Hey, I'm working on some rules for large scale battles in Ars Magica. Now some might ask why I need that in a game that isn't so much focused on mundane politics? Well, I'm making planning to use a regio that has trapped a piece of time in it, with a battle being "replayed" over and over until someone (the Magi) comes in and solves some arcane riddle. They must also take command of some of the forces in this regio. So I though I needed some rules for large scale battles. And since I couldn't sleep anyway, I wrote them down. Here's what I have so far. I have not playtested it yet, but I'd be happy for some comments and maybe ideas:
These rules, for large scale battles in Ars Magica, use a system very similar to that of regular combat. The large scale battle rules are meant to be abstract enough to focus on the narrative descriptions of the situation, and still put the characters in charge if the situation warrants it. This system is not meant to track the actual number of soldiers in units, but rather their general strength and effectivity.
(Note: This is work in progress, and it's still very basic. I will add tactical options later, such as rules for charges, commanders and morale. But this is the general idea, and it's meant to closely follow the rules in the Ars Magica core book for individual combat.)
Soldiers of similar type are gathered into units, and units together make an army. In a round of large scale battle, each unit behaves very similar to an individual in regular combat. Here are the basics:
A unit has the following statistics:
Attack: This rating equals the average Attack Rating for an individual soldier in the unit, modified by the unit's current Force rating.
Defense: This rating equals the average Defense Rating for an individual solider in the unit, modified by the unit's current Force rating.
Damage: This works exactly as in regular combat.
Soak: This works exactly as in regular combat. However, see Casualties
Force: This rating can be negative or positive, and comes from the number of men in a unit. This rating is directly added to or subtracted from the Attack and Defense ratings of the unit. The Force ratings are: -4 (under 100 soldiers), -3 (between 100 and 200 soldiers), -2 (from 200 to 300 soldiers), -1 (from 300 to 400 soldiers), 0 (from 400 to 500 soldiers), +1 (from 500 to 600 soldiers), +2 (from 600 to 700 soldiers), +3 (from 700 to 800 soldiers) and so on...
Casualties: This roughly equals Â«woundsÂ» a unit takes. There are five categores, and these are Minor Casualties, Medium Casualties, Heavy Casualties, Routs and Destroyed. Each of these gives a penalty to the unit's Attack and Defense Ratings. Minor gives -1, Medium gives -3 and Heavy gives -5. Rout means that the unit takes enough casualties to disbanded, with the soldiers fleeing for their lives. Bravery rolls for certain characters can be used here to avoid that, but in any case, the unit is no more. Destroyed means that the entire unit is captured or killed. Personal combat can be used here for characters wishing to make a last stand.
Here's how it works:
1.Initiative: In large scale battle, rounds are longer, roughly 20-30 minutes each, and Initiative is not rolled. However, in some situations, rolls on Tactics and similar abilites can be used to gain an advantage.
2.Movement: The battle is set up as two opposing armies face each other, and is measured for a unit in relation to the enemy. Each unit is considered to be at one of four ranges in each given combat round. These are Near, Medium, Long and Far. Near range is when close combat is joined, but thrown weapons can also be used at this range. In any case, combat at this range is rolled exactly as melee combat. Medium range is when units are not in melee, but can shoot with regular missile weapons such as bows and crossbows, but not thrown weapons. Far range is used for catapults and other siege weapons, and some bows, such as English Longbows. Far means that the units are out of range to any missile weapon. Each unit can move each round. Infantry can move forward or backward one range, for instance, from Medium to Near. Cavalry can move two ranges in one round.
3.Combat: All the units fighting in the current round rolls one stress dice and adds both Attack Rating and Defense Rating seperatly, making two totals. Add the unit's current Force Rating to these totals, then compare Attack and Defense Ratings for units in combat with eachother. Attack Totals above Defense Totals make Attack Advantages, which are added to Damage Totals. Do this for all the units in combat before going to the next step.
4.Damage: Calculate damage exactly as in regular combat. Then subtract the Soak, and compare the remaining damage to the table on page 179 in the Ars Magica main rulebook. Use the Damage Table, but exchange Size for Force Rating and the Wound Categories (Light, Medium and so on...) becomes Casualty Categories.
That's the basics. I will add more later, like unit commanders and how they can use Confidence etc.
Here's an example:
A group of 120 Templar Knights (using the Templar Companion from RoP: The Divine) face a unit of 400 footmen (Standard Soldier from the core book) on the field of battle. They both start at Far Range. First round, the Templars spur their horses and move two categories into Medium Range. The footmen are can now move one category, into Near Range, getting them into melee. However, they choose to brace for the charge (I will write mote on specific tactics like this later) and hold their ground.
Next round, the Templars continue their charge, and ride into the unit of footmen. Battle is joined, and a stress die is rolled for both units. The Templars get a 7 and the footmen a 5. The Templars' total Attack and Defense are, with a Force rating of -3, 16 (7+12-3) and 12 (7+8-3). The footmen get, with their Force rating of 0, 17 (12+5+0) and 16 (11+5+0). Ratings are compared, and the Templars gain a hit, but with no Attack Advantage. The footmen also hit, and with an Attack Advantage of 5. Now damage is calculated. The Templars have a Soak of +10, making the total damage 2. Because of the poor attack advantage, and the footmens' Soak of +8, they take no meaningful damage. However, the Templars, take Minor Casualties from this round of combat, giving them -1 on their Attack and Defense for the rest of the battle.