Mass battle

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Julien
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Mass battle

Post by Julien » Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:35 pm

Has anyone used the mass battle rules from Heroes Companion?

HedgeWizard
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Re: Mass battle

Post by HedgeWizard » Fri Dec 11, 2020 12:24 pm

Yes I have, do you have a specific question?

Julien
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Re: Mass battle

Post by Julien » Fri Dec 11, 2020 7:46 pm

Just wondered how you would run it.

Did your players become so powerful that they led an army?

HedgeWizard
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Re: Mass battle

Post by HedgeWizard » Sun Dec 13, 2020 2:35 pm

I actually used it for the background. The characters were scattered across the scene in different positions as exceptional individuals but not in control of events. The aim was to react to the unpredictability of battle and use it to give different opportunities for action.

Their combats were handled as one on x combats depending on what was happening in their part of the battlefield. If they did well then I gave a bonus to their unit when rolling down their results (after the character combats). Was fun!

Chompy
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Re: Mass battle

Post by Chompy » Sun Dec 13, 2020 6:01 pm

Misread this as "for their background" and heck, meeting on the battlefield would be a great start to an adventure or way for an adventuring group to get together.

HedgeWizard
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Re: Mass battle

Post by HedgeWizard » Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:46 pm

That’s a great idea, I’d never thought of that. It would make a nice dramatic start to an adventure and give plenty of hooks to work off.

It also makes more sense than going on an adventure into dark dungeons with a group of muscular people you just happened to meet in the pub.

drbargle
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Re: Mass battle

Post by drbargle » Tue Jan 19, 2021 1:26 pm

Julien wrote:
Thu Dec 10, 2020 6:35 pm
Has anyone used the mass battle rules from Heroes Companion?
I used it to resolve a battle between the crew of a few longships to which the Adventurers were attached (I'd had them adventuring in Frsotholm) and warriors of the Sukh-worshipping 'Painted People' of some storm-wracked islands in Bjorngrim's Sea. The system worked well, though of course it added extra rolls to the battle and slowed things down (still a lot faster than ordinary combat in many systems). I do remember spotting a few bits where the system would produce a counter-intuitive result. I think was to do with the way the system treats big monsters as units, and the way in which running a ordinary combat between a few Giants and a squad of Spearmen would likely produce a quite different result to running it as a 'mass battle'. But 1/ maybe I'm wrong, I don't remember my quibble in detail, and 2/ maybe it doesn't matter - it's an abstraction that serves a purpose.

On this last point - it is an abstraction that serves a purpose. While my Adventurers fought in the front line of the shieldwall, I think a far more 'adventurous' method would be to give the PCs a specific mission, or to treat the battle field as a 'dungeon' (a map of specific encounters through which the PCs move - through the 'map' need not describe 'space' - could also be time/the ebb and flow of battle), or borrow from Pendragon and simply give the PCs a few instances of heroic combat.

Chompy
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Re: Mass battle

Post by Chompy » Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:40 pm

The closest I've come so far is a "medium battle" where the party had to, with the support of half a dozen locals, defend an inn from a horde of attacking goblins.

To speed things up I assigned each of the locals a chance out of six to win against any goblin, so I could resolve their action each round with a single die roll. Usually this was very low, as they were just villagers, but for people like the woodsmen and the ex-adventurer it was better odds. Add a -1 penalty for each additional goblin attacking them, or a +1 if they have another NPC helping them. I also made the unique, tougher, miniboss goblins provide a -1 or -2 penalty.
If an NPC lost the round, I made a mark by their name. Three marks and they were defeated. Some like the strong smith and the ex-adventurer being able to take more lost rounds before going down or the weaker villagers only taking one or two marks to fall.
The players still fought their own combats as normal each round...

It worked really well, luckily, the players were focused on their own combats but had to be aware of how the others were faring - especially as these were NPCs they'd grown to like. And since it was just one die roll per NPC each round resolving a even a small hamlet's worth of NPCs went very swiftly.

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