemy king one after the other?

Make exaggerated descriptions of how the battle around them is going, depending on if they defeat their encounters, and how fast.

You can even add non-combat encounters if the battle is sufficiently large: A friendly force that led the charge has been swamped down and you have to talk their commander into withdrawing, or an allied mage is wounded and must be evacuated, or someone has to persuade/coerce a militia force into holding their ground or even advancing.

Keep a flowchart that says how the battle will go if they succeed or fail in every task. And make success painful if it's hanging on the balance. Memorable NPCs die, nearby towns get sacked, prisoners are taken and executed...

Anyway, no matter what you do, good luck!

Galthromir
2010-11-22, 09:46 AM
I just think it suffers too much from a "processor load" problem, where too much time is spent away from the PCs.

This is completely true, even if you can do an NPC per second (Which is somewhat taxing as a DM in and of itself), large scale combat really bogs down. With 120 NPCs on one side, vs 50 on another, that's still more than 170 seconds where PCs are sitting twiddling their thumbs. I've tried twice in 3.5, with the first being a slogfest of +5 Boring, and the second being only average (in my mind, the player's might disagree).

The Spec. Ops approach is defiantly the way to go. I will second Red Hand of Doom as a model "war campaign", the Battle of Brindol in particular. Trying to take out a group of dragonfire catapults with 300+ hobgoblins bearing down on your position makes for good times. Even better if you take the last one out and Dim Door out just as the horde reaches you ;)

Sipex
2010-11-22, 09:50 AM
Also, chapter ending, large scale battles are the perfect time for long time allies to make cameos. Take advantage of it!

true_shinken
2010-11-22, 09:59 AM
4e really sucks for this. Like, really really really sucks for this.
4e combats are already long, so a lot of combats one after another would just get boring. You also get into weird places, such as a stance ending because you killed an enemy, then you wait 6 second and someone else attacks and the stance is lost, because the encounter ended.
Full scale war would only to be good to pinpoint all of 4e flaws. Stick to the special ops idea. Or give up on 4e altogether, it sucks. j/k :smalltongue:

Sipex
2010-11-22, 10:02 AM
4e really sucks for this. Like, really really really sucks for this.
4e combats are already long, so a lot of combats one after another would just get boring. You also get into weird places, such as a stance ending because you killed an enemy, then you wait 6 second and someone else attacks and the stance is lost, because the encounter ended.
Full scale war would only to be good to pinpoint all of 4e flaws. Stick to the special ops idea. Or give up on 4e altogether, it sucks. j/k :smalltongue:

Actually, this part isn't true. When figuring out if encounters are streamed you need a minimum of 5 minutes between them (to allow for a 5 minute rest).

true_shinken
2010-11-22, 10:14 AM
Actually, this part isn't true. When figuring out if encounters are streamed you need a minimum of 5 minutes between them (to allow for a 5 minute rest).

Really? I must have had a bad DM, then.

Sipex
2010-11-22, 10:17 AM
Either that or your stance had been active for 5 minutes as it deactivates after that time. Usually that's in the middle of a short rest though which is why it's labelled "Until the end of the encounter".

I'd bet bad DM though, I've never had an encounter last long enough that 5 minutes of game time passed.

shadowmage
2010-11-22, 11:10 AM
[QUOTE=Ignatius;9813284]
I guess ultimately I am looking for some mechanic or way of letting the players decide which route they will take into the city through hostile armies in order to deliver the magical items.[QUOTE]

For something like this, it would depend on how much intel the players have. If they have enough that they can get a lay out of the siege, then give a map of the lay out of the armies. With as much details as they can learn. Then let them pick a path and run it as a skill challenge with encounters in between based off each "round" of skill rolls. With lots and lots and lots of minions. Maybe the first round the make a stealth check to get past the sentries. If they succeed they get the jump on them if they want or sneak by. If not the Sentries see them and they have 2 or 3 rounds to take them out before they raise the alarm, but even if they do they are quickly noticed. The next "round" might be bluff/intimidate/diplomacy to get farther in. So on and so on. with failures at the sill check making the next encounter harder and success making it easier. I would also keep track of the open battles they start, unless the armies are really chaotic and mishmashed so that brawls are common then they might not be noticed.

Trog
2010-11-22, 11:40 AM
Here's how I have done it in the past (spoilered for length):

My last campaign involved a war as well as rivalry between the PCs (who each hailed from different countries eager to come out on top in the region). The system I devised was this:

Firstly I set up five different objectives - missions the PCs could undertake. Each of these missions had varying effects on the outcome of the war for different sides (in this case, the different PCs). This was represented by an arbitrary point system. Missions were worth 1, 2, or 3 points for each person involved. Additionally, each mission had a magic item score indicating how may items could be retrieved by completing the mission. We had four PCs so the points available to each of them was the same if they undertook all five missions.

However...

One of the missions - whichever one they chose to do last - would go away. The window of opportunity would close and the enemy would win there, eradicating the mission and seizing the magic items.

All of this was made absolutely transparent to the PCs so they got to know precisely what they were getting into.

More details on this here (http://trogshead.blogspot.com/2010/06/midlands-adventure.html) and on the setting it took place in and the adventure background here (http://trogshead.blogspot.com/2010/06/dnd-setting.html).

Anyhow, the PC's level advancement was tied to the points so every three points they would level up. Now there's many ways to pick up this structure and run with it. The second half of the adventure had all new missions to undertake with more of them disappearing and some set up as either/or choices to make. One was intervene in a battle, picking one side. Each side's victory has advantages and disadvantages for the PCs causes. Only together do they have enough resources to effect the battle at all (i.e. the party can't split up). When they choose one side the other side's mission goes away as an option.

This system has the advantage of giving the PCs control of the story in a way that the traditional DnD adventure often does not. Or if the DM or adventure truly lets the PCs change the events behind the screen the players rarely get to see the transparency involved. This brings everything all out in the open and very much under the PCs control.

Furthermore it accomplishes this open and free form play within confines that are easy for a DM to create. Five options to choose from with anywhere from one to three encounters in each mission (or more if you like - my group enjoys fast leveling as we play infrequently) means only five things to create. And only one of them will not get used. If you end a session at the completion of a mission you can get an idea from the players which objective they agree to tackle next so you can more thoroughly prepare for the next playing session. Otherwise simply a basic idea of the objectives involved and a list of foes for the encounter is all you really need to plan this out at the beginning. As players level you can swap out monsters for quests they have not yet done to make them more challenging or simply add more of the same foes you have already chosen.

Make sure to consistently tie this in with the overall story of the war. Include descriptions of what is at stake here and how the actions of the PCs influence the war and the sides involved. If any enemy escapes (the encounter would have killed the party had not the enemy decided to flee) bring them back in the next volley of quests as a more significant villain with new powers.

I'm telling you the system works well and is easy to implement and the players had a lot of fun with it.

In fact, at the end of the war when the PCs had to defeat the general to finally determine who took over the region it came down to three PCs - one was killed during the final fight. After the general was defeated two of the PCs killed the one who, at the last minute, tried to enter into a bargain with the general to let him live but swear fealty to his nation (a point condition for that PC). With only two left they walked off together to reshape the nation.

But not before one of them killed the other to take full control of the region. :smallamused:

Afterward, we altered the map of the world based on the point standings of the PCs, advanced history several years, and made the living PC an NPC ruler in the world that new PCs will now adventure in.

Fun stuff. :smallbiggrin:

Bruendor_Cavescout
2010-11-22, 01:10 PM
I'll go ahead and agree with the concensus here: if you value your time, life and sanity, do not run this as 1 monster/mini. Hell, I wouldn't run it at 10/mini.

AslanCross has the gist of it correct - while D&D may have started as a wargame, it's not really suited for that any longer. In fact, wargames and role playing games are pretty much at opposite sides of the gaming spectrum. Wargames are top-down - you see the entirety of both armies at the whole time, and you control entire batallions at a time. Role playing games, however, are bottom-up experiences - it's focused on the individual rather than the whole.

The best way to handle this is not to delve into the numbers and provide an exact mathematical model, but create an abstraction that is both fast and fun. Any abstraction must solve two goals that are often in competition: players want to know how the battle as a whole is progressing, and they also want to know what effect they're having with their actions. Red Hand of Doom, often cited as one of the best 3.0/3.5 D&D adventures, had a Victory Point system: whenever your heroes succeeded at something - from killing enemy lieutenants to securing alliances between races or simply destroying enemy structures - they gained VPs. The higher the VPs, the more successful they were at the very end. Heroes of Battle suggests this as well, and they also suggest the flowchart idea that Firkraag recommends.

As a third option, you can completely abstract the combats as well if you should choose. Legend of the Five Rings handles mass combat by having the two commanders roll Battle checks, and then PCs roll to see how much damage they take based upon how heavily engaged they are in the fighting. They also get the chance to make Heroic Opportunities, which give their side bonuses to the next Battle roll if they're successful. This could be converted to D&D fairly easily as well - the army commanders could make d20+level rolls to determine who has the advantage, and depending on how heavily engaged the party is, they could take a number of healing surges in "damage." The actual encounters you design would probably take the place of Heroic Opportunities.

blackjack217
2010-11-22, 02:07 PM
Ideas for small unit encounters:
The enemy is launching a surprise assault. Victory is guaranteed. All they have to do is eliminate one small entrenched force. But they have to do it fast.
You need to convince our historical allies to join the war, but they need a favor first... (traditional quest segway)
Capture a fort to cut of enemy supply lines.
intercept an enemy supply train.
Retrieve the maguffin from the ancient temple!
Teleport gank someone.
Heroes of battle (3.5) has a number of things you can addapt as well.

Blue Paladin
2010-11-22, 02:07 PM
How about a Skill Challenge that doesn't use skills?

I mean, skills are supposed to cover non-combat while powers handle combat. So this is a "skill" challenge that uses powers instead (to represent the combat aspect of war).

Using an at-will attack power lets you roll vs difficult DC.
Using an encounter attack power (and having it unavailable the rest of the day) lets you roll vs moderate DC.
Using a daily attack power (and having it unavailable the rest of the challenge) lets you roll vs easy DC.

Utility powers can give bonuses to your next roll, or might apply directly to overall successes, depending on the appropriateness of the ability.

Skills can give bonuses to your next roll (e.g. Insight to figure out enemy troop movements), but don't add to overall successes.

Reinforcements on your side gives bonuses to the roll. Reinforcements on the enemy side gives penalties. Terrain can also influence (flat land and you have cavalry reinforcements? Super plus bonus! Mountainous rocky terrain and you have cavalry reinforcements? Zero bonus since your troop type is at a disadvantage) if you want to get nitty gritty.

Each round of actions is a day of battle. X successes before Y failures. Success means you win the battle; failure means you lose. Big huge battles means higher X and higher Y. Battles against "hopeless odds" means Y is significantly lower than X. Etc etc...

For the overall war, you need to win Z battles before losing Q battles.

All of this came off the top of my head just now, so you can add ideas at your leisure...

Sir Swindle89
2010-11-22, 02:49 PM
Legend of the Five Rings had a good system for running a group of heros in a larger scale battle. Basically you have a scale of how the battle is going in general and you roll on a chart to see what opportunities open up for the PC's to turn the tide. basically it was things like you see a general and his body gaurd or the men gaurding their spell casters got distracted, things like that. The outcome/expediency of the encounter pushed the scale a little your way or a little against you.

You could set up somthing like that for your 4e game.

Ignatius
2010-11-22, 08:58 PM
Thanks for all of your suggestions... I will work on the mechanics of how I want it to work and might have a dummy run by myself one night to see how it works.

Aron Times
2010-11-24, 01:40 AM
4e really sucks for this. Like, really really really sucks for this.
4e combats are already long, so a lot of combats one after another would just get boring. You also get into weird places, such as a stance ending because you killed an enemy, then you wait 6 second and someone else attacks and the stance is lost, because the encounter ended.
Full scale war would only to be good to pinpoint all of 4e flaws. Stick to the special ops idea. Or give up on 4e altogether, it sucks. j/k :smalltongue:
That's blatant metagaming on the DM's part. An encounter technically does not end until the party takes a short or extended rest. This is to prevent such metagaming shenanigans as enemies waiting for the encounter to "end" so that the party's until end of encounter powers are gone before attacking.

Mark Hall
2010-11-24, 11:25 AM
I prefer a "decision points" style of mass battle. You might even throw them some low-level NPCs to play through some of these encounters, rather than their powerhouses. You might a group of rangers or rogues do some recon skill challenges or the like, perhaps lead by a PC sneakster, with everyone else playing NPCs.

If the players are commanders, have them start by laying out the field of battle, based on the intel they gathered. Look at their plans, see what the enemy will respond with, and get a feel for who has the upper hand.

Then, run a series of encounters, interspersed with "flavor text" explaining how their actions in the last event affected the flow of battle. Throw setbacks at them, or even "random encounters" that they have to deal with. For instance, what if a group of wyverns shows up, loyal to neither side, but intent on feeding on the dead? Do they withdraw their troops, leaving the dead (and wounded) to the monsters (and hurting morale)? Do they try to drive them off? Remember, turning their attention to a fight with wyverns diverts them for some time from watching the battle.

At each point, the decisions they make should influence the flow of battle, and successful encounters should lead to victory, if victory is at all possible (sometimes, the victory you get is "not dying")

randomhero00
2010-11-24, 02:38 PM
I would run it like a mission objective game. They need to complete objectives 1-10 in order to win in that order. The actual combat part of the "war" would be more of a cutscene that you describe after each objective.