WARPATH—Rules for Mass Combat (PFRPG)

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Cry Havoc and Let Slip The Dogs of War!

The clash of grand armies comes to your game world! Designed by Hank Woon (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary) and extensively playtested, WARPATH is a complete set of rules designed to give Game Masters and players all the tools they need to run anything from a tiny border skirmish to an all-out epic battle involving thousands of soldiers. The rules can be used for units as small as one to as many as needed, and is designed to be fully compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game system.

    The 64-page rulebook contains rules for:
  • Unit Design
  • Combat and Tactics
  • Battlefield Maneuvers
  • Spells and Spell-like Abilities
  • Army Leaders
  • Battlefield Design and Set-up
  • Casualties, Prisoners and Consequences
  • Siege Warfare and Fortifications
  • A Quick-play version of the rules for fast results
  • Campaign rules, example units and battlefields, and more!

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Overall good rules for mass combat and nation building

4/5

First off the book is not perfect. There are typos, stats that are never used, and assumptions that don't make any sense. These errors aren't a big deal and can be immediately overcome with some reasonable assumptions. If there had been a little more editing before this book was published then I would have given it 5 stars.

Compared to the Ultimate Campaign (UC) book, I feel that the mass combat rules in Warpath are far superior, for the most part. The equipment, feats, and other abilities of soldiers making up armies is taken into account. Armies can easily be make of many small units. Armies also need logistics and can suffer from diseases, and the formations and maneuvers are realistic. I felt that the UC book lacked all these features. The downside is that leaders don't make much difference in Warpath.

The nation building section is fast, easy, and makes a lot of sense. The down side is that it contains much less depth and customization that Ultimate Campaign. For example, in Warpath a settlement of 6000 people is a small city, with stats identical to every other small city in the world, which makes my job as GM easy, but does not give PC the fun of designing their own towns and being able to see their palace.

I feel that Warpath and UC are each good alone, but it may be best to use them together taking the best features from each book.


WARPATH falls painfully short of its own potential

2/5

This pdf is 65 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 59 pages of content.

The book kicks off with a flavor-text (6 pages) describing life in the army/ in battle. I liked the prose.

After that, we get one page introduction describing recommend unit sizes, how to handle epic battles and that the standard square of a game map represents roughly 10 feet.

The next chapter details the designing of the unit, the default combatants in Warpath. (3 pages) Units are usually written down on Unit cards (standard index cards work fine) and can be created in 6 rather easy steps. Units have an attack bonus, class abilities, CMB, CMD, damage bonus, feats, Hit Die, Type, Movement and saving throws. The calculations are easy and quickly done and take chariots, are of effect attacks, intelligent mounts, flying units and the like into account. However, due to the lack of skill scores of units, e.g. the fly-skill of flying units does not fracture into the equation, which I consider to be a pity. I also think it’s a pity that a unit’s discipline is quite dependent on law vs. chaos and offers no guidelines for the results of speeches by the commanders etc. on the unit’s discipline. These are the only two things I did miss from these comprehensive and elegant rules, though.

The next chapter (6 pages) deals with Warpath-combat, which works somewhat akin to standard combat, with some modifications that remind me a bit of Warhammer: First ranged attacks, then recalculation, the move phase (and maneuver checks), then melee (and morale) and then a final recalculation of the Unit strength. The system makes sense and takes several factors into account: Natural 1s & 20s, Guns and straight-firing ranged attacks, High discrepancies between e.g. a Unit of peasants fighting a unit of dragons (they won’t 20-kill the dragon unit), high attack bonuses, attacks of opportunity, poison, regeneration and damage reduction. Problems like power attack, siege weapons and flanking are also covered. Just like in Warhammer, you really don’t want your unit to be routed – there could be a bad domino effect and serious penalties for units that get routed.

There is also a chapter on battlefield maneuvers (5 pages), of course. 7 maneuvers are given, Bull rush, counter charge, disengage, formation (open/close formation, hedgehog, set stakes, setting aside against a charge, shield wall, tortoise formation, wedge), march, pass through, rally. – The maneuvers offer a nice plethora of tactical decisions. Unintelligent or ordered creatures are taken care of via the little mob sidebar – they are not too efficient.

The next chapter takes a look at spells 6 spell-like abilities and their importance in battle – as far as I could tell, the rules seem balanced but take the relative rarity of spellcasters and their power into account.

After that, we get two pages on deployment and typical deployment. (2 pages) Whoever loses the scouting (check by the generals) has to put its army on the map first. Terrian takes into account hills, forests and bodies of water. I was missing desert, snow, underground etc. and would have loved the section to be expanded.

The next pages detail post-battle decisions (5 pages): There is a mechanic for casualty rolls, prisoners 6 ransom, for killing prisoners, decimation as a corporal punishment for cowardice as well as a quick and dirty Quick Mass Combat rule including a table to quickly determine the outcome of a battle.

Sieges are an interesting scenario and, of course, the next chapter deals with sieges. (8 pages) The chapter provides rules for enchanting siege weapons, siege weapons, sambucas, siege towers, etc. It also mentions undermining, starving a defender as well as the possibilities offered by e.g. bulettes and giant spiders in a side-box. However, I would have loved to see some examples for fantasy siege tactics – this would have been a great opportunity to write truly creative strategies.

If you want to pit your army against another player or on fair terms, one page offers us a point-buy system.

The next chapter is a sample army for the PCs to defeat: The enemy is a human wizard and his army of zombies, frost giants and megaraptor-riding trolls, including the 4 unit cards. (2 pages)

The final chapter (13 pages) details all the complications and things to consider when running a campaign, such as city income, increasing city sizes, rebellions, upkeep of an army, mustering armies (in tribal, feudal, professional and mercenary cultures), baggage trains, long and forced marches, battlefield fortifications, supplying an army and diseases.
The book closes with 4 more example unit cards. (2 pages)

Conclusion:

The layout follows the two-columns standard and is easy to read, the b/w-artwork is mostly historic in style (which I actually like) and public domain as far as I could tell. However, one problem is that much of the artwork takes up a lot of space – there are several whole page artworks and I felt that the space would have been better used by expanding upon the fantasy aspects of warfare. The editing, while ok and not leading to any problems in grasping the rules, is not perfect – there are some instances of missing single letters.

It’s kind of hard to rate this book as there are, apart from the rudimentary Kingmaker rules, no other mass combat rules for PFRPG as of yet, thus my only point of reference is Malhavoc Press’s 3.5.-book Cry Havoc. While the crunch presented in Warpath is elegant and easy to understand and worked in a sample battle I had with my group, I feel that there are A LOT aspects missing from the book, especially morale-wise: Are the gods on the side of an army? Clashing religions? Control weather and different terrain types, long overland marches through different terrains, the effects of great speeches and generals on morale etc. There is simply a lot of ground to cover that is missing in WARPATH. Too much for me. If more of the space of the artwork had gone to some of these aspects, the file would probably be THE resource for mass combat and I’d immediately recommend it to everybody. As it stands, Warpath unfortunately falls short of its potential.

Thus, I’ll settle for 2 scores: One for the people who are willing to work on the rules, who want mass combat in their games to take a major role etc. – For those willing to expand upon the elegant and concisely written rules, this pdf is a 3 star-file.

For all the people who want mass combat rules for one epic battle with a lot of spells, terrain control or who want their campaign to take all the tactical finesses into account, fantasy aspects of warfare, spells, morale, fantasy sieges, etc. this is a nice place to start, but falls short of realizing what it sets out to do. For you, this is a 2 star-file.

My final verdict will be 2.5 stars, rounded down.


Pretty good...as a wargame

4/5

When I read about this book, I was ecstatic. I thought there would finally be a Pathfinder version of Heroes of Battle, one of my favorite 3.5 sourcebooks. But alas, 'tis not the case.

Instead of creating a system in which it explains how each PC can influence the battle, they focused on rules for units of troops. In fact, they only put half a page in about how an individual character moves and fights in battle, and even that was mostly devoted to explaining that they're really just a part of another unit.

That being said, it's still a good system, it's just more of a wargame than an rpg sourcebook. Personally, I think that in a rpg campaign, it would only be useful if the PCs are the generals of the army, and even then, it would simply be used as a slight change, perhaps an encounter or, if the DM and players enjoy it, perhaps an adventure.

IMO, unless the campaign is based around the players controlling a military campaign, it isn't worth the money, particularly since you can get Heroes of Battle, a much more useful sourcebook, for about $25 on Amazon.


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This might be filling a great gap, really excited. Does anyone have an idea of how the campaign side is put together ?

Silver Crusade

Anything on urban warfare within?

Likely getting it anyway, but I'm curious.

Contributor

Sakai wrote:
This might be filling a great gap, really excited. Does anyone have an idea of how the campaign side is put together ?

The focus of the sourcebook is mass combat; the rules for campaigns have room for expansion. It's mostly about conquering/founding, maintaining, and expanding settlements.

Mikaze wrote:

Anything on urban warfare within?

Likely getting it anyway, but I'm curious.

The mass combat has siege warfare, but no special rules for fighting in crowded streets. However, I would run it just like any other battlefield, with the obstacles (buildings) offering different tactical challenges.

For example, most likely units would not be able to fit abreast on a road, and enemy units could hide in buildings to gain flanking advantages as you marched down it (I would adapt rules for units fighting atop battlements for those fighting within/atop buildings).


Hank Woon wrote:

The focus of the source book is mass combat; the rules for campaigns have room for expansion. It's mostly about conquering/founding, maintaining, and expanding settlements.

The mass combat has siege warfare, but no special rules for fighting in crowded streets. However, I would run it just like any other battlefield, with the obstacles (buildings) offering different tactical challenges.

For example, most likely units would not be able to fit abreast on a road, and enemy units could hide in buildings to gain flanking advantages as you marched down it (I would adapt rules for units fighting atop battlements for those fighting within/atop buildings).

Any ideas on when will the physical version be released ?

Contributor

Sakai wrote:
Any ideas on when will the physical version be released ?

I was told early May(ish).

In the meantime, you can check out a simple game I created for my gaming group based on the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, to be used with MapTools, here. The mass battles are meant to be used with Warpath.


Hank Woon wrote:
Sakai wrote:
Any ideas on when will the physical version be released ?

I was told early May(ish).

In the meantime, you can check out a simple game I created for my gaming group based on the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, to be used with MapTools, here. The mass battles are meant to be used with Warpath.

Thanks Sir, especially for the quick answers. Do you think there will an option of "buy the physical product, PDF will be free" or each will be sold separately ?

Contributor

Sakai wrote:


Thanks Sir, especially for the quick answers. Do you think there will an option of "buy the physical product, PDF will be free" or each will be sold separately ?

I honestly don't know if someone will do that, but I would guess no, since that's what the preorder deal was.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

My copy arrived in the mail earlier this week, though pre-ordered it direct last fall.

AJC


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Yay, my pre-order copy arrived today!

Dark Archive

So for those that got it, what do you think of it? Any chance anyone would do a indepth review of the product?

Liberty's Edge

By Odin's Beard!!!!! Paizo presents: "Real men of Genius"

Sczarni

This would be the first 3rd party hard copy i get so i just wanted to make sure of somthing. How many days will it take to ship within the US?


Wait. Print/PDF bundle for $17.99? That can't be right.

Isn't it $17.99 print, $9.99 PDF?

Dark Archive

Still hoping someone that bought this will review it eventually. :)

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

So...Could this ruleset be used as a stand alone tabletop wargame, ala Warhammer and Confrontation?

If so, I will definitely order it...


Perhaps I am missing something, but I don't find any treatment of Ability Damage or Energy Drain in the book. The treatment of poison is a bit lacking in this regard.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Urath DM wrote:
Perhaps I am missing something, but I don't find any treatment of Ability Damage or Energy Drain in the book. The treatment of poison is a bit lacking in this regard.

@Larry Lichman: There are rules for point-buy battles, for players who just want to create a couple armies and go at it.

@Urath DM: Ability score affects are treated the same; since a unit's stats already have the ability scores listed, you simply reduce the damaged/drained ability and apply its effects to various stats accordingly.

For opposing units of significant size differences, I'd use your best judgment, taking into consideration these relative differences.

For example, if a unit of 100 suffered 2 points of Strength damage from a unit of only 50, I would apply 1 point of Strength damage to the unit.

If the roles were reversed (50 suffered 2 pts of dmg from 100), I would apply 3 points of Strength damage, and so on.

An easy way to think of it is to multiply the damage by the unit count and divide by the targeted unit, round down. (D x X)/Y = A

So, if a unit of 100 monsters with the ability to drain 2 points of Strength attacked a unit containing only 63 (let's say 63 humans warriors), the humans' Strength ratings would drop by 3. Simply reduce the Strength rating of the unit by 3, per normal Pathfinder rules.

Because there are so many variables within Pathfinder, I tried to make the rules as intuitive as possible so on-the-fly judgments from GMs can easily be made. Also, a certain amount of abstraction was written into the rules to help accommodate the vast amount of variables in the game.

Of course, feel free to fiddle with the rules and post suggestions for others; like any Pathfinder or Pathfinder-compatible produce, the rules are designed to be a springboard for individuals' tastes.


Thanks for the quick response. I am struggling with something else at the momment...

Unless I am mis-reading, a unit of 100 sickly 1st level Rangers with Con 1 (avg hp 1) is just as hardy and resilient as a unit of 100 healthy 1st level Barbarians with Con 20 (avg hp 12). Both units will have Unit Strength of 100, Unit Mass of 10, and Unit Power of 10 (Unit Power being the base unmodified damage dealt per hit, and the Unit Power being the mass-combat unit's equivalent of hit points).

Identically armed (say with Greataxes), and all other stats being equal (10s), the Rangers will do 10 + 1 points of damage to the Barbarians per hit, requiring 10 hits to destroy the Barbarians. The Barbarians, in turn, will do... 10 + 1 points of damage per hit to the Rangers, requiring 10 hits to destroy them, as well (assuming no critical hits).

If the Barbarians enter Rage, their average individual hp rise from 11.5 to 13.5. Their unit stats remain unchanged, except for saving throws (Fort goes from +7 to +9, Will goes from +0 to +2) and AC (which goes DOWN 2). So the net effect, in melee, of Barbarians entering Rage is to make it easier for an enemy unit to hit them.

Contributor

@Urath: Correct, it's based on HD, not HPs. The abstraction I mentioned earlier comes into play here. However, here's a houserule you can try and see if it works for you:

For rare cases of an entire unit with a significant bonus or penalty, consider granting a bonus for every +/-2 1/2 hd per soldier in the unit. For example, your unit of 100 barbarians would be boosted to equivalent of 150.

For the reverse, consider halfing the HD (So for -2, a unit of 100 would be equivalent to 50; since 0 would complicate things, at -4 they would be considered 25, at -6 12, and so on). You can do the same for bonus HPs. Try this method, and see if this works for you, and let me know the results (it might be something Gareth can incorporate into the errata, at least as an optional rule).

Don't forget, though, that in your above example, a barbarian raging gets a bonus to hit with that greataxe, due to the bonus to their Strength score. I would also rule that the +2 bonus to Will would count toward Discipline checks when seeing if they are going to rout.

Liberty's Edge

AJCarrington wrote:

My copy arrived in the mail earlier this week, though pre-ordered it direct last fall.

AJC

AJ,

Any chance you might offer a review or at least give your thoughts?

Thanks!

Contributor

@Calvin: Thanks for the review!

Keep in mind that these rules are designed to be more realistic and in keeping with historical ancient and Medieval warfare (albeit with magic and monsters thrown into the mix). Players do not have to be generals; the rules state that even if a PC is in a unit, he adds a significant bonus to morale by his presence. That, and his actual damage on the battlefield, is how he influences the battle.

If a PC is a captain or even a general in the army (or if the GM allows the players to control X amount of units), then he also can influence the battle by controlling unit formations and tactics, which is how it worked in real battles.

Warpath provides GMs with rules for how PCs can influence battles or lead them.


Hank Woon wrote:

@Calvin: Thanks for the review!

Keep in mind that these rules are designed to be more realistic and in keeping with historical ancient and Medieval warfare (albeit with magic and monsters thrown into the mix). Players do not have to be generals; the rules state that even if a PC is in a unit, he adds a significant bonus to morale by his presence. That, and his actual damage on the battlefield, is how he influences the battle.

If a PC is a captain or even a general in the army (or if the GM allows the players to control X amount of units), then he also can influence the battle by controlling unit formations and tactics, which is how it worked in real battles.

Warpath provides GMs with rules for how PCs can influence battles or lead them.

I agree, which is why I mentioned that it actually is a good system, and recently changed my rating to 4 stars. Still, I would have liked more rules on how the PCs can influence the battle outside of leading the troops. The problem is not that Warpath is not that it is a bad sourcebook, but that there are much better ones for only slightly more money.

While I do like how they made the rules of battle realistic (something which Heroes of Battle didn't have), highly skilled individuals are more than capable of influencing the battle through espionage, raids, and ambushes that larger groups couldn't accomplish, something Warpath didn't even touch upon.

Contributor

@Calvin: Ah, I see, and it's a valid point. If I ever get a chance to revise the sourcebook, I'll definitely see what I can add in that regard. In the meantime, if you ever get a chance to run this system and/or you have some suggestions for incorporating those ideas for use with this sourcebook, I would love to see them!

Thanks again!


Hank Woon wrote:

@Calvin: Ah, I see, and it's a valid point. If I ever get a chance to revise the sourcebook, I'll definitely see what I can add in that regard. In the meantime, if you ever get a chance to run this system and/or you have some suggestions for incorporating those ideas for use with this sourcebook, I would love to see them!

Thanks again!

Well, espionage is easy; just put a bonus to the scouting roll based on the information the PCs bring back, or a penalty to the opponent's roll if they capture an enemy spy or otherwise hinder their opponent's scouting.

Ambushes are almost as simple. For small scale ambushes (i.e. the PCs, maybe with a few small allied squads, against a troop or two), whatever losses the two sides take would carry over to the next major battle, unless they could be replaced. The main difficulty would be that on such a small scale, it might be hard to get the troop cards system to work; perhaps treat it as a normal encounter, as in Core Rulebook?

Larger scale ambushes would be even easier; the ambushing party automatically wins the scouting roll (unless detected, of course), gains bonus to initiative, and maybe even receives an additional maneuver, probably in an adaptation of the surprise round. In addition, the ambushing party would be able to place units anywhere on the map, enabling them to easily surround their opponents formations. Also, supply wagons might be on the battlefield, causing minor disruption to the supply lines if they can be captured or destroyed (see next).

Raids on supply lines might be a bit more difficult. The best way I can think of to represent it is to add information on precisely how many supplies are stored in the camp or otherwise accessible to the army at one time, and how long these supplies would last. If the army cannot regain control of the supply lines or find another way of getting supplies (such as capturing enemy supplies) before their stores run out, they begin taking penalties as per your rules on lack of food and desertion.

Other things you might want to add:

  • Rules on using monstrous creatures as siege engines. Giants can throw stones as well as any catapult, and perhaps better.
  • Larger list of Siege engines. While not all should necessarily have unique rules, there should definitely be a larger list of siege weaponry, if only to list how much each costs. Admittedly, there wouldn't be much more (things like Onagers can be considered Catapults), but there are some things not covered, such as the repeating ballista (Polybolos) and light ballista (aka Scorpion).
  • Additional ways of increasing/decreasing morale. While a huge monster might cause your forces to rout, seeing that same monster slain by the PCs will hearten the troops. You even have one idea in the short story at the beginning; seeing the standard flying high above the fray can put courage into a man's heart during the most terrifying of situations.
  • Rules on what happens when a unit loses contact with its commander during a battle. This is a particularly useful one because, in addition to adding the problem of communication between units, it also opens up the tactic of disrupting enemy communications, something which can be done by the PCs about as easily as units.
  • Put a cap on the Discipline bonus for the number of battles the unit has been in, at least for Morale checks; even veterans of dozens of battles will run in many situations, and a +37 bonus to Discipline (and thus, if I understand the rules, Morale checks) doesn't represent that.
  • Rules for gaining experience and leveling, both for Characters and units. Lists of new, battlefield-oriented Feats and Spells would be particularly useful.
  • Additional rules for individual characters/monsters, particularly Huge and larger monsters. Maybe I just missed something, but the rules seem a bit vague on how a single dragon or giant would fight against a unit.

Some of these might be harder to add than others, and some might slow the game down, particularly for new players. Perhaps you could introduce a section on optional rules?

Contributor

Thanks for the suggestions! I think some of this stuff is already intuitively encoded into the current rules:

Calvin Roder wrote:


Raids on supply lines might be a bit more difficult. The best way I can think of to represent it is to add information on precisely how many supplies are stored in the camp or otherwise accessible to the army at one time, and how long these supplies would last. If the army cannot regain control of the supply lines or find another way of getting supplies (such as capturing enemy supplies) before their stores run out, they begin taking penalties as per your rules on lack of food and desertion.

The section on the baggage train goes into how much gold, food, etc. an army on campaign needs. It even goes into how long a baggage train is.

Calvin Roder wrote:


Rules on using monstrous creatures as siege engines. Giants can throw stones as well as any catapult, and perhaps better.

This would be easy enough to implement, since finding the average damage of, say a fire giant throwing rocks, and comparing it with the average damage of the siege weapons already listed. There is a bit in there that talks about how magical creatures might be used, though (like drow riding giant spiders over walls or trained bullettes being used to undermine, etc.).

Calvin Roder wrote:


Additional ways of increasing/decreasing morale. While a huge monster might cause your forces to rout, seeing that same monster slain by the PCs will hearten the troops. You even have one idea in the short story at the beginning; seeing the standard flying high above the fray can put courage into a man's heart during the most terrifying of situations.

This was actually to give an example of how a PC can increase morale, but that's a good idea.

Calvin Roder wrote:


Rules on what happens when a unit loses contact with its commander during a battle. This is a particularly useful one because, in addition to adding the problem of communication between units, it also opens up the tactic of disrupting enemy communications, something which can be done by the PCs about as easily as units.

This is one I strongly considered using, since in many historical battles, we read account after account of leaders not knowing what was happening on one side of the battlefield. However, in the end it started to feel like that level of realims bogged things down too much. The closest idea I liked was simply having a certain range that a commander could command his troops, but in the end I just dropped it.

Calvin Roder wrote:


Additional rules for individual characters/monsters, particularly Huge and larger monsters. Maybe I just missed something, but the rules seem a bit vague on how a single dragon or giant would fight against a unit.

This is covered (see page 13). It's important to note that this system facilitates units of various sizes, so a unit of only 1 soldier can be on the same battlefield as a unit with 100 or 1,000 or whatever.

Calvin Roder wrote:


Some of these might be harder to add than others, and some might slow the game down, particularly for new players. Perhaps you could introduce a section on optional rules?

If I get the opportunity (like a second printing is called for and Gareth lets me do it), I could absolutely see a lot of these being added as optional rules, and others (such as espionage) being made more explicit (since I don't think it alters the rules, just expands on ideas on how to use what's already there).

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Damon Griffin wrote:

Wait. Print/PDF bundle for $17.99? That can't be right.

Isn't it $17.99 print, $9.99 PDF?

It is correct. Adamant is offering the PDF essentially for free to anybody who buys the print edition here at paizo.com.


does the book detail on what happens if the PCs become prisoners??

Contributor

Frank James wrote:
does the book detail on what happens if the PCs become prisoners??

No, that's pretty much up to GMs. ;) But there are rules for figuring out if a PC in a wiped-out unit is dead, unconscious, or simply wounded.


can I get a detailed impression on the prisoners and consequences sections??

Contributor

Steelfiredragon wrote:
can I get a detailed impression on the prisoners and consequences sections??

The prisoners section mainly goes into the consequences of taking prisoners for ransom, such as was popular during the Middle Ages. It's a simplified system; it's better for morale allowing your soldiers to take prisoners for ransom, but doing so reduces the amount of men you have in the battle, since the prisoners have to be guarded.

The best example of this is the Battle of Agincourt, when Henry V ordered all of his knights to slaughter the unarmed French nobility they had captured, because he needed all his men out in the field fighting (some historians also argue that he was worried the prisoners, which numbered in maybe the thousands, would riot and he would suddenly find himself surrounded).

The English knights refused the order (because of the ransoms they would lose), so the order was carried out by Henry's archers.


@Hank Woon: More on supply lines. If I start getting irritating, please say so. I never have been able to tell when to shut up. ;)

Hank Woon wrote:
Calvin Roder wrote:


Raids on supply lines might be a bit more difficult. The best way I can think of to represent it is to add information on precisely how many supplies are stored in the camp or otherwise accessible to the army at one time, and how long these supplies would last. If the army cannot regain control of the supply lines or find another way of getting supplies (such as capturing enemy supplies) before their stores run out, they begin taking penalties as per your rules on lack of food and desertion.
The section on the baggage train goes into how much gold, food, etc. an army on campaign needs. It even goes into how long a baggage train is.

The rules on the baggage trains only mention how many men each carriage can support, with no mention of how long they can support them. Now, I'm by no means an expert on military matters, but unless I've misunderstood everything I've ever read about it, an army of any substantial size is incapable of carrying all the supplies they'll need on an extended campaign with them from the time they set out. To this end, they must maintain supply routes with their homeland, which both limits how far into enemy territory they can invade, as well as giving defending armies plenty of opportunities to ambush supply wagons away from the main camp. This, of course, is what I was talking about.

In addition, the rules on support of units seem slightly cumbersome. While listing precisely the amount of gold required to support each soldier is interesting, it might not work well as a rule system. While 3 units of, say, 150 1st level warriors is pretty easy to calculate, after a battle each unit will take casualties. A unit of 93 warriors, one of 69, and another of 123 is slightly more difficult to figure out. Given as how armies can consist of dozens of units, with thousands of men, it might take quite a while to determine how much you have to pay to support your troops, particularly for beginning player (might work as an optional rule, though).

Thus far, the best system I've been able to work up is a "Supply Point" system. I'm not sure how many months worth of supplies you intended each supply wagon to hold, or if you even thought about it, but that's the number of supply points they can carry. Each supply point is worth about 60gp, and the number of troops it can support can easily be figured out based on the information in the book.

Admittedly, it's not much better for considering casualties than your "individual gold" system, but it simplifies it somewhat, and makes it much easier to represent raids. To illustrate the differences, I've cooked up an example. Bonus points to whoever gets the reference.

Spoiler:

[Two players (Richard and John) have just fought a battle. Richard wins decisively, though both sides take losses]

[Original System]
John:How much do I have to pay my men?
DM:Let's see.
[DM pulls up a calculator and punches in numbers.]
DM:You owe them 15,467gp.
John:What!
Richard:It's an army. What do you expect?
John:*Sigh* Well, pay them out of the stocks. I'll also call for...um, however many supply wagons I need to replace that.
DM.oO(How should I know how many that is?)
DM:Of course.
Richard:I ambush his supply wagons.
John:No fair! There's no rules on that!
DM:It's a house rule.
[Ambush ensues. Richard wins decisively.]
DM:You destroy most of the wagons, and manage to capture a few dozen.
Richard:How much money did I get?
DM:Um...Let me think on that for a while.
[John sits there whining about the loss of money until the DM and Richard finally kick him out and find a new Player]

["Supply Point" system]
John:How many supply points do I need to pay in support?
[DM pulls up a calculator and punches in numbers.]
DM:258.
DM.oO(Why couldn't he work it out himself? Idiot)
John:Ok. I'll send for 150 supply wagons.
Richard:I ambush his supply wagons.
[Ambush ensues. Richard wins decisively...Again.]
DM:You destroy most of the wagons, but you manage to capture 23 of them, giving you a total of 46 supply points.
John:You only won because of those trebuchet stones you got in Cyprus.
DM & Richard: There were no trebuchets here!
John:Yeah, well...I had to be cautious in case you might use them.
Richard:It was an AMBUSH! In the FOREST!
[Argument continues until they finally kick John out and find a new player]

OK, admittedly, it's somewhat slanted towards my viewpoint, but difficult to write something that isn't. In addition, I got bored during the writing, so I had to put a joke or two in. Sue me.

At this point, if you still disagree, I'll let the matter rest. Also, I honestly don't know any chatroom etiquette, so if I'm posting too long of comments, please say so. I do tend to write novels.

Contributor

Actually, the rules for how much a wagon can carry is covered right after the Baggage Train section, in the Supplying an Army section (the rules assume gold is kept separate, most probably better guarded than the rest of the baggage. In Pathfinder, 50gp equals 1 pound).

As far as supply points, that's a fine houserule, but I don't think it works well for an RPG supplement (fine for a standalone wargame, though, but Pathfinder keeps track of everything a PC owns). Reducing it to that level of abstraction for sake of simplicity is perfectly fine, though, and as you mentioned, easy enough to convert if one is so inclined.

However, as mentioned, Warpath does cover that and does have everything one needs to carry out raids against a baggage train. As far as supply lines goes, since a GM or player knows just how many wagons he has in his army, how much each wagon can carry, and how much he needs for his army, he can plan accordingly for resupply (aka, planning his logistics). This allows GMs/players to recreate historical logistical strategies, such as Alexander's long trip back from India, where he had his ships--weighed down with supplies--meet his army at predetermined port cities as he marched along the coast, sacking towns and cities. Or Caesar's campaign in Gaul, where Massilia became an important strategic coastal city for resupply from Italia. I really like this part of the rules, because it adds a deeper level of strategic depth (planning logistics, disrupting supply lines, raids, etc.).

Of course, not every GM will have a long-term campaign for his players, but I included all of this pertinent information for those that do. I also thought it would be cool to come out with campaign supplements that use this product (for example, a campaign where players are members of Caesar's legions during his conquest of Gaul, working their way up from centurions controlling a single unit to his most trusted commanders, etc.).


*Facepalm*

I'm sitting here typing up the last post, and cross referencing stuff on that page and I completely miss it. Apologies. Being stupid can suck sometimes. ;)

As for your idea about the supplements, that actually is pretty cool. I'd already been planning a campaign based on Caesar's conquest, so I'd definitely buy it.

Contributor

Calvin Roder wrote:

*Facepalm*

I'm sitting here typing up the last post, and cross referencing stuff on that page and I completely miss it. Apologies. Being stupid can suck sometimes. ;)

As for your idea about the supplements, that actually is pretty cool. I'd already been planning a campaign based on Caesar's conquest, so I'd definitely buy it.

Not at all stupid! Your posts have been terrific, so keep 'em coming, if you've got more ideas/suggestions!

If you do start a Caesar campaign, post your campaign notes!


@Hank Woon: I'll definitely post notes on my world's wiki (here), but I'm not certain how useful they'll be to you. It's an alternate history setting, so I won't be able to stick too closely to reality (King Arthur or Henry II might find Roman armies too to close to Britain as a threat, Vikings might attack, etc.). I also won't be running that campaign for quite a while, so you very well might put out a supplement before I start it anyways.

Other than that, I can't think of anything else to add to the rulebook besides what I've already mentioned. Not to say I won't keep thinking about it, but all the easy ones are out there.

Contributor

Calvin Roder wrote:

@Hank Woon: I'll definitely post notes on my world's wiki (here), but I'm not certain how useful they'll be to you. It's an alternate history setting, so I won't be able to stick too closely to reality (King Arthur or Henry II might find Roman armies too to close to Britain as a threat, Vikings might attack, etc.). I also won't be running that campaign for quite a while, so you very well might put out a supplement before I start it anyways.

Other than that, I can't think of anything else to add to the rulebook besides what I've already mentioned. Not to say I won't keep thinking about it, but all the easy ones are out there.

Sounds good, keep me posted!


Does anyone have any thoughts on how Warpath handles HD? I've read and reread the book and I can't find anywhere where HD type is addressed other than Page 11:

"Step One: Determine the Unit Strength. The unit strength is equal to the unit’s number of HD × # of troops in the unit (also known as the Unit Count). For example, if the creatures that make up a unit have 6d8 hit dice, you multiply their Unit Count by 6 (it would be the same if it were 6d4 or 6d10)."

Am I missing something or is it very odd that 100 Wizards are as tough to mow down (spellcasting excluded) as 100 Fighters?


I had a quick question about the actual combat part. I probably missed it, but I was wondering about the facing during combat. I understand a unit can only attack its facing, but how much of that side must be adjacent to the enemy in order to attack?

For example, what if a unit only has 1/4 of its facing adjacent to an enemy unit. Would they get to attack for full damage since only a fraction of the surface area is available? What if i have my unit do a 90 degree turn (not a wheel) and attack on that side, since i only have them attacking with maybe half of the area that I would from the front?

And one last thing on this, what if a uint had wheeled 45 degrees and becomes positioned so the front corners are the only thing touching two seperate fronts of enemy units(that may be hard to visualize, let me know and I can elaborate more)?

Oh, and before I forget! What about the rules for blocking ranged attacks and for measuring distance? Is it a line from center to center, or it it like in regular combat where you can use a corner?

Thanks in advance, and thanks for all the great answers in this thread so far!

Contributor

allfearsalsa wrote:

I had a quick question about the actual combat part. I probably missed it, but I was wondering about the facing during combat. I understand a unit can only attack its facing, but how much of that side must be adjacent to the enemy in order to attack?

For example, what if a unit only has 1/4 of its facing adjacent to an enemy unit. Would they get to attack for full damage since only a fraction of the surface area is available? What if i have my unit do a 90 degree turn (not a wheel) and attack on that side, since i only have them attacking with maybe half of the area that I would from the front?

And one last thing on this, what if a uint had wheeled 45 degrees and becomes positioned so the front corners are the only thing touching two seperate fronts of enemy units(that may be hard to visualize, let me know and I can elaborate more)?

Oh, and before I forget! What about the rules for blocking ranged attacks and for measuring distance? Is it a line from center to center, or it it like in regular combat where you can use a corner?

Thanks in advance, and thanks for all the great answers in this thread so far!

Hello! During playtesting, we opted to allow a full attack/damage as long as the attacking unit occupied at least one square that was adjacent to an enemy unit (and of course taking into account the facing). We felt that worrying about percentages slowed things down too much. We found that it was balanced, since the unit was exposed and more in danger of being flanked/ganged up on by multiple enemy units. Also, if a unit was adjacent to multiple enemy units, they still could only attack one of them per turn (unless they had multiple attacks, of course).

With your example of the 45 degree turn, I would allow the unit to choose either enemy unit to attack. If they have multiple attacks, I would allow them to split the attacks. However, keep in mind that if both of those units attack back (if able to do so--like if each corner is touching the enemies' facings), then that one unit's clever maneuver suddenly put it under fire by 2 units in one round, which calls for a morale check to see if they rout!

However, with all that being said, if you find that allowing only partial attacks creates interesting and worthwhile tactical situations, then I would create a houserule for it (I would use something simple, like the unit's Power Rating; for example, if only 25% of the unit is touching the targeted unit, only allow 25% of the Power Rating to be applied to the damage, or something similar. Also in this example, I would rule that if only a corner is touching, it's a max Power Rating of 1).

For missile attacks, we also went the simplistic route and allowed for corners/front edge of the unit card to be the measuring point (at any spot along the card's edges). (What's good for the goose is good for the gander.)


Cry Havoc and Let Slip The Dogs of War.

Ha. Funny.


Thanks for the answers. With my group it would be MUCH better to go for simplicity over realism (one fo the reasons that they hate playing GURPS instead of D&D).

This isn't rule-related, but any suggestions on how to sell this system as a campaign to people that don't really use tactics normally? When I bring this system up as a campaign, they sem to think of this as more of a chore than something cool to try (these are players that like to do nothing tactical-except for charging everything in melee!). I wonder if there are any good ideas floating around that simplify this system even further to make it more appealing to these types of players.

Contributor

allfearsalsa wrote:

Thanks for the answers. With my group it would be MUCH better to go for simplicity over realism (one fo the reasons that they hate playing GURPS instead of D&D).

This isn't rule-related, but any suggestions on how to sell this system as a campaign to people that don't really use tactics normally? When I bring this system up as a campaign, they sem to think of this as more of a chore than something cool to try (these are players that like to do nothing tactical-except for charging everything in melee!). I wonder if there are any good ideas floating around that simplify this system even further to make it more appealing to these types of players.

I would suggest incorporating it into the story, and pressing forth the tactical importance of a certain aspect of a coming battle, and give them the command. For example, hold the left flank, or some such. Warpath can be (and in many aspects is intended for) incorporated into the roleplaying experience. I tend to play things up organically from within the campaign.

For example, if my players were new or didn't have a strong grasp (or appreciation) for tactics/ancient battles, I would put them in a situation where defense was at stake. I might put them in a city that is going to be attacked by a far superior foe, and build the suspense and importance of their victory. Then I might do some prologue adventures (scouting the enemy forces, securing provisions, diplomatic missions to secure allies, etc.), and then a preliminary battle in which they are given command of the left flank. Their commanders tell them what they must do and why it is so important (holding the left, waiting for the signal to attempt to break through the enemy lines, and so on).

During the battle, I would keep the characters "in the moment" by vividly describing the scene and always bringing it down to an individual level, while still using the unit cards. Ideally, they will slowly begin to realize that using the unit cards is the same as using miniatures and the only thing that really changes are some of the tactics and what the cards represent (units instead of individuals, battle maneuvers instead of feats, etc.).

After the battle, I would do another side adventure that is more traditional, and in that way slowly introduce the concept of mass combat and how it fits into a campaign.


Great idea! You could even throw beginner heroes by themselves against small units of troops(like 10 lvl 1 spearmen warrs in padded). The scale would be different(a player's 1x1 fig vs an index card), but I'm sure the players would dig wiping out a unit of soldiers single-handedly!

I had a few more questions if you don't mind lol, you've been a great help so far!

First off, I had a quick query about morale/routing. I didn't see offhand any specific rules for route checks for losing troops. For example: What if two groups of 100 warriors are meleeing, but one group eventually loses a LOT more than the other(say the first group loses 80, while the second only loses 10)? Or, what if during combat one unit gets dropped to about 10% or less of its regular unit count? Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anything about morale checks or route checks for just large losses of troops. It just seems like the unit will fight to the last man if they don't get in a specific situation on that list that would enable a route check. I would wing it and make them have discipline checks, but I was just checking if there was an official rule.

The second thing was initiative. If I was reading it right, the better scout/tactics check lets that person place second-which is obviousily better since you can react to your opponent's placements. But it seems that if you win initiative, you go FIRST-which seems to be bad, for the same reason as placement(it's at least contradictive).

The last question was about turn order. I understand the order, ranged attacks go first etc. The question is, does the person that goes first do ALL of those steps then the opponent, or do they alternate on each phase of the turn? I hope it is the latter, that would make going first if you wining initiative make a bit more sense.

Thanks for all your help, I know I'm being annoying!

-edited for EPIC run-on sentences!

Contributor

allfearsalsa wrote:


First off, I had a quick query about morale/routing. I didn't see offhand any specific rules for route checks for losing troops. For example: What if two groups of 100 warriors are meleeing, but one group eventually loses a LOT more than the other(say the first group loses 80, while the second only loses 10)? Or, what if during combat one unit gets dropped to about 10% or less of its regular unit count? Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anything about morale checks or route checks for just large losses of troops. It just seems like the unit will fight to the last man if they don't get in a specific situation on that list that would enable a route check. I would wing it and make them have discipline checks, but I was just checking if there was an official rule.

This rule is covered by a unit losing more than half its Unit Strength in one attack. During playtesting, it was more fun to put an emphasis on the tactics. If two units clash, and one wants an advantage, it should opt for maneuvers like Bull Rush (if an option) or to simply pin the unit in place while one of their fellows attempts to flank.

If it's just one unit vs. one unit, then it's going to be a slog, which was the intention. Eventually, as one unit gets worn down, it will be forced to start making morale checks for routing from losing too many men in one attack (though this is supposed to say in one round, so a unit with multiple attacks can trigger a rout more easily).

If you wish to make it easier to rout, I would suggest 50% rather than 10% (otherwise 2 units of 100 1 HD troops would trigger a morale check in just one hit).

But again, the idea is to reward players for clever tactics. In the ancient world, the entire goal/idea of a battle was to break through an enemy's lines. This was done by outflanking, exploiting a gap, or pushing the front line backward (aka, Bull Rush). (The latter was pretty much the only use of a Greek phalanx.)

Quote:


The second thing was initiative. If I was reading it right, the better scout/tactics check lets that person place second-which is obviousily better since you can react to your opponent's placements. But it seems that if you win initiative, you go FIRST-which seems to be bad, for the same reason as placement(it's at least contradictive).

If you win initiative, you don't have to act (there's readying actions, just waiting, being defensive, etc.).

Quote:


The last question was about turn order. I understand the order, ranged attacks go first etc. The question is, does the person that goes first do ALL of those steps then the opponent, or do they alternate on each phase of the turn? I hope it is the latter, that would make going first if you wining initiative make a bit more sense.

Alternate. The idea is to simulate attacks happening more or less at the same time (which is why unit strength/power aren't recalculated until both sides have gone through their respective phases, and then it moves on to the next).

Quote:


Thanks for all your help, I know I'm being annoying!

Not at all! My pleasure. ;)


If it's just one unit vs. one unit, then it's going to be a slog, which was the intention. Eventually, as one unit gets worn down, it will be forced to start making morale checks for routing from losing too many men in one attack (though this is supposed to say in one round, so a unit with multiple attacks can trigger a rout more easily).

Ok, I'm slow but I got it now! I think the problem was we did our test fight with 10man 1HD units, so the unit strength was always at 1 no matter how many they lost. Thanks again for the help and all the other answers!

Contributor

:thumbs up:

Let me know if you have any more questions, and also how future sessions using the system go!

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I had a question regarding reach weapons in Warpath. I quite like the system, and I like it more the more I read it, but I was surprised that reach weapons don't get a whole lot of justice in the supplement. The only thing I could find was the "phalanx" formation, which seems to represent a specific style of utilizing reach weapons. From what I understand about ancient and medieval warfare, reach weapons become very useful in a battlefield setting, and I was disappointed to see they seem to give no benefit in Warpath.

I also wanted some clarification about page 21, under Close/Open Formations. It says that "Units equipped with double-handed weapons cannot attack while in closed formation." Does this mean two-handed weapons, or double weapons? It seems like a lot of two-handed weapons, like halberds, spears, ranseurs, etc., are ideal for a close formation.

Contributor

thefishcometh wrote:

I had a question regarding reach weapons in Warpath. I quite like the system, and I like it more the more I read it, but I was surprised that reach weapons don't get a whole lot of justice in the supplement. The only thing I could find was the "phalanx" formation, which seems to represent a specific style of utilizing reach weapons. From what I understand about ancient and medieval warfare, reach weapons become very useful in a battlefield setting, and I was disappointed to see they seem to give no benefit in Warpath.

I also wanted some clarification about page 21, under Close/Open Formations. It says that "Units equipped with double-handed weapons cannot attack while in closed formation." Does this mean two-handed weapons, or double weapons? It seems like a lot of two-handed weapons, like halberds, spears, ranseurs, etc., are ideal for a close formation.

You're quite right about the spears and so forth, and that sentence was left out. I amended in another thread: Weapons that can are used as piercing weapons can be used in close formation, while slashing weapons cannot (so barbarians with great swords cannot while spears and so forth can).

As far as reach weapons, phalanx and setting against a charge are the only added benefits they get (as per historical examples). These are perfect for a) steam rolling through enemy units or b) neutralizing enemy cavalry.

If you have any other questions, shoot!


Has anyone compared this to Cry Havoc by Skip Williams: (http://www.montecook.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?mpress_Havoc)?

Cry Havoc is very good and thorough. I'm not sure what this does that Cry Havoc didn't already cover.

Dark Archive

cibet44 wrote:

Has anyone compared this to Cry Havoc by Skip Williams: (http://www.montecook.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?mpress_Havoc)?

Cry Havoc is very good and thorough. I'm not sure what this does that Cry Havoc didn't already cover.

Cry Havoc's back in print?

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