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Revamping mass combat: A case for making battle groups into active initiative users

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  • Revamping mass combat: A case for making battle groups into active initiative users

    While doing my latest youtube video a quick jolt of pain crossed my mind, a new thought coming into being. While I am thankful that I do not have such things often it did make me wonder: Would mass combat be better if battle groups used the same damage rules as active initiative users? That is, initiative going up and down?

    Before we continue let's assume the following quick and dirty mechanics are used so we have a frame of thought to base this conversation upon:
    • Battle group magnitude is calculated the same as normal, only each point of magnitude is a health level that must be damaged with a decisive attack. When enough damage is dealt the size goes down as normal.
    • Withering attacks still nail everyone in the area with a single roll being applied against everyone with any penalties being inflicted (EX: One opponent is invisible) rolling for that target with the penalty. The battle group only gains an amount of initiative equal to the highest damage roll of all opponents damaged with +1i per additional opponent hit and damaged.
    • Decisive attacks can divide the initiative of their attacks up amongst opponents equal to their (Size, minimum 2). This division can be whatever they wish. Alternatively you could use the init/3 rule if you want to spread your init out, as that seems to be the standard 3e is going for. To help keep things more mathimatically fair, battle groups would not add size to accuracy during decisive attacks.
    • Battle groups can use charms/magic an overwhelming majority of the members inside of them possess.
    • Might/drill might need a little more critical eye. Might especially I question the use for if battle groups can innately use charms/magic.
    • To make a difference of AoE effects vs Sniper effects, we can say that one automatic level of damage is applied per 3 dice rolled on the attack's damage (Similar to the current rule battlegroups have on decisive attacks)
    • Charms that say "Do X against battle groups" still function as normal, allowing anti-battle group charms to do their thing.
    So what purpose does this serve? I see the following advantages and disadvantages, with it mostly being advantages.

    Advantages:
    • Battle groups were narratively dull to fight against and to use. Largely being just a blob of numbers with few innate benefits. Familiars are infinitely more interesting as they have different ways to be used beyond blindly attacking and I don't see why human battle groups could learn special tactics or strategies to use in combat. If they're in the active initiative system this becomes easier to balance against.
    • Battle groups are annoying to fight in combat. Fighting a high number battle group with a commander inside of it is a real drag, as the battle group serves as an initiative toilet which outside of specific builds (Or White Reaper) you were going to have a hard time against them. In this version we can actually attack and gain initiative from them like actual opponents.
    • They become far less lethal. If you're not a soak monster then a battle group attacking you is a death sentence as they turn all their damage into health levels, and remember how biased 3e is towards weapon damage in this edition. One good smack can kill someone, and I don't think this should be the case. If you miss your chance at doing an initiative shift then you're kinda fucked.
    • To make this shift doesn't even require that much effort. Keep all the effects that damage battle groups the same, let those things be good against battle groups. Battle groups can now use charms (EX: A battle group of Blood Apes or super fancy artifact armour you decked out)

    Disadvantages:
    • Battle groups become a bit harder to kill, especially if your opponent has rallying magic. The soak bonus given by size for example might need to be toned a bit while the perfect Morale magnitude bonus might have to be nerfed or folded into some other effect. End result being that anti-battlegroup charms become far more useful, which I only see as a net benefit.
    Go ahead and tell me your thoughts on this. I'm curious to know if there's anything I missed or overlooked in this.


    Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
    Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

  • #2
    2 details:
    I agree about Might. If the battle group can use charms, there's not much point to it.
    Battle groups are already quite hard to kill, as you mentioned yourself (you said it's a slog). The easiest thing probably is just not to apply soak to size. This also makes it easier to calculate their stats when they go down a Magnitude, as their Soak is the same.
    You could also maybe reduce the defence bonus they get from Drill. I'd actually prefer the second, as I think it's more realistic for Exalts to frequently hit the Battle Group but not kill so many. But it doesn't make much difference either way.

    But, personally, I'm happy with the Battle Group rules. I use them because they're simple.
    Essentially, I use Battle Groups for 2 reasons.

    One; the PCs are acting like idiots and so, not knowing they're Exalts, a group of guards turn up to fight them. Or, maybe a PC is investigating a gang and gets rumbled, and so have to fight 10 thugs. Obviously, the PCs make short work of them, but they might take a bit of damage. I don't really want a complex fight, I want a quick one. And the normal combat rules for Exalted are, while I think reasonably interesting, not the best for a fight that takes 5 minutes.

    Secondly; to bulk out the fight against 1-2 NPCs. A group of Solars will of course steamroll 1-2 NPCs, even if they too are Exalts, especially as they're unlikely to be fighting other Celestials that often (just because there aren't that many). So I give them a battle group of bodyguards. This makes the fight more difficult and take longer than 1-2 rounds.
    Of course, I could do the same for having them fight like 4 Exalted NPCs. But I find it very difficult to run. I have to write up a bunch of high-XP NPCs, which is complex, and then it's difficult to remember all their powers when I've never run them before, and there's 4-5 (whereas PCs have used their characters a lot, and only need to run one PC. And some of them still forget their powers!).
    Possibly this isn't such an issue for you lucky STs who are running Essence 1 games, but I haven't played a starting game of Exalted for about 7 years. My campaign reached like 370xp, and all the PCs had 40-odd charms. Meaning to challenge them, NPCs also need to be high-essence with lots of charms, which makes them difficult to run. Whereas Battle Groups are really simple.

    And since the Battle Group can attack all the PCs, it involves all the PCs more, whereas fighting 1-2 NPCs means only 1-2 PCs will get attacked (and probably not decisively, because the NPCs are going to get quickly crashed).

    My friend has taken over the game, and he's been farming out writing up NPCs to players, and then getting non-involved players to play them. So for example, a couple of sessions ago, the sorceress was ambushed by the Wyld Hunt from underwater. That player played himself, Alveua and his dragon, I wrote up and then ran his bound demon Florivet, another player wrote up 3 water-aspect Shikari and 3 players each ran one, and the ST wrote and ran the Shikari in a Warstrider. That worked okay, but obviously only works when only one PC is in the fight.



    Tldr; I'm happy for battle groups to be tar-pits, because that's what I use them for. Otherwise 6 PCs will murder 3 or less NPCs in a couple of rounds while taking very little damage, and writing up and running 6 high-xp NPCs who I've never ran before is a nightmare.
    Oh, also the way Battle Group damage works means they are a threat to PCs (as long as they're buff battle groups, like Tiger Warriors or elementals), but a slow threat. So PCs get crashed, and know they're in trouble and so have time to fight back (or flee! My PCs have only ever fled from battle groups) which keeps up the tension.

    Oh, also the simplicity of Battle Groups means when the Eclipse unleashes sorcery, she does huge devastation (which is cool and genre-appropriate) but there's still a fair bunch left, and it's simple to run.


    "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

    Comment


    • #3
      Rather than make the initiative of a battle group wax and wane like a normal character's, what you could do is design a new sort of command action that replenishes it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        2 details:
        I agree about Might. If the battle group can use charms, there's not much point to it.
        Battle groups are already quite hard to kill, as you mentioned yourself (you said it's a slog).
        I mainly said they were an uninteresting slog. You have two modes for them: Laughably fragile and annoying potent. For PC's there's often no middle ground for them at all.


        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        One; the PCs are acting like idiots and so, not knowing they're Exalts, a group of guards turn up to fight them. Or, maybe a PC is investigating a gang and gets rumbled, and so have to fight 10 thugs. Obviously, the PCs make short work of them, but they might take a bit of damage. I don't really want a complex fight, I want a quick one. And the normal combat rules for Exalted are, while I think reasonably interesting, not the best for a fight that takes 5 minutes.
        My PC's have never had problems with a size 1 battle group, ever. If anything those are KO'd on the first round, a single player likely KO'ing them in several rounds even with the support of a commander. Size 1 battlegroups for me are usually a waste of time as they're KO'd faster than it takes me to physically write them. I would most often like a player go "OK you KO them" instead as its less of a hassle.

        What I want to do is make my fights physically interesting. Quite often I instead make them insignificant opponents with a few (modified) rules. Oh hell even use the minion rules from DnD 4e (Any damage = KO).

        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        Secondly; to bulk out the fight against 1-2 NPCs. A group of Solars will of course steamroll 1-2 NPCs, even if they too are Exalts, especially as they're unlikely to be fighting other Celestials that often (just because there aren't that many). So I give them a battle group of bodyguards. This makes the fight more difficult and take longer than 1-2 rounds.

        Of course, I could do the same for having them fight like 4 Exalted NPCs. But I find it very difficult to run. I have to write up a bunch of high-XP NPCs, which is complex, and then it's difficult to remember all their powers when I've never run them before, and there's 4-5 (whereas PCs have used their characters a lot, and only need to run one PC. And some of them still forget their powers!).
        Possibly this isn't such an issue for you lucky STs who are running Essence 1 games, but I haven't played a starting game of Exalted for about 7 years. My campaign reached like 370xp, and all the PCs had 40-odd charms. Meaning to challenge them, NPCs also need to be high-essence with lots of charms, which makes them difficult to run. Whereas Battle Groups are really simple.
        You're making some big assumptions here.

        Battle groups under either system don't need mountains of charms and abilities to be interesting. You know how many abilities my fodder enemies for my game had when the PC's were ESS 5? About 5 or so, same as when they started appearing at ESS 2. Hell I often forget the powers some late game NPC's have but I often don't forget the minion's powers as they have so few in the first place.

        But for battle groups under this system? You don't need to memorize anything that complete. You're not fighting a battle group of Octivians or Dragonblooded. You're going to be fighting against First Circle Demons or mortals. Often they don't have many charms or abilities to memorize, and are easier to keep track of.

        As for needing to challenge the PC's with high essence NPC's only... not really? It ultimately comes down to how you stat up encounters.


        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        And since the Battle Group can attack all the PCs, it involves all the PCs more, whereas fighting 1-2 NPCs means only 1-2 PCs will get attacked (and probably not decisively, because the NPCs are going to get quickly crashed).
        In my suggestion battle groups still attack everyone at once, I am not advocating on making them singular NPC's, therefore this point is irrelevant.


        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        My friend has taken over the game, and he's been farming out writing up NPCs to players, and then getting non-involved players to play them. So for example, a couple of sessions ago, the sorceress was ambushed by the Wyld Hunt from underwater. That player played himself, Alveua and his dragon, I wrote up and then ran his bound demon Florivet, another player wrote up 3 water-aspect Shikari and 3 players each ran one, and the ST wrote and ran the Shikari in a Warstrider. That worked okay, but obviously only works when only one PC is in the fight.
        I don't see how this is relevant to the conversation but yes this is a trick many GM's use.



        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        Tldr; I'm happy for battle groups to be tar-pits, because that's what I use them for. Otherwise 6 PCs will murder 3 or less NPCs in a couple of rounds while taking very little damage, and writing up and running 6 high-xp NPCs who I've never ran before is a nightmare.

        Oh, also the way Battle Group damage works means they are a threat to PCs (as long as they're buff battle groups, like Tiger Warriors or elementals), but a slow threat. So PCs get crashed, and know they're in trouble and so have time to fight back (or flee! My PCs have only ever fled from battle groups) which keeps up the tension.
        They're not a slow threat. So long as you're one hit away from crash they're horrifically super lethal, FAR more than what a normal NPC would do. Tell me: If I made an NPC power that allowed them attack a crashed opponent with an attack that did nearly 17 decisive damage per round while combining their weapon accuracy, would that be balanced?

        Why is such a thing magically OK on battlegroups?

        One of my major issues is that battle groups become way, way too lethal on a completely binary state. It completely screws over armourless builds, as you're going to need to jack your defense very high to compensate for any commander bonuses on top of a battle groups size bonus. At least opponents using active initiative tracks still damage your initiative always with withering attacks and actual effort needed for decisive attacks.

        So yes, I find the fact they bypass the initiative system of 3e, that is some attacks are not inherently super lethal to get hit by, counters the entire purpose of the systems.

        Also I do like my opponents to have options. I feel people too often go "Oh shit, I need my opponents to have several pages of abilities to keep up with my ESS 4 PC's!" when they really don't.


        Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
        Oh, also the simplicity of Battle Groups means when the Eclipse unleashes sorcery, she does huge devastation (which is cool and genre-appropriate) but there's still a fair bunch left, and it's simple to run.
        I don't think you understood my rules or read them at all. Under my assumptions AoE sorcery would function the exact same and do the same damage as it does in the old system. Have you read my post? I mean that sincerely.



        Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
        Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

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        • #5
          I wonder if part of the significance of sufficiently large battle groups being difficult and dangerous to fight is that it strengthens scenarios in which stealth is preferable, as well as illustrating the value of having armies.

          I'm saying that not as any kind of counter-argument, but genuine speculation.

          As an addendum to that, I would like to know anything you could say about how these rules might play out in terms of clashing armies.

          I'm not really good for parsing how some of these rules would work out in play, but I guess that the intention is still to have a format in which a sufficiently large enemy force can seem better avoided, or met with similar numbers?

          ​I wonder...

          Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
          [*]Withering attacks still nail everyone in the area with a single roll being applied against everyone with any penalties being inflicted (EX: One opponent is invisible) rolling for that target with the penalty. The battle group only gains an amount of initiative equal to the highest damage roll of all opponents damaged with +1i per additional opponent hit and damaged.[*]Decisive attacks can divide the initiative of their attacks up amongst opponents equal to their (Size, minimum 2). This division can be whatever they wish. Alternatively you could use the init/3 rule if you want to spread your init out, as that seems to be the standard 3e is going for. To help keep things more mathimatically fair, battle groups would not add size to accuracy during decisive attacks.
          I feel as though the withering attack rules here might not create a scenario in which it's paradoxically less effective to fight a battle group with more individuals, if the greater number they are, the more Initiative the battle group is liable to get.

          And then the battle group is able to redistribute that decisive damage to multiple people at once...

          Although maybe it all balances out if the battle group is also presumed to have its Initiative under attack from multiple people one after the other.

          But then, what about scenarios in which a battle group is accompanied by individual fighters who are able to draw the attention of its targets' attacks, or even perform Defend Other actions for it, while it's still potentially absorbing Initiative from multiple people to both increase its own power and weaken them (to a potentially greater degree).

          I mean, I suppose that's a concern with the current rules as well, but at least there, your successful attacks can reliably wear the battle group down.

          I guess that summarizes the concern that some of these damage rules might raise to me; that one may be locked into scenarios in which successfully hitting the battle group is not reliably wearing it down, and with the right kind of assistance it can maintain a stable equilibrium until it gets the opportunity to make a nasty decisive attack. And that doesn't need to be one where it will roll maximum damage; if they can pick and choose when they're going for your health track, and are capable of hitting several people at once, that seems capable of creating nasty scenarios in which a whole (or large chunk of the) party gets hit with a decisive that is not optimal, but wears them down enough to all take further attacks that compound their losses.

          Rolling damage with large dice pools against a crashed individual might be severe, even devastating, but I wonder if it helps to keep battle groups balanced when they don't have their own latitude about when they apply such attacks, and if it favours the individuals with awareness that their Initiative is teetering and it might be time to cut and run.

          Originally posted by Sandact
          [*]To make a difference of AoE effects vs Sniper effects, we can say that one automatic level of damage is applied per 3 dice rolled on the attack's damage (Similar to the current rule battlegroups have on decisive attacks)
          I'm unsure what this refers to; who is attacking, what kind of attack, who is taking the damage?


          I have approximate knowledge of many things.
          Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
          https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

          Comment


          • #6
            I'll quote the rest of your post tomorrow Isator (Damn work schedule!), but I will say this

            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

            I'm unsure what this refers to; who is attacking, what kind of attack, who is taking the damage?
            This is in response to the "Solar Railgun" issue mass combat had in 2e and battle groups have somewhat in 3e. Basically a charm combo made to splat a single opponent does the same thing to a mass combat unit/battle group.

            What this rule is saying is that IF we assume mass combat groups use the same rules as single opponents do with withering/decisive, we can say battle groups take additional damage from AoE attacks. For example Glorious Solar Bolt is the same as attacking a single opponent, but if we use Death of Obsidian Butterflies the Battlegroup would instead take damage as current battle groups do from decisive attacks (EX: One automatic level of damage for every three/four dice of damage). This sounds like a lot, but its a direct countermeasure to how much health they'll have in this rewrite.


            Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
            Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
              Battle groups become a bit harder to kill
              Understatement of the year. Like, honestly this sounds like a great way to have a combat that drags on pretty much forever.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hmm, personally, I do not perticularly like the changes. Please allow me to throw in my two cents.

                In mu opinion, the biggest wasted oppertunities are Drill and Might. Lets adress one at the time.

                Drill is supposed to represent group cohesion and discipline on the battlefield. This can take shape in infinitly many ways yet it is abstracted down to modifiers to rout and defence. I suggest that the rout modifier is kept but defence is replaced by formations:

                Poor: No formations

                Avarage: One formation

                Elite: Three formations or one formation and one elite formation.

                Formations are pretty much merits or "charms" witch make use of the fact that it is a BG and/or their role on the battlefield. It is not neccesarily a formation per se, but could just as well be an attack or something else. For example, a well trained BG of archers might have one called "quick volley" witch allow them to fire at medium+ range without aiming at a -(6-size) penality (in addition to normal range accuracy modifiers) for 1 wp.

                Might is completely done away with. Poorly trained BGs can use their charms as if they were a single combatant instead of either attacking all single targets or another BG. If they are avarage+, they can make use of BG variants of some of thier most prominent combat charms.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                  I'll quote the rest of your post tomorrow Isator (Damn work schedule!), but I will say this



                  This is in response to the "Solar Railgun" issue mass combat had in 2e and battle groups have somewhat in 3e. Basically a charm combo made to splat a single opponent does the same thing to a mass combat unit/battle group.

                  What this rule is saying is that IF we assume mass combat groups use the same rules as single opponents do with withering/decisive, we can say battle groups take additional damage from AoE attacks. For example Glorious Solar Bolt is the same as attacking a single opponent, but if we use Death of Obsidian Butterflies the Battlegroup would instead take damage as current battle groups do from decisive attacks (EX: One automatic level of damage for every three/four dice of damage). This sounds like a lot, but its a direct countermeasure to how much health they'll have in this rewrite.
                  I understand. I think the description could be more clear on how it's giving that rule specifically to attacks over an area.


                  I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                  Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post

                    I mainly said they were an uninteresting slog. You have two modes for them: Laughably fragile and annoying potent. For PC's there's often no middle ground for them at all.
                    Surely if a size 1 unit of mooks is laughably fragile and a size 5 unit of tiger warriors is annoyingly potent, you can run a size 3 unit of battle-ready troops? Or whatever.

                    I've found small units of Tiger Warriors being ordered is a moderate threat. They don't last long, but in combination with an NPC, that's fine.


                    My PC's have never had problems with a size 1 battle group, ever. If anything those are KO'd on the first round, a single player likely KO'ing them in several rounds even with the support of a commander.
                    That's my point. They're very quick ways to resolve fights that I put in because I don't want every townsperson to just accept the PC's crimes, but it's not an important fight.
                    Having them use the proper initiative rules makes them a bit more complex. I'm happy to do that for important NPCs, but for 20 guards I want it to be very simple.

                    I mean, I'm not saying that if you find them too simple, you definitely shouldn't make them more complex. It sounds like you do find them too simple. But for me personally it ruins the point of battle groups, which is to be relatively simple.

                    But I don't think we're going to agree on that, so I'll just address how to make yours work.

                    Size 1 battlegroups for me are usually a waste of time as they're KO'd faster than it takes me to physically write them.
                    I never write battlegroups personally, I use this:
                    https://colin-fredericks.github.io/ex3-battle-groups/
                    It has the added convenience of telling you the new stats when they lose a point of size.

                    They're not a slow threat. So long as you're one hit away from crash they're horrifically super lethal, FAR more than what a normal NPC would do. Tell me: If I made an NPC power that allowed them attack a crashed opponent with an attack that did nearly 17 decisive damage per round while combining their weapon accuracy, would that be balanced?
                    First, they have to crash you. If you've got 8 or 9 initiative, they're probably going to need to hit you three times to actually do damage. At this point though, yes, they are very dangerous. Though they often don't last that long.
                    Whereas if you have them use the normal rules, they can do damage on the first hit.
                    I should also say that it's 17 minus soak. You are right that it does make them extremely effective against crashed unarmoured foes, but then, a normal enemy does way more withering to an unarmoured enemy, and thus can whip out very high-damage decisive attacks.

                    If you playtest it, let me know how much difference it makes vs unarmoured foes. I'd be interested to see.

                    Under my assumptions AoE sorcery would function the exact same and do the same damage as it does in the old system. Have you read my post? I mean that sincerely.
                    Per the Battle Group rules, Decisive attacks on them get bonus damage. I assumed you were dropping that, since you were going to put them on the normal initiative rules. Though from your response to Isator, it sounds like you have considered it. I think applying the bonus damage to just AoE attacks is a good idea.


                    "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      God this took some time to write.

                      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                      I feel as though the withering attack rules here might not create a scenario in which it's paradoxically less effective to fight a battle group with more individuals, if the greater number they are, the more Initiative the battle group is liable to get.

                      And then the battle group is able to redistribute that decisive damage to multiple people at once...

                      Although maybe it all balances out if the battle group is also presumed to have its Initiative under attack from multiple people one after the other.
                      That’s the point yes. Battle groups would be able to focus and spread around decisive damage, rather than fucking everyone over in huge equal amounts.


                      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                      But then, what about scenarios in which a battle group is accompanied by individual fighters who are able to draw the attention of its targets' attacks, or even perform Defend Other actions for it, while it's still potentially absorbing Initiative from multiple people to both increase its own power and weaken them (to a potentially greater degree).

                      I mean, I suppose that's a concern with the current rules as well, but at least there, your successful attacks can reliably wear the battle group down.
                      No more than normal defend other walls, but yes. I was thinking of maybe forcing a route check when they’re crashed as well.

                      `
                      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                      I guess that summarizes the concern that some of these damage rules might raise to me; that one may be locked into scenarios in which successfully hitting the battle group is not reliably wearing it down, and with the right kind of assistance it can maintain a stable equilibrium until it gets the opportunity to make a nasty decisive attack. And that doesn't need to be one where it will roll maximum damage; if they can pick and choose when they're going for your health track, and are capable of hitting several people at once, that seems capable of creating nasty scenarios in which a whole (or large chunk of the) party gets hit with a decisive that is not optimal, but wears them down enough to all take further attacks that compound their losses.
                      If you’re in a state where you’re barely inflicting enough damage on the opponent battle group through a Defend Other tank then chances are you’re not going to be doing that hot either. The only difference is in the version I proposed you’re get some initiative out of attacking (potentially), rather than getting your 1i for hitting RAW and whimpering at how you’re likely hemorrhaging seven to ten times that per attack the battle group makes.

                      Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                      Rolling damage with large dice pools against a crashed individual might be severe, even devastating, but I wonder if it helps to keep battle groups balanced when they don't have their own latitude about when they apply such attacks, and if it favours the individuals with awareness that their Initiative is teetering and it might be time to cut and run.
                      Saving its severe is putting it lightly. As I said its like allowing a charm that lets your withering attacks deal actual damage when an opponent is in crash. Such a thing would immediately be called out broken and busted almost universally regardless of the NPC or Player type. Why are battle groups allowed to be the exception here?

                      For me fighting against battle groups while crashed is akin to playing rocket tag in 2e. If you didn’t get specific builds (Almost universally high soak here) then you’re going to get splattered. I believe high defense Melee builds can help but not forever. Dodge could survive with Reed in the Wind but it’d be blowing more initiative then it’d be making per turn (Unless you get lucky on pot shots).


                      Originally posted by Carrot Crusader View Post
                      Hmm, personally, I do not perticularly like the changes. Please allow me to throw in my two cents.

                      In mu opinion, the biggest wasted oppertunities are Drill and Might. Lets adress one at the time.

                      Drill is supposed to represent group cohesion and discipline on the battlefield. This can take shape in infinitly many ways yet it is abstracted down to modifiers to rout and defence. I suggest that the rout modifier is kept but defence is replaced by formations:

                      Poor: No formations

                      Avarage: One formation

                      Elite: Three formations or one formation and one elite formation.

                      Formations are pretty much merits or "charms" witch make use of the fact that it is a BG and/or their role on the battlefield. It is not neccesarily a formation per se, but could just as well be an attack or something else. For example, a well trained BG of archers might have one called "quick volley" witch allow them to fire at medium+ range without aiming at a -(6-size) penality (in addition to normal range accuracy modifiers) for 1 wp.

                      Might is completely done away with. Poorly trained BGs can use their charms as if they were a single combatant instead of either attacking all single targets or another BG. If they are avarage+, they can make use of BG variants of some of thier most prominent combat charms.

                      Before I start you’ve got one of the best names I’ve seen on this site, now.

                      I actually really like your idea of making formations based on specific charms/abilities battle groups can get. That’s actually really cool and opens up a lot of options.

                      But this doesn’t address the core problem I was trying to aim at: Battle groups being far too lethal for their own good. When there’s an issue like this you need to change how something works at base otherwise giving them potent abilities will only compound the issues greatly.

                      Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post
                      Understatement of the year. Like, honestly this sounds like a great way to have a combat that drags on pretty much forever.
                      I’d need to do some playtests, but yes length did come across my mind. If we wanted it to be shorter we could force rally rolls whenever the BG is crashed. Alternatively to speed up combat all Exalts would get some charms that help with anti-battle group charms, the key one being some form of minor AoE or anti-battle group charm that would allow the current decisive rule against battle groups (1 automatic level per 3 or 4 dice of damage), yes Dragonblooded getting this easily as I feel it’s the right of an Exalt to trample down a peasant uprising.

                      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      Surely if a size 1 unit of mooks is laughably fragile and a size 5 unit of tiger warriors is annoyingly potent, you can run a size 3 unit of battle-ready troops? Or whatever.
                      You misread. My point was I don’t think I found a good/successful middle ground. You either do pitful damage or your gutting people like Cornish game hens. The initiative stops this by (usually) making it so you don’t die to any one attack immediately, rather you die to several attacks that add up together.


                      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      That's my point. They're very quick ways to resolve fights that I put in because I don't want every townsperson to just accept the PC's crimes, but it's not an important fight.
                      Having them use the proper initiative rules makes them a bit more complex. I'm happy to do that for important NPCs, but for 20 guards I want it to be very simple.
                      I wouldn’t do 20 guards as active initiative opponents or even if I was generous and made them insignificant opponents (Size 0 battlegroups). 20 people would take too long to resolve and in which something the battle group system was designed for, that we can agree on.

                      But here’s the thing: In either system if the PC’s are going to crush a 20 guard battle group by themselves? Why even bother rolling for combat at that point. The only point I can see is probably blowing resources on an encounter. If an encounter is too ‘simple’, where the outcome is effectively 100% known from the start? I’d rather not waste anyone’s time.


                      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      I mean, I'm not saying that if you find them too simple, you definitely shouldn't make them more complex. It sounds like you do find them too simple. But for me personally it ruins the point of battle groups, which is to be relatively simple.
                      That’s about right. I find them dull as dishwater. Animals and many other things in the setting have neat and interesting effects, things I can tailor in encounters for. Exalted 3e, despite wanting to empower mortals, has fuckall for them. If I had to use a comparison a Champion Fighter in 5e is certainly better than his 3.5e counterpart, but I find them just as dull to use and just as likely to put me to sleep. Why don’t we go for a sexy warblade instead? (Well obviously because the game expects you to play Exalts and I get that, also because I believe giving mortals special abilities opens a huge can of worms where Exalted PC’s point and go ‘I want that, I’m mortal ++ so I should be able to have that’.)


                      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      But I don't think we're going to agree on that, so I'll just address how to make yours work.
                      Sure.


                      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      I never write battlegroups personally, I use this:
                      https://colin-fredericks.github.io/ex3-battle-groups/
                      It has the added convenience of telling you the new stats when they lose a point of size.
                      Cool, many people don’t often use such things. And if I had to use myself for an example many of my battle groups would have custom stats. Again it takes longer to type in their numbers than it does for players to KO them, as in my experience they’re almost always the first thing hit. The initiative rules would mean they actually last into the next round. If they survive they’re most likely not going to be doing anything as they’re going to be routing.


                      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      First, they have to crash you. If you've got 8 or 9 initiative, they're probably going to need to hit you three times to actually do damage. At this point though, yes, they are very dangerous. Though they often don't last that long.
                      Whereas if you have them use the normal rules, they can do damage on the first hit.
                      I should also say that it's 17 minus soak. You are right that it does make them extremely effective against crashed unarmoured foes, but then, a normal enemy does way more withering to an unarmoured enemy, and thus can whip out very high-damage decisive attacks.
                      Here’s the thing though, if you’ve got 7 or 8 initiative and you’re up against a… Let’s say a Size 3 Medium Infantry battle group. Something not too out of the ordinary. Their damage is already 15, 16 since you need to be one over a defense in order to hurt someone. If you’re going an armourless builds this has a fairly realistic chance to crash you in one shot. It wouldn’t be three times, it’d be one attack. Which is why they’re focused fired like magnets.

                      Also while an active initiative track user can mess up an unarmoured user yes, the difference is the unarmoured user has a chance to get their initiative back. Battle groups won’t give that back. The only way you’re being saved is (A) Reduce them down a size, triggering initiative shift or (B) Pray you dodge the attack, which even if you do you still need to last a few rounds and hope you trigger A.

                      Said enemy will also have the initiative reduced for failing to land decisive attacks, battle groups have no such issues as their initiative is inert. Anti-decisive charms won’t work on battle groups because their attacks are not considered decisive. One objective of this homebrew/fix would be fixing such things.



                      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      If you playtest it, let me know how much difference it makes vs unarmoured foes. I'd be interested to see.
                      After I do my next youtube video I’m definitely going to be giving it a shot.


                      Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
                      Per the Battle Group rules, Decisive attacks on them get bonus damage. I assumed you were dropping that, since you were going to put them on the normal initiative rules. Though from your response to Isator, it sounds like you have considered it. I think applying the bonus damage to just AoE attacks is a good idea.
                      Oh yea, as I said above I’d be allowing AoE charms to do damage like that or at least giving all exalts the capability of doing such a thing. If even Dragonblooded can’t do it then it doesn’t feel empowering IMO (Plus I feel if I remove a base feature of the game that seemed cool, I should find a way to try and put it back in spirit within the new system).


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                      • #12
                        *suddenly remembers that Charm pass I thought a while back about doing wherein I take all the ones designed to help against multiple opponents and give them “Against a battle group this does [X]” clauses so that they’re actually useful against the most common kind of “multiple opponents”*

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sandact6 View Post
                          Saving its severe is putting it lightly.
                          That's why I said "even devastating".

                          Originally posted by Sandact6
                          Why are battle groups allowed to be the exception here?
                          Because they're armies, and even for the Exalted there has to be a point at which being outnumbered represents a significant danger, and a means of representing that other than having a few hundred attacks rolled against you?

                          When I thought about ways in which a battle group might fight with your proposed rules, it felt to me as though it had a degree of flexibility and variation that wouldn't really feel like fighting a large block of soldiers so much as literally being against a kind of hydra, or a blob with a lot of spears pointing out of it.


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                          Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
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                          • #14
                            Thinking about it, while one hero fighting an army might not feel right, two armies struggling back and forth until one gains the advantage (a breach, flanking, etc) and uses it to do significant damage does make sense.


                            "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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                            • #15
                              Personally, I value inert initiative and find it saves me a lot of time.

                              I think Battle Group lethality is a valid concern and one of the reasons why I think the Ex3 core shouldn't be lacking a Storyteller's section because as much as a Battle Group needs commanders to realise their full potential you're also going to want some punchable NPCs around for your PCs to recover Initiative not as sacrosanct rules of a good encounter, so much as acknowledging that their omission can present a serious challenge to some character builds if the Battle Group is formidable enough and should be factored into encounter design with "Legendary Size again!?" and "How much soak makes actions unsatisfactory as the fight drags itself from one round to another like its existence is agony and it craves only the sweet release of death?"


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