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Rogue-Star

Looking for GM input on how to handle massive ground battles

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Here's the situation...

My PCs are each leading a Battalion of 1100 troops at the Battle of Jakku. I m try to figure out how to run massive battles quickly. So if any GMs have had any experience in running massive ground battles I looking for your input on worked best for you.

My current plan is to use Planetary Scale rules as each battalion has 50+ squads of 20+ minion troopers.

WT is 1/10th the total personal scale WT total rounded down.

Weapons do planetary damage, Range of weapons still in personal scale, Pierce effects armor of troops as normal while on Breach can effect vehicles.

Silhouette of troops 1 for squads w/ WT 1 n individuals or PCs, 2 for squads w/ WT 2-5, 3 for Squads w/ WT 6+.

Minion Group skills upgrade 1 die per WT point.

In each Battalion are several Medic n Engineer Squads. Medics can use their group skill to heal 1 WT plus 1 WT per success while Engineers can use Damage Control to repair vehicles in the field.

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That is a massive undertaking. How important is it to have a really granular result to the battle?

Perhaps play out a small skirmish for each of the PCs (if they want an actual combat scene) and narratively decide the rest.

Another way might be to have each PC make a Leadership roll to see how their battalions do in the battle.

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My plan is to break them up into individual battalions an attack the Citadel from different sides do yes they will be fighting in small skirmishes going against a imbedded enemy that had time to prepare n is 10 times larger force. I want the PCs to feel they are cut off from reinforcements n support as the fleet in orbit is preoccupied w the Imperial fleet, hopeless n all is lost.

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Yeah, don't reinvent the wheel.

Focus on creating individual encounters and such the players can directly interact with, and use mass combat from Lead By Example to narrate the larger fight outside of the players direct reach.

For the individual encounters, if enough players have Leadership skills, attach squads (see AoR GM kit) to the players to bump up the activity scale.

You can also use squads on the imperial side, but you will probably want to build a better Squad leader character, as the standard Stormtrooper Sgt. and such are built to support minion groups, not squads.

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7 hours ago, Rogue-Star said:

My plan is to break them up into individual battalions an attack the Citadel from different sides do yes they will be fighting in small skirmishes going against a imbedded enemy that had time to prepare n is 10 times larger force. I want the PCs to feel they are cut off from reinforcements n support as the fleet in orbit is preoccupied w the Imperial fleet, hopeless n all is lost.

Is there a reasonable chance that they will lose, or is it just illusion?

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My plan is to have individual NPCs n the PCs to interact while the squads chew each other to pieces. Each Battalion has a PC w Leadership or a Commander in place for PCs who don't and yes I plan to make Mass Combat checks it's just I want to show troopers being lost all around them maybe a PC or two critically injured. 

Also after engaging a reconnaissance force from the Citadel a battle that takes place as our fleet is engaged an imperial counter attack already played out the PCs get reinforcements n gain access to call in close air support as well as orbital bombardments to help out during individual engagements on their March on the citadel.

By time they reach the Citadel fleet becomes engaged so they lose support from fleet n go against a force 3 times larger then the engaged together or alone w/o support. 

I just want to show the engagement between the squads w dice rolls to show  squads interacting not just a Mass Combat roll.

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Now if I just use a Mass Combat roll then I may have to add my own Advantage n Threat charts so I can determine how many troops were lost during the time frame. My whole goal is to show lose of troops the PCs came to be close too during the year between Endor n Jakku as they liberated one system after another wo mass ground battles. 

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Happydaze it's supposed to be an illusion like the Jedi surrounded in Geonosia they are supposed to feel all is lost only to be rescued by a character I "retired" after we took the Core Worlds n her Smuggler fleet she recently required.

The goal is to lose do much of their forces the PCs want to retire n join my retired PC n go back to freelance work like we did before Endor if they don't on their own they will be forced in to retirement thanks to the New Republics disarmerment agreement and since the PC fleet n Army lose so much at Jakku the 2nd Battle Group is dismantled first.

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4 hours ago, Rogue-Star said:

Each Battalion has a PC w Leadership or a Commander in place for PCs

Check the AoR GM kit, there's a method for attaching larger groups of Minion NPCs to the players without going insane trying to track everything.

 

3 hours ago, Rogue-Star said:

may have to add my own Advantage n Threat charts

You're supposed to. The existing charts are suggestions, a benchmark for what power level effect the outcomes should generate. The whole idea is that you'll add in your own fine details that roughly match.

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1 hour ago, Ghostofman said:

Check the AoR GM kit, there's a method for attaching larger groups of Minion NPCs to the players without going insane trying to track everything.

 

You're supposed to. The existing charts are suggestions, a benchmark for what power level effect the outcomes should generate. The whole idea is that you'll add in your own fine details that roughly match.

I'll check AOR GM Kit

As for using Advantage/ Threat to inflict casualties during Mass Combat I was thinking 1 Adv 1% lose opposition while 1 Thr 1% lose to acting force. While 1 Tri/ 1 Des 10% lose 2 Tri/ 2 Des 25% loses

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6 hours ago, Rogue-Star said:

Happydaze it's supposed to be an illusion like the Jedi surrounded in Geonosia they are supposed to feel all is lost only to be rescued by a character I "retired" after we took the Core Worlds n her Smuggler fleet she recently required.

The goal is to lose do much of their forces the PCs want to retire n join my retired PC n go back to freelance work like we did before Endor if they don't on their own they will be forced in to retirement thanks to the New Republics disarmerment agreement and since the PC fleet n Army lose so much at Jakku the 2nd Battle Group is dismantled first.

If you have a predetermined outcome in mind,  then just skip to it. Spending time on dice rolls that don't really matter is disrespectful to the players because they will see through the illusion. 

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On 2/24/2019 at 6:29 PM, Rogue-Star said:

Happydaze it's supposed to be an illusion like the Jedi surrounded in Geonosia they are supposed to feel all is lost only to be rescued by a character I "retired" after we took the Core Worlds n her Smuggler fleet she recently required.

The goal is to lose do much of their forces the PCs want to retire n join my retired PC n go back to freelance work like we did before Endor if they don't on their own they will be forced in to retirement thanks to the New Republics disarmerment agreement and since the PC fleet n Army lose so much at Jakku the 2nd Battle Group is dismantled first.

I know it's not on topic, and far be it from me to judge your table because I've never GM'd something like this, but this seems to me to be, as Tony Stark would say "Not a great plan."

If I were a player I would be absolutely livid if my GM destroyed all my PC's forces that I had "grown to be close to" over the course of a campaign in a literally unwinnable charade, only to be rescued by a "retired" GMPC galloping in on a white horse to Save the Day (tm), all in order to reintroduce said GMPC and to drastically reroute the course of the campaign. I can tell you, even if it was in character for my PC to rejoin the GMPC and get back to square 1 freelancing, as a player, this would be my last mission of the campaign. 

Make the battle desperate, make the costs high, but a) give them an objective that makes the sacrifice worth it and b) let them win (or lose) on their own abilities.

I know it's hard not to make your GMPC the "Big **** Hero" (everyone wants to be the Hero) but you're shortchanging and disrespecting your players by doing so.

Also, incidentally, Battle of Jakku seems like a capstone to a campaign. Is there a particular reason you want to transition back from "The PC's lead thousands" to "guns for hire"? Wouldn't it be simpler (with less hard feelings and less leaps of logic) to make this the dramatic conclusion (wherever the dice fall), and to start afresh on a new freelancer campaign?

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Just a brief background of our player group. We started playing our PCs nearly 20 years ago when WOC came our w D20 version. The core 4 PCs have been together a long time. Other campaigns we played were in different Eras one such campaign had our characters parents working together before our PCs were born. So in essence our main PCs are a family of sorts. 

While I am the primary GM n I set the timeline of the campaign other players can play their own adventures as long as it sticks to the flow of the campaign. The rule w that is PCs who GM are support n don't make command decisions which gives chance for other players to take lead and shine. 

As for the main PCs we started our campaign 3 yrs BBY as we started as freelancers playing it by ear. Empire killed one of our main PCs n that set tone to us doing the occasional freelance job for the Alliance. At the Battle of Endor we were already active w in the Alliance and we were pulled for special mission at the Battle of Endor we started w command of special force unit n squadron after Endor our Command grew in a Battle Group. Our mission to Liberate worlds still oppressed by the Empire between Endor n events leading up to Jakku.  

After liberating Corscant my Character who was wounded by a former Imperial turned double agent resigned her Commission and went back to freelance work as she had in settled business she had to put on hold prior to Battle of Endor. It was during this time she called on help from other PCs who by helping her out got themselves Court martialed upon return to NR only thing that saved them was fact that during my PCs request for revenge we discovered the Smuggler's were in fact supplying the Imperial Remnants on Jakku.

The PCs were sent to Jakku w their Special Force unit n Squadron to gather intell. It was during this time the Empire sprung it's trap wiping out out stealth squadron n the units stealth shuttle the unit was ambushed but survived only to see my PC n the heads of her new Smuggling guild met w Imperial command st the Citadel before being hunted. PCs escape on one of the cargo ships.

During planning of the attack on Jakku my PC attempted to pass along vital Intel she was able to get but the rest of the PCs refused to listen. Do the group is at odds.

I have previously retired a character n made them NPC who made guest appearances from time to time. Said character commanded the fleet at Jakku n was killed when command ship was destroyed during the first Part losing all hands.

While 1 PC did help my PC out prior to leaving for Jakku the thought that my PC could intervene in minimal. Her smuggler fleet will arrive rather PCs succeed in taking the Citadel or get held up because the main encounter w my PC is she gets to square off w the Imperial who shot her.

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The Advantage/ Threat chart for Mass Combat Casualties 
1 Adv/ 1 Thr 1% lose from current troop total
2 Adv/ 2 Thr a Rival is incapacitated
3 Adv/ 3 Thr silhouette 3 or smaller non minion vehicle disabled or 1 Minion Vehicle Destroyed 
4 Adv/ 4 Thr silhouette 4 or greater non minion vehicle disabled 
1 Triumph/ 1 Despair 10% minion force lost
2 Triumph/ 2 Despair 25% minion force lost or Nemesis incapacitated

PCs, NPCs, Commanders, Elite Troopers, n Vehicles will act as normal. All Minion groups have been massed into one WT total (individual Battalions have their own WT total). Initiative was rolled for these minion groups but initiative is for movement not attack. Minion Group will attack during Mass Combat check and will use the above Advantage/ Threat chart to determine casualties sustained or inflicted that round.

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Finally w the release of Rise of the Separatists book I think I found the answer I was looking for as it was similar to what I originally had in mind. I will use the optional re Droid Phalanxes.

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In this system, your choice for giant battles are basically: 
1.) Just use minion groups (depends on how big the scale of the battle is, but this can work for some stuff). 

2.) Use the Squad and Squadron Rules appearing in both AOR GM Kit and Rise of the Separatists. (Great when the PCs or key NPCs have some minion allies, to keep initiative rounds moving fast)

3.) Use the Mass Combat Rules found in a few books (notably Lead by Example, but also Friends Like These and one other book). These are the best rules for when both sides have large numbers of forces, or a battle is more background while the players undertake specific special objectives that can modify those big mass combat checks (think Han Solo's shield generator raid in ROTJ while a Mass Combat took place in space in front of the Death Star II). 

4.) Use the new Droid Phalanx rules found in Rise of the Separatists. These rules are best for when one side is just PCs, and the other has a ton of minions. 

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2 hours ago, KRKappel said:

In this system, your choice for giant battles are basically: 
1.) Just use minion groups (depends on how big the scale of the battle is, but this can work for some stuff). 

2.) Use the Squad and Squadron Rules appearing in both AOR GM Kit and Rise of the Separatists. (Great when the PCs or key NPCs have some minion allies, to keep initiative rounds moving fast)

3.) Use the Mass Combat Rules found in a few books (notably Lead by Example, but also Friends Like These and one other book). These are the best rules for when both sides have large numbers of forces, or a battle is more background while the players undertake specific special objectives that can modify those big mass combat checks (think Han Solo's shield generator raid in ROTJ while a Mass Combat took place in space in front of the Death Star II). 

4.) Use the new Droid Phalanx rules found in Rise of the Separatists. These rules are best for when one side is just PCs, and the other has a ton of minions. 

Or mix the 4 together

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