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Thread: Mass Battles

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    Senior Member Delazar's Avatar
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    Mass Battles

    question that arose during last session (we play by the book, ADnD 2e):

    Mass Battles:
    During the "Attack Phase", we had a units of Cavalry charge a units of Infantry, the result was "R" - so, the Infantry is supposed to Route in the "Moral Phase".

    Does that mean that the Infantry can still attack the Cavarly, since we're in the "Attack Phase", and the "Morale Phase" only comes after all the attacks have been resolved?

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    I haven't looked at 2e in a while, but while noting that whatever your DM decided was correct and if it was fun then it was fine anyway it looks that you resolve the clash in that way.

    Basically you are resolving a single clash in 2 stages, first 'how much damage do the infantry take from the knight's charge' and secondly 'how much damage did the knights take as they plowed in' as a simultaneous 'attack'. I don't think that the mechanic is supposed to represent 'we attack them and a sequential then they attack us' - it's just that the mechanic is resolved that way for simplicity rather than trying to work out damage for both sides in a single roll.

    It looks to be designed so that it is possible for both sides to be destroyed, both to rout, etc, etc - and some of the more historic types around here could probably reel off battles in which the relevant mutual defeat occurred.

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    Senior Member Jaleela's Avatar
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    IIRC, both sides get their attack, and then the results determine what happens in the morale phase.

    From what you said, it looks like the cavalry delivered a devastating blow, and the infantry was routed.

    Look to the Wars of the Roses:

    The battle of Towton (1461) Pure viciousness (though the entire series of wars of succession could be considered that way)

    The Battle of Tewkesbury (1471) comes to mind where a route occurs.

    In the end, the DM may make the final call as to what is a more logical outcome to the battle in the game.
    d'estre bons et leaulx amis et vrais ensemble et de servir l'un 'autre envers et contre tous

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    Senior Member Delazar's Avatar
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    I'm the DM, and indeed I ruled that both units get their attack, and then Morale is resolved.

    Indeed, it makes more sense that the whole action is happening simultaneously.

    Going by the same logic, if the result is "D" for Destroyed, would the Infantry still get to make their attack before they die?

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    Senior Member Jaleela's Avatar
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    I think they still get their attack...I don't have the 2E rulebook at hand.

    I tend to use an initiative roll to determine first move on the battlefield. If the attacker gains the initiative and strikes and the defender ends up with a (D) result; dependent on the troop type: elites, irregulars, etc... dictates how I will determine if they get to counter the attack.

    Irregulars and levies, I'd typically say "no" as they are not seasoned troops and might be made up of farmers and townsmen. So, against a seasoned unit, they get wiped out practically to a man. Mercenaries, "yes", but their damage on the attacker might be less severe (ignoring Rs and Ds on the attacker).

    Elites, I allow to get the attack on a (D) result, as they should, due to their status, get to take some the attackers with them, which may result in mutual destruction of both units and be written up as a particularly bloody incident. Publius Horatius Cocles at the Bridge type encounter or the "Battle of Thermopylae".

    Terrain is also a factor. Attacking a position where the army has the high ground might lessen "D" and "R" type responses.

    Having an army who has managed to get themselves trapped with their back toward a river may increase the chances of "R" and "D". I think this happened to the Burgundians during the Swiss campaigns in the 1470s.

    I have a player who will also run down units that result in an "R" result in an attempt to destroy them before they can escape the battlefield. Battle of Towton comes to mind. The army that breaks and runs tends to take severe casualties.

    I tend to run more of a historical wargamming type battlefield than a card based one. ;-)
    d'estre bons et leaulx amis et vrais ensemble et de servir l'un 'autre envers et contre tous

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    Senior Member Delazar's Avatar
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    great tips!

    But since I'm re-learning the game after 12 years, and my players never played it, I'd like to go "by the book" at the beginning, before we start house-ruling stuff

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    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
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    Page 71 of the rulebook states:

    F: A miss and the attacking unit falls back in the Morale Phase
    H: A hit. The defending unit rotates its card so that the reduced values under the 1 Hit arrow are at the top of the card
    R: A Hit; the defending unit is routed in the Morale Phase
    D: Defending unit is destroyed outright, regardless of the number of hits it may have.

    'F' and 'R' specifically state that their 'special' result occurs in the Morale phase, 'D' by contrast says that the result (destroyed) happens 'outright'. From that I would expect that in a R result the defending unit 'gets its attack' before the 'R' result is effected in the Morale phase, but in a 'D' result the defending unit is just 'gone' - no attack of its own.

    That suggests that the system allows a unit to get a 'clean sweep' suffering minimal losses to simulate the cases of a complete collapse of the opposing unit - I don't have battle cards to analyse the results properly but from the one on page 71 (warcard 102) I'd presume that a 'D' result is fairly rare and requires a positive result.

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    Senior Member Delazar's Avatar
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    this seems to give a big advantage to the "attacker", since he always goes first.

    IIRC, the "attacker" is always the "invading" army?

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    Senior Member Jaleela's Avatar
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    If you go by the book, all phases go in the order the rule book indicates:

    2E Rule Book (pg. 68)
    Sequence of Play

    A. Movement Phase
    1. Attacker Moves
    2. Defender Moves

    B. Attack Phase
    1. Resolve magical attacks
    2. Resolve stationary missile attacks
    3. Resolve charge attacks
    4. Resolve melee attacks
    5. Resolve moving missile attacks

    C.Morale Phase
    1. Routed units flee
    2. Units forced to fall back do so
    3. Routed units attempt morale checks
    4. Surrender or withdrawal.

    D. Repeat each round until the battle is resolved.

    So I would tend to think that the unit is completely destroyed in the attack phase. Moment of impact. This is typical of historical examples of charges against infantry caught on the move or not prepared to receive cavalry.

    I agree with Andrew, however, from a home point of view, if you have mercs going up against elites, I would tend to give the elites their attack before they're swept away.

    Pg. 64 The elements of the war move

    The aggressor is always the regent who occupies more of his foe's provinces. <snip>...the aggressor -- regardless of whether he started the war. If both regents hold equal amounts of territory, the regent who declared war first is the aggressor.

    In the end, it's your decision on the final outcome, just be consistent with how you deal with the results.
    Last edited by Jaleela; 04-19-2011 at 10:54 AM. Reason: added more info.
    d'estre bons et leaulx amis et vrais ensemble et de servir l'un 'autre envers et contre tous

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    Senior Member Delazar's Avatar
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    ok, I had forgot that charges are in any case resolved before melee, so indeed, if charging cavalry destroys infantry, infantry will not have a chance to attack back.

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