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Mass combat rules


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my group is using the  fantasy 5e supplement, we're having a ton of fun so far.   Were going to be doing some mass combat soon so i wanted to see if anyone else has any experience with the rules and or can possibly clarify some things.    

 

ive ran a mock combat using the rules,  i feel they're encompassing enough,  move smoothly,  and are logical so please don't try to convince me to use different rules or run a mass combat theatrically via smaller battles.  i just want some community input,  see if im glancing over something. 

 

Under "fighting" then "attacking individuals" its stated that a unit cannot attack an individual character. However under "prominent characters" in "combat" its states that if a unit "attacks an individual character back" it should be resolved without unit modifiers.  How would you interpret this? Perhaps a prominent character can only be attacked if he attacks a unit? 

 

 

Under "determining damage" its states you should subtract the defenders unit modifier from the attackers with a minimum of 0.  however under "prominent characters" when referencing an individual character attacking a unit it states he might not be able to do damage because of the unit modifiers, shouldn't it be a minimum of 0 as well? 

 

lastly aoe's are never mentioned save for the fact that they could possibly hit every character. so i need opinions on if you guys think they should do extra damage to a unit, and how youd math it out. 

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I treat combat during mass just as I do combat anyplace else.

 

Sure, if someone decides to hide behind the priest or a choir boy, that might cause some problems if the attacker is devout. But that situation at the core is not really any different than dealing with bystanders at any non-mass locations.

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i appreciate you taking the time to respond but I'm not sure i understand your context.  i didn't ask any questions about dealing with non combatants in a mass combat scenario. 

 

i like your thinking though,  it's important to include drama and character motivation even in a mass combat scenario. 

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35 minutes ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

I've tried a couple of times with this and the players didn't really enjoy it, but I think that has more to do with what they like in a game than the rules themselves.  I hope it works out better for you

i like it. the write up in the fantasy book even gave us the idea to write out a short synopsis about the enemy prominent characters and what their motivations were during the battle. made for some interesting rp moments throughout the fight. and when the alternative is the gm just handwaving the whole thing and giving us a description of what happened after i much prefer this method.  i think the rules lined out are logical and concise, just trying to work out the small kinks listed above 

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On 8/30/2019 at 9:47 AM, akrippler said:

i appreciate you taking the time to respond but I'm not sure i understand your context.  i didn't ask any questions about dealing with non combatants in a mass combat scenario. 

 

i like your thinking though,  it's important to include drama and character motivation even in a mass combat scenario. 

 

I think Archer was making a joke about having combat during mass at church - thus - mass combat.

 

I've found the mass combat rules passable, but scaling tilts itself towards always splitting your units into 1/2 the size of the enemy to gain double the number of attacks with a minor loss in damage output and body.

 

Usually, the best scenarios for my group have involved mass combats as a scene backdrop or encounter hazards rather than actual, detailed, Total War 2 style mass combat.

 

Giving the heroes dramatic scenes to hold a line or rally a broken formation or stop the exploding orc from getting into the drain gate make for better storytelling.

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Giving the heroes dramatic scenes to hold a line or rally a broken formation or stop the exploding orc from getting into the drain gate make for better storytelling.

 

That's the conclusion I came to after a couple of attempts.  Its fascinating for the GM to move around all the parts and make things happen while the PCs fight, but not so much for the players.

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2 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

 

I think Archer was making a joke about having combat during mass at church - thus - mass combat.

 

 

On 8/30/2019 at 9:47 AM, akrippler said:

i appreciate you taking the time to respond but I'm not sure i understand your context.  i didn't ask any questions about dealing with non combatants in a mass combat scenario. 

 

 

The whole point of Mass is to have innocent non-combatants around. There's the priest, nuns, choirboys, and the congregation at the least, not to mention possible visitors they're hoping to convert. Any Mass almost by definition is going to be chocked full of non-combatants.

 

Though I suppose the Mass could be conducted by a chaplain at a military base. I'm not Catholic but my impression is that most of their services are conducted in other settings.

 

And even on a military base inside the US, servicemen would be unarmed. Soldiers haven't been permitted to carry firearms and live ammunition on military bases inside the US, even during guard duty, for the last couple of decades.

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I have not tried the Fantasy Hero mass combat rules.  I'm not really familiar with them.  What I have done instead is to write up a block of troops as a single character, and just do the fight that way instead.

 

For instance, you could do something like:

Large Gang of Orcs

Str 35, Dex 12, Con 30, Body 30, Spd 6, PD 10 (6r), ED 10 (6r), Stun 100

2D6+1 HKA, (swords and stuff), OCV 7, DCV 3

10" Knockback resistance

Disad: x2 Body and Stun from Area Effect and Explosions

Disad: Drops to Str 25 and Spd 4 when at 1/2 Stun or Body

Note: Takes up 5 hexes by 3 hexes of space

 

 

There you go.  Now you've got a nice easy stat block for a group of enemies.  Just be kinda vague on exactly how many there are, and describe your heroes hacking through orcs one after the other.  "Oh you killed another one, Bob."  When the enemy unit is reduced to zero Stun or Body, it breaks and 1D6 basic orcs throw down their weapons and run away.

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On 8/30/2019 at 6:31 PM, akrippler said:

Under "fighting" then "attacking individuals" its stated that a unit cannot attack an individual character. However under "prominent characters" in "combat" its states that if a unit "attacks an individual character back" it should be resolved without unit modifiers.  How would you interpret this? Perhaps a prominent character can only be attacked if he attacks a unit? 

 

Under "determining damage" its states you should subtract the defenders unit modifier from the attackers with a minimum of 0.  however under "prominent characters" when referencing an individual character attacking a unit it states he might not be able to do damage because of the unit modifiers, shouldn't it be a minimum of 0 as well? 

 

lastly aoe's are never mentioned save for the fact that they could possibly hit every character. so i need opinions on if you guys think they should do extra damage to a unit, and how youd math it out. 

 

Re: attacking individuals. Under "attacking individuals" the rules note that the ban on attacking individuals is for ease of play.

 

Most actions for prominent individuals are not attack options, but leadership. inspiration and intimidation. However, the rules note that if a prominent individual chooses to attack a unit, it is treated as a unit of one person (ie, the unit it is attacking can attack it back).

Determinging damage from individual attacks - yes, the rules note that under most circumstances the Unit Modifer should not be less that 0, in order that a smaller unit may damage a larger one. However, it goes on to note that the GM may allow Unit Modifiers of less than 0 in order to keep smaller units from having too great an impact. In the case of an individual, no matter how prominent, attacking a large unit, that would seem appropriate.

AOEs are mentioned in Megascale and Battle Scale in the Magic in Mass Combat section. It suggests the way to build a spell to affect an entire unit is to use Megascale.

No mass combat system I'm aware of segues nicely between personal scale and unit scale. There's always some clunkiness and edge cases.

Hero System mass combat offers several options - treating prominent individuals as one-person units, using noteworthy events for individuals, and having personal scale combat in a mass combat environment. None of these is without issues - but those issues are much easier to resolve if one remembers that the player characters are the protagonists: it's their story that matters.

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