Pathfinder Mass Combat

INTRO

I found Pathfinder's official mass combat system to be a bit too abstract, yet also found Warpath to be too clunky, so I devised my own set of rules to make pathfinder into a wargame like Warpath tries to, only I'm trying to stick closer to the original system. Note that I don't have much experience with wargames myself, though I have plenty with Pathfinder. I'm actually building this based off of VERY basic knowledge of 40k. 

For starters, I am building these rules for use with MapTool, because macros, custom states, and token properties are all awesome. I’d imagine these rules would be kind of a pain in the ass to use (though not as much as warpath haha) without being able to use custom states to track hitpoints.

Secondly, the system will mainly make use of d10s on the principle that smaller numbers = better and faster. Stats like AC and attack bonuses are halved to account for this, [not anymore, found it was unnecessary] while damage and hitpoints are divided by 10.

Thirdly, the system does NOT rely on squares, hexes or any sort of grid. Movement is measured out with a (physical or digital) ruler in inches where 1 inch = 5 feet. This means that multiple creatures can crowd around each other so long as they do not directly overlap each other.

Terminology

  Creature – One single combatant, whether it be a goblin, human, demon, etc.

  Group – A number of combatants moving and fighting as one unit. Usually, the maximum number is 10 creatures to a group, though for large or mounted medium creatures the maximum is 5.

  Phase (Movement, Ranged, Melee) – A portion of a turn dedicated to one particular action.

  Leader Bonus – The bonus that a leader provides by being within 60 feet (12 squares) of a group equal to their charisma modifier. At least one creature in a group must be within 60 feet of the leader for the group to receive this bonus.

  Hero – An especially powerful creature that can act independently. Typically, these are player characters, major npcs, or particularly powerful enemy combatants.

Basic Stats

The basic stats to keep track of for each creature in this system are:

Ranged Skill

Melee Skill

AC (Including flatfooted and touch)

Damage

Hitpoints

Fortitude, reflex, and will

Ranged and Melee Skill are the same as the to-hit bonus in normal Pathfinder. Same with AC

Hitpoints are derived by taking the Pathfinder creature's base hp, dividing by ten rounding down, and adding 1. So a creature with 5 hp would have 1 hitpoint in mass combat while a creature with 10 hp would have 2.

Damage is not rolled. Instead you divide the damage die's average by two, rounding down. 1d8's average would be 4, while 2d6's average would be 7. Add the damage bonus, divide by ten, round down.

Saves aren't changed at all, only that they are rolled for entire groups at once rather than single creatures.

Attacking

When a group makes an attack, all creatures in the group attack the other formation at once. Take the attack skill (melee or ranged if it’s a melee or ranged attack) and subtract it from the target’s AC. This is the target number. Roll 1d20 for each creature in the group and count the number of d20s that meet or exceed the target number. This is the number of hits. Multiply the number of hits by the group’s damage rating. This is the amount of hitpoint damage inflicted upon the target group. When the group takes damage, apply it so that as many creatures die as possible.

EXAMPLE: A group of 10 Nord Huskarls strike at another group of 10 Vaegir guards with their vicious battle axes. The huskarls have a melee skill of 7 while the guards have an AC of 18. The Huskarls roll 10d20, and for every roll that meets or exceeds 11, they score a hit. In this case, they score 6 hits. This is multiplied by their damage of 2, so the total number of hitpoint damage inflicted on the guards is 13. Since each guard has 3 hitpoints, four guards at the front of the formation die and are removed from play while the remaining 1 damage is applied to one of the surviving guards.

Critical threats automatically confirm. For critical hits, multiply damage as normal 

Battle Sequence

There are three phases in each player’s turn. Movement, Ranged, and Melee.

Movement Phase: All groups can move up to their movement speed (which is the same as the creature’s speed in pathfinder.) Groups cannot double move like in normal Pathfinder.

Ranged Phase: Any group with a ranged weapon can fire during this phase. Any penalties that a creature might take in pathfinder for things such as range increments and shooting into melee also apply.

EXAMPLE: Sultan Hakim directs his Sarranid archers to fire on a group of Swadian knights engaged in melee with another group of Sarranid Mamlukes. Because the knights are both engaged in melee (-4) and beyond the archers’ first range increment (-2), the archers take a total of -6 to their ranged skill.

Melee Phase: A group that wishes to engage another group in melee may move up to their movement speed. If at least one creature can make contact (directly touch) another creature, the rest can pile in and the melee begins. If not, then the group cannot attack that round. When two groups are engaged, both groups attack no matter whose turn it is. Compare the groups’ reflex saves. The one with the higher reflex may strike first. If the reflex saves are equal, roll 1d20 for either group. Highest goes first. Repeat as necessary. Whoever takes the most casualties must make a morale check as described in the next section.

Repeat until all of one side’s groups are driven from the field or dead.

Heroes, Leadership, Initiative, and Morale

Armies usually have leaders that provide a morale bonus to groups that they are within 60 feet (12 squares) of. Battle initiative is also rolled by the leader.

Especially powerful characters (player characters, major npcs, or simply very powerful combatants) are called Heroes. They can act independently or can attach themselves to a group. If they are in a group, they cannot be wounded until the rest of the group is dead or has fled from the hero’s side, with one exception:

Heroes can specifically target other heroes when they attack.

A hero can also choose a group before the battle starts to act as their bodyguard. The bodyguard group is typically very tough and well armored. A hero with a bodyguard cannot be injured until all their bodyguards are dead. A hero can attach themselves to any unit during the movement phase, but this unit does not act as a bodyguard. The main difference between a bodyguard and a normal unit is that while a hero’s bodyguard is still alive, the hero cannot be attacked even by other heroes.

In determining who goes first, Armies roll 1d20, adding the leader's CHA bonus. If one army does not have a leader, the army with a leader goes first automatically. If no armies have leaders, they both simply roll 1d20.

EXAMPLE: Lord Haringoth commands a host of Swadians against King Ragnar and his band of Nords. To determine who acts first, both sides roll 1d20. Lord Haringoth rolls a 12 and adds his charisma bonus of 4 for a result of 16. Ragnar rolls a 9 and adds his charisma bonus of 8 for a result of 17. King Ragnar and his army act first.

A group that is forced to make a morale check rolls 2d10 and meet or roll below a certain target number. This number varies based on what triggered the morale check.

Ranged attacks: If ranged attacks reduce a group’s current numbers by at least 25%, the group must make a morale check with a target number of 10 + will save + leader bonus – number of creatures killed. 

Melee attacks: If a group loses a melee phase (takes more casualties than the opposed group) then it must make a morale check with a target number of 10 + will save + leader bonus – number of creatures MORE than the other side killed.

EXAMPLE: A group of Swadian sergeants are engaged with a group of Sarranid footmen. In the melee, the Swadians absolutely butcher the Sarranids, inflicting 5 casualties on the sarranids while only taking one of their own. The footmen must then make a morale check with a target number 10 + will save (2) + leader bonus (0) – casualty difference (4) = 8. The footmen roll a 12 for their morale check and immediately run away.

Routing

A group that has failed a morale check during any phase immediately flees. It does NOT wait until the next movement phase to flee. The amount that a group flees is equal to 2d(speed), so a group with a speed of 30 feet or 6 inches would flee 2d6 inches away. A group with a speed of 20 feet or 4 inches would flee 2d4 inches away.

A group that has run away may make another morale check at the start of their next movement phase. This is a straight 2d10 roll with a target number equal to 10 + will save + leader bonus. There are two exceptions.

If another morale check is provoked against the group while it is still fleeing, the next morale check in the movement phase is automatically failed.

If the group has taken at least 75% casualties, a roll of 4 or lower is required to succeed.

Things That I’m Not Sure About

Nothing right now, but considering adding support units and terrain rules.

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