Your characters are not yet leaders. When they become such, the rules for governing their nation will be posted here.


Most of the mechanics for raising and maintaining armies are not yet relevant. They will be posted here once the player characters become leaders. However, the mass combat rules will soon come into effect:

Mass Combat

The D&D 3.5 rules are designed with small skirmishes in mind, not armies of hundreds or thousands. For the sake of the group’s sanity, this campaign’s mass combat rules add an additional layer of abstraction which quickly resolves combat between large groups while retaining most of the familiar combat mechanics.

Three types of unit exist in the mass combat rules: armies, siege weapons, and heroes. Aside from a few special rules which apply to the latter two, their behaviors in combat are fairly similar. Units have the following statistics:

Size: (Army only) The number of units comprising this army. Larger armies gain an army size bonus to certain statistics, as shown on the table below:

Number of units Size bonus
10 (minimum) +0
25 +2
50 +4
100 +6
200 +8
500 +10
1000 +12
2000 +14
.. ..

Simply having a certain number of troops available does not allow a nation to field an army of arbitrary size; significant training and logistics are required in order to unite hundreds of soldiers into an effective fighting unit. Untrained militias, or the soldiers of beginning nations, are capped at 10; this number must be increased by researching military tactics.

Type: (Army only) The individual unit comprising the army – for example, “human warrior 1” or “ogre.” Recruiting units more powerful than basic human warriors requires diplomatic connections and/or researching certain technologies.

Unit hit points: The unit hit point plays a similar role to the standard hit point, although in the case of armies it represents both damage suffered by each individual soldier and gaps in the army caused by dead soldiers. To calculate an army’s UHP, multiply the number of soldiers by the average hit points of each and divide by ten. A ten-person squad of first-level warriors might have five UHP, but a legion of one thousand would have a whopping 500 UHP. Heroes’ UHP is simply their normal hit points divided by ten.

Unit armor class: For armies, the UAC represents both the difficulty of striking an individual soldier and striking enough individuals to impact the army as a whole. Their UAC is calculated by taking the AC of an individual soldier, then adding their army size bonus. Heroes and siege engines use their normal AC. Units occupying fortifications or high ground can receive UAC bonuses ranging from +1 (wooden peasant dwellings) to +10 (adamantium barricades).

Unit attack bonus: The UAB represents how effective a unit is at dealing damage to a large number of foes. An army’s UAB is determined by adding its size bonus to the CR of an individual soldier, plus any modifiers for equipment. Heroes have a more difficult time affecting entire armies: their UAB is given by their attack bonus, divided by five, multiplied by the number of attacks they can make per round.

Initiative: Similar to a character’s initiative modifier. Heroes use their normal initiative; armies without a special commander use the initiative modifier of an average soldier; armies with a special commander use the sum of that commander’s INT and CHA modifiers, as well as any modifiers from special commander abilities.

Tactics: (Army only) Some armies are trained in special tactics. See the Tactics section below.

Special abilities: Any special abilities possessed by the unit; spellcasting, energy drain, etc.

Speed: The number of squares a unit can move per round of battle. Unlike standard D&D combat, each square is fifty feet by fifty feet. When determining unit movement rates, divide the standard movement rate by fifty and round up.

Morale: (Army only) Morale determines how easily an army can change tactics and how much damage it can take before fleeing.

Upkeep: Not used yet.

Mechanics of Mass Combat

A mass combat proceeds much like its smaller-scale cousin; units act in an initiative order, move on a tactical grid, and attack one another. Unless otherwise specified, assume tactical modifiers still apply on this scale – units can be flanked for a -2 penalty to UAC, units can charge, etc. Units do provoke attacks of opportunity, but only for movements of more than one square.

Like characters, units receive both a standard action and a move action (though they cannot make full attacks). To resolve an attack by one unit on another, roll 1d20+the attacker’s UAB. If this check is greater than the target’s UAC, the unit deals damage equal to the difference. On a natural 20, the unit always deals at least one point of damage.

When a unit is reduced to zero UHP, it is destroyed; heroes are reduced to -1 hit points and suffer a crippling injury, while armies are routed and siege weapons dismantled. Some individual soldiers may survive an army’s destruction, but they are gravely wounded and useless for the remainder of the battle. (If an individual soldier is important for some reason, roll a d100: 1-50 indicates that they are killed, 51-85 indicates that they are taken prisoner, and 86-100 means they escape alive)

Most armies will retreat before they hit zero UHP, however. Once an army is reduced to below one-third of its UHP, it must make a morale check: roll 1d20 plus the army’s morale modifier. If it has a commander, add the commander’s CHA bonus as well as any special commander morale modifiers. If this check meets DC 15, the army holds together; otherwise, it flees. This check must be repeated each time the army is dealt damage, until that particular battle ends or the army is healed to over 1/3 of its maximum UHP.

An army heals a number of UHP per day equal to its size bonus (minimum 1) but only if it does not move or fight. Heroes heal as usual, and siege weapons can be repaired by using the Craft skill or certain spells.

Special Rules for Heroes

The DM determines whether a given character is important enough to qualify as a hero in any given battle. Obviously the players always count, but generally only characters of significantly higher level than any army’s soldiers are considered heroes. (For example, a second-level paladin would be considered a hero next to a beginner nation’s armies of warriors and commoners, but an advanced nation might be fielding whole legions of them) Large and powerful monsters such as dragons should almost always be considered heroes – and if not, whoever is facing an army of dragons should probably reconsider their life decisions.

A lone hero is quite vulnerable on the battlefield. Luckily, she can join up with an army to provide some protection and boost its capabilities. An army can support one hero per three size categories (round up). Any of the heroes in an army can act as its commander, providing bonuses to initiative and morale. Damage dealt to an army containing a hero is applied to the army first under normal circumstances; however, at the start of her turn a hero may declare that she is putting herself in a vanguard position. All damage dealt to the army until her next turn is first applied to the hero, who had better have a stellar AC. A hero can act independently of the army – for example, to cast a spell – or cooperate with it in an attack, adding her UAB to the army’s.

Given the wide variety of spells, it is impossible to create ironclad rules for how they affect units. However, generally the following applies:

  • Single-target spells are only effective against heroes (or in some cases siege weapons). Disintegrating one enemy soldier is all fine and dandy, but his 1,999 comrades will still be glad to beat your face in. A single-target spell can be targeted on a hero within an army, but the hero is considered to have cover.
  • Spells which specify multiple targets must be able to hit at least half of the individuals in an army in order to affect that army.
  • Area-of-effect spells might be effective against an army, but larger armies are more likely to shrug off their effects (blinding two dozen soldiers with a Glitterdust would cripple a militia band but is unlikely to hamper a legion of one thousand). Armies receive a bonus on their saves against area spells equal to their army size modifier. Spells with larger radii are more likely to be effective – increase the save DC by 1 per ten feet of radius.
  • Spells which heal or inflict damage deal one UHP per ten ordinary hit points.

Army Tactics

All armies know the following tactics. Any commander who can communicate with them can order a change in tactics once per round, but the army must make a DC 6 Morale check to shift tactics successfully.

  • Standard Combat: No bonuses or penalties.
  • Defensive Combat: Increase the army’s UAC by 2 and decrease its UAB by 2.
  • Shield Wall: Increase the army’s UAC by 4, but it cannot attack this round. Obviously the soldiers must be equipped with shields.
  • Reckless Combat: Increase the army’s UAB by 2 and decrease its UAC by 2.

The following tactics are available to specially-trained armies, or armies lead by trained commanders:

  • Hit and Run: This army does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
  • Hold the Line: This army does not need to make morale checks to avoid routing.
  • Last Stand: This army gains +2 UAB when at below half its maximum unit hit points.
  • Overrun: Only available to mounted units. Increases UAB by 2 against non-mounted enemies.
  • Trickery: This tactic may only be used once per combat. The army can surprise a target, adding 4 to its UAB that round.
  • Brutality: Increase the army’s UAB by 4 and decrease its UAC by 2.
  • Improved Shield Wall: Increase the army’s UAC by 8, but it cannot attack this round. The soldiers must be equipped with large or tower shields.
  • Sniper Fire: An army attacking with ranged weapons doubles the UAC bonus it receives from cover.


From Ashes Kentington