Occasionally, in the interest of furthering the story, a large-scale combat might take place. This chapter describes ways of handling this possibility. This in no way replaces wargame systems, and you can use a wargame system instead of what you find here.
Like individual combat, massed combat also occurs within scenes. Just like with any other scene there is no special timing system here. The difference is that there are two kinds of scenes; unit scenes and hero scenes. As you might expect a unit scene involves the action of a combat unit (and all character's associated with it) while a hero scene involves the actions of one or more heroes (characters). These types of scenes should alternate; one scene being a unit scene and the next a hero scene.
When a massed battle begins each character and each unit are allowed a declaration. Usually the battle will begin with a unit scene. The length of the unit scene is determined by the unit that can act the quickest relative to the previous scene (or the quickest unit to act if it is the first scene). Each character that can take an action within this amount of time that is associated with the unit in question may also participate by adding in one modifier that is significant to the unit's action. All such actions are judged to be occuring simultaneously. As with any scene, there is a chance for units or characters to stop what they are already doing and respond. If a reaction is required within a scene, then a roll against the Speed Factor of the character or unit is required. This roll may also be based on quick-response type skills (like Reaction Time, see chapter two). The GM will assign a difficulty to this based in part on what a particular character is doing, and what the stimulus for the response is.
Hero scenes are handled exactly the same way as any scene in personal combat, as described in the previous chapter.
The central character of mass combat is the unit. Every unit involved should have the equivalent of a character sheet.
To develop a unit the first thing to do is assign the attributes, then choose skills and conditions appropriate to the unit (if this is a unit created from a profession, then use those skills as guidelines). Finally, assign equipment to the unit. Points are purchased just like in professions. Attributes cost 10 HP per pip beyond the racial norms. Then assign the size of the unit, every hundred soldiers will multiply the cost by one factor of the cost (and fractions of one hundred reduce the cost by the percent of one hundred soldiers there are in the unit, thus 50 troops reduces the cost by half).
Unit skills will be based on these attributes, while conditions are not based on anything.
Using the profession examples from Profession-Building we can construct this unit:
PF: 1, MA: 1, IN: 2, IU: 0, PY: 0, MP: 0.
Spear 2 (b) (MA)
Shield 2 (b) (MA)
Marching 2 (b) (PF)
Pain Capacity 1 (b) (PF)
Plains Survival 2 (b) (IN)
Sword 1 (b) (MA)
Armor 1 (b) (PF)
Speed Factor: 1
Damage Capacity: 3
Morale 10 (b).
Equipment: Spear (heavy thrust damage), shield (+5 Parry), sword (heavy damage), leather armor (light protection).
Base Cost: 11
Tre: 9 troops, tre leader, 10 troops total, cost: 1.
Kutre: 3 tres, headquarters tre: tre leader, 5 troops, 36 troops total, cost: 3.
Jutre: 3 kutre, headquarters tre: jutre commander, 9 troops, 118 troops total, cost: 11
Kujutre: 3 jutre, headquarters unit: kujutre commander, 19 troops, 374 troops total, cost: 35.
Combat among units is done much like combat between characters.
The GM will decide how many members of a unit may engage the enemy based on their respective formations, distances, weapon length and range, visibility, terrain, and suppression. These are judgement calls and are not terribly relevant so long as the GM is being fair. Otherwise combat is handled in a manner similar to that for individuals. It is assumed that if the unit hits, then all possibly engaged troops hit. Roll a d10, this is the percentage of repeat hits; that is hits on the same target. If you have 20 soldiers hitting, and you roll a 10 then two hits strike targets already hit for a total of 18 enemy soldiers being hit (two of them twice).
Once a hit has been scored, you must determine the damage done to the target. The damage done is determined as normal, though the details of the wound effects are not considered. It is assumed that all hits done by a unit do the same damage.
Wound effects are handled as follows:
As a unit is attacked or takes casualities it becomes less capable of functioning as a unit. Every attack causes a suppression level of 1. Every time 5% of the unit takes damage another level of suppression is incurred. Every time 10% of the unit is lost another level of suppression is incurred.
Suppression is removed through a unit condition called morale. This is a basic ability that reduces the suppression as if it were a skill roll. The level of suppression is an adverse modifier to this roll. The abilities of heroes to command, or otherwise positively modify the morale of the unit are added in. The suppression level is reduced by the level of success. This die roll is made during each scene that a unit acts in.
Here are the effects of suppression:
During a unit scene, each unit commander declares the action for their unit. The unit then performs that action as a normal ability roll. If a unit is composed of smaller units acting as a whole, then the highest ranking unit commander makes the declaration for all sub-units.
Characters can act both in their hero scenes and in the scenes where their unit(s) get to act. In a hero scene the character can act just like any other scene.
In a unit scene a character can perform one of the following acts:
Units move according to their orders within the time frame of the scene. A unit traveling at 15 kilometers per hour will move 2.5 kilometers every ten minutes. If the unit starts going up a slope reduce the movement by the grade of the slope, thus a 30% grade will increase the distance that must be traveled by 30%. So, if the unit must traverse 300 meters of ground with a 30% grade, this is considered to be 400 meters of ground that must be covered.; at a walking speed (6 kilometers per hour) this will take eight minutes to traverse.
In order to attack the enemy, you must find them. Huge armies of troops arrayed in precise formations within sight are easy to find and easy to respond to. The same armies moving through mountains or forests can be very difficult to find. The same armies protected from observation by magical means can be nearly impossible to find. For this reason, all armies will have some units trained in scouting. This can be a unit skill, Scouting (d) (IN).
In an adventure a force of Borigonians is advancing on a stronghold atop a hill. The forces atop the hill have 24 warrior-slavers armed with axes and bows, 5 shaman, 25 hunters armed with bows, and 60 children armed with axes. The Borigonians have 71 ciridris armed with spears and swords, and 15 hunters armed with bows. We thus have six units: The Warrior-Slaver Unit, The Shaman Unit, The Hunter Unit, The Children Unit, The Borigonian Ciridris Unit, and The Borigonian Hunters Unit. There are also four heroes: Ricmenith, Rikareth, Hesheriuth, and Buntheor.
The GM asks for declarations:
The Warrior-Slavers: Attack the Borigonian Marines. The GM rules that this will take ten minutes to prepare their attack, another five minutes to move into position, and five to attack; a total of twenty minutes.
Shaman: Assist in the Defense of the Stronghold. The GM rules that this will occupy the unit for the rest of the battle and takes no time, since they are already doing this.
Hunters: Assist in the Defense of the Stronghold. The GM rules that this will occupy the unit for the rest of the battle and takes no time, since they are already doing this.
Children: Assist in the Defense of the Stronghold. The GM rules that this will occupy the unit for the rest of the battle and takes no time, since they are already doing this.
Ricmenith: Assume command of the Warrior-Slavers. The GM determines this will take five minutes.
Rikareth: Casting a spell to enhance the abilities of the Warrior-Slavers. The GM rules that this takes only two minutes.
Borigonian Ciridris: Attack the Stronghold. The GM rules that this will take ten minutes to change from a column of march to a line formation, and five minutes to attack; a total of fifteen minutes.
Borigonian Hunters: Directly support the Marines in their advance. The GM rules that they take only a minute to form up, and then they will move forward once the Marines begine their attack.
Hesheriuth: Will use his spirit pact to protect the Marines. The GM determines that this requires two minutes.
Buntheor: Will lead the Borigonian Marines. The GM determines that this requires two minutes.
The GM notes that the Borigonian Hunters get the first scene; so the first scene is a unit scene. The Borigonian Hunters form up to protect the Marines while they change formations. No other unit reacts to this, so no one is allowed to change their declarations.
The GM now conducts a hero scene. In this scene Hesheriuth and Rikareth perform their powers and Buntheor assumes command of the Marines. Hesheriuth uses his Initiation into the Rivemar of 3 as the base power, he modifies this by Knowledge of Totems of 5 and Theology of 5. The GM assigns a +1 due to the use of a difficult skilll and -8 for the use of power under stressful conditions. This gives Hesheriuth a total skill level of 6. He rolls a 1, getting a 5 success; he decides that the effect will last the afternoon, reducing the result to 4; he also decides to make this protection on everyone within a square 10 meters deep by 100 meters wide centered on himself when the spell is cast; this reduces the effect by 3, thus he provides a 1 point magical protection to the entire Borigonian force. Hesheriuth makes a new declaration at this point; he will use his power to make the troops more aware of what is going on. The GM rules that this will take another two minutes.
Rikareth attempts to improve the troops on her side by using the power of the spirit she is initiated to. She uses her skill Initiation into Bunrickordar 4 (d) + Knowledge (Totems) 5 + Basic Ritual Magic 6 for a total of 15. The GM assigns a +1 for using a difficult skill and -8 for using power under stress. The new total is then 8. The d10 roll is 3, for a level of success of 5. Since she is in the fortress, she must expend 4 more points for area of effect for a new total of 1. She decides that this will last an hour, so there is no additional modifier. The effect is to provide a 1 point favorable modifier to any skill attempt by her forces. Rikareth declares that she is taking command of the forces in the Stronghold. The GM rules that this will take five minutes.
Buntheor takes command of the Marine unit. No one reacts to this action.
The GM rules that the next scene will be a unit scene. This scene will last eight minutes. During this scene the Marines change to a line formation with the Borigonian Hunters behind them. The Warrior-Slavers also form up and Ricmineth takes command. No one reacts to these events.
The GM conducts a hero scene next, Hesheriuth conducts his attempt to make the troops more aware. Hesheriuth uses his Initiation into the Rishonind of 3 as the base power, he modifies this by Knowledge of Totems of 5 and Theology of 5, but he also has a 2 point power detriment, for a new level of 11. The GM assigns a +1 due to the use of a difficult skilll and -5 for the use of power under stressful conditions (not as severe as last time, since he is more used to the stress). This gives Hesheriuth a total skill level of 7. He rolls a 2, getting a 5 success; he decides that the effect will last one hour; he also decides to place this awareness on everyone within 100 meters of himself when the spell is cast; this reduces the effect by 4, thus he provides a 1 point favorable modifier to any act involving awareness. Hesheriuth makes a new declaration at this point; he will join the hunters with his long bow.
The GM now conducts a unit scene that lasts three minutes. During this time the Warrior-Slavers complete forming up, Rikareth completes taking charge of the Stronghold forces, and the Borigonians conduct their attack. The GM decides that the Borigonian Marines are in a line formation consisting of three lines of twenty troops and a rear line of eleven. Since they are using 2 meter long spears the first two ranks can attack, this gives the Marines 40 attackers. The defenders are using axes and bows in two ranks of 12; because they are formed up only at the same time as the attack only the first rank will be able to engage.
The hunters will also get two shots before the Marines strike, one will hit the Warrior-slavers and the other the Shaman in the Stronghold. All of the hunters will be able to participate. The fifteen hunters use their Longbow (b) 2 + MA 1 + Stealth and Concealment 2 and Hesheriuth's Awareness of + 1 for a total of 6. The GM decides that aiming is not being done and there is a + 2 for firing into a mass of troops, and -3 for firing on the move, for a 5. The d10 is rolled with a 2 result, the level of success is 3. The d10 is rolled for multiple shots, 5% is the result; this becomes 1 shot; thus there are 14 hits on the enemy for extreme damage (20) + 10 (black steel) + 60 (magic damage) + 3 (hit result) for total damage of 103. The hit location result is thorax. The targets have light armor (5) + 5 (damage capacity) + 9 (d10 roll) gives a level of protection of 19. This still allows 94 damage to get through. Thus 14 of the enemy are killed, leaving only 10 troops with Ricmineth in charge. Hesheriuth also gets to take a shot, he uses his own Longbow skill of 3 + 1 (MA) + 3 (IN) + 1 (Awareness) for a total of 8, with the other modifiers the total level is 7. The d10 roll is a 9, this results in a ¼ success; he got an opponent in the arm who was later killed by a hunter.
The Stronghold defenders attempt to react to this, with a +5 modifier and a roll of 7, all of the hunters and shaman are able to react; they fire at the Borigonian hunters. They have 1 (Longbow) + 1 (MA) + 1 (PF) for a total of 3. They are firing downhill at individual targets, so there is a +1 to the level, the total is 4. Hesheriuth provided protection of 1 to each of them, so this becomes a 3. The d10 roll is a 4, resulting in a -1. The result is that only a quarter of their number hit their targets. The hit location is a 5, limb hits. Thus only six hunters are struck, the damage is extreme (20) - 1 for protection - 3 for damage capacity - 60 for magic protection; the attack is totally ineffective.
The Borigonian hunters now turn their attack on the Stronghold defenders. The fifteen hunters use their Longbow (b) 2 + 1 (MA) + 2 (Stealth and Concealment) + 1 (Awareness) for a total of 6. The same modifiers apply as before, but now the defenders are within a fortress, so there is another -5 for that; on the other hand this concentrates the defenders on the walls giving the attackers a +3. The new total is then 2. The d10 roll is a 4, resulting in a ¼ success. Of the 15 possible hits, only 4 succeed. The hit location roll is a 6, a joint hit, doing enough damage to destroy the limb and render the individual incapacitated; so 4 defenders become incapacitated; the GM rules them to be hunters. Hesheriuth acts again; again his level is 7, with the modifiers this reduces to a 3 and his roll is a 6; a clean miss.
The Borigonian Marines now attack the remaining Warrior-Slavers. They have 3 (Spear) + 2 (Marching) + 3 (Shield) + 1 (Awareness), for a total level of skill of 9. Since they are charging up hill the GM rules this a challenging task and assigns a -5, for a new level of 4. The d10 roll is 1, giving the Marines a 3 success. There are 5% multiple hits, for a total of 2 such hits. Thus there are 38 separate hits. Since there are only 12 remaining targets, this means that each target gets hit three times. The hit location roll is a 6, joint hits. The damage done is 10 (heavy) + 5 (thrusting) + 3 (hit result) + 3 (damage capacity) for a total damage of 21, less the protection of 19, gives a damage of 2. This results in a Pain 3 wound, resulting in walking wounded status; though this rises to incapacitated status with the multiple wounds.
During this attack Buntheor attacks Ricmineth. She has 6 (Spear) + 4 (Strength) + 4 (MA) + 1 (Awareness) for a total of 15. The GM applies the same modifier as the unit, reducing the level to 10. She rolls a 5, getting a 5. Ricimineth has a skill of 6 with the ax and reduces her attack to -1, a ½ success. She does 10 (heavy damage) + 5 (thrusting) + 10 (Black Steel) + 60 (magic damage) + 6 (damage capacity), for a total damage of 101, which is halved due to the hit result, 61. Ricmineth has 5 (light armor) + 7 (damage capacity) + 60 (magical protection) + 5 (d10 roll) for a total level of protection of 87. Ricmineth is unscathed by Buntheor's attack on him.
The GM decides that it is now time for a new set of declarations...
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