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Mass Combat mechanic hacks

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  • Mass Combat mechanic hacks

    Im stuck.

    I have an upcoming game where 3 players will face off with 20-30 humans and fomori (human and animal fomori). I don't plan on throwing all 20-30 at the players at once unless their actions would make that a consequence , but Im completely intimidated as a storyteller using this system (the only system Ive ever known). Ive used the Wild West mass combat mechanics , and maybe I was doing it wrong , but it didn't work as smooth or as dramatic as I thought it would.

    Does anybody have any advice or system hacks to make mass combat dramatic, dangerous, and smooth.........I don't wanna be rolling initiative and tracking all that shit on paper unless its absolutely the only way.

  • #2
    Well, Exalted third edition treats mechanically-similar or -identical combatants as one large combatant with some special features, including increased odds to hit and greater damage. If you reduce its "health" to 0, it reforms as a smaller unit (i.e. with less "health") until everyone routs or ends up dead and there aren't enough combatants left to justify its great size. Assume that it can attack everyone in range or what have you once per turn.


    • #3
      as a ST with that in mind how would you do initiative? Can you tell me more about that exalted third edition system if you have time?


      • #4
        Originally posted by WISDOMINCHAINS View Post
        as a ST with that in mind how would you do initiative? Can you tell me more about that exalted third edition system if you have time?
        EX3 is rather different from Werewolf in that it makes Initiative a Big Thing. There are two types of attacks, withering and decisive, the former stealing Initiative from a target and the latter dealing health damage based on the attacker's Initiative. However, for our present purposes, you can set that part aside for a bit, because battle groups don't use it; they inflict straight-up health damage all of the time. If you're using battle groups with what I presume is W20, you'd just determine initiative as normal for the entire battle group, i.e. by rolling a single ten-sider and adding it to the base initiative rating for the unit, and have them act once per turn, making one attack against each player where it would make sense for their placement on the field and armament to allow it.

        To make a battle group, start with a basic character, and determine how many people there are in the group and how well they fight together (ranging from barely above a mob, which will give penalties on their rolls, particularly to initiative, to a crack military units, which would receive a modest bonus; the range in the middle can be mechanically given to a neutral state). The "health" of the battle group is equal to the normal character type's health, but with some bonuses based on numbers; Exalted goes in for one against a thousand (一騎当千) an awful lot, but Werewolf might demand a more modest progression, especially if you want the 20-30 combatants to mean something. When you determine how many times you want the characters to have to beat the group and make it reform as a weaker one, apply that number as bonus successes to its combat actions, including soak (Exalted also treats soak a bit differently, so I'm making an allowance for differences there as well). .Alternately, you might choose to use extra dice instead, as successes might get too effective.

        After that, the battle group just kind of acts like a massive blob that travels more or less as one giant thing and makes attacks on a single, set Initiative. If you want it to potentially scatter after losing numbers, you can either decide that they retreat at a certain point (at which you switch over to the chase mechanics) or else you can have the group make a Willpower roll based on how daunting the opposition is. Given that this is WoD, the difficulty might vary instead of requiring extra successes (Exalted uses a fixed target number of 7 for rolls).

        Again, this requires an assumption that everyone in the group has more or less the same stats. If you want a more diverse opposition, you'll have to set up several smaller groups, each with different attacks and Initiative rolls (but it's just one roll for group, again, so it's going to be pretty easy to keep track of in comparison to a few dozen initiative rolls).


        • #5
          Thank you! This eased my anxiety!