I keep seeing all the calls for mass combat, and I realized that we have already seen a way to do this with the narrative dice from some of the hacks and advanced rules of Warhammer Fantasy. Over the course of that line there have been some really creative uses for the narrative dice, and I think it is a great place to look for a mass combat mechanic.
Here's how it could work:
The Dice Pool
Each side starts with the Commander's Leadership pool (or Knowledge[Warfare], whatever floats your boat). From there you add dice based on the units you are fielding.
For this example I'll use space combat.
- Squadron of fighters – Boost die
- Squadron (2–3) of Corvettes or single Light Frigate – Ability die
- Capital Ship – Proficiency die
For each of those add a die. 4 Squadrons of Fighters, 2 Squadrons of Corvettes, and 3 Capital Ships would be 4 Boost, 2 Ability, and 3 Proficiency dice added to the roll.
Note: This can be done as an competitive roll of all positive dice or one side can use negative dice and make it an opposed roll. It works either way.
Tally the net results. For a Competitive check, cancel out like results from each side (so 4 advantage vs 3 advantage is 1 net advantage for the former side).
- If you are making an Opposed roll, count the net failures! They are applied as successes for the side using the negative dice.
- Treat Triumphs and Despairs as opposed symbols that cancel each other out, and don't give them their free success/failure.
Advantages (Threats) – Each destroys a squadron of fighters. If there are no fighters left, then every 2 advantage/threat destroys a squadron of corvettes/light frigate. If there are no fighters or corvette/frigates, then every 3 advantage/threat destroys a capital ship.
Successes (Failures) – Each destroys a squadron of corvettes/light frigate, or a squadron of fighters. If there are no fighters or corvette/frigates, then every 2 successes/failures destroys a capital ship.
Triumphs (Despairs) – Each destroys any one unit, including a capital ship.
Units that are destroyed are removed from the next pool.
Involving the Players
Whatever the players are doing is removed from the pool. So, if they are flying x-wings and engage a light frigate and squadron of ties, then take the dice for their squadron, the tie squadron, and the frigate out of the pool. Resolve their fight as normal.
Roll the big pool every 3rd or 4th player round. It should move more slowly than the players.
This way, the players can make a big impact in the fight by locking up dangerous dice/units in the opposing force. Of course, they have to actually survive everything they try to take on, even if it's just to occupy them for a few rounds while the rest of the force engages the others.
This could be adapted to all kinds of situations. The ground battle on Endor could be Boost dice for squads of troops, and ability dice for AT-STs (maybe one-shot ability dice for traps). Hoth could use proficiency dice for AT-ATs, ability dice for speeder squadrons, and boost dice for troops (or maybe just boost dice for the individual speeders and don't count the troops, based on how it actually went down).
What do you all think? If anyone uses it, I'd love to hear any feedback about what works and what doesn't.
Edited by Doc, the Weasel, 16 February 2014 - 02:36 AM.