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[Dark Eras] Battle / Mass Combat Rules

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  • [Dark Eras] Battle / Mass Combat Rules

    In modern times mass combat and classical battles are more and more rare. Automatic drones or special units tactical strikes are fact of present. However, in Dark Eras of history direct war were a fact of life and one could not live his life without even once taking part in mass battle, to defend his kingdom, town or even his family and close ones.

    Mechanics
    Those rules are inspired by Chase subsystem from Chronicles of Darkness and mass combat rules from Savage Worlds.

    They resolve on those basic terms:
    Accumulated Successes - Measure of success for particular side in battle.
    Battle Turn - Measure of time in Battle. It takes about 15 minutes of time.
    Important Character - This character is commander, hero or just exceptional individual that can swing the tides of Battle. In contrast to others fighters, they can use Down & Dirty Combat rules ( see Chronicles of Darkness Rulebook, page 87 ) on whole Unit. Players characters are automatic Important Characters. So does leading NPCs. In normal situations each supernatural creature amidst armies is also Important Character.
    Target Number - Number of Successes need for the side to win the Battle.
    Unit - Basic, independent part of army. Most of the times it will be size of players group or slightly larger part of army - like Vikings boat with it’s crew or Roman infantry Contubernium, smallest part of Legion. Large or complex war machines can be worth two or more “normal” Units - like balista or tank. If army is composed solely from supernatural characters, the supernatural group ( coterie, pack, cabal, etc. ) is treated as basic Unit.

    Units are run as Brief Nightmares ( CoD Rulebook, p. 143 ) taking in account those advice - Minion would be for this lone, not very special individual soldier or vehicle you find sometimes in smaller battles. Most infantry squads and similar would use Horde stats. Lone Terror would be for those true war machines and their crew - catapults, cannons or early tanks. Note, for Willpower trait or typical Resolve + Composure dicepool, use twice Willpower/Scene number. It's coming from this official rule:

    Originally posted by CoD, p. 144
    For resisted actions, use All Other Pools value as resistance Attribute unless Best Dice Pool or Worst Dice Pool actions would be more relevant.
    Battle
    The conflict itself is resolved are similar to rules of Chase ( see Chronicles of Darkness Rulebook, page 84 ). Starting Target Number is 10 for both sides. Each Unit more one side over the other is adding 1 to Target Number of enemy side. Very big or special Units can add more to enemies Target Numbers. Players and other Important Characters are not counted in this basic estimations. There are other modifiers of Target Number, like Chase Modifiers Table. Then add to Targer Number for each Important Character - each one is worth of 1 to Target Number of enemy.

    Battles are resolved as normal combat, only each turn takes about 15 minutes. On beginning of it, Important Characters roll their Initiative. Both armies do not roll it, as their “actions” are resolved more as Edge in Chase in Resolving the Turn phase. Important Characters do their actions in normal order. As turn is taking 15 minutes, each Character can make as much as he wants Reflexive Actions, but only one Instant one. (Storyteller is final arbiter ). Supernatural character can use it one of Instant powers and take other Instant Action in the same turn. Each Success in Down and Dirty Combat by Important Character is treated as one Success in general Battle for the side. Characters Exceptional Success is treated as two Battle Successes. Each Success taken by character is equal to defeating one Unit of enemy. Important Characters can fight between themselves - then take them out of Battle and resolve they fight on normal combat rules. If one of Important Characters is defeated, it’s enemies get 1 for Accumulated Successes pool.

    Resolving the Turn
    When whole Initiative of Important Characters has passed, it comes time to resolve the Battle’s turn effects. Each side rolls it’s Accumulated Successes for each defeated Unit or Important Character to this moment. Start the side with the Edge in this moment. Each Success on this roll is added as next Accumulated Successes pool. Wins the side that makes Accumulated Successes pool equal to their Target Number. Even when some enemy Units can survive, they run away and leave the Battle.

    Maneuvers
    Armies can make devastating maneuvers. Each one works more or less like creating the Plan for Battle by one of Important Characters ( see Building Equipment in Chronicles of Darkness Rulebook, page 100 ). Difference is that Important Character making it is limited to number of Unites he can use by his Presence and maximal modifier he can make for Maneuver is equal to it’s Presence dots. When two Important Characters of one side fight over the same Unites to use, wins the one with higher Presence. If both Characters are still equal, wins one with higher Maneuver dicepool. If still is tie, roll a die.

    When commencing Maneuver, at the Resolving the Turn, Maneuver adds it’s bonus on this particular roll with Accumulated Successes pool. After one roll, Maneuvers end and bonus is lost. Successful Maneuver is great way to take Edge from enemies. To get bonus in next Battle Turn, Important Character needs to make next Maneuver action.

    Aftermath
    Each Accumulated Successes is one Unit of enemy defeated. As Battle’s Turns are taking 15 minutes, those that did not get help earlier are dead. There can be made dramatic exception when, for example, vampire want’s to find barely living mortal to Embrace him after winning the Battle with his army. It’s assume that monster finds exceptionally resilient combatant or one that had more luck than rest of his Unit - that barely lives in this moment.

    Conclusion
    What do you think about those rules? Any advises on improving them? I made them when thinking about running Viking Werewolf game and understanding that battle scenes will be often then.
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 03-31-2017, 01:58 PM.


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  • #2
    I've fiddled around with many different kinds of mass combat rules. I think particularly given the way that werewolfs can heal and enter frenzies it might be difficult to account for this with single long turns.

    It sounds like you might also run into some issues with making every success of a pc equal to the larger unit success. And it might make the combat feel like a 'race' to the threshold.

    Scene-Based combat from World of Darkness Mirrors might work for you. If all you're interested in is what your PCs accomplish. I personally would abstract the units fighting and just utilize regular combat for a sequence of battles, so say a big battle might have 4 combat scenes and a half dozen objectives or a night raid might have 2 battles with a single objective.

    If your pcs are less involved in the fighting and more the movers and shakers, war leaders and such. There's a pretty abstract system in MtA: The Ascension.

    If epic werewolf heroes felling hundreds of armed soldiers is more your thing, I'd recommend checking out Dark Ages: Spoils of War or Exalted 3e for more inspiration.

    Really the system should reflect what feel you're looking for, how much granularity you want, and how much players agency should impact the fights. Hope that helps, I don't have my books in front of me but I'd be happy to get into more details when I can.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SpanishInquisition View Post
      I think particularly given the way that werewolfs can heal and enter frenzies it might be difficult to account for this with single long turns.
      As Battle Action is 15 minutes, it means that character can declare one attack target and it ends - if character insists on running in Gauru or getting 'immortality' ( instant Regeneration ), he goes in Hard Rage, risking massacre on whole his units - depending on Primal Urge, it can even take few Battle Turns. Not to mention he can roll other werewolves in Rage themselves.

      But the 'turn-to-turn' Regeneration is easily taken in account like assuming that character can heal any non-Aggravated damage of one Unit. If more Units are surrounding him, count next Unit damage as going over next Battle Turn to him. If werewolf do not is attacked by next Unit, he can simply heal his previous wounds from before Unit.

      Originally posted by SpanishInquisition View Post
      I personally would abstract the units fighting
      Charlaquin advised to use Brief Nightmares to Units in other topic. I will probably revision rules once more.


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      Comment


      • #4
        Rules Revision

        Units are run as Brief Nightmares ( CoD Rulebook, p. 143 ) taking in account those advices - Minion would be for this lone, not very special individual soldier or vehicle you find sometimes in smaller battles. Most infantry squads and similar would use Horde Stats. Lone Terror would be for those true war machines and their crew - catapults, cannons or early tanks. Note, for Willpower trait or typical Resolve + Composure dicepool, use twice Willpower/Scene number. It's coming from this official rule:

        Originally posted by CoD, p. 144
        For resisted actions, use All Other Pools value as resistance Attribute unless Best Dice Pool or Worst Dice Pool actions would be more relevant.
        Last edited by wyrdhamster; 03-31-2017, 08:13 AM.


        MtAw 2E - My Legacies and System Hacks Hubs
        WtF 2E - My Lodges and System Hacks Hubs
        WtF 2E - Alternative werewolves myths from around the world

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