Appendix 2: Mass Combat
The following rules present a fast-play method to resolve large-scale combats involving the clashing of armies. They aren’t intended to accurately represent complex wars or provide a highly-tactical simulation of the same—but they are intended to be fun. The PCs may be faced with multiple situations where they’ll need an army at their command, but in the end, these rules should not dominate your game—the bulk of the adventure remains focused on traditional, smaller-scale adventuring and interaction with the PCs themselves.
You can’t fight a war without armies. What follow are notes on how to read army stat blocks.
Name and CR: The army’s name is presented first, along with its Challenge Rating (CR). To determine an army’s CR, simply adjust the CR of an individual member of that group by the appropriate modifier depending on the army’s size, as shown on the Army Sizes table below If, after modifiers apply, the group’s CR is lower than 1, it does not count as an army—add more troops until you reach a CR of 1. If an army is cavalry, the army’s CR is set by the higher of the rider’s or mount’s CR score.
XP: This lists the XP awarded for defeating the army.
Alignment, Size, and Type: An army’s alignment has no effect on its statistics and is essentially just a convenient way to summarize its attitude with two letters. The army’s size determines not only how many individual units exist in the army, but also the army’s Challenge Rating.
The army’s type is defined by the nature of its individual soldiers. An army must be made up of identical creatures.
hp: An army’s hit points equal its CR × the average hp from the HD type of the army’s units (3.5 for d6 HD, 4.5 for d8, 5.5 for d10, and 6.5 for d12). If an army is composed of units with multiple HD (such as the case of multiclassed characters, monsters with class levels, or cavalry), use the lowest HD type.
Drop any fractions from the final total. Note that only damage from other armies can reduce an army’s hp—treat individual creatures who attack an army as a fine-sized army.
Defense and Offense: These entries list an army’s Defense Value (this is always a static number used to resist an attack) and its Offense Modifier (this is always a modifier
that’s applied to a d20 roll during an attack). If the group has ranged capability, it is indicated here. The army’s Defense Value (DV) is equal to its CR + 10. The army’s Offense Modifier (OM) is equal to its CR.
Tactics and Resources: Armies learn tactics and gain resources as they grow more seasoned from battles.
Special Abilities: Any special abilities the army has.
Speed: This number indicates how many 12-mile hexes the army traverses in a day’s march. Marching through diff icult terrain halves the army’s speed. Use Table 7–6 on page 172 of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook to determine the army’s speed, based on the speed of its individual members.
Morale: An army’s morale is a modifier ranging from –4 (the minimum) to +4 (the maximum). Morale can be further modified by the army’s leader or other factors. A new army’s starting morale is +0.
Consumption: Consumption lists how many Build Points an army consumes each week, representing the cost to feed, hydrate, arm, train, care for, and pay the soldiers. An army’s consumption is equal to its CR divided by 2 (minimum of 1; consumption can be further modified by tactics). You must pay the army’s consumption value at the start of each week it is active. Each week you fail to pay an army’s consumption, reduce its morale by 2 points. If this penalty results in a morale of –5 or lower, the army disbands.
Leader: This line lists the army’s leader and her Charisma modifier.
Each time an army wins a battle, you can attempt a Loyalty check against your nation’s Control DC. If you succeed, your army learns a new tactic. An army can know a number of tactics equal to half its CR. When a battle begins, the army must select one tactic to use for that battle.
Cautious Combat: Your army fights cautiously in order to maintain morale. –2 OM, +2 on all Morale checks.
Cavalry Experts: The army must have the mount resource to use this tactic. +2 OM against armies that aren’t mounted.
Defensive Wall: The army fights defensively, taking actions to protect their fellow soldiers as needed. –2 OM, +2 DV.
Dirty Fighters: An army that fights dirty uses trickery and unfair tactics to gain an advantage at the start of a battle. +6 OM on first round of the melee phase .
Expert Flankers: The army is skilled at surrounding the foe and distracting them, at the cost of spreadingout too much and increasing its vulnerability. +2 OM, –2 DV.
False Retreat: Once per battle, your army can make a false retreat, luring the enemy deeper into your territory. On the round you make a false retreat, you cannot make an Offense check. On the round after a False Retreat, you gain +6 OM and +6 DV.
Hold the Line: Your army focuses on total defense of the battlefield. +4 DV, –4 OM.
Relentless Brutality: You throw caution to the wind and attack with savage and gory vigor. +4 OM, –4 DV.
Siegebreaker: You target the enemy’s siege engines in an attempt to destroy them. Each time you damage an enemy army in melee, you may make a second Offense check. If this second check is successful, you destroy one of the enemy army’s siege engines. This tactic has no effect on armies without siege engines.
Sniper Support: An army must have ranged capability to use this tactic. Each round you successfully damage an army with an Offense check, you inf lict an additional 2 points of damage from archers held in reserve.
Spellbreaker: You adopt tactics to disrupt spellcasting. Against armies with spellcasting ability, you gain +4 DV.
Taunt: You are skilled at taunting the enemy, provoking stupid mistakes and overconfidence in battle. The enemy must make a Morale check (DC = 10 + your army’s CR) at the start of each round to avoid taking a –2 penalty to DV and OM for the round. Once the enemy makes two consecutive Morale checks against your taunt, it is immune to this tactic for the remainder of the battle.
Resources must be purchased with BP before an army can
be outfitted with them.
Mounts (BP = Mount’s CR): The army is mounted on horses or other war-trained animals. Increase DV and OM by +2. If your army uses mounts that are more powerful than the soldiers themselves, your army’s CR (and all derived scores) might increase (see page 55).
Improved Weapons (5 BP): The army is armed with masterwork weapons (increase OM by +1). For 10 times the BP cost, you can instead outfit the army with magic weapons (increase OM by +2).
Improved Armor (3 BP): The army is armed with masterwork armor (increase DV by +1). For five times the BP cost, you can instead outfit the army with magic armor
(increase DV by +2).
Healing Potions (10 BP): Each soldier is equipped with several healing potions. At any point during a battle (but no more than twice per battle), you can order your soldiers to drink their potions—they cannot make an Offense check this round, but they regain hit points equal to twice their CR.
Ranged Weapons (2 BP): Your soldiers are equipped with ranged weapons (such as crossbows or bows). Your army gains ranged capability.
Siege Engines (15 BP per engine): Your army includes catapults, trebuchets, ballistae, rams, and other siege engines designed to break down fortifications. Increase OM by +2 (regardless of the total number of siege engines you control); each round of the melee phase, reduce the enemy’s
bonus to DV from fortifications by 1d4 points per siege engine your army controls.
Most armies also possess special abilities that they can use during a battle, or that provide constant bonuses. You can use the following special abilities as inspirations to generate additional army abilities of your own.
Breath Weapon: The army gains ranged capability, and inf licts +1d4 points of damage on every successful hit against an enemy army.
Construct/Plant/Undead: These armies always make Morale checks, but can never change their strategy from normal.
Energy Drain: An army that can energy drain reduces its enemy’s OV and DV by 1 each time it damages them. This reduction vanishes after 24 hours.
Fast Healing/Regeneration: Fast healing and regeneration allow an army’s hit points to recover in the same way that they restore hit points for individual creatures. A regenerating army that is reduced to 0 hit points is still considered defeated, assuming the victors can move among the defeated creatures and finish them off.
Fear: An army that uses a fear attack forces the enemy army to make a Morale check (DC = 10 + attacking army’s CR) or be unable to make an Offense check in the next round. If an army fails a Morale check from fear in a round when it can’t make an Offense check due to fear, the army f lees.
Mobility Advantage: If the creatures in an army have unusual mobility (such as f light, swimming, climbing, burrowing, teleportation, and so on) that actually gives an advantage in the battle, increase that army’s DV by +1. If all armies possess the same mobility options, this advantage does not apply.
Paralysis: If an army can paralyze foes, each time it damages an enemy the army’s DV is reduced by 1. This reduction vanishes at the end of a battle.
Poison: When a poison-using army damages an enemy army, the army takes an automatic 1d6 points of damage on the round immediately following any round it took damage from the poison army. This ability can also apply to armies that use bleed or burn attacks.
Rock Throwing: An army that can throw rocks gains ranged capability and inf licts +4 damage during the Ranged phase.
Significant Defense: If an army’s component creatures possess a significant defense (such as powerful damage reduction, incorporeality, or numerous immunities and/ or resistances), increase its DV by +10, but only when it fights against an army that would have a significantly difficult time overcoming the army’s significant defense. In some cases, you might even wish to rule that an army is simply undefeatable by an enemy army because of its defenses—but you should never pit the PCs against such an army.
Spell Resistance: If an army’s units have spell resistance, they gain a +6 bonus to their DV against armies that have the Spellcasting ability.
Spellcasting: If an army’s units can use magic (either from spell-like abilities or actual spellcasting), it gains a bonus to its DV and OM equal to the level of the highestlevel spell its individual units can cast. In addition, if any of its offensive spells have a range of greater than touch, the army gains ranged capability and can attack during the Ranged phase.
Running Mass Combats
Since an army’s strength is represented by a CR score, you can balance armies against each other using the guidelines for CR in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. For example, two CR 9 armies should make for a relatively even battle, but so would a CR 9 army against three CR 6 armies.
In most mass combats, the battlefield shouldn’t impact either army. But sometimes a battlefield can decide the outcome of a war.
Advantageous Terrain: Generally, if one army occupies a position of superiority (such as being atop a hill, wedged in a narrow canyon, or protected by a deep river along one flank), the defending army gains a +2 bonus to its DV.
Ambush: In order to attempt to ambush an army, the entire ambushing army must have concealment. The ambusher makes an Offense check against the army’s DV—if successful, the battle begins but the defending army does not get to act during the tactics phase. Otherwise, the battle proceeds normally.
Battlefield Advantage: If an army is particularly familiar with a battlefield, it gains a +2 bonus to both DV and OM.
Fortif ications: An army located in a fortif ication adds the fortif ication’s Defense score to its DV. A city’s Defense is determined by the types of buildings it contains, as detailed in Pathfinder Adventure Path #32. If you aren’t using these rules, a typical fortification increases DV by +8.
Mass combat generally takes place over the course of three battle phases—the Tactics Phase, the Ranged Phase, and the Melee Phase. A phase does not denote a specific passage of time, leaving you as the GM the latitude to determine how long any mass combat takes to resolve.
Tactics Phase: During the Tactics phase, each army selects which of its tactics it will use during the battle.
Ranged Phase: The Ranged phase typically lasts for 1 round, although the battlefield’s shape and other conditions can extend this duration. During this phase, any army with Ranged capability makes an attack against an enemy army. Armies without Ranged capability cannot attack during this phase.
Melee Phase: The Melee phase begins as the armies involved finally clash—this phase continues until one army is defeated.
Mass Combat Quick Reference
The following summarizes the key rolls in mass combat.
Offense Check = d20 + OM
Damage = Offense check result – defending army’s DV
Morale Check = d20 + leader’s Cha mod + morale score
Each round during the melee phase, an army’s commander must select a strategy from one of five options on the strategy track. Strategies adjust the army’s DV, OM, and damage modifier. Adjusting an army’s strategy one step in either direction is automatic; if the leader wants to adjust strategy more than that in 1 round, he must make a DC 20
Morale check. If he succeeds, the army’s strategy changes to the desired level, but if he fails, the army’s current strategy doesn’t change at all.
Strategy DV mod. OM mod. Damage mod.
Defensive +4 –4 –6
Cautious +2 –2 –3
Standard +0 +0 +0
Aggressive –2 +2 +3
Reckless –4 +4 +6
Attacking and Taking Damage
In mass combat, it doesn’t matter who goes first, since in the game it’s assumed that all attacks happen simultaneously. Each army makes an Offense check by rolling 1d20 and adding its total OM. This result is then compared to the target army’s DV.
Attacker’s Offense check equal to or less than defender’s DV: Attacker fails to damage the defending army.
Attacker’s Offense check greater than defender’s DV: The attacking army inf licts damage on the defending army equal to the result of the attacking army’s Offense check minus the defending army’s DV.
Natural 20: If you roll a natural 20 on your Offense check, you automatically deal damage to the army, even if the result of the roll is lower than the enemy army’s DV.
Natural 1: If you roll a natural 1 on your Offense check, your army cannot make an Offense Check during the following round.
If at any point an army’s hit points are reduced to a number
equal to or less than its CR, it immediately f lees unless its commander can make a DC 15 Morale check. If this check fails, the army scatters and retreats from battle. When an army flees thusly, the enemy can make one final Offense check to get a parting shot before the army escapes.
These rules can also serve in battles where multiple armies clash. In such battles, when you make your
Offense check, you choose which enemy armies you’re attacking and apply damage appropriately—you can change targets each round as you wish—these rules don’t take into account complexities such as movement or location, after all!
Victory and Defeat
An army is victorious once all of its enemy armies are destroyed or f lee the battlefield.
Victory: A victorious army’s hit points remain at the level they were at when the battle ended (minimum value equal to the army’s CR). Make a Loyalty check against your kingdom’s Control DC—if you are successful, your army gains a new Tactic. Every time an army gains a new Tactic, its morale goes up by 1 (maximum of +4).
Rout: The army’s hit points reset to a number equal to the army’s CR, and its morale decreases by 1. Before this army can fight again, you must make a successful Loyalty check against your nation’s Control DC during your nation’s Upkeep phase.
Defeated Army: Although there are certainly a few survivors if an army is reduced to 0 hit points, those few survivors are so demoralized and wounded that the army cannot recover. It must be replaced with a new army. Every time an army is defeated, reduce the kingdom’s Stability, Economy, and Loyalty by 2.
An inactive army heals back to its full hit points after a single month, but often, you’ll need to restore your army to full fighting potential much more quickly. Each day that an army spends at rest (no movement and no battle), it heals hit points equal to its CR. Once per day you can also restore an additional amount of hit points to an army by making a successful Loyalty Check against your nation’s Command DC. With a successful check, your army heals an additional amount of hit points equal to
Player Characters in Battles
As an option, you can have the PCs face battles of their own just before or even during a battle in which one of their armies clashes with the enemy. For example, the PCs might attack an evil necromancer and f ight their way through his tower to confront and defeat him while their army battles the undead horde outside. Alternatively, the PCs could use a few potent spells (such as control water, earthquake, cloudkill, and so on) to adjust the battlef ield condition to their favor. These
possibilities allow the PCs to use their characters to directly affect the outcome of a battle without actually forcing the characters to “sit out” on an adventure opportunity by personally commanding an army.
If the PCs win their battle or dramatically affect the battlef ield with magic, increase their army’s DV and OM by +4. If the PCs lose their battle, penalize their army’s DV and all OM rolls by –4. At your discretion, the PCs’ failure or victory can have other effects on their army as well, such as granting temporary bonus tactics or starting the war with adjustments to one side’s hit points.
Army Size of Soldiers Army’s CR
Fine 1 CR of individual creature –8
Diminutive 10 CR of individual creature –6
Tiny 25 CR of individual creature –4
Small 50 CR of individual creature –2
Medium 100 CR of individual creature
Large 200 CR of individual creature +2
Huge 500 CR of individual creature +4
Gargantuan 1,000 CR of individual creature +6
Colossal 2,000 CR of individual creature +8
Build Points (abbreviated BP) are a universal resource shared by all nations, and are detailed in Pathfinder Adventure Path #32—if you’re not using these rules for kingdom management, multiply an army’s Consumption by 500 to determine its cost in gp.
If your PCs’ nation is particularly rich or particularly poor, feel free to adjust the consumption cost and resource cost in BP somewhat. The point of this adventure is to allow the PCs to field an army—they should be able to afford at least a small army, but shouldn’t be able to build an army with no regard for cost.
The availability of armies for conscription by the PCs depends upon their acts and successes in the Kingmaker Adventure Path to this point. You can also allow your players to customize their own armies, using the rules above to build whatever type of army they want (subject
to GM approval, of course!). None of these armies have a starting morale listed, since that depends on the result of a Loyalty check when the army is first conscripted.
Paltry Militia CR 1
Medium army of humans (warrior 3)
hp 5; DV 11; OM +1
Speed 2; Consumption 1
Prerequisite Kingdom size 1 or higher
Regular Militia CR 5
Huge army of humans (warrior 3)
hp 27; DV 15; OM +5
Speed 2; Consumption 2
Prerequisite Kingdom size 25 or higher
Enormous Militia CR 9
Colossal army of humans (warrior 3)
hp 49; DV 19; OM +9
Speed 2; Consumption 4
Prerequisite Kingdom size 150 or higher
Regular Army CR 7
Gargantuan army of humans (fighter 2)
hp 38; DV 17; OM +7
Speed 2; Consumption 3
Prerequisite Kingdom size of 100 or higher
Kobold Skirmishers CR 4
Gargantuan army of kobolds (warrior 1)
hp 22; DV 14; OM +4
Tactics Dirty Fighters
Speed 2; Consumption 2
Prerequisite Allied with Sootscale kobolds
Centaur Outriders CR 7
Huge army of centaurs
hp 38; DV 17; OM +7, ranged
Tactics Cavalry Experts; Resources ranged weapons
Special Abilities always treated as if they’re mounted
Speed 3; Consumption 5
Prerequisite Allied with Nomen centaurs
Boggard Swarm CR 8
Gargantuan army of boggards
hp 36; DV 18; OM +8
Tactics Expert Flankers; Resources healing potions
Special Abilities mobility advantage (swamps only)
Speed 1 (unaffected by swamps); Consumption 14
Prerequisite Must have allied with M’botuu boggards and
removed Sepoko from power in “Blood for Blood”