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    Canonfire :: View topic - Mass combat in Greyhawk?
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    Mass combat in Greyhawk?
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 03, 2002
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    From: Kingston, ON

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    Fri Feb 27, 2004 11:19 am  
    Mass combat in Greyhawk?

    I have enjoyed playing Battlesystem since it was first released in '85. The group I was playing with experimented with some homebrew minature rules and Battlesystem was a godsend when it came out.

    Greyhawk, the published stuff anyway, has been fairly devoid of mass combat opportunities (Greyhawk Wars aside...far aside). Has anybody played mass combat scenarios in Greyhawk using Battlesystem or some other system?
    We ran a year-long campaign (game time and real time interestingly enough) on the Furyondy-Iuz border that was a blast. The largest battle involved around 2,000 troops per side (about 400 total counters and minatures) and occupied my basement for about three weeks before we were done!

    Well, having the time and the space for miniature gaming is a luxury I haven't had since high school. However, I have been playing around with doing mass combat on the computer and have found that AutoCAD (any CAD or good paint program would also work) to be perfect for the task. Set-up is fast, there is no limit to the size of the battlefield and play can be stopped at any time. If anybody wants to get into it, I would highly recommend this as a diversion in an existing campaign, or the basis of an entire campaign on it's own. I believe the only thing available on SVGames or RPGNow is the 2nd Edition game, which is capable but, in my opinion, is inferior to the 1st. edition rules (boxed-set).

    Mini-rant starts here- I'm a big proponent of 1st ed. Battlesystem and prefer it to the second edition. 2nd ed's supposed plus was that it did away with the combat result table (CRT). Well, they replaced it with 1 die roll per attacking figure (could be 15-20 rolls for one attack) and then the defender rolls for each defending figure to see if their armour blocked attacks...sheesh. 2nd ed. actually reduced the number of spells able to be used on a battlefield and gave new definitions and spell effects for many common spells, to put them in 'game terms'. 1st. ed. has some standard rules that I have never had a problem with, that allows you to use virtually every spell...The other big 'plus' was that they reduced unit statistics from a quarter page down to one line. Well you could always do that if you abbreviated everything and wrote it out yourself. Their 'one-line' eliminated all saving throw info, commander info, special bonuses for attack/defense, etc. - try both versions if you have the chance Exclamation end of mini-rant
    Novice

    Joined: Feb 05, 2004
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    Fri Feb 27, 2004 12:08 pm  

    I too once used the 1st ed. Battlesystem rules and they were wonderful. Never used or played with the 2nd ed. set though.

    Supposedly, the Miniatures Handbook deals with mass combat, but I do not have the book right now. I'm thinking about getting it since my current campaign is pre-wars and the campaign will culminate with the PCs fighting to save Chendyl from the Iuzian horde.

    Anyone have a review of the Miniatures Handbook? Is it worth buying since I don't plan on playing the D&D tabletop minis?



    Evernight
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 429
    From: Renton WA

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    Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:20 pm  

    I always like "The War Machine" system from the D&D companion set for mass combat myself.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 06, 2002
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    From: Townsville, Australia

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    Tue Mar 02, 2004 3:57 am  

    I second that. Although I like having the option for mass combat I always found Battlesystem as a bit boring (just my opinion), and found war machine as a good alternative.

    In one campaign I played we were fighting a rebelion in the Great Kingdom and used War Machine using the whole eastern map of greyhawk as a battle map. it was great.
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    Cutter the Protector
    Grugach God of Protection and Freedom
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    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
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    Tue Mar 02, 2004 8:50 am  

    War Machine!

    I am so glad I am not the only person who favors that system. It is quick and easy to resolve allowing you to get on with RP if the two are intwined.
    My second favorite choice was Birthright. I also adapted the cards to follow Greyhawk army values. It wasn't too bad but was high on paperwork as well.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 03, 2002
    Posts: 39
    From: Kingston, ON

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    Wed Mar 03, 2004 4:54 am  

    War Machine is a good system. And, surprisingly enough, the results play out close to results from Battlesystem...

    I totally agree that Battlesystem isn't for everyone. It is less role-playing and more miniature wargaming. However, as a wargame, I feel it does blend well with both AD&D and becmiD&D. You can seamlessly take characters from a role-playing scenario, through a Battlesystem scenario and back without conversion.

    But, for those who don't like the time and effort (or space) involved with running a Battlesystem scenario, War machine is the way to go.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 06, 2002
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    From: Townsville, Australia

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    Fri Mar 05, 2004 1:23 am  

    Has anyone done a d20/3ed modification to War Machine. I would love to see how you deal with modern weapons and vehicles/armour.
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    Cutter the Protector
    Grugach God of Protection and Freedom
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    From: Sky Island, So Cal

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    Thu May 13, 2004 9:11 am  

    I like War Machine and have used a tweaked version of it in my Greyhawk campaign.

    While it is designed to resolve entire battles in a single roll, I have found that it works okay for tactial units as well. My most recent use of it involved about twenty units on a side. I have each unit have a separate initiative, and when two units contact I have them resolve the contact with the War Machine roll.

    My biggest adjustment is that the %loss is applied to the foe based on the attackers HD, not the defenders numbers. For example, if a 100HD force is attacking a 200 individual force and gets a 30% kill, they do 30HD of casualties (however many individuals that is) not 60 individuals.

    I have found that it works okay mixing large scale combat
    with PCs. Basicly I want the PCs to be affected by
    the overall combat but not controlled by it. Scores of underlings
    may die in a mass melee but a Fighter Lord will walk away untouched.
    So for every roll of the war machine I allow 3 rounds of combat time to the PCs. They get to make all their attacks and casualties, and I
    determine the number of attacks on them based on the results
    of the War Machine rolls.

    Since I am using it for tactical combat, I also have added rules
    for leader loss and standard loss as a result of combat.

    Kirt
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 06, 2002
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    From: Townsville, Australia

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    Thu May 13, 2004 12:52 pm  

    Would you consider posting your rules and modifications I would love to see them.
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    Cutter the Protector
    Grugach God of Protection and Freedom
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    Joined: Jan 05, 2002
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    Sun May 16, 2004 10:01 pm  

    Yes, but it will take me a little while to get it all together. Some of it is in paper format, some in electronic.

    Kirt
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon May 17, 2004 12:59 am  

    Excellent. I cant wait to see them
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    Cutter the Protector
    Grugach God of Protection and Freedom
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    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
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    From: Ullinois

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    Tue May 18, 2004 12:56 pm  

    I too would be interested in seeing this.

    *Cracks the whip*
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 15, 2004
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    Tue May 18, 2004 7:27 pm  

    I'd love to see the Warmachine Rules, too. I vaguely remember them because I used to own the Companion Set but got rid of all my Basic D&D when I changed to 1E/2E years ago (what a silly teen I was).

    The "Cry Havoc" book by Skip Williams (on Monte Cook's Malhavoc Press) tries to do something *like* the Warmachine rules but, in my opinion, fails.

    Only the final twelve or so pages are devoted to this quick resolution combat (the rest is devoted to a 3E minatures combat system) but I find that you have to do way too much math for it.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 04, 2003
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    From: Wisconsin

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    Wed May 19, 2004 11:50 am  

    I had fun playing the Battlesystem rules through some of the old 'H' series, Bloodstone pass and others. All the little fold-up walls, buildings, and people helped. Smile

    Somehow I ended up with 2 Battlesystem sets. I ordered one box off ebay about 6 or 7 years ago. Then, not long after, a friend of mine was like "Oh, I found this in a box when we were moving."- my original box I eagerly bought when it came out. Cool

    I should spring it on somebody, maybe run through the old Bloodstone pass series again. Yeah.

    -Chad
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed May 19, 2004 3:21 pm  

    Lordsloth wrote:
    I should spring it on somebody, maybe run through the old Bloodstone pass series again. Yeah.

    -Chad


    You own the Bloodstone Pass series (H1-H4)?

    Are you aware you're sitting on a goldmine?

    These go for megabucks you know!
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2002
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    From: Sky Island, So Cal

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    Fri May 21, 2004 7:51 pm  
    Wackford's War Machine - Combat Results

    In writing these rules, I wanted to use the War Machine mass combat rules but modify them for use at the tactical scale. In particular, I wanted to allow PC participation at the individual level while large battles rage around them.

    Basic Force Ratings (BFR) and Battle Ratings (BR) are calculated as in War Machine, but units move individually on a tactical scale map and combat rolls are made when units come into contact. Emphasis is placed on unit order and morale. A single roll resolves each combat, but casualty tracking is rather detailed.

    One thing I wanted to modify from the War Machine mechanics was the “linear logic” of total HD. At the individual PC level, five 5th level fighters are clearly superior to 25 first level fighters. One hundred first level fighters are not even a challenge for ten 10th level fighters. These rules allow higher-level units to persist longer on the battlefield after lower-level ones have been eliminated.

    This post covers combat results and casualties.

    Wackford’s War Machine
    Tactical Level Combat adapted from the War Machine Mass Combat Rules

    Adjustments to Battle Rating (BR)
    Attacking the opponent’s Flank: +20
    Attacking the opponent’s Rear: +40
    Attacking Disordered opponent: +30
    For each hero attached to unit: +10
    Unit has lost its colors or standard: -20

    Adjustments to Combat Results Table
    Difference 9-15 5%:20%
    Difference 39-50 5%:30%
    Difference 91-100 5%:30%
    Difference 121-150 10%:90%

    The Fatigue Column results are ignored (see below for Fatigue).

    A unit that loses a combat becomes Disordered.

    A unit that receives a “retreat” result may not voluntarily engage the combat victor unit on its next initiative.

    A unit that receives "retreat plus" result must make the required moves away from combat, one move per mass combat round, before its commander may again control it. For example, if a unit loses by a difference of 40, it received R+2. It is disordered, and for the next two mass combat rounds the only action allowed on its initiative is a move retreating from the unit that beat it. On its third initiative it is again under commander control.

    A unit that receives an "advance" or "advance plus" may make ONE bonus move immediately, that is, during the same mass combat round. It may use this move to make an announced attack on the unit is just beat or any other unit in range. If attacking the same unit it just beat, no morale check is necessary.

    When choosing the combat result, start with the actual listing from the text. If the victor wishes, the result may be lowered to any lesser difference result, reflecting a more cautious and controlled attack. However, this lowering may be nullified by the loser. For example, suppose the difference was 75. This is a result of 30%:60%. If the victor wishes, this may be lowered to 20%:50%. However, the loser may disallow this change.

    The % loss Does NOT equal the percent of the force killed and wounded. It DOES equal the % of the opposing force HD applied as damage. For example, a force of 200 HD attacks a force of 100 HD and wins with a difference result of 20, or 10%:20%. The winner does 40 HD of casualties to the loser (200 HD x 20%), the loser does 10 HD of casualties to the winner (100 HD x 10%).

    The War Machine assumes that casualties are applied 50% wounded and 50% killed. However, my rules require that each unit have a unit-specific Fatigue/Wound/Kill ratio applied when it takes casualties. In general, lightly armored and low-level units will use the standard 50% wounded: 50% killed. Units that are heavily armored or composed of higher level or greater HD troops have results shifted to Fatigue and away from Kill. Here are some examples from a battle I ran:

    Velunese Regular Pikemen (AC 10/F1): F/W/K 0/50/50
    Velunese Regular Spearmen (AC 7/F1): F/W/K 0/50/50
    Velunese Regular Heavy Footmen (AC 5/F2): F/W/K 25/50/25
    Perrenland Mercenary Company (AC5/F2): F/W/K 25/50/25
    Velunese Regular Light Horse (AC 7/F1 w/ 2HD mount): F/W/K 25/50/25
    Velunese Knights of the Hart (AC2/F5 w/ 2HD mount): F/W/K 40/50/10:
    Once per day can remove wounds
    Shield Lands Regular Heavy Foot with Archer Support (AC5/F1.5): F/W/K
    20/40/40
    Celenian Elven Scouts (AC3/F2/MU2): F/W/K 48/40/12
    Furyondian Royal Belled Heavy Cavalry (AC2/F3 w/2HD mount): F/W/K
    48/40/12
    Furyondy Regular Heavy Foot (AC5/F1.5): F/W/K 20/40/40
    Furyondy Regular Light Foot with Archer Support (AC7/F1): F/W/K 0/50/50
    Iuzian Skeletal Light Foot (AC7/HD1): F/W/K 0/0/50 (half casualties
    ignored as edged weapons do half damage)
    Iuzian Regular Orc Infantry with Archer Support (AC6/HD1): F/W/K
    0/50/50
    Iuzian Orc Mob Infantry (AC6/HD1): F/W/K 0/50/50
    Iuzian Goblin Regular Infantry with Archer Support (AC6/HD1-1): F/W/K
    0/40/60 Opponent multiples average HD to casualty number
    Iuzian Goblin Regular Wolfrider Cavalry (AC7/HD2 w/ HD2 mount): F/W/K
    40/40/20
    Iuzian Goblin Elite Worgrider Cavalry (AC5/HD3 w/ HD4 mount): F/W/K
    40/45/15
    Iuzian Troll Shock Troops (AC4/HD6+): F/W/K 50/40/10 Each round may
    move 1/6 F to Healthy, 1/6 W to F and 1/6 K to W. K to W only if
    holding the field where killed.
    Iuzian Vrock Terror Squad (AC2/HD10): F/W/K 0/95/5


    Fatigued/Wounded/Killed are taken first from healthy individuals until everyone remaining in a unit is fatigued or wounded. At that point, all new kills come from fatigued and wounded proportionally. New fatigue results move fatigued to wounded and new wounded move wounded to killed at a rate of 1/level of unit. For example, suppose the Perrenland Mercenary unit above (F/W/K 25/50/25) has no individuals healthy, 20 fatigued and 40 wounded. It takes another 50 HD of casualties. Normally this would be distributed as 12.5 HD fatigued / 25 HD wounded / 12.5 HD killed. Since the Perrenders are 2nd level on average, this is 6 individuals fatigued / 12.5 wounded / and 6 killed. The six killed outright are taken proportionally from fatigued and wounded for 18 fatigued and 36 wounded remaining. Then the 12 wounded moves 6 wounded to killed (12 divided by level 2 equals 6) for 18 fatigued and 30 wounded. Finally, the 6 fatigued individuals move (6/2 = 3) 3 individuals from fatigued to wounded for 15 fatigued and 33 wounded.

    More later!
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 04, 2003
    Posts: 10
    From: Wisconsin

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    Wed Jun 09, 2004 9:23 am  

    Baggins wrote:
    You own the Bloodstone Pass series (H1-H4)?

    Are you aware you're sitting on a goldmine?

    These go for megabucks you know!


    Yes, I was aware I was sitting on a goldmine. Smile About a year ago, I sold H2 and H4 for upwards of $50-70 apiece. I've only got 3/4 of the H1 boxed set, and didn't sell that one.

    Picked them up on .pdf later. Not quite as useful, but maybe I can get a friend of mine at a print shop to print them out cheaply...

    -Chad
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 07, 2004
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    From: Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

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    Sat Sep 04, 2004 8:52 am  

    Hello, I'm working on a mass combat system for D20, it has 3 resolution levels with diferent resolution: skirmish (up to 500 people), battle 9500 to 10.000) and epic battle (more than 10.000).

    Unhapelly it is in portuguese and I'm still writing the skirmish rules, the counters and maps are not ready yet, but I think it can help you if you have the patience to 'translate' or better:re-write it in english.

    e-mail me if you're interested
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 29, 2004
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    From: The Great Northwest

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    Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:09 pm  

    Hey Guys,

    Since the Marklands/Iuz the Evil came out, I've tried to incorporate mass combat into the pc storyline.

    In order to achieve name level, some sort of homebase is required. I've been able to convice all the groups to keep their bases close to each other. The pc's will defend their bases (at least once) in a mass combat.

    Fielding a small army is a group effort, with thieves and mages gathering material and reconoiter, priests involving their churches and aiding the others in arms and supply, and the fighters fielding their followers and auxillaries and sometimes building up their own regular armies.

    I weave into a storyline; The king calls for aid, a provence is in uprising, a cult is attacking a neighbor, the neighbor is attacking, etc,etc.

    This has been quite enjoyable for all, except that sometimes (most often the fighters) want my campain to turn into tabletop miniature battleworlds.
    or rarely some players don't like my non-published system.

    The macro/micro gaming adds to the world, extends plotlines, expands possibilities. When the heroes gold is needed to pay and feed the army, and maintain roads, and garrrison outposts, gold will always be a hook.
    I have been thinking of a tehn campain where the PC's rise to be a council of lords ruling tehn, but no time yet.

    In the past it was easier to get megabucks and keep it in a bank, I switched fairly early to a darkage/medieval economy and have stayed with it, ignoring rennisance banks and merchant families and paper money.

    So congrats to those that have discovered mass battles, and thank you for listing some of your ideas-Kirt I will be able to utilize some of your war machine, so a special thanks.

    Long live Greyhawk,

    Muscles
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    Tue Sep 07, 2004 12:53 pm  

    I just finished my Epic campaign with a huge Battlesystem crusade on Iuz by the coaltion of Furyondy, Shield Lands and the character's followers (One has the 3E feats Leadership, Epic Leadership and Legendary Commander). I also used ItE and Marklands for my raw troop numbers. Statistically it went well, I interwove some RP elements into each battle so the PCs weren't just a number. To do that I used AEG's 'War' supplement for ideas. It was exhaustive I must say, taking at least a single 10 hr session to play out.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002
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    From: Orlane, Gran March

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    Wed Sep 08, 2004 5:07 pm  
    Scrapped It all

    I have only attempted mass combat once, and though I was very pleased with the results, I took a totally different tact than what I have seen here so far.

    Unfortunately for me, I was unaware of most of the Battle systems you are describing. So, I chose to act as if I knew all about it. I sat down, devised a flow chart of what the pc's could do to affect the battle. A Horde of 5,000 goblins, 40 Goblins, 4 Giants, and a leadership group of advanced Goblin clerics, descended upon their fair city (a town, actually, called Fairhill). The players had: themselves, the town militia, 40 knights of the Watch, 100 Gran March Light Calvary, and 150 Gran March Infantry.

    I roleplayed the whole thing as if I had some grand system, with lots of dice rolling, whole groups disappearing under swarms of goblins or charges of gallant knights.

    Then, just like in the movies, the whole world seemed to swirl in on the character of the moment, and they were fighting for their lives.

    It took three 8 hour sessions, and ended with the good an holy paladin slaying the leader of the Goblin horde before the city gates, and then, severely wounded, dying at the hands of his minions.

    It was marvellous, and I did not plan out the death of our fateful paladin. The city could not afford to raise him (we find that diamonds are exceedingly rare in a war zone), but there is a nice statue there to this very day.

    All in all, it was extremely satisfying, and a lot less mechanical (though surely not as accurate) as the other systems.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 07, 2004
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    From: Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

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    Thu Sep 09, 2004 4:22 pm  
    to anced_math

    I think there are two different things about the mass combats.

    The first option is the one you took, all you wanted was to tell your tale and play the battle with your group. You may have cleaverly created a small system that helped you describe it and actually made everything less 'deterministic' - it is a GREAT option and it worked perfectly for you from what you've described.

    Very simplified systems or mostly narrating the battle, but where the important actions are done by the characters, is perfect, nothing against it.

    The second style/option is for people who actually like to play wargames, even simple ones. The story is important (of course it is!) and the focus must be on the characters (of course it must be too!), but a big part of the fun is not just the roleplay and the storytelling, you actually play a tatical or strategical game. Then you'd need a good mass combat system.

    Most of the time I'd prefer the first option, but sometimes I like to use the second one.

    At least that's my opinion.
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