View Full Version : Military Unit (Template, PEACH) (vers 1.1)

2008-03-15, 12:23 AM
Okay, I got to feeling that DnD didn't deal with large-scale battles well. I know that there are a lot of solutions out there; here's one more. It's long and kludgy, and I should trim it a bit. What I really want to keep is the fear effect (hey, if you're up against an entire army, it's just a WEE bit intimidating), the combat maneuvers, and the fact that outflanking the enemy can help rout them. (I'm thinking in terms of unit versus unit combat.)

Editted for fixes. New edits are in bold.

Military Unit:

A Military Unit is 10 or more creatures assembled for the purposes of combat and fighting as a cohesive whole. It can refer just as easilly to regular army, elite troops, or an angry mob. The rules which follow are for units of base creatures with fairly identical stats. The base creature must be of at least Small size; if it is tiny or smaller, use the swarm template instead.

Size: Special. See below.
Type: As base creature.
Hit Dice: As base creature's hit dice * number of creatures in unit
Speed: As base creature, but see below.
Initiative: Base creature, -5.
AC: See below
BAB/Grapple: As base creature.
Attack/Full Attack: See below.
Space/Reach: See below.
Special Attacks: As Base creature, plus Fear (ex), Volley, Combat Maneuvers
Special Qualities: As Base Creature, plus Numbers, Damage capping, Unit resistance, Unit Morale, Detachments
Abilities: As base creature.
Skills: See below. The extra hit dice do not result in extra skill points.
Feats: As base creature. The extra hit dice do not result in extra feats.
Environment: As base creature.
CR: As normal for that many of base creature's CR
Treasure: Standard.
Alignment: Base creature
Advancement: By number

Size, Speed, Speed: Units are generally Colossal in size or larger. It takes up an area equal to the number of creatures in it times the area the base creatures normally take up, but it is generally amorphous; within those limitations, it can change shape, so long as it remains contiguous; it can squeeze through any opening which the base creature can pass through. However, changing shape is a full round action which provokes an AoO, and squeezing through openings halves its speed while it performs the task. This is true of overland movement (such as along winding roads) as well as tactical. As the unit loses numbers (see below) its size will be similarly reduced.

Reach: Units have exactly the same reach as the base creature (factor in weapon's reach as well). Ignore the normal reach rules for colossal-sized creatures.

Attacks: Units cannot attack normally. They are limited to the following attacks and special attacks in combat: Volleys (see below), Bull Rush, Charge, Grapple, and Overrun.

AC: Units retain the AC of the base creature, unmodified for size of the unit. However, ranged attacks may reroll misses once against units.

Skills: As base creature. However, with so many people in the unit, the results become much more certain. In situations where a success by any member would grant the unit a success (such as spot or listen checks, where one person is enough to raise the alarm, or a knowledge check, where one well-learned individual can educate the rest), treat the unit as having rolled a natural 20. In situations where every person would have to make a check (such as a Balance check for moving under uneven ground) the unit always takes 10, even if it wouldn't normally be allowed to.

Numbers: A unit has an explicit number of creatures in it, be it 50 or 50,000. This number should be tracked as faithfully as HP. Additionally, it has a cap, equal to the average HP of the base creatures. For every increment-number the unit has lost in HP, reduce its number by that amount, representing individuals injured. If this damage is healed, the number of soldiers in the unit is adjusted upward appropriately. If a single attack should do some multiple of the cap in damage, PERMANENTLY reduce the unit's number by that multiple; this damage cannot be healed by any means, though any spare points of damage can be. This represents soldiers killed outright, and counts as such for any rules or special abilities (such as Cleave). (So, if 20 damage is dealt in a single attack and the cap is 6, 18 damage is permanent representing dead soldiers, and 2 is applied and can be healed normally.) Furthermore, units are affected differently by attacks with multiple targets (such as a sleep spell) or which affect a general area. A unit can count as up to its number of targets, and when such effects are dependent upon hit die (eg, turning), use the hit die of the base creature instead of the unit's. An area of effect attack strikes against the unit a number of times equal to the number of base creatures that would be in the affected area if the unit were treated as several individuals.

Damage Cap: Damage applied to the unit is capped at the number of creatures that would be affected (if they were represented by several individual creatures, rather than one large composite unit) times the unit's cap number. Extra damage is ignored. Generally speaking, effects which incapacitate but don't actually damage individuals within the unit (death effects, fear effects, confusion, paralyzation, so forth) cause the cap times the number affected. However, this HP loss only lasts as long as the effect which caused it. Those which only impeded individuals (entanglement, ability damage) only affect the unit if at least half of the unit is affected. This rule also applies to effects helpful to the unit, such as healing, Bless spells, and so forth.

Unit Morale: Units deal with fear a bit differently than individuals. A unit's members gain confidence from the sheer number of their allies. Against all fear effects, a unit applies a bonus (shown below) based on its numbers. However, it must make a successful will save or become shaken under any of the following conditions: at the begining of any round in which all creatures flanking it have a combined CR equal or greater to its own, and for each slot beyond the first it drops in the numbers chart below (so, if the unit starts at 130, it takes a save when reduced to 70, then 50, 30, etc.). Units reduced to below 10 break up and function as individuals (the number indicated below). Panicked units also break up and act as individuals, all of which are themselves panicked. The unit may also break up if reduced to 0 HP; this will not always mean that every member of the unit is dead, check if its HP was below average. When a unit breaks up, its members retain any statuses (such as panicked) that the unit as a whole had. Each individual's HP will have been reduced by (Number * cap) - Unit HP.

Fear: A large mob or army is an intimidating thing. Units exude an aura of menace as a matter of course instead of making specific intimidation checks. This ability is a completely natural fear effect, unaffected even by antimagic. It affects anyone which sees the unit and believes it to be unfriendly or worse. The victim must pass a will save or it becomes shaken; if it fails by more than 5, it becomes frightened, and if it fails by more than 10, it becomes panicked. Creatures must save against this effect under the following conditions: Upon entering the aura's range and detecting the unit for the first time within 24 hours, upon taking damage from the unit for the first time inside of 24 hours, and upon any affect which reduces the modifier of the victim's will save against the effect or increases the effect's DC. The range and base DC of the Fear power is given in the table at the end of this entry. Add the base creature's intimidation modifier (including cha and any other mods), to the base DC. As the unit's size is reduced by casualties, so to is the fear DC and its range. If the base creature has its own fear ability which affects the victim, add its DC as well against any victims within its range.

Volley: A unit does not attack normally. Instead, it makes an attack based upon its "footprint" -- its shape on the map. Normally this will take the form of natural or manufactured weapon attacks, but a unit of spellcasters could fire a volley of spells. This ability can also be used for non-attacks, such as healing, or buff spells, or for special attacks such as grappling or overrunning.

For ranged attacks, a volley targets a patch of terrain shaped identically to the unit and with each corresponding square within the target's range. Each square in this target area will correspond to a base creature in the unit; each such base creature in the unit assigns each of its attacks to a target in a target square corresponding to the one it occupies. Victims in each square gain advantages of cover, concealment, or other modifiers sepparately. All such targets are then attacked, and those hit receive damage from these attacks as normal.

For melee attacks, simply assign a target to each base creature, within the normal limits of its reach. When making an attack of opportunity, it also uses a volley, but this only affects the creature which provoked the AoO. Units may only make the normal number of AoOs against a particular target in a turn, but beyond that there is no limit to the number of AoOs they can make. (Thus, if 10 creatures move into contact with a unit with combat reflexes, a 15 foot reach, and a +1 dex modifier, and then attempt to start a grapple without the benefit of the Improved Grapple feat, each creature will provoke, and likely receive, 2 volley attacks of opportunity.)

For both melee and ranged attacks, individuals within the unit may choose not to attack (perhaps if the only possible targets are friendlies). Use the base creature's size modifier when attacking. However, any resources that would be expended in the volley (such as ammunition or memorized spells) are expended regardless of whether the individual participates in the volley or not. Resources are expended from the base creature, not from the unit as a whole; a volley of arrows uses up one arrow per creature, rather than one arrow total.

Use the highest number less-than-or-equal-to the unit size.
Number Base Fear DC Range Save bonus:
10 5 10 ft +0
13 6 10 ft +1
20 7 20 ft +2
30 8 30 ft +3
50 9 50 ft +4
70 10 70 ft +5
100 11 100 ft +6
130 12 130 ft +7
x 10 +6 x 10 +6

Detachments: Units may send off parties of up to eight individuals for purposes of messages, scouting, provisioning, or so forth. Temporarilly reduce the unit's number by the party's amount, and subtract the party's HP from the unit's, until the party returns.

Experience: The unit earns XP as a character of its base creature's ECL. Divide this experience evenly among all base creatures within the unit still alive after the encounter.

Mixed units: It is possible to make a unit up of differing base creatures. To do so, consider the "base creature" this template is applied to as having the MEDIAN attack, damage, reach, hit dice, abilities, modifiers, etc of all the creatures in the unit. In other words, if at least half of the base creatures in the unit have a speed of 20, treat the entire unit as having a speed of 20. If half of the creatures in a unit have longbows, count the unit as having longbows. If half of them have potions of cure light wounds, count the entire unit as having such potions. However, volleys can only be participated in by creatures with equipment capable of them. When determining which creatures die, the first casualties are removed from the most common type of base creature. In case of a tie, they are removed first from whichever has the worst stat resisting the attack (such as a save or AC) and, as a tiebreaker, from whichever group has the lowest HP. If this shifts the unit's median AC, the stats of the entire unit are affected accordingly.

Maneuvers: A unit gains special abilities, called combat maneuvers, similar to feats. A unit must train to gain a combat maneuver. To do so, it must spend 20 days training, for 8 hours a day, though the days need not be consecutive. At the end of the 20th day, the unit gains the maneuver; it loses it one year from the first day of training, unless it trains again to keep its skills up. It also loses the meneuver if, due to additions in numbers, more than half of its numbers were not there for all the training sessions. Possible maneuvers are listed below. Unless otherwise stated, each maneuver may be taken only once (though further training can be used to relearn forgotten maneuvers or reset the clock on known maneuvers).

Fire at will: When making a ranged volley attack, each base creature may shift its target square(s) by up to the attack's range increment in any direction. This shift may not increase the range penality.

Concentrate fire: When making a ranged volley attack, instead of assigning squares individual, the entire unit instead targets a burst within the target area. The burst must have a radius of at least 2 plus the unit's save bonus. It must have one ranged attack for each square in the burst. Every unit in an affected square must pass a reflex save (DC = 20 + the attack's modifier - victim's touch AC) or take damage as if hit by an attack. For every extra attack per square, the occupants of that square must pass another save and take damage from another attack on failure. Use the worst range penalty of all base creatures participating in the attack.

Shield Wall: If the unit is equipped with shields, half the unit may take the Full Defense action while the other half makes a Volley attack. The unit benefits from both. If the entire unit takes the full defense action, it gains cover in adition to the normal bonus. Furthermore, only one fourth of a mixed unit with the Shield Wall maneuver need be equipped with tower shields for the entire unit to count as so equipped.

Phalanx: When making a melee volley, if at least half the unit forgoes attacking, the rest of the unit gains a +2 circumstance modifier to strength.

Spear Wall: When the unit braces for a charge, any movement which enters its reach provokes an attack of opportunity.

Disperse: The unit need not remain in a coherent shape. Gaps equal to the size of the basic creature may be allowed between individuals. However, this maneuver cannot be performed with Phalanx, Shield Wall, or Spear Wall.

Combined Arms: Multiple friendly units with this ability within line of sight of each other count as single units with their combined total number for purposes of their fear affects, save bonus, and CR. In all other ways, they remain distinct.

Counter-Charge: The rear ranks of a unit are trained to charge forward to relieve the front ranks. The unit may count as charging in all respects without actually moving. This includes being able to charge opponents it is engaged in mellee with.

Staggered fire: When these units are equipped with weapons that require reloading, it may choose to divide a volley with these weapons into equal groups of however many turns it takes to reload, +1. The first part of the volley fires in that turn, the second part fires in the second turn, and so forth. After all volleys are completed, its ammunition will be reduced as if having fired one full volley, and . If the unit performs any action which would normally prevent it from attacking with those weapons or reloading, it loses the future prepared volleys and must wait until the end of the sequence to reload. (Thus, if 3 turns would have been required to reload, the volley is divided into four groups. One fourth fires in the first turn and one fourth in the next. If on the third turn the unit performs a double move instead, it loses its remaining two volleys of staggered fire. It does not count as having reloaded until after the fourth turn.)

Timed volley: These soldiers are trained to time their volleys, attacking in precise unison. Though no more damaging than ordinary volleys, the morale effect of a single wall of arrows or a synchronized thrust of spears dropping entire lines of troops simultaniously is terrifying. Whenever the unit makes a volley attack and a third of its attacks hit, it also makes a will save. On a success, its target must save versus the unit's fear effect.

Swift Marchers: Though no faster on a battlefield, the unit is trained for swift marches. It ignores the speed penalty for changing shape during overland movement.

Engineers: When settling in for a siege or a night, engineers have developed routines for creating field fortifications. Though these vary in nature, they will always provide cover while the unit defends them.

Cost to employ: Hiring a unit carries the same cost as hiring that many of the base creature. For each combat maneuver a unit knows, increase this amount by 10% of the base cost.

Example: Roman Legion

Numbers: A Roman legion numbers 1000 humans.
Base creature: 1st level human warrior, equipped with short sword, breastplate, 2 javelins, and a heavy steel shield.
Stats: str 13, dex 11, con 12, int 9, wis 10, cha 8. Size: Clossal, Space: 1000 5x5 squares, typically 100 files with 10 ranks. Speed 20, Skills: Intimidate (4 ranks), Profession: Soldier (4 ranks). Feats: Weapon Focus (short sword), Toughness.
HP: 1000d8 + 4000 (11,500, cap 8 hp), AC: 18, saves: Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +0 (+12 vs fear). Attacks: Javelin volley 1d20 + 1 (1d6 + 1 damage), sword volley 1d20 + 2 (1d6 + 1 damage). Grapple bonus: +9. Fear range: 1000 feet. Fear DC: 20. Combat maneuvers: Shield Wall and Engineers. CR: 21 Cost to employ: 360 gp per day.

Example: Spartans at Thermopylae (Ignoring the other Greek nationalities present)

Numbers: There were 300 Spartans at Thermopylae.
Base creature: 2nd level human fighter, equipped with short bronze sword, heavy bronze shield, and spear.
Stats: Str 15, Dex 14, con 13, int 8, wis 10, cha 12. Size: Colossal. Space: 300 5x5 squares. Speed 30, skills: Intimidate (5 ranks), Climb (5 ranks). Feats: Iron Will, Toughness, Toughness
HP: 300d10 + 4200 (4850, cap 18). AC: 14, attacks sword volley +3 (1d6 +1), Spear volley +3 (1d6 + 1) melee or thrown. Fear DC: 20 Range: 300 feet Combat maneuvers: Phalanx, Spear Wall, Shield Wall, Counter-Charge. CR: 12 Cost to employ: 252 gp/day

2008-03-15, 10:01 AM
Bravo, nicely done.

2008-03-15, 10:18 AM
This reminds me of the Mob template from DMGII, but more complex (in a good way. I think the Mob template oversimplifies). However, I think that not changing the AC of the unit is a little screwy... it seems to me like a Colossal-size unit would be hard to miss (and you have the re-roll with ranged attacks to help offset that, but I think you'd be better off changing the AC). Furthermore, how do you justify the fact that a single Fireball-type spell could kill off every one of those Spartans were they counted as individuals, but won't be nearly as effective as a group? The Mob template resolves this by saying that area-of-effect spells do +50% damage against the mob, and I'm not advocating this mechanic, but you should do *something*.

2008-03-15, 10:22 AM
Nice work here, just want to pick up on the AoO thing. You can only ever make one AoO against a given target for moving out of threatened squares, so the spiked-chain example is slightly wrong there- might want to change that.

2008-03-15, 11:30 AM
I was actually wondering if there was anything like this. Kudos.

2008-03-15, 11:35 AM
Regarding AC:

Yeah, this is a bit of a bad fit, but your version (which I considered first) didn't appeal either. Consider shooting an arrow at the legion. (I know, bad idea, but bear with me.) In theory, what happens here is that the arrow passes through the first rank. It either hits a soldier or keeps going into the second rank, where it either hits a soldier or keeps going, etc, until it plows into the ground or a soldier. But what happens when it hits a soldier?

Against the legion? CLANG. Thank you, cuiriass. Thank you, oversized honking shield.

You see, your typical bunch of soldiers will be gaining far more AC from armor bonus than dexterity, and that SHOULDN'T be negated by the freaking huge size. Applying the Colossal size penalty to AC would give the legion an armor class of 10 -- it's as easy to hurt them as it is to hurt an unarmored peasant! (Granted, they can take more DAMAGE, but still.) What's more, that size modifier makes no sense while in melee. In the general push and thrust of things, hitting an individual soldier should be no easier if he has a few hundred friends along, nor should he have a harder time hitting you.

Armor is one of those places where DnD generalizes a bit. You see, there's a distinction between hitting the target's sillhouette, and then having any damage carry through the armor. One requires accuracy as found in the BAB and the dex bonus to ranged weapons; the other requires power such as provided by the strength bonus for melee attacks. And you can see the effects of the generalization, too, with all the special rules surrounding touch AC, flat-footed AC, and denial of dex bonuses to AC. Normally this generalization is a good thing, it keeps the game simple and running. But here, it breaks down.

(Personally, I'd like an alternate system where armor gives DR, but you can ignore that DR if you beat AC by a certain amount, depending upon the armor's coverage, representing the ability to hit unarmored portions of the body. The more extensive the armor, the higher the number needed. Maybe I'll go write that up in another thread.)

I'm not saying my version is great. It isn't. It's one of the things that need fixing. But I don't think a size modifier is the fix.

Regarding Fireballs:

Okay, guess I wasn't clear in the damage cap section when I wrote

Damage applied to the unit is capped at the number of creatures that would be affected (if they were represented by several individual creatures, rather than one large composite unit) times the unit's cap number.
This is geared specificly towards AoE attacks like the iconic fireball. The fireball bursts in the middle of the phalanax of spartans. If they were treated as individual soldiers rather than a mob, the attack would affect dozens of them... let's say 40. (Individual attacks will vary.) Thus, the cap would be 600 points of damage, a significant chunk out of their HP, and...

Oh, wait. I never explicitly said to treate AoE attacks (and affects-x-number-of-creatures/HD attacks) as affecting more than one creature. Okay, yeah, that was a goof. Oops. Consider it fixed.

Regarding AoOs

You're right, I need to redo the example. The rule seems to be about right, though. If a single hero (foolishly) charges a legion and draws a volley of AoOs over there, it makes no sense for the front rank fifty files away to lose their AoOs against another such idiot charging in the sane round. Similarly, the Volley AoO ensures that someone charging into a wall of pikes risks getting stabbed more than once.

I'll go edit the entry with fixes in a minute.

2008-03-15, 11:38 AM
SWEET I HAVE BEEN looking for/trying to make something for months kudos and your are my hero

2008-03-15, 12:16 PM
Quiet1MI: I haven't had the opportunity to playtest this yet. Tell me how it works out.

2008-03-15, 12:42 PM
Regarding AoOs

You're right, I need to redo the example. The rule seems to be about right, though. If a single hero (foolishly) charges a legion and draws a volley of AoOs over there, it makes no sense for the front rank fifty files away to lose their AoOs against another such idiot charging in the sane round. Similarly, the Volley AoO ensures that someone charging into a wall of pikes risks getting stabbed more than once.

I think I could've worded that better... It's one AoO against a given target, so with combat reflexes and an infinite Dex you could make an AoO against an infinite number of dudes running past you, but only one per dude.

In fact, this template should be an exception to the normal rule- it makes sense that you get multiple attacks for moving to them, but only one attack per soldier in the unit, if you see what I mean.