Tuesday 27 August, 2013

WAR! What is it good for!


Taking a quick break from my FATE Accelerated Trek resource and jumping briefly to another topic.  The Save or Die Podcast a few episodes back covered mass combat and war scenarios in basic D&D. Not only was the episode entertaining, but it got me to thinking about how I would handle such a scenario when running basic D&D or Dungeon Crawl Classics. ACKS has a great set of rules (still a bit too crunchy for my tastes), Battle System is a bit too sub-gamey (too many subsystems that make consistency  across the board a nightmare), and Chainmail becomes useless when magic is involved.

So putting brain to cause I whittled out a system that in THEORY should work.  I figured I would put it out on the internet and see what people think.

Mass Combat rules for OSR (or other traditional) RPGs

Basic concept: Create a dice pool using dice to represent squads, leaders, and officers.  The dice pools are rolled against opposing armies (the GMs dice pool) and each are reduced in number until a winner steps out of the conflict or one side concedes.

Dice Pools

For each squad  (2-4 teams of 2-5 combatants) add one d6 to the commander’s dice pool.

For Each squad leader add one d8 to the pool

For each Officer (Command) add one d10


Roll the d6 dice pools first. Remove all 1s from the pools. These represent those troops who were taken out (don’t worry there will be a chance for them to be saved).

Next roll the d8s and remove all 1s

Then roll d10s and remove 1s

  • All squad rolls between 4-6 are unharmed and stay in the fight. Dice which rolled between 2-3 have been wounded and are reduced to a d4.
  • All squad leader rolls between 5-8 are unharmed and stay in the fight. Dice which rolled between 2-4 have been wounded and are reduced to a d6 (keep these dice separate from the squad dice).
  • All Officer rolls between 6-10 are unharmed and stay in the fight. Dice which rolled between 2-5 have been wounded and are reduced to a d8 (keep these dice separate from the squad leader dice).

Minimum die is d4. Once a squad, squad leader, or officer is down to a d4 roll, a dice roll of 1-2 will remove them from battle and a 3-4 will keep them in the skirmish.


Player Character Integration

A “Command Roll” can be made as a minor action (or your system equivalent) and allow the characters choice of an Officer, Squad Leader, or Squad to stay in the skirmish by returning a squad back to a d6 (or d4 if defeated) or the leaders and officers to move back up one die tier (a d6 from a d4 etc.)

The DC of the Command roll is 15

The player rolls 1d20 and adds the following:

The PC adds their Chr or Wis bonus

Elf/Dwarf/Fighter +1

Level 5 +1

Named Level +1

Charisma 17-18 +1

Let me know what you think…

One Comment

  • Jesse (DM Isearn) says:

    I’m going to try it out. It sounds really versatile. For instance, if I want to give bonuses for certain weapon types against certain armor or unit types (i.e. pikemen versus cavalry), I’m free to do so to my heart’s content. Thanks!

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