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Old 07-10-2016, 12:47 AM   #1
Ronnke
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Default Mass Combat 4e - Misfortunes of War

I have a question to put to the community which has been something of an uncertainty for our gaming group. This relates to the Misfortunes of War roll required for PCs and major NPCs. The table used to reference the Base Chance for the misfortunes roll is fairly clear, except in situations where the result is 0% casualties.

There are two interpretations and I've found nothing elsewhere to clarify it:
  1. The table should actually read 0% - 5% as being the casualty result, instead of just 5%.
  2. No Misfortunes of War roll is required on a 0% casualties result.


So what are your thoughts, or is this an errata?
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Old 07-10-2016, 02:40 AM   #2
cdru
 
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Default Re: Mass Combat 4e - Misfortunes of War

I think that misfortunes of war should happen only if there are at least some casualties. After all, the major characters would count as casualties if they were knocked out or killed by misfortunes

Last edited by cdru; 07-10-2016 at 02:52 AM.
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Old 07-10-2016, 04:50 AM   #3
RyanW
 
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Default Re: Mass Combat 4e - Misfortunes of War

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Originally Posted by cdru View Post
I think that misfortunes of war should happen only if there are at least some casualties. After all, the major characters would count as casualties if they were knocked out or killed by misfortunes
On the other hand, in a large enough army, one guy tripping and breaking his neck would still round down to zero.
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Old 07-10-2016, 11:37 AM   #4
Ronnke
 
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Default Re: Mass Combat 4e - Misfortunes of War

We had a situation in a recent session where the enemy force was totally routed and wiped out. The last two rounds of combat saw the friendly force suffer 0% casualties, but a number of PCs due to unlucky misfortunes rolls got jacked up. This made me raise an eyebrow and question the interpretation of the Misfortune of War table.

Mass combat is unpredictable and dangerous, but when the enemy is routed and in full retreat, having the Force Commander, PCs, and major NPCs potentially all trip and break their necks doesn't quite make sense.
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Old 07-10-2016, 11:46 AM   #5
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Mass Combat 4e - Misfortunes of War

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnke View Post
I have a question to put to the community which has been something of an uncertainty for our gaming group. This relates to the Misfortunes of War roll required for PCs and major NPCs. The table used to reference the Base Chance for the misfortunes roll is fairly clear, except in situations where the result is 0% casualties.

There are two interpretations and I've found nothing elsewhere to clarify it:
  1. The table should actually read 0% - 5% as being the casualty result, instead of just 5%.
  2. No Misfortunes of War roll is required on a 0% casualties result.

So what are your thoughts, or is this an errata?

I would say the table gives the breakpoints. If you take at least 5% casualties (but less than 10%), then each named character must roll and on a 5 or less, they suffer a Misfortune. Under 5% and no roll is need.
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Old 07-10-2016, 12:17 PM   #6
hal
 
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Default Re: Mass Combat 4e - Misfortunes of War

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnke View Post
We had a situation in a recent session where the enemy force was totally routed and wiped out. The last two rounds of combat saw the friendly force suffer 0% casualties, but a number of PCs due to unlucky misfortunes rolls got jacked up. This made me raise an eyebrow and question the interpretation of the Misfortune of War table.

Mass combat is unpredictable and dangerous, but when the enemy is routed and in full retreat, having the Force Commander, PCs, and major NPCs potentially all trip and break their necks doesn't quite make sense.
Based on what you wrote, I'm feeling as if we're missing some information...

First, because there is no "target value" to roll against for the zero percent casualties, there is no misfortune of war roll to be made as a result of the zero percent casualties.

Second - it is my understanding that misfortune rolls are made every round of combat, not at the end overall (as seemingly implied by what you wrote). Two rounds of combat with zero percent casualties would have resulted in no rolls for the Winning side's leaders/characters - and one roll for each the losing side's leaders/characters.

It would be interesting if you were to post your round by round battle and who did what and what happened when, for purposes of this thread's discussion.

I'm assuming too that you were using the positional bonus for the respective armies no?

:)
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Old 07-10-2016, 12:34 PM   #7
Ronnke
 
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Default Re: Mass Combat 4e - Misfortunes of War

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Originally Posted by hal View Post
First, because there is no "target value" to roll against for the zero percent casualties, there is no misfortune of war roll to be made as a result of the zero percent casualties.
Is that actually the case? I found nothing in the text to definitively suggest no roll is required.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
Second - it is my understanding that misfortune rolls are made every round of combat, not at the end overall (as seemingly implied by what you wrote).
Yes, the misfortunes rolls were made at the end of every turn of mass combat. The PCs just happened to roll bad during the very last turn of combat, when the outcome of the battle was basically a mop up of the fleeing enemy.

Quote:
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I'm assuming too that you were using the positional bonus for the respective armies no?
Yes, we did.
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Old 07-10-2016, 01:54 PM   #8
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Mass Combat 4e - Misfortunes of War

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnke View Post
Is that actually the case? I found nothing in the text to definitively suggest no roll is required.
Lack of a table entry providing the number to roll is suggestive that there's no roll in this case.

But also, notice that those target numbers closely match the casualty percentages. They're the number to roll a 5%, 10%, 15%, etc., chance on 3d6. (Compare with the table on B171.) The chance of misfortune is just the chance that you were a casualty. 0% casualties would mean a 0% chance of being one of the misfortunate people that became a casualty.

Even a 3 would suggest 0.5% casualties when applied to the whole army. If you really want a roll at 0%, you could go for, say, two 3s in a row to indicate misfortune -- in this case just some random accident not related to the combat at all.
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Old 07-10-2016, 06:13 PM   #9
Rigil_Kent
 
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Default Re: Mass Combat 4e - Misfortunes of War

Ha! I see Ronnke beat me to asking this question.

As the GM of the aforementioned game, we could not quite figure out whether the lack of a reference to no MoW check for 0% casualties was intentional or an oversight, so we just house-ruled that the base target for that was 4.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
It would be interesting if you were to post your round by round battle and who did what and what happened when, for purposes of this thread's discussion.
I can sort of do that.
  • Setup: The PC force consists of 5 TL2 Medium Infantry (Basic Equip, Good Quality, Impetuous), 1 TL2 Light Infantry (Basic Equip, Good Quality, Impetuous), and 1 TL2 Light Infantry (Good Equip, Good Quality, Impetuous). They are facing off against 2 TL2 Light Infantry ((Basic Equip, Good Quality, Impetuous), 8 TL2 Medium Infantry (Basic Equip, Good Quality, Impetuous), and 1 TL2 Medium Infantry (Fine Equip, Elite Quality, Impetuous). Location of the battle is northern Wales, March 457 AD, at a large bridge spanning the River Conwy.
  • Round 1: Initially, the PCs wanted to do an Indirect Attack (fake a retreat) but additional reading of the Impetuous feature determined that was not an option, not for the first round. Both sides chose All-Out Attack. The dice were not kind to my attacking Irish and round 1 ended with the PCs side taking 5% casualties to the Irish 55%. So Misfortunes of War was valid here.
  • Round 2: The Irish shifted to Deliberate Attack in order to reduce the defense bonus gained by the PCs having initiative (although I probably should have had them begin a fighting retreat or at least have a morale check) and the PC force now opted for Indirect Attack (fake the retreat!). Again, the dice were unkind to the Irish - the PCs took 0% casualties vs the Irish 40% which put them at 95% loss. This is where at least one NPC took damage on MoW, which is sounds like they should not have.
  • Round 3: The mopup. The Irish were planning on Retreat, but their commander was killed in a Significant Action by a PC and his backup failed the necessary Leadership roll to avoid Confusion ... so they picked Retreat anyway. I think the PCs went for All-Out Attack here as well and the resulting rolls wiped out the Irish completely while the PC force took 0%. Again, MoW checks were made (at base of 4) when they probably shouldn't have and two of the PCs took damage because their dice decided to get revenge for the attacking Irish.
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Old 07-10-2016, 07:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mass Combat 4e - Misfortunes of War

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnke View Post
We had a situation in a recent session where the enemy force was totally routed and wiped out. The last two rounds of combat saw the friendly force suffer 0% casualties, but a number of PCs due to unlucky misfortunes rolls got jacked up. This made me raise an eyebrow and question the interpretation of the Misfortune of War table.

Mass combat is unpredictable and dangerous, but when the enemy is routed and in full retreat, having the Force Commander, PCs, and major NPCs potentially all trip and break their necks doesn't quite make sense.
But having the enemy Force Commander rally an ad hoc reserve, Catch your force when it is disordered by the pursuit and carve it up thereby winning the battle does make sense.
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