Wellllll... Do you guys know that fancy wargame "War Machine"? Well I learned about it recently and thought it looked really cool and would love to get into wargames like that. I've played a tiny bit of a battle mech game and some Heroscape, but that's it. I got myself some quickstart rules and did some research. Then I decided no one I know would spend 50 dollars just to try a new game with me. That, and I can't paint worth a darn. So instead, I decided I'd try to come up with some simple rules for a wargame of my own. And what better than D&D? I've done the first smidge of creating mass combat rules for D&D 3.5. I think the Miniatures Handbook might have something for this, but that's one of the few books I don't have and right now I don't really care if it's already been done. Making my own now. Right now I only have the most basic stuff done, and if I continue with this it'll be a deal more inclusive. Continuation based on enthusiasm.
What is Mass Combat?
Mass Combat is a fight in which a large number of individuals are pitted against one another. By standard rules, it is not feasible to play out the several thousand attack actions soldiers make each round, nor is it feasible to keep track of their hit points and other statistics. This system is a way to simplify this process to a reasonable level, such that large-scale conflicts can be modeled.
These rules should allow Dungeon Masters to model sieges, wars, and the like to a satisfactory degree instead of fluffing it all. Additionally, these rules may allow a sub-game of Dungeons and Dragons - a Wargame version.
Mass Combat focuses around three types of troops - Units, Supplementary Units, and Heroes.
Standard Unit: A group of characters or creatures with HD or level ranging from 1 to 5. A unit can be anywhere from 2 to 50 individuals. Units are comprised of a single class or monster.
Supplementary Units: A group of support-type characters or creatures which join with a standard unit. Generally a Supplementary Unit comprises 1/10th of the standard unit (IE Unit of 50 Warriors, 5 Bards).
Hero: Any single character or creature with an HD or level in excess of 5.
Standard Unit Combat (The Basics)
Combat is measured in minutes instead of rounds, and uses 50ft squares instead of 5ft ones.
A Standard Unit is made by starting with a representative character. Create a character sheet for the "Average" soldier in that unit. Point buy for stats is highly recommended. However, skills are either trained or not (Trained skills=skill points/level) and HP is always average.
A Standard Unit has six primary statistics: Skill, Power, Defense, Health, Speed and Initiative. In ALL CASES, drop fractions after calculations.
is a unit's ability to land hits. This is simply the Attack Bonus of the representative soldier plus eight. A unit may have multiple Skill values if using multiple weapon types (A unit armed with both bows and swords, for example).
is the damage output by a unit, assuming they hit. This is the average damage values of the unit's weapons, plus modifiers, multiplied by the population in the unit. (Damage)*(Population). Each unit has five Power values, based on it's health - Max Power, as calculated above, 4/5, 3/5, 2/5 and 1/5 power which are simply the max multiplied by the given fraction.
is simply the AC of the representative character.
is the heartiness of the unit. This is the average health of the representative character (Including fractions) multiplied by the population of the unit. Just as the four levels of Power are written out, so are those for Health. When Health drops to the 3/5 level, the unit begins using the 3/5 Power value.
is the base land speed of the representative character, plus modifiers. Units move ten times this amount in a Mass Combat Round.
is the unit's Iniative score. The Unit with the higher Initiative deals damage first in a conflict, which can impact the damage output of the opposing force.
The simplest combat is a melee confrontation.
1. Both engaged forces role 1d4+Skill versus the other unit's Defense.
2. Each force takes an amount of damage equal to the attacking force's Power. This amount is halved if the attacker did not overcome the defender's Defense. If the attacker failed by 6 or more, no damage is dealt.
A melee unit can only attack one unit per round, so if engaged by two hostile units, they must choose which to attack.
In the case of ranged combat, the attacking force takes a penalty to Skill equal to the range penalty.
Troop Abilities and Special Combat Situations
Troops will frequently have PC levels or feats that will alter the way they work in Mass Combat.
Two Weapon Fighting: Dual Wielding units take the appropriate penalty to Skill and add the second weapon's average damage when calculating Power.
Animal Companions: Mixed with the origin unit. Add the Health and Powers of the two together.
Rage: The unit gets a proportional boost to Health, Skill and Power for a single round, and gets a penalty to Skill, Power and Defense afterwards.
Smite: Usable once per battle, awarding a bonus to Skill equal to the unit level and a proportional boost to Power based on Cha modifier.
Sneak Attack: Bonus damage if from stealth or targets flat-footed. Damage equals X*Pop, where X is d6s of SA damage.
Evasion: Unit to take half damage from magic attacks and attacks from siege weapons.
Lay on Hands: Allows the unit to heal the appropriate amount (Cha*Level*Pop*Fraction) during the fight.
Turn Undead: Turning undead or other creatures works with a flat HD of undead turned equal to (7+Clr Level+Cha)*Class Pop. Turned unit flees for one round.
Cleave: If the unit's level is triple that of the defending unit, it deals double damage.
Great Cleave: If the unit's level is five times that of the defending unit, it deals triple damage.
Power Attack: The unit may choose to take a penalty to Skill equal to its BAB (Or 5, whichever is lower) and in return gain a bonus to un-multiplied Power equal to the same amount.
Combat Expertise: The unit may choose to take a penalty to Skill equal to its BAB (Or 5, whichever is lower) and in return gain a bonus to Defense equal to the same amount.
Combat Reflexes: The unit gains +2 to skill when making attacks against retreating units (See Retreating below).
Formation Feats: If an entire unit has a Formation Feat (Such as Phalanx Fighting or Shield Wall), they gain the benefits of it as if they were in the required formation. Cannot gain the benefits of more than one such feat at a time.
DR: Ignore first DR*Attacking Population mundane damage from any given attack. This amount is halved if the attack is a miss.
SR: Attacking unit must make a Magic Skill Check (CL+8+1d4) v SR. Half damage if check fails.
Fast Healing: At the end of each round, the unit heals an amount of Health equal to healing factor*10*Population, to a max of the current health level.
Regeneration: If a unit of soldiers with Regeneration is victorious in a melee conflict or damaged by non-magic ranged attacks, they heal at a rate of pop*healing factor*10, to max health. Within melee combat this only works up to the max of their current health level.
Large Creature Units: 12 Large Creatures constitute a Unit, as do 5 Huge, and 3 Gargantuan. Small sized creatures are still 50 to a unit, but four such units can fit within a single space.
Mounted Units: Land speed is that of their mounts. Warhorses give a +1 to Skill, Heavy Warhorses also bestow an additional 3 Health per horse. Non-warhorses give their riders a -2 to Skill if said riders attempt to fight while still mounted, though usually soldiers in such a situation would quickly dismount.
Spells are handled in the "Magic Actions" section, a bit later.
Classes from homebrew or splatbooks would need similar translations of their key features. I may later add support for things like Martial Adepts.
Special Combat Situations
High Ground: +1 to Skill.
Flanking: Two allied Units assaulting the same enemy from opposite sides gain +1 to Skill and Defense. If one or both such units can deal SA damage, they do so.
Total Cover: Units under Total Cover cannot be targeted by Ranged attacks or standard Magic attacks. Evocation Actions can however affect them.
Retreating: A unit withdrawing from melee combat allows the unit from which it is fleeing to make an Attack of Opportunity against it, done in the usual way.
As mentioned, a Supplementary Unit is a small fraction of a Unit that provides support capabilities. The Supplement must be of a level equal to or greater than its host unit and must be of a population equal to at least 10% of the host unit. Supplementary Units also contribute to Health (Just add their total health to the Health of the unit) and Power (Multiply average damage by pop of Supplement, then by two, and add that to the Power of the Unit).
Supplementary Units provide some manner of passive bonus to their host unit, based on their class.
Cleric: Unit has +2 to Defense and ignores the first 5*Level of incoming damage. Can Turn.
Sorcerer/Wizard: Unit has +1 to Skill, +5 to Power after calculations.
Bard: Unit has +1 to Skill and +1 to Power before multiplying by Population.
Crusader: +1 to Skill and +1 to Defense.
Other classes used as Supplements would need their own listed benefits, such as these.
Units with casting capabilities are simplified using a "Magic Actions" system, in which spells are generalized by type: Attack, Buff, Heal, Summon, Slow, Halt, and Specific Buff. Different classes have access to different actions.
Wizard/Sorcerer: Attack, Buff, Slow, Summon, Detect magic
Cleric: Heal, Buff, Summon, Detect Magic
Druid: Heal, Summon, Slow, Halt, Detect Magic
Paladin: Heal, Buff
Ranger: Heal, Buff, Summon
Bard: Buff, Heal (Divide CL by 2, rounded up for Heal), Slow, Halt, Detect Magic
Prepared Classes: Total of 1+Level Actions, prepared ahead of time from any action type available to the class. A 1st level Wizard could prepare a single Attack and a single Summon action, for example. Prepared Casters also gain access to the Specific Buff action. Prepared Casters that can spontaneously substitute prepared spells for a certain type of spell maintain that capacity - For example, a Cleric could replace any other prepared Actions with Heal, and a Druid could replace any with Summon.
Spontaneous: Total of 2+Level Actions, which can be used without preparation from two chosen action types from the class. A Sorcerer could choose Attack and Buff and freely use their Actions for either.
Paladin-Type: One Action at 4th level. Caster level is 2. If prepared, may select any available actions at start of day. If spontaneous, pick any two and may freely spend Actions for either.
Bard-Type: Total of level/2 actions, rounded up. If prepared, may select any available actions at start of day. If spontaneous, pick any two and may freely spend Actions for either.
Non-heroes with casting capabilities must have their highest ability score be, or be tied with, the ability score which determines their ability to cast spells. This does not apply to Paladin-type casters.
Attack: Deals Level*3.5*Pop damage to a target unit within 50ft, 100ft, or 200ft based on caster level. 1st-2nd level is 50ft, 3rd-4th is 100ft, 5th level is 200ft.
Buff: Target unit of same size or smaller gets a +1, +2 or +3 to Skill or Defense for Caster Level minutes. The bonus is based on caster level, just as for Attack.
Heal: Target unit regains caster level*4.5*Pop/5 Health, up to the Health Level the unit is currently in. For example, a unit that is a bit below 3/5 their max Health being healed could not surpass the 3/5 mark. Heal Actions may instead by used in melee combat to harm Undead.
Slow: Movement through target space within 100ft is doubled for Level minutes.
Halt: Target unit within 100ft is immobilized for one minute.
Summon: Creates a Summon Unit in an adjacent space. Defense equals 10+Summoner Level, Skill equals Summoner Level+8, Speed is 30ft, Health is 6*Summoner Level*Pop, Power is (4+Summoner Level)*Pop/5. Besides this "Generic Summon", there are three other types.
-Fast Summons gain +10ft move speed, but Health multiplier is 4 instead of 6.
-Tough Summons have a 20ft move, but multiplier is 7 instead of 6.
-Flying Summons have a 30ft air move, but multiplier is 4.
Specific Buff: Target unit of equal or lesser size is subjected to one appropriate buff for one minute, or Level minutes, based on the spell. Good choices are things like Levitation, Expeditious Retreat, Resist Energy and so on. Said buff must be of a level to which the casting unit has access and cannot be above second level.
Detect Magic: This action is free to use, does not require preparing nor the allocation of one of a spontaneous caster's action types. When used, detects the presence of magic in an adjacent 50X50 area, as if Detect Magic
3rd Level Actions
5th level prepared casters have an additional, "3rd Level" Magic Action to make use of. This action may be used for any of the following purposes: Specific Buff, Dispel, Utility, or Evocation. Spontaneous casters must choose two to freely pick between, Prepared casters may re-select their third-level action each morning.
Specific Buff: This Action works just as the normal version, save that the chosen spell may be of 3rd level.
Dispel: If the casting unit has the ability to cast Dispel Magic, they may prepare this Action as their third-level action. When cast on an area within 150ft, the casting unit rolls CL+8+1d4 opposed by a similar roll made by the caster(s) of the magic in the designated space. If the Dispelling unit wins the roll, the magic within is successfully dispelled.
Utility: The Unit casts a single 3rd level spell in unison, providing some sort of utility effect not covered by any other action. Examples are: Daylight, Glyph of Warding, Invisibility Purge, Stone Shape, Animate Dead and similar.
Evocation: If the Unit has access to the Magic Attack action, they may select this as their third-level action. Target unit within 500ft takes 18*Defending Population damage. The attacking unit must have a population of at least 10. Fireballs and Lightning Bolts galore.
Martial Adept Units
Martial Adept Units gain the benefits of a single Stance to which they have access, as well as a bonus to Skill, Defense, or un-mulitplied Power based on Unit Level. The bonus is +1 for 1st and 2nd level units, +2 for 3rd and 4th, and +3 for 5th level.
Troop Splitting and Merging
Frequently in combat a commander will want to have Units reinforce one another, combine weakened Units, or have units split up. I give you the support for these actions.
One unit can "move" into another unit of the same type, transferring Health from it to the target. Health cannot exceed normal maximum in this way. Either the transferring Unit must transfer all of its Health, or must transfer an amount such that the recipient unit is now at a fraction benchmark (1/5, 2/5, 3/5, 4/5 or 1X max). This is to prevent Heal hijinks.
Similarly, a fraction (1/5, 2/5, 3/5, 4/5) of the unit can move away from the rest.
If a group of soldiers that have expended a capability (Such as Rage, or a Magic Action) joins with a group that has not, the joined Unit cannot use it. Effectively, treat recombined units as having the lower of the two constituent unit's remaining capabilities. Two Prepared Caster Units with different originally prepared spells cannot merge.
General order of events.
1. Each commander makes a Knowledge (Tactics) check for initiative.
2. Winning force moves troops, makes Ranged Attacks and takes Spell Actions.
3. Second force does the above, then third if there is one and so on.
4. Opposed forces sharing a space enter in melee combat.
5. First force moves and takes ranged actions once again, starting the cycle anew.
A Hero is any character of level 6 or greater. PCs participating in a Mass Combat will be treated as Heroes. Heroes have Skills much as Units do - Attack Bonus+8. They also have a Power - Average damage output by mundane attacks.
Heroes operate in two modes: Solo and Aiding. Solo Heroes are running off on their own, possibly slaying entire Units if high enough level. Aiding Heroes are traveling with a host Unit, helping out where they can. These two modes are easily switched between, simply by having a Hero move into or out of an allied Unit's space. Heroes also have a Power stat, which is their average damage output from an attack, plus twice their extra attacks due to high BAB.
Melee Combat: Hero rolls Skill+1d4, just as units do. They deal Power damage to target, halved if Skill roll does not excede Defense. Combating unit makes a normal Skill+1d4 roll, comparing it to the Hero's AC. The Hero takes Power damage, possibly halved.
Ranged Attacks: Pretty straightforward. Hero makes Skill+1d4 minus range penalties against Defense of unit, dealing damage as normal. If the target
of a ranged attack, the Unit makes checks and deals damage per usual.
Surrounding: When a Solo Hero engages in Melee (A round ends with a Hero in space with an opposed Unit ), it becomes difficult to flee, especially if said unit is intent on detaining the Hero. The Hero must make a Skill check against a DC equal to Fractioned Population/2 (If Unit Health is at 3/5, use 3/5 pop, etc.). This check may be substituted with a Tumble check, made with Tumble Bonus+8+1d4.
Soloing Together: Two or more Heroes may travel together and occupy the same space. During melee combat, they each deal and take damage independently.
An Aiding Hero makes Attacks exactly as if they were Solo. When their unit is attacked, the Hero takes an amount of damage equal to 1/5 the attacking Unit's power. This is much safer, but at the same time more restraining as the Hero must move with the host Unit.
Heroes and Magic
Heroes can be the target of Magic Actions just as a Unit can be, taking the usual effects.
Hero Casters use Magic Actions to represent all of their 0 through 3rd level spells (Treated as 6th level caster for determining number of these). They gain an additional Magic Action for every 4 levels past 6th. Spells of a 4th level and up are dealt with on a case-by case basis, using the individual spells known or prepared by the caster.
Hero Casters that are not Bard or Paladin type also gain access to Third Level Actions. Prepared Casters have a number equal to 1 plus 1 per level above 5th, maximum 4. Spontaneous Casters have a number equal to 1 plus 1 per level above 6th, maximum 6. Per usual, Spontaneous casters must choose two actions and may freely select which to spend each action on, whereas Prepared Casters prepare each action individually at the start of the day.
All third level spell actions act as normal, except Evocation, which deals 35*CL, to a max of 2/5 target unit's health. Heroes caught in the blast take 3.5*CL damage.
Heroes and the Sublime Way
Hero Martial Adepts work much as Martial Adept Units. The bonus continues to escalate, being equal to level divided by two rounded up, and still gain the benefit of a single Stance. Heroes may split their bonus among the three stats to which it can be added. Heroes may change their stance whenever it is their turn to act, and may spend 5 minutes to reassign their bonus. Specific maneuvers may also be called upon for mobility and utility purposes.
Massive weapons of war, Siege Engines allow the destruction of Fortifications.
| Name || Damage/min || Range || Range Increment || Crew || Size || Cost/Ammo cost per minute|
|Light Ballista || 40 || 0-1000 || 100 || 2 || Medium || 500/4|
|Heavy Ballista || 45 || 0-1200 || 120 || 4 || Huge || 1000/2|
|Light Catapult || 40 || 100-750 || 150 || 2 || Large || 550/4|
|Heavy Catapult || 45 || 100-1000 || 200 || 4 || Huge || 800/2|
|Light Trebuchet || 60 || 150-1250 || 250 || 6 || Gargantuan || 1500/6|
|Heavy Trebuchet || 70 || 150-1500 || 300 || 8 || Colossal || 3000/6|
Ballista cannot target Units, only singular creatures or objects of at least Huge size.
It takes one Mass Combat round to aim a Siege Engine, after which point they may attack once per round, dealing the designated damage to Units or structures in that space. If targeting a specific creature, as Ballista usually do, an attack roll is made versus the AC of that creature. Said roll is 8+The level of the characters manning the Siege Engine. A miss is a miss, not half damage.
Siege Tower: Holds 25 medium sized characters, so two comprise a maximum-sized unit. This 30ft tall tower on wheels can move at a rate of 10ft/round (100ft/Mass Combat round) and allows units inside to climb out over an adjacent wall no higher than said 30ft. Units inside have Total Cover. Enemy melee units attacking Siege Towers gain a +2 to Skill and Initiative against the housed soldiers. Any sort of such melee attack renders the towers immobile. Siege Towers cost 2,000gp a piece.
Battering Ram: 4 medium-sized soldiers can carry a battering ram, and as many as 10 can wield one at once. Battering Rams do an amount of damage to a structure equal to 14 plus the total Strength Modifiers of all soldiers wielding said ram. Cost 1,000gp per.
Glyphs of Warding and Blast Disks can both create fields of explosive fiery death. Watch out for them.
Glyph-Field: 10 needed to make a Minefield. Deal 4.5*CL*Enemy Pop damage.
Blast Disk-Field: 8 needed to make a Minefield. Deal 3.5*CL*Enemy Pop damage.
Units may immediately retreat from a Minefield as soon as they realize it is such, suffering only 1/5 the damage they otherwise would. If a Blast Disk field was set on a timer, however, this is not an option.
Every army needs supplies.
Arrows: Two Ranged Attacks worth of arrows weighs 3lbs. Protracted conflicts may require archers to get more from reservers, or have more brought out to them.
Cure Light Wounds Potions: A unit armed with these may expend them outside of battle to heal 4 Health per potion used, up to a max of the current fraction max.
Magic Weapons and Armor: +X armor and weapons are pretty self-explanatory. Weapons with properties like Flaming contribute to Power.
Eternal Wands: These wondrous creations provide a Casting Unit with one additional Magic Action of a type and level determined by the wand. These refresh each day.
Scrolls: Just as Eternal Wands, these can be used for additional Magic Actions. One-time-use, though.
Buff Potions: Units armed with potions that confer a specific buff spell (Potions of Heroism, for example) can imbibe them to gain their effects.
Soldiers: Command Points can be bought for 3sp a day. Most conscript soldiers have at least year-contracts. That'd be 110gp a Command Point for a year.
Food: Your basic gruel for one soldier costs 1sp a day, or 36.5 gp a year.
Blast Disks: 8 used to make a Blast Disk Minefield
Due to common sense, commanders do not give items of a certain value to green recruits. No character may be equipped with an item worth more than 100gp per Command Point of the character, nor may they possess a consumable item (Potion, scroll, etc.) worth more than 10gp per Character point.
This set of optional rules are in case you want to use this system as a stand-alone wargame, competing with your friends. Or if you want to measure the relative strengths of two forces. All classes and creatures are assigned a "Rarity" which determines their cost.
NPC: Warrior class.
Common: Mundane PC classes or monsters.
Uncommon: PC classes or monsters with some spellcasting ability.
Rare: Primary casters or creatures with a wide-range of abilities.
Super-Rare: I'll explain in a second.
If a character has a prestige class of any sort, then they are treated as one rarity higher. For example, a Fighter (Common) that takes a level of Kensai would be treated as Uncommon. Rare characters that take a PrC ascend to Super-Rare.
| Level || NPC || Common || Uncommon || Rare || Super-Rare|
|1 || 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5|
|2 || 2 || 4 || 6 || 8 || 10|
|3 || 4 || 8 || 12 || 16 || 20|
|4 || 7 || 14 || 21 || 28 || 35|
|5 || 11 || 22 || 33 || 44 || 55|
|6 || 16 || 32 || 48 || 64 || 80|
|7 || 22 || 44 || 66 || 88 || 110|
|8 || 29 || 58 || 87 || 116 || 145|
|9 || 37 || 74 || 111 || 148 || 185|
|10 || 46 || 92 || 138 || 184 || 230|
|11 || 56 || 112 || 168 || 224 || 280|
|12 || 67 || 134 || 201 || 268 || 335|
|13 || 79 || 158 || 237 || 316 || 395|
|14 || 92 || 184 || 276 || 368 || 460|
|15 || 106 || 212 || 318 || 424 || 530|
|16 || 121 || 242 || 363 || 484 || 605|
|17 || 137 || 254 || 411 || 548 || 685|
|18 || 154 || 308 || 462 || 616 || 770|
|19 || 172 || 344 || 516 || 688 || 860|
|20 || 191 || 382 || 573 || 764 || 955|
|Epic || +100/level || +200/level || +300/level || +400/level || +500/level|
Epic Level Archmages: Pricey, but they can be worth it.
If you do try to use this as a Wargame, I'd suggest imposing some limits on level and/or number of Heroes, to keep things balanced.
Any creature with an LA is treated as a character of a level equal to LA+Racial HD(If any)+Class levels. All creatures without an LA use their CR as their "level". Creatures with a fractional CR are bought in corresponding increments (1/3 CR creatures are bought in groups of 3 for the cost of a single character of that level, etc.).
An alternate version of leadership could award a character with Command equal to Leadership Score squared. Just sayin'.
To make all of this a truly viable subsystem, a lot of prep work must be done. Each Hero and Unit must be statted out, including the 4/5, 3/5, 2/5 and 1/5 benchmarks for Health, Power and Population. Temporary Modifiers, such as those from things like Rage should have their effects calculated and noted beforehand. All of this is to allow gameplay to proceed smoothly and with as little computation as possible.
I have done no playtesting of this whatsoever, and, as the blurb prior to the title would indicate, I have little to no Wargame experience. This may need tweaking to play. If you use it, please send me a PM telling me how it goes! I'll more than likely make fixes based on your feedback!