Mass Combat 301

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Introduction to the Mass Combat 301

This is a Mass Combat tutorial for Second Edition of Exalted. While it'll explain mass combat it detail, this tutorial will *not* cover the basics of combat. If you're not already familiar with Defense Values, how they refresh, multiple action penalties and the like, we strongly recommend that you read the excellent Combat 201 by Kasumi, which covers all the rules of 'normal' combat very thoroughly.

The Start of Battle

Willow Ore smiled as she saw the dust from the troop of mercenaries marching through the valley. This would the perfect opportunity to strike back at her hated foes. She signaled quietly to her second in the command, and the archers under her command started to ready their bows, prepared to ambush the hapless mercenaries below. Her troops were newly conscripted, and she prayed to the gods of War to grant them luck in the battle ahead as the archers began to spread out.

Down in the valley below, the mercenary unit marched onwards, apparently heedless of the threat above. Suddenly, their sharp-eyed leader, Perfect Skies, caught sight of movement along the valley wall. "Looks like we've got company, lads! Scale, ready for battle!" he cried out.

Our heroes are:

Perfect Skies is a Heroic Mortal and is leading a scale of 50 mercenary swordsmen. Perfect Skies was sold into slavery many years ago, and rose to a position of command within the Hundred Vipers mercenaries. The fortunes of war have taken him close to the place of his birth for the first time in decades, but little does he know that a familiar figure waits on the cliffs above...

His troops stats are based on stats of Regular Soldiers (p.279) armed with Chopping Swords, Buff Jackets and Target Shields.

Magnitude: 2 Drill: 3 Endurance: Drill + Stamina = 3 + 3 = 6 Close Combat Rating: (Dex + Melee + Accuracy)÷2 = (2 + 3 + 1)÷2 = 3 Ranged Combat Rating: - Close Combat Damage: (Strength + Damage)÷3 = (3 + 5)÷3 = 3 Armour: Soak÷3 = 1 Mob. Pen.: -2 Hardness: 0 Morale: 3 Move: 1 (minimum speed)

Special Characters: Hero: Moonstone Lance (non-heroic mortal) Relays x3

Ore Willow lurks in the hills lining the valley, waiting with her talon of archers. Her country has been at war for years now, and the Hundred Vipers are an old enemy. The war has gone on for so long that they've had no choice but to call for aide from the Realm, though who knows at what price. She doesn't know that this time, her older brother, sold away into slavery, is in command of the scale she plans to massacre!

Her troops are green archers, and are also based on the stats of Regular Soldiers (p.279). They wield self-bows, short-swords and wear buff jackets.

Magnitude: 3 Drill: 2 Endurance: Drill + Stamina = 2 + 3 = 5 Close Combat Rating: (Dex + Melee + Accuracy)÷2 = (2 + 2 + 2)÷2 = 3 Ranged Combat Rating: (Dex + Archery + Accuracy)÷2 = (2 + 3)÷2 = 2 Close Combat Damage : (Strength + Damage)÷3 = (3 + 3)÷3 = 2 Ranged Combat Damage: (Strength + Damage)÷3 = (2 + 2)÷3 = 2 Range: 150 Move: 1 Dash: 7

Special Characters: Hero: Mokea Rokiira (Realm Legionary with a straight sword) Sorcerer: Iron Carp (a normal mortal, with a Longbow)

The archers are in a prepared place so they may have 21 arrows ready -- enough to perform 7 volleys.

Ambush!

Ambushing in Mass Combat works just like in normal combat, but the roll to hide a unit is (Dexterity + Stealth - Magnitude). You also need proper cover to attempt an ambush; turning on someone who knows you're there is too slow. The target tries to perceive you with the usual Perception + Awareness roll, and either the commander or any special character can roll.

Ore Willow has Dexterity 5 and Stealth 3. Taking into account the magnitude of her unit, this gives her 5 dice. She stunts the ambush, which would normally gain her two additional dice. As a heroic mortal however, she halves all stunt rewards, so her final dice pool is 6. She rolls very poorly though, and only gathers one success.

Perfect Skies opts to roll for his unit, and his Perception of 2 and Awareness of 3 give him a dicepool of 5. He also gets a two-dice stunt, which gives him a final dice-pool of 6 (he's also a heroic mortal). He manages to roll somewhat better than his sister though, getting 4 successes! The ambush therefore fails, and Join War must be rolled.

Join War

Realising the danger the archers pose to his mercenaries, Perfect Skies begins shouting orders at them. The valley makes for a perfect murdering ground, and he knows they need to leave it soon. His well drilled troops immediately ready their weapons and prepare for battle.

As Ore Willow watches the mercenaries in the valley below, she realises that her ambush has failed. Deciding the abandon all pretenses at stealth, she too rises to her feet and begins calling out orders. "Archers, ready bows but hold until my mark! Messengers, report to Nellens Fiyu that we have sighted the enemy unit and are moving to engage."

Join War works just like Join Battle, but the roll is now Wits + War - Magnitude. Only the commander may make this roll (?).

Perfect Skies has a Wits of 3, and a War of 5 (with a 3 dice speciality in Infantry). Taking his Magnitude into account, as well as his two dice stunt, he has a final dice pool of 10, which gets 3 successes.

Ore Willow only has a Wits of 2, though she also has War 5 (with another 3 dice speciality, this time in Archers). Her higher Magnitude further lowers her dice pool, which is 8 (including one die from stunting). She manages to equal her brother's roll though, and also gets 3 successes!

Both armies are starting on tick zero!

Tick 1

Both units act in this tick.

Mercenaries

Perfect Skies flurries two actions - a Turn (Speed 3, DV -1) and a Dash (Speed 3, DV -2) action. This gives his unit a cumulative DV penalty of 3, but this isn't applied until the end of this tick.

In order to turn his unit, he needs to roll Charisma + War at a difficulty equal to the Magnitude -Drill of his unit (the minimum difficulty is 1). His dice pool is 13, but as he is taking two actions this tick, he loses two dice. He manages to roll 6 successes, and his well-drilled troops easily turn as he orders.

Dashing in Mass Combat also requires a roll, and also uses a dice pool of Charisma + War versus a difficulty of Magnitude - Drill (minimum 1). His dice pool is one die smaller than last time, due to the multiple action penalties, but he rolls 9 successes and easily passes this test as well. When a unit Dashes in Mass Combat, it loses Endurance equal to the Fatigue value of the troops armour. In this case, the Fatigue Value is 2, and the unit's Endurance is now 4.

Archers

The mercenaries are out of bow range at the moment, so Willow Ore orders her archers into position. The Position Troops action acts just like the Aim action from normal combat; every tick the unit spends on this action provides one extra attack die, to a maximum of three. This action has no roll associated with it.

Tick 2

Nothing happens.

Tick 3

At this point, the mercenaries come into bow range and Willow Ore cancels the Positoon Troops action to attack.

Archers

The archers open fire! They decide to flurry three Attacks (each is Speed 6, DV -1; the Speed is based off the Speed of the troops weapons) with their self-bows.

Attack 1

Step 1 Willow Ore declares her attack, and that she is not using any charms. She gets a 2 die stunt, which is reduced to 1 die because she is mortal.

Step 2 Perfect Skies declares that he will defend using his Parry Defense Value. This is equal to his (Dexterity + Melee + Defense)÷2, which is (5 + 5(+3) + 1)÷2 = 7. His [or the troops??] Shield provides a +1 bonus, which is doubled to +2 because the unit is in Skirmish formation. In addition, their formation gives them a +3 DV bonus versus ranged attacks. He suffers a DV penalty equal to -3 from his previous actions, giving him a final DV of 10. With the addition of a two-dice stunt, it raises to its final value of 11.

Step 3 Willow Ore rolls her Attack Roll. This is equal to her Dexterity + Archery + Accuracy, which is 5 + 5(+3) + 1, giving her a dice pool of 14. She adds two dice for the two ticks she spent taking the Position Troops action, but loses three dice from her flurry attempt. With an final die coming from her stunt, she rolls 14 dice, getting 5 successes. Willow Ore then adds a number of autosuccesses to this roll which comes from her troops. The number of autosuccesses is equal to the troops Ranged Combat Rating + Might + Magnitude, which in this case is 2 + 0 + 1. This gives the archers 8 successes in total.

As Perfect Skies had a PDV of 11, this attack misses.

Attack 2

Step 1 Willow Ore declares her second attack, and that isn't using any charms.

Step 2 Perfect Skies opts to use the same DV as before, but it now drops to 10 due to onslaught penalties.

Step 3 Willow Ore rolls her attack dice pool, which loses one dice due to accumlating multiple action penalties. This time she gets 8 successes. With the addition of 3 autosuccesses from her troops, she gets a total of 11 successes.

Step 4 Willow Ore has no way of re-rolling.

Step 5 Willow Ores 11 successes are compared to Perfect Skies PDV of 10, and she hits, by one.

Step 6 Perfect Skies has no way of re-rolling his DV.

Step 7 Willow Ore calculates her raw damage. Her troops have fired Target Arrows, which gives no bonus to damage, though they do confer the Piercing tag. The raw damage is equal to [her/troops??] Strength, which is 2. She adds her units Ranged Combat Damage (2) to this pool as well as the surplus attack successes (1) for a final dice pool of 6L, Piercing.

Step 8 Perfect Skies has a Soak of 4, and adds 1 from his Unit (based on their armour). This is halved by the Piercing tag of the incoming attack, reducing his soak to (4 + 1) ÷ 2 = 3. Willow Ore therefore rolls 3 dice of post-soak damage (the Minimum Damage in Mass Combat is equal to the Magnitude of the troops, which is also 3 in this case) and gets 2 successes.

Step 9 Perfect Skies has no access to Counterattacks.

Step 10 Perfect Skies's unit takes 2L Health Levels of Damage.

Attack 3

Step 1 Willow Ore declares her second attack, and that isn't using any charms.

Step 2 Perfect Skies opts to use the same DV as before, but it now drops to 9 due to onslaught penalties.

Step 3 Willow Ore rolls her attack dice pool, which loses one dice due to accumlating multiple action penalties. This time she gets 7 successes. With the addition of 3 autosuccesses from her troops, she gets a total of 10 successes.

Step 4 Willow Ore has no way of re-rolling.

Step 5 Willow Ores 10 successes are compared to Perfect Skies PDV of 9, and she hits, by one.

Step 6 Perfect Skies has no way of re-rolling his DV.

Step 7 Willow Ore calculates her raw damage. Her troops have fired Target Arrows, which gives no bonus to damage, though they do confer the Piercing tag. The raw damage is equal to [her/troops??] Strength, which is 2. She adds her units Ranged Combat Damage (2) to this pool as well as the surplus attack successes (1) for a final dice pool of 6L, Piercing.

Step 8 Perfect Skies has a Soak of 4, and adds 1 from his Unit (based on their armour). This is halved by the Piercing tag of the incoming attack, reducing his soak to (4 + 1) ÷ 2 = 3. Willow Ore therefore rolls 3 dice of post-soak damage (the Minimum Damage in Mass Combat is equal to the Magnitude of the troops, which is also 3 in this case) and gets 3 successes.

Step 9 Perfect Skies has no access to Counterattacks.

Step 10 Perfect Skies's unit takes 3L Health Levels of Damage.

Willow Ore's troops have fired 3 volleys, each of which used 3 arrows. This means they have 12 arrows remaining - enough for 4 more volleys.

In total, Perfect Skies has taken 5L Health Levels of Damage, meaning that his unit has only 2 HEalth Levels left until it will lose a dot of Magnitude. As this is Mass Combat, it does not suffer any Wound Penalties however.

Exhaustion

Perfect Skies was target of an attack, and so his unit is at risk of losing more Endurance. He must roll Charisma + war at a Diffuculty equal to the Fatigue Value of the troopers armour. As the unit has a Morale of 3 or higher, this difficulty is reduced by 1. However, their last action was a Charge (a Dash), so the difficulty goes back up by 1, for a final value of 2. Perfect Skies rolls 13 dice (including his stunt die) and gets 10 successes, passing this roll trivially.

Willow Ore also needs to roll to see if her troops lose Endurance as the result of their attacks. They attacked three times, and so she needs to roll three times. She too rolls Charisma + War at a difficultly equal to the Fatigue Value of her troops armour, and this difficulty is not modified in any way. Despite having a dice pool of 12 (after stunting), she fails the second roll, and her troops also lose a point of Endurance, reducing them to Endurance 4.

Hesitation

Perfect Skies must make a Hesitation check to see if his troops rout, as they've receieved their first ranged attack since their last action. This only applies to the first attack though, so he only needs to make one roll. He rolls the Morale of his troops, and gains additional dice equal to the difference between the Drill and Magnitude of his unit, which is 3 - 2 = 1 (note that this can become a penalty, if the units Magnitude is greater than their Drill). The difficulty of this check is 1, but this is increased by 2 because his unit is in Skirmish formation. He therefore rolls 4 dice and gets 3 successes, meaning that his troops do not rout.

Tick 4

The mercenaries are now in engaged with the archers, and it is their action.

Mercenaries

Perfect Skies flurries Change Formation (5, -1) with an Attack (4, -1) on the archers.

Change Formation: The roll to Change formation is Charisma + War (in this case 14 dice, due to his multiple action penalties). The difficulty is equal to the Magnitude of the troops - the Drill of the troops (minimum difficulty is 1). As his unit is currently engaged with another unit, the difficulty is increased by 2, for a final difficulty of 3. Perfect Skies rolls 9 successes and orders his troops to assume the Close Combat formation.

Attack

Step 1: Perfect Skies declares that he will Attack with straight sword backed up by his unit.

Step 2: Willow Ore declares her defense and opts to use her Dodge DV. Her personal DDV is 5, and her Target Shield adds an extra point of DV, which is doubled because her troops are in skirmish formation. This gives her a final DDV of 7, before stunting increased it to 8. Her DV penalties for previous actions decrease this by 3, to a final total of 5.

Step 3: Perfect Skies calculates his Attack pool. His Dexteriry + Melee + Accuracy gives him 15 dice, but he loses two dice as this is the second action in his flurry. He gains a final dice from a stunt and gains 7 successes from his 14 dice. He then adds a number of automatica successes. The Close Combat Rating of his troops is 3, but this is doubled as they are in Close Formation, making it 6 (only the original value is capped by the commanders War rating). The Magnitude of his unit is only 2, but this is trebled because the mercenaries are in Close formation and attacking a unit in Skirmish formation. Willow Ore's Magnitude is subtracted from this, giving him a final Magnitude value of 3. These 9 automatic successes are added to his rolled successes, giving him a grand total of 16 successes!

Step 5: Perfect Skies 16 successes are compared to Willow Ore's DDV of 5, leaving 11 excess successes.

Step 7: Perfect Skies calculates his Raw Damage, which is 5L. His unit's Close Combat Damage rating is added (another +3), as are his excess successes. This gives him a Raw Damage pool of 19L.

Step 8: Willow Ore's Soak is 3, plus an additional 1 from her unit. This reduces Perfect Skies to 15 dice of post-soak damage, from which he rolls 7 Levels of Damage.

Step 10: 7 Levels of damage are applied to the archers. The Commander has only 7 health levels, hence the unit loses a dot of Magnitude. The archer unit now has only Magnitude 2.

Exhaustion

Both units must now check for Exhaustion.

Perfect Skies rolls 13 dice (Charisma + War + stunt) against a difficulty of 3 (Base difficulty is equal to the Faigue value of his troops armour, in this case 2. This is decreased by 1 because their Morale is greater than 3, but being Engaged adds 2 to the difficulty). He rools 8 successes, and his troops suffer no penalties.

Willow Ore also rolls 13 dice, but her difficulty is 4 (Fatigue VAlue of her armour is 2, and being Engaged adds another 2). Thankfully she rolls 4 successes, and the archers avoid becoming further fatigued.

Hesitation

Again, both units have to check here and must roll Morale.

Perfect Skies must check for Hesitation as his troops Engaged an enemy unit. The Base Difficulty is 1, but is affected by the difference between Magnitude and Drill. In this case, this reduces the difficulty by 1, while being in Close formation reduces it by another 2. As the difficulty is below zero, he does not have to roll.

Willow Ore needs to roll because her troops lost a dot of Magnitude from damage. The Base diffiuclty is also 1. the loss in Magnitude means her Magnitude now equals her Drill, so the difficulty remains at one. However, being ni Skirmish formation increases the difficulty by 2, for a final diffuclty of 3. Her troops only have a Morale of 2, so she elects to spend a Willpower for an automatic success, in addition to gaining a stunt die. She only rolls one success from her three dice though, meaning she fails the roll by 1.

As she failed the roll, she is now Hesistating and cannot move until her next action. She also loses 1 dot of magnitude due to missing by 1, further reducing the Magnitude of the Archers. Their final Magnitude is therefore 1. Things are not going well for Ore Willow.

Tick 8

Perfect Skies gets to act again: Attack (4,-1)

Attack

Step 1: Perfect Skies declares an enveloping attack against the archers. Step 2: DV is still 5. Step 3: Attack Pool is 15 dice + 1 from stunt (4 sux). Auto successes are +6 from combat rating, +3 from magnitude difference (6 - 1 = 5 but capped at 3): Total +9. Step 4: Step 5: 8 Excess successes. Step 6: Step 7: 5L + 3 Units bonuses, + 8 from excess successes. 16 L. Step 8: Soak is 3 + 1 from unit. Post soak damage is 12 dice -- 4 Levels. Step 9: Step 10: 4 Levels are applied.

Exhaustion

Both pass.

Tick 9

Ore Willow tries to disengage to make a tactical withdrawal.

Disengage (reflexive) (0,-0) and Dash (3,-2).

Disengage

Roll Wits + War + Drill - Magnitude = 2 + 5(+3) + 2 - 1 = 11 + 1 stunt. Diff. Opposing Drill + 3 + 3 from enveloping = 9. She spends 1wp to channel valour giving +3 dice. (9 sux). She successfully disengages.

Hesitation

Diff. 1 + 1 from disengaging - 1 Mag/Drill = diff. 1. Moralle 2 + stunt (1 sux). She successfully prevents the route and uses her Dash action to flee from combat in an organised manner.

Running

The archers dash succsessful (13 dice diff. 1) and hence move 700 yards per long tick. The Mercenaries pursue at their normal move which is 1 yards x 40 for being in close formation, so 40 yards per long tick.

The archers lose 2 Endurance, leaving them on Endurance 2.

Tick 12

Archers and Mercenaries both get to act.

Mercenaries

Flurry: Change Formation(5,-1) & Dash (3,-2)

Change Formation

Succeed on roll. Change to Skirmish.

Dash

Succeed on roll. Speed now becomes 600 yards per tick until DV refresh.

The Mercenaries lose 2 Endurance, they now have Endurance 2.

Archers

Ore Willow attempts the Rally (4,-1) action -- as special miscellaneous action for Mass combat.

She has a number of options, first she chooses to boost her Numbers. She rolls Charisma + War or Performance = 3 + 5(+3) = 11 + 1 stunt. Diff. Magnitude - Drill (min. 1) = 1. (4 sux). She draws back together the scattered fleeing remnants of her unit and goes up to Magnitude 2 -- she is assumed to have 11 troops.

Reinforcements

The area which the Winterholm Archers have now reached is the base-camp where the rest of their forces have been positioned. Distributed throughout the ruins of an ancient temple surrounded by burrial mounds and partially smashed tombs the forces under the command of the Dynast Nellens Fiyu are ready to give battle in support of their allies.

Nellens Fiyu -- Fire Aspect Dragon-blood leading a Scale of Realm Heavy Infantry w/ Spears, Target Shields, Fine Reinforced Breastplates, Masked Helms.

Magnitude: 2 Drill: 4 CCA: 4 CCD: 3 End: 8 Might: 0 Armour: 3 Mob Pen: -3 Morale: 4 Move: 1 Dash: 6 Fatigue: 1

Join Battle: Wits + War - Magnitude = 2 + 5(+3) - 2 = 8 (3 sux).

Chitou Ofyosi leading Spearmen with Short Spears, Lamellar Armour, Bucklers, Pot Helms.

Magnitude: 4 Drill: 3 CCA: 3 CCD: 3 End: 6 Might: 0 Armour: 2 Mob Pen: -2 Move: 1 Dash: 6 Fatigue: 1

Join Battle: Wits + War - Magnitude = 4 + 4(+3) - 4 = 7 (5 sux). Capped at 3 unfortunately.

Veiled Heaven leading Slingers with Slings, Hatchets, Lamellar Armour, Bucklers, Pot Helms.

Magnitude: 4 Drill: 3 CCA: 2 CCD: 3 RCA: 3 RCD: 2 End: 6 Might: 0 Armour: 2 Mob Pen: -2 Move: 1 Dash: 6 Fatigue: 1

JB: 2 sux.

Tick 12 (continued)

Nellens Fiiyu

Attempts a Coordinate Units(5,-0) Action. To co-ordinate the attacks of her troops.

She rolls Cha + War = 3 + 5(+3) + 8 (excellency) + 2 (stunt) = 21 dice. Diff. Half Number of Units + Mag of Largest - Lowest Drill (min. #units÷2) = 2 + 4 - 2 = 4. She gains 12 successes, giving her 8 excess successes. However the maximum possible benefit from co-ordinating units is equal to the number of units bing co-ordinated, in this case 4. Hence the DVs of the targeted unit will be reduced by 4.

Spearmen

The Spearmen take a Position Troops Action (3,-1).

Tick 13

Slingers

The Slingers take a Position Troops Action (3,-1).

Tick 16

At this point Nellens Fiiyu activates the charm Phantom Warrior Horde to force the Mercenaries to take an immediate rout check with a -1 external penalty.

They have 4 dice, get 3 successes, and the diff. is 1. Hence they do not rout.

Tick 17

At this point the Legionaries, the Spearmen, and the Mercenaries engage whilst the Archers and the slingers make ranged attacks.

Legionaries

Nellens Fiiyu makes a flurry of two attack actions, she chooses not to use her excellencies.

Attack 1

Step 1: An attack with a Jade Goremaul backed up by unit of heavy infantry with a 2 die stunt. Step 2: Parry DV is 7 Base + 1 from unit + 2 from shield (due to skirmish formation) + 1 from stunt -4 from co-ordination = 7. Step 3: Attack pool is 14 +2 stunt -2 flurry (6). Automatic succeses: 3 from magnitude + 8 from unit (!) = 11. Step 4: Step 5: 10 Excess successes. Step 6: Step 7: 20B + 3 Units bonuses, + 10 from excess successes. 33 B. Step 8: Soak is 3 + 1 from unit (because of piercing). Post soak damage is 29 dice -- 9 Levels. Step 9: Step 10: 9 Levels are applied.

Attack 2

Step 1: An attack with a Jade Goremaul backed up by unit of heavy infantry with a 2 die stunt. Step 2: Parry DV is 7 Base + 1 from unit + 2 from shield (due to skirmish formation) + 1 from stunt -4 from co-ordination - 1 from onslaught = 6. Step 3: Attack pool is 14 +2 stunt - 3 flurry (10). Automatic succeses: 3 from magnitude + 8 from unit (!) = 11. Step 4: Step 5: 15 Excess successes. Step 6: Step 7: 20B + 3 Units bonuses, + 15 from excess successes. 38 B. Step 8: Soak is 3 + 1 from unit. Post soak damage is 34 dice -- 11 Levels. Step 9: Step 10: 11 Levels are applied.

Spearmen

Step 1: An attack with a Mace backed up by unit of spearmen with a 2 die stunt (1 die because mortal). Step 2: Parry DV is 7 Base + 1 from unit + 2 from shield (due to skirmish formation) + 1 from stunt -4 from co-ordination = 7. Step 3: Attack pool is 12 +1 stunt (7). Automatic succeses: 3 from magnitude + 6 from unit (!) = 9. Step 4: Step 5: 9 Excess successes. Step 6: Step 7: 11B + 3 Units bonuses, + 9 from excess successes. 23 B. Step 8: Soak is 4 + 1 from unit. Post soak damage is 18 dice -- 6 Levels. Step 9: Step 10: 6 Levels are applied.

At this point, Perfect Skies presses reload, and decides to get some help on his side before approaching this encounter again. Which means, this last part with the Dragon-blooded will be re-written to make it less of a one-sided massacre.