Content of the article: "Need help with an army combat system in 5e!"
Hey, I’ve been designing a game for a while and it involves a large military conflict which the players will be directly involved in. The idea is that they can go on missions to give their side an advantage and to progress the plot such as assassinations or treasure hunts, or monster clearing as well as side quests which would function with the regular 5e style but there will also be cases of army on army combat.
I could use some help making or finding an existing set of mechanics for this that would allow my party to fight in these battles without feeling like a mosquito on a dinosaur in terms of effectiveness but still allowing them to use class abilities (I.e. don’t let the magic users be op with aoe spells and not give the battle master human fighter a reason they are effective) which is quite difficult to do I’ve found.
Now obviously they’ll have chances to shine outside of these battles and they can prepare traps, equipment, sabotagesand strategies before the fight to help but during combat I want everyone to feel included as a product of them doing things their classes and characters would do. I don’t want them to be nameless soldiers fighting one enemy at a time.
One possibility was to have them act as commanders of platoons or small groups of soldiers and they get slight reflavourings of their abilities like battlemaster knocking prone would similarly put an opposing squadron “prone” where they can’t move and are easier to hit. In this case, hp would probably be based on a morale system. Where prepared activities would affect the amount of morale a squadron has as well as perhaps the cha score or something (I’m working on it), the level etc. morale would determine severity of attacks too, so when they’ve been damaged a lot it acts as a loss of troops and man power or combat effectiveness. Enemy attacks would reduce the morale of a squadron and same for the players. Some abilities would have to be altered slightly such as bardic inspiration, and most single target effects which I would probably treat as a swarm and balance on a case by case basis using my knowledge of the party’s abilities to work it out before the game.
I am a little worried about complexity but this sort of thing would be complex no matter what and I will try to simplify it as best as possible and besides I have smart players so I’m not too worried.
I would like to get your feedback on this approach since it’s very much an early iteration of a work in progress, as well as any suggestions on what other systems I could try and how I could change this one, thanks for helping me figure out how to make this work guys! I’ll make sure to post how well it worked in practice once the game has started
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