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Texanstoryteller
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Posts: 19
Joined: Mon 09 Dec 2019, 07:11

Mass battle

Mon 29 Mar 2021, 18:00

Hello ! If the subject is already covered, sorry ! Feel free to feedback.

I was wondering how to manage mass battles. I never had to do it as a Gm and I may want to prepare an adventure with some epic fights. Any thoughts ?
 
Farydia
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun 11 Oct 2020, 13:29

Re: Mass battle

Tue 30 Mar 2021, 23:40

I just recently did a battle with:
4 players, 8 allied NPCs vs. 1 Death Knight and His Undead Hordes (which consisted of a bunch of Undead, but acted as a single monster entity)
What I did was this: Each player played for themselves of course, I drew Initiative for all allies as a single group, the Death Knight and the Horde.
The players decided to take on the boss, the NPCs would fight the Horde.
The allied NPCs just had basic stats and I rolled each of them with just Base + Skill + Gear, no pushing, no skills, just deducting the damage from the Horde STR. The Death Knight was standard from the rules and would focus his attacks on the players, as they were attacking him in turn and pissed him off the most :D.
The Undead Horde was a homebrew monster with 40 STR and monster attacks that fell into three categories: a) Trying to overwhelm the defenders with sheer strength in numbers. Damage from these attacks were distributed among the NPC allies. b) Being commanded by the Death Knight, which meant they would single out a player character to direct damage at. And c) I got an attack that could heal up the Boss by sacrificing STR points of the Horde. Which... never happened, because the archer had unholy luck, but that's how it sometimes goes :D.
Killing the Boss would reduce the Horde STR by half instantly to mirror that his command over them was gone and they had not a lot of intelligence on their own. And to don't drag out the fight much longer after the boss was defeated.
Worked pretty well, took about 30 minutes overall and felt pretty epic and fun. Oh, and I upped the Death Knight STR by 3, to make him last a bit longer with 4 players hammering at him.^^
With Roll20 it was easy to roll the NPCs, too. At the physical table I would have just given them all identical stats and once they had taken damage, would roll reduced STR for all of them to make it easier.
 
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Texanstoryteller
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Posts: 19
Joined: Mon 09 Dec 2019, 07:11

Re: Mass battle

Wed 31 Mar 2021, 05:35

Thank tou for sharing. Good insight !!!! Looks like you had fun with your group.
 
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Konungr
Posts: 410
Joined: Mon 10 Jun 2019, 09:39

Re: Mass battle

Sun 11 Apr 2021, 17:55

I always find when running unconventional situations to think less about how to emulate the situation and more about how do you make the players FEEL like they are in the situation?

So there is a mass battle.. You could keep track of units and moral and so on and so forth. But the players are not themselves really engaging with any of that. So you start thinking what can the players do? You give them a number of tasks they can do to accomplish goals on the battlefield that can swing things in one way or another for small victories or large ones. You can pit the players against what amounts to a series of smaller fights.

Lets say the player want to reach an objective on the battlefield, Give them a number of waves of smaller fights to do to get from one area to the next. Doing so gets them where they want to be in time to do what they want to do. Taking too long delays them and adds complications if not failure.

The rest of the battle doesn't so much matter mechanically. Just let the players focus on their part and turn that part into a series of smaller conflicts/challenges that nudge the story of the mass battle in one direction or another.
 
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Brior
Posts: 900
Joined: Sat 09 Apr 2011, 10:59

Re: Mass battle

Mon 12 Apr 2021, 06:30

So there is a mass battle.. You could keep track of units and moral and so on and so forth. But the players are not themselves really engaging with any of that. So you start thinking what can the players do? You give them a number of tasks they can do to accomplish goals on the battlefield that can swing things in one way or another for small victories or large ones. You can pit the players against what amounts to a series of smaller fights.
.
I like this approach. We had a recent discussion along the same lines concerning the upcoming Aslene expansion, concluding that it's unnecessary to play out stuff that the players won't know of anyway.
 
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Emperyan
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed 26 Jun 2019, 22:53

Re: Mass battle

Sun 18 Apr 2021, 07:35

We actually just ran a "mini" mass battle as our group assisted the dwarves of Stoneloom dislodge the saurians who came to be there. We decided to just use the Stronghold Battle rules with the PC's as the attackers in the scenario. I statted up a Saurian "King" just in case they came face to face due to the "What Happens to the PC's" chart (they did, twice!) calculated some unit strengths and we went at it. My players each took turns rolling the dice against the saurian forces with one round equalling about 10 - 15 minutes of fighting in this case. I have to say it worked really well and made the whole affair seem way more epic without having to grind through rolling for each and every combatant.

Force breakdown follows below:

Stoneloom Militia (14 Dwarves) - 1
Band of the Iron Lock - 1
Dwarven Command Group - 1
Ram (aka Mining engine) - 1
----------------------------------------------------
4

Saurians (25) - 3
Palisades - 1
King Gruxxothrusk
--------------------------
4
 
rennarda
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri 20 Dec 2019, 15:28

Re: Mass battle

Mon 19 Apr 2021, 12:33

There is a mass battle at the end of the Raven's Purge, but it basically uses the rules from the Strongholds section of the rulebook.

When I had a battle where the player was more directly involved, I created some simple rules that handled it like a wargame. Each unit had Attack and Defence ratings, and they could move around the map at a specific speed. The player could influence morale, and affect the outcome of the battle somewhat. I also allowed rolls to be pushed, which was surprisingly tactical as skulls on the pushed dice meant you took additional casualties.

It worked well enough, but it was a lot of dice rolling. It was fun though, because I genuinely didn't plan the outcome of the battle beforehand, so nobody know what was going to happen.

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