Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mass Combat

I have a (not-so) secret (anymore) process for getting through an epic battle in a way that doesn't take weeks or months (or even hours), but allows for the player characters to determine the outcome completely.

"Impossible!"  You may say.  I do admit that it's fast and dirty, so not for everyone, but it's a fair way of handling it in a short amount of time.  Behold:

Mass Combat Procedure (developed specifically for Tri-Stat dX, but adaptable for most any system with active attack and defense)

1. PCs and key NPCs choose their opponents and make attack and defense rolls as usual.  You may either use one round to determine the outcome, several and average it out, or continue until one party is clearly victorious or someone retreats.  Add +2 bonus to PC party's Mass Battle Roll if attack and defense (or most attacks and defenses) both succeed.  Add +1 bonus if only one succeeds.  Apply a penalty of -1 if one fails, and a penalty of -2 if both fail.

2. Add a bonus or penalty for the PC party's army size (if not equal to the opposing army).  100 troops vs 60 should incur a +2 bonus vs their -1 penalty, etc.  Use percentages to figure this if possible, taking into account superior training and equipment if applicable.

3. Add a bonus for tactical advantages (flanking, using cover, etc.) and terrain.

4. Generals (PC or player representing the team vs GM) make an opposed roll to determine success.

5. Determine casualties: difference in rolls +/- all modifiers x 0.01 (to determine %)

6. Losing General (or representative) makes Soul roll continue with a -1 penalty per every 10% casualties.

7. Repeat until one side surrenders, retreats, or is annihilated.


Morgon77 said...

Heh. I was thinking for a moment that I would see something helpful for LARP. I guess I hadn't thought about mass combat in a tabletop setting, since I haven't encountered it much.

LARP mass combat is a PITA. Anything over 5 players (and, having seen it with 20+...) is a whole group of people that you have to get to shut up THE WHOLE TIME so that everybody can be heard, and you have to keep the rules lawyers from ruining the whole thing (four hour mass combat events, 3 and a half hours of which are two rules lawyers going head to head over a single challenge, oh yay) and keep it running in order.

Oh, the joys.

hippie_mama said...

I've never LARPed before, so i don't know anything about the mechanics behind it, but it sounds just like tabletop gaming in regards to combat lasting forever and rules lawyers making it worse.

What i've done here, very basically, is think small, then apply the outcome on a larger scale.

Good luck!