Thursday, September 22, 2011

Abstract Battles I

Many posts back I presented a method to conduct large battle based on morale called Battles in the heart and mind which explored/placed the role of morale as a major factor in large fights and battles and while it serves well in figuring out how large groups respond to combat it wasn't itself a complete mass combat/battle resolution system and certainly didn't cover what happens to the PC in the ebb and flow of major battles.

The most precise way to figure out what happens in large fights/battles is of course to use the standard combat rules but this can drag on and contribute to boredom and fatigue as many dozen attack and damage rolls are made. The next most likely method is miniatures battles which are a heck of a lot of fun and there are a lot of options out there but it alters the nature of play, requires a fair bit of space, a lot of miniatures and will certainly dominate a play session. Another solution and one I'm addressing here is the Abstract Battle.

Abstract Battle resolution assume a large fight (or actual battle) is a huge sweeping affair and the actions of individuals don't always have immediate or significant impact on the resolution of the battle itself and the important factor is how well the Player Character fairs in the battle. The fate of PCs will depends on fate and may be mitigated by their actions but entire battles will be resolved by comparatively few rolls.

The remainder of this post will provide the following cunningly named abstract battle Resolution method: Abstract Battle Resolution Method I

Abstract Battle Resolution Method I
In this method an entire battle is quickly resolved and the results as they fall upon each PC on the battle field are determined and resolved. PCs' may be captured or vanquished and the opportunity to collect bounty will be provided.
How long each battle takes to conduct in game time will vary with the size of armies and conditions of the battle field a clash of hundreds might only take an hour while a turn could take a day or more for epic armies numbering in the tens of thousands.

Step 1. Determine Outcome of Battle.Roll 1d6 for each side (apply a bonus for superior size of army, knowledge of tactics, more magic, etc to a max bonus of +3). The winning side will have the higher score.

Overall Battle Resolution
Compares Scores....Results
win by 4 or more.... Amazing Victory. +6 to PC Battle Roll.
win by 2 or 3.......... Well Fought Victory. +3 to PC Battle Roll.
win by 1.................. Pyrrhic Victory. +1 to PC Battle Roll
tie........................... Indecisive. no modifier to PC Battle Roll
lose by 1..................Forced from field of Battle. -1 to PC Battle Roll
lose by 2-3..............Brutal Defeat. -3 to PC Battle Roll
lose by 4 or more...Stunning Defeat, -6 to PC Battle Roll

Each character taking part in the battle must roll to determine their fate in with a Battle Roll on Step 2.

Step 2. Determine Individual Battle Results

Battle Roll (3d6 + modifiers)
0 or less......Separated and attacked by 20HD
1..................Separated and attacked by 10HD
2-3.............Separated and captured by 20HD
4-5.............Separated and captured by 10HD
6-7.............Attacked by 20HD
8-13...........Attacked by 10HD
14-15..........Attacked by 5HD, may Save Captured Ally if Attack is survived
16-17..........Attacked by 1HD, gain Booty Roll if attack is survived
18.............One Booty Roll
19............. Two Booty Rolls or Save a Captured Ally
20 or more.... Three Booty Rolls or Save a Captured or Vanquished Ally

Attacked by #HD. Make one attack roll as if by monster with HD indictaed per hitdie. Suffer 1d6 damage per hit. PC vanquished if damage exceeds HP. If vanquished make a save vs death if this save fails the PC is slain otherwise roll on Unexpected Survival Table.
If attacked and PC isn't separated they may sacrifice troops under their command , such sacrificed troops are automatically hit for 5 points of damage. Up to 1 defender may be sacrificed per point of CHA the character has. Any surviving members of charters unit may have their morale impacted by this tactic.

Captured by #HD. Make one attack roll as as if by monster with HD indictaed per hitdie. Suffer suffer 1d6 temporary damage per hit. Captured if temporary damage exceeds HP, otherwise PC escapes and rolls on the Escape Battle Table. It is also possible to avoid capture by using magic and special abilities (for easy resolution each such tactic reduces number of capturing HD per level of attempt).

Separated and... As either option above but no sacrifice of allies is permitted as character has been separated from them.

Save a Captured Ally: you may attempt to save an ally captured during the battle.An attack agaisnt enemy unit may be used as with PC getting three attack rolls and being able to roll up to twice CHA as HD attacks if commanding troops. If HD of capturing force is overcome the ally is rescued and they will have 1/2 total normal HP. This attempt will not put the rescuing PC at risk of being captured.

Save a Vanquished Ally: as above for capture. If ally is saved their death was greatly exaggerated they will retain 1 hp per level/HD. This attempt will not put the rescuing PC at risk of begin vanquished.

Booty Roll: The PC does well in battle and gains some booty. Roll on Booty Table.

Step 3. Resolution. If battle was victory each PC with CHA 13+ surviving the fight without having to be rescued (or escape capture or unexpectedly survive) get's a Booty Roll.

Determine loses.
Amazing Victory: All captives reclaimed, 3% of troops slain
Well Fought Victory: 60% captives are reclaimed. 10% of troops slain
Pyrrhic Victory: 30% captives are reclaimed, 20-50% of troops slain, 2-20% leave
Indecisive: 10% of troops are slain, 1d4% leave
Forced from field of Battle. 15% of forces slain. Leader escapes with 80% of force. remainder become brigands and roam countryside.
Brutal Defeat: 30% of forces slain, Leader may make save to escape with 5-50% of force.
Stunning Defeat: 40% losing force slain, 40% captured, leader may make save to escape with 1-20% of force. remainder scatter over countryside.

If battle was indecisive repeat Step 1 if neither side withdraws from fight (withdrawal is automatic if either side decides to do so). Each side will have the opportunity to use healing magics before next round of battle.

The winner may decide to press victory and assault enemy force before it can escape unless the victory was pyrrhic. If done return to step 1.

If step 1 isn't repeated. THE BATTLE IS OVER.

Unexpected Survival Table (1d12)1....Wake on field of battle with wounded enemy knight in view (both at 1/2 normal HP)
2.....Wake on field of battle stripped of all items of value (1 hp/level)
3....Wake on field of battle minus weapon and armor (1 hp/level)
4....Wake on back of steed missing weapon (1/2 normal HP)
5.....Wake under a hay pile on a nearby farm (1 hp/level)
6.....Wake in a peasant hovel being attended by peasant (1/2 normal HP)
7-8...Found by losing side and taken hostage (1 hp/level)
9-10..Found by winning side all gear returned (1 hp/level)
11...Reports of Demise greatly Exaggerated. 3/4 full HP and make another roll Individual Battle Results again.
12.....Escape the reaper, Stll have full HP roll on Escape Battle Table.

Escape Battle Table (2d6 roll)
2-4....Hide under a hay pile on a nearby farm.
5-6....Escape with your skin intact, all gear lost
7........Escape if you abandon armor and shield
8-9....You are stripped of all gear but steal an opponents horse and flee, allies left behind
10-11...You steal an opponents horse and flee, allies left behind
12......You escape with up to 1d6 times your CHA worth of captured allies.

Booty Table (1d100)
1-5..........Fine Sword
6..15.......1-12 Captive Camp Followers, no ransom forthcoming
16-25......Suit of Armor
26-27.....Enemy Banner, possible ransom of 1d100 g.p.
28-35.....1-20 Captive Levy, 30% chance of ransom of 1d10 g.p. each
36-39.....A Mule
40.........A Mule with Supplies
41-55....1-10 Captive Men-at-arms, 50% chance of ransom of 2d10 g.p. each
56-65...Captive Knight, 80% chance of 2d4 x 100g.p. ransom
66-67...Captive Lord, 90% chance of 2d6 x 1,000 g.p. ransom
68-75...Riding Horse
76-80...War Horse
81-95....20 g.p.
96-98...A Gold Ring
99-100....A Ruby Ring

The aftermath of a battle and the ability to exchange captive and get ransoms will vry with conditions of the campaign. Generally gentry are kept for ransom and commoners are slain or enslaved but they may be returned in exchange for captured men at arms.
A number of the results of escapes and survival could be played out and certainly lead to future RPG oportunities.

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