5E Way of the Wicked with mass combat
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  1. #1

    Way of the Wicked with mass combat

    I am running Way of the wicked in 5e, and from the beginning of the campaign I knew that I had issues with the way the battle of Saintsbridge is presented. I disliked the linear encounter progression and the fact that player character has little influence on the flow of the whole battle. Instead of using this part of the adventure as is, I decided to use mass combat rules to simulate the battle.

    Mass Combat Rules
    I decided to use "D&D 5e Mass Combat System" by "Scottomir" Metzger. I really liked the system he created, because on the one hand they are simple to use, but on the other hand they are complicated enough to make things interesting. One concept these rules use is hero points: each pc and npc can join a unit in the battle. He starts the battle with a number of hero points equal to his character level, and he can use them to influence his unit, for example their attack modifier or their morale. I did, however, make some changes to the rules, mainly:
    - Reducing the scale. Instead of 1 hex representing 150 feet it now represents 100 feet. I changed the unit sizes, the turn length and missile range accordingly.
    - Normally heroes cannot operate outside of a unit. I allowed heroes to operate outside of a unit, and introduced the concept of "interlude" where there can be minor battles between individuals for the length of a turn.
    - In order to allow the use of interludes, I introduced a simple system to calculate how many hero points each hero has at the start of the battle and at the end of an interlude, and how many spell slots he has at the beginning of an interlude and at the end of the battle. This is mainly for characters whose limited resources are a main part of their powers, like clerics and wizards.
    - I added ways in which heroes can affect their units. Each class got a few such methods, for example: warlocks, except for the normal way to affect their unit, can now also use a hero point to magically attack a unit 1-5 hexes away for 50 hps of damage, or cause an adjacent unit to immediately roll morale.
    - Made the damage to heroes within a unit susceptible to the number of attackers vs the size of the hero's unit.

    Attacking Forces

    Assuming the player characters recruit all the possible forces, the y can attack with the following:
    Hekkarth’s Head-Takers - 100 bugbears
    Shagoroth Night-Mane - 150 bugbears
    10 vampire spawn
    100 disciplined Duergar
    Minions - Every action (currently 5) constiututes 15 trained light infantry. (choose abilities)
    Raiju - 13 hero points, 2 of which can be used like a sorcerer
    Izevel - 10 hero points, can use up to 2 hero points per turn to petrify 50hp per hero point from an adjacent unit
    Grumblejack - 8 hero points (fighter)
    Zashur Arzane - 8 hero pints (fighter)
    3 nessian hell hounds

    Plus, of course, the character themselves as heroes: a warlock, a rogue, a cleric and a barbarian, each with 9 hero points.
    The minions currently consist of 75 trained light infantry with the Mobility special ability.

    These are the special units I had to create for the attacking forces:

    Armor Class 16
    Hit Points 27
    Speed 1
    Morale +2
    Melee Attack +4
    Melee Damage 11
    Ranged Attack -
    Ranged Damage -
    Special Abilities sprint (twice a battle, the bugbears can move 2 spaces instead of one).

    Vampire Spawn
    Armor Class 15
    Hit Points 82
    Speed 1
    Morale +3 (immune to fear)
    Melee Attack +6
    Melee Damage 21
    Ranged Attack -
    Ranged Damage -
    Special Abilities resistance to necrotic and non magical weapons that are non-silvered. Advantage in darkness. Vampire spawns will not cross running water. For any attack that exceeds or equals target AC, the VS gain 7 temporary hp for the next round.

    Armor Class 16
    Hit Points 26
    Speed 1
    Morale +2
    Melee Attack +4
    Melee Damage 6
    Ranged Attack +4 (range: 4 spaces)
    Ranged Damage 4
    Special Abilities Advantage in darkness. Once in a battle, the duergar can double their damage. This should be decided before they roll their attack. If the duergar do not attack in a turn, then until their next turn they are considered hidden.

    Nessian Hellhounds
    Armor Class 17
    Hit Points 93
    Speed 2
    Morale +4
    Melee Attack +8
    Melee Damage 10 + 65 (fire)
    Ranged Attack -
    Ranged Damage -
    Special Abilities fire immunity

    Defending Forces
    30 disciplined heavy cavalry (charge, counter-strike)
    75 trained bowmen (parting shot)
    50 disciplined heavy infantry (dwarves) (defend, counter-strike)
    40X3 trained clerics (cure)
    40 disciplined clerics (cure, magic strike)
    5 trained medium engines (cure)
    30 disciplined knights on griffins (flyby, charge)
    20 proven paladins (smite, protection)
    75X3 trained medium infantry (defend)
    2 shield archons - 10 hero points
    Sir Dallidan the Bold - 9 hero points
    Sir Giles - 8 hero points
    Dwarven Thane - 9 hero points
    Dwarven princess - 8 hero points
    Brother Nicodemus (general) - 10 hero points

    I only had to create one unit for the defending forces:

    Disciplined Knights on Griffons
    Armor Class 17
    Hit Points 20
    Speed 2 (fly)
    Morale +3
    Melee Attack +4
    Melee Damage 5
    Ranged Attack -
    Ranged Damage -
    Special Abilities fly-by, charge

    The Map

    The map I am going to use is a lot like the map of the battle in the book. The area east of the river bend all the way across to the mountain is difficult terrain. If they will have enough time, the defenders will try to send their bowmen to the northern edge of that are to give them advantage against marching forces.

    Do They Gain the Element of Surprise?
    The Valley is defended by a wall that spans the entrance to the valley, and a single tower. In order to attack the valley, the PCs need to pass that wall. The wall is manned by 75 disciplined medium infantry and 12 disciplined heavy infantry, plus a fighter hero with 12 hero points. In case the PCs attack the tower in full force, these forces will be ready for them and join the battle (located on the wall and with advantages). In this case, the defenders win initiative automatically.
    If the PCs infiltrate the tower but the gong is sounded, roll initiative as usual.
    If the PCs manage to infiltrate the tower and the gong is not sounded they win initiative automatically. Furthermore, 2 units of trained clerics, 75 medium infantry and the siege engines arrive only on the 10th turn of combat. Also, the deploying zone is increased by 5 hexes to the north.

    Outcome of the battle
    Defeat, but defenders suffer more than 60% casualties - Partial defeat
    More than 60% casualties - Hard Fought Victory
    30% - 60% casualties - Victory
    Less than 30% casualties - Flawless Victory

    Last edited by eric mcloins; Thursday, 17th May, 2018 at 01:03 PM.
    XP pogre, bedir than gave XP for this post

  2. #2

    Something you may want to take a look at in the future is Warfare for Beginners. http://drivethrurpg.com/product/9705...87&language=pt

    It engages the PCs from a different perspective. Instead of turning the battle into a bit of a wargaming session, the party is used for certain, decisive missions while the battle is ongoing. They might defend a breach in the fortifications, kidnap an enemy captain, or secure beer from a nearby village to boost moral. Each of these actions is worth victory points. If they have enough victory points by the end of a predetermined length of time, their side wins the battle. A new copy of this will be in the 5e War of the Burning Sky Campaign Guide.

    Good luck with your battle!
    XP bedir than gave XP for this post

  3. #3
    Thanks, Tormyr.

    What you are describing is very similar to what happens in the original Way of the Wicked campaign, which is exactly what I wanted to avoid.

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