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Old 01-19-2018, 03:49 PM   #11
David L Pulver
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Default Re: pirate ship crew vs. pirate ship crew with PCs

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
If I was going to run a pirate boarding combat in Savage Worlds, I'd do something similar: organize each side into a manageable number of squads, and then toss dice as needed. Savage Worlds is good for this, because mooks only ever roll one die and there are relatively few opposed rolls. Simplifying the initiative (dealing out and collecting the cards always took too much time) would make it even faster.
Thanks. I'm familiar with Savage Worlds (I mentioned it and Fate in the original post) - I agree it could possibly work, but I was wondering if there were other games out there besides Fate and SW that also handled this.
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Old 01-19-2018, 03:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: pirate ship crew vs. pirate ship crew with PCs

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The Fate Core mechanic for "mobs" treats some number of identical NPCs as a single entity for rolling. They have all their hit points ("stress boxes") which can overflow from one mook to the next, so you can theoretically take them all out with one hit.

FFG's system (Genesys, in its new generic spin, or several Star Wars flavors as it's best known) also has a group rule -- "minions", in their jargon. It's pretty similar to Fate and Savage Worlds in that a group of minions fights as a single unit, with a single hit point pool and one attack roll.

The other mechanic I've seen a lot is just to narrate the battle between mooks based on the success of the PCs in their individual fights.
Thanks - lots of good suggestions! I wasn't familiar with Genesys, but a friend of mine has one of their Star Wars games, so I may be able to borrow it and take a look.

I've read FATE squad-level rules but had forgotten the second way of doing it that you mention; I'll have to re-read that part of the rules.

The "narrate the battle based on the individual fights" is the one I usually use (and have recommended before myself) but for this game I wanted something a bit more direct as the PCs would also be in command, and if the PC captain wanted to, say, hang back or send forward a wave of minions to blunt the enemy attack, or whatever, to be able to let him to do it.

I don't mind you mentioning Mass Combat!
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:11 PM   #13
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Default Re: pirate ship crew vs. pirate ship crew with PCs

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Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
Thanks. I'm familiar with Savage Worlds (I mentioned it and Fate in the original post) - I agree it could possibly work, but I was wondering if there were other games out there besides Fate and SW that also handled this.
A number of games that have minion rules also have rules for resolving a large number of minions attacking with a single roll, though groups of 100 are on the large size for most of them (Deathwatch horde rules do scale that way, though you may find them silly)

While poking around, I ran into references to a reasonably simple mass combat system in Salt and Sea Dogs, which seemed worth pointing out as its rather directly related to what you're doing.
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: pirate ship crew vs. pirate ship crew with PCs

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A number of games that have minion rules also have rules for resolving a large number of minions attacking with a single roll, though groups of 100 are on the large size for most of them (Deathwatch horde rules do scale that way, though you may find them silly)

While poking around, I ran into references to a reasonably simple mass combat system in Salt and Sea Dogs, which seemed worth pointing out as its rather directly related to what you're doing.
Thanks! I thought I'd read all of the d20 pirate games, but that is a new one on me. (in my OSR pirate game, Freebooters (from Night Owl Games), I use the "scale it based on the PCs actions" but I'm looking for something more sophisticated for a fantasy pirates campaign I'm thinking of running.
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Old 01-20-2018, 03:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: pirate ship crew vs. pirate ship crew with PCs

For d20 games, one thing I've seen is the idea of minion HP pool: if you have 100 crewmen with 5 HP each, then their HP pool is 500 HP. Damage done to the minions is subtracted from the pool, and for every 5 points of damage done, a reasonably appropriate minion dies.

This simplifies a lot of the book-keeping, because you don't have to record individual HP. It's a little weird when the wizard hits 4 people with Burning Hands for 3 HP damage each and two of them die, but meh, on average it's appropriate.

With that minor modification, I'd be willing to try a large combat in a d20 game. You can roll attacks and damage by the handful and there aren't any rolls that switch back and forth between attacker and defender, so it's a pretty good system for large individual contests.
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Old 01-22-2018, 04:13 PM   #16
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Default Re: pirate ship crew vs. pirate ship crew with PCs

The obvious choice would be Evil Stevie's Pirate Game.

The ship-to-ship rules include ways of handling massed small-arms fire.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:27 AM   #17
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Default Re: pirate ship crew vs. pirate ship crew with PCs

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For a historical (or fantasy) pirate game where the PCs the leading crew of a pirate ship with 50-100 pirates aboard vs. a similar sized enemy ship crew, is there any RPG that does a good job of handling the resulting close gunfire and melee action in a way that allows the PCs, as commanders and leading heroes, to all participate in melee in a way that lets every player stay involved and still hack and slash away without undue abstraction, and also preserves distinctions of equipment and quality, etc. for the crew, so that the PCs have trained and equipped their henchmen? And without having to generate a full miniatures war game battle on the tabletop...
Green Ronin's Skull & Bones has a ship-to-ship combat system that abstracts much of the details of attacking, ramming, and boarding, but it accounts for crew quality (from rabble to expert, based on seamanship), and allows crew members who are not actively engaged in maneuvering the ship or firing its weapons (like, say, the PCs) to fight normally.

S&B is based on the D&D v.3.0 rules, but with changes to better reflect the historical age of piracy. For example, D&D classes are replaced with more nautical classes, and magic is limited to bardic music, voodoo practitioners, and (very rarely) Christian relics. The book also contains a good deal of useful information about crew roles, dueling codes, the Caribbean circa 1700, generating plunder, the loa, etc.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:35 PM   #18
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Default Re: pirate ship crew vs. pirate ship crew with PCs

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
For d20 games, one thing I've seen is the idea of minion HP pool: if you have 100 crewmen with 5 HP each, then their HP pool is 500 HP. Damage done to the minions is subtracted from the pool, and for every 5 points of damage done, a reasonably appropriate minion dies.
Thanks. I assume they'd all have the same AC.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:36 PM   #19
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Default Re: pirate ship crew vs. pirate ship crew with PCs

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Originally Posted by thastygliax View Post
Green Ronin's Skull & Bones has a ship-to-ship combat system that abstracts much of the details of attacking, ramming, and boarding, but it accounts for crew quality (from rabble to expert, based on seamanship).
Thanks - I've seen this one; it was a bit more abstract than I was looking for, but still a good system
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Old 01-25-2018, 06:14 PM   #20
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Default Re: pirate ship crew vs. pirate ship crew with PCs

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Thanks. I assume they'd all have the same AC.
I don't think that's required; the important part is that instead of tracking HP on a per-minion basis, you're tracking a global pool. I mean, the really important part is you don't want to track any individual state for minions other than "active" or "not active".

I could see setting it up either way:
Option A: 100 identical AC 14, Attk +2, Dmg 1d6, HP 5 minions on each side. 20 from each side get into a melee with each other, and the GM's side has a higher initiative count. The GM rolls 20d20, gets 9 hits, rolls 9d6 for damage, 6 minions on the PCs' side drop. The player running that minion group, on her initiative count, rolls 14d20, gets 7 hits, rolls 7d6 for damage and gets lucky, and removes 6 minions from the other side too.

Option B: The PC force is still 100 identical AC 14, Attk +2, Dmg 1d6, HP 5 minions, but the villain force is 20 heavy infantry in mail with shields (AC 17, Attk +3, Dmg 1d8, HP 5), 35 light infantry with bows (AC 11, Attk +2, Dmg 1d6, HP 5), and 45 medium infantry in leather with shields (AC 13, Attk +2, Dmg 1d6, HP 5).
The PC force of 20 guys has managed to work their way around to flank, and charges into contact with 15 light infantry and their 5 heavy infantry escorts. The player sees that 7 of her guys are in contact with the heavies, and the rest are in contact with the lights. She rolls 7d20 against the heavies for 2 hits and 13d20 against the lights for 7 hits. She rolls 9d6 for 28 damage, and the GM removes 1 heavy infantry and 4 light infantry.

I'd have to experiment, but I don't think Option B would slow things down too much.
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