Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Is There A Hidden Flaw Here?

Mass Battle System To Drop Into D&D when The Situation Calls For It

(EDITED: when I tested these rules, I applied them to everyone except the PCs and main foes.)

-Rather than rolling initiative, every mini just goes in reverse Dex order counting down from 18 (or whatever's the highest).
(EDITED: what I actually did for the first test was simply assign each unit an initiative rank--1st, 2nd, 3rd, based on how on the ball and well-trained I figured they were. PCs and enemy main baddies were allowed to go at any time in the initiative so long as they only went once in the initiative countdown. This worked fine.)

-PCs control their own characters plus anybody else on their side, DM controls the other side.

-Hit points of all models = normal # of hp divided by 10 rounded down with a minimum of 1.

-All weapons do 1 hp of damage per die ordinarily rolled to determine damage. (i.e. a weapon that does 1d10 or 1d4 will do 1 hp of damage, a weapon that does 3d6 will do 3 hit points of damage.)

-PCs "killed" are assumed to be captured or maimed (note to self--make a chart) unless someone specifically takes a round to kill them.

-EDIT: Armor class will be changed to ascending 1-20. i.e. A version 1 ac of 1 = a version 3.5 ac of 19 = a mass battle system ac of 9.

-Close combat: each side rolls, adds their close combat bonus (these numbers can be used if you're playing type 1 or type 2 D&D), high number does damage unless the target can roll a d20 under their (new, converted, ascending 1-20 scale) armor class.

Ok, anybody see a hidden flaw in these rules before I send the ladies crawling across the floor with rulers in their hands?

18 comments:

  1. If someone can get their AC to 0 or less; or 20+ they are not going to take any damage with those saving throws.

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  2. good point.

    have to either fix that or only use it for low-powered battles.

    maybe convert all ac to ascending 1-20 rather than 10-up and/or 10 thru -10

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  3. This doesn't really help THIS rule set, but in 3e I used to run mass combats by just calling units of soldiers swarms of medium creatures. Et voila.

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  4. I don't understand the concept of using DEX for initiative with mass combat. Would WIS or INT be a better fit when it comes to tactics? I'm all for it for individual encounters (reaction speed makes more sense there) but for planned battles it falls short.

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  5. My only recommendation - and this is more of a personal preference, rather than fixing something that is 'flawed' - is that if you are going to allow PC's to control allied NPC's, you need to enforce some sort of morale rules.

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  6. Further to Knightsky's comment on morale: copypaste the - IMO never bettered - B/X morale rules. 2d6 roll vs. a score ranging from 2 (coward) to 12 (fearless). Use them as written, or rip off the fun and simple WFRP criteria for moral checks.

    I send the ladies crawling across the floor with rulers in their hands?

    "Mmmmmmmm." I could watch Mandy, KK, Sasha and co. establish charge and bowfire ranges for hours.

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  7. SC78-
    interesting. I may do that. Or some variation.

    knightsky and chris--
    I have never liked morale rules, personally. Sure, they're realistic in a way, but I prefer to play wargames more like chess. I like to watch the units stick around and do crazy stuff much more than I like the feeling that I'm simulating how a genuine battle would go.

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  8. Fair enough... which is why I indicated it as a personal preference, rather than 'fixing a flaw'.

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  9. I'll be sure to wear these pants if we go crawling around:

    http://www.twitpic.com/108bak

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  10. "-Rather than rolling initiative, every mini just goes in reverse Dex order counting down from 18 (or whatever's the highest)."

    I'd group both sides into groups. Let roll Ini by the commanding leaders of and for each combat group normally.



    "-PCs control their own characters plus anybody else on their side, DM controls the other side."
    Well, yes.

    "-Hit points of all models = normal # of hp divided by 10 rounded down with a minimum of 1."

    IMAO, not a good idea to go, if you don't divide damage as well. That would cripple the PCs very much.


    "-All weapons do 1 hp of damage per die ordinarily rolled to determine damage. (i.e. a weapon that does 1d10 or 1d4 will do 1 hp of damage, a weapon that does 3d6 will do 3 hit points of damage.)"

    IMAO that's a bad idea, because it would penalize heavy weapons and favor light and useless weapons. Shuriken would become deadly as hell.

    "-PCs "killed" are assumed to be captured or maimed (note to self--make a chart) unless someone specifically takes a round to kill them."
    Hm, your choice. I'd hate that for my characters to happen.

    "-EDIT: Armor class will be changed to ascending 1-20. i.e. A version 1 ac of 1 = a version 3.5 ac of 19 = a mass battle system ac of 9."
    huh? Explanation, pls.

    "-Close combat: each side rolls, adds their close combat bonus (these numbers can be used if you're playing type 1 or type 2 D&D), high number does damage unless the target can roll a d20 under their (new, converted, ascending 1-20 scale) armor class."

    Why not use the normal melee and AC rules system of 3.5?
    Doesn't take long and your standardized troops all share the same AC, where's the deal?


    "Ok, anybody see a hidden flaw in these rules before I send the ladies crawling across the floor with rulers in their hands?"

    See above.

    The sad point is: D&D does not handle mass combats at all. Should've been playing Savage Worlds, which HAS actually a working mass battles rules system, although rather abstract.

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  11. Caleb:

    re:initiative and "why not use standard to hit"

    it would take too long. units in close combat would be in close combat the whole game. since they'd miss half the time. that's why almost all wargames standardize initiative.

    hP--I AM dividing damage, didn;t you read the post?

    Re:shruikens being as deadly as longswords--I'm ok with that. normal weapons will all do the same damage, magic and siege weapons will do more. There's a reason people use light weapons.

    -AC 1-20

    it's easy. All D&D systems (except 4e maybe which I know nothing about) use a 20-point scale. That is, the scale has 20 gradations of armor class. Whether it's called ac 10 thru ac 30 as in 3.5 or ac -10 thru ac 10 as in Ad&D is irrelevant. point is, you can easily convert any of these into a 1-20 scale.
    I wrote an example in the post.

    p.s.
    your "sad thing"
    I'm sure savage worlds is a wonderful game, but never knock a system til you;'ve seen it run.

    we'll test-drive this system soon enough.

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  12. oh, and re: people dying.

    PCs die sometimes. If they donlt want to, they can stay out of the way.

    Fear of death is the mother of invetion.

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  13. @Zak: D&D 3.0/3.5 does not use a 20 point system AC? It goes up from a certain number to infinity? I had low epic PCs running around with ACs of about 40-60 something.

    "Re:shruikens being as deadly as longswords--I'm ok with that. normal weapons will all do the same damage, magic and siege weapons will do more. There's a reason people use light weapons."

    But that will shift the focus to basically useless weapons like sianghams and shuriken and or even broaden the gap between magic users and non-magic users, so your group will surely try to exploit the system and use weapons that would be useless in the normal system. In your system a single cleric, sorc or evoker will even moreso dominate the battlefield than in the regular system.
    And no, there's no reason people use light weapons, except for reasons of carrying shields, maybe. Don't confuse D&D with RL, D&D was not modelled to reflect realistic reasons to carry a light weapon, aside from two-weapon-fighting monsters like the fighter i once had in my group.

    Uhm, siege weapons, in a field battle, against infantry?
    Wouldn't siege weapons (that, like their name implies, are best used against fortifications) be quite useless against moving targets a.k.a. infantry and regiments?
    Or what do i miss?

    Best regards
    p.s.: I've seen D&D 3.0/3.5 "run" about almost 9 years now. That's why i tell it does NOT work on a mass-battle-scale, because D&D was not built to work with mass-battles. At least, not 3.0 or 3.5. I tried hard to devise some rules for that, but none of them worked out at all, so i hope your ideas will work for your needs and your group, good luck!

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  14. portly-
    a mini is a miniature

    caleb-
    this campaign won;t be going that high in ac. at leats not for the foreseeable future. 30 is plenty high enough.

    in this campaign, people won;t buy certain weapons to exploit the system because they will come to the battle without being able to prepare. it will be a spur of the moment thing. the DM will design the units, not the Players. the PCs will not know when a (rare) mass battle is coming.

    clerics and wizards will only do more damage if their attacks actually do more damage anyway.

    people often carry light weapons so they can strike fast. striking 3 times with a light, fast weapon could be argued to be as effective as striking slowly with a big weapon.

    siege weapons v. infantry: i mean like catapult hitting or rolling over a unit (probably accidentally). or cannons.

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  15. This is still "skirmish-scale" mass battle, right? Like maybe a few dozens guys on a side?

    Are the player characters going to be the leaders and champions of their side, or part of the rank-and-file (I mean more level-wise than organizationally)? I see myself handling these two situations very differently.

    -- Alex

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