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Posts: 28
Joined: Tue 29 May 2018, 12:32

How to handle massive battles

Tue 13 Aug 2019, 10:08

Hi All,

Hopefully my party won't find this, but the last session ended with another half of the party inciting Yawin and his loyalists to rise against mrs. Pollmor, Sturkas and the city militia and now the two groups, slightly over 20 people, are on the verge of crossing swords on the bridge between the two halves of the town. To make matters worse, mrs. Pollmor hired the other half of the party to sabotage Yawin's boats though the deed is not done yet.

I have difficulty figuring out how to play this sort of a larger scale battle if such would come to pass. The rules and the initiative cards would allow for slightly over 10 combatants if some of them are grouped but what about a battle of twice the size? What's the recommended approach?

Feel free to also suggest other plot twists.
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Re: How to handle massive battles

Tue 13 Aug 2019, 10:46

many spoilers ahead

if it does come to battle then I like to use miniatures and battle mats. just use tokens for one side or the other. Here's some things to think about:
  1. The townspeople would use homes, second story windows, roof tops, the chapel tower, the guard towers to advantage, Lots of crossbows and bows
  2. The townspeople know who's on which side, the players don't
  3. Fire isn't a threat to most of the town as it's built from marble and stone from the mausoleums of the graveyard, only some of the newer construction that Yawin has made has that vulnerability so that might take the wind out the riot if they have to save the buildings
  4. The walking dead would get upset and you might see some angry spirits on both sides with some powerful restless and spirit combatants being stirred up
  5. The raven sister may use some magic to stop the riots
  6. the rust brother has spells in his path he can us, even though he questions his past actions may have already alerted the iron guard about the fomenting violence and a detachment is coming to 'keep the peace' and of course take their toll and tribute for doing so.
  7. If the dwarven group of warriors arrives to arrest Yawin for using a human recipe they may interrupt the riot also, while they want to arrest Yawin they wouldn't let some humans kill him before he has been tried in a dwarf home. so that would make for interesting allies.
  8. A bard on either side or a master manipulator (like a peddler) might be able to stop the battle quickly by forcing one group to stand down, or causing enough empathy damage they all fall down :)
To my mind in a game like FBL the only important battles will be the ones with the PCs involved. I'd use the battle rules from the stronghold siege PH175. if players are on both sides have one side roll for each. Add up the attack and defense ratings of each side and duke it out. when the pc's say they are involved use the resolution chart to see what happens. Pick the relevant leaders for both sides. After one side is broken then the other side would stop fighting and you'd have to figure out how to move the story forward.
Last edited by faun on Tue 13 Aug 2019, 20:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to handle massive battles

Tue 13 Aug 2019, 16:59

My first thought it to adapt the Stronghold siege mechanics. Have the battle start, describe it, then make a roll to determine sort of how things are going giving modifiers to each side (+1 for pcs, +1 to one side if it has a numerical advantage, +1 to one side if they have a tactical advantage from terrain or whatever, etc.). You could then focus on a round or two of individual combat for the pcs flavored by the overall pitch of the battle. If one side starts losing significantly (20% losses or so) then they'd likely break and you can go back to handling like normal play.

Let us know how it goes. I think for my first campaign I'm going to rely almost entirely on my own stuff but perhaps next one I'll use more of the published material.
Catch me on Three Skulls Tavern: YouTube or Twitch, an instructional AP dedicated to Year Zero games. Currently playing in a Raven’s Purge campaign and GM’ing a campaign of Vaesen.
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Posts: 28
Joined: Tue 29 May 2018, 12:32

Re: How to handle massive battles

Wed 16 Oct 2019, 10:02

I wrote a report how this went down in the end: viewtopic.php?f=79&t=5239

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