Poll - Do you use group combat?

Do you use group combat rules?

  • Yes, frequently
  • Occasionally
  • No
  • We don't use combat at all

0 voters

Just wondering how many players out there actually use the ArM5 group combat rules. My troupe doesn't.

I've used it for a ghost who had multiple copies of himself act as a trained group. I've also used it for a pack of wolves.

I think that I would prefer to completely overhaul the entore combat suystem wth something more to my likeling but having a set of rules in available to everyone in the rule book that lines up with the all of the published stats in all of the suppliments is a convenience that I have, up to this point, found that I don't want to go without.

I really have similar issues with it. Having started the current saga prior to 5th, we've gradually implemented more and more of the 5th mechanics and have nowe decided to make the last few changes (I longhauled bc I had spent a lot of time to make a 4th ed. downtime and bookkeeping excell sheet - but now we'll shift interely to AlterEgo). The only thing I really feel bad about is the combat system (YMMV certainly), but I am on the other hand also interested in keeping the basics like stats, so as to safe a lot of trouble and time.

Have you had any further thoughts on how and in what direction to change it? I am really looking for all kinds of inspiration on this!

We rarely have combat and none that has warranted group combat since we switched to 5th. That may change!

Well, I haven't wrestled with it yet (although I did rework the system for fourth edition three times and was never happy with it).

One thought that I breifly considered when considering movement rules ( I eventually just used to ones from fourth edition) is to import the entirety of d20 combat with standard and move equivelent actions, bull rushes, attacks of opportunity flanking bonuses and the whole nine yards. THis would have the advantage of iving my players a whole plathera of options while having them learn anything new whatsoever. Fast cast spells became a bit difficult to adjudicate.

I'd also consder taking inspiration from any other RPG combat system that works very well. I have riddle of steel sitting on my bookshelf and I neve really have pulled appart the combat system for that game but I've heard that it is extraordianry. I keep meaning to get my hands on Exalted 2 and give its "tick based" initiative system a whirl. (Exalted 1rst ed. was a game a liked very much).

Of course the best combat system I ever had for Ars was the second edition combat sysem. It ran fights, provided excitement, and got the heck out of my way. It was better than anything that has come out for the game since.

Sadly I do not know either D20, Riddle of Steel, Exalted 2 or Ars 2nd. Though I have heard wonders of Exalted in generel.

I kind of liked the idea of the 4th ed Ars if it wasn't quite so cumbersome to adminster.

Out of curiosity, what are the things you dislike about 5th ed combat?

Looks like I'm in the minority here. :smiley:

I find group combat effective in many cases, as it means significantly less paperwork (particularly for a saga with one storyguide and one player!).

I'm a die-hard d20 fan, but to be honest, if I want to use d20 combat, I'll play D&D. I think the ArM5 combat system does a decent job of keeping combat quick, dirty, and more of a story tool than an exercise in strategy and min-maxing.

Not that you can't min-max with ArM5. I've found that a Mercenary Captain with Puissant Leadership and only three of her five merenary grogs is devastating in combat ... until they meet the demons that they like to hunt. (That's where the Flambeau shines, naturally.)

Whenever we engage in combat in a session we do use the full 5th edition rules.

The only thing I don't like is the lack of movement guidelines.

Apart from that, I like the abstracted nature of the rules as it allows things to go smoothly, quickly and adds danger.

I wouldn't be in favour of doing a D&D and using all those actions and half-actions and modifiers for this and that. Keep it simple and give out a few bonuses and penalties as and when needed.

Using Swift and Immediate actions springs to mind.
Action points (from the Eberron Campaign Sourcebook) might be useful as modifiers to combat actions.
If you have the Harn Rules (from Columbia Games) you could consider looking at their combat system.
An older system is the Combat System from DragonQuest (SPI) (sadly out of print).
There are people keeping this game alive though
and i will check to see if a download of the combat rules is to be had.

We use our own system here. We do not like the current system and have decided to use our own design here. Combats are still individyual affairs, but you get advantages (up to +3 bonus) if you act in formation with your companions.

However, we do not see much mundane combat (a single flashy spell and they run in fear foer their lives, usually), and when it comes to magical combat the important dudes are the magi, so we have not tested it extensively. We dislike the current group rules as they are in any case, so no, we do not use them as they are in the book.


Just to specify - I don't have anything in particular against the group combat rules as such. I think they might be a good tool when wanting to run a combat quick and as something in the background. When I havent used it more it's because it often detracts from the tension and immersion each involved player can get from doing and rolling their own combat.

My YMMV-based disgruntlement is more generel toward the basics of 5th ed. combat.

We've found group combat to be a very nice tool for fighting when there are multiple grogs involved... It allows for grogs to participate in combat without using the entire evening doing so... Besides one of our most memorable combat related stories comes from a group fight - when 3 grogs of our tower guard simultaniously pierced a demon-possessed knight, each inflicting a incapacitating wound. (And so they came to be known as the "Demonslayers" and got the Custos virtue).

Use it.

It seems to work well when you have thirty grogs and as many (or more) enemies to fight...These combats go pretty quick too..so that goooood.
My D&D game had as many as 38 players, and that took hours to do any combat...

I can see the uses for group combat. For the "average" party of 6-ish characters, they are quite cumbersome, though. At least for what we have seen.



Our group has used rules cobbled together from 4th ed and some in-house variants; we found the current rules to be lacking. The group combat rules simply didn't meet our play style. While we are not a combat-intensive group by general gaming standards (not every session has combat, but about 3/4 have at least one dust-up), we have been getting the impression that we fight more often than many AM sagas we have heard about.

Good lord, man! How? Just... how?

Exalted 2nd Edition and Ars Magica 5th Edition are my favorite RPGs, but they both seem to suffer from vague movement rules.

In Exalted's case, the movement system is detailed, but it feels disassociated from the action system, so that for really accurate movement you'd have to have everyone move simultaneously every 'tick', while each person gets an action every 4-6 ticks. The tick-by-tick movement would get tedious. Essentially, the system's great for dramatic, descriptive, cinematic combat and workable for chases and such, but almost as bad as ArM if you're trying to deal with precise locations on a battle mat or some such thing.

The system's also in general designed for much more 'cinematic' combat than would feel right for most Ars Magica sagas, I think, and - this is important for shield grogs - doesn't seem to provide any easy means to protect someone else directly with the basic rules. In Exalted, if you want to do something like that you'd do a stunt, which is where the rules get all bendable and stuff, but also less realistic most of the time.

It'd be better to adapt something more down to earth. d20's combat system is a bit heavy in detail, but porting the movement system and select parts of the rest (attacks of opportunity, perhaps, to discourage people from running past the shield grog at the magus) would seem ideal, particularly since ArM and d20 both use rounds of similar length.

I have some beefs with (specifically) group combat, but it comes up so rarely in my saga that its not worth the effort to insert a better system.

I love group combat. I love how it gives strength to a trained group. It puts emphasis on tactics.