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Old 06-16-2009, 01:58 PM   #1
vicky_molokh's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kyv, Ukraine
Default [Mass Combat]Fantasy armies, Treasure Island gambits, and PCs in the middle of it all

Greetings, all!

I'm intending to introduce my players to Mass Combat in a somewhat unorthodox way. Instead of starting off with an army, I'm planning to start it off more as a demonstration, and then give the PCs a chance to meaningfully interact with the events. I have some leeway in how exactly I can do it, but the point is, I want to make it more interesting than 'army A loses 20 people, army B loses 10, next round'. To be more specific, I want to set up the situation in such a way that the party's actions (even if they don't get into any positions of leadership - see below) would not become a grain of sand in the storm, and preferably be analyzeable in real time. I'm wondering what can be done with the following setup.
Here's what building blocks I have available:

  • TL1+3, pseudo-age-of-sail (Celestial Ocean, to be specific). An uninhabited island with a nasty reputation, which may or may not contain magical artifacts. It contains a mountain (used to be a volcano, sort of) with some catacombs, a lagoon, a grotto connected to a set of caves, and two ruined cities (most likely beyond all recognition). The island is about 50-100 miles across, but I can alter the number if it won't make it interesting enough. I can probably add semi-natural terrain, or more mysterious ruins; if I really need to, I can add some 'monster areas', but that's probably it.

  • PCs: An assassin, a mage and a fighter of sorts. The mage is likely to get into positions of leadership (Destiny *and* player behavior). The fighter is probably willing to die for the fighter/cleric.
  • NPCs: A fighter, a moderately wounded but stable fighter/cleric (no spells; no right hand), 5 noncombatants (maybe less, depending on how PCs get out of the trouble they are in).
  • The PCs vaguely know the geography of the island, but little else.

  • (Obligatory) Kai Army. Most troopers are Fanatics, and have rather high discipline; but they can probably only bring about 100 troopers to the area. They are interested in making sure that the mage gets out alive. They don't know how the he will react to them. Said PC will definitely not like them, but might be willing to use their help in the name of survival. In necessary, they are willing to capture him, only to release him upon reaching safety. The two combatant NPCs which would cooperate with this army, but the mage's survival is first priority for them too.
  • (Obligatory) Destiny's Blessing's Army. Up to 200 troopers, but none of them are above average quality. They are unwilling to lose soldiers. They have good healers, and will probably have more ranged units. Their objective is to destroy or disable the mage. Their conflict with the Kai army is secondary. They will avoid harming innocents if possible.
  • (Optional) Rag-tag band of artifact-seekers, adventurers, mercenaries and the like, seeking artifacts. Probably around 50 people, assorted quality of people and equipment. Will join an army for monetary rewards, but not very reliable. Will gather together to protect themselves and retreat should someone threaten their search for artifacts.
  • (Optional) Random nearest island's colonizing force. Representatives of a some other island's ruler - either looking for expanding (which they will soon find undesirable), or just prospectors. Definitely not willing to start a conflict unless they know they can win it. Probably not too numerous at this point. Getting into conflict with them, though, will cause problems later in the game.
  • (Optional) Chaos Watch scouts. 10-50 troopers or so, but they can probably be considered super-soldiers, despite not being very high quality (possibly slightly above average). These guys are here to scout out the mysterious phenomena that kept occurring on the island for many cycles. They also have the highest number of exotic troops, such as Night, Neutralize Fire, Amphibious/Aquatic etc. They have high amounts of Recon. They are not interested in warfare, but will take risks to explore the whole island, and will resort to infiltration if stopped. Whether other factions will treat is as a provocation is an open question.

Available special units:
  • Aerial units are available, but expensive and not long-lasting. They can have traits such as neutralize (Armor) and some siege utility (don't remember how it works in MC).
  • Marine/Amphibious soldiers are available.
  • Ranged units are comparable to normal TL4 in effectiveness.
  • Super-Soldier units are available, but should be rare outside the Chaos Watch; they also *must* have Neutralize (Fire), as they're very resistant to most ranged weapons.
  • Fanatics should not be common outside the Kai.
  • Destiny mages can act as C3I units.
  • Life mages are very powerful medics, and act as logistics units.
  • Forces mages can be used as artillery and Neutralize (Air).
  • Matter/Trivium mages count as logistics units.

So, what interesting scenarios can be made in such a setup?

Thanks in advance!
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper
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