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D&D 3E
Going to war. 
26th-Dec-2004 07:29 pm
Up north where the mountains turn into the rolling plains there is a massive army forming of goblins, bugbears, and other lovely creatures all lead by a frost giant. Now I want the army to go to war, and I want my players to get involved in this war somehow. I figured the best way is to have the action take place is to have it be event based:

-they just happen to get involved in this war, have to sabotage enemy trade route...
-later on they get pushed to a stronghold and the PCs get hold of a small group of soldiers to controll...

I don't know, something to keep things interesting. The PCs are all pretty into military strategy, so I was thinking to allow them to controll troops and strategically set them up.

So, do you guys have any suggestions as to how to 1. Strategically set up troops and run a "war", not tooooo big mind you and 2. do you have any ideas for some of the prior mission-based tasks.

27th-Dec-2004 01:35 am (UTC)
You didn't want to just have them fight alongside other soldiers?

My only thought on how you'd do the battles would be to have the PCs take a round to spout orders and then play as their soldiers. The "soldiers' would have one initiative for the whole group (like if its over 6 soldiers or something) and then have those soldiers fight enemies of your own creation.

As for the prior events, maybe have them unknowingly foil the plan of some assassin that meant to kill a local Lord. That Lord then thanks the PCs and offers them their own plot of land and a large keep. In the keep, soldiers can be trained.

Or you could make it so that they rally up a band of followers to help them perform some task, like bombarding some fortification to steal an imortant item. After they take over the fort, they can gain new soldiers, and have their followers act as an army. Then they can defend the fort from the "massive army." Defending a fort would also make a more interesting game because they have to use weapons left in the fort (catapults, etc.) to keep invading forces out.
27th-Dec-2004 01:49 am (UTC)
Well this is somewhat what I am thinking right now...

1. Things have been going rough and while walking down an old road rest at a nice old man's cabin. A military officer comes in, old friend of the old man. He says how a large group of monster has been killed nearby or something and he is all happy and wants to celebrate with the old man. Old man, officer, and pcs all eat and relax. They hear enemies arrive and the officer says that the pcs need to baricade themselves in if they have any hope of surviving, he will ride fast to get troops to save the day. Ok. So pcs do that and are saved.

2. After battle, see troops heading down road. The group they killed that they were celebrating were only the tip of the iceberg. Massive army coming. Same officer tells PCs to blow up bridge. Various things happen.

3. Officer then tells them to go and do something else... I like your idea of an assassin... maybe have them scout and stop traps etc from being set up on the flanks.

4. Be part of a group to go up side flanks and battle.

5. Be pushed back to stronghold. Enemies, about 5,000 or so, amassing outside and start preparing for a siege, building stuff etc.

6. Officer takes large group to try and catch up with large group flanking down river.

7. Officer gives command of small group, 100 men or so, to the PCs. At this point I am thinking of having a map of the battlefield. From atop of the stronghold the PCs can see everything. After the players decide where to send troops, they will join them in the battle.

This is generally what I am thinking. I need stuff to fill the holes, etc. I really like your idea though about having 1 person's actions basically determine the results of the whole group. Also what I didn't think of was the use of siege weapons themselves. Since the enemy will be spending a few days preparing their siege stuff, I guess I could have the players build and plan stuff like that too.

Hrmm..... thanks!!
27th-Dec-2004 03:48 am (UTC)
I have dm'd a LOT of large battles.. My advise... do not have the pc's control soldiers. In fact, don't control the soldiers at all. As the dm, you'll already know how you want the battle to end. Anywhere the pc's are will be part of the battle, but make it only a part, company against company. Make sure the party knows that there is fighting going on everywhere, make them step over the bodies of the fallen, etc., but do not make rolls for the whole army. You can even put risk peices on a board and remove them as the battle goes along, just don't bother rolling for it. You know the result already.
27th-Dec-2004 04:53 am (UTC)
I'd definately agree about knowing before hand what is going to happen being a good idea. The game a friend and I were co-gming we actually didn't decide what was going to happen though, because we had plans for any eventuality(that we could foresee-PCs are notoriously bastards though:>). However rolling those sort of numbers in game would be slow and boring, so we planned to wargame out the battle without the PCs interventions pre-game, then apply what they did in the game to see what the actual result would be.
27th-Dec-2004 06:54 am (UTC)
I think the point was that his players enjoy that type of gaming, and that's why he decided to let them enter this war. He can always fix a few of the rolls to make sure the battles go as planned and help the PC's win, but if they like to play in these types of situations then there should really be no reason not to do it.

It would aslo be boring to just say, "Okay you see a large troop of goblins, bugbears, and other lovely creatures all lead by a frost giant. Suddenly some soldiers come and begin to fight. You want to help at first, but decide it isn't your war. The soldiers eventually win." The fun occurs when the players get to make the decisions (or atleast think they are making the decisions) that affect the outcome of the war, rather than being told a story of what is going on. I find that keeping players interacted with the story is a lot more effective and enjoyable than me narrating a tale. But that may just be me.
27th-Dec-2004 09:55 am (UTC)
The problem we came to was that a group of 5th level PCs really couldn't do all that much to affect a 50000 strong army. Although surprises happen; in this one they almost managed to assasinate the general of the opposing force; which would have been very significant(he was a khan type figure uniting various tribes who may well have split).
I agree that just telling them what happens is a bit dull, personally I'm not convinced big battles work in roleplay, because of that.
27th-Dec-2004 03:38 pm (UTC)
50k strong is pretty damn huge. A metropolis, the largest city class in the DMG, is listed as 25k+ people. So you're saying that two huge cities' worth of soldiers attack the PCs? Did you see Two Towers? I'm pretty sure that Sarumon's army was measured somewhere in the 10s of thousands. And that is huge.

My advice is to go ahead and let the PCs control the battle, but maybe look for a different system. Miniatures might work, since they're kinda simplistic and designed for skirmish type fights. Or maybe check out one of the other war-gaming sets... Warhammer comes to mind. I don't use these so I'm not sure how adaptable they are, but you could always look.

I've put PCs in some sizable battles. Basically I had them attacking a large group that would lose some people to NPC actions, and some NPCs would be lost to the enemy actions. I fudged stuff a lot, but made good descriptions about what happened so it was interested. But if your players are really into the strategy element, that probably won't work so well.
27th-Dec-2004 04:10 pm (UTC)
Warhammer and Warhammer 40K are almost exactly like D&D's battle system, so it would work if you had those miniatures to work with. Of course you couldn't do thousands at a time, but it would be fun in little skirmishes.
27th-Dec-2004 04:19 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately I don't have any warhammer miniatures.

Also, I've been thinking about this a lot. I do have a desired effect, they lose. So, they may be able to 'generally' take place in the war. Now, when everything hits the fan and they must escape, then I could have some more specialized events.

-You're being chased by 5 scouts as you try to retreat
-Or you come across a small band of 20 soldiers, all wounded. You rally them up and convince them to help you take out one of the bridges heading to the capital.

I've been thinking of the mechanics and... I'm still not sure. See, a good amount of the people in my group would love to see a huge map and see general numbers and move troops around. Unfortunately, I can see it now, they would love it so much that they'd push out the people who would casually want to help. So, I'd have to have them be doing something specific while the other guys plan.

Well, I wanted to have the battle tonight, but... looks like I'm going to have to push it off untill I plan it a little better. THANK EVERYONE!
27th-Dec-2004 04:52 pm (UTC)
It was the elven nations against the human empire; the PCs being on the humans side.
I can't remember what the exact figures were(I'm co-gming that game, mostly dealing with npc levels and rules types things; the other bloke does the plot)I think the elven army was something like 30k and the humans about 12-16k.

I think things that size work better in a very abstract kind of way, similar to how the new LOTR system handles them.
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