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Author Topic: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants  (Read 685 times)

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Offline Druss_the_Legend

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what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« on: July 13, 2017, 04:45:27 PM »
what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants

any house rules or systems to help things run smoother?

Online Hurin

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2017, 05:23:21 PM »
War Law gave very detailed rules for this. They will be far too detailed for some groups, but military history geeks like me loved it.

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Offline jdale

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2017, 05:52:54 PM »
For unimportant NPC vs unimportant NPC interactions in large battles, I just guess who has the advantage and make a roll to see if anyone has fallen yet. No real system. If it was a really huge battle (two opposing armies), I would try to separate the PCs out on a special task whose success or failure will decide something important, and then deal with the huge battle narratively.

Important NPCs, all PCs, and the foes the PCs are directly engaged against get normal attack rolls. It's only the extras who get the off the cuff treatment.

Offline Voriig Kye

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 05:54:44 PM »
In the last adventures of our previous campaign, we had the party (4 characters) accompanied by 10 cannon fodder NPC's and 1 important NPC. We had 2 battles against a group of 12 NPC enemies (4 priests, 2 archers, 2 demons, 4 warriors).

What I did was roll initiative for each type of character only once on each round, and I tried to keep most of the warrior type NPCs actions as straightforward as possible.

Also, one of the players got special colored shapes to use as tokens on the hex-grid, and we added tape with the numbers on top.

I even had to add a special mode in ERA, where the icons for the characters appear closer together and overall compact the user interface.

Even with all that help, each battle took several hours in real time. But maybe that's because a lot of them were hasted, and my players tend to change actions mid-round a lot.

Offline Peter R

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2017, 03:43:53 AM »
The actions in the immediate vicinity of the characters I roll for each attack as normal. For action out of immediate view I just decide what happens depending on what would be the most interesting outcome and the relevant stats of the combatants. I certainly would not want to spend hours over an incidental combat that did not advance the story.
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Offline Majyk

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2017, 12:08:30 AM »
Nobodies get a d10 roll and hit another NPC on a 7+(Or whatever threshhold you wanna implement for better training/equipment).
Roll properly if they attack a PC.
Easy and no table lookups slowing things down.

Offline Druss_the_Legend

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2017, 01:11:49 AM »
Nobodies get a d10 roll and hit another NPC on a 7+(Or whatever threshhold you wanna implement for better training/equipment).
Roll properly if they attack a PC.
Easy and no table lookups slowing things down.

nice. i like it. ill use this in my next game session. thanx!

Offline gandalf970

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2017, 03:02:52 PM »
There is a good Mass Battle System for Legend of the 5 Rings that I use.  Look it up on the net.  It is simple, but very effective and puts the onus on the players and how they are acting.  It also gives opportunities for heroism.  You can mod it to fit Rolemaster.

PM me if you want more.

Offline Majyk

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2017, 11:29:31 AM »
Give either side a differently coloued die scheme(red vs blue ;) and you can roll them all at the same time with a fistful of dice.
However the dice fall and lay on the table from furthest to closest or left to right is how you can read the results against one another - so 2 blues, a red, another blue and two reds can match each first time a die shows up with the results of its opposing colour, the first time it shows up in the chain.


Give each side more or less Wounds from 2-3 as a base and keep tipping over Minis until you have a side that wins - then they can help the PCs, if not commanded to do otherwise...


Enjoy!

Offline providence13

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2017, 12:38:30 PM »
The PC's are pretty high level for us, 14th (and we cast at Rank in the List, not level. HR, of course. Also we don't use PP multipliers, so casters must learn PP resource management to keep it in check. YGMV)

Anyhoo, once they had access to "Mass.." spells, the opposition had to crank up their numbers considerably.
I don't keep track of hits for 20 orcs, I just note the crits they take and penalties. Crits kill quicker than hits most of the time. We use dice for stun counters and red glass beads for bleeders. Players help keep track and help with the books.
I roll Init in groups of 3, 5, etc.

It still takes way too long for combat. If I were to offer anything, I say that the GM must be organized; GM screen just to paper clip all the info I need helps a lot.

Just as important.. the players have to pay attention and be ready when it comes around to whatever they say and do! When it comes around to the middle init player and they scratch their beard and say "let's see...", asking questions that were just answered... that slows it down for everyone. Not unusual to spend the session on one mass combat, even with Mass spells..
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Offline Dragonking11

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2017, 07:19:23 AM »
In RMSS (don't really know any other version), we need to declare actions for the Snap, Normal and Deliberate phases.

I can't imagine choosing actions for the individual combatants when there are over 8. Even less so when using a map and minis.

What do you do guys in that situation ?

Do you juste "fudge" the actions and move the combatants without following the "rules" (ignore remaining % activity, etc)

Offline Malim

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2017, 08:48:54 AM »
We once converted RM stats to warhammer fantasy battle and used that for fasts combat.
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Offline Dragonking11

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2017, 11:06:50 AM »
I don't know about that system. In my RM games I usually managed those situations by always using the same formula for all my combatants... let's say there are 8 orcs .. they would all attack in the normal phase using 25% of their OB for parry

That worked but it made for shallow combat ... my players knew what to expect and that always bothered me. It is for this very reason that I want to include AI in my actual current RM software development. This so that I no longer need as the GM to think about individual actions but instead concentrate on giving cool description of what happens to my players to make combat feel more like actual combat

Offline Widukind

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2017, 03:55:59 PM »
I used War Law. and i still remember there was an software for war law for to handle battles too. Was it?
And for ship battles i used SEA LAW

Online Sable Wyvern

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2017, 01:53:19 AM »
In RMSS (don't really know any other version), we need to declare actions for the Snap, Normal and Deliberate phases.

I can't imagine choosing actions for the individual combatants when there are over 8. Even less so when using a map and minis.

What do you do guys in that situation ?

Do you juste "fudge" the actions and move the combatants without following the "rules" (ignore remaining % activity, etc)

You can declare group actions (eg, this bunch of 5 all select the same options), and then just differentiate for any individual where the default you've selected doesn't make sense.

You can also streamline significantly by rolling initiative in groups.

Generally, keep the actions simple, except in circumstances where an individual needs to make a more complex choice.

You can also do some smoothing/partial fudging. If you have 10 orcs using 5 - 15% of their movement before attacking, just give them all -10. A few get an extra +5, a few get gimped by -5, but it's not really going to make any real difference in the long run.

Offline Dragonking11

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2017, 06:52:48 AM »
You can also do some smoothing/partial fudging. If you have 10 orcs using 5 - 15% of their movement before attacking, just give them all -10. A few get an extra +5, a few get gimped by -5, but it's not really going to make any real difference in the long run.

Thats what I do basically but I always felt it was a bit too simple to always make "group" decision. Maybe some of the orcs are berserk machine and attack with all their OB .. some others are wimps and used more of their OB as parry ... some may be cowards and try to flee as soon as they are injured. What if every orcs uses a different weapon (orc clans use what they find ... they are not always equipped with a brand new broadsword), some use a shield and some not .. some wears armor and others not.. it becomes a nightmare really fast if you want to build complex battle scenario

It is managable when there are a couple enemies but when a big group of 8 or 10, I have a hard time thinking on the spot of all those extra details when I'm already helping my players with all the tables and such

Online Sable Wyvern

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2017, 07:07:43 AM »
Is doing a bunch of different OB/DB splits even going to matter to your players though? Especially once the random result of the dice comes into play? Will they actually spot the difference between the berserking full OB orc who rolls poorly and who they roll poorly against, vs the full parry orc who goes down before his first swing because they roll 246 and a 92 on the crit vs the two with the more moderate splits, vs the one who used adrenal strength this round?

IMO, you'll get a better effect by having most doing much the same thing, and then maybe picking one or two each round to behave a little more distinctively, and you'll have the time and clear head necessary to actually be able to draw a bit of attention to those one or two because you're not trying to manage 15 completely different things.

Using different weapons doesn't necessitate different splits, and if some have shields and some don't, you can just use the same split and then add the shield bonus at the end for those that have them. The shield-equipped orcs will thus have consistently better DBs, and that should become evident over the course of any battle that runs long enough. Although things like stun and injuries will have a bigger impact anyway.

As for fleeing, managing fleeing enemies is easy enough (they're fleeing!). Sure, pick (or let morale rolls pick for you) which ones flee, and transfer them from their previous group to the "fleeing" group.

Another option is have variable groups. Say you have orcs 1 through 15. On round one, odd orcs do X, even orcs do Y. On round two, orcs 5, 10 and 15 do X, other orcs do Z. On round 3, odd orcs do Y and even orcs do W. On round 4, orcs 4, 8 and 12 do X, the others do Z.

Plenty of variability, and, if the behaviours are distinctive enough, the players will pick up on it and most likely see much more complexity than actually exists.

Offline Dragonking11

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2017, 07:20:00 AM »
I know you're right that the player shouldn't notice the differences but I know I will and will feel bad if something happens to a PC that got hit by some orc that I "rounded" his attack bonus up or something.

Well this is also probably because I'm that kind of person that needs to follow the rules by the books in order to feel well  ;D

Online Sable Wyvern

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2017, 07:28:53 AM »
IMO, your brain will melt if you try and handle every single NPC in a large fight exactly by the book. Determine movement speed. Roll MM to confirm actual movement rate. Compare distance moved to pace to get % activity. Apply correct modifier.

Each PC is running one character. They have the time and the mental resources to manage them accurately. You're doing 10 times the work or more, especially since you sound like you're the sort of GM who will let them chat and plan and coordinate, using their four or six or however many brains together to try and outwit your one massively multi-tasking brain.

If I occasionally forget a penalty to some bad guy, I don't sweat it, because I know I've most likely forgotten half-a-dozen ways I could have added another bonus here or there, or had some bad guys more cunningly press an advantage, if I'd had the time to think about it more closely.

Offline Dragonking11

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Re: what do you do for large battles of 10+ combatants
« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2017, 07:44:48 AM »
IMO, your brain will melt if you try and handle every single NPC in a large fight exactly by the book. Determine movement speed. Roll MM to confirm actual movement rate. Compare distance moved to pace to get % activity. Apply correct modifier.

Each PC is running one character. They have the time and the mental resources to manage them accurately. You're doing 10 times the work or more, especially since you sound like you're the sort of GM who will let them chat and plan and coordinate, using their four or six or however many brains together to try and outwit your one massively multi-tasking brain.

That is a pretty accurate description of my brain during a gaming session I thank you ;)

That situation is exactly why I decided to tackle the problem by designing a gaming software that will handle all of that (I'm a software architect). It is quite the huge project but its coming to life smoothly. I'm about 50% done.

 

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