They also grow more detailed, but if you're interested in these rules in the first place, you've got to have some level of comfort with and interest in detailed resolution of a mass combat, with the mathiness that entails. If you didn't, you'd employ a purely narrative resolution, or boil the whole deal down to a single die roll. Not that there's anything wrong with that, if that's what's satisfying for you and your group. Blog of Holding has some alternatives for you.Skirmishers are organized to be fast-moving and responsive, while regiments are organized to seize and hold ground. It's a classic light infantry vs. heavy infantry divide, but with the expectation of fantastic creatures, spells, and individually potent heroes joining or leaving the fray. The balance of benefits to each is interesting and on-point, though once we get to what each type of unit has to do to avoid "becoming isolated," I have a flash of worry about complexity of resolution. For now, that's just a note to consider once we get to those rules.
My other big question going forward is how or if there might be specialized rules for cavalry units. I'm far from a military historian or tactician, but I have done a tolerable bit of reading on column and line tactics from the Byzantine era on through the Napoleonic. I'm not expecting any such thing, but it's such a pivotal decision that I might explore adding some as a houserule.Solos are heroes, individually significant monsters, and the like. Being a solo is not mutually exclusive with joining a stand. Especially for PCs, joining a stand should be high on their list of priorities. A PC can act as the commander of a unit if the unit has no commander already in place, and if the PC is attached to a stand within that unit. (At this point, the stand/unit terminology is making my head hurt a bit. The document uses them correctly, but the words appear so often in the text that my eyes start to skip over them.) Anyway, a commander can spend a bonus action each round to grant the unit one of three different bonuses, all of which look pretty good.
The Cast a Spell rules remind me, a little indirectly, of the Birthright mass combat rules. Those rules had scale problems, or at least oddities, of their own - a single wizard (thankfully rare in-setting) could deal unbelievable damage with a fireball, or could learn and cast Battle Spells - normal spells reworked to act on a mass-combat level, such as a rain of magic missiles or a unit-wide charm person.The 1:10 scale of mass combat may also do some odd things to the effectiveness of healing spells. Even more so than in squad-level battle, the healers of the party should give serious thought to saving all of their spell slots for healing, because each cure wounds (to say nothing of greater magics) is saving ten people and functionally buying you a replacement unit that is already in position. I'm guessing default, rulebook healing is more effective in mass combat than is actually desirable.
The actual problem? In real life, the victorious characters are tired from their adrenaline crash, the defeated characters are scared, and even a psychopath isn't as vindictive and tireless as a PC chasing an enemy that might still have 2d10 silver pieces in his pocket.
Let's say Simbeline the Sublime tosses off a fireball that damages Stand A and Stand B, which are in the same unit and identical except that Stand A is already badly hurt. 8d6 can be some pretty serious damage, so Stand A bites it after absorbing just 15 of the 30 damage from the fireball. I take from this rule that Stand B also takes 30 damage, plus another 15 damage from Stand A's overflow? (But if Stand A and Stand B aren't identical, Stand B takes no overflow damage.)It's interesting that defeated stands aren't removed from play or prevented from acting until the end of the round. I can't help but ponder adopting this rule, perhaps with minor tweaks, into squad-level play, where it would be remarkably cinematic. This would seem to reduce the impact of initiative, since no matter how well a stand rolls, it's not going to eliminate an enemy stand before it can act in a round.
Labels: 5e DnD, game review, History minor35 36 37 38