Mass Combat


Determine the numbers and Combat Ratings of all units present in each army to determine the overall Combat Power of the armies. For example, an army consisting of 1000 conscripts with gunpowder weapons (CR3) and 100 Regulars with extensive equipment and training (CR9) would have a total Combat Power of 3900.

Give the more powerful army 10 tokens. Give the opposing army a proportional number of tokens based on it’s Combat Power. For example: If one army has a Combat Power of 10,000, and the other has 7,000, give the smaller army seven tokens.

Battle Roll

Once the odds are determined, both sides make opposed Knowledge (Battle) rolls, modified by any of the circumstances below:

Battle Modifiers
+1 The side with more tokens adds +1 for every token it has more than the foe each round
+1 / +2 / +3 Bonus for Light / Medium / Heavy artillery
+1 Army has cavalry brigade(s)
-1 / -2 / -3 Penalty if enemy has slight / minor / major terrain advantage
-1 or more Penalty equal to enemy settlement or terrain improvement Defensive modifier
variable Situational modifiers determined by GM

Armies with artillery can forgo all or part of the extra bonus to reduce enemy fortifications by an equivalent amount. For example: an army with Medium artillery attacking a settlement with a defensive bonus could reduce the Knowledge(Battle) check bonus to +1 or +0 to reduce the penalty from the enemy’s fortification by 1 or 2, respectively.

Each Battle Roll represents a day worth of fighting.

Siege Warfare

If one of the armies is in a settlement or terrain improvement that provides a defensive bonus, each army has the option to engage in siege warfare rather than full battle. If the attacking army decides to engage in battle, make the Battle Roll normally. If the defending army opts to enter combat but the attacking army wants siege warfare, they lose the benefit of their fortifications.

Siege warfare requires weeks rather than days, allowing other armies to interfere with the operation. Each week, the attacking army can make a Knowledge(battle) roll:

Critical Failure Attacking army takes 10% casualties from a failed assault, disaster, or bad luck
Failure No effect.
Success Reduce the defensive bonus by 1 for each level of artillery in the attacking army (eg -2 for Medium artillery)
Raise Reduce the defensive bonus by 1. Also reduce by 1 for each level of artillery in the attacking army

At the end of each week, either side of the battle may decide to attack, disengage (attacker only), surrender, or continue the siege. Heroes on either side of the battle may engaged in other activities to influence the outcome, as allowed by the GM (eg. sneaking into a settlement to burn down buildings or assassinate leaders).


The outcome of the Battle Roll determines the damage done to the enemy force. The side that wins the opposed roll removes one enemy token, +1 for each raise. Casualties are generally distributed evenly throughout the force.


Each round in which an army loses a token, its leader must check morale. This is a Spirit roll modified by the circumstances below and tactics used by the army. With a success, the army fights on and both sides make another Knowledge (Battle) roll as described above.

Failure means the army is defeated but the troops conduct an orderly retreat. Make one more Battle Roll and then end the fight. (A leader may voluntarily choose this option as well.)

On a result of 1 or less, the troops rout and the battle is over immediately.

Morale Modifiers
-1 For each token lost in battle so far
+2 The army is made up predominantly (75% or more) of undead or other fearless drones
+2 The army is within major fortifications, such as a
fortress or prepared positions
+2 The army cannot retreat
variable Situational modifiers determined by GM

Characters in Mass Battles

The heroes of your campaign aren’t likely to sit idly by while war rages around them. Fighters may want to charge the gates, wizards unleash fireballs into the masses, and a gallant knight may ride his trusty warhorse directly into the enemy formations.

Those who want to get involved can dramatically affect the results of the battle. Have each character make a Fighting, Shooting, or arcane skill roll (their choice) each action and consult the Character Results below.

+/-1 Add or subtract the number of tokens difference between the heroes’ side and their opponent.
+1 Add one for each Rank a hero has above Novice

Character Battle Results

Critical Failure The hero does something monumentally crazy, stupid or unlucky, subtracting -1 from his side’s Battle Roll. He suffers 4d6 damage.
Failure The hero is stopped by overwhelming numbers, an unfortunate tactical development, or bad fortune. He suffers 4d6 damage.
Success The hero fights well and adds +1 to his side’s Battle Roll, though he suffers 3d6 damage.
Raise The hero wreaks havoc, slaying enemy leaders and destroying important assets. He suffers 2d6 damage, but adds +2 to his side’s Battle Roll.
Two Raises The warrior covers himself in glory! Scores of foes fall before him and his success inspires his allies to fight like demons. His efforts add +2 to his side’s Battle Roll and he emerges from the fight unscathed.

Battle Aftermath

When one side routs, retreats, or runs out of tokens, the battle ends and casualties are removed. Some of the troops lost in the battle can be recovered as they regroup or receive first aid.

Roll 1d6 for each token lost. The victor recovers a lost token on a roll of 4-6. The loser recovers a lost token on a roll of 5-6. A routed army recovers tokens only on a roll of 6.

After the battle and once both sides have figured out how many tokens they lost, remove the actual casualties from their armies. The side that started with the larger force simply multiplies the number of tokens lost by 10%. Losing four tokens, for example, means the entire army suffered 40% casualties. The side with the smaller force must figure out what percentage of his men are left. If he started with 8 tokens and ends up with only 2, for example, he’s lost 75% of his force. Once you’ve figured the total percentage of casualties to your army, distribute the losses among specific units as evenly as possible.

If an army is defeated in the field, the Kingdom suffers a -1 penalty to Loyalty until the unit is returned to full strength. If an army is destroyed (reduced to 0 tokens) in a battle, the Kingdom takes a permanent -1 penalty to Loyalty, and -1 Fame.

Damaged armies can be returned to full strength be returning them to a settlement and using an Army Recruitment action to restore their strength. The settlement must have all requisite buildings to accomplish this. The cost to restore the army is equal to half its full cost multiplied by the percentage of casualties it has suffered, rounded down. For example: an army that cost 26 BP to produce and suffered 40% casualties would cost 5 BP to return to full strength. A damaged army cannot undergo training or upgrading of equipment until it is brought back to full strength. An army that takes more than 80% casualties cannot be rebuilt.

Razing Improvements

An army that spends one day in a single hex (without moving or fighting) can destroy all improvements in that hex.

If an army is successful in defeating the defenders of a city, they can spend two days in a district to raze it to the ground. This destroys every building (denying their bonuses to the kingdom), and increases Kingdom Unrest by 2. If the city is re-taken, buildings can be rebuilt as usual (paying half their BP cost).

Mass Combat

Conquest of the New World DSMfive DSMfive