Big Battles!; in dnd next core or an already existing system?

hi nexers,

just thought to start a discussion on one of my favorite things in dnd, big battles.    Now way in the past there used to be Chainmail, which was a wargame.   Dnd got spawned out of that.   There was Spells and Swords after that and many years later the Battlesystem.

I'm currently a big fan of OED's Book of War:
deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2011/09/book-of-w...

what I'm hoping for in dnd next is either:
1. a battle system that works like Book of War
2. dnd next working well with Book of War

Dnd just isn't complete without big battles.   Its a staple in the fantasy books I read.    The way Book of War works is that the game has minature rules and special hero rules.   If your hero gets in battle with another hero level foe you use "special combat".   That's just another way of saying the dnd system your using.

I'd also like the battle rules to be as short as Book of War, which is 24 pages long.

I have to say my hopes of having battle rules in the game are low.    A lot of the modules I've seen over the years could have been better if they had a battle in them.   Though my hopes are low, perhaps fate will smile on us and just work well with Book of War.

what do you think about this?
I think Mike Mearls likes this idea. There is a post about the google hangout. Take a look at it if you have the time/interest.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
thanks for the tip!   I think its an area that's been long neglected to the detriment of Dnd.   I don't know why, maybe because it's always been a butload of new rules to pick up.   I got excited by Book of War's brevity.   If Mearls like this then there may be hope!
I think Mike Mearls likes this idea. There is a post about the google hangout. Take a look at it if you have the time/interest.



I went to this page:
plus.google.com/u/0/10030943674746913768...

but I couldn't find anything.

Rules for mass combat will exsist.

They just need to figure out the fighter first.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Cool, can't wait to read them.

The good news is that I was looking over the Beta for the first time and it may very will work for the OED Book of War system.   I didn't see anything in it that made me think the game was that radical of a departure from earlier dnd.

They should be able to do the mass combat system now without having the fighter nailed down.   The Book of War wasn't specifally fighter detailed.   It deals with tens of men at a time.

The biggie for the fighter would be to determine when he is a hero in the game, that's when he'd need to be nailed down.   If we can't figure out when he's 10 times as tough as a normal man than we can't figure out when he's a hero.

Once everything is nailed down we can figure out the costs.   Time to get the cost calculator started up!
I have to say my hopes of having battle rules in the game are low. 

I have high hopes for a Mass Combat rules module. This sort of thing is perfect for the modular nature of D&DNext. Plus development articles have talked about how high level characters gathered followers and built strongholds in earlier editions.

yeah, the BECMI had something called War Machine.   I'm not familiar with it.   I have heard that there wasn't any units battling out on the tabletop, more of a numbers game.

I'm not sure if there ever was anything official for dnd after battlesystem.

The OED Book of War fits my idea of a module pretty well.  Short, sweet... fun  and CHEAP!

I'm thinking of doing some BETA dndnext stuff with it to see how well it rolls out.   Time is a constraint though.  I have to look over the levels in NEXT and get an idea as to how the power increases each level.   If it matches earlier editions there's going to be less fiddling to do.
I think one of the biggest concerns when creating the mass battle rules is how directly it ties into the normal combat rules.  If the tie-in is too weak, such that individual characters can't really be part of it, then they've basically just layered a wargame onto the rpg.  And that's fine, but it's not really what I'm looking for in mass battle rules.  At the same time, if the tie-in is too strong, then you're basically just running regular combat with a lot of enemies.  And that's fine too, except that I feel like it would take too long for me to be willing to use it.

This is what I am looking for:
1) A way to turn a group of monsters/enemies into a single swarm-like creature that individual PCs can interact with.  Off the top of my head, probably the best way to handle this is to multiply HPs by the number of creatures you're consolidating, and to multiply damage by half that number, up to a maximum of 4 times normal damage (which represents being attacked by 8 creatures, the most that can surround someone on a grid).

2) A way to handle attacks against strongholds, which includes how monsters interact with the battle.  The system needs a way to handle monster attacks that should damage the stronghold (golems tearing at the walls, rustmonsters eating the gates, etc), but also to discriminate enough that an orc pounding barehanded on a wall won't eventually do enough damage to break through it.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

   D&D became a game of skirmishes very early, and has not changed.  5e will be the same.  There may be something for the lover of big battles, but you had best be prepared for a game that has little or none of it, at what little it does have is none too good.
Not sure how much this helps, but...

If memory serves, the Miniatures Handbook (which was largely a turd) in 3rd edition actually had some good advice on how to run large battles, including how to involve the players without having to set up millions of pieces (which is nice, since it's almost easier to do really big battles in the theatre of the imagination). There was something about victory points based on player action, but I used that more as a reference than an actual ruleset.

I know ever since I read it, for the big battles in my campaigns I draw out maps of the battle for myself to reference, using arrows and such to show where and when different groups will be at certain destinations. I use this as a guide to tell the players what is going on in the battle, providing events for them, and letting them make decisions that will help determine the outcome of a battle. I've even had no-win scenario battles where the players simply have to survive, escape and/or mitigate the damages caused by the invading horde. Some of the battles involve under one hundred combatants, and some of them have involved tens of thousands of guys.
I think one of the biggest concerns when creating the mass battle rules is how directly it ties into the normal combat rules.  If the tie-in is too weak, such that individual characters can't really be part of it, then they've basically just layered a wargame onto the rpg.  And that's fine, but it's not really what I'm looking for in mass battle rules.  At the same time, if the tie-in is too strong, then you're basically just running regular combat with a lot of enemies.  And that's fine too, except that I feel like it would take too long for me to be willing to use it.

This is what I am looking for:
1) A way to turn a group of monsters/enemies into a single swarm-like creature that individual PCs can interact with.  Off the top of my head, probably the best way to handle this is to multiply HPs by the number of creatures you're consolidating, and to multiply damage by half that number, up to a maximum of 4 times normal damage (which represents being attacked by 8 creatures, the most that can surround someone on a grid).

2) A way to handle attacks against strongholds, which includes how monsters interact with the battle.  The system needs a way to handle monster attacks that should damage the stronghold (golems tearing at the walls, rustmonsters eating the gates, etc), but also to discriminate enough that an orc pounding barehanded on a wall won't eventually do enough damage to break through it.



In OED Book of War, 1 Turn is equal to 3 rounds of normal Dnd combat.   So in other words, when your hero is fighting an opponent in "special combat", which is just regular dnd you play 3 rounds for the characters and only play one round of Book of War.   You don't have to do it that way though.   You can just stick with the regular combat, though using regular dnd combat is recommended.

The cool thing is that you can use your hero against regular units(which are 10 men) and knock them in out in a Book of War turn.

There are some siege rules in it, but I don't think there are any rules for smashing through walls and such but that could be written up, I'd guess.

Not sure how much this helps, but...

If memory serves, the Miniatures Handbook (which was largely a turd) in 3rd edition actually had some good advice on how to run large battles, including how to involve the players without having to set up millions of pieces (which is nice, since it's almost easier to do really big battles in the theatre of the imagination). There was something about victory points based on player action, but I used that more as a reference than an actual ruleset.

I know ever since I read it, for the big battles in my campaigns I draw out maps of the battle for myself to reference, using arrows and such to show where and when different groups will be at certain destinations. I use this as a guide to tell the players what is going on in the battle, providing events for them, and letting them make decisions that will help determine the outcome of a battle. I've even had no-win scenario battles where the players simply have to survive, escape and/or mitigate the damages caused by the invading horde. Some of the battles involve under one hundred combatants, and some of them have involved tens of thousands of guys.



yeah the big numbers are hard to do.   It really alters the scale of the miniatures game, making your castle miniatures not too useful.   The Delta(author of Book of War) talks about doing a huge battle in this blog:
deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2012/03/friday-ni...

It's like 12,000 Ghouls invading the countryside.   The scale is huge!   A unit in BOW is 10 men, 2 rows of 5 men each.   That ends up being 1,200 figures for the battle field.   You either need a really big place to play the game or do some kind of unit management where only so many figures occupy the territory at a time.

Maybe rent out a football stadium to do the game.

Large battles have always been handled by a supplement to the core rules and I don't see why it should be any different in the future. Also I have to admit that most of the siege and large scale combat rules I've seen are pretty bad, but I do occasionally have a large scale battle in my game and some guidelines for adapting the combat system to suit these encounters would be really useful.


I do think that the supplement that eventually shows up to enable these should be short, to the point, and close enough to the combat rules in the core books that you're not having to relearn your game to integrate them. I'd actually prefer that any supplement of this kind not include any rules at all and simply provide guidelines on how to apply the further layers of abstraction necessary to let the dice play a role in the narrative of a scene.


I'd probably focus more on morale, spotlighting individual events in a battle, and group actions than attempting to devise a combat system for it.


The structure rules have always been really odd. It'd be nice to see something besides object hit points and hardness.

its weird that you mention about the necessity of being close to the rules.   The OED Book of War guy wanted results that were similiar to what would happen in regular dnd.   So in other words if 10 Orcs beat 10 Elves 60% of the time in regular Dnd then that's the results he wants to see in Book of War.   The way he tested this is through game play but also millions of simulations run on computers.   That's how he was able to get a sense that the rules were on the right track for his goal.

Morale is pretty simple on Book of War.   If you lose figures in a unit during the round you make a morale check for that unit(page 9 of book).    You role a 2d6 and add the unit types HD + its rate of loss for the turn.  If it equals 10 or more than you make your morale check.   The cool thing is that if your unit is fleeing battle and run into another unit you can through them into a rout as well.    There are some optional rules that can affect this check as well.

I don't know what I'd do for structure rules.   Probably give it a HD score and an AH value of some kind.   Though it doesn't make sense to give it an AH value if you are always going to hit it.
Maybe down the road there be an official book for massive battles in 5e, but right now it would be
a lot easier just to design your own.  For example.

You can even use their single stats for the army. 

HD is the army size. If the scale is 100 then 100xHD is the army size.
AC is damage reduction(half of armor and dex), they always deal 1 damage regardless how high.
Damage is auto by the average x the number the squares they touch the enemy.

 Or you can do it by story. For example.

You know for a fact that the orc raiders will wipe this human village, but the players can change 
the result depending how they organize the defence and how well they do in battle.

You will send 3 scenarios(regular D&D combat, but massive) and depending how well they do in those scenarios will result the end of the battle.  
its weird that you mention about the necessity of being close to the rules.   The OED Book of War guy wanted results that were similiar to what would happen in regular dnd.   So in other words if 10 Orcs beat 10 Elves 60% of the time in regular Dnd then that's the results he wants to see in Book of War.   The way he tested this is through game play but also millions of simulations run on computers.   That's how he was able to get a sense that the rules were on the right track for his goal.

Morale is pretty simple on Book of War.   If you lose figures in a unit during the round you make a morale check for that unit(page 9 of book).    You role a 2d6 and add the unit types HD + its rate of loss for the turn.  If it equals 10 or more than you make your morale check.   The cool thing is that if your unit is fleeing battle and run into another unit you can through them into a rout as well.    There are some optional rules that can affect this check as well.

I don't know what I'd do for structure rules.   Probably give it a HD score and an AH value of some kind.   Though it doesn't make sense to give it an AH value if you are always going to hit it.



I think what I'm really getting at is I'd love to have a system that's abstract enough to just take whatever I throw at it such that I don't need different rules for big battles. I think also I'm primarily concerned with how a large battle fits into the narrative of a session rather than actually what happens in the battle. For me, it's largely unimportant how the units are doing even as units and far more important to spotlight what this key figure does at that point and whether the walls fall under bombardment.


The way  I generally do it is pull something out of my ass improvise bits where we resolve one event in the larger battle as a combat, then move to some setting descriptions about how things are going, then move to a different event and resolve it in the same way, maybe check to see if something breaks or someone bolts and runs and I modify it on the basis of those spotlit events.

Maybe down the road there be an official book for massive battles in 5e, but right now it would be
a lot easier just to design your own.  For example.

You can even use their single stats for the army. 

HD is the army size. If the scale is 100 then 100xHD is the army size.
AC is damage reduction(half of armor and dex), they always deal 1 damage regardless how high.
Damage is auto by the average x the number the squares they touch the enemy.

 Or you can do it by story. For example.

You know for a fact that the orc raiders will wipe this human village, but the players can change 
the result depending how they organize the defence and how well they do in battle.

You will send 3 scenarios(regular D&D combat, but massive) and depending how well they do in those scenarios will result the end of the battle.  




the army size is big problem if you want to try to model things so they aren't silly.   Once you scale things all your favorite features like the nifty castle lose any real use.   You left with a dinky little marker called "castle" and not a great big ol miniature castle.   Onward!
its weird that you mention about the necessity of being close to the rules.   The OED Book of War guy wanted results that were similiar to what would happen in regular dnd.   So in other words if 10 Orcs beat 10 Elves 60% of the time in regular Dnd then that's the results he wants to see in Book of War.   The way he tested this is through game play but also millions of simulations run on computers.   That's how he was able to get a sense that the rules were on the right track for his goal.

Morale is pretty simple on Book of War.   If you lose figures in a unit during the round you make a morale check for that unit(page 9 of book).    You role a 2d6 and add the unit types HD + its rate of loss for the turn.  If it equals 10 or more than you make your morale check.   The cool thing is that if your unit is fleeing battle and run into another unit you can through them into a rout as well.    There are some optional rules that can affect this check as well.

I don't know what I'd do for structure rules.   Probably give it a HD score and an AH value of some kind.   Though it doesn't make sense to give it an AH value if you are always going to hit it.



I think what I'm really getting at is I'd love to have a system that's abstract enough to just take whatever I throw at it such that I don't need different rules for big battles. I think also I'm primarily concerned with how a large battle fits into the narrative of a session rather than actually what happens in the battle. For me, it's largely unimportant how the units are doing even as units and far more important to spotlight what this key figure does at that point and whether the walls fall under bombardment.


The way  I generally do it is pull something out of my ass improvise bits where we resolve one event in the larger battle as a combat, then move to some setting descriptions about how things are going, then move to a different event and resolve it in the same way, maybe check to see if something breaks or someone bolts and runs and I modify it on the basis of those spotlit events.




ahh, so your thinking the battle is more like the setting, say like the walls of the dungeon.

I guess I'm pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum, I want the party to be able to bite it in the battle rules.   That's a pretty real possibility in Book of War if you do the wrong stuff.   Though it has the interesting rule that your hero can't be hurt if embedded in a unit, effectively immune to stuff.

gotta go and get my Book of War test ran for the day!