Alternate Mass Combat Rules

Battles are resolved as a series of turns, and each turn consists of the following steps:

1) Declaration: Each player states whether they'll be in the reserves (the least combative area), disengaged, engaged, or heavily engaged (the most combative). Two characters can choose to remain together, in which case they use the aid another rules and suffer the same penalties / participate in the same opportunities as each other. If circumstances allow, a player can also choose to flee the battle altogether, though this might result in a negative for their side if the Storyteller feels the situation warrants it. An unconscious character does not participate in that round, and could die if not saved. A character can attempt a Wits + War test to determine the advantage (see step 2). This test is normally difficulty 2, but circumstances (such as visibility) could apply penalties or modify the difficulty.

Also during the declaration round characters can activate any scene length buffs they may have. These last until the end of the current turn. If a character is capable of temporary flight that ability must be activated here in order to be used during step 3 (see below).

Finally, if a character has a charm or other attack capable of being used in mass combat (such as Peony Blossom Attack or Death of Obsidian Butterflies) that charm may be activated here. Should the GM determine that the character's level of engagement and the charm's effect coincide, that character will provide a benefit to the end of turn roll in step 6 (asuming they survive the turn of course). This benefit depends on the ability used, but a general guideline is to give an extra 1-3 dice depending on the number of targets it can affect. IF the action has a DV penalty, apply that penalty to the character's Perception + War roll in step 3. For specific changes to War charms, go here.

2) Advantage: The GM states whether the players' side is winning, losing, or even this turn. This will depend on the starting state of the combat in the first round, and be determined by the End of Turn rolls in subsequent rounds. For instance, if you're within 2 of one another, that's even. If not, one side is winning and the other losing. Also, pre-planned events could change that, such as reinforcements or air strikes happening on round X to boost one side.

3) Determination: Each player rolls Perception + War, factoring in any appropriate specialties or excellencies. Cross reference the total with that character's side's advantage level and their depth of engagement on the chart below. If two or more characters are together they use a single roll, with the aid another benefits if appropriate. The bonus or penalty for any duels or heroic opportunities applies only once.Th





A character with flight can choose to move up or down one row on the chart, but risks more damage if the enemy has a means of dealing with aerial opponents. For example, an opposing force that includes flying units might increase the rolled wound level by 1, while an opponent with anti-aircraft artillery might increase it by two. In any case, the original roll is used to determine the number of wounds received, regardless of which row is used to determine dice and encounters.

4) Resolution: Each battle should have a wound level, determined by the GM before the battle begins. Each turn's resolution resolution means taking a multiplier of that wound level, -1/2 the character's DV + Lethal soak. This number should be high enough that it can hurt the most defensive characters when heavily engaged, kill the least defensive if heavily engaged and they get a bad roll, or damage the least defensive if they're in the reserves and get a bad roll. If an entire opposing force is wielding weapons that deal bashing, aggravated, and / or piercing damage then use those soaks instead. Liekwise, an entire force with undodgeable or unblockable attack would force the use of charms or particular defense values (though this is rare in the second age, if it'spossible at all). Reflexive defenses can be activate in this step to mitigate the damage, though their cost is multiplied by 1/2 the wound level received.

The chart might also indicate a duel or a heroic opportunity as before. Duels are (usually) one-on-one fights with an enemy. You can refuse, but it might cause social problems later or morale issues now. Heroic oppourtities are semi-random events that can befall a character. They're usually pre-plotted, but which event happens when is up to the GM. Each event could benefit your side, force you to stay at a certain declaration level for a while, give rewards such as new relics or allies, and more. For example, here are a few heroic opportunities that appear in various L5R adventures.

5) Reward: Survival gives bonus dice as shown on the chart. Heroic opportunities and duels may also provide bonuses unique to that scene. Dying during the round or failing in the duel or heroic opportunity instead grants those bonuses to the opposition. Alternative outcomes may involve temporary buffs (finding a weapon cache or having a friendly spirit awaken flames your sword), lowering your side's difficulty or increasing the other's, rescuing people to gain a Guide or Followers, etc.

6) End of Turn: Both sides roll Charisma + War, including bonuses or penalties from the PCs' actions. This roll is a standard extended contested roll as outlined in Scion: Hero. The interval is always one scene (meaning each turn is its own scene). Dificulties and thresholds are set by the GM prior to the battle's start and should be based on the difficulty of achieving the side's goal as well as the differences in troop quality. If one side hits their threshold, they win. If both sides hit their threshold, the side which reaches it by the largest margin wins. In the event of a tie, continue rounds until one side gets more successes than the other.

Battle Turn Resolution
Your army is You are in this part of the fighting
Winning Reserves Disengaged Engaged Heavily Engaged
Even Reserves Disengaged Engaged Heavily Engaged
Losing Reserves Disengaged Engaged Heavily Engaged
Roll Perception + War 0   3 Wounds 4 Wounds 5 Wounds 5 Wounds 6 Wounds 7 Wounds
+0 Dice +0 Dice +1 Die +2 Dice +2 Dice +3 Dice
Duel
1   2 Wounds 3 Wounds 4 Wounds 4 Wounds 5 Wounds 6 Wounds
+0 Dice +0 Dice +1 Die +2 Dice +2 Dice +3 Dice
Heroic Opportunity
2   2 Wounds 2 Wounds 3 Wounds 4 Wounds 4 Wounds 5 Wounds
+0 Dice +1 Dice +1 Die +2 Dice +3 Dice +4 Dice
Duel Duel
3   1 Wound 2 Wounds 2 Wounds 3 Wounds 4 Wounds 4 Wounds
+1 Die +1 Dice +1 Die +2 Dice +3 Dice +4 Dice
Duel Heroic Opportunity Heroic Opportunity
4   1 Wound 2 Wounds 2 Wounds 3 Wounds 3 Wounds 4 Wounds
+1 Die +1 Die +2 Dice +3 Dice +4 Dice +5 Dice
Duel Heroic Opportunity Duel Duel Duel
5-6   0 Wounds 1 Wound 2 Wounds 2 Wounds 3 Wounds 3 Wounds
+1 Die +1 Die +2 Dice +3 Dice +4 Dice +5 Dice
Duel Heroic Opportunity Heroic Opportunity Heroic Opportunity Heroic Opportunity
7-8   0 Wounds 1 Wound 1 Wound 2 Wounds 2 Wounds 3 Wounds
+2 Dice +2 Dice +3 Dice +4 Dice +5 Dice +6 Dice
Heroic Opportunity Duel Duel
9+   0 Wounds 0 Wounds 1 Wound 2 Wounds 2 Wounds 2 Wounds
+2 Dice +3 Dice +3 Dice +4 Dice +5 Dice +6 Dice
Heroic Opportunity Duel Heroic Opportunity Heroic Opportunity
Wounds: Each wound inflicts a multiple of the battle's wound factor. Lower the damage by the character's Lethal Soak + 1/2 their highest DV.
Dice: These bonus dice apply to the contested roll at the end of this round. If the wounds taken reduce the character to unconsciousness, the opponent gains the bonus dice instead.
Duel: An opportunity for a duel with an opposing commander or powerful minion. If refused, the opponent gains the bonus dice for this turn instead of you.
Heroic Opportunity: An opportunity for heroism that can change the tide of the battle, gain allies, etc. If refused, the opponent gains the bonus dice for this turn instead.