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CinuzIta
2015-11-03, 04:52 AM
Hi all, it's been a long time from my last post (mainly because I don't wanna bother learning to create the new tables..yep, I'm that lazy)

Anyway, I recently had the fortune to start a new D&D 3.5 campaign. The world where my players are fooling around is the classic world torn by a war between two kingdoms, but I'd like them to have the chance to lead one army against the rival kingdom at a certain point. So, also taking heavy inspiration from this ( http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Races_of_War_(3.5e_Sourcebook)/The_Mass_Combat_Minigame ) I brewed a mini game about mass combat between armies. I'd like to hear your opinions before bringing it to the table.

The game assumes all of the creatures are medium or huge sized.

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The game

Players take control of an army by controlling single units commanded by their PCs or by taking control of distinct sections of one army (left wing, center or right wing), depending on their renown or on the situation. Their objective will usually be routing the enemy army or maybe controlling some key points.

- Units

A unit has 6 stats, that are

HP: the unit's health points, a rough estimation of the number of casualties a unit can take before its morale breaks and the individuals in that unit begin to flee the combat.
The base value is 10+ the unit's health modifier.

Morale: the unit's morale; when the HP drop to this number or below, the units must roll a d10: if the result is equal or higher than their current morale value the unit becomes shaken (-1 to damages and movement), if the roll is lower than their current morale value, the unit routs and attempts to leave the battlefield by the easiest and safest path. The base value is 10- the unit's morale modifier. If the value is 0, the unit will usually fight to the death if not ordered to retreat.

Movement: the number of squares a unit can move in a turn; each squares is 15'x15'. The base value is 4+/- the unit's speed modifier. In any moment, a unit always have a movement speed of at least 1.

Dmg: the damage a unit can inflict on another unit, that is 1d4+ the unit's damage modifier; when a unit attack another unit, it always deal damage and it don't need an attack roll. A unit always deals a minimum of 1 damage even if DR or other modifiers would say otherwise (but see the Big Shield special quality).

Cost: the price needed to assemble a unit.

Special: special qualities that affect the unit in one way or another.


A unit is composed by a type (Infantry , Cavalry [Ca], Skirmishers [Sk]) that determines by what kind of soldiers is composed. Units interact with another on a rock, paper, scissor pattern (Infantry>Cavalry>Skirmishers>Infantry): a unit that attack a unit vulnerable to their attacks gains a +1 on damages. The Skirmishers' bonus against Infantry only applies on ranged attacks.

Units are also composed by a subtype (Conscripts [Co], Light [Li], Medium [Me], Heavy [He]) that determine the preparation and kind of equipment of the units. The heavier subtype gain an advantage on lighter subtypes, gaining a +1 on damage when attacking lighter troops: He > Me > Li > Co.

Cavalry units cannot be composed by conscripts.

- Building a unit.

When building a unit, a player must sum the type and subtype modifiers to the unit base template.

Base template:
[I]Unit's Name [Type, Subtype]
HP: 10 Morale: 10
Movement: 4 Dmg: 1d4
Cost: Special:

Type modifiers:

Infantry:
HP: +2 Morale: -2
Movement: +0 Damage: +1 vs cavalry

Cavalry:
HP: +3 Morale: -3
Movement: +2 Damage: +1 vs skirmishers

Skirmishers:
HP: +1 Morale: -1
Movement: +0 Damage: +1 vs infantry

Subtype modifiers:

Conscripts:
HP: +0 Morale: -0
Movement: +1 Damage: +0

Light:
HP: +1 Morale: -1
Movement: +0 Damage: +1 vs conscripts

Medium:
HP: +2 Morale: -2
Movement: -1 Damage: +1 vs light and conscripts

Heavy:
HP: +3 Morale: -3
Movement: -2 Damage: +1 vs medium, light and conscripts


So, to make an example, an heavy cavalry unit would have these stats:
Lancers [Ca, He]
HP: 16 Morale: 4
Movement: 4 Dmg: 1d4 +1 vs Sk, +1 vs Me, Li, Co
Cost: Special: Lancers

while this would be a lightly armed archers unit:
Archers [Sk, Li]
HP: 12 Morale: 8
Movement: 4 Dmg: 1d4 +1 vs Co | Ranged [2-3] 2 +1 vs In
Cost: Special: Ranged


- Units' Special qualities:
These qualities allow a unit to get special modifiers. Only one special quality per unit unless otherwise noted:

Assault Infantry: Infantry units with this special quality are particularly vicious. Each soldier of the unit carries two javelins that they hurl at the enemy a moment before attacking them. Two times per battle the unit can make a ranged attack; when attacking in this way, it is considered to be in possess of the special quality Range [Short] [2] 3. The unit can also use this ranged attack during a charge: they must move at least 1 square, do their ranged attack, and then move 1 more square to finish the charge and attack in melee. Whether they're using their ranged attack in one way or another, they always have just two ranged attacks per battle.

General: the unit composes the general's guard, and gains +2 HP, -2 Morale, +1 Damage because of the presence of this hero in the unit. Only one unit per army can have this trait. A unit with this special ability can select another special ability.

Huge: the unit is composed by huge creatures and gains +4 HP, +2 dmg but units also inflict +1 dmg on this unit.

Lancers: Lancers units are armed with very long pikes or cavalry lances. Cavalry units with this quality don't get damage while charging and gain a +1 bonus on charge damages while other units with this quality don't get extra damage when charged and deals a +1 damage bonus against cavalry.

Ranged: this is the special quality for skirmishers. It allows skirmishers to attack 2 to 3 squares away, inflicting 2 dmg. This is noted as Ranged [2-3] 2 on the unit's card.
- Short: a special tag that can be added to the ranged quality: units can attack only 2 squares away but inflict 3 dmg. This is noted as Range [Short] [2] 3 on the units card.
- Long: a special tag that can be added to the ranged quality: units can attack only 2-5 squares away but inflict just 1 dmg. This is noted as Range [Long] [2-5] 1 on the units card.
When a ranged unit attack an enemy unit that is engaged in melee with a friendly unit, the damage dealt is halved (round down when needed, minimum 1) and both the units engaged in melee suffers the ranged attack damage. This is not true if the Skirmishers unit is attacking the enemy unit from the rear or the flank.

Shieldwall: the unit is equipped with great shields and is able to interlock them to gain better protection against ranged attacks. Damage received by ranged attack do -1 dmg (it can even reduce the amount to 0) but the unit also receive a -1 on movement.

Veteran: the unit is composed by experienced soldiers and gains -1 Morale, +1 dmg.


- Running the game:

At the beginning of each battle, assume Armies move simultaneously with each Commander. Move one unit at a time until at least one unit can attack an enemy unit and then determine Battle Order.

Battle Order starts with the Army which is capable of attacking first and descends in order for each Army that can enter the battle after that (uncommitted Armies simultaneously move last in the Battle Order until they commit to at least one attack).

During the Battle Order, a Commander may move or give Tactics commands to a number of units equal to 2+ 1d4 each Turn.

When a unit enters the square next to an unfriendly unit, both inflict damage on each other immediately, with no rolls. Certain Tactics can increase a unitís damage, such as Charging, Fortifying/Setting, and Rushing.

- Tactics: [shamelessly taken by the D&D wiki page linked above)

Charge
A Charging unit gains several things from a Charge: +1 Move, +1 damage bonus in melee combat during their Battle Order, and suffers 1 point of damage at the end of the charge (a unit must move during a Charge).

Rush
A Rush is when a unit enters another unitís square at the cost of 1 additional Movement. When units have done this maneuver, neither unit can move again until all enemy units in that square are Broken or Destroyed. Friendly units may enter or exit another friendly unitís square, but this action costs 1 movement each time.

Fortify/Set
A unit in a building, ruins, or other fortified position like entrenched ground can Fortify, gaining Damage Reduction equal to the DR rating of the building(usually 1-3) and doing an additional +1 point of damage on their turn. Units that cannot Fortify due to their position may instead Set, and gain the +1 damage bonus.
A unit cannot Fortify/Set and move on the same turn. Some units gain additional abilities when they Fortify/Set.

Base Terrain DR:
Light forest, ruins, swamp, dense smoke: 1
Sturdy wooden buildings, Light stone buildings, dense forests: 2
Small Stone Keep, Heavy Stone building: 3
Stone Castle: 4

Movement
Moving through different terrain has different costs, as shown below. If a unit cannot spend the required number of movement costs to enter a square, they instead pay what they can each turn until they have entered a square, but count as being in their old square until that time. The costs are below:

Light forests: +1
Heavy Forests/Jungle: +2
Ruins/Very Rocky: +2
Building: +2
Castle: +4
Down a Slope: -1 (minimum of 1)
Up a Slope: +1 to +3, depending on grade
Swamp: +3
Rocky Desert: +1

- Player Characters [also taken from the link above]

Player characters have a special role in the mass combat mini-game, as they have access to abilities far beyond that of lesser troops. They may attach themselves to any unit, effectively assuming direct control of it in battle.

Attacking a Unit in Combat
PCs fight units not by killing all the members of that unit, but by killing the Leader of that unit. The two units form a ring in wich the two commanders fight to the death (in a manner similar to that of the Iliad, great heroes fighting each other while the mob stand and watch). Killing or rendering that Leader ineffective (like teleporting him away, petrifying him, etc) will cause that unit to break. PCs must be in that unitís square to attack the Leader, and they automatically take damage from the enemy unit equal to its damage times 10. Units attached to a PC and who have use the Rush Tactic to enter the square with the PC take this damage instead of the PC.
PCs in a square next to an enemy unit take no damage. Ranged attacks that target a PCís square allow the PC a Reflex save for half equal to 10 + the ranged attackís damage. Spells or other effects that can target more than 50% of a PCs square, or specifically target the PC, effect him as normal.
The unit's Leader's level is at discretion of the GM.

Attacking a Unit with Spells or Effects
For every 10 normal HPs a PC can do to over 50% of a unitís square, assume that the unit takes 1 HP of damage. Spells that donít do damage (like fear effects or other effects) but can effect more that half the members of unit do the spellís level in damage to the unit with no save.

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And this should be for the moment. You might have noticed that the cost stat is missing. I'm aware of that as I still don't know how to calculate the units' cost in a balanced way in order to avoid the characters to create an army too soon but still without making them too costly in case they decide they want one. Also, I was thinking about something like a point-buy system for creating armies skirmish battles and things like that. I like to hear your thoughts about this.

Please let me know what you think! Thank you for reading!

Nobot
2015-11-03, 07:41 AM
Wow, so posted an entire commentary and it was lost. Here's a short recap:

First off, sounds great!

My tips:
- I would introduce a division between pikemen/other infantry. That way, you get "Other infantry>Pikemen>Cavalry>Skirmishers>Other infantry". Seems more realistic to me, as swordsmen should be weak to a cavalry charge in an open field.
- Consider adding special abilities to a regiment based on the PC that is leading it. Also, priest/mage?
- The rules for attacking might result in a lot of separate mini-battles as leaders face off against each other. As I player, I usually don't enjoy a lot of side-quests/mini-battles where only single PC's get to play. Maybe that's a personal thing, but you might want to consider.
- The basic rule for dealing with spells is okay-ish, but I think there is a lot of awesome potential there and would definitely consider drawing up some mass combat spells. You could consider making it so that the power for these spells can only be chanelled by multiple spellcasters, like 20, thus preventing abuse outside of mass combat setting and simultaneously adding value to a regiment of mages. I, for one, would really want to be able to conjure up a massive meteor shower that deals a little bit more than 1 damage to a regiment.
- As for the cost, I would advise just allocating points in accordance with gut feeling and then inviting some friends over to test for a day and tweak accordingly. You might even have fun :smallbiggrin:

Looks great so far! Good luck!

CinuzIta
2015-11-03, 08:24 AM
Wow, so posted an entire commentary and it was lost. Here's a short recap:

First off, sounds great!

My tips:
1- I would introduce a division between pikemen/other infantry. That way, you get "Other infantry>Pikemen>Cavalry>Skirmishers>Other infantry". Seems more realistic to me, as swordsmen should be weak to a cavalry charge in an open field.
2- Consider adding special abilities to a regiment based on the PC that is leading it. Also, priest/mage?
3- The rules for attacking might result in a lot of separate mini-battles as leaders face off against each other. As I player, I usually don't enjoy a lot of side-quests/mini-battles where only single PC's get to play. Maybe that's a personal thing, but you might want to consider.
4- The basic rule for dealing with spells is okay-ish, but I think there is a lot of awesome potential there and would definitely consider drawing up some mass combat spells. You could consider making it so that the power for these spells can only be chanelled by multiple spellcasters, like 20, thus preventing abuse outside of mass combat setting and simultaneously adding value to a regiment of mages. I, for one, would really want to be able to conjure up a massive meteor shower that deals a little bit more than 1 damage to a regiment.
5- As for the cost, I would advise just allocating points in accordance with gut feeling and then inviting some friends over to test for a day and tweak accordingly. You might even have fun :smallbiggrin:

Looks great so far! Good luck!

Thank you for the quick answer!

1) the normal infantry should be supposed to cover quite all the aspects of infantry. I get what you're saying but I would've liked to keep this simple. Maybe a special ability "swordsmen: +1 dmg vs infantry, +1 dmg from cavalry. Can choose another special ability" could do? That way the normal infantry would be some kind of spearmen, and from there a player can modify them with special abilities.

2) that would be very complicated as it would require me to compile at least a special ability for all the classes. while some might be simple (like barbarian's rage or bard's inspire courage), other could be fairly complicated (like every full spellcasters and more tricky classes). About "priest/mage", are you talking about new kind of troops?

3) I hadn't thought about the lenght it might take. Then maybe inserting special abilities based on the officer's class might be a solution (quickly dispatching entire troops with rage, instead of single duels). Even tough I like the duel solution better, I'm a romantic

4) This would be VERY complicated, as it would require me to cover all of the spells in the handbook...though I'm not willing to let it down if someone has a nice idea on how to introduce spells in a better way then they are now

5) that might be an idea, but I would've like to make a surprise to my players and introduce them to this minigame the same day they're supposed to fight with their troops...as an alternative, I could jsut give them a bunch of troops and then think with them to some costs for the troops when we have played our first game!

dpatino
2015-11-03, 03:52 PM
Have you seen the mass combat rules for Pathfinder? You could possibly get some inspiration from that.

CinuzIta
2015-11-04, 03:00 AM
Have you seen the mass combat rules for Pathfinder? You could possibly get some inspiration from that.

I didn't even knew there were pathfinder's mass combat rules! I'll take a look at them, thanks!

Nobot
2015-11-04, 05:02 AM
Thank you for the quick answer!

1) the normal infantry should be supposed to cover quite all the aspects of infantry. I get what you're saying but I would've liked to keep this simple. Maybe a special ability "swordsmen: +1 dmg vs infantry, +1 dmg from cavalry. Can choose another special ability" could do? That way the normal infantry would be some kind of spearmen, and from there a player can modify them with special abilities.

Sure, sounds like a good idea. I just think it would be best to have something in there that reflects that cavalry beats infantry if the circumstances are right.


2) that would be very complicated as it would require me to compile at least a special ability for all the classes. while some might be simple (like barbarian's rage or bard's inspire courage), other could be fairly complicated (like every full spellcasters and more tricky classes). About "priest/mage", are you talking about new kind of troops?

Or you could just limit such special abilities to those classes who would serve a particular purpose in a crowd. I would say the advantage of a Fighter or Barbarian would already be that they are going to be pretty good at the whole 'duke it out like Hector and Achilles/Patroclus'-type of thing. Or maybe you can leave it out of the special abilities of regiments area and just introduce PC feats that modify the performance of the regiments they're leading? Whatever works!

When I coherently said 'Also, priest/mage?' I was thinking of the advantage one might gain from attaching a single priest/mage to a regiment. Maybe they can heal, provide extra armor, fling a fireball at the enemy, or heighten fashion sense/average IQ. You could also consider them as a separate troop, but that would depend on the abundance of magic in your setting.


3) I hadn't thought about the lenght it might take. Then maybe inserting special abilities based on the officer's class might be a solution (quickly dispatching entire troops with rage, instead of single duels). Even tough I like the duel solution better, I'm a romantic

Ah, in that case you could just leave the dueling in and test it! You can always change it later.


4) This would be VERY complicated, as it would require me to cover all of the spells in the handbook...though I'm not willing to let it down if someone has a nice idea on how to introduce spells in a better way then they are now

I wouldn't say all spells need to be ported. I would just start out with a Giant Fireball, a Regiment Charm, a Giant Wall of Ice/Earth/Fire/Lightning, and a Regiment Teleport to see how it works out and if it's really that much work. I think it could be lots of fun and serve to add that little element of unpredictability to your game. And if these four already suck, just leave it out and you'll not have wasted too much time, I don't think.


5) that might be an idea, but I would've like to make a surprise to my players and introduce them to this minigame the same day they're supposed to fight with their troops...as an alternative, I could jsut give them a bunch of troops and then think with them to some costs for the troops when we have played our first game!
Ah, well. You can also test it on your own? Balancing (at least roughly) should be something you can do without too much support.

CinuzIta
2015-11-04, 06:04 AM
1) Sure, sounds like a good idea. I just think it would be best to have something in there that reflects that cavalry beats infantry if the circumstances are right.

2) Or you could just limit such special abilities to those classes who would serve a particular purpose in a crowd. I would say the advantage of a Fighter or Barbarian would already be that they are going to be pretty good at the whole 'duke it out like Hector and Achilles/Patroclus'-type of thing. Or maybe you can leave it out of the special abilities of regiments area and just introduce PC feats that modify the performance of the regiments they're leading? Whatever works!

3) When I coherently said 'Also, priest/mage?' I was thinking of the advantage one might gain from attaching a single priest/mage to a regiment. Maybe they can heal, provide extra armor, fling a fireball at the enemy, or heighten fashion sense/average IQ. You could also consider them as a separate troop, but that would depend on the abundance of magic in your setting.

4) Ah, in that case you could just leave the dueling in and test it! You can always change it later.

5) I wouldn't say all spells need to be ported. I would just start out with a Giant Fireball, a Regiment Charm, a Giant Wall of Ice/Earth/Fire/Lightning, and a Regiment Teleport to see how it works out and if it's really that much work. I think it could be lots of fun and serve to add that little element of unpredictability to your game. And if these four already suck, just leave it out and you'll not have wasted too much time, I don't think.

6) Ah, well. You can also test it on your own? Balancing (at least roughly) should be something you can do without too much support.

1) Mh maybe I could do something like this. I could split infantry in two types, swords and spears, and separate skirmishers from the other types:

Melee
Swords>Spears>Cavalry>Swords

Skirmishers

On ranged attacks: Skirmishers > Melee
On melee attacks: all Melee type > Skirmishers

It shouldn't be that bad, right?

2) Maybe I could limit the thing to some feats? Like Power Attack/Cleave/Spring Attack/Shot on the Run and such..?

3) That is something that should be covered by 5! :) Also, I'm not a huge fan of mages regiments, mainly because spellcasters are not that common in my setting but even because I don't want them to blast the battlefield with meteor swarms and those things!

4) I'll just test it and see what's better!

5) Yeah, I could definitely do with some limited spells!

6) I think I can do some limited testing on my own. Or I could ask other friends if they are willing to help with a beta test! :)

EDIT - also, thanks again dpatino. While looking at the pathfinder's rules I noticed 2 or 3 things I want to add! I'm currently working on Army Strategy and commanders!