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Waging a War

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War is an essential part of W40k, don't you think? gran_risa.gif

 

My group are diving headlong into a small war, and I'm trying to figure out the best way to handle this.

I've looked at the rules in the RT book for mass combat, but thats rules for single engagements, not war as a whole, and the particular conflict I have in mind is for between 500 and 1200 troops on each side.

 

The way I'd like to do it is to have some kind of mechanicdie rolling to figure out how well (or bad) the fighting goes, and not going into too much detail of every engagement of the war. And then we could collectively describe how the war was going in game or something. And since a war would mostly be fought by the PC's troops, the PC's would have more of a commanding role. 

But ultimately, as the game is about the PCs they would have to descend on the battlefield for the important fight, wich could be combating the enemy leadership, doing a improtant sabotage mission, or whatever. But it should be a key element of the main conflict.

 

My idea for this kind of war is that it won't be solved by one big engagement, but possibly a multitude of smaller engagements, possibly during several days, weeks or longer, depending on the conflict. Of course, narrating every engagement would be tedious and outright boring, so that won't do. What I'm thinking about is that it can be solved by a few dice rolls. Mainly Command and other skills that might apply for the PC's, and a more general roll, (whose 'stat' could be a more general percentage, like ship crew, instead spesific skills,)  for the troops, wich will reflect their overall performance. These rolls would be rolled for both sides, like in a contested. And the results of the rolls could give a guideline of how much of the oppositions personell would be killed or rendered out of action.

But I don't want everything to hinge on a singular roll, since that would seem to random.

 

Does anyone have a more fleshed out system, or something like this?

How have you handled these types of conflict?

And lastly, do you have any input on my own idea? Too simple? Unneccesary? Brilliant? happy.gif Genious? partido_risa.gif

 

Okay, time to stop now. Tired.. lengua.gif

But seriously. Any reply will be muy appreciado.

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The biggest question is, how much time do you want to spend waging this war? I'm talking about real time. Because depending on how many sessions you want to devote to the problem, different mechanics should be employed. I can see this streamlined into one game session with a lot of "downtime", or it can span an entire campaign.

Also, what are your players more interested in? Tactics and leading battles from up front, or strategy, logistics and planning? That's also important for providing them with war that's not only mechanically challenging, but also fun and compelling to play out.

I have several ideas bubbling in my brain, and having this data would help me decide which one to flesh out and propose.

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 Thanks for the reply.

 

You bring up several good points. Even though I don't want to gloss over it too much, I don't want it to dominate the game. One session, two at the most. I'm not too sure how the players would like too much strategy and planning.  But I got a varied group, so they're up for a little bit of everything, I think. But overall, I think they lean more into the 'hands on' departement. 

 

But I think the streamlined approach with some downtime would be the one that'd go best with both me and my players.

 

I'm looking forward to see what ideas you might have :)

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Well, particularly if the team is the hands-on type, you may want to not even bother rolling much of the battle. For the battles and segments that are just background events, you can simply have them be as effective or ineffective as the story requires. If the party is moving across the city and you want to throw in a combat, then have it so their men have been forced back and the group has to run threw enemy territory to get to the objective, etc.

 

When the group actually takes control of a segment of their forces, that’s the time to start pulling for Command and other skill checks. You can actually look at the Space Ships section for inspiration of what kind of checks to use for what kind of activities. Plus, there’s always the potential dramatic finish of your party engaged in a party-vs-party duel with the opposing high command.

So long story short, particularly with a hands on crew for 1-2 game sessions, I’d suggest hand waving the majority of the battle, and let the success or failure really fall on the decisions your party makes, rather then how well they roll.

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 What I would do is divide the troops in groups of 50 (Company)

Each Company has the following stats:
(Stats may very by type, PDF aren't as strong as Adeptus Astartes)

Company (Standard Imperial Guard)
Hits 5
Bonus +10

Ork Company
Hits 10
Bonus +5 Ranged, +10 Melee

Rules
Each Company adds its bonus to the combat skill of the Explorer in charge the Company, multiple companies stack.
Equipment bonuses are not added since these are not important on this scale.

The Character in charge may also test relavant skills (Scholastic Lore Tactica Imperialis or Command  for example) and may add +5 for success and an additional +5 for each degree of success.
Only one skill may be tested each round.

So after all bonusses are added to the characters combat characteristic the character tests this final score.
He scores one hit +1 per DoS, these hits directly substract from the enemy company hits.
A company which has zero hits left is routed and removed from play.

Example

Rogue Trader Lucius Veridian attacks the Ork horde (3 companies) with his troops, he has 5 companies with him (+50), before engaging the enemy this rounds he tests Command (Lucius has a Fellowship of 61 and Command +20) and rolls a 30, succes + 5 addtional DoS (+30).

Lucius decides on a volley of Las blasts, his Ballistic Skill is 46 so his total score is 126.
The player rolls a 5, succes and 12 addional DoS for a total of 13 hits on the enemy, he destroys one enemy company (10 hits) and damaging another one (3 hits).

Note
An Explorer may command as many companies as he sees fit and multiple explorer can command their own companies.
Tanks and other vehicles can be added to a company increasing the company bonus (Chimera +5, Lemmon Russ +10, Bane Blade +20, Reaver Titan +50, etc)
Some vehicles (Bane Blades, Titans) may add hits to the Company, squadrons of vehicles might form their own company.

What exactly happens to routed or destroyed companies is up to the GM though pc actions might lessen the damage (Medicae Tests, Tech Use Tests in case of vehicles) but they are removed from play until after the battle.

This system is highly adaptable and gives the pc he is truly commanding a great deal of troops and gives the GM the feeling he isn´t drowning in a sea of rolls and numbers.

 

GrtZ,

 

Santiago...

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Santiago said:

 What I would do is divide the troops in groups of 50 (Company)

Each Company has the following stats:
(Stats may very by type, PDF aren't as strong as Adeptus Astartes)

Company (Standard Imperial Guard)
Hits 5
Bonus +10

Ork Company
Hits 10
Bonus +5 Ranged, +10 Melee

Rules
Each Company adds its bonus to the combat skill of the Explorer in charge the Company, multiple companies stack.
Equipment bonuses are not added since these are not important on this scale.

The Character in charge may also test relavant skills (Scholastic Lore Tactica Imperialis or Command  for example) and may add +5 for success and an additional +5 for each degree of success.
Only one skill may be tested each round.

So after all bonusses are added to the characters combat characteristic the character tests this final score.
He scores one hit +1 per DoS, these hits directly substract from the enemy company hits.
A company which has zero hits left is routed and removed from play.

Example

Rogue Trader Lucius Veridian attacks the Ork horde (3 companies) with his troops, he has 5 companies with him (+50), before engaging the enemy this rounds he tests Command (Lucius has a Fellowship of 61 and Command +20) and rolls a 30, succes + 5 addtional DoS (+30).

Lucius decides on a volley of Las blasts, his Ballistic Skill is 46 so his total score is 126.
The player rolls a 5, succes and 12 addional DoS for a total of 13 hits on the enemy, he destroys one enemy company (10 hits) and damaging another one (3 hits).

Note
An Explorer may command as many companies as he sees fit and multiple explorer can command their own companies.
Tanks and other vehicles can be added to a company increasing the company bonus (Chimera +5, Lemmon Russ +10, Bane Blade +20, Reaver Titan +50, etc)
Some vehicles (Bane Blades, Titans) may add hits to the Company, squadrons of vehicles might form their own company.

What exactly happens to routed or destroyed companies is up to the GM though pc actions might lessen the damage (Medicae Tests, Tech Use Tests in case of vehicles) but they are removed from play until after the battle.

This system is highly adaptable and gives the pc he is truly commanding a great deal of troops and gives the GM the feeling he isn´t drowning in a sea of rolls and numbers.

 

GrtZ,

 

Santiago...

Who goes first? Do you roll initiative or is it simultaneous. Does the defender get a bonus? What about terrain? Tactics? Do damaged companies make morale checks? Everyone fights to the death? Does the Rogue Trader get to use his +10% special ability. In the above example he wpies out almost half the orcs before they can even do anything.

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 Okay okay,

What I posted was just a skeleton system.

Initiative: I would use the initiative of the generals

Terrain: Partly the tactics roll incorperates this, otherwise, GM might give bonuses and penalties depending on advantage or disadvantage

RT Advantage: Sure it counts, he is a natural leader

Other types of Units, make them up yourself, looks at stats (or make them up) and extrapolate using the guardsman unit as an example.

Damage to the General: Only if challenged, than you revert back to normal combat or if all his troops are dead, revert back to normal combat.

Fate Points: Can't heal, can reroll

Well the above example routed/destroyed half the orks, but they were badly outnumbered 500 to 300 and the attacker rolled insanely well...

This mass combat system is based on the Exalted Mass Combat Rules...

Note:
In my games the armies are just extentions for characters to do cool things on a larger scale, this system helps with that.
If I have time I'll might sit down and write down a expanded version and post it later.

GrtZ,

 

Santiago...

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 40k RPG Mass Combat Rules:

This set of rules is an addition to the 40k RPG rules as written by FFG, it allows all types of characters to engage in mass combat and uses said character as hero and general of the battle.
Each Mass Combat turn lasts for approximately one half hour.

Stage I: Initiative

Determine Initiative for the entire army controlled by the Character by using the characters Agility bonus +1d10.
Not Hive Worlder bonuses and Talents as Lightning Reaction and Unnatural Agility do not apply.
If the troops have Unnatural Agility however add the multiplier to Initiative, so Unnatural Agility (x2) adds 2 to Initiative.

Stage II: Manoeuvring

Each side manoeuvres his troops, to represent this have both sides make a Challenging (+0) Command or Scholastic Lore (Tactica Imperialis).
Success and each DoS adds +5 to the final test made in stage III.
This test is each turn of combat.


Stage III: Confrontation

The General adds all bonuses together, those from the Manoeuvring Test and the Company Modifiers and makes a Challenging (+0) WS or BS test depending whether his troops engage in melee or ranged combat.
Success and each DoS result in 1 hit damage to an enemy unit

Stage IV: Aftermath and Testing Morale

If a army suffers more than 10 hits in a single turn of Mass Combat the General must make a Hard (-10) Command test, failure and each Degree of Failure results in an additional Hit Damage as the result of troops fleeing.

If Mechanised Companies are destroyed or Routed a Hard (-10) Tech Use Test may be made to determine if some of the vehicles are salvageable, in this the GM determines the exact result depending on the Tests Results.

If Troop Companies are destroyed or Routed a Hard (-10) Medicae Use Test may be made to determine how high the casualties actually are, in this the GM determines the exact result depending on the Tests Results


Companies:

A General can never command more Companies as his Fellowship Bonus, the Air of Authority Talent changes this to Fellowship Bonus +5 and the Master Orator Talent adds another 5.
So a General with a Fellowship of 65 and the Air of Authority and Master Orator Talents could command 16 Companies at once.

Types of Companies:

Each Company is the approximate equivalent of 50 soldiers or 5 light vehicles or 3 heavy vehicles.
These rules not go into the specific types of ordinance but just give some fast and cinematic rules.


Imperial Guard Company:
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10

Storm Trooper Company:
Hits: 10
Bonus: +10
Special: Give a +10 bonus Morale Tests

Sentinel Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +15

Leman Russ Company
Hits: 10
Bonus: +20

Rogue Trader Dynastic Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10
Special: Give a +10 bonus Morale Tests

Ork Company
Hits: 10
Bonus: +10 WS, +5 BS
Special: Give a +5 bonus to Morale Tests

Eldar Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10
Special: Add 2 to Combat Initiative

Kroot Mercenary Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10 BS, +15 WS

Example:
Rogue Trader Lucius Veridian attacks the Ork horde (3 companies) with his troops, he has 5 companies with him (+50), before engaging the enemy this rounds he tests Command (Lucius has a Fellowship of 61 and Command +20) and rolls a 30, success + 5 additional DoS (+30).

Lucius decides on a volley of Las blasts, his Ballistic Skill is 46 so his total score is 126.
The player rolls a 5, success and 12 addional DoS for a total of 13 hits on the enemy, he destroys one enemy company (10 hits) and damaging another one (3 hits).

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 I have thought about making it an opposed test, I will add it as an optional rule.
A good commander can do the most damage with the least amount of troops, I want to keep this system as simple a possible but I am expending the rules as we speak, adding thing like Orbital Bombardment and skirmish battles.

If there is a size differance between the armies it simply means the opposing side has more companies, that is the modifier, and 10 more soldiers on such a schale does not realy matter.
Unless they are for example 10 space marines in which case they are probably a company on their own even if they are only 10 men.

EDIT: Here we go!!!!

40k RPG Mass Combat Rules version 1.3:

This set of rules is an addition to the 40k RPG rules as written by FFG, it allows all types of characters to engage in mass combat and uses said character as hero and general of the battle.
Each Mass Combat turn lasts for approximately one half hour.

Stage I: Initiative

Determine Initiative for the entire army controlled by the Character by using the characters Perception bonus +1d10.
Note that Hive Worlder bonuses and Talents as Lightning Reaction and Unnatural Agility do not apply.
If the troops have Unnatural Agility for example add the multiplier to Initiative, so Unnatural Agility (x2) adds 2 to Initiative.

Stage II: Manoeuvring

Each side manoeuvres his troops, to represent this have both sides make a Challenging (+0) Command or Scholastic Lore (Tactica Imperialis).
Success and each DoS adds +5 to the final test made in stage III.
This test is each turn of combat.


Stage III: Confrontation

The General adds all bonuses together, those from the Manoeuvring Test and the Company Modifiers and makes a Challenging (+0) WS or BS test depending whether his troops engage in melee or ranged combat.
Success and each DoS result in 1 hit damage to an enemy unit

Stage IV: Aftermath and Testing Morale

If a army suffers more than 10 hits in a single turn of Mass Combat the General must make a Hard (-10) Command test, failure and each Degree of Failure results in an additional Hit Damage as the result of troops fleeing.

If Mechanised Companies are destroyed or Routed a Hard (-10) Tech Use Test may be made to determine if some of the vehicles are salvageable, in this the GM determines the exact result depending on the Tests Results.

If Troop Companies are destroyed or Routed a Hard (-10) Medicae Use Test may be made to determine how high the casualties actually are, in this the GM determines the exact result depending on the Tests Results

Fate and Mass Combat:


A character can spend fate in combat but not to restore hits, he can use it to gain a +10 on one of the test or to reroll a test.


Damaging the General in Mass Combat:

Normally the leader or general is never damaged in mass combat, unless all his companies are routed which means you revert back to normal combat.

Terrain (Optional):

If the situation allows a general to choose the battlefield he can put his enemy at a serious disadvantage.
In such a case penalties are generated by the GM which are subtracted from the attackers total result (see stage III) before rolling.

Enemy has the higher Ground: -10 penalty
Enemy has cover (Trenches for example): -20 penalty
Enemy has extensive cover (A fort for examples): -30 penalty
Attacking through a swamp: -10 penalty

Orbital Bombardment (Optional):

Sometimes on or more parties have ship at their disposal, if both parties have spaceships at their assume the two ships are fighting each other in orbit, if one side does have a ship ready commence Orbital Bombardment use the following.
The ship always counts as an independent general, though like normal ship combat multiple characters or npc’s can assist.

Step I: Initiative

Use the ships gunners Perception Bonus +1d10

Step II: Targeting

To properly locate the Target make a Difficult (-10) Scrutiny test, success and each additional DoS adds a +5 on the final Test made in Stage III, failure and every Degree of Failure results in a -10.


Step III: Commence Bombardment

Have the ships gunner make BS test, depending on the amount of Batteries or Lances trained on the Battlefield add a bonus on this test.
For each success and additional DoS the ship inflicts 2 hits on the enemy, if the gunner makes a terrible mistake and shoot at the wrong side (Roll of 96+) you inflict 1d5 x 2 on the allied side.

Macro Battery: +10
Macro Broad Side: +20
Lance: +15
Lance Battery: +30

Skirmish (Optional):

Instead of using full companies the general are fighting with squads, use the same rules except divide the amount of soldiers in a company by 5 (so 10 soldiers per squad, 1 vehicles per squad).


Companies:

A General can never command more Companies as his Fellowship Bonus, the Air of Authority Talent changes this to Fellowship Bonus +5 and the Master Orator Talent adds another 5.
So a General with a Fellowship of 65 and the Air of Authority and Master Orator Talents could command 16 Companies at once.

Types of Companies:

Each Company is the approximate equivalent of 50 soldiers or 5 light vehicles or 3 heavy vehicles.
These rules not go into the specific types of ordinance but just give some fast and cinematic rules.


Imperial Guard Company:
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10

Storm Trooper Company:
Hits: 10
Bonus: +10
Special: Give a +10 bonus Morale Tests

Sentinel Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +15

Leman Russ Company
Hits: 15
Bonus: +20

Rogue Trader Dynastic Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10
Special: Give a +10 bonus Morale Tests

Ork Company
Hits: 10
Bonus: +10 WS, +5 BS
Special: Give a +5 bonus to Morale Tests

Eldar Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10
Special: Add 2 to Combat Initiative

Kroot Mercenary Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10 BS, +15 WS

Adeptus Astartus Company
Hits: 15
Bonus: +15
Special: 10 men instead of 50, +20 to Morale Tests

Example:
Rogue Trader Lucius Veridian attacks the Ork horde (3 companies) with his troops, he has 5 companies with him (+50), before engaging the enemy this rounds he tests Command (Lucius has a Fellowship of 61 and Command +20) and rolls a 30, success + 5 additional DoS (+30).

Lucius decides on a volley of Las blasts, his Ballistic Skill is 46 so his total score is 126.
The player rolls a 5, success and 12 addional DoS for a total of 13 hits on the enemy, he destroys one enemy company (10 hits) and damaging another one (3 hits).

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Some ideas:

 

40k Epic Rules using card counters or the real thing with models! (I know the models are kinda involved but the rules already exist for just about every unit in Epic).

40k tabletop, again same thing use the rules and models if you want to or no models just cardstock counters.  Thats how I learned the game before i chose an army to build.

On the rpg front ask them if they have a battle plan.  If they just play it by ear things might or might not be ending in a good way.  If they're up[ against conventional forces it'll be quite a different ball of wax than if they're up against teleporting space marines (librarian and tac squad), tyranid lictors, ratlings, necron or eldar rangers that can get into places that are well defended in a blink.  For many situations in a war you can plan what the 'enemy' will do and ask for a battle plan from the characters.  If they PCs don't have a foil for the enemy actions that is where critical PC battles should happen because the obvious weakness in their plan gets exploited and they need to plug the hole. 

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 Another option to look at (either for wholesale rule 'porting, or simply for ideas) are the Mighty Empires (classic or recent, although the classic ruleset is available free on the GW site [or at least it was when I last checked]) and Planetary Empires rules: simply substitute a mass-combat for the WFB/W40k battles in the campaign.

In a similar manner, the W40k BBB*, the BfG BBB** and the E:A BBB*** all have their own campaign rules which can be used, either independently, concurrently (representing separate campaigns on the ground and in space) or as a fused whole (one attempt at such can be found here). 
Indeed, given the scale suggested in the OP, it may make more sense to fight the main campaign out as a hybrid with the E:A rules (1200 men per side is pretty unwieldy at 28mm Heroic scale), using either actual models, or suitable representative markers.
Of course, if you were to take that route, you should remember to switch back to RT for suitably dramatic moments (duels between commanding officers, key FireFights from Epic, cool missions or mission ideas that don't fit the E:A rules, etc.), or else you may as well switch campaigns entirely.

 

* Warhammer 40k Big Black Book (the core, although it's currently more a BGB)

** Battlefleet Gothic Big Blue Book (again, the core rules, available free on the GW site)

*** Epic: Armageddon Big Brown Book (...do I really have to explain it? Pretty much all the GW produced 40k core books have a triple B abbreviation. Like the BfG BBB, available free from the GW site)

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 Now we're talking.

Santiago, that is great stuff. Exactly what I had in mind. I will definetively be trying out this system in my game, probably on the next session. Although it is a few weeks from now, so don't expect any quick results. :P

 

However, I do have some questions.

 

Mostly about what you said in your first version. 1.2, isn't it?

You wrote that a commander cannot command more than his Fellowship Bonus + various extras at once.

What did you mean?
In your example the commander can command 16 companies at once. What if his force consists of 20 or 30?

Will the rest wait in line? Or will they act independently, with their own roll, like a sub-commander, wich will have a lesser skill? Or would it be more appropriate if the different PC's lead different companies, wich would result in a war with multiple forces.

 

Also, what if it actually are 3 or more sides to the conflict? Any thoughts on that?

 

I like how your system makes it so that unless you attack with vastly overwhelming forces, or roll very good, the enemy will have a chance to retaliate and it will exchange back and forth a couple've times before it reaches an conclusion.

 

And how do you view damage to a company andor selection on wich company to be damaged next? If a company have 1 hit left, will it function at full capacity until it is reduced to 0 hits? And how to choose wether the guard company or the sentinel company will take the next round of hits?

 

I like the stuff so far. Hope to see more :)

And thanks for replying to my initial plea for help with this level of engagement :)

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 Hi,

I'll try to answer your questions:

The cap an the amount of companies one can command is to ensure all pc's have a roll in Mass Combat, so the other players do not feel left out.
So for example you have a Rogue trader, an Arch Militant, an Explorator and a Missionary.
The Arch Militant and the RT each command a certain amount of Companies and the Missionary and Explorator each do triage (biological and mechanical)
You could of course always forgo such a rule.

Do mind that 20 companies equals 1.000 men, which is a lot for the scope you start playing on.
Of course you could also always up the anté if you are very generous and use armies (500 men) instead of companies (50 men), but you would have to scale up the enemy too.

This rule is there just for a bit of balance and forcing pc's to make choices, what troops do I use, do I split my force between me and the AM, which troops are left in reserve?


If there are 3 sides to combat things might get a bit trickier, I would say use multiple pc Commanders, each with their own companies.

You make a good point about hit distribution, if you fight a army consisting out of only normal Orks just destroy company per company.
Not all the units might be destroyed gradually but the forces do deplete and so lessening the bonus.
So incase of Orks are the enemy, remove one company per 10 hits taken

If you are fighting mixed and matched troops have the opposing commanders roll a Tactica Imperialis or Command test, the winner distributes the hits.

No thanks, I needed mass combat rules myself, last time someone asked me and I needed it my self too a 20 page Genestealer Cults supplement came into being, it is still downloadable on Dark Reign

GrtZ,

 

Santiago...

 

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 Okay, with the feedback included...

40k RPG Mass Combat Rules version 1.5:

This set of rules is an addition to the 40k RPG rules as written by FFG, it allows all types of characters to engage in mass combat and uses said character as hero and general of the battle.
Each Mass Combat turn lasts for approximately one half hour.

Stage I: Initiative

Determine Initiative for the entire army controlled by the Character by using the characters Perception bonus +1d10.
Note that Hive Worlder bonuses and Talents as Lightning Reaction and Unnatural Agility do not apply.
If the troops have Unnatural Agility for example add the multiplier to Initiative, so Unnatural Agility (x2) adds 2 to Initiative.

Stage II: Manoeuvring

Each side manoeuvres his troops, to represent this have both sides make a Challenging (+0) Command or Scholastic Lore (Tactica Imperialis).
Success and each DoS adds +5 to the final test made in stage III.
This test is each turn of combat.

Stage III: Confrontation

The General adds all bonuses together, those from the Manoeuvring Test and the Company Modifiers and makes a Challenging (+0) WS or BS test depending whether his troops engage in melee or ranged combat.
Success and each DoS result in 1 hit damage to an enemy unit

When fighting a uniform army consisting solely out of one type of company allocate all the hits from a given turn to one company until its destroyed than move to the next.

If fighting a more mixed and matched army the generals make an opposed Command or Scholastic Lore (Tactica Imperialis), the winner distributes the hits.

Stage IV: Aftermath and Testing Morale

If a army suffers more than 10 hits in a single turn of Mass Combat the General must make a Hard (-10) Command test, failure and each Degree of Failure results in an additional Hit Damage as the result of troops fleeing.
Bonuses given by certain Companies add to the entire army since they are of such quality and thus inspire the all the troops.

If Mechanised Companies are destroyed or Routed a Hard (-10) Tech Use Test may be made to determine if some of the vehicles are salvageable, in this the GM determines the exact result depending on the Tests Results.

If Troop Companies are destroyed or Routed a Hard (-10) Medicae Use Test may be made to determine how high the casualties actually are, in this the GM determines the exact result depending on the Tests Results

Fate and Mass Combat:
A character can spend fate in combat but not to restore hits, he can use it to gain a +10 on one of the test or to reroll a test.


Damaging the General in Mass Combat:

Normally the leader or general is never damaged in mass combat, unless all his companies are routed which means you revert back to normal combat.

When Brilliant Minds Meet (Optional):

This is an alternative rule for Stage II: Manoeuvring.
Instead of each commander rolling their own Command or Scholastic Lore (Tactical Imperialis) test they may make an opposed test where the winner of this test takes his bonus as per Stage II: Manoeuvring rules and the losing party takes a -5 and a -5 per 2 DoS.

Terrain (Optional):

If the situation allows a general to choose the battlefield he can put his enemy at a serious disadvantage.
In such a case penalties or bonuses are generated by the GM which are subtracted from the attackers total result (see stage III) before rolling.

Enemy has the higher Ground: -10 penalty
Enemy has cover (Trenches for example): -20 penalty
Enemy has extensive cover (A fort for examples): -30 penalty
Attacking through a swamp: -10 penalty

Attacking from Higher Ground: +10 Bonus
Enemy has no or very little cover: +10 to +20 Bonus


Orbital Bombardment (Optional):

Sometimes on or more parties have ship at their disposal, if both parties have spaceships at their assume the two ships are fighting each other in orbit, if one side does have a ship ready commence Orbital Bombardment use the following.
The ship always counts as an independent general, though like normal ship combat multiple characters or npc’s can assist.

Step I: Initiative

Use the ships gunners Perception Bonus +1d10

Step II: Targeting

To properly locate the Target make a Difficult (-10) Scrutiny test, success and each additional DoS adds a +5 on the final Test made in Stage III, failure and every Degree of Failure results in a -10.

Step III: Commence Bombardment

Have the ships gunner make BS test, depending on the amount of Batteries or Lances trained on the Battlefield add a bonus on this test.
For each success and additional DoS the ship inflicts 2 hits on the enemy, if the gunner makes a terrible mistake and shoot at the wrong side (Roll of 96+) you inflict 1d5 x 2 on the allied side.

Macro Battery: +10
Macro Broad Side: +20
Lance: +15
Lance Battery: +30

Skirmish (Optional):

Instead of using full companies the generals are fighting with squads, use the same rules except divide the amount of soldiers in a company by 5 (so 10 soldiers per squad, 1 vehicles per squad).
Each Mass Combat Turn is reduced to 15 minutes.

Epic Battles (Optional):

Instead of using companies the generals are fighting with entire armies, these armies can be any size as long as the opposing side uses the same scale.
Each turn now lasts 1 hour, 2 hours or 5 hours depending on the scale, Regimental, divisional or Army.

Regimental Scale 500 men
Divisional Scale 2.000 men
Army Scale 10.000 men

Companies:

A General can never command more Companies as his Fellowship Bonus, the Air of Authority Talent changes this to Fellowship Bonus +5 and the Master Orator Talent adds another 5.
So a General with a Fellowship of 65 and the Air of Authority and Master Orator Talents could command 16 Companies at once.

Types of Companies:

Each Company is the approximate equivalent of 50 soldiers or 5 light vehicles or 3 heavy vehicles.
These rules not go into the specific types of ordinance but just give some fast and cinematic rules.


Imperial Guard Company:
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10

Storm Trooper Company:
Hits: 10
Bonus: +10
Special: Zealous, give a +10 bonus Morale Tests

Sentinel Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +15

Leman Russ Company
Hits: 15
Bonus: +20
Special: Overrun, the opposing side has a -10 penalty on morale tests

Rogue Trader Dynastic Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10
Special: Loyal, give a +10 bonus Morale Tests

Ork Company
Hits: 10
Bonus: +10 WS, +5 BS
Special: Mob rule, give a +5 bonus to Morale Tests

Eldar Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10
Special: Fleet of Foot, add 2 to Combat Initiative

Kroot Mercenary Company
Hits: 5
Bonus: +10 BS, +15 WS

Adeptus Astartus Company
Hits: 15
Bonus: +15
Special: And thou shall know no fear: 10 men instead of 50, +20 to Morale Tests

Example:
Rogue Trader Lucius Veridian attacks the Ork horde (3 companies) with his troops, he has 5 companies with him (+50), before engaging the enemy this rounds he tests Command (Lucius has a Fellowship of 61 and Command +20) and rolls a 30, success + 5 additional DoS (+30).

Lucius decides on a volley of Las blasts, his Ballistic Skill is 46 so his total score is 126.
The player rolls a 5, success and 12 addional DoS for a total of 13 hits on the enemy, he destroys one enemy company (10 hits) and damaging another one (3 hits).

 

 

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Quicksilver said:

 

Well, particularly if the team is the hands-on type, you may want to not even bother rolling much of the battle. For the battles and segments that are just background events, you can simply have them be as effective or ineffective as the story requires. If the party is moving across the city and you want to throw in a combat, then have it so their men have been forced back and the group has to run threw enemy territory to get to the objective, etc.

 

When the group actually takes control of a segment of their forces, that’s the time to start pulling for Command and other skill checks. You can actually look at the Space Ships section for inspiration of what kind of checks to use for what kind of activities. Plus, there’s always the potential dramatic finish of your party engaged in a party-vs-party duel with the opposing high command.

So long story short, particularly with a hands on crew for 1-2 game sessions, I’d suggest hand waving the majority of the battle, and let the success or failure really fall on the decisions your party makes, rather then how well they roll.

 

 

Personally, I take this approach as well. Having even a streamlined mass-combat system can slow down the game too much and it could feel a bit like GM is playing a mini-game by himself while the players sit by and watch.

As Quicksillver pointed out, I'd only start rolling dice when the players start having possible influence on the outcome; taking direct command of troops, performing a dashing heroic action with the the party, influencing commanders at the HQ. For instance, if the players plan out a detailed multi-pronged attack for a large troop complement beforehand with the HQ and then go off to do their own thing, let them make command rolls for each section of the attack and whenever the gameplay-time arrives that the attack happens, describe it story-wise.

If the players are on their own on the battlefield, use the battle just as a story element and just fight out the direct confrontations that they face and just storytell the 'larger scale' effect of their actions on the battle or war as a whole.

If the players take direct command of the entire army and essentially act as their command group you could use something like Santiago's system.

So personally, I'd avoid rolled out mass-combat as much as possible as even the smallest skirmish can easily turn into a multi-hour battle, especially when the players are not as sober anymore than in the beginning of the evening. I think a large factor should be tempo. Is the particular confrontation relevant to the story or is it just a random encounter with weakling minions that barely warrant a damage roll? Is it really necesarry to play out a 1km dash across a battlefield with every combat roll and damage roll minutely taken or can you describe-skip some encounters and focus of the highlights of your game session for that evening?

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Nice work Santiago, can I make some suggestions for 2.0

Iniative: this has 2 components, tactics and command.

Tactics: The 2 generals (or appointed tactician) make opposed Scholastic Lore: Imp Tactica. The winner gets the bonuses to his troops for cover, movement, and gets a troop bonus +5 per degree of success to all troops.

Give Orders: The generals make opposed Command rolls. The highest gets to activate his FB worth of companies, plus 1 for each additonal level of success before the opponenet can do anyhting.  He can forgo moving 1 company for a +10 bonus to another.

This represents a solid command decisons being made, however it may be that the tactics are bad, but the decisions are confident.

Once the winning commander has moved his troops, the opponent gets to react.

This would require some indication of where troops are positioned.

 

An Alternative is to forgoe iniaitve as such, and have each group fighting make opposed rolls, with each degree of succes indicating X hits/casualties, where X is the power the troop.

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