D&D 5E World Building: Army building

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
While that's fair, no edition of WotC D&D has included mass combat rules in anything remotely like the core rules, and AIUI they weren't core in any TSR edition either (but I welcome correction if I am wrong.)
Late 1e (or during 2e? I forget) TSR put out Battlesystem, which was intended to cover just this type of thing.

It's clunky as all hell, but could probably be made to work. I dreamed up my own system years ago but have yet to give it a run-out; and the one time I was a player in a D&D game that turned into army-vs-army we made up the rules kind of on the spot and they worked surprisingly well.

I've a sneaking hunch that the Birthright setting (TSR, 2e) might include some rules for mass combats as well, it's ages since I looked at it.
 
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gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
Late 1e (or during 2e? I forget) TSR put out Battlesystem, which was intended to cover just this type of thing.

It's clunky as all hell, but could probably be made to work. I dreamed up my own system years ago but have yet to give it a run-out; and the one time I was a player in a D&D game that turned into army-vs-army we made up the rules kind of on the spot and they worked surprisingly well.

I've a snaeking hunch that the Birthright setting (TSR, 2e) might include some rules for mass combats as well, it's ages since I looked at it.

I remember both, and don't believe Birthright had mass combat rules - I have a fondness for Birthright concepts myself.
 

Late 1e (or during 2e? I forget) TSR put out Battlesystem, which was intended to cover just this type of thing.

It's clunky as all hell, but could probably be made to work. I dreamed up my own system years ago but have yet to give it a run-out; and the one time I was a player in a D&D game that turned into army-vs-army we made up the rules kind of on the spot and they worked surprisingly well.

I've a snaeking hunch that the Birthright setting (TSR, 2e) might include some rules for mass combats as well, it's ages since I looked at it.
WotC tried a mass battle system for 3e (same book that introduced the Marshall and Warmage classes) and they have the attached boardgame for 5e... but I don't think they've had one that was well-received overall since Chainmail.
 

Oofta

Legend
WRONG..... By DND rules a world full of commoners can't take down a Dragon. Unless they all have magic weapons and even then most of them die.

That's not true. Let's assume this something similar to medieval English yeomen trained from birth to be archers. They're at least soldiers, so a +3 to hit. An adult black dragon has AC 19, so using the mob rules you break the mob into cohorts based on what they need to roll to hit, in this case a 16 or better. So each cohort is 4 soldiers which assumes they do 6 points of damage (I am assuming ranged attacks are an option here) per cohort. A battalion of just 40 soldiers therefore does 60 HP of damage per round. The dragon will be dead in 3-5 rounds assuming it's taking out enemies as it goes.

There's a lot of variables here of course, including cover, how people are spread out, having a handful of veterans, commanders, ballista or, in my campaign world, weapons specifically designed to take down flying monsters. But invulnerable? Nah. Dragons can be taken out by reasonably armed low level soldiers. This was discussed by the devs early on in the design and release of 5E, a big part of the reason they went with bounded accuracy was to let a small army take out dragons.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Late 1e (or during 2e? I forget) TSR put out Battlesystem, which was intended to cover just this type of thing.

It's clunky as all hell, but could probably be made to work. I dreamed up my own system years ago but have yet to give it a run-out; and the one time I was a player in a D&D game that turned into army-vs-army we made up the rules kind of on the spot and they worked surprisingly well.

I've a sneaking hunch that the Birthright setting (TSR, 2e) might include some rules for mass combats as well, it's ages since I looked at it.
Battle System was in the BECMI Companion boxed set in 1984. And as a standalone AD&D boxed set in 1985.
 

Celebrim

Legend
WotC tried a mass battle system for 3e (same book that introduced the Marshall and Warmage classes) and they have the attached boardgame for 5e... but I don't think they've had one that was well-received overall since Chainmail.

I used Battlesystem in 1e, and it worked OK. There were a lot of edge cases you had to work around but it worked fine for a lot of things.

But I don't consider a fantasy game system complete if it doesn't have a mass combat minigame.
 

It was in 3.5


  • White Raven: The "leader" style, White Raven's abilities are less about enhancing oneself and more about one's cohorts. Its exemplar weapon is an adamantine longsword named Blade of the Last Citadel. This weapon's history is split into three legends describing how the blade was used to defend those who could not defend themselves.
---

About gameplay I suggest "troop" as monster subtype. This works as swarm monster subtype, but for bigger creatures. The group works as an unit.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
That's not true. Let's assume this something similar to medieval English yeomen trained from birth to be archers. They're at least soldiers, so a +3 to hit. An adult black dragon has AC 19, so using the mob rules you break the mob into cohorts based on what they need to roll to hit, in this case a 16 or better. So each cohort is 4 soldiers which assumes they do 6 points of damage (I am assuming ranged attacks are an option here) per cohort. A battalion of just 40 soldiers therefore does 60 HP of damage per round. The dragon will be dead in 3-5 rounds assuming it's taking out enemies as it goes.

There's a lot of variables here of course, including cover, how people are spread out, having a handful of veterans, commanders, ballista or, in my campaign world, weapons specifically designed to take down flying monsters. But invulnerable? Nah. Dragons can be taken out by reasonably armed low level soldiers. This was discussed by the devs early on in the design and release of 5E, a big part of the reason they went with bounded accuracy was to let a small army take out dragons.
You only need 208 longbowmen to down an adult red dragon in a single volley.

 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
The vast majority of world building is for the amusement of the world builder. The players will never see most of it.
I think this is more than a little unfair, but not totally wrong. Many DMs do engage in worldbuilding purely for the fun of it, without really considering whether the players will interact with it or not. But many of them do so because of the influence of Tolkien, a juggernaut of world-building, because they know much of the joy of reading the Legendarium is that it is so thought-out and, if not "complete," then at least very comprehensive. As was said above, worldbuilding can be like bay leaf, or like some of the more subtle forms of graphical processing. You don't necessarily notice its presence, but you definitely notice its absence.

I've done more than a bit of worldbuilding (as anyone who has heard me blather about Jewel of the Desert will know!), but I try to keep it on things that are relevant. Are there other cities in the Tarrakhuna? Sure! We've never been to 90%+ of them, and have no reason to go to them, so I haven't given one thought to that, even though I'm sure they're there. In fact, I've almost given more thought to the courts of Jinnistan--Mt. Matahat, Shalast-Asmar, the City of Brass, etc.--than I have to the cities of the mortal world. If the mortal-world cities become relevant, I can develop them.

But there are plenty of things that are of the form "a danger/resource/thing is out there, awaiting discovery," because I know that the party's interests are such that they will discover them, sooner or later. The truth of the northern jungles (discovered a couple years back--they had secretly been led by a couatl, one of the only celestials still on this world, but naughty word went Real Bad several centuries ago), the truth of the Elf-Forest to the south (it used to be the land of the El-Adrin, before they magically pulled themselves into a pocket dimension to escape...something that happened ~2000 years ago, around when the Genie-Rajahs abandoned the mortal world for Jinnistan), the truth of the Bard's devilish paternal ancestor (a juicy one they're still narrowing down!), etc.

I assume the players will make characters for inside the world I build? I have never really tried to leave the world we are playing in.
While that is true, I think it is more effective to do a sort of...half-and-half, or perhaps back-and-forth approach here. You make the canvas, which the players then paint with their characters, and then you paint a scene around their characters, and then the players work their way through that scenario as best they see fit. Instead of it being a perfect thing of crystalline beauty,

Late 1e (or during 2e? I forget) TSR put out Battlesystem, which was intended to cover just this type of thing.

It's clunky as all hell, but could probably be made to work. I dreamed up my own system years ago but have yet to give it a run-out; and the one time I was a player in a D&D game that turned into army-vs-army we made up the rules kind of on the spot and they worked surprisingly well.

I've a sneaking hunch that the Birthright setting (TSR, 2e) might include some rules for mass combats as well, it's ages since I looked at it.
Battle System was in the BECMI Companion boxed set in 1984. And as a standalone AD&D boxed set in 1985.
It sounds like Battlesystem, at least for AD&D, was not what I would consider "core" rules (that is, AFAICT, only 4e took the stance of "all company-published content is core.") I did not mean, by my original statement, that no such rules existed, just that they weren't core.

However, it sounds like Overgeeked has proven me incorrect--given BECMI is considered one core of rules, albeit one published serially rather than all at once, it is the counter-example I asked for.

Overall, though, I still think it is fair to say that WotC D&D isn't, and most TSR D&D wasn't, considered to be a form of wargaming. The influence is there, but it's pretty clearly not a key focus even from the beginning, and became less and less so with time.
 

Azzy

ᚳᚣᚾᛖᚹᚢᛚᚠ
While that's fair, no edition of WotC D&D has included mass combat rules in anything remotely like the core rules, and AIUI they weren't core in any TSR edition either (but I welcome correction if I am wrong.)
BECMI/RC had the War Machine rules for mass combat—it wasn't a miniatures-based system, but more abstract (which, IMO, works better for D&D).

A former poster did a Excel sheet for it for 5e.

Late 1e (or during 2e? I forget) TSR put out Battlesystem, which was intended to cover just this type of thing.
There was a Battlesystem set for 1e, and a different Battlesystem for 2e, too (which used different rules)
 
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