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Placeholder. I intend on running a mock combat between two armies to familiarize myself with Mass Combat system. This will let me assist my GM later. And if it means knowing what to do and what to avoid in order to win the wars and achieve World Domination, all the better.

The Forces

Let us take the stats from JesseLowe/SWFcrew and use it as the basis for the Mass Combat stats. Kaizoku, with his penchant for big words and long titles, calls them Solar Wind Fleet Tigershark Warriors. But they are really Our Pirates. Arrrr!

Our Pirates
Drill 5. Endurance 9. Might 0. Morale 4.
Close Combat Attack 4, Ranged Combat Attack 3.
Close Combat Damage 3, Ranged Damage 2.
Armor 1. Mobility Penalty -1.

Hmmm, just looking at this I can suggest some improvements. Our Pirates should use short swords instead of chopping swords. Given the Dex, Str, Melee, and the way things are rounded, short swords will increase Close Combat Attack to 5 without any loss in damage. Not to mention that they are cheaper than chopping swords and needs less room to use, which is a plus in a ship's cramped conditions.

Curiously, shields do nothing in Mass Combat, which seems to be odd given their prevalence in actual historical armies. My suggestion is to give an army equipped with shields the DV bonus regardless of whether the commander wears one. In fact, if the commander wears a shield but the army doesn't, do not give the commander the shield dv bonus unless the commander is being specifically targeted.

Hmmm, cheapest armor is Buff Jacket. Best light armor is Breastplate. Best Medium Armor is Lamellar (least Fatigue) although if Resources is an issue, Reinforced Buff Jacket is good. Best Heavy armor is Reinforced Breast plate. Superheavy are equally good or equally bad. It's just a trade off between Resources vs. Fatigue and Mobility. Note that this is for Mass Combat, where Mobility and Fatigue is important, and Armor ratings are divide by 3, round up. And when you are equipping several thousand people, Cost is important.

Anyway, let's assume Our Pirates will be using short swords instead.

Our Pirates
Drill 5. Endurance 9. Might 0. Morale 4.
Close Combat Attack 5, Ranged Combat Attack 3.
Close Combat Damage 3, Ranged Damage 2.
Armor 1. Mobility Penalty -1.

Let's have our PCs don a talon of them. That's Magnitude 3. Admiral Kaizoku is the Commander. Monkey is a Hero. We need Relays, but they don't really come into play unless someone deliberately targets them. But I shall name Saji Hisato , Snarling Wolf , and Dancing Razor Leaf as Relays.

Now we need enemies. For starter, let's start with a heroic mortal and some average warriors. For the heroic mortal, we'll use the stats from page 280 of the 2e corebook (switching Ride for Sail). For his troops, we use the stats for Levied Troops from the 2e STC (page 128). We shall call them Them and say they have approximate the same number of people. Magnitude 3. We shall assume they have Relays, and if it's ever important to have their stats, we shall use the Mortal Hero stats again.

Drill 2. Endurance 6. Might 0. Morale 2.
Close Combat Attack 2, Ranged Combat Attack -.
Close Combat Damage 3, Ranged Damage -.
Armor 1. Mobility Penalty -1.

The Set-Up

Our Pirates, Arrr!, after an exciting chase followed by a brief exchange of fire, boards a fat merchant ship. Monkey jumps to the the merchantship's mast and, caste-mark glinting, announces, "Put down your arms! I am Monkey. What hope do you have for winning now that I'm here?" We'll skip the Charisma + Presence roll etc., because although any sane mortal would immediately surrender, we need a fight for this page. So the Merchant Captain answers back, "Never! You Anathema can't be allowed to act as you please!" Monkey looks back at Kaizoku. Kaizoku grimly nods. Monkey shrugs and goes to work.

Given that this is a boarding action, we shall assume that both sides are in Relaxed formation and that ships count as difficult terrain with, say 25% cover, which gives +1 DV against ranged attacks. Both sides are going melee though, so we'll ignore the cover.

The Action

Rolling Join War Kaizoku rolls his pool of Wits + War - Magnitude = 4. Kaizoku gets 2 successes.
Meanwhile Merchant Captain rolls his pool of Join War pool of 4 and gets 2 successes too.

Which means they both go at the same time. Tick 0.

Hmmm, this does means that in theory, if you are incompetent enough and your units large enough, then you can't even lead them.

Tick 0

Kaizoku points with his sheathed daiklave. "Saji! Take your men your men and secure the hold! Razor Leaf, take over her sterncastle! Wolf, forecastle! Monkey, the captain!" He then puts the sheathed daiklave down and observes.

Kaizoku, confident in his superiority, flurries three attacks. In fact, he's cocky enough that instead of using his awesome orichalcum daiklave with 17 dice attack pool, he will use Monkey's Punch (11 dice, and 3 Bashing damage). Since his War is 5, he won't worry about caps yet.
We shall rate Kaizoku's stunt 2 dice. This means Our Pirates have an attack pool of 13 dice. Since they're flurrying 3 actions, the pools are respectively 10, 9, and 8. Rolling, we get 6, 3, and 3 successes. To this we add Our Pirate's Close Combat Attack (5), their Might (0), and any Magnitude difference (0). So we get 11, 8, and 8 successes. Merchant Captain's PDV is 5. His stunt dice (2, yes, I wrote the stunts first and then insert the mechanics afterward) gives him 1 extra success. His men, Them, gives him another +1 DV. Subtracting those and adjusting for Onslaught, we get 4, 2 and 3 successes. Hits. Base damage is 3B. Our Pirates add +3 Close Combat Damage to that. So we get 10, 8, and 9. But wait! Merchant Captain has a soak of 13B and his unit gives him an extra soak. This means we only do ping damage. Since in Mass Combat ping is based on Magnitude and not Essence, we get 4, 4 and 4. Rolling, we get 2, 2, and 1 damage. Five levels of damage. Not enough to drop Them a Magnitude. Now we move on to Exhaustion. Our Pirates made 3 attacks and thus needs to make the Exhaustion check 3 times. Kaizoku's Charisma and War is 4 + 5 + 2 stunt dice = 11 dice. The difficulty is the Fatigue value of the armor, which is 2. Rolling, we get 6, 3 and 5 successes. No problem. Them also needs to make Exhaustion checks. Their dice pool is Charisma + War + stunt = 3 + 4 + 2 = 9 dice. They're also wearing Buff Jacket, so same difficulty. Rolling, we get 3, 6, and 6 successes. No problem for them too.

Jumping down from the mast, Monkey bellows, "Face me, Captain, and on my name I swear that we'll let you all go if you manage to defeat me."

Monkey is ordered to fight the captain. He can't do a called shot on him yet (in Mass Combat term, this is an attack intended to damage the commander personally instead of the whole unit), so he will challenge him to a duel. I'm not sure if he could do his own stuff while Kaizoku is borrowing his close combat stats, but there's nothing saying he can't, and I don't see an actual need to limit a player's options, so I'm doing it this way.
This is a very tempting offer, actually, and one that appeals to the Merchant Captain's Valor. Rolling his Valor, we get 1 success. So he twirls his hammer and prepares to face Monkey - except that we don't want an actual duel just yet, so we'll just say he spends Willpower and ignores Monkey's challenge. Monkey pushes on and tries to force the issue and rolls a called-shot. Not to damage the Merchant Captain, but to force him into a duel. He doesn't get any bonus, except his own stunt (1 die). Six successes. Substracting 2 external penalty for such a called shot (the higher of Magnitude or Drill divided by 2), we get 4 successes. Merchant Captain's PDV is 6. Not good enough. Merchant Captain blows him off. Now, we should be moving to Exhaustion checks, but given that the action (a challege), I don't think a check is necessary.

Meanwhile, the Merchant Captain rallies his own crew. "Do not believe their lies! These are Anathema! They will eat your heart and drink your blood. Kill their demon leader and the rest is just rabble!" And with that he charges onward, ready to bring the fight onto Our Pirate's ship.

Merchant Captain and Them, on the other hand, engages Our Pirates directly, hoping to attack Kaizoku personally next action, or better yet, engage him in a duel. He doesn't flurry or try anything fancy, because he knows that both him and his men are outclassed. His only hope is to get Kaizoku with a lucky blow with his hammer.
I already said Merchant Captain's stunt is worth 2 dice, and his attack pool with the hammer is 11. Merchant Captain also spends a wp to channel valor, bringing his total pool to 11+2+4=17 dice. Normally a Solar will just laugh it off with a HGD, but we want to know how much a heroic mortal can achieve. Rolling, he gets 11 successes. Adding Them's Close Combat Attack, we have a total of 13 successes. Our Pirates has a DV of 10 (Monkey's Dodge DV of 8 + half of Close Combat Attack). Rolling the stunt dice, we get 2 successes for a total of 12. Still a hit. Base Damage is 13B + 3 Close Combat Damage from Them + 1 success = 14. Kaizoku's soak is 10B and Our Pirates add 1 to that, so Merchant Captain rolls 3 damage dice. One success (1 HL). Exhaustion check for both sides gives 4 for Them and 3 for Our Pirates. Passed.

Summary: Them is down 5 HLs out of 7 while Our Pirates is down 1 HL out of 10. Not good. And the Solars haven't even started spending essence. That's just the Tiger Warriors making all the difference.

Need to be done and inserted: Exhaustion and hesitation checks.

Next Action! Both sides act on Tick 5.

Tick 5

The Result


Just noting that I'm watching this - I love fights. - IanPrice, also loves it when someone says "...can't be allowed to act as you please!"