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Rules for large battles?


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#1 Ralzar

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 09:52 PM

My campaign is leading towards a large battle where the heroes help their norscan village defend itself against a warherd of beastmen. This is going to be a battle with about 60-100 combatants on each side and I'd like to do something special for what is going to be one of the highligts of the campaign.
So, I want to do something different than have the battle narrated in the background while the heroes are just individuals in the middle of a large battle.

Using the Warhammer Fantasy Battles rules is way too complicated for a one-off where I have to explain the rules to the players, so I was wondering if anyone had developed some simple rules for running a strategic battle using WFRP?

Here's basically what I've thought so far:
All units are groups of 10 henchmen. I'll represent this by using the standups from the game with a d10 next to each showing the number of henchmen left.
Everyone can only use Basic Melee, Basic Ranged and Guarded Position actions.
With 10 henchmen, that's a lot of Fortune Dice, so 3 Fortune can be converted to 1 Expertise.
Units containing one of the heroes recieves some kind of bonus (the archer gives 1 expertise dice on ranged attacks, the shield user gives +1 soak&defense etc)
I'll use a gridmap and let a standard move manouvre be 1 square. You can spend 1 wound to move an extra square.
I'll draw terrain details on the map that gives benefits when occupying that square. Like a fortification giving +2 Defense.
Range is counted in squares. 1: Engaged, 2: Close, 3-4: Normal, 5-6: Long, 7-9: Extreme.
I'll possibly have a morale rule, where if the number of henchmen is halved, they have to make a Discipline check not to get a negative effect or flee. 



#2 Ralzar

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 10:28 PM

Ralzar said:

With 10 henchmen, that's a lot of Fortune Dice, so 3 Fortune can be converted to 1 Expertise.
 

 

Thinking about it for a minute, I've decided an easier solution is to give the attacker as many Fortune Dice as they outnumber their opponent. So 5 norscan attacking 4 ungors would get 1 Fortune Dice. Much easier.
Not sure if it shold work the other way though. That 4 norscans attacking 5 ungors would get 1 Misfortune Dice.



#3 Yepesnopes

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 10:34 PM

 What about engaging your players in "normal scale" combats and keeping a progress tracker for the "large sclae battle". Move the progress traker as function of how the players are doing.


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#4 No:12

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:09 AM

Hi,

I use a very similar base for war. In the case of units outnumbering others of similar type I also scale up the casualties on a successful melee roll, meaning weakened areas of an army can collapse very quickly if pressured. I would second the suggestion of keeping the main focus on the players, certainly try to streamilne the rest of the battle with as little rolls as possible.

May I also suggest that players may use support actions to assist the battle, first aid rolls to recover casualties, leadership rolls to rally troops, certain spells and blessings to power up a unit, etc?



#5 Ralzar

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:27 AM

No:12 said:

May I also suggest that players may use support actions to assist the battle, first aid rolls to recover casualties, leadership rolls to rally troops, certain spells and blessings to power up a unit, etc?

I've been thinking in that direction. How to give the characters some more strategic choices based on their character. I don't want to go too far though. They're still rank1 characters, so I don't feel they should have anyabilities that let them singlehandedly turn the tide of the battle with just one action/skill.

I'm considering this: if the heroes units gets locked in combat with an enemy unit led by a champion of some kind, I'll have them run a duel that uses the normal WFRP rules while thier units keep fighting around them. If they kill the enemy units champion, the rest of the unit flees.



#6 Ralzar

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:38 AM

No:12 said:

I use a very similar base for war. In the case of units outnumbering others of similar type I also scale up the casualties on a successful melee roll, meaning weakened areas of an army can collapse very quickly if pressured.

Hm, thinking about this. The henchman rules have each henchman having TH=Wounds. I'm thinking I'll drop the weapon DR and just calculate the damage from pure STr. To make up for the lowered damage output, each henchman only has 1 wound. Easier to keep track of as well.

To increase damage for attackers, I'll add +1 Damage for each person the attackers outnumber the defenders.



#7 New Zombie

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 07:49 AM

 have a look at this thread:

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#8 Ralzar

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:45 PM

New Zombie said:

 

 have a look at this thread:

javascript:void(0);/*1331664532416*/

 

 

 

Thanks, that was a pretty cool take on it. I might actually use that for another part of the adventure, but for this one I'm going with more of a strategic boardgame feel to really switch things up for a session and make the players feel like they protected their village.

After having thought a bit about it, and tried to shave my house ruling down to a minimum, this is what I've come up with:

I have the creature vault and just about every box for the game, so I have a huge stack of NPC/monster info cards and NPC/monster action cards.

I'll give the players 2-3 appropriate NPC action cards to use and the NPC info cards for their units. I'll have the same for the attacking units.

I'll roll out a hex map with a village and a forest edge drawn in.

Then we'll basically run a henchmen-vs-henchmen battle as if the players were a second GM with a A/C/E pool, Fatigue/Stress=Wounds etc.

Henchmen led by a character has the option to use the characters Attributes, Skills and Stance instead of the henchmens.

Whenever a henchman group led by a character suffers a Critical, the player may select if his character suffers the critical or the henchmen loose Severity Rating = Wounds.

If a henchman group containing a character reaches 0 wounds, the character is knocked unconcious.



#9 Boehm

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 01:15 PM

 sounds cool - I would love to have some rules for leader types (maybe its just me - but I love the way 3ed has incorporated some inspirational and leadership type actions ) - anyway I look forward to hearing about how it all turns out :)



#10 Jericho

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:50 AM

 Wow ! Ralzar, you have found a very nice way to use the Henchmen rules !

I personally never use the henchmen rules in normal situations, I don't like artificially weak opponents. Personal taste.

But for mass combats, the rules are great ! Divide soldiers in groups of 5 or 6. Use the henchmen rules to resolve combats between these squads. Really great !


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#11 Ralzar

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:55 AM

Thanks :D I'm pretty pleased with what I've worked out so far and exited to see it in practice. I just kept chipping away at the rules to make them as uncomplicated as possible and when I could boil it down to basically "the players are a second GM and we play a Henchmen-vs-Henchmen combat" I knew I had it. It's very easy to go a bit overboard with the strategy game rules, but for just a one off it's best to not make too many new rules.

I will probably include a rule that if a group of Henchmen have over half their numbers killed they have to do a Leadership check or get the "Demoralized"-effect though. It doesn't feel right without some kind of morale mechanic.

Jericho said:


I personally never use the henchmen rules in normal situations, I don't like artificially weak opponents. Personal taste.

 

 

 

Same here. I actually strongly dislike the henchman rules. They do not at all fit into my idea of WFRP unless it's supposed to be a group of weak creatures working together to take down a character. Like a swarm of large rats, snotlings or similar. I actually tell my players sometimes "This should be a group of henchmen, but I said 'screw that' and made them proper oppenents. You'll just have to earn your victories." :D
 



#12 Ralzar

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:08 PM

Two rules I see I forgot above:

Monsters get THx2 Wounds. If they had all their wounds, they wouldn't fit the scale of the battle.

When two henchmen groups fight, compare their numbers. The larger groups recieves as many Fortune Dice on their attacks as they outnumber the smaller group. This is also used for monsters, except it uses their wounds instead.

 

Examples:

8 marauders-vs-6 beastmen
The beastmen will gain no bonus dice.
The marauders will recieve (8-2=2) 2 Fortune Dice on their attacks.

8 marauders -vs- Minotaur with 4 wounds
The minotaur recieves no bonuses.
The marauders recieve (8-4=4) 4 Fortune Dice on their attack.

 

I'll probably post the full set of rules later. Probably after having play-tested it in my campaign.



#13 Superchunk

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 07:23 AM

 Savage Worlds had a great narrative mass battle system in it that even included sieges in the Fantasy Companion. It would work out really well for this type of scenario. It boiled down to an opposed roll for the generals or leaders of the armies, modified by battle plans, terrain, army size and composition. The other PC's could use weapon skill checks or magic skill checks to modify the general's roll as well. Both armies were represented by a pool of tokens. 10 tokens for the larger army and a proportionately smaller number for the smaller army.

As the battle progresses and after all the rolls, you reduce the tokens for each side by a certain amount and check morale. Sieges had more options for sneaky characters to sabotage supplies and included modifiers for different kinds of fortifications and siege engines.

It was a super simple steam-lined system that I am planning to adapt for my upcoming WFRP3 game. If anybody is interested in it once it's done, I'd be happy to share it.



#14 Cabello

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 12:22 PM

 I would be interested in such things



#15 Ralzar

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 10:04 PM

I got to try out my rules last night. The result was a bit mixed. It worked mostly pretty well, however, a battle took quite a while. I unfortunately discovered this too late and we had to finish the session mid-battle. If I ever run a battle like this again, I'm going to dedicate a session to it.

Things I might have to change:

People die too slowly. No single group was able to kill more than two members of another group in one round. Which made the combat into a bit of a slow meat grinder. Despite units gaining a heap of extra fortune dice against groups they outnumbered, the action cards simply had a too low limit on how many wounds they could cause. Even when charging a minotaur into a group of archers and getting a bunch of successes, the minotaur only killed two archers. (16Dmg - Th4 - 1Soak = 11 wounds. Each member has 4 Wounds, so that's two kills and one severely wounded.)
I might need to adjust the outnumbering rule. Perhaps, instead of adding 1 Fortune Dice for each difference in numbers, I might add +1 Damage instead. Or perhaps 1 Damage and 1 Fortune Dice.
The other solution to this is to make sure never to have too big henchman groups. They should probably be kept at 8 or lower so the group goes down faster.

Morale rules. Morale needs to have a bigger effect. Several Ungor units got reduced to under half their number and failed their WP roll. This made them disengage and recieve the Demoralized condition, but this didn't really DO anything. They just moved back into combat the next turn and kept fighting.
I'm thinking that the first turn after having failed the morale test, the unit has to do a second morale test. If this fails, they are routed and the unit is removed from the board.

Ranged combat might also need a slight adjustment. For ease of use I had it work the same as melee combat, but the outnumbering mechanic just seems off for ranged combat. I think I might change it so you add 1 Fortune Dice (and/or 1 Damage) for each member of the group over 1. So a group of 6 archers would make a ranged attack wwith 5 Fortune Dice added.



#16 k7e9

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:52 AM

Edit: Ignore my post.



#17 Superchunk

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:36 AM

 Just got Hero's Call and they have a section in it that specifically mentions large scale combat. I believe it's called extended challenges.



#18 Ralzar

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:14 AM

Here are the currently final version of the rules I used to run my battle.

The Map
The battle is played out on a hexagonal grid map. Each space on the map is referred to as a "hex".

Units
Each Unit is represented by 1 Standup and a numbered Dice, known as a "Member Dice".

Member Dice
The Dice represents the Units current and maximum number of Members.
The type of Dice (D4, D6, D8 etc) varies based on the unit type.

Fortifications
Shown by an arrow pointing out from the fortified hex to one or more adjecent hexes.
Performing an an Attack Action directly against the arrows direction adds 1 Challange Dice.
Moving directly against the arrow demands an Average Athletics Check.

Buildings
Hexes with buildings in them can not be entered or occupied.

Trees
Hexes with trees grant +2 Defense to Ranged attacks.

Characters
A Unit may be led by a Character. If so, use the Characters standup to represent the unit.
Whenever a unit needs to use an Attribute or Skill, compare the Units and Characters stats. Use whichever is higher.
Units led by a Character uses the Characters Stance.

Monsters or single character
Monsters or Characters not part of a unit uses their THx2 Wounds amount, indicated in their stats.

Manouver
Each Unit may move 1 hex as a manouver.
Each Unit may pay 1 Wound to use additional manouvers.

Engagement
When a card or rule describes an Engagement, it refers to all hexes touching the hex of the relevant Unit/Monster/Character.

Disengaging
Moving away from an enemy Unit costs 1 Wound.

Flanking
If you attack a Unit in melee while an allied Unit is placed on one of the three hexes on the opposite side, you recieve 1 Expertice Dice to the attack check.

Action Cards
Units may only use the Basic Actions "Melee Strike" and "Ranged Shot". The GM may add additional actions he feels are appropriate.

Outnumbering
When attacking an enemy unit in melee, compare number of Members of the attacking and defending unit. If the "Attacker Members" > "Defender Members" the attackers recieves 1 Fortune Dice for each Member they exceeds the defenders.

Ranged Attacks
When attacking an enemy unit at range, count the number of members in the attacking unit and subtract 1. Add that many Fortune Dice.

Converting Dice
For every 4 Fortune Dice, remove these from the Dice Pool and add an Expertise Dice instead.

Range
Count the number of hexes, starting with the one in front of the attacking unit and ending with the target hex.
1: Engaged, 2: Close, 3: Normal, 4-5:Long, 6-8: Extreme range

Wounds
Each Member of a Unit has Wounds=TH.
When a Unit suffer Wounds, place a Fatigue/Stress token next to its Members Dice to indicate this.
When a Unit looses as many wounds as its TH, remove one Member and reset the Fatigue/Stress tokens.

Regaining Wounds
If the Unit regains Wounds, it can only heal Members that are injured. It can not regain fallen Members.

Fatigue/Stress
If a Unit should gain Fatigue/Stress, add that amount of Wounds.
If a Unit should loose Faitgue/Stress, remove that amount of Wounds.

Critical Wounds
If a Unit suffers a Critical Wound, it looses the Critical Rating amount of Members.
If a Monster/Character suffers a Critical Wound, apply it as normal.

Critically Wounded
If a Unit has half or less of its Members left, it is considered Critically Wounded.

Morale
If a Unit is reduced to half or less of its original Members, it must make a Normal Discipline or Leadership Check.
If the Unit fails the check, it recieves the Demoralised condition and looses as many members as Failures.

Demoralized Units
At the start of each turn, a Unit with the Demoralized effect must roll a Normal Discipline or Leadership test. If it fails, remove one Member for each Failure and move the unit one move away from any enemy units. Its turn then ends.
If it succeeds, remove the Demoralised condition.

0 Wounds/Members
If a Unit or Monster is reduced to 0 Wounds/Members, it is removed from the board.
If a Character is part of the Unit, he is knocked Unconcious until the end of the battle.

Turns
The GM decides the initiative order based on the situation.
The Inititive tracker simply consist of one turn for each side in the battle.
The players work together to move all their units.



#19 nephtys

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 11:33 AM

very nice, gonna try that out tomorrow, i'll give you a report!



#20 Ralzar

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 07:29 PM

Some tips if you use this:

 

It's going to take at least a couple of hours to play, depending on the size of the armies and how familiar everyone is with the rules. I used it as a "Boss Fight" at the end of the first half of my campaign. I wouldn't use this for general combat.

Avoid having too big units. I'd say nothing bigger than a 10-man unit. Otherwise you'll end up with a lot of dice, which is part of the reason the "Converting Dice" rule is there.

It's implyed but never directly stated: I didn't use any defensive action cards. This is to cut down on the bookkeeping and increase the rate of fatalities.






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