The Darkbane Warders
Mass Combat Rules
- Dice: Anytime a passage refers to an unspecified number of dice, they refer to d3.
- Unit: A fighting group usually consisting of about 20 individuals of a specific skillset.
- Resource Points: A representation of total resources (gold, lumber, stone, etc.) used to hire units, build structures, pay upkeeps, and likewise.
- Leader: A special character in charge of a unit who may provide bonuses, penalties, or special abilities for his expertise.
- Attack: A measure of the offensive power of a unit, provides dice to an army’s total offense.
- Health: A measure of a unit’s resilience, how much damage they can take before the unit is no longer effective.
- Traits: Special features of units which have varying effect on how they function in combat, most notably by helping the army gain tactical advantage.
- Tactical Advantage: When one army has a specific advantage over the other, usually by having units which can overwhelm or bypass defense, which provides bonus damage dice. Tactical Advantage is typically gained by having more mounted, flying, or magic attack dice than the enemy.
- Total Attack: The total offensive value of an army, calculated by adding up the total attack of all units.
- Mounted: This unit is riding upon swift mounts which allow it to perform swift charges and outflank enemies. Adds attack die to mounted attack total, which may grant tactical advantage.
- Flying: This unit flies by some method, allowing it to get behind enemy lines and quickly bombard enemy attacks. Adds attack die to both mounted and flying attack total, which may grant tactical advantage. Flying units also gain the Scout trait.
- Magic: This unit wields powerful magics which allow it to bombard targets on the battlefield with ease. Adds attack die to magic attack total, which may grant tactical advantage.
- Scout: Allows the unit to establish itself in a region to gather intelligence. While scouting scout units are stealthy and hard to find, though scout units have a passive cumulative 20% chance to notice enemy scouts in the same area.
- Healing: This unit possesses powerful healing abilities, which allows it to recover allies during battle. At the end of each combat round a healing unit removes one point of damage from a friendly unit.
- Cowardly: Cowardly units are unprepared for the trials of mass combat and may attempt to flee battle if the odds are against them. They are also more likely to desert the army from lack of supplies or reduced morale.
- Machine: This unit is comprised mostly of inorganic parts. It cannot be healed during battle but afterwards may be repaired by builder units.
- Siege: This unit is comprised of individuals and devices designed to lay siege to a fortified position. Siege weapons are necessary to bring down walls, gates, and other fortifications.
Builder: The backbone of an army, builders gather resources, construct buildings, and repair machines.
- Fortification: The unit is protected by some structure or magic which prevents it from being singled out in combat. This unit cannot be selected for damage by the enemy commander. If all units of a force are under Fortification the force’s commander assigns this damage as normal (it is not negated).
- Veteran: A highly experienced unit which gains +1 to Atk and +2 HP. If a normal unit is raised to Veteran it loses the Cowardly trait.
- Well Equipped: This unit is exceptionally well armed and supplied, gaining it an additional +1 Atk and +2 HP.
- Workers (Atk 0, HP 1, Builder, Cowardly. 1 RP)
- Mercenaries (Atk 1, HP 1, Cowardly. 1 RP)
- Scouts (Atk 0, HP 1, Scout, Cowardly. 1 RP)
- Footmen (Atk 1, HP 3. 2 RP)
- Riflemen (Atk 2, HP 1. 2 RP)
- Priests (Atk 0, HP 2, Healing. 2 RP)
- Mages (Atk 2, HP 1, Magic. 3 RP)
- Mortar Team (Atk 1, HP 1, Siege. 2 RP)
- Gyrocopter (Atk 1, HP 1, Flying. 3 RP)
- Knights (Atk 2, HP 5, Mounted. 5 RP)
- Gryphon Rider (Atk 3, HP 3, Flying. 6 RP)
- Paladins (Atk 2, HP 6, Mounted, Healing. 7 RP)
- Siege Tank (Atk 4, HP 7, Machine, Siege. 8 RP)
- Step 1: Determine Actions – Determine the actions of each heroic leader character in the army, resolving their individual action attempts and results before comparing to the other faction. The commander of a faction may also call a retreat in at this step.
- Step 2: Compare Force Values and Advantages – Compare the two sides’ total attack values and advantages. Determine who has the highest total attack value and
- Step 3: Combat Damage – Both sides deals a number of dice of damage to each other equal to their total attack divided by four (rounded down, minimum one), assigned by each commander to their units. All damage is dealt at once when the damage total has been assigned.
- Step 4: Advantage Damage – For each advantage a side has it also deals an additional die of damage to a unit of the advantaged commander’s choice, sequentially for each advantage. The side with the higher attack value gains an additional advantage die.
- Step 5: Recalculate – After damage is dealt remove any unit with 0 hp from the battlefield and reduce the army’s force value and any advantage values it provides by its Attack score. End of turn effects (such as Healing) come into play, then a new combat round begins.
At the beginning of the combat round one side may declare a retreat, withdrawing their forces from the field of battle in as swift and orderly a fashion as they can manage. When a force is on the retreat one final combat round occurs, but the retreating side deals no damage during this round but any prevention, healing, and other effects still occur. The force not on retreat may decide to let the retreating side flee unharried and deal no damage as well. At the end of the combat round the retreating force manages to leave the field unless the DM decides something stops them from escaping.
Leader units are more powerful and experienced individuals who lead a particular unit, and might lend their expertise to an entire army. Each leader has a specific set of bonuses and/or penalties they apply to units and armies based on various factors, so it is best to align certain leaders to certain units/forces in order to ensure they are providing you the greatest benefit possible.
Heroic Leaders are player characters who take the role of a commander of an army, providing their individual bonuses as a leader but also having the capability of providing greater battlefield effects by using their greater power and experience. During Step 1 of combat each Heroic Leader may act as per a skill challenge that has no success/failure threshholds, attempting to perform some beneficial act on the battlefield. Here are some examples of heroic actions, but other potential and creative options are encouraged.
- Take the Lead (Attack): The character charges forth with his unit to lead by example, making an attack roll vs. the difficulty of the ‘skill challenge’ for NAD attacks, or the difficulty +2 for AC targeting attacks. Success adds an additional damage to the army’s damage assigned during step 3. A hero may expend a daily attack power to auto-succeed this action.
- Battlefield Healing (Heal): The character moves around the battlefield using her healing spells and expertise to get injured soldiers on their feet. Success removes one point of damage from a unit either immediately or at the end of the turn, hero’s choice. A hero with a power that allows allies to spend healing surges may expend that power to auto-succeed this action.
- Inspire (Diplomacy): Give a rousing speach or perform a heroic act which inspires your allies to great victory. Success encourages a turn about and raises morale, allowing the army to maximize one die rolled for damage this turn.
Find Weakness (Perception): Carefully watch the battlefield, calling out weak points for your allies to abuse. You may reroll one advantage die this turn.
- Battlecry (Intimidate): You release a terrifying battlecry or foul mockery at your enemies, shaking their resolve. Success minimizes one damage die of the enemy army that turn.
- Tactician’s Lore (History): You draw upon extensive knowledge of historical battles to guide your allies forward while guarding your weak points. Success minimizes one advantage die of your enemy this turn.
At the start of each play session any unit that has had a chance to rest and recover returns to full health. A force that is not in a defensible position to rest but contains units with the healing trait can likewise recover their units unless under constant duress.
Units who fall to 0 HP in a battle are defeated and no longer capable of fighting. A victorious army, or a defeated one allowed to recover its fallen, may attempt to save as many fallen as possible to reform units. Units comprised of living beings typically have a 50% chance to have enough survivors to recover their members and refill missing manpower with new recruits once the unit has fully recovered its HP at least one play session later at at cost of 1 RP. All fallen mechanical units can be restored at the same cost, but this requires the dedicated attention of a builder unit for one play session. Units who are not seen to immediately after a battle are likely to die. Leaders of those units may be strong enough to escape on their own and return to the group, depending on the leader and his or her inclination to return.
Resources can be gained in a variety of ways. To start, while the party is working in the north Sir Cedric continues to try to find aid in Stormwind, providing the party with a steady stream of resource points per play session, which may fluctuate depending on certain events. Typically however Sir Cedric manages to provide one die worth of resource points per play session. In addition to this outside support the players may claim key resource points such as farms, mines, and the like and post workers there to generate resource revenue per session. Finally, players may also claim resources from missions against enemy territory, taking enemy fortifications, and other events during play.
Armies require more than just payment and training up front, they also require supplies, repairs, and other necessities to continue operating in the field. The more units a faction maintains the more these costs rise. For every full 5 units a faction maintains it must spend one resource point per play session in upkeep to maintain these units. If this upkeep is unspent the total morale of the units is reduced, which may cause them to desert.
Morale and Desertion
The fighting spirit of armies can fluctuate with victories, losses, and other factors. Unit morale follows the following continuum: Dismal – Very low – Low – Average – Good – High – Very High. Armies begin with a morale of average, rising one rank on the continuum for each major victory and falling one for each serious loss. Various events may raise or lower morale. If morale falls too low units may begin to lose faith in the cause and desert.
Leaders of armies can take steps maintain morale in the face of hardship. Players may attempt to rouse the morale of the troops with a group skill challenge. Success raises the army one rank on the continuum. Players may also provide extra food and supplies for troops, paying the army’s upkeep twice that session (min 1 RP) to raise morale by one rank. Any one method may only raise morale once per story arc and may not raise morale above Good.
If morale drops too low due to successive losses, lack of upkeep payments, or other factors than units may begin to desert. If morale falls to Low or lower than the DM rolls secretly for each unit based on the army’s morale level to determine if it attempts to desert that play session.
When a single unit has participated in five battles, it becomes a veteran unit and gains the Veteran special quality. A group of mercenaries who gains the veteran quality loses the cowardly quality permanently.
- Scout: The unit scouts enemy forces in a nearby area, revealing information about enemy units, numbers, fortifications, and possibly revealing enemy scouts. Scouts are normally stealthy and undetectable during this process, but might be spotted by enemy towers or scouts in the region.
Every play session there is a 25% chance for a random event to occur, which may be something positive or negative. If the previous play session did not have a random event, the chance increases to 75%.