Secret Santicore Present

I’m probably a bit late in posting this, but I’ve finally managed to get around to it. Someone asked Santicore for a Hex Filler that takes into account the surrounding hexes, and I have done my humble best to make his wish come true. Here it is.

Also, I’ve been looking and thinking about this (by Zak, of course), and I’ve made a few conclusions (based on assumptions – I’ve not tested out the idea, nor my own). Zak’s model looks like it would lead to really epic, personal battles – like the end of LotR 3, where Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli are fighting their way through the Pelennor Fields and fight the Mumakil, and so on. But, in that kind of fight, there’s really no way to tell how the battle as a whole is going. The PCs might be carving up their foes, and even achieve their objectives, but it’s still possible that, despite that, the battle as a whole is lost. So, I present an alternative for those who want a more abstract way of looking at the battlefield (not that this is something I’d necessarily use, I just thought it’d be interesting to blog about).

Stat armies (or legions of armies) up as monsters, on a bigger scale. The table above allows enterprising PCs who want their own legion or three to build them with rules. If they take command of their own legion, give them about 20 points to work with. A legion with a high damage but low armour could be a cohort of archers, while the fast-moving, heavy-hitting one is probably cavalry. Some rules:

  • Spend a maximum of 9 points in Speed & Size combined (the bigger the army, the slower it is)
  • Legions check for Morale after their first casualties, and once they’ve lost half their numbers.
  • If a legion breaks due to a failure of Morale, it loses 2 points of Morale permanently.

The way I see it, this allows the players to move their units around the battlefield like chess-pieces. Large-sized combat rounds probably last anywhere from 10-20 minutes, as smaller units charge, clash, and reform. If the PCs are in the thick of it, there’s probably plenty of room for them to have a few rolls on Zak’s tables.

Another couple of bonuses: a bank of war machines probably deal damage to legions as on the table here. A bank of trebuchet fire could easily send the average bank of infantry into disarray. Dragons flying overhead would probably do the same thing (I am totally doing this to my players now). And if not all the members of the party want to join in the melee (like the thief, or the wizard who forgot to take fireball), they can stay back at HQ and take part in directing the legions around while the fighter nuts it out on the small scale.

Also, this doesn’t just work for a fantasy battle (same with Zak’s tables, really). You could easily adapt this to a space battle a la Darths & Droids.

I hope that this at least provokes some thoughts, and helps someone come up with something even cooler and more balanced. Merry Christmas everyone, and happy Secret Santicore.

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