raekr
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri 21 Jan 2022, 02:47

Using the Council rules to run a battle

Sat 30 Apr 2022, 02:45

I'm setting up a battle where it doesn't really make sense to run through everyone's individual attacks (a few NPCs on the side of the players, vs a larger group of foes). Pulling from my experience playing Free League's Mutant Year 0, I'm planning to adapt TOR's Council rules to run the battle. Adjust the resistance based on general advantages and disadvantages (which group has the size advantage; high ground; weapons advantage if applicable; etc). The skills used will likely be Battle, Hunting (depending on the battle's setting), Enhearten, Athletics, and maybe Awareness/Stealth (again depending on setting/how the player narrates). And of course Song if they've written a battle song.
I never played 1e of TOR, so if anyone played that and has applicable advice or rule guides from it regarding larger battles, advice is appreciated.
 
Dunheved
Posts: 353
Joined: Wed 11 Mar 2020, 02:07
Location: UK

Re: Using the Council rules to run a battle

Sun 01 May 2022, 13:44

There are a few 1e fan rule sets on larger scale combat. The first that comes to mind is James R Brown's Mythic Battles rules, which got several favourable comments. As well as Falenthal who did a set too.
It's not easy to find these straight away: but James R Brown has his own webpages called Advancement Points, so a Google search for that will give you his front page with links to his Loremaster Tools (And loads loads more). Mythic Battles is several pages longer than an earlier version of his battle rules, called Mass Combat rules, which is also in the list and is a mere 8 pages.

Your idea for adapting the Councils/Skill endeavour mechanic sounds interesting. Do you have any examples of how it would be worked through?

(Coincidentally as the LM, I have just hit my first case of a mass battle situation: where 240 Beornings will be laying Siege to a small fort manned by ... well, let's say a force of mixed orcs and men that appear to number less than a hundred. I aim to give the individual PC s a role in determining the fight, but getting that balance right is tricky.)
 
raekr
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri 21 Jan 2022, 02:47

Re: Using the Council rules to run a battle

Thu 05 May 2022, 05:33

Ah thanks for that tip! Here's the link to a collection of things that includes the Mythic Battles guide you mentioned: https://advancementpoints.blogspot.com/ ... -ring.html
I'm going to look through that and see how it feels. May not need to adapt Councils after all.
 
User avatar
Falenthal
Posts: 207
Joined: Tue 10 Mar 2020, 21:13

Re: Using the Council rules to run a battle

Thu 05 May 2022, 07:39

I find the approach of using the Council rules (in fact, a form of Extended Tests rules) to play out a battle very interesting.

The scene will most likely become very narrative, instead of a clash by clash number counting, and that can be very good indeed.

The first ideas that come to mind, is that the Introduction step might be sort of a Deployment phase: one hero acts as the field captain (or some other fancy name) and decides how the Free Peoples army positions itselfs in the battleground. A Battle test would be handy to gain the higher ground, etc, but also Stealth might be useful if the heroes plan on ambushing the enemy, Hunting if the adversaries are animals (spiders, wolves) or even Explore if the terrain would allow for narrow passages or routing maneuvers that could add surprise movements. In the end, the test would simply add to the Time Limit (as the Introduction does in Councils), but narratively it could work very differently in one case or the other.

During the Interaction, my take on mass battles has always been to prepare some vignettes beforehand of combat situations and present them to the players. Then, let them decide how to handle them and choose one hero to make an appropiate roll. For example, in Round 1, the heroes spot (no need for an Awareness or Scan test) a small group of enemies taking a detour to attack the fort they are in from another -less defended- angle. But, if they leave the front door, the main enemy force might take the gates down. What do they do? Choose a test that represents the tactic they propose, count the successes, and move on to Round 2, where you should present them with another vignette. Try to link the new scenes with the outcome of the former ones, of course. If they let the small group act freely, focusing on defending the main gate, the next scene should imply that skirmirshing group being able to throw grapples at the wall and climbing to the top of it, for example.

Something else I think would fit Battle Rules would be that, after each round (each vignette), the heroes should gain an amount of Fatigue and maybe Shadow. Battles take their toll physically and mentally. I'd avoid adding more dice rolling (things like Athletic or Valour tests to reduce the amount gained), but would base the amount on the outcome of the test rolled by the hero who confronted the vignette. Much like the Fatigue gain during Travels, based on the Role affected by the Hazard. So, maybe, after each round of combat, each hero will gain 3 Fatigue points and 3 Shadow points, reduced by 1 for each level of success from the previous test to solve the vignette.

Let's see what other ideas can come up here, but I generally think that mass battles in TOR should use the basic structure of Extended Tests and Councils, not extremely new rules.


By the way, here are the Battle Rules I wrote for the 1st Edition. Maybe some ideas might come handy:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/0Bzk ... ue&sd=true

EDIT: Added idea about gaining Fatigue and Shadow after every round of Battle.
 
Dunheved
Posts: 353
Joined: Wed 11 Mar 2020, 02:07
Location: UK

Re: Using the Council rules to run a battle

Thu 05 May 2022, 22:40

Its a tricky thing to achieve here.
Not sure what other folks think, but I want to offer my players some control over their part of the battlefield, with an outside chance of seriously affecting the entire battle - for good or bad.

Wargameing a battle isn't the same. So I don't want a whole set of new mechanics to do a wargame. I would much rather use the mechanics that players are familiar with as PC.
My puzzle is how a Skill Endeavour / Council is achieved. Suggestions in the Core, and Discussions on the forums have tended to get this done by using a WIDE VARIETY of the 18 Common Skills, with little repeated use of the same skill.

It seems axiomatic that a battle employ Combat skills. And there aren't 18 for a PC to choose from.
Does this imply that the Extended Skill Endeavour for Battles should be composed so that only one or two fighting skills are needed, for at least one significant part of the action?
 
Dunheved
Posts: 353
Joined: Wed 11 Mar 2020, 02:07
Location: UK

Re: Using the Council rules to run a battle

Sun 08 May 2022, 13:04

I have been running my Beorning Battle now for a few Rounds of Combat (it's still going on as I type this), and the other players have all contributed to my attempt to use individuals in a mass combat.
Trying to be brief, the key mechanic is organised like this:
1. A Player-Hero character is selected as an Officer of one fighting Unit in an Army.
2. Usually Units in an Army are given a Combat Rating which is how many d6 Success Dice are added to the d12 Feat die for a total to reflect their fighting success that round (I will call this total the Action Score)
3. The Player-Hero has two influences on the Action Score. (a) they make the FEAT die Favoured and (b) if any Success die come up as a 6, then roll and add one bonus die to increase the Action Score.

In a Round of Combat a Unit fights an enemy Unit by simply comparing Action Scores. The highest wins. The loser in the Round must retreat AND - this is key - the retreating unit MUST retreat behind a friendly Supporting Unit. If it cannot do that, it breaks and flees the field. Actual casualties are simply narrated not rolled for.

If a Player-Hero loses a Round in a mass combat, they retire behind friends too, and can then return to the line. But if their unit Breaks, the PC can roll or narrate how the PC survives the rout.

EDIT (actual rules tweaked for an assault on a palisade fence set around a Tower are https://www.tavern-keeper.com/campaign/4858/page/39948 , and this page https://www.tavern-keeper.com/campaign/ ... 40000/edit gives a few limited examples.

(I have other details for cover, archery, flank attacks, against the odds, etc but the key mechanic is the Action Score. )

Round 1. three Shadow forces are retreating, and one each of Shadow and Free Folk have been Broken. Edit: it's pbp online of course!
Round 2. two Shadow forces are Retreating, four have been Broken; one each of the Free folk are Broken or Retreating. Two more Free Folk Successes in Round 3, will trigger the complete rout of the Shadow army.
Round 3. Actually delivered a river borne assault which was repulsed for the loss of the Free Folk Unit. The rest of the fight went as planned and the eight Shadow Units were finished off.
Rounds 4 and 5. A further 17 Orc units had their ambush discovered to their great Disadvantage. This second segment of the actual battle has been a resounding Success. The PCs acting as officers make a crucial difference. https://www.tavern-keeper.com/roleplay/14257 is the actual play
Last edited by Dunheved on Mon 23 May 2022, 00:39, edited 4 times in total.
 
raekr
Topic Author
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri 21 Jan 2022, 02:47

Re: Using the Council rules to run a battle

Mon 09 May 2022, 00:30

OK so we did a very loose council-inspired battle. To answer "how do you make up for skills" I allowed the combat skills to be used if it made sense from a battle standpoint. Like one player rolled for his Axe combat proficiency to attempt beating back ladders scaling a wall.
The other skills we used or that I think could be used are Battle, Stealth (for moving swiftly, if not literally sneaking), Enhearten (encouraging troops), Athletics (general fighting), Awe (for something like an intimidating charge), Song (if they have a battle song written from past Fellowship phases), Hunting (like someone said above, if there are literal animals in the fight, or if you want to stage a trap or bait of some kind to get the enemy to shift position), Scan (if the battle requires/allows it).
It was fine. The players had fun and it worked OK. But in future, I want to make it even more dynamic, probably will adapt this idea:
In a Round of Combat a Unit fights an enemy Unit by simply comparing Action Scores. The highest wins.
I tried to do that on an overall basis, and in hindsight doing the "unit vs unit" approach would be more exciting.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests