Large Battles


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

So my group has asked if we could do some larger battles such as 25 or more enemies, while I am almost sure I will have to give them some NPC help for this kind of thing, I want to do this but am unsure of what I can do for this and how I can adequately run this for them. If anyone has suggestions for this I would be grateful.

Easy way is to make both sides effectively swarms with as many figures as you have hit points in the swarm. With the PCs outside of that.

Maybe make a separate swarm for every 10 figures/persons on either side.

No other suggestions?

Are we talking like mini-army battles here? If you're gonna give the party some NPC's on their side as well, it sort of sounds like it.

So, here's a quick thought. How about picking the amount of people you want on each side, maybe like 50 or so, knowing that the party will be supporting one of those sides, and so the other might deserve a few more people.

Then, lay it out on the battlemat however you like, perhaps without really worrying about the actual scale. Have the two clash.

Rather than running every action for all of the NPC's, just roll with some appropriate modifiers, like a standard Attack vs. AC. If the attack hits, kill one of the people from the defending side. If not, nothing happens. With this, you can certainly get more creative, but simplicity seems it would make things a lot easier to run.

As for the players, and any creatures that are engaging them, you can use more concrete statistics, perhaps reducing the normal HP of their opponents so it is more of an endurance battle for them. Also, I would say anything they can do as a large scale support/debuff, should be simplified appropriately (like in the attack vs. AC equation, a bard's inspire courage can give their side a bonus on hitting the enemies).

So... there's a thought. Dunno if it is exactly what you were looking for, but might be a start.

Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

No this has been great so far thank you very much, looking forward to this, we did one last week where the party helped a dwarven hamlet against an ongoing orc/troll raid. I had about 25 orcs and 3 trolls and 12 Dwarven fighter/barbarians with 1 Captain. They had a blast, 2 party members nearly died but that made it so much better when they won. Thanks again for all who have helped so far on this thread!

Dark Archive

There is the mob template in the DMG II. You might be able to use that.

Pathfinder's Rule Set can easily handle Battles of up to 6 Units of 10+1 on each side effectively.

10 Basic Soldiers with a Captain, usually a PC or key NPC, are what I normally use for my major Skirmishes.

The PCs normally command an entire unit in combat.

My advice would depend a bit on what level your characters are. I've done some larger scale fights recently with lower level PCs (level 3-5). In one I used about 25 goblins and a half dozen giant spiders vs 6 4th level PCs. The fight was spread out over the grounds of a keep. Some of the attacks took place in waves, as more reinforcements arrived on the scene, so I don't think I had 30+ creatures attacking the party at once, but I did have 15+.

The goblins had fairly simple stat blocks, though I did have a mix of archers and melee fighters. I didn't really track hp for the goblins. If a hit didn't do enough damage to kill it, I knew a second hit would, so I just put a token under the mini to remind myself that it would go down after another hit. That was probably the single biggest factor in making the fight manageable. The goblins had a low attack bonus, and didn't do much damage, so even though there were a lot of them, they weren't hitting often (even with flanking bonuses). They started to whittle some PCs down after a few rounds, which added tension, but the PCs didn't really have to worry about being one shotted by a single nasty hit, which prevented such a large scale fight from being too swingy. The goblin sorcerer was the most dangerous thing on the battle field, so they had to make some tactical decisions to take him out quick, which meant getting through his horde of goblin and spider guards. The spiders spiced things up a bit because they were a tougher than the goblins and had the poison threat, as well as webbing to impede heroes.

Tracking hp for a lot of different monsters in a big fight can really bog a dm down (at least this dm), so setting up the fight so that you have a lot of "minion" type monsters that can be dropped in one or two hits really helps. Then sprinkle in a few tougher critters that require you to actually track hp, and you can end up with a big fight that is interesting, dangerous, and still manageable.

In summary:

- use waves of enemies, but don't be afraid to load up the battle field
- big area of interesting terrain to fight in
- lots of lower level monsters "minions" with hp you don't really need to track and simple stat blocks (they will miss a lot and don't do much damage, but with flanking bonuses and such, they still pose a threat because of their high numbers)
- a few more powerful boss type monsters to spice it up
- a mix of artillery and melee enemies

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Alternatively you can try the Mass Combat Rules from Kingmaker #2 (Pathfinder Adventure Path #32).

Are the mass combat rules available somewhere for free?

Not free that I know of, but Green Ronin put out a source book for epic battles such as the Trojan War that is very good and I have used it numerous times in my Pathfinder game.

I can't wait for Ultimate Campaign(s).

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