View Full Version : Homebrewed Tactical Wargame: PEACH

2013-11-07, 03:53 PM
I've developed a homebrew wargame, to be done on hexagonal combat. The main inspirations are Erfworld (particularly the term 'stack'), Kessen II, and Suikoden II. It is designed to be able to follow a story, with a DM guiding the plot and controlling NPCs/enemies and each PC having a mercenary company they command and manage.

It is d6-based, although d10s can be useful counters. (It was originally d10-based, but I changed to make it less likely that combat could wipe out a stack in one turn.)

It is a tactical wargame 'module' that can, if desired, be stuck onto other gaming systems. Two optional aspects are that the PCs can decide to fight the enemies one-on-many instead of as part of their army. Effectively, you temporarily leave the 'wargame' and enter something like D&D, WoD, or whatever system you want to use. This could also happen when you fight through the enemy army to get to their base.

Another optional aspect is money management. Troops can (if desired) cost money to maintain, more if they are fielded. Poorly paid troops leave, or at least have lower morale. This also includes things like recruiting or hiring Specialists who can augment your forces. (Recruitment could work like buying items in a D&D magi-mart, where everyone is for hire, to RP-based trying to find & recruit rare specialists, at the DM's option.)

In the below, I will post the key components first, then the optional ones.

Also, I switched from grid-based to hex-based combat during editing. If you see 'square', translate it into hex.

Homebrew Tactical Wargame

The PCs

You play a leader of a mercenary band, starting with 50 troops and assumed support crew. Gameplay will be a mix of tactical warfare and, depending on things, possibly some diplomacy and ‘dungeon-crawling’ using your PCs.

The actual player characters are leaders of their ‘side’, a mercenary band. (Or kingdom, or rebel bandits, or whatever you want the game to be about.) This wargame can, in theory, work with most other systems, using the other system to handle individual missions by the PCs (the dungeon-crawling mentioned above) while the wargame handles the actual wars.

I have in mind a modified version of new World of Darkness. High-magic settings like D&D don’t really mesh well with the assumptions this system has about magic and physical limitations. But that's really a separate homebrew, so I won't go into it here.

The PCs gain an additional statistic called Leadership, which probably starts at 1-2 and should probably never get above 5. If a PC is with a stack, that stack adds the Leadership score of the PC to most of its dice rolls.

Combat Grid

The wargame takes place on a hexagonal grid. You can have up to 30 troops in one hex at a turn’s end, although stacks may move through a ‘full’ hex if those inside are willing. (More than 30 can be in a hex in cases of combat or holding prisoners.)

Stacks - the units you move on the map

In tactical warfare, units are displayed as ‘stacks’. Stacks of troops can contain up to 10 troops, and the number of troops left in a stack works essentially like its HP. (Troops are assumed wounded, not dead, unless the stack is completely destroyed.)

Stacks also have a Morale statistic, which measured both morale and fatigue (the higher Morale is, the lower fatigue is.) Morale, like troop count, is measured 1-10. A stack that reaches 1 Morale will flee, moving a ‘safe distance’ (DM’s call, but at least 2 turns’ movement) then resting until it reaches at least 2 morale. If a stack does not do anything in a turn, including move or be attacked, it is resting and regains 1 Morale. Wiping out an enemy unit, or accomplishing similar goals, also restores 1 Morale.
(Stacks led by a PC have 11 troops, with the PC being the last one killed. Try not to let that happen. Stacks led by a PC regain 2 Morale when resting instead of 1.)

A stack has stats based on Attack, Defense, Speed, Range, and Spells. Each stat has a base value and a cost to increase. A stack has 5 points to use to increase its powers.
{table=head] Attribute | Description | Starting Rank | Point Cost per Rank
Attack | Offensive Power. Adds a bonus to attack rolls | 0 | 1 |
Defense | Defensive Powers. Adds a bonus to defense rolsl | 0 | 1 |
Speed | How many hexes can move in a round. Also, line-of-sight is 2xSpeed | 2 | 2 |
Range | Range of attacks. 0 range (melee) means you must enter an occupied space to attack. | 0 | 2 |
Spells | Spells known. Each rank gives the stack a spell it can cast | 0 | 2

Here is an example for a generic Fighter stack, having spent 3 points on Attack and 2 on Defense.
{table=head] Attribute | Rank
Attack | 3 |
Defense | 2 |
Speed | 2 |
Range | 0 |
Spells | 0 [/table]

A common Caster stack might have 0 Attack, 1 Defense, 2 Speed, 0 Range, and 2 Spells (1 point for Defense, 4 for Spells.)

There are also Special abilities, or Specials, that a unit can know or utilize. Some specials are either active or inactive for an entire battle (like units attuned to archery and thus weaker in melee), while others can be activated or deactivated in the field (combat maneuvers). The details of how these work will make more sense after reading combat rules, below. These all grant bonuses to the end dice result; they do not change the number of dice you roll, unless explicitly stated.
Specials - characteristics and tactical maneuvers

• Archery – -1 to Attack and Defense while in melee (range 0 combat); +1 Attack with ranged combat and +1 Defense against ranged attacks (excludes spells). An Archery unit cannot change this status during combat.
• Stealth – while active, the unit takes -1 Speed and count as surprised if attacked. Is effectively invisible if not spotted. It takes two full actions to enter Stealth mode. You can break out of Stealth when it is not your turn to move and/or attack, ambushing a unit. An ambushed unit is surprised and does not automatically counterattack. To spot:
An enemy unit that has the hidden unit in line-of-sight range rolls (DM rolls for them) 1d6 + Leadership + Speed + modifiers + (-hex distance+1)*, against a difficulty of 3 + Leadership + Speed + modifiers, with an additional modifier of -2 to +2 for quality of cover and change that the Wounded status gives a +1 bonus instead of a -1 penalty. (Less troops are easier to hide.)
A stack in stealth does not regain 1 morale even if they do not move or act.
*Effectively, there is a +1bonus to spot things in the hex you are in, a net zero to spot neighboring hexes, and a penalty for hexes more than 1 hex away. Each stack rolls once and adds the modifier to spot things in line-of-sight (as opposed to one roll per stack per hex.)
• Guard – a stack on guard moves at -1 Speed but gains a +2 bonus to spot checks. A stack on guard does not regain 1 morale even if they do not move or act.
• Breakthrough – this is activated to try to move through a space occupied by the enemy. You engage in combat like normal, but you are at -1 Attack and Defense, and you can (after the first round of combat) immediately move to the other side of the enemy unit without the effects of retreating. (This still costs 2 move like normal, 1 to move into the occupied square, and 1 to move past it.)
• Pushed – gain +1 Speed (but no increase to line-of-sight), but lose an additional Morale this round.
• Siege/Artillery – the unit is not a normal unit. Instead of 10 troops, it is one piece of machinery, and is unaffected by morale. It cannot operate unless a stack of at least 3 is piloting it. It can be captured and used by enemy forces. It can attack city walls and other defenses (treat as fellow Siege, with 5-10 health). If Siege, it gains +1 Attack dice when attacking structures but a -5 penalty when attacking units. If Artillery, it gains +1 Range but cannot attack at 0 range (although the units piloting it can then engage.) Count its line-of-sight as the better of it or its pilots, but it only has line-of-sight while piloted. A Siege/Artillery unit may not also have the Pushed Special.

Stacks can also have positive and negative status effects.

• Wounded – a stack with 4 or less troops is considered Wounded, and suffers a -1 penalty on Attack and Defense rolls. A Wounded stack cannot cast spells. (This usually reflects that half or more of its members are wounded, but it can also reflect a small number of people. Either way, they are too few to effectively attack or defend compared to a normal stack.)
• Fatigued – a stack with 5 or less Morale is considered Fatigued, and suffers a -1 penalty on Attack and Defense rolls. This does stack with Wounded.
• Surrendered – a stack that is both Wounded and Fatigued may surrender when attacked. The chance of surrender increases as troop count and morale decrease.
• Full Morale – a stack with 10 troops and 10 Morale has a +1 bonus on Attack and Defense rolls.
• Blessed – blessed by magic. The stack can make one d6 they roll come up as a 10; activated before the die is rolled. Ends once used.
• Enchanted – enchanted by magic. The stack gains bonus points to allocate amongst its attributes. Multiple enchantments can be on the same unit, but enchantments to the same attribute do not stack. It is usually 2 points and lasts 4 turns.
• Cursed – the inverse of Enchanted. In effect, this lets the curse-caster lower the attributes of a stack. This cannot lower Speed below 1.
• Defended – due to circumstances, the unit has superior defenses. +1 to +2 dice to Defense rolls (i.e., roll 2d6 or 3d6 instead of 1d6). A stack inside a Siege or Artillery unit is considered +1 Defended.
• Magic Shield – the stack is immune to one spell of its choice. Ends once used.
• Surprised – surprised by ambush (or, rarely, other events). Suffers -1 to Attack and Defense, and is unable to counter-attack. A surprised unit that suffers any losses also loses 1 Morale. Ends after a single combat phase.

Note: unless based on morale, these can also impact Siege/Artillery. ‘Wounded’ represents loss of function.

Stacks can ‘unstack’ and ‘restack’, breaking into smaller stacks or combining into larger stacks. (If breaking into smaller stacks, all resultant stacks has the Morale of their parent stack. If smaller stacks join together, the resultant Morale is roughly the average of the stacks.) Stacks may only stack with those of the same type, though (or, if desperate, you can stack disparate types, but they get the worst Attribute set of the parent stacks.)

Turn Order - I hope this is clear enough to make sense

A ‘battle’ consists of turns.
A ‘turn’ is when every side (the players, the enemy, any allies, etc.) gets to act.
A ‘round’ is when a given side does their actions in a turn, i.e., moving their stacks, attacking, etc.
A ‘combat round’ is one round of attacking in combat, between two or more stacks.

Sides go in order of Initiative. Usually, defending sides have initiative over invading sides. If equal, roll based on the general’s stats. Each stack controlled by a unit acts. You can rearrange your stacks (stack, unstack, etc.) at any point as long as you are not engaged in combat; this includes occupying a Siege or Artillery unit.
Players may choose to have their sides act as the same time, if desired. The same is true for allied NPCs.

A Round, in detail

1. Refresh move. All stacks for the acting side regain all their move.
2. Declare any casting. Due to how magic works (it takes time), you have to declare any spells you plan to cast before any other actions. Units that are casting may move during Phase 2, but they cannot engaged in combat (if engaged, such as by an ambush, the casting is cancelled.)
3. Move stacks. Move your stacks, either one at a time or as groups. If any stack (or group of stacks) moves onto a space occupied by an enemy, or has a ranged attack and wishes to use it, enter Combat Phase, detailed later.
a. If a stack destroys an enemy stack, it regains 1 Morale.
4. End Turn. Any stack that was involved in combat loses 1 Morale. Any stack that was Pushed loses 1 Morale. Any stack that did not move, cast, or engage in combat gains 1 Morale. Any magic effects with duration are ‘counted down’ or expire at this time.
5. Spells activate or are held. Decide whether to release your spells or hold them for next round (spells increase in power as turns pass.)

Combat Phase

Basic Concept
• The amount of stacks involved often matters for combat, but don’t use loopholes. If you try to have 8 stacks of 1 rush someone to get 8 different rolls, they will count as 1 stack.
• Units may attack at equal Range an unlimited amount of times. Anyone thus attacked automatically counter-attacks. Combat continues until one side is destroyed, surrenders, or retreats (or, if at range, when both sides decide to stop.) Retreat costs 1 Move, but you may retreat if at 0 Move by losing 2 Morale (basically really feeling routed).
• Units with greater Range may only make 1 attack per turn (acting on their own) OR may assist their allies who fight melee.
• To roll attack, you roll 1d6 + Attack + Leadership + modifiers. To roll defense, you roll 1d6 + Defense + Leadership + modifiers. The Attack result – the Defense result is how many troops are killed.

A combat round where one unit has greater range than the other: in this case, the attacked unit cannot counter-attack, thus making this simple (ex. Range 2 vs Range 1 or Range 0):
• The attacker rolls attack, the defender rolls defense, and calculate losses.

A combat round where one unit has the same range as the other (Range 1+):
• Both sides roll Attack and Defense. Compare for losses to each side.
• Each side decides whether to continue fighting, retreat, or surrender. They may retreat to any neighboring square not occupied by an enemy. Both sides can simply choose to stop fighting instead.

A combat round where both sides have the same range (Range 0):
• Determine if any ranged stacks will assist. For each ranged stack assisting, you gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls. If more than one stack is in melee on a side, choose which stack is the lead stack.
• If one side has a PC, it may challenge and attack. Leave the wargame aside for a moment and use the ‘dungeon-crawling’ system to fight this out. Any damage the PC takes does not heal until the end of a battle.
• All stacks roll Attack and Defense. Compare for losses to each side.
If the lead stack is destroyed, that side chooses a new lead stack. Any damage not taken by the lead stack then goes to that stack. Rolls are not recalculated.
• Each stack decides whether to continue fighting, retreat, or surrender. If the lead stack tries to retreat, roll Defense as the other side’s lead stack rolls Attack once more; to retreat leaves you exposed to one last attack.


Stacks can know spells. In this setting, spells take time and concentration to cast. A stack that is casting spells cannot engage in combat, and spells take the entire round to cast. That is why the stack must declare their spell and its target at the start of the round, yet only at the end of the round can the spell activate. When declaring a spell, the caster chooses what spell to cast (if they have more than one) as well as the target (which can be a stack or a location; it will follow the stack if the stack moves). If the caster stack is interrupted by engaging in combat, or the target is gone or out of range, the spell fails. Casters can in theory cast a spell every round; i.e., no limit on spells per day.

• Spells all have a range of line-of-sight, BUT spells do can be relayed through any of your other stacks and then use their line-of-sight, either to hit an enemy stack or relay again.
• Leadership does not give bonuses to magic rolls
• Spells gain power if you spend more than one round casting them. The detail for how is noted in the ‘Empower’ section under each sample spell. If the empowering allows multiple targets or extra options, these can be declared when the spell is activated (i.e., you don’t have to decide early.)

Here are some sample spells, but feel free to discuss other ideas:
• Blast (fireballs, lightning bolts, etc.) – basic damaging spells. Kills 1d6/2 (round up) troops in a stack. If Defended, death toll is decreased by the Defended value. Note that there is no Defense roll to resist. If more deaths are rolled than in a given stack, the damage can bleed over to another stack in the hex. Empower: kill an extra 3 troops.
• Medic (healing) – healing spells. Restores 1d6/2 (round up) troops to health. Does not allow loopholes like splitting a stack of 10 into 2 of 5, then healing each 5 up to 10 (thus gaining 10 free troops.) If more healing energy is present than units to heal in a stack, other stacks in the same hex may receive the extra healing. Empower: heal an extra 3 troops.
• Wall Blast/Strengthen – as Blast or Medic, but focuses on damaging things like city walls or Siege/Artillery. Does 1d6+2 damage against structures, but 1d6/4 (round down) against stacks. (The Medic version can only restore structures/Siege/Artillery.)
• Magic Shield (buff) – places the Magic Shield status on a unit. Empower: the buff gives resistance against an extra spell.
• Blessed – as Magic Shield, but with the Blessed status.
• Enchant – places Enchanted on a unit. Base bonus is 2 points and lasts 4 turns. Empower: add +2 points and +2 turns to duration.
• Curse – as Enchant, but with the Cursed status.
• Scry – the casting stack gets to see as if at the target location (including making Spot checks). Empower: gains a +1 bonus to the Spot checks
• Enhance Vision – lets a stack get another Spot check, with a +5 bonus, on all its line-of-sight. Empower: can cast it on another stack in line-of-sight at the same time
• Veil – gives a stack a +5 bonus on its Stealth value. (Ends once it breaks Stealth.) Empower: can cast it on another stack in line-of-sight at the same time
• Fog of Confusion – enchants a location to make any stack that enters it is Surprised. You can select to protect your allies from this when cast. The enchantment lasts 2 rounds. Empower: cast it on another hex at the same time with +1 duration
• Frighten – lowers Morale by 1d6. Empower: cast it on another stack at the same time OR cause another -3 loss.
• Courage – raises Morale by 1d6. Empower: cast it on another stack at the same time OR add +3 Morale.
• Modify Land – lets you modify a hex, such as filling in a river with dirt, or letting a river flow into a hex, making it impassible, or making something rough terrain (costs an additional Move to move through, although stacks with 1 move can still move into or out of it) or defensible (+1 Defended to those in it). This spell can only target an area, not a stack. Empower: either lets the spell act violently enough that it can imitate another spell (such as Blast or Curse) on stacks within it or lets you effect an additional square.

Optional Parts: Diplomacy and Dungeon-Crawling
As mentioned above, you can integrate this into another system (or, perhaps rather, integrate another system into this) to allow the PCs to act directly, in dungeons or trying to mow down enemy forces to save the lives of their own men. Diplomacy could also occur, such as in-town info-gathering to recruiting other sides to asking enemies to turn and join you.

The 'Surrendering' mechanic (which I know is lacking any real math at the moment) could also come into play, with how you deal with prisoners: recruit, ransom, or execute.

Company Attributes and Treasury - the BIG optional part, and most in need of PEACH, I think

With this sub-system, you can use money to operate, customize, and grow you mercenary company.

Gaining Money
It costs money to run a mercenary company, whether or not you are in combat.
The general premise is that it should cost 500 gold to field a company of 50.
Money is generally gained in the following ways:
• Payment – you are paid to field your company and do a job. You can save money by fielding less troops, although this makes the chance of failure higher.
• Loot – if the enemy you defeat had a large store of treasure, you are generally allowed to keep it. (Soldiers are generally allowed to loot individuals they kill or individual rooms. To not allow this lowers your Morale by 1, but increases your loot.)
• Ransom – if you take prisoners, you can sometimes trade them for money. (Prisoners can survive on poor conditions, so there is no upkeep for prisoners.)
• Income – if you own a city, you get a certain revenue per month. This is an additional optional aspect a DM could implement.

Company Attributes
Your company has the follow attributes:

Leadership – equal to the Leadership value of its leader.
Morale – ranged 1-10, this is the base morale of your forces. This determines what the starting Morale scores for your stacks are when combat begins. A well-paid (representing also well-fed and rested) company generally has a morale of 10. Excessive losses in combat and certain story events can lower this, especially if the company does not have sufficient support staff.
Troops – the number of troops you command. These are allocated between your stacks. Note that not all troops need to be fielded in any given battle.
Troops not in combat get paid 1 gold per month.
Troops in combat get paid 10 gold per battle, plus whatever they can loot, instead of 1 gold/month.
Support – the number of support personnel on hand. The ratio of these to troops can impact morale. At 1.5:1 or higher, the forces can absorb minor discomforts without losing Morale. Below 1:1, Morale lowers by 1 since the troops have to take on additional duties. Below .5:1, Morale goes down by 2 as troops have to do many additional duties. (Support cost money, so effectively you are trading Morale for money.)
10 support staff cost 1 gold per month.
Specialist – the total rank of specialist support staff on hand. These are paid the same as fielded troops (10 gold per month). Each rank can represent an individual person, or multiple ranks can represent a highly skilled person. Only a few can fight, but they unlock special abilities or enhance certain abilities. (Or maybe I should keep it as none can fight, except Warlords, to keep things simple.)
Treasury – gold on hand.
Upkeep – monthly upkeep, assuming no battles. Equal to Troops + Support/10 + Specialist*10. Extra for warlords.
Stacks Known – number of different types of stacks you have, i.e., different allocations of points among the stack attributes. This is equal to Leadership or 5, whichever is higher, and can be increased by hiring Tacticians.
Designs Known – number of different siege/artillery units the company knows how to make. Essentially the same as stacks known, but for siege/artillery. Equal to 0 until you hire an Engineer, then equal to Leadership + Engineer rank.
Spells Known – equal to Leadership * 2, with bonuses due to Loremaster Specialists. You have this many spells categorized. You casters can change what their spells known are between battles, but only from this selection.

Recruitment: hiring a soldier costs 10 gold, although usually you can include this as the pay for the battle they are hired for (although waiting until the last minute can backfire.) Hiring a Specialist also costs 10 gold, and hiring 10 support staff costs 10 gold.

Sample Specialists

Sample Specialist:
• Spy – gives intelligence on an upcoming battle, which can include correcting incomplete or incorrect information given to the company.
• Diplomat – can handle diplomatic situations should your PC be not suitable. Roll 1d6 + Leadership + Diplomat rank, with a modifier for your reputation with the target (-2 to +2). Note that not every situation can be handled with diplomacy. Good & intelligent RP can make this unnecessary, but sometimes it can be used if you need your PC to be in battle and send the diplomats elsewhere.
• Loremaster – gives an extra 2 spells known. May be deployed with a stack that cast spells.
• Tactician – gives an extra 2 stacks known. Also, lets you retrain one stack per month into a different type per rank of Tactician. May be deployed with a stack with at least 2/1 in base Attack or Defense.
• Engineer – allows you to build siege or artillery. Your company can build one siege/artillery per week per engineer. This also determines how many types of siege units you can make: this is equal to Leadership + Engineer rank. Building a siege unit costs 25 gold.
• Medic – for each medic employed, you can heal 2 troops who have died. (At the end of battle, if you had any stacks wiped out, regain 2 loss troops.)
• Recruiter – helps you recruit soldiers cheaper. Recruitment costs go down by 1 gold, to a minimum of 1 gold. This does not lower the cost to field a unit or maintain Specialists, but does lower a Specialist’s cost for the first month.
• Weaponsmith – makes higher quality weapons. For each recruited, add .2 to the Attack rank of your troops. (Only whole numbers count, so this only helps with increments of 5.) May be deployed with a stack with at least 2 base Attack.
• Armorsmith – like weaponsmith, but with Defense. May be deployed with a stack with at least 2 base Defense.
• Warlord – this unit CAN be deployed along with a stack. He has a Leadership score equal to his rank. Warlords cost 10 gold per month like a normal Specialist, but cost 50 gold if deployed (this includes the 10 gold cost). Warlord Rank can be divided into multiple warlords to place with your team or as a single warlord with high Leadership.

Note: if your base is attacked, you can have a Specialist stack, holding your specialists. They get 1 Attack, 2 Defense, and 3 Move. Camp followers form a stack with 0 Attack, 0 Defense, and 3 Move. This can also happen if you attack an enemy camp.