View Full Version : Rolling for the results of a war

2009-08-21, 11:46 PM
Is there any definitive information on determining the outcome of a war or battle between two armies based on dice rolling alone? I realize that I could flip a coin but I want to get a little more detailed. Game doesn't matter, I want random victors.

2009-08-21, 11:48 PM
I suggest you check out Heroes of Battle from the local library. It has rules for that, and rules for how the PC's affect the outcome of a war, and rules for...a lot of things, really. I can't remember any of those rules, but that's where you'd look.

2009-08-22, 02:44 AM
Heroes of Battle is a D&D 3.5 book, just for the record. It determines the outcome of the battle based on how many victory points the PCs accumulate by performing strategically and tactically important missions. It doesn't really have an element of randomness, but it does make your PCs' actions more important. It would kind of suck if the players performed a series of amazing victories and yet still had their side lose the war.

2009-08-22, 04:47 AM
I usually have the wars in my campaigns swing in a way that either opens more plot hooks for the adventurers and makes things more interesting for them, or, if they are directly involved, is shaped by their actions in the war, as opposed to leaving it up to dice.

2009-08-22, 05:38 AM
Exalted 2e has rules for mass combat, too.

2009-08-22, 05:48 AM
It would kind of suck if the players performed a series of amazing victories and yet still had their side lose the war.

This. Well it wouldn't suck if say, they were betrayed or distracted while the <s>kefka</s> wild card bad guy seized a vital or unknown objective. Even then it's easy to feel cheated. 'Sorry guys, the Forces of Finaleia rolled a 20, what can I say?' isn't really going to cut it.

I'd say have a simple timeline with a set outcome the that PCs can interfere with.

2009-08-22, 07:13 AM
The way I usually try and do it is to have squads be like a single unit, spells and battle field sizes get a bit complicated, and you cant really do small scale tactics well. But its a lot better than, "side A gets a +3, side B gets a +5" <roll>

This. Well it wouldn't suck if say, they were betrayed or distracted while the <s>kefka</s> wild card bad guy seized a vital or unknown objective.

Props for rockin' the 6 reference.

2009-08-22, 07:35 AM
There's probably a number of options you could consider...one thought I just had was to divvy up the armies into a certain number of divisions. Roll a 6-sided die for clashes between divisions, with bonuses being given for this or that. You can then use this to spawn encounters for the PCs, and if they gain victory in one encounter, that gives a bonus to the die roll for their division. Maybe work something like that.

Lord Loss
2009-08-22, 07:56 AM
Roll a D10 for each team modified by...

+1 For every 50 soldiers killed as a result of PC actions (or, in enemy case main villains)
+1 for every minor outpost taken by PCS /Powerful NPCs
+2 For every major outpost taken by PCs / Powerful NPCS
+1 for every 50 soldiers more than the other army
+2 for every point of CR infantry has over enemy infantry (Gnolls get a +1 bonus v.s elves, even if the difference is not a full point)
+1 for every war leader killed
+3 if the army has a strong base of upgraded warriors (This includes Shield Guardians as backup, caged Otyughs, devils as support, etc.)

So if I had a war

Elves v.s Gnolls

War Leader takes out 100 gnolls with his spellcasting Elite (+2) , but is
killed by a Gnoll Barbarian's Critical hit. The Gnolls rampage over the battlefield and swarm Coroner's Cavern. The elves aditionally began the war with a support squad of poweful angels (+3)


The Gnolls rampage over the battlefield and swarm Coroner's Cavern (+1) . They also kill a War leader (+1) . They are naturally stronger than the Elves (+1)


Odds are that the elves will win, but the war is still pretty balanced. Let's see what happens...

The Dice Roller doesn't work here so... (pulls out D10)

Gnolls: 10 +3 = 13

Elves 6 + 5 = 11

A close battle, and the elves have the advantage, but, perhaps through brilliant tactics, the Gnolls win!

2009-08-22, 08:20 PM
Found this: http://fed20.wikidot.com/fire-emblem-d20. It's what I think I'll use. It leaves the PCs out of the battle and that's what I want.

2009-08-22, 08:34 PM
I'm a wargamer. I'd pull out my 4000 points of warhammer elves.

Aside from that, determine a general disposition on the map, figure out how many casualties each side would take on average rolls using specified tactics, then extrapolate from there. I'd only leave about 10% in either direction to luck.

To do this, you need to be patient enough to manually calculate all of the averages across a conflict, as well as try to guess a realistic response assuming neither side has a birds eye view like you do. (troops in the center don't necessarily know they need to reinforce a flank, for example) Or, if you're like me, you should be able to estimate with a fair degree of accuracy. Of course, if you do guess, check with a calculator anyway.

Jack Zander
2009-08-22, 09:36 PM
I've done this before. Let me try to think exactly how I did it.

I did a DnD style grid, and used 1 character to represent the troops (I think I typically used about 20-50 soldiers to a stack). Each troop had HP equal to the number of soldiers. Otherwise, they used the same exact stats as their average makeup (human warriors wearing chainmail and wielding longswords with large wooden shields had about 17 AC, +1 Attack, and 1d8 damage). Each side would get 1 action where they can either move 1 square, or attack (moving into the defender's square). The presence of a cleric in a stack gave the unit fast healing 1 times the number of clerics for a number of turns equal to how many healing spells the clerics can blow (a cleric with a wand of cure light wounds gives 50+ turns of fast healing).

I had some rules for commanders too. They could do one thing each turn to inspire their troops. If they succeeded an opposed intelligence check (DC 10 if the other commander is dead) they could double their troop's movement for the round by having superior battlefield tactics. A Wisdom check would spot a weakness in the enemy defense line and add the commander's level to his troop's attack for the round. A Charisma check would boost moral and inspire greatness, and add the commander's level to damage for the round. Not all units would have commanders. Some would be led by the same commander, but he could only inspire the stack he was in.

Then there were some rules for archers and mages and such, but I don't remembers them all exactly right now.