Mass Combat


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I'm having problems understanding exactly how mounts work in the mass combat system as is.

So if I have a hill giant riding a mammoth (advanced elephant) 1 hill giant cavalryman is a CR 16 creature, or otherwise a CR 8 army. Is this right? How does this interact with the idea of the tribe of hill giants with mammoths that is present within War of the River Kings?

Shadow Lodge

CaspianM wrote:

I'm having problems understanding exactly how mounts work in the mass combat system as is.

So if I have a hill giant riding a mammoth (advanced elephant) 1 hill giant cavalryman is a CR 16 creature, or otherwise a CR 8 army. Is this right? How does this interact with the idea of the tribe of hill giants with mammoths that is present within War of the River Kings?

Wow, this is an old message. Ah well, on the off chance it helps:

Actually, the hill giants in War of the River King are mounted on mastodons(CR 9), not advanced elephants. If mounts are used in an army, the higher CR of either the mount or the rider is used (in this case, the mastodon, CR 9).

Then, adjust the CR using the chart on page 56. Since the mounted hill giants in question is a small army (CR -2), the resulting CR is 7.

Incidently, if you had an encounter with an advanced elephant (CR 8) and a hill giant (CR 8), then you have a CR 10 encounter, not 16.


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Biobeast wrote:
Does anyone know if on any of these forums anyone came up with a system that is similar to the battle system as presented by Paizo but just added a battlefield movement system?

I just posted my heavily revised rules here. On a high level, they're similar to the official system with tactical movement, but you can drill down a lot deeper, since it's much less abstract.

It might be too late to be relevant for you, though, since it's been 10 months since you asked.


Hi Bobson,

Did you ever end up playing them - & if so...how did they work?

I've been wanting a more complex set of rules, but hadn't tried to build
or find any yet...

Thanks.


Philip Knowsley wrote:

Hi Bobson,

Did you ever end up playing them - & if so...how did they work?

I've been wanting a more complex set of rules, but hadn't tried to build
or find any yet...

Thanks.

I haven't playtested them yet, but they look good to me. Feel free to download them and see what you think.


...Oh - I have.... :)
But we're a way away from getting to use them in anger, having just
started book 2.
(Heh - I still can't say whether my updated Kingdom building rules are
working as intended yet - seem to be, but...?)

Keep us posted dude. & thanks for the rules - I'll be reading this
weekend.


Philip Knowsley wrote:

...Oh - I have.... :)

But we're a way away from getting to use them in anger, having just
started book 2.

They can come up in book two if you use the Hargulka's Monster Kingdom modifications. I did, which is how I realized I really didn't like the original rules. We're just in book 3 now.


I know lots of others have modified the Mass Combat rules, in fact I've been busy reading all of your excellent work here in this thread. But I ended up editing the rules again.

First, I'd like to thank all the many people who did this kind of thing already. I've borrowed lots of your work and I'd like to give you credit for the work you did, but I don't remember who all of you are! I did start from the Book of the River Nations Mass Combat chapter.

I'd love some feedback on the changes I've made which you can find here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VYxD-k8Qs4EKj_-3HKP9ydJt--H9QScbX1EJhyA GjVA/edit

Here are the ideas behind my changes:

1)Don't increase the complexity too much despite my wargamer side desperately wanting too!
2) Address the issues about army size, consumption, and BP cost. (I borrowed a lot of ideas here!)
3) Connect the recruiting of armies more closely with building types in order to make Player decisions in Kingdom building more important.
4) Include more movement rules on the map that allow players to make decisions that matter.
5) Including scouting rules for how armies can detect each other.
6) Try to increase the number of decisions that players can make that matter.


alex_van_d wrote:


I'd love some feedback on the changes I've made which you can find here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VYxD-k8Qs4EKj_-3HKP9ydJt--H9QScbX1EJhyA GjVA/edit

That link doesn't work - are you sure the permissions are right for anyone who has the link to view it?


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Hmm Let me try again.

My Mass Combat Rules


alex_van_d wrote:

Hmm Let me try again.

My Mass Combat Rules

That link worked.

I like your changes, mostly. If my players decide that the "scaled up regular combat" rules I'm currently using don't work for them, and they prefer the more abstract option, I'd probably switch to your variant.

That being said, here's some specific comments and feedback:

  • Since you're borrowing heavily from River Nations, I'd suggest complying with the OGL. It's not hard, and it will protect you if Dale gets unhappy with your use of his material. I highly doubt it'll ever matter, but it's the right thing to do. Just copy the license from the bottom of page 3 of his book, then add any other sources, and end it with your name. Then just put something like "This entire product is open game content" afterwards. Usual disclaimers apply: Don't sign something you haven't read. IANAL, and you may wish to discuss this advice with your legal advocate. Running with scissors can be dangerous to your health. Batteries not included...
  • "Marshall" should probably be either Marshal or Martial. The form you have is only used as a name. With one "l", it would either refer to the kingdom position or is a verb meaning "to arrange" or to gather for battle. And Martial makes the most sense to me when combined with Divine and Arcane types. I think that River Nations used it inappropriately in their Table 3-1.
  • I really like the Arcane/Bardic/Cleric support options. Personally, I'd throw away the ability to recruit an army of mages (which is one reason I didn't like the River Nations version), and build on the support idea. Maybe have two or three different levels of support, similar to the multiple levels of weapons and armor. I'm going to go have to think about adding something like that.
  • I like that you filled in other gaps in the resource list - acid flasks, alchemist's fire, etc. I also like that you split the costs into an up-front cost and a lesser ongoing one, and that you made siege engines fit that pattern.
  • I'm not sure if you got the wording for apprentices from me, or if I got it from elsewhere (I think I remember writing it. If you did, I'm glad you liked it :) I would point out, though, that even commoners have a d6 hit die in Pathfinder, so making them d3 seems very punitive. d4 could be reasonable, although it'd be the only one with that few hp.
  • I like your movement modifiers.
  • I like the idea of scouts being attached to the army, and the options which come with that. However, I think your scales are off.
    • Maximum horizon when standing on a plain at ground level (eyes around 6 feet off the ground) is around 3 miles. To be able to see 3 hexes away (36 miles), you'd have to be 864 feet in the air. In hills or mountains you could see further, but you'd have more blind spots.
    • Obviously, this just refers to one person standing and looking around - scouts travel out in all directions, but I'm not sure it's reasonable to expect the army to have enough scouts to cover a 226 square mile area (a circle with a radius of 36 miles), if each one can only see for 6 around him. Even assuming no overlap, that would take 37 scouts, and they would have no way to know when they could see right up to the edge of what the next scout in line could see.
    • Finally, the scouts would have to move significantly faster than the army to be able to be scouting 3 hexes ahead, and then make it back to the army at night to report (6 extra hexes of travel). Individuals and small groups do move faster than a whole army, but not that much faster.

  • All that being said, I like the idea of having scouts, and of the scouting rolls to find an opposing army. It's a clever idea, and makes it much more interesting to try and sneak past a superior army. That's one thing I'd meant to include in my rules and forgot to try and figure out. I'll think about how I want to do it for v1.1.
  • I like the addition of a withdraw option to the strategy track, but since I never really liked the strategy track in the first place, I'm not going to say more on it.
  • I like the siege mechanic. It was sorely missing before.

    Overall, I definitely like your changes. I think you accomplished all your goals, although there are the few things I would adjust (as mentioned above). I'm certainly going to be borrowing ideas from this!


  • Thank you for the excellent feedback. I've dealt with a bunch of the things you've suggested.

    About Apprentices: It may very well be your wording I borrowed. I chose a d3 hit dice to keep them weaker than the wizard's d4. (We still play with 3.5, Paizo's products adapt well enough and we're happy with it, lumps and all.) Although I'm inclined to follow your idea of scrapping the arcane armies altogether, but I didn't want to diverge from the original rules too much. I've got to give that more thought.

    About scouting: I never thought about the real world numbers like you did. You noticed a problem. I was focused on the affect of gameplay if an army couldn't even scout a single hex around in swamp/forest. It would become difficult to find armies and I'm not sure it would be much fun with armies marching around not finding things. I wonder if there's a way to justify the extensive range for scouting. Perhaps every army recruits rangers who are mounted and can cast animal messenger and that's simply assumed to be part of every army. What's more I've also struggled with adding a modifier for the size of the individuals in the army to the scouting rolls. A Medium army of Mites is harder to find than a Medium army of Trolls for instance. Finding the balance between realism and playability here is not easy.

    About the Strategy Track. I'm not a big fan of the track either. I've been toying with a major re-working of it. (Based on the classic wargame Empire in Arms which has a very interesting chart of this nature.) But the added complexity may not be worth it, particularly for the players at my game table. I added the Withdraw option because I didn't like the all or nothing nature of every battle. I'm still rolling this idea around. (It also includes a more prominent role for morale in combat as well.)


    Hello there!

    My PC`s kingdom are about to face an army of Stone Giant but something is not right, in my opinion.

    According to the rule, an army stats is calculated according to an individual CR. A Stone Giant CR is 8. So an Large army (200) of fighter lvl 6 is the equivalent of a medium army (100) of Stone giant, wich, in my opinion, make no sense.

    So I wonder if any of you would have any idea on how to make an army of monster. I was thinking along the line of using their HD as CR, but that maybe too much.

    Also, I don`t want to be that Giant be as populous as human, they are supossed to be rare afterall.

    Thx in advance.

    Silver Crusade

    Random feedback on using a more strategic mass combat system (used 2E Battlesystem, converted to Pathfinder): while entertaining at the first two battles, when a tabletop mini strategy battle takes 2+ hours, not everyone is going to participate as fully. During the War of the River Kings, the players (as much as they liked the combat rules) wanted to get on with their characters after the first few battles.

    Lesson learned: the combat rules were simplified for a reason. I'd add "missions" for the players (whether it be them, or they assume control over some NPCs in the army who go on a mission that affects the outcome of the battle, such as destroying a bridge) rather than increase the time spent on mass combat.


    Frederick Lapointe wrote:

    Hello there!

    My PC`s kingdom are about to face an army of Stone Giant but something is not right, in my opinion.

    According to the rule, an army stats is calculated according to an individual CR. A Stone Giant CR is 8. So an Large army (200) of fighter lvl 6 is the equivalent of a medium army (100) of Stone giant, wich, in my opinion, make no sense.

    So I wonder if any of you would have any idea on how to make an army of monster. I was thinking along the line of using their HD as CR, but that maybe too much.

    Also, I don`t want to be that Giant be as populous as human, they are supossed to be rare afterall.

    Thx in advance.

    So long as army stats are tied directly to CR, there's nothing you can do to make two armies significantly different. Using HD as CR for the formulas might make a stone giant army stronger or weaker, but it's still just as strong/weak as anything else of equivalent CR.

    The only way to make the distinction you're looking for is to tie some aspect of the army to the monster's actual stats. You can try doing something like "+1 offence for every +3 to attack, +1 defense for every 3 AC above 10" as a very simple take on it - that will make offensive monsters make more offensive armies, and defensive monsters make more defensive armies. You do need to apply it equally to everything (including the fighter army), though. Expansions on that idea could add +1 to offense for each special ability the monster has, or +2 to defense for each good save, or something along those lines - this is all off the top of mny head.

    This problem is exactly why I developed my own set of army rules, based on the Warpath rules. It makes mass combat much closer to the tactical combat which everyone is familier with. Most stats, special abilities, and the like are preserved as the scale goes up to army size. The link is a couple of posts above.

    Sovereign Court

    The max morale bonus is +4, but the DC for Taunting and Fear are (10+CR). An army of 100 bards playing Dirge of Doom has a really high chance of winning any war, against any army regardless of CR difference. Why is the DC so high when morale bonuses are so low?

    EDIT: So basically I want Irovetti to personally take out one of the player's armies, then have to retreat into his keep to heal. But in a test battle against the Enormous Militia, he actually took NO damage. And that was without using Dirge of Doom.

    Dark Archive

    For monster armies, I think the important thing is to give them special abilities that make them better than a standard human army of the same CR. Also giving them appropriate mounts bumps up their power.

    For giants the game I'm in, I'm thinking they should have 2 special abilities. 1. Rockthrowing. It's pretty good. 2. Obscenely Tough: this creatures uses a d12 HD to calculate HP.

    Combined with the tactic where they take -4 DV for +4 DV, and moving down the strategy tract as soon as possible, the giants will smash the crap out human army, barring super lucky rolls for the humans.

    Any chance someone could post some of the ideas generating for scouting? I have some possible house rules worked up to submit to my GM, but I really don't know where to begin with scouting.

    Dark Archive

    vonFiedler wrote:

    The max morale bonus is +4, but the DC for Taunting and Fear are (10+CR). An army of 100 bards playing Dirge of Doom has a really high chance of winning any war, against any army regardless of CR difference. Why is the DC so high when morale bonuses are so low?

    EDIT: So basically I want Irovetti to personally take out one of the player's armies, then have to retreat into his keep to heal. But in a test battle against the Enormous Militia, he actually took NO damage. And that was without using Dirge of Doom.

    +4 is the max base moral bonus of an army. You add the commanders Cha Modifier to that. So against a poorly lead, inexperienced army, that's a great tactic. Oh course, it begs the question of where you managed to find 100 bards willing to fight for you.


    Just ran a practice Mass Combat with my group (we're moving into Blood for Blood and I plan on using Mass Combat for the Battle of Tatzlford). How does one deal with an unbalanced combat in terms of # of armies (not CRs)? In this case, it was 2 armies vs. 3 (In KM5, it seems likely that at least one battle, if not most, will be unbalanced one way or another.)

    Does one of the armies on side A get to attack 2 of side B's?

    If (when) 2 of side B's attack 1 of side A's, does that change matters?

    Does comparative army size come into play?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Grand Lodge

    I was reading through WotRK in preperation for running it soon and couldnt find any rules for attacking a city with no army in it.

    The 3 armies sent by Pitax attack one of the PCs cities but the module says nothing about how long it takes to conquer or what the DM/OM would be of a city that the PCs dont have an army stationed at.

    I figured that Pitax would send the Wyverns the long way around to attack Varnhold and draw the PCs armies there before hitting Fort Drelev with the Humnan and Troll armies. I was considering using a small fighter 1 army to represent town guards. Any thoughts?


    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
    James Jacobs wrote:


    And that is by design. The PFRPG is built to support and run small conflicts on a much more personal level. We wanted to support and encourage a continuation of that style of play, so the method of filtering your character into an army statblock is intended to be kind of disappointing. This is to encourage games to NOT do one man versus armies... mostly because from a story viewpoint that's kind of unbelievable.

    If/when we do Epic rules, though, I suspect that is EXACTLY the type of thing we'll cover in more detail, since one man against an army feels perfectly at home in such a game.

    Out of curiosity, were such rules included in Mythic Adventures?


    Winston Colt wrote:
    I was reading through WotRK in preperation for running it soon and couldnt find any rules for attacking a city with no army in it.

    I know it's been a long time, but if anyone has this problem, you could stat up an army of commoners to represent the inhabitants of the city.

    If the city is completely deserted (due to evacuation perhaps) then the attacker should just be able to walk in.


    Victor Zajic wrote:


    +4 is the max base moral bonus of an army. You add the commanders Cha Modifier to that. So against a poorly lead, inexperienced army, that's a great tactic. Oh course, it begs the question of where you managed to find 100 bards willing to fight for you.

    I think at that point its less 'fight' and more 'prelude to Burning Man'


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Peet wrote:
    Winston Colt wrote:
    I was reading through WotRK in preperation for running it soon and couldnt find any rules for attacking a city with no army in it.

    I know it's been a long time, but if anyone has this problem, you could stat up an army of commoners to represent the inhabitants of the city.

    If the city is completely deserted (due to evacuation perhaps) then the attacker should just be able to walk in.

    I would allow the use of emergency conscripts (Ultimate Rulership), an army of 1st level commoners with the shaken condition, out of whatever population is in the settlement.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
    roguerouge wrote:
    How would you explain to players the upkeep their PC costs as a fine-sized army? A 13th level PC is a CR5 Army, with a consumption score of 2, making it the equivalent of 1000 GP/week. The system looks doable, but I'm just curious how you'd explain this feature to a player.

    Scrolls etc. Explain to them based regeneration taking place every hour in rest, for simplicity explain that a full round of battle takes one hour. These costs include things such as wands, staves, scrolls, etc as well as material components. for melee characters they are things such as weapons and armor. It's too easy to sunder a weapon in 6 seconds (1 round). This cost is upkeep for their gear.

    Our campaign treated each full round as 1 hour and they decided to do a Stolen Lands Convention to allow 8 hours of battle, 8 hours of rest, 2 hours for food, and 4 hours to collect the dead, and 2 hours of spell preparation (just in case of mystic theurges). Moving from one hex to the next took a day. These were their laws of war that their grand diplomat and the enemy agreed to. This also allowed for one of the character's "Army of Necromancer's" to animate the fallen soldiers to create a secondary army of half the size of skeletons.


    How would you stat up an army of intelligent fey rust monsters?


    Just wondering if anyone had New Armies that they made, I'm setting my Kingmaker in the Land of the Linnorm Kings, so I'm looking for a variety of different armies to fit in. Thought I would ask before I go and start making a bunch myself.


    Incidentally, HeroLab is great for putting together new armies, and it incorporates the Ultimate Campaign rules.


    I created a excel sheet a while ago with simple convertions to figure out the base Army Rating, Offense Value and Defense Value, then added bonuses based on abilities.

    Here is an adult green dragon army i made for an one-shot:

    Adult Green Dragon:

    Army (Tiny)
    NE adult green dragon CR 12
    hp 26, ACR 4
    DV 14, OM +4
    special: flight, amphibious, blindsense, breath weapon, fear, significant defense, spell resistance, spellcaster (CL 13)
    speed 10, Consumption 2

    flight - Cannot be melee attacked on a turn it does not make melee attacks.
    blindsense - Half penalties from darkness, invisibility or bad weather.
    breath weapon - Can make ranged attacks, causes +1d4 damage on melee ou ranged attacks.
    fear - Enemy army that suffers damage must make a morale check (DC 14) or cannot attack on the next round. If they fail a second morale check due to fear, they flee from combat.
    significant defense - increased DV by +10 if the attacking army is not equipped with magical weapons.
    spell resistance - Increases DV by +6 against enemy armies that use spells.
    spellcaster - Increases OM by +1 per spell level available (+3).


    I would almost say tell them its their 'worth' as an army, and if they want to forgo it, they can at least get Rich-level upkeep at no personal cost.

    NPC's would expect an appropriate wage, perhaps half or quarter that if they're on reserve or on-call


    Do armies have no initial cost to create?

    Are there no rules for armies damaging settlements/improvements/etc?

    I want to introduce armies much earlier (book 2, against the lizards). I'm going to replace the mass combat resolution rules by using the troop subtype and putting them on a normal Pathfinder grid, which also lets the PCs be involved in a more real way: Beyond having to stat up troops for every faction, can anyone see problems with this?


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Yes, armies have an initial cost to create. Quite a lot of time this will be the same as their consumption, but army resources are the biggest factor (see improved armour for one example: costs 3 BP to add, increases consumption by 1). Not sure there are actually any rules for when to pay the initial cost (mass combat not my focus right now), so I think it's best to make it cover the recruitment and first weeks' consumption.

    Strangely, despite there being rules for the effect of pillaging armies destroying lots, there aren't any rules for armies destroying lots. Ultimate War from Legendary Games is a good idea, since it has rules for sieges.

    Using the troop rules is an excellent idea. Not sure how they scale up, and since there isn't (yet) a troop template, it's a bit hard to create troops for every type of creature, but if you're prepared to put in the effort of doing so and running combats at that scale, then go for it!


    There's only an initial cost if the army has a resource that adds one.


    I have developed some homebrew mass combat rules, using inspiration from a variety of sources, and would like to know if anyone would like to review them.

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