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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    So, my party is defending a village from a horde of bandits, 200 to be exact. Anyone have any tricks to manage such a large force in DND? Id appreciate any help. Thanks.
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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by moonfly7 View Post
    So, my party is defending a village from a horde of bandits, 200 to be exact. Anyone have any tricks to manage such a large force in DND? Id appreciate any help. Thanks.
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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Fourth edition had an easy solution for mass combat: handle them as "minions". If they take any damage, they drop, and just have them hit a statistically relevant number of times (If the target's AC is 18, and the minion has a +3 to hit, one out of every four attacks hits). Damage is also averaged. Basically, don't roll dice for them, thereby speeding up your turn significantly.

    An alternative is to have a smaller party be assigned as defenders, since most of the enemy wouldn't be ready for combat immediately or are non-combatants (captured slaves, cooks, workers, families of the bandits, etc.).

    The final option is to just have the players sneak up on the bandit lord, and have the bandits scatter after he drops. Stage it as an ambush, and the players will feel accomplished.
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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Split the bandits up into smaller groups and just treat each group like a single creature with multiple attacks and HP that's the HP of all the bandits in the group; when the HP drops past one of the bandit's health totals - let's say the bandit group has 100 HP and each bandit has 10 HP - then the group's HP drops to 90 and it only gets, say, three attacks instead of four on the next turn. If the multiple attacks are too much dice-rolling, just make one attack roll that determines if any of the attacks hit or not.

    Are the players holding off the bandits purely by themselves, or are they fighting as part of a defensive force? If they're fighting as a team, just have them take on a smaller number of bandits personally and describe the rest of the bandits engaged with the other defenders so they get a sense of scale without having to personally kill 200 bandits.
    Last edited by SaigonTimeMD; 2019-08-22 at 03:14 PM.

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    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by ruy343 View Post
    just have them hit a statistically relevant number of times (If the target's AC is 18, and the minion has a +3 to hit, one out of every four attacks hits). Damage is also averaged. Basically, don't roll dice for them, thereby speeding up your turn significantly.
    If you're using a rolling script instead of actually using physical dice, it has basically the same effect on speed without sacrificing mechanical fidelity.

    Either way, it's accomplishing the same thing: eliminating the time you take rolling physical dice and adding up the numbers on them.

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Don't count HP per unit. Instead, have a generic pool of HP (if you want to be accurate, make the pool = # of monsters * HP per monster) and kill/remove units as players deal set amounts of damage. It's how I run my zombie hoards.

    Also: either go with automated dice rollers or mob rules in the DMG.

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    "Gargantuan swarm of medium humanoids"

    Also, there are mass combat rules in the DMG. I can't vouch for them personally though.

    Edit: dang, the ninja got ninja'd! Shouldn't have gone for that dumb joke.
    Last edited by Ninja_Prawn; 2019-08-22 at 03:19 PM.
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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    There are rules for Mobs in the DMG. Quick breakdown: find the number the creature would need to roll to hit a party member and they get an auto-hit if enough creatures are attacking that party member. Like if they need to roll a 14 to hit, it would take 3 or so creatures to land a hit without a die roll.
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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Hire 80 Bandit Captains and let them figure it out.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    "Gargantuan swarm of medium humanoids"
    That's how I would handle it. Make a few "swarms" and have the players fight against those. It's otherwise going to be too cumbersome to handle this, and your players will almost certainly lose to the bandit's superior action economy.

    Also, it's not all that unreasonable for a very large group fighting a much smaller group to not all get actions each round. Actually, that's realistic. Just consider trying to fight your way through a crowd of people to even get a chance to kick that helpless peasant on the ground in the middle...excuse me, don't know where that came from.
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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    2 maps, one for the combat grid the players are on, and one town map.

    The enemies attack in waves, with tokens on the town map representing units. This gives you a way to have a 'smaller' number of enemy units on the battlemap, while having the bulk forces engaged in the battle, either in attempting to capture objectives 'off screen', or on their way to act as reinforcements.
    I'll be doing this tactic for a giant attack on a city in SKT for my players soon. I've only made 3 tokens for each giant type, so I'll fluff it as the giants are spread out around town, with an A4 page of said town using generic 1/4 tokens to represent where the giants can be seen off in the distance, while the main battlemap will only have 2-3 giants n screen at any one time.

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Is it just the party defending? Or is there a City Guard scattered about to help? If it's just the party, the majority of the bandits will be elsewhere, looting and such, and the town will be almost completely destroyed by the end of the encounter, as even a large party can only handle a handful of bandits at a time, much less than 200. Same goes for if there is a City Guard garrison, but you can assume they're fighting elsewhere for the most part. If you're looking for more tactical approaches, does the city have a wall around it? Perhaps with multiple gates? Play it as a city seige, with the party needing to split to defend multiple points, shore up defenses in various places, etc. LOTR's Battle for Minas Tirith is a good cinematic example of this
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    Chimera

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Well, the battles over. Party trained up 15 people in town to level 1 to help them: 7 fighters (one polymorphed into a giant ape), and 8 wizards.

    my party was level 7, all were different classes, they had:
    1 life cleric, who spent the week they had to prep setting up glyphs of warding with bestow curse, and using stone shape to build a wall around the village.
    1 sorcerer, who did nothing during the week.
    1 wizard,who put down glyphs of warding around the towns walls as well, some were explosive, most were clouds of daggers.
    1 monk, he also did nothing.

    through a series of bonuses specific to my homebrew campaign world, and magical items, which I've explained in detail to many times, so don't ask me how, the monk has an unarmored AC of 26.

    The battle plan was to cast shield of faith, and dragons breath on him, have him drink the groups potion of hill giant strength, and then go out to fight the 200 invaders while the others supported him from behind the wall. all with the wizard hidden from view on his back(whose a halfling that suffered a curse/blessing that shrunk him to 1 foot 2,and 15 pounds. part of the blessing is that if hes on someones back, they make dex saves for him).

    the army attacking them had: 100 regular bandits from monster manual, 50 bandit captains from the monster manual, and 50 level 9 wizards with the same spells and HP.

    It was an awe inspiring battle.

    to keep it manageable, the monk purposely triggered a glyph of warding with his movement to deal damage, dodged all the damage while killing lots of normal bandits. then he picked up the enemies catapult, and his AC was so high only nat 20's hit him from the light crossbows of 100 bandits. he had [patient defense so only 2 hit, he negated 1 with the arrow catch ability.Then he dodged 50 fireballs(the Dc was only 15, he had advantage.)

    A bunch of enemy glyphs were triggered, the catapult was turned to ash on his back, and the wizard on his back hits the enemy with a fireball. more stuff happens, the polymorphed ape throws a rock, the monk throws a rock, and the others lay down heavy damage as well. at this point, several hours into the fight, the wizards still have maybe 45 guys, and the other two groups have maybe a combined total of 35-40.
    Finally, the wizards start casting hold person(he had that brooch that made him immune to magic missile, smart man, our monk) after 5 attempts, he fails his save, and 41 4th level fireballs hit him and the halfling. the monk doesn't die outright. the halfling does.


    some more back and forth, the cleric(whose special ability is to control water to some extent) uses a snaking tendril of water to throw the body of the halfling, and the unconscious monk over the walls into town. the monk dies on impact.

    the battles almost over, and the cleric gets two revivifies in before a minute passes. bringing back the monk and the wizard.

    the group causes 25 wizards and 1 bandit captain to escape. the rest are asleep on the battlefield via the level 1 wizards, or dead.

    total casualties on the enemy side: 100 bandits, 25 wizards, 49 bandit captains.

    Casualties on player side: two temporarily dead colleagues.

    no villagers died. my group is wanted for crimes they didn't commit, this village is now their one safe haven, they decided to leave the glyphs up for now.

    i leveled them up to 9 for this one.

    some notes: they put up over 100 and 80 glyphs of warding, and a wall in preparation, they were fighting from a well fortified, well prepared position, and they convinced the bandits only the monk was there, otherwise, the town looked deserted. In an open fight, I believe everyone would have died with the monk and wizard, but they new that two, which is why the others hung back, they played it smart, used superior tactics, and I couldn't be prouder of my bois.
    (note, this was a very small village, not that big. but the party pissed off the bandits by killing a raiding party.)
    Last edited by moonfly7; 2019-08-24 at 09:24 AM.
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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by moonfly7 View Post
    Well, the battles over. Party trained up 15 people in town to level 1 to help them: 7 fighters (one polymorphed into a giant ape), and 8 wizards.

    [snip]
    That sounds like a really epic battle! I've gotta ask though: how much time did they have, given they were able to teach people all that's required to be a 1st-level fighter/wizard? Especially if the party wizard was mostly busy preparing magical traps, you'd figure they'd not have much time for teaching even the simplest of cantrips.

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by SaigonTimeMD View Post
    Split the bandits up into smaller groups and just treat each group like a single creature with multiple attacks and HP that's the HP of all the bandits in the group; when the HP drops past one of the bandit's health totals - let's say the bandit group has 100 HP and each bandit has 10 HP - then the group's HP drops to 90 and it only gets, say, three attacks instead of four on the next turn. If the multiple attacks are too much dice-rolling, just make one attack roll that determines if any of the attacks hit or not.

    Are the players holding off the bandits purely by themselves, or are they fighting as part of a defensive force? If they're fighting as a team, just have them take on a smaller number of bandits personally and describe the rest of the bandits engaged with the other defenders so they get a sense of scale without having to personally kill 200 bandits.
    This. Have a general idea of how many bandits are where in the town and then just develop encounters based off that. I highly doubt that 200 bandits are just going to mass up and flood the town; some will be on horseback tossing torches on the town roofs, some will be looting and pillaging, some will be rounding up slaves for sale...

    Don't just think of them as a unit of 200. Think of them in teams of 5-10 and develop encounters until you reach your 200 number.
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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    All two hundred wont be fighting the PCs at once. Have the ones not fighting the PCs simply be narrative based on how well the PCs are doing. Battles are very easy to run when you simplify things.

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by airless_wing View Post
    Don't count HP per unit. Instead, have a generic pool of HP (if you want to be accurate, make the pool = # of monsters * HP per monster) and kill/remove units as players deal set amounts of damage. It's how I run my zombie hoards.

    Also: either go with automated dice rollers or mob rules in the DMG.
    I was going to say swarms. Use the abilities in the monster manual associated with swarms...

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Mob rolls mob rules mob roles mob.

    Mob rules really help with the time problem and group ini also help.

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    Chimera

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by SLOTHRPG95 View Post
    That sounds like a really epic battle! I've gotta ask though: how much time did they have, given they were able to teach people all that's required to be a 1st-level fighter/wizard? Especially if the party wizard was mostly busy preparing magical traps, you'd figure they'd not have much time for teaching even the simplest of cantrips.
    So, in my world everyone is born with magic gifts. Magic is pretty much second nature to these people. So classes in wizard or sorcerer isn't that hard, as the 8 they trained were probably close to it anyways. Mistly they just needed to study the wizards spell book and he could easily give instruction during his long rests.
    I did give plenty of leeway for training time. But 1 level in fighter is so generic I believed it was feasible(my ruling as DM, not in reality) and with magic like it is, I found the defense fine. Mostly because in the end the monk and wizard did the most damage.

    Monk did most of that honestly.
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by moonfly7 View Post
    Well, the battles over. Party trained up 15 people in town to level 1 to help them: 7 fighters (one polymorphed into a giant ape), and 8 wizards.

    my party was level 7, all were different classes, they had:
    1 life cleric, who spent the week they had to prep setting up glyphs of warding with bestow curse, and using stone shape to build a wall around the village.
    1 sorcerer, who did nothing during the week.
    1 wizard,who put down glyphs of warding around the towns walls as well, some were explosive, most were clouds of daggers.
    1 monk, he also did nothing.

    through a series of bonuses specific to my homebrew campaign world, and magical items, which I've explained in detail to many times, so don't ask me how, the monk has an unarmored AC of 26.

    The battle plan was to cast shield of faith, and dragons breath on him, have him drink the groups potion of hill giant strength, and then go out to fight the 200 invaders while the others supported him from behind the wall. all with the wizard hidden from view on his back(whose a halfling that suffered a curse/blessing that shrunk him to 1 foot 2,and 15 pounds. part of the blessing is that if hes on someones back, they make dex saves for him).

    the army attacking them had: 100 regular bandits from monster manual, 50 bandit captains from the monster manual, and 50 level 9 wizards with the same spells and HP.

    It was an awe inspiring battle.

    to keep it manageable, the monk purposely triggered a glyph of warding with his movement to deal damage, dodged all the damage while killing lots of normal bandits. then he picked up the enemies catapult, and his AC was so high only nat 20's hit him from the light crossbows of 100 bandits. he had [patient defense so only 2 hit, he negated 1 with the arrow catch ability.Then he dodged 50 fireballs(the Dc was only 15, he had advantage.)

    A bunch of enemy glyphs were triggered, the catapult was turned to ash on his back, and the wizard on his back hits the enemy with a fireball. more stuff happens, the polymorphed ape throws a rock, the monk throws a rock, and the others lay down heavy damage as well. at this point, several hours into the fight, the wizards still have maybe 45 guys, and the other two groups have maybe a combined total of 35-40.
    Finally, the wizards start casting hold person(he had that brooch that made him immune to magic missile, smart man, our monk) after 5 attempts, he fails his save, and 41 4th level fireballs hit him and the halfling. the monk doesn't die outright. the halfling does.


    some more back and forth, the cleric(whose special ability is to control water to some extent) uses a snaking tendril of water to throw the body of the halfling, and the unconscious monk over the walls into town. the monk dies on impact.

    the battles almost over, and the cleric gets two revivifies in before a minute passes. bringing back the monk and the wizard.

    the group causes 25 wizards and 1 bandit captain to escape. the rest are asleep on the battlefield via the level 1 wizards, or dead.

    total casualties on the enemy side: 100 bandits, 25 wizards, 49 bandit captains.

    Casualties on player side: two temporarily dead colleagues.

    no villagers died. my group is wanted for crimes they didn't commit, this village is now their one safe haven, they decided to leave the glyphs up for now.

    i leveled them up to 9 for this one.

    some notes: they put up over 100 and 80 glyphs of warding, and a wall in preparation, they were fighting from a well fortified, well prepared position, and they convinced the bandits only the monk was there, otherwise, the town looked deserted. In an open fight, I believe everyone would have died with the monk and wizard, but they new that two, which is why the others hung back, they played it smart, used superior tactics, and I couldn't be prouder of my bois.
    (note, this was a very small village, not that big. but the party pissed off the bandits by killing a raiding party.)
    Sounds like a crazy event that your players won't forget anytime soon!

    Just have to ask, though, how does a level 7 monk that gets hit with 41 fireballs survive that? Seems like it is good news that he takes 1/2 damage from the auto-fail saving throws even while paralyzed but that still leaves him taking an average of 502 damage from 41 fireballs upcast to 4th level.

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Monks get evasion at level 7, so no damage on a pass.

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    Monks get evasion at level 7, so no damage on a pass.
    You donít save when paralyzed as by hold person. All of those are automatic fails. You still count as having attempted the save for 1/2 damage by RAW but no save is actually rolled since they are automatic failures.

    Paralyzed

    The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity Saving Throws.
    Last edited by AHF; 2019-08-26 at 11:02 PM.

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by moonfly7 View Post
    So, in my world everyone is born with magic gifts. Magic is pretty much second nature to these people. So classes in wizard or sorcerer isn't that hard, as the 8 they trained were probably close to it anyways. Mistly they just needed to study the wizards spell book and he could easily give instruction during his long rests.
    I did give plenty of leeway for training time. But 1 level in fighter is so generic I believed it was feasible(my ruling as DM, not in reality) and with magic like it is, I found the defense fine. Mostly because in the end the monk and wizard did the most damage.

    Monk did most of that honestly.
    Cool! So much like Halruaa in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, or some elvish lands in others, basically everyone is one step away from being a mage. That would indeed make it easier to train up commoners into full-blown magic-users.

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by AHF View Post
    You donít save when paralyzed as by hold person. All of those are automatic fails. You still count as having attempted the save for 1/2 damage by RAW but no save is actually rolled since they are automatic failures.

    Paralyzed

    The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity Saving Throws.
    Right so he would have been fine on the first lot of fireballs but after getting hit by Hold Person taken 41x 4th level fireballs halved. So you're right, that would have been a couple hundred damage even with fire resistance.

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    Right so he would have been fine on the first lot of fireballs but after getting hit by Hold Person taken 41x 4th level fireballs halved. So you're right, that would have been a couple hundred damage even with fire resistance.
    Quote Originally Posted by AHF View Post
    You donít save when paralyzed as by hold person. All of those are automatic fails. You still count as having attempted the save for 1/2 damage by RAW but no save is actually rolled since they are automatic failures.

    Paralyzed

    The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity Saving Throws.
    Quote Originally Posted by AHF View Post
    Sounds like a crazy event that your players won't forget anytime soon!

    Just have to ask, though, how does a level 7 monk that gets hit with 41 fireballs survive that? Seems like it is good news that he takes 1/2 damage from the auto-fail saving throws even while paralyzed but that still leaves him taking an average of 502 damage from 41 fireballs upcast to 4th level.
    I used an auto roller. It just rolled really low damage, around 175. It knocked him unconscious. It was 5 points shy of killing him out right.
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by moonfly7 View Post
    I used an auto roller. It just rolled really low damage, around 175. It knocked him unconscious. It was 5 points shy of killing him out right.
    What are his max hit points? That seems like a lot of damage for someone who has been attacked already repeatedly before then and has 8+6*(d8) +7*(CON) HP.

    The player must have been super excited before they dumped him over the wall and killed him!

    (Also sounds like the auto roller isnít true rng to get that far from the middle of the curve on 41 rolls)

    The more I think about it the more miffed that Monk should be super miffed that he died getting dumped over the wall. Between only getting critted twice on 100 rolls, making 50 dex saves even with advantage and getting that low of a roll on 369 d6 fire damage (average 646 damage on 1/2 damage and 323 damage with both evasion and resistance), the odds of him still being alive had to be less than 0.01%. To then die the way he did is pretty rough!
    Last edited by AHF; 2019-08-27 at 08:58 AM.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Zombie

    Join Date
    Jun 2015

    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    I dont know if anyone has said this, but you only have to deal with the bandits that are facing the PCs at any given moment. You can just decide what is happening the rest of the battlefield, perhaps based on how the players are doing.
    I am the flush of excitement. The blush on the cheek. I am the Rouge!

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Chimera

    Join Date
    Apr 2019

    Default Re: DM help: how to manage 200 bandits at once

    Quote Originally Posted by AHF View Post
    What are his max hit points? That seems like a lot of damage for someone who has been attacked already repeatedly before then and has 8+6*(d8) +7*(CON) HP.

    The player must have been super excited before they dumped him over the wall and killed him!

    (Also sounds like the auto roller isnít true rng to get that far from the middle of the curve on 41 rolls)

    The more I think about it the more miffed that Monk should be super miffed that he died getting dumped over the wall. Between only getting critted twice on 100 rolls, making 50 dex saves even with advantage and getting that low of a roll on 369 d6 fire damage (average 646 damage on 1/2 damage and 323 damage with both evasion and resistance), the odds of him still being alive had to be less than 0.01%. To then die the way he did is pretty rough!
    He told the cleric to do it. He died because I use negative hp
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