I will continue to try to clean up these rules to make them easier to understand and less crunchy-looking, however the length of my explanation here does not do credit to how easy the system is to use. Simply decide how many people make up a unit and fill in the blanks on aShoggoth/UnitControlSheet (the PDF version is MUCH better than the one here - thank you Voidstate). After that, the unit is treated like a single entity in combat. As people are killed or flee, the unit takes damage to it's Actions, Accuracy, Defense, or Damage.
Using these rules, large numbers of mortal soldiers can put up a decent fight against Exalted opponents without the combat taking all day to roll. The type of soldier makes no difference, and if you wanted to create a unit of 100 Beastmen or Heroic Mortals, you would have no trouble doing so. The only requirement is that each member of a unit is statistically identical.
Exalted Rules for Coordinating Efforts
Building a Unit
The idea of coordinated combat is that the members of a unit are always watching each other's backs and feinting to open a crack in someone's defenses making it easier for their comrades to strike blows. The only problem is, as the unit grows larger, coordination becomes more difficult and less efficient. To determine the Bonus Number for a unit, see the chart below:
Bonus Members / Number 1- 3 / 1 4- 8 / 2 9- 15 / 3 16- 24 / 4 25- 35 / 5 36- 48 / 6 49- 63 / 7 64- 80 / 8 81- 99 / 9 100-120 / 10
When coordinating, we need a set of base characteristics to start from. These are equal to a single unit member’s accuracy, damage, defense, and soak – not counting equipment. From this, we can also calculate our Bonus Multiplier. This is simply 1/3 of the accuracy and defense, rounded down. If this rounds to zero, the soldiers are too inept and untrained to coordinate. This gives us the following chart:
Dex + Skill + Specialty / Multiplier 1- 2 / NA 3- 5 / 1 6- 8 / 2 9-11 / 3 12-14 / 4
Alternately, instead of rounding down, retain the fractional multiplier and only round down at the end. This is the Advanced way of calculating skill bonuses.
The next consideration is exactly how may people are able to work together in combat. This is primarily a Storyteller call, but here are some rules of thumb. The size of a unit depends on the width of the front between the unit and the enemy. Even in the closest terrain, 5 soldiers may coordinate. If the terrain is wide open and clear, a unit can have 5 members for each direction from which it could attack an enemy. If a single enemy is surrounded, this would be 40 men (8 directions). If the target has room to fall back, this would typically be 15 to 25 men (3 to 5 directions, depending on the speed of the unit and the opponent). This number is highly variable, however, as it is affected by the mobility of the members, the length of their weapons, and the difficulty of the terrain. In short, it is whatever the storyteller feels is appropriate.
Next, we assign the members of our unit to one of: Action, add to Accuracy, add to Defense, or add to Damage.
- Put simply, each action is an attack or a parry at full dice pool (including bonuses). Comparing the size of the unit to the bonus chart gives you the maximum number of soldiers that may take actions. If members of the unit are killed and not replaced with reinforcements, this number drops to whatever level is appropriate for the remaining members. For example, if a unit has 64 members and one is killed, only 7 members may be devoted to taking an action.
- Typically, half of the remaining soldiers (those not taking actions) are assigned this roll, although this could range all the way from none to all of them. Look up the number of soldiers performing this roll on the Bonus Chart, and multiply by the Bonus Multiplier. This is added to the accuracy of every attack the unit makes. If the number of soldiers performing this task drops, so does the Bonus.
- Again, usually the other half of the soldiers perform this roll. This works the identically to increasing accuracy.
- Usually, no one is assigned to this role. However, against particularly tough or well armored foes, there will often be some. Simply look up the number of soldiers in the role on the Bonus chart and add that number to damage.
- We now have the base stats for the unit. To this we add whatever equipment the unit is equipped with. Only the stats for a single weapon, armor, shield, and any other device common to every member of the unit are included.
Finally, the unit is finished. Typical units would be:
10 Elite Troops (armed with chopping swords as in Core pg. 278)\\ 3 Actions / 11 Accuracy (4 soldiers give +4) / 8 Defense (2 soldiers give +2) / 8 Damage (1 soldier gives +1)
20 Infantry (armed with chopping swords as in Core pg. 278)\\ 4 Actions / 9 Accuracy (10 soldiers give +3) / 8 Defense ( 5 soldiers give +2) / 8 Damage (1 soldier gives +1)
50 Militia (armed with spears as in Core pg. 278)\\ 7 Actions / 9 Accuracy (17 soldiers give +4) / 8 Defense (17 soldiers give +4) / 6 Damage (9 soldiers give +3)
Units in Action
Units may always use their parries reflexively, before or after their initiative unless an opponent uses a charm that automatically grants initiative. In that case, attacks may not be parried. The unit cannot dodge any attacks. Otherwise, the unit acts just as any character in the combat. The unit moves at half of maximum speed.
If the unit needs to coordinate actions outside of combat, such as a contest of strength to tear down a door, or to search for a hidden foe, simply find the base pool of the unit, calculate the Bonus Multiplier, and calculate just as if they were adding to the accuracy of the unit. The only difference is, the unit gets only one action or attempt.
Damage is always applied to a single unit member at a time. No single attack can do more damage than one member has Health Levels. If a unit member has a wound penalty equal to his valor, he withdraws from the unit even if he remains alive. He flees the combat and likely deserts or retires. If reserves are available (individual soldiers who would qualify for membership in the unit) then combat losses are immediately replaced.
The remaining soldiers can be shuffled around to whatever role is appropriate between turns.
If a unit is reduced to half it’s original size (after reinforcements are added), the remainder of the unit will usually flee. Make a valor roll each turn the unit is below half strength. If it fails, the unit breaks and flees.
Just wanted to say these rules are fantastic! Simple enough that I can work them out in my head for the large part but really add to the game. No longer is a unit of heavily armed troops just a passive obstacle. In fact it justifies the fact that troops are used in formations so much in Exalted - mortals are actually now a bit more capable of facing the hazards of a world where exalted, spirit an demons walk creation - Voidstate
Mucho better than your inital effort :) My only concerns now are thus-
- There's a lot of dynamic bookkeeping in this system- as soldiers fall, they'll need to be reallocated from task to task. That's a lot of bookkeeping that can't be precalculated.
If you have a look at the unit control sheet, it makes things MUCH easier and eliminates dynamic retasking unless you WANT to. - Shoggoth
- There's not a good means for an Exalted to prove what a badass leader they are. Good system for having an army beat on an Exalt, or an Exalt's army beat on another army, but there's no real provisions for supernatural leadership... I say. And then I realize that some Charms, like Heroism Inspiring Presence actually slot quite nicely into here. Good show :) - DariusSolluman
This is a valid criticism. Possibly the system can be expanded to cover such things. However, I'm not going to worry about that quite yet - Shoggoth