Book of War Supplement: The Fellowship

Book of War Supplement: The Fellowship

by Michael Shorten ([email protected])

Goal: To be able to easily incorporate player characters of a campaign using the original fantasy role-playing game (the FRPG), as published by Gygax and Arneson in 1974, into a Book of War battle. Book of War is written by Daniel R. 'Delta' Collins. It is available at: www.oedgames.com/

Constraints: The PC Party is represented by a figure. Its actions/abilities during combat are abstracted by the Book of War rules, except for some magic spells (see Spell Casting). 

Figure Composition: To be eligible as a figure to be part of a unit, the PC Party must consist of characters whose total hit dice are at least 10HD or more. If the total is not that high, they may supplement with Men-at-Arms. Note that these Men-at-Arms do not have to be hireling/meatshields - they can be as well equipped (or better in levels/HD). Use the FRPG to determine the costs within the campaign. 

The game referee will determine which unit that the PC Party figure is a part of. The game referee may allow the PC Party figure to move among units.

Movement: The figure’s movement rate is calculated from movement rates in the FRPG. The figure moves at the rate of the slowest party member.

Hit Dice/Hits: To determine figure’s hits, total up the hit dice of PCs and any “filler” Men-at-Arms. Divide by ten, rounding down. The rules for +1 bonus to attack per 3 hits applies. 

Armor Class/AH: You can choose one of two ways to determine Armor Class/AH, depending on if which rule is used: Core or the optional “Exact Armor Class”

  1. Core rule - Determine the most prevalent armor type (by count) - that is then the armor type of the figure. If there is a tie, go with the lesser/weaker type.

  2. Exact AC - Take the average of the AC values, rounding down. Then use the Exact AC chart to determine AH. 

Attacks: Use Core rules as-is. 

Missile Attacks: 75% of the PC Party, and all “filler” Men-At-Arms, must be equipped with missile weapons for the figure to be able to perform missile attacks. 

Morale: If the majority of the PC Party figure consists of player characters, they are not affected by a unit’s morale check (and failure). If the PC Party figure has at least one player character at level 8 or above, a bonus of +1 is applied to the morale roll of the unit that the PC Party figure is a part of. This is to reflect the leadership of the higher-level PCs. Note that in tradition of the FRPG, rewards/bribes may increase the bonus to morale checks to the unit that the PC figure is assigned to. Game referee’s discretion.

Special Abilities: if 75%+ of the figure is of the same class/race with a special ability, then the figure is permitted to use that ability. Note that the ability must be able to affect ten individual targets in order to have an effect. Game referees will rule on how the ability works.

Magic Attacks: For those spells that result in hits/damage, determine the results of the attack as if against normal men. For other spells, see the descriptions below.

The exception is if the PC Party Figure’s max Hits > 2, a saving throw is made vs. half of the damage of the attack (round down). If the throw is equal/greater, only 1 hit is recorded against the figure, otherwise the results are the full damage.

0 hits/Death: Once a PC Party figure has 0 hits left, the figure is removed from the mass combat. The effect of 0 hits on each individual PC is ultimately subject to the rules of their campaign, but game referees might consider a Save vs. Death or some amount of major damage.  See 4/24/17 Addendum for additional ideas.

XP Earned: For each figure that the PC Party figure kills, determine XP by using the equivalent HD of the figure. Remember that a figure represents ten opponents, unless otherwise noted. (Heros and Fantastic Creatures, for example.) Campaign specific houserules may apply or supersede this rule.

Turning Undead: A PC Party figure with a Cleric may turn undead as their attack. Cleric first determines if >=10 creatures within target figure are affected (2d6). If so, then adjudicate results of turn as described in the FRGP. Cleric must have LOS to undead figure.

Spell Casting: A PC Party figure can cast up to two spells per per turn, either a single spell-caster or two spell-casters. A PC Party figure cannot move, perform missile fire or melee attacks if casting, as the other members of the party are busy protecting the spell-caster(s). A PC Party figure may not cast a spell if they are routed. 

For spells that have a target (terrain, area or figure), spell-caster must have line-of-sight to the target. Spells that conjure creatures, or change the physical characteristics of figures (such as Growth of Animals) should be discussed and possibly cast prior to starting the combat. 

The following spells from the FRPG may be eligible for use, subject to referee approval. This list will not supersede spells already defined within Book of War (Wizards), those rules should be used for those spells, even if cast by a Magic User/Cleric (that is high enough level to cast those spells) within the figure. Spell ranges and effects have been converted per suggestions from Book of War

Bless/Curse - (Duration: 6 turns, Range: LOS) Works as described in the FRGP. Affects 1 figure. 

Charm Monster - (Duration: see spell, Range: 12”) Target figure must be < 3 hits/HD. Figure can save - 1d6, roll less than or equal to their max hits/HD. If save fails, figure will not attack spell-caster’s units. (NOTE: Additional effects of this spell are up to game referee, but could allow for charmed figure to “defend” the spell-caster figure or even attack figures at spell-caster’s command.)

Cloudkill - (Duration: 6 turns, Range: see spell) Works as described in the FRGP. Cloud can move 6” a turn, in wind direction. Affects 1 figure. Figures affected by cloud can save - 1d6, roll less than or equal to their max hits/HD. 

Confusion - (Duration: 12 turns, Range: 12”) Works as described in the FRGP, with following changes - when cast, spell-caster must first roll to see the number of creatures affected. If <10, then spell is unsuccessful. Target figure of >= 4 hits/HD can save - 1d6, roll less than or equal to their max hits/HD.

Cure Serious Wounds - Works as described in the FRGP. Spell-caster must roll first to see if >= 10 hit points are affected (2d6+1). If so, then 1 hit on the target figure is restored. Can be used on self or another figure.

Cause Light/Serious Wounds - abstracted into the melee attack roll. 

Fireball - works as outlined for Wand of Fireball in Book of War/Wizards. 

Growth of Animals - (Duration: 12 turns, Range: 12”) This is cast as many times as needed to affect 10 men (spell affects 1d6 men) on a figure in order to change it’s stats to those of a Hill Giant as specified in Book of War. Can be done prior to battle.

Hallucinatory Terrain - (Duration: see spell, Range: 24”) Works as described in the FRGP. Affects one terrain feature, or a 3”x3” square of open ground on battlefield.

Haste / Slow - (Duration: 3 turns, Range: 24”) Works as described in the FRGP. Affects all figures within the target area of 2”x4” (two adjacent figures).

Insect Plague - (Duration: 1 day, Range: 48”) Creates a cloud of insects that is 4 square inches. Units within cloud cannot attack and movement is halved. Figures within cloud with < 3 hits/HD are automatically routed and cannot recover until out of the cloud. 

Lightning Bolt - as outlined for Wand of Lightning Bolts in Book of War/Wizards. 

Lower Water - (Duration: 10 turns, Range: 24”) Works as described in the FRPG. For purposes of movement, Marsh becomes Rough, Stream becomes Marsh, Pond becomes Stream. 

Mass Morph - (Duration: see spell, Range: 24”) Works as described in the FRGP. Can affect up to 10 figures. The unit must start in and remain in wooded terrain, using Woods movement rate. They are not seen until they attack. Concealed figures must stay together as a unit.

Part Water - (Duration: 6 turns, Range: 12”) Works as described in the FRGP. Movements rates in parted area are subject to game referee ruling, but could be considered “Rough” (for debris at the bottom of a lake/pond/river).

Sleep - (Duration: see spell, Range: 24”) Works as described in the FRGP, against figures  with less than 3 max Hits. Spell-caster must roll first to see if >= 10 creatures are affected, if not, spell is ineffective. If effective, target figure does not move or fight. An adjacent enemy figure can spend a turn “destroying” the sleeping figure. A adjacent friendly figure can spend a turn “waking up” the sleeping figure. 

Transmute Rock to Mud - (Duration: see spell, Range: 12”) Works as described in the FRGP. Affects up to a 5” square area. Giant sized/larger creatures sink. 

Wall of Fire/Ice - (Duration: see spell, Range: 6”) Works as described in the FRGP. Undead that can go through a Wall of Fire take 2 hits. Other creatures/figures that can go through Wall of Fire/Ice take 1 hit. 2 hits for fire-based creatures going through Wall of Ice. Sizes and areas are halved. 

Wall of Iron/Stone - (Duration: see spell, Range: 6”) Works as described in the FRGP. Sizes and areas are halved.

BookOfWar-Logo-150px.gif
BookOfWar-Logo-150px.gif

Book of War is written by Daniel R. 'Delta' Collins. It is available at: www.oedgames.com/

Design considerations

A great deal of my design approach was influenced by Dan’s comments from this post: http://deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2011/11/book-of-war-heroes.html 

“Many players expect that mid-level PCs (say: 4th-8th level or so) can appear on the tabletop as solo figures, and to fight at an advantage against many normal figures. But that's not the case when "normal" figures are at 1:10 scale. Simply put: if a standard figure represents 10 Hit Dice of men, then a Hero must have 10 Hit Dice minimum before they have the equivalent staying power of even 1 "hit" of damage.”

That is why that for the most part, the PC’s actions and abilities are abstracted into the attack roll of the figure. The rest of the rules were approached to be as “light” as possible on the rules, while reflecting that there might be some skills and influence that a party of PCs within a mass combat battle might bring(however small).

The cost of a figure representing a PC Party is not given. I believe that a cost-per-unit approach is typical of a pick-up game; in the case of a campaign, it’s more likely that events and participants within that world are going to dictate the number and disposition of forces. Imagine a certain city in a popular fantasy trilogy telling a certain dark lord that they could only use 300 points for their attacking armies! If it is truly necessary to calculate costs for a PC Party figure, I leave that as an exercise to the game referee.

Magic is the proverbial can of worms, which is why the base rules are 1.5 pages and 2 pages are devoted to spells. As I looked through my copy of the original 1974 FRPG, I evaluated the spell on its overall effect. If it can affect 10+ targets, then I considered how to use it. I believe it should be up to the referee to determine which spells are appropriate and allowed within a combat. Debates and decisions abound and this part is where I feel squishiest about these rules for a PC Party figure. 

It might also be interesting for a game referee to consider the above list when playing with Wizards and Heroes in Book of War, as I believe this spell list could be interesting to use within a scenario that doesn’t include a PC Party figure.

As a final note, I am reminded of the role of “caller” as vaguely outlined in OD&D. It was meant to allow for one voice to speak to the game referee for the party, after consensus (or dictatorial fiat) had been established among the party members. In terms of how a PC Party figure might be managed during a mass combat game, the idea of a caller for the party makes a lot of sense now and I recommend considering it, as long as the group of players has input and decision making abilities and the caller is merely the “voice” of final decisions, rather than the arbiter of the PCs’ actions.

Addendum (5/31/16) - Having successfully used these rules several times as part of combined RPG/mass-combat game session, I’ve learned that rather than a caller, having each player take over the movement and rolling for a unit/figure in league with the PC Party figure is a great approach.  It makes everyone feel involved. If a caller is appropriate, for the size of party, then combine the two. There is nothing more awkward than having several bored players sit around for an hour while a mass combat is prosecuted. 

Addendum (4/24/17) - The players and I agreed about a year or so ago that if the PC Party figure was eliminated, each PC would get a “Save vs. Death” throw. If they failed, they would roll against the table that “desertscrb” from the OD&D Boards suggested here. I present this for your consideration.

  1. Knocked unconscious, fully recovers after battle

  2. Knocked unconscious, needs 1-6 days to recover

  3. Knocked unconscious, needs 1-6 weeks to recover, permanent loss of 1-4 hit points

  4. Comatose, needs 1-4 weeks to awaken, loss of limb or eye and 1-4 hit points

  5. Comatose, needs 1-4 months to awaken, loss of limb or eye and character must retire from adventuring

  6. Killed, body mostly intact (may raise from dead)

  7. Killed and dismembered (no chance of raising from dead)

  8. Killed and dismembered (no chance of raising from dead)

  9. Killed and body never recovered

  10. Killed and body never recovered

Characters less than third level roll d10, fourth-fifth level roll d8, sixth-seventh level roll d6, eighth level or higher roll d4.

Questions/comments/suggestions? Feel free to reach out to me by email or Google+ at [email protected].

Change Log

  • November 23, 2017 - Refined what happens if PC Party figure reaches 0. Clarified how special abilities should work.

  • April 24, 2017 - Added info on how we’d handle the RPG PC characters’ fate if their figure was eliminated. 

  • May 31, 2016 - Added the “Book of War Compatible” logo to the document. Added note about having players move/roll for units to keep everyone involved.

  • March 2, 2016 - Added clarification on MU/C casting BoW spells, removed Cure Light Wounds, updated Cure Serious Wounds to work only if 10+hp are healed.

  • Jan 12, 2015 - First published version.

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