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View Full Version : DM Help Lvl 1: Defending town from citizen siege..



DragonkingUs20
2014-06-14, 01:49 PM
In the latter part of my first session, I would like to have the PCs defend the inner walls of a small town against an uprising of citizens. The PCs will currently be employed by the city as guardsmen. After the citizens begin murdering non-human civilians in the streets while attempting to batter down the inner-city gates, the commander of the guard orders the guards to open fire. The PCs have a choice to follow the commander's orders or to follow the previous orders given by the priest and current leader of the town to hold fire.

My concern is that I've never ran a large combat scene like this before.. Should I use modified mechanics or something? Or just let the PCs operate under normal rounds while the battle is waged around them? Thanks!

Calen
2014-06-14, 02:00 PM
Use a large sized swarm as your mobs, that could make it a lot easier to breakdown the combat to something manageable.

Slipperychicken
2014-06-14, 02:09 PM
The Mob Template from DMG2 was made for this. It basically treats 50 medium sized creatures as a single swarm-like monster, with a ludicrous grapple modifier, swarmlike automatic trample damage, and lots of hit points. Once its hit points are depleted, the mob disperses with ~30% casualties, ~30% wounded, and 30% healthy. I would houserule that using nonlethal damage against it would instead disperse it with minimal casualties.

DragonkingUs20
2014-06-14, 02:59 PM
Thanks, that will definitely help!

Thrudd
2014-06-14, 04:18 PM
Assuming you're playing D&D 3.5/PF, you haven't specified. Are you giving the players control over an entire unit or more of guards, or just their characters? How big is this town, how many participants will there be in the battle? What sort of positions will they be holding?

There's no way 1st level characters are surviving long if they get caught up in the crowd, or face an angry mob going by the rules in DMG II, but those are exactly the rules you would use for this. If the mob reaches the PC's, it will likely kill them all in one round with +22 attack and 5d6 dmg.


I think the only way 1st level characters are going to survive this is if
A.) there aren't actually that many civilians attacking the gate, so it isn't a mob, just a large-ish combat with a small number of trained warriors vs a larger number of weak/untrained and uncoordinated attackers.
B.) they don't stay in one place, but are sent out into the town (or flee the gate) as a squad to fight small groups of rioters.
C.) You use morale rules or give the civilians rather low morale, ie after a few people are hit by arrows and probably a couple die, they disperse and the attack on the gate is over.

One way you might run it, if they decide to stay at the gate with the other guards, is to use option C. But have multiple mobs arrive. A mob arrives at a decent distance (at least long or medium arrow range), and starts moving toward the gate. Roll a handful of d20's for the other guards, and let the PC's take their shots as well. Decide how many hits/HP the mob will take before it disperses. The mob will reform, or a new mob will attempt to rush the gate a die roll of rounds later. If you want the gate to eventually get overrun, let the mob throw stones or shoot some of its own arrows sometimes, gradually picking away at the guards and/or give each subsequent mob a higher HP/death tolerance. Make sure the players know somehow, that if the mob reaches them, they will have little to no chance of survival. As the guards get worn down from stones and arrows and the mob continues to get closer and closer on each surge, the PC's will hopefully decide to flee before it's too late.

Mark Hall
2014-06-15, 12:33 AM
My usual suggestion is the "cinematic approach"... set up a few different scenarios and play them through in normal rules. So, there's a night attack. Or they have to deal with a makeshift siege engine. Failure to deal with it means that future encounters are more difficult; several successes means they "win".

Slipperychicken
2014-06-15, 01:15 AM
To make things harder on the PCs, you could have a sympathetic guardsman (or some form of saboteur) unlock the gates to let the mob push through. Rioters could also hurl stones at law enforcement while pushing burning debris into the walls to try and burn them down.

EDIT: And if the PCs seem to be doing too well against the mob, guardsmen might also back down, unwilling to fight the people they swore to serve.



There's no way 1st level characters are surviving long if they get caught up in the crowd, or face an angry mob going by the rules in DMG II, but those are exactly the rules you would use for this. If the mob reaches the PC's, it will likely kill them all in one round with +22 attack and 5d6 dmg.

That's precisely why the PCs are manning the inner walls: so they (and the town's leadership) don't get torn to shreds by a rampaging lynch-mob. The mob, with its 20ft move speed, is more of an environmental hazard than a real opponent.

Thrudd
2014-06-15, 11:34 AM
To make things harder on the PCs, you could have a sympathetic guardsman (or some form of saboteur) unlock the gates to let the mob push through. Rioters could also hurl stones at law enforcement while pushing burning debris into the walls to try and burn them down.

EDIT: And if the PCs seem to be doing too well against the mob, guardsmen might also back down, unwilling to fight the people they swore to serve.



That's precisely why the PCs are manning the inner walls: so they (and the town's leadership) don't get torn to shreds by a rampaging lynch-mob. The mob, with its 20ft move speed, is more of an environmental hazard than a real opponent.

Yeah, it makes more sense if they are on top of the wall with battlements, not down in the thick of it.

DragonkingUs20
2014-06-15, 10:07 PM
I plan to have them within the inner walls manning the battlements. The mob will be engaging them with rocks & arrows, a burning cart ramming the inner gate, and ladders being flung up to the wall in attempt to overcome it. They will not be the only guardsmen manning the walls however, but I want to ensure that they feel like their decisions make impact.. If they neglect the ladders or the ramming cart for example, the mob will make way into the courtyard and start a bloody battle.

If they cannot thwart the mob soon enough, citizens will begin carting several onagers (thanks for the siege weapon suggestion) from the main gates towards the inner walls.

Your guys' suggestions are awesome! This is of great help!

Fire Lord Pi
2014-06-20, 12:08 PM
This sounds really awesome! I prefer to run lower level characters and I love the idea of a mobbing city.

This swarm-style mob sounds interesting, but if I were you I would only use this for the most clustered part of the mob. I would have the PC's doing battle with individuals who managed to scale the wall or traget them with a projectile. But if the PC's did end up on the ground, the swarm is the way to go.

Most of all, I would add a lot of fluff and flavour to the mob. I'm sure you've worked out their mentality, but what the mob was yelling and how they were lead would really give this battle the feel it needs, IMO.

DragonkingUs20
2014-06-20, 01:24 PM
It's 100 years into the end of the world in this campaign.. This particular town's citizens are primarily humans (being a resilient and adaptive race). The human citizens in this town have collectively focused their displeasure of the town's coming demise on the non-human inhabitants and refugees. Because of this, the mob will be driven by racial hate. The raging mob will be pulling non-human shopkeepers and citizens out of their dwellings on the mainstreet and clubbing them to death while the siege occurs. The PCs will have to face the ladders, ram, volleys of stones & arrows, and the light catapult as individual enemies, and the dispersal of the mob all together will be based on the mob template