Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Unearthed Arcana releases mass combat rules

IWhile many of us thought we'd get another class in this week's Unearthed Arcana, Wizards have produced some rules for mass combat.

Yup, bringing large battles into an RPG is often a contentious issue - much of the time it takes you right out of the game and can turn into a bit of a mess. So how does it work in 5e?

It's pretty damned simple, really. Creature CR is converted to a Battle Rating and a unit consists of 400 creatures. Morale is determined by the DM and the commander's charisma. Commanders must be in each of your units.

Attacking is as simple as rolling a d20 and adding a unit's battle rating, with the defender doing the same. Damage is done depending on the difference between these values. Terrain etc can provide advantage and disadvantage on these rolls. It's pretty bloody simple. Morale checks are rolled if a unit gets to half its original population.

There's a bit on bringing characters into it, with some advice working better than others. The rules say that you can resolve special character effects such as spells and kind of judge how that plays out on the battlefield. I prefer the tried and tested 'zooming in' method where we use a regular combat to resolve a specific event or objective. The rules list a few examples of these.

Overall, I think these mass combat rules are fine, but I probably won't use them. You're better off just cracking out some minis and playing a wargame with a bit more crunch.