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The J Pizzel
2014-01-06, 10:24 AM
Hey gang. My players just woke up from a divine out of body experience and are in the middle of siege. They are in the Underdark Gnome city of Blindingstone and a tribe of orcs have attacked while they were out. I know they're going to want to seek out the leaders and fight them, and I'm cool with that, but I want them to have to work to get there. Can you guys point me to any books (of any edition) that has some mass combat rules. I know they've got to be somewhere but I can't find them. I have almost all the 3.5 and 4E books.

BWR
2014-01-06, 10:39 AM
The Companion rules set and the Rules Cyclopedia have a fairly simple system for BECMI.

"Empire" and "War", books from AEG's 3.0 line, have very simple systems (Empire's is a modified form of normal combat where one 'creature' is a unit on the battlefield).

AEG's "Way of the Daimyo" has another simple system, for both d20 and R&K.

Lorsa
2014-01-06, 10:40 AM
Is the 3.5 book Heroes of Battle the one you are looking for?

The J Pizzel
2014-01-06, 11:12 AM
Well, wouldn't you freaking know...I don't have Heroes of Battle. Any other books have anything like that? In the meantime I'll see if I can get my hands on it.

druid91
2014-01-06, 11:29 AM
It's a houserule, but I always just used swarms to represent mass combat.

Because armies are sort of like swarms of bugs. Just bigger and smashier.

BRC
2014-01-06, 11:30 AM
it takes some doing, but it's also possible to create a good feel of partaking in a massive battle without the use of special systems, or with some simple homebrew rules.

One of my favorite tricks is to create a few simple-to-use NPC Soldiers with maybe one or two options in combat (Avoid Spellcasters or more complex characters which can take a while to build and slow combat down), and hand them to the players to control.

You can also make an "Battle Event" table or deck of flashcards which you draw from/roll on each round to create a new condition.

Volley of Arrows: Everybody makes reflex saves vs 2d6 damage from arrow volleys.

Frantic Melee: An infantry clash moves into the area, everybody is considered flanked, movement speed is reduced to half (Tumble checks, charisma checks, or strength checks can get around this), nobody can make AoO's, and you need concentration checks to do things.

Cavalry Charge: Armored horsemen charge through the encounter, everybody in a certain area is subject to Overrunn attacks.

General on the Front: One side gets +1 morale bonus to attack and damage.

Imminent Defeat: One side must make Will savs vs fear or become Shaken.

You could also customize it for your battle, this is Gnomes vs Orcs, so maybe

Blinding Flare: The Gnomes unleash a powerful alchemical flare, lighting up the battlefield and triggering the Orc's light sensitivity.

Berserker Arrives: An powerful Orcish Berserker arrives chasing some fleeing gnomes, launches a few cleave attacks, then leaves.
Gnomish Marksmen: Make a ranged attack roll against every Orc the PC's are fighting as a platoon of gnomish crossbowmen attack.
Scorched Earth: Gnomish Catapults launch alchemists fire into the battlefield, part of the area is now on fire.
Warcry: the Orcish forces let out a terrifying cry, the Orcs gain +2 Strength for one round.
Gnomish Illusionists: The Gnomes begin plaguing the Orcs with powerful illusions, for one round Orcs take a -3 on attack rolls, cannot make attacks of opportunity (as they instantly waste them against illusions).

stuff like that, to give the feel of a massive battle raging on all sides around the PC's.

You can also throw them up against lots of enemies, but rather then ending the encounter when ALL the enemies are dead, end it when ENOUGH of them are dead that the tide turns in that particular area.

They may be up against, say, six orcs and an Ogre, but if they kill four orcs (or two orcs and the Ogre), then the Orcs flee and the PC's move on to their next target.

Elderand
2014-01-06, 11:40 AM
The black company campaign setting bokk for 3.5 by green ronin also has rules for mass combat.

In fact it has two different system depending on how large a group you have.

Rhynn
2014-01-06, 12:11 PM
AD&D 1E Battlesystem is the best iteration of D&D mass combat. AD&D 2E Battlesystem is IMO inferior and too miniatures-based.

Here's Mongoose's d20 mass combat for Conan (www.mongoosepublishing.com/pdf/conanmasscombat.pdf‎) (direct link to PDF) and the d20 Open Mass Combat System (http://www.scribd.com/doc/7851118/d20-Open-Mass-Combat-System-) (scribd link) based on it. Both should be easily compatible with D&D 3.X.

The J Pizzel
2014-01-06, 12:22 PM
Wow BRC thanks! Here's a little more info on the situation so maybe you could help flesh it out more! (ie: do my work for me, lol)

The Gnome undercity of Blindingstone is a series of larger caverns connected together. The northern area of the city is overrun with orcs (and orogs and ogre's). The group agreed to terms and the war was to be decided by single combat the next day. However, they accidentally went into a divine romp and ended up passed out for 3 days. They awoke to see the battle between the orc tribe and the gnomes. The gnomes are seriously outmatched and outnumbered. A group of Pechs summoned a small group of earth elementals to form a protective circle around the players until they woke up. While in the divine coma they realized that a group of stones (like stonehenge) is actually sleeping Galeb Durh and they now know how to awaken them. Thus, between the elementals being free to fight, the galeb duhrs awakening and the group fighting, there is a chance for victory. I'm not looking for them to kill them all, just enough of the leaders to make the orcs give up and retreat back into the mountains.

So this fight is more like 200 orcish against 50+ gnomes and their allies. I simply need some rules for moving through the crowd and facing off with the big bads as they find them. I'd like it to be cinematic, so when the fighter in the group meets the champion (think the scene from Troy when Hector thought he was fighting Achilles) everyone will slow down and watch the fight. I'm also thinking of a way to let the Pechs shape stone and close off a section so the group can fight the leaders in peace. But again, they have to move around in these caves while a fight is raging everywhere.

Thoughts?

edit - forgot to mention this is 5E

Mark Hall
2014-01-06, 12:49 PM
One of my favorite methods for mass combat that works well when the party is not in overall command is a cinematic method. You play out a series of scenes, with given victory conditions; meeting those victory conditions means you move on to scene 2a, while losing them moves you on to scene 2b, while scene 2c comes from something else.

It plays within the normal rules, and lets you cover a battle in progress, but works less well when the PCs are in charge.

Slipperychicken
2014-01-06, 02:42 PM
With those numbers, you could get by in 3.5 with something like the DMGII Mob template; it's basically a pseudo-swarm to represent large (~50+) clusters of creatures. If it's reduced to zero hit points, that means that the group disperses with ~1/3 of the creatures dead and ~1/3 wounded but alive.

You'll also want to look up some variation on "Morale Rolls". Basically, when certain events happen to NPCs (for example: your allies are whittled down to ~90%/75%/50%/25% of their original numbers, or you suffer your first hit in battle, a terrifying creature like a dragon appears, or you have only 1/2 your maximum hit points left, etc), they make a special roll to resist the urge to surrender or flee. Such rules can improve immersion tremendously, considering that people will often retreat, flee, or surrender rather than fight to the death.

The J Pizzel
2014-01-07, 09:25 AM
One of my favorite methods for mass combat that works well when the party is not in overall command is a cinematic method. You play out a series of scenes, with given victory conditions; meeting those victory conditions means you move on to scene 2a, while losing them moves you on to scene 2b, while scene 2c comes from something else.

It plays within the normal rules, and lets you cover a battle in progress, but works less well when the PCs are in charge.

This works great too. I"ll try using this. Thanks!

Dimers
2014-01-07, 06:17 PM
The black company campaign setting bokk for 3.5 by green ronin also has rules for mass combat.

In fact it has two different system depending on how large a group you have.

I was going to mention that, but in the negative -- please don't use this book's system for mass combat. I can't say anything kind about a system that says infinite soldiers are useless if they're green recruits.

Zavoniki
2014-01-07, 07:23 PM
Honestly my preferred method is to find a good system of mass combat rules(say Triplanetary or Attack Vector:Tactical) for running the whole battle and then homebrew some ways for the Player Characters to add modifiers depending on where they are in the battle. Maybe more accurate weapons, take less damage, move faster, etc... I only do this if they are actually commanding one force in the battle.

Otherwise, as has already been suggested, just run it as a set of encounters that influence/are influenced by the battle.

Knaight
2014-01-07, 07:29 PM
You can pilfer the system from REIGN easily enough. There's absolutely no reason it wouldn't work with D&D, though it will feel a bit different. On top of that, for the specifics of PC involvement you can pilfer from Legend of the Five Rings, or design something similar conceptually. Basically, they don't directly affect the course of battle (though they will under the REIGN rules, so used in conjunction they can), but there are individual actions of various risk they can take by putting themselves at various parts of the field, with various rewards. It's worth looking into.