Mass Combat - the battle

This page describes the mass-combat battle itself. It assumes the reader is familiar with:
Basic Terms
Army Statistics
…… Army Tactics
…… Army Special Abilities
…… Army Resources
PCs role in Mass Combat
Battle Field Conditions
Mass combat Commanders
Between Battles

Your allied Armies:
The Hammers of Kenabres
The Eagle Watch
The Pit Survivors
Shield of Sarkoris
Aron’s Siege Crew

The Five Stages of a Mass Combat Round

The five stages of the mass combat round aim to represent the flow of combat: First gathering info, then making commanding decisions, then use archery, move and finally fight. This is not a perfect simulation and could use some fine tuning.
An important note is that the imitative is used ONLY for movement. All other phases are simultaneous. A round has no exact time frame.

Phase 1. Reconnaissance
Phase 2. Commander’s Orders
Phase 3. Ranged Attacks
Phase 4. Movement
Phase 5. Melee

Phase 1. Reconnaissance
The reconnaissance phase is played at the beginning of every round, but you don’t have to use it. Each Side in the conflict (not each army) gets 1 reconnaissance roll for every 500 units or fraction thereof under it’s command (So a side with 800 troops will have 2 rolls). First you choose an enemy army you can see, and decide a type of information you’d like to try and establish and then you roll. The roll is 1d20+ you highest ACR against the enemy army DV. If you succeed you learn the info. If one of the armies at your disposal has the resource “Expert Scouts” it grants a +2 bonus to your rolls and an extra reconnaissance roll, but you must use the ACR of the army it belongs to.
Reconnaissance Options:

  • Size, Race and class of the army
  • Army’s morale bonus, DV and OM (reveals 1 value of your choice)
  • Army special abilities (Reveals 1 for every try, most obvious ones first)
  • Resources of the army (Mounts, Weapons and armor are immediately known, and 1 extra special resource is revealed for every try, most obvious ones first)
  • Race, class and level of commander or one other NPC
  • Army known tactics
  • Detect hidden movement: Some armies can move more stealthily (Especially those with an ambush tactic, or the “stealthy” special ability). You can Call to try and find such armies in a radius of 4 squares from any of your armies. The DC is the enemy army “hidden movement” roll (See movement phase). The resource “Expert Scouts” expands this detection to 6 squares radius from the army it belongs to.

Phase 2. Commander’s Orders
In this phase the army can change it’s strategic approach and it’s tactics. Despite the name of this stage, the army doesn’t have to have a commander, but a commander boosts morale checks when they are needed.

  • Choose Strategy: declare the army’s general offensiveness and defensiveness for this round. There are 5 levels. In the first round of a battle, the army decides what level it is in. In later rounds it can freely change up or down one grade on the scale during this phase. An army can also radically change it’s strategy, by succeeding at a DC 15 morale check – you can choose whatever strategy you like. On a failure you stay at the former strategy level. See the Strategy Table for detail.
    Strategy Table
Strategy DV OM
Defensive +4 –4
Cautious +2 –2
Standard +0 +0
Aggressive –2 +2
Reckless –4 +4
  • Choose Tactic: As an army enters battle, it can use one tactic it knows. the army can use ONLY one tactic at a time. If the army wishes to change tactics, it can try doing this now by succeeding on a morale DC 15 check. failure means remaining in the old tactic.

Phase 3 – Ranged Attacks

  • An army must have ranged weapons in its resources in order to use ranged attacks. Thrown weapons do not count as ranged weapons.
  • Ranged weapons have three categories: short ranged (Sling, short bows and such) long range (cross bows and long bows), and siege engines.
  • Ranged battle is simultaneous. Both armies attack, defend and take damage at once.
  • An army can’t shoot if it is already engaged with another army in melee.
  • Shooting on a square where two armies are engaged in melee uses the lower DV of the two. The damage is divided between the two armies equally and is rounded up.
  • Consult the table below for penalties to OM depending on range and ranged weapon category
Category/Range Penalty Short Range (+0) Medium Range (-2) Long Range (-4)
Short Range Weapons 1 square 2 squares 3 squares
Long Range Weapons 2 square 4 squares 6 squares
Siege Engines 3 squares 6 squares 9 squares

Phase 4: Movement

  • Initiative is rolled once at the first Movement phase of the battle.
  • Before and after moving the army analyze its terrain and weather modifiers.
  • An army’s speed is the amount of squares an army can move. Regular movement rules of rough terrain and diagonal movement apply.
  • An army can hustle (double move) but then it is more open to attacks. It suffers a -2 to DV until it’s next movement phase.
  • A charge is a special movement that allows you to move up to twice your army speed in order to reach a state of engagement. The army must have a clear straight path toward the opponent, and nothing can hinder its movement (such as difficult terrain or obstacles). A charge grants the army +2 to OM and -2 to DV until its next movement phase.
  • An army with tactical size of 2 or more squares is hard to control in movement. Each “square” of the army can move according to the army’s speed, and the army can only move in one direction. If you desire to change direction or change the formation of the army’s squares you need to succeed on a Morale check (DC15). In any case the army must always move where each of the squares share at least one full border (NOT a corner) with another, and they are all continuous.
  • Two armies can move to flanking positions against a third army, adding +1 to their OM. An army with a tactical size larger than 1, is considered flanked if at least half of its squares are flanked.
  • “Hidden movement”: The army can try to evade detection, and try to avoid being seen by enemy scouts. The terrain must enable concealment. The army rolls 1d20+ACR against 10+ACR of the strongest army within 10 squares. Each additional enemy army within 10 squares adds 1 to the DC. Darkness adds +3 to the roll, fog adds +2 and dim light increases it by +1 (these effects stack). If successful, you move unseen. The army can halve it’s movement to gain a +4 to the roll. If you manage to remain hidden until the phase you choose to attack (melee or range) you gain +2 to OM and DV for that phase. Note that the enemy can expend reconnaissance rolls to try and find hidden movements, at which case the GM might keep it secret that the enemy knows about your stealth army and when you finally attack the benefits you should have had will be granted to the enemy army.

Phase 5: Melee
Engaging an enemy in melee combat requires you to declare the engagement. Once an army is engaged it cannot use ranged attacks or move until it disengages. To Disengage from melee, an army must use the “withdraw” tactic. Once two armies are engaged, battle is simultaneous. Both armies attack and defend at once, not one before the other.
Attack Defence and Damage:
Each combating side rolls an Offensive check (1d20+OM) and compares it to the enemy army DV. The difference is the damage the army deals. A natural 20 on attack overwhelms the enemy. It needs to roll a morale check (DC15) or suffer -2 to DV and OM on the next melee phase.

Resolving the Battle Round

If an army suffer up to half it’s hit point the damage can be restored- those are wounds that can be healed. Any more damage, and there are casualties among the units. If the army survives the engagement roll 1dACR for every round in the engagement the army’s HP were half or below. Reduce this number from the max hp of the army (not the current). These hp can be restored by replenishing the troops, but not in any other way!
An example: The army of Mighty Mighty Goblins (ACR 3) has 24 hit points max. It engages another army and on the second round of engagement has it’s hit points reduced to 10. On the next round it suffers 3 more damage, but finishes the enemy off. The goblins roll 2d3 to see how much hp casualty they lost (2 for rounds, 3 for ACR) and roll 4. Now the army has 7 hit points, and a max of 20 hp. They need to heal, and get more gobbys!

A rout is a chaotic retreat of a defeated army.
If an army’s current hp are lower than twice its ACR, the army must make a DC 15 Morale check. Failure means the army scatters and retreats from battle. If it cannot retreat, it surrenders and is captured. When an army routs, all armies within 2 squares radius from it can attempt one final Offense check at the fleeing army as a parting shot before it escapes. (Normally, only enemy armies do so, but an aggressive or evil army might strike at a fleeing allied army out of anger or frustration.) If the morale check succeeds, and it has a Commander, he/she can choose between the army continuing to fight till destroyed (The army will make a routing check every round it survives) or let it scatter (without being attacked by the opponent) and reform after the battle. (With hp equal it’s ACR +1) Such an army has a morale of -1, and will not engage on it’s own unless the commander succeeds on another morale check. When an army retreats from battle all friendly armies suffer -1 to morale for the rest of the battle

If an army’s hp have been reduced to 0, the army is defeated. It’s members are dead or captured with perhaps a few survivors. All friendly armies in the same battle field suffer a morale penalty of -2 for the rest of the battle.


If all enemy armies were defeated or routed, you are victorious!! Your armies can plunder the enemy dead and his bases for resources.

Victory Points: Once the battle is over and you are victorious, all your armies who fought in this battle gain 1 victory point. In addition, for each partaking army, count the number of enemy armies it had a significant roll in defeating (this can involve defending, attacking, gathering info, distracting or more.) For each such army add 1 victory point. The victory points keep adding up, from battle to battle till the army gains a new tactic, or the commander gets a new boon (Not just morale). Then its set to 0 and the process begins a new. If an army routs it looses 1 victory point. If its defeated it looses all victory points.

At the end of each battle you may try to gain a new tactic or boon and a morale point.

  • To gain a morale point, roll a moral check. The DC is (25 – ACR – Victory points). If you succeed, the army gains 1 more morale (Up to the army’s max of 4!)
  • To gain a new army tactic, roll a Leadership check: 1d20+Commander’s Leadership (Level + Charisma+ 3 if has leadership feat). The DC is 25 – ACR – Victory points). If you succeed the army learns a new tactic of your choosing. Note the the army cannot exceed it’s max tactics (1+ 1/2 the army’s ACR rounded up). If the army is already at it’s max, you can change known tactics instead of learning new ones.
  • To gain a new boon roll a Leadership check: 1d20+Commander’s Leadership (Level + Charisma+ 3 if has leadership feat). The DC is (25 – 1/2 commander’s level rounded up – Victory points). If you succeed you gain a new boon of your choosing. Note that the commander cannot gain more boons than his Max Boons (1+ Profession (soldier)/5 round down). If the commander’s boons are at the max, he/she can change known boons instead of learning a new one.

Mass Combat - the battle

Pathfinder (Wrath of the Righteous) ArielShatil ArielShatil