Content of the article: "My players want to try some Fire Emblem style play"
So, my players are about to withstand a siege of an invading village, with the goal of withstanding an assault by a superior foe. They want to bring some strategy in to it, so I've kludged together a very rules light mass combat system. Would love some feedback – any obvious holes that I've missed?
- Each unit of troops (both yours and theirs) will have a victory score – based on positioning, tactics, unit compositions etc.
- You won’t know this score as a number – but you can use skill checks to predict the likely outcome of a particular engagement.
- I’ll be describing clashes between units as the day wears on, and you’ll have three options to affect those clashes:
- Do nothing. The outcome will be decided by victory point totals on each side.
- Intervene with an Action Point (see below) – allowing you to influence the battle with a skill check/spell or other activity.
- Intervene. (Take the field) directly – turning that session into a normal combat (see below).
- There will also throughout the day be situations that I will expect you guys to respond to as a party, e.g “Those siege engines are wiping out our archers and we can’t get ours in range to respond” or “The dragon is strafing the village” so you would go and resolve the issue. These will be resolved through normal D&D rules.
The party will have a pool of action points that refreshes daily. You will have 5 points (one per player) that you can use to influence ongoing conflicts that you’re not directly a part of. This influence can consist of a skill check (eg a persuasion check to order another unit of archers to reinforce the flank of a defending unit) or an intervention with a spell – e.g a dispel magic on a cloud kill that’s threatening to engulf a unit of troops. These 5 points can be used by any of the party but once they’re gone you can’t influence the battle. Clever actions or good RP in the battle may be rewarded by further action points, but that’s not a guarantee.
The party can take the field if they want to try and turn the course of an encounter. This would be resolved as normal D&D combat, except your units and the opposing units all count as one for initiative, acting on the same turn, and have a communal AC and pool of hit points. (They will also have between 1-3 legendary actions/legendary resistances depending on the composition of the troops in the army. This doesn’t represent how tough they are, but is designed to abstract the effects of a spell/effect hitting an entire unit of troops at once. Combat will run as normal, but will happen through theatre of the mind.) Morale for both your and your opposing units will be a factor, with each unit of troops having a different threshold of HP loss before they break and try to flee.
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