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D&D 3E
Heroes of Battle 
18th-Jun-2005 09:12 am
I like.

Anyone else have an opinion on this?

I'm only disappointed that the game we had going as a military campaign was ended before we could get this into play :(
18th-Jun-2005 01:18 pm (UTC)
Can you give me a bit more to form an opinion on?

I haven't had the pleasure of checking it out yet.
18th-Jun-2005 03:05 pm (UTC)
Chapter One - The War Campaign
Pretty much glosses over advice on how to run a game where the battlefield is the focus. Has some advice on how to present a battlefield scenario as a roleplaying game and not have it degenerate into D&D Wargaming. Mostly common sense stuff but good nonetheless. Have the PCs focus on small-scale things like ambushes or reopening supply lines and so forth while the major battles go on in the background. It gives some ideas on pacing, working around the fact that a high-level fighter can mop up a low-level army, treasure, and so forth. Stuff that most DMs can work on but it's definitely good for someone who's newer to the game or has no idea how to run this type of campaign.

Chapter Two - Building Adventures
This chapter seems to focus on how to actually design the adventure. How to get the PCs involved, battlefield layout, movement in a larger scale, plotting things out in a flowchart (with a pair of nice examples in my opinion), how to make a fantasy army in 60 minutes, mapping and terrain (with a table of suggested designs to use to describe terrain on a map/battleboard, as well as the effects, movement cost, and page references for them -- very handy). A section on lingering effects from an old battlefield. Briefly discusses the "victory point" system as a reward system, and has a section on "when things don't go according to plan" (i.e. tips on how to wing it when your flowchart stops working).

Chapter Three - Battlefield Encounters
Essentially, how to build a battlefield encounter on paper with a healthy number of examples. Examples include: cutting supply lines, slipping past enemy lines to get reinforcements, destruction of enemy siege equipment, a prisoner exchange, being stranded as a scouting force and having to survive until reinforcements arrive, a rescue operation, and capturing a vital battlefield point from enemy forces and holding it. Each example includes the party level the encounter is defined for, primary and secondary objectives, the allied and enemy forces, features of the terrain, a small map for each example, allied and enemy force tactics, the aftermath (once the objective is complete or the PCs are forced to withdraw), an XP adjustment for encounter difficulty (if any), and suggestions on how to scale the encounter up or down for higher or lower level PCs. Very nice.

It also includes a section on specific army units using the info in the appendices and other parts of the core rules and rules from this book. Presents example armies with different sections of each (scouts, main force, command retinue, reserve, and so forth). Gives HP info and page references for any monsters/classes/sample units from this book and other books. A nice reference. Sample armies include a nature-based force, undead, demons, devils, and a classic human force. Also gives an EL for specific parts, which can be very handy as well.

The section closes with brief advice on how to give out XP for these encounters (and explains the XP adjustment for encounter difficulty mentioned in the sample encounters).
18th-Jun-2005 03:05 pm (UTC)
Chapter Four - Rules of War
This is where more crunchy bits kick in. The chapter opens with siege weapons. Stats, descriptions, how siege engines operate (aiming, attacking, loading, and so forth). Very detailed. It moves on to other tactics (aerial bombardment, archer volley fire, use of abilities to provide a strategic advantage (knowledge checks, bardic knowledge, magic, reconnaissance forces).

Morale makes a triumphant return. It's now a fear effect, requiring a DC 20 Will save. Paladins rejoice. The section lists appropriate modifiers, what happens when morale checks are failed, what triggers a morale check, how a leader figure can make an attempt to rally the forces (essentially using a table similar to making a diplomacy check - i.e. a DC 25 Rally Check is required to return frightened troops back to a normal state).

The next section briefly describes commanders and their role on the battlefield. Commanders get a bonus to rally checks, and also get something called "Commander Auras". They're pretty neat. Here are two examples:

Opportunistic Commander
 You can direct your soldiers to take advantage whenever your enemies are distracted or overwhelmed.
  Prerequisite: Commander rating 1, any chaotic alignment.
  Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you deal an extra 1d6 points of damage on any successful attack of opportunity. This benefit is considered a morale bonus.

Tyrannical Commander
 Your soldiers are more afraid of you than they are of the enemy.
  Prerequisite: Commander rating 5, lawful evil alignment, Intimidate 5 ranks.
  Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you gain a +5 morale bonus on morale checks but automatically become panicked if they fail a morale check.

The next section gives a list of things that can award victory points. Victory points are used to determine how the PCs did. I didn't really read it in detail, but it looks like you compare victory points earned to the possible victory points that they could have earned via the flowchart to determine their level of success. From what I gather, the book suggests plotting our four possible outcomes for a battle and then basing the result on the % of maximum victory poinst the PCs actually earned. So 0-25% would be the worst result, 26-50% would be nominal, 51-75% would be a good result, and 76%+ would be the best result. Scale percentages as you'd like.

After that it talks about recognition points. These are awarded for doing certain things and can go towards receiving promotions in rank or decorations that offer a perk of some kind.

Chapter Five - The Military Character
New uses for skills, feats that work well for any character but excel on the battlefield, prestige classes that also work well for a typical character but excel on the battlefield. Also has a section on teamwork benefits provided by training. Essentially, they require the leader to have a set of prerequisites and all members of the team to have lesser prerequisites. Then, while working together, they get a benefit.

Chapter Six - Magic of War
Not much to detail here. Much like Chapter Five, it's another crunchy bit chapter. Some new spells, some new items, some magical siege gear.

Appendix 1 - Sample Armies
Self explanitory. Large, small, and clans for humans. A bunch of racial army examples.

Appendix 2 - Sample Soldiers
NPC-style stat blocks for pretty much all of the soldiers/units you'd see in a campaign, as well as the ones detailed throughout the book.

Appendix 3 - Battlefield Steeds
Monster stat blocks for some fantasy battlefield mounts.

That's pretty much it.
19th-Jun-2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
Sounds groovy to me.
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