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Old 09-22-2019, 12:23 AM   #11
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Suggestions for Mass Combatů?

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Originally Posted by FireHorse View Post
Genau, right on the nail. That is exactly how I would like to handle it.

Two forces of mostly faceless Extras, enthusiastically attacking each other in the unfocused background, whilst the camera settles on the face-off at center stage between the Hero(es) and Evil Boss(es).
Danke, FireHorse! We think alike :)

When I think of "mass combat" for TFT I'm thinking of Cecil B. DeMillle productions and a cast of thousands! Grand, epic battles a la Tolkien. If it's just a couple hundred figures, I'd call it a skirmish -- LOL!

For those who just want to scale up TFT a little, for fights with a few dozen combatants, there used to be a beautifully written unofficial supplement called Mass Combat Rules, Charts and Play Aides for Advanced Melee & Wizard by artist David O. Miller. I can no longer find it on the internet, but it's definitely worth a read by anyone interested in TFT. He still has a TFT tribute website at www.meleewizards.com/ although I no longer see that particular play aide at the site.
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Old 09-22-2019, 03:27 AM   #12
FireHorse
 
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Default Re: Suggestions for Mass Combatů?

A battle with a Cast of Thousands is an ambitious goal, and I can imagine a variety of plausible excuses for such a thing. The Siege of _Wherever_ comes to mind, for example, and either side of such a fight would be equally interesting. (Defending is the obvious choice, because the Good Guys are generally supposed to protect things. But the Bad Guys build castles too, right?)

For the moment though, I'm aiming at a much easier target. My scenario requires a battle with only around a hundred or so combatants, counting both sides in total. The Players' side will be significantly outnumbered, too — in its current draft, perhaps three dozen versus five or six dozen. But they can still win of course, because it's Quality vs. Quantity, and everybody knows that a Hero is worth at least a few dozen Faceless Evil Thugs, unless they're accompanied by at least one Evil Lieutenant (with not just a face, but a Name). ;)

And in this scenario, a good portion of the Enemy combatants are literally slaves, pressed into the fight against their will — which is why I want Morale to play a crucial role.

The numbers are ultimately against the Players, and they would almost certainly lose the battle in the long run, just by attrition. And in fact, losing wouldn't end the story, unless the Players were stupid enough to insist upon fighting to the death. "Surrender" would be the saner choice, and all that does is send the Players down Branch B of the adventure, instead of the Branch A they'd have gotten by winning here.

But I want it to be possible to win, and go down Branch A, by seizing the initiative and doing something dramatic. Swiftly defeating the Evil Lieutenants might do it, for example — a sudden berserk assault that removes the Enemy's leaders and best fighters, scaring the crap out of the rest, so their Morale breaks and they surrender. Or perhaps doing something to persuade those Slave Troops to turn on their Masters…

But no! I shall say no more, lest I spoil the Story. :D

Last edited by FireHorse; 09-22-2019 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:48 AM   #13
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Suggestions for Mass Combatů?

Battles of hundreds or thousands is worth having on the table as a goal, but I would prioritize it below skirmish rules for battles of a dozen or more. In my experience, a large battle might happen in an rpg only a couple times in a campaign, whereas a clash with 20 orcs or something might happen a couple times in a night. These skirmish-scale conflicts can be extremely time-consuming to resolve.

By the way, there is a precedence for something loosely resembling skirmish rules in TFT: the way combat is handled for swarms.
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Old 09-25-2019, 02:27 AM   #14
Steve Plambeck
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: Suggestions for Mass Combatů?

In a detailed, medieval world full of history and politics, there will always be a war going on somewhere. And if your characters are widely traveled adventurers, they should cross paths with a major battle, deliberately or by accident, eventually.

Sooner rather than later, depending on how evil (and prepared) the GM is <grin>

If you've all been generously offered accommodations in the Royal Palace, and you owe the prince big time for bailing you out of trouble, what do you do if the city is unexpectedly besieged by a rival king who has brought thousands of troops, rebel allies from the countryside, and the evil wizard who your party robbed blind a couple weeks ago? He's brought his own horde of followers too and the city is completely encircled.

Looks like you just joined the army :)
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Old 09-27-2019, 02:32 PM   #15
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Suggestions for Mass Combatů?

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Originally Posted by Steve Plambeck View Post
In a detailed, medieval world full of history and politics, there will always be a war going on somewhere. And if your characters are widely traveled adventurers, they should cross paths with a major battle, deliberately or by accident, eventually.
Yes, we enjoyed having a wargame for quantifying the armies in our campaigns, even if wars were uncommon and large battles almost never directly involved any PCs (mainly because the PCs wisely usually chose to avoid being involved with armies... but if/when they did, the system provided ready answers to who's in that fort, what the city garrison is like, how to logically determine the outcome of a war, where the armies are, what happens to people who get a job with the local military, etc.).

Perhaps most importantly, along with the hex maps for the campaign, it helped contribute to a sense for everyone of the world being a real situation, which can be explored and investigated and which is something that can be experienced and immersed in as a real thing that behaves in consistent ways according to its details, as opposed to being a contrived story governed by the whims and fancies of a GM who hasn't thought many things through very much.

So for example if you're traveling and pass through a fort, you might casually observe what the garrison seems to be like, and that might actually be a thing in play in the game world, which affects military events and what might come chasing you down if your party starts running amok.

Last edited by Skarg; 09-27-2019 at 02:38 PM.
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