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Mass Combat


The Mass Combat Rules are different to those used in most fantasy RPGs. Rather than being an attempt to use a simplified War Game, I have decided to continue with the heroic themes normally found in RPGs. Rather than commanding the troops of an army, the PCs are sent off on battle-critical missions that are resolved in the same way as all other PC encounters. The overall battle happens in the background - however, the outcome of the battle depends on how well the PCs carry out their mission.


Heroic Missions can range from sabotage, tactical missions, intelligence gathering and counter intelligence. In some cultures it might include challenging a leader to single combat - however, that doesn't work in all cultures. Some thoughts …

  • Sneak round behind the enemy and destroy_the_boats / kill_the_mules they are using to bring supplies.
  • We know the enemy have a 'Shock Unit' concealed on our left flank. Seek them out and destroy them.
  • We don't know how large their reserve is. Sneak into their camp and check.
  • We think there are enemy scouts in the woods. Wind them and kill them. Chase them off at the least.
  • Sneak into the enemy camp and disrupt them by fire, magic or whatever else you can think of. Just make sure you get out OK.
  • The enemy is holding 5 trolls in reserve. Stop them getting to the battlefield.
  • Their necromancer was seen heading for an old battle-grave. Find him and stop him.

It could be almost anything that can be played out reasonably quickly and represent a short mission. Every mission completed earns a combat bonus for your army. The more effective you are - the bigger the bonus.

Building an Army

For every Defence Point a settlement has, it can send one unit to fight in the army. The more defence points you have, the bigger your army.

To get defence points and to build an army you need to pay for and develop buildings with defence points - most of which are listed on the Urban Military Developments page. Other buildings that provide defensive bonuses can be found on the Wilderness or Rural pages, and within the Business and Organizations section.

Every defence point in the Campaign System represents a building that houses one or more units of troops. However, during normal operation, they house more than just the active soldiers - there are officers, support troops and off duty soldiers as well. Some of those 'live in' and some will live outside in the community. In some cases, such as wilderness watchtowers, troops might even be rotated in and out from some distance away.

Army Composition

Each defence point contributes a single troop unit to your army, although the troop type can vary. All buildings come with Light Troops to start with, although you can improve the type and quality of some troops by spending BP to upgrade them. All troops are built using these Templates.

  • Mob - Untrained commoners and experts, who will (sometimes) turn out to defend their town or city.
  • Secondary - Military support staff, veterans and militia.
  • Regular Troops - Trained guards and scouts and light cavalry.
  • Veteran Troops - Experienced soldiers with medium armour and better equipment
  • Elite Troops - The elite soldiers who have heavy armour and the best equipment
  • Specialists - Specialists

Army Size

The size of your army depends on where it is and how you have deployed your troops.

The Field Army

The field army consists of your regular soldiers, specifically employed for military purposes, who can be sent abroad to fight. Standard, Veteran and Elite troops, are all part of your Field Army, and each unit adds a value to your Field Army Combat modifier. In The Stolens Lands Game, Knights of the Southern Chapter are also part of the Field Army.

  • Each unit of Standard troops = +3
  • Each unit of Veteran troops = +5
  • Each unit of Elite Troops = +7
  • Each NPC Knight of the Southern Chapter = +3 Note:

The Field Army will go wherever it is sent.

The Home Army

The Home Army consist of all those secondary troops who will fight to defend their Homes, but cannot be sent aboard. Each unit adds to your Home Army Combat modifier. In The Stolen Lands Game, Officers of the Southern Chapter are also part of the Home Army.

  • Each unit of Secondary troops = +2
  • Each NPC Officer of the Southern Chapter = +2 Note:

The Home Army will only travel one hex from its base.

The Mob

The Mob is all those local citizens who will turn out to defend their homes, but won't travel away from their own settlement. People from surrounding hamlets make their way to the main settlement and reinforce the mob there. The size of the mob depends on the settlement's Loyalty ability. In the Stolen Lands game, Members of the Southern Chapter are responsible for organising any mob defending their hone town.

  • For each point of loyalty, add +1 to mob size.
  • Each NPC Member of the Southern Chapter = +1 Note:

Total Army Modifier

The previous section shows you how to calculate the Army Modifier for each of the three separate parts of your overall military force, but armies can be split into smaller parts, or amalgamated into one large army. According to circumstances, you can add the modifies for every 'army' available to create one overall modified.

Defending your Home? There is always your Mob. If the Home Army hasn't been deployed, add their modifier value. If the field army hasn't been deployed, add their Modifier as well. So if you are fighting at home with all your forces - you are very strong, and it will take a big army to beat you. The more of your forces that are deployed, the fewer people there are available to defend your city.

However, if your field army is away, attacking some one else, and your home army was defeated in the adjoining hex - you will be much weaker.

If you are fighting close to home, you might send the Field Army and the Home army out as a single unit. I can hear you asking why would I do that? Perhaps there is a neighbouring town under attack (eg Tusk sends its army to defend Silverton) or perhaps you are trying to defend the hamlets that surround your city (They would be easy pickings if all your troops are defending the city)

Resolving the Battle

Battles between armies takes place within the Fog of War - at least as far as the PCs are concerned. They might only know the outcome after their heroic mission is accomplished.

Resolving the battle is easy - both sides roll D20 and add their Army modifier - then compare totals. If the scores are:-

  • ⇐ 10 points difference, the battle is indecisive. Each side suffers a -5 combat penalties. The battle can continue the next day.
  • 11-25 points is a winning/losing draw. Winning side -5 penalty, losing side -10 penalty. The battle can continue the next day.
  • More than 25 points is a small victory. Winning side -5 penalty, losing side -10 penalty. The battle can continue the next day.
  • >50 points is a great victory. Winning side -5 penalty, losing side -25 penalty. The battle is over

Combat modifiers are cumulative. Two days of rest and recuperation will reduce the penalty by 50%. However, that last 50% cannot be recovered until the unit is back home, and has a chance to properly heal, recruit, train … If an army enters another battle before they get back home, they start again, calculating a new Army Modify that incorporates the penalty.

Note: These rules favour larger and better equipped armies. That is intentional.

The Costs of War

Going to war costs money, which (for simplicity's sake) I have reduced to an annual BP cost. That cost is generally borne by the whole settlement in the form of increased taxes, although the Lord or Council might choose to pay some of that cost out of City/State funds.

Deploying a Field Army 2bp per defence point fielded
Deploying a Home Army 1bp per defence point fielded
Defending a Siege 2bp per district

The effects are normally felt at the end of the following campaign year. The costs will be lower if the siege / war last less than a year, but is unlikely to be less than half of those costs. Sometimes, it can take years to bring the economy back to normal.

pathfinder/campaign_systems2/masscombat/start.txt · Last modified: 2021/07/12 17:18 by johnb