Quick Mass Combat Rules and Even Quicker Mass Combat Rules (at the bottom)

Mass Combat

I have yet to fully test these rules and see if they work or, in fact, suck a big donkey dong…  Feel free to give feedback.

Mass Combat Rules

Macro Level


Players can communally control the units (or rolls), or just take turns.

Units are in measures of 5, 10, 20.   This is abstract, and just to illustrate how big the army is.

Units represent HP.  (IE- if you have two units, you have 2 HP).

Each unit equals +1 to attack roll.  As units are lost, so is the modifier to attack.

Each unit is represented by die: d4, d6, d8, d10, and d12 (see below).



Goblins, skeletons, peasants, zombies, small animals, etc.


Trained solders, orcs, medium animals, etc.


Elite knights, ogres, sorcerers, lycanthropes, etc


Trolls, large animals, vampires, etc.


Tide Turners (see below)

Being cool and creating awesome ideas gives +1 or +2 to roll.  This can be rallying the troops with Saint Crispin’s Day speeches and promises of amazing beer or something else that is clever.

Being lame and boring gives -2 (steeper penalty for being a putz).

Shit like ballistas, ground soaked in tar to light on fire, traps, etc.  That gives +1 each.

Roll each and add/subtract modifiers.  Higher roll wins.  Subtract 1 unit/HP.  Ties mean nothing happens.

Each round is measured in time equal to amount representing each unit- IE 5 min for 5 per unit, 10 min for 10 per unit, etc.

Tide Turners are shit like dragons, bad ass knights riding wyverns, or Goblins riding on Trolls are a d12.  They count as 1 for 1 unit, have 5 HP and +5 to attack (initially).  These are rolled separately.

There is no initiative order.  When fighting each unit rolls against the other.  See example below.


Every round shit can go crazy and awry with magic, beasts, arrows, etc flying all over the place.

Roll a d6

1-4- Battle progresses normally.

5-6- Incident!

Incident!  (Roll 1d8)

1) Spell explosion rips through the battlefield!  Roll 1d6 1-2) -1 from your army!; 3-4) -1 from enemy troops!; 5-6) -1 from both groups!

2) The horror of battle begins to take a toll on moral! Roll 1d4) Even: -2 to your next roll; Odd) -2 to the enemies next roll.

3) Someone makes a great speech or engages in a truly heroic act and bolsters the units!  Roll 1d4) Even: +2 to your next roll; Odd) +2 to the enemies next roll.

4) Misfire!  A trap goes off damaging some of the troops!  Roll 1d4) Even: -1 from your army!; Odd) -1 from enemy troops!

5) The battle presents too good a target for these opportunists!  Some nasty creature joins the fray as a Tide Turner fighting both sides!

6) A cleric is able to give much needed aid to units!  Roll 1d4) Even: +1 to your army!; Odd: +1 to enemy troops!

7) Reinforcements arrive just in the knick of time!  Roll 1d4) Even: +1d3 units to your army!; Odd: +1d3 units to enemy troops!

8) Clusterfuck!  Roll twice on this table!

Microlevel– players can opt to go “into” combat and control things minutely as their individual characters.  This is resolved per normal combat rules.  Fighting and killing leaders should be handled on the micro level.

Combat Example

A human garrison of 25 troops have fallen under attack by 20 goblin raiders and a goblin riding a troll.  The humans have five units (5HP and an attack of +5).  The goblins have 4 units (4HP and +4 attack).  The Tide Turner has 5 HP and +5 attack.

The human fort has a ballista and several fire traps spread out in the field (this gives +1 each to the humans).

First round: Humans roll 1d6 and get a 5 for a total of 12 (+5 for attack, +1 for the ballista, and +1 for the fire traps).  The goblins rolled a 2 for a total of 4 (+4 for attack).  The humans had the higher roll, effectively killing one unit of the goblin troops.  Now the goblins will have +3 to attack.

Now the Tide Breaker wades in and gets a 6 for a total of 11 (+5 to attack).  The humans roll a 5 for a total of 12 (as before).  The humans win again, and take 1 HP off of the Goblin riding a Troll.

Before Second round: Rolls a 3 on a d6 for complication, no incident.

Second Round: Player suggests throwing rocks over the side of the walls- decent idea, gets +1 for the round.

Humans roll a 6 for a total of 13 (+5 for attack, +1 for the ballista, +1 for the fire traps, and +1 for the throwing rock idea).  The goblins roll a 4 for a total of 7.  The humans kill another unit of the invading goblins.

The troll riding goblin rolls a 12 for a total of 16 and the humans roll a 4 for a total of 12.  The tide turner kills a unit of humans in a bloody, messy rage.

The players decide to go into combat as normal and take control of their characters and deal with the troll riding goblin.

And so on and so on…

Even Quicker Mass Combat Rules

This will require up to nine dice of a particular type that represents the chosen unit (IE- d4 for goblins, d8 for trained knights, etc.).

Each die represents 5, 10, 15, 20 units.

The army with the least amount is the max amount of dice rolled (IE- Goblins have 10 troops, for 2 dice.  The humans have 15, for 3 dice).  For every unit amount above the lesser army, gain +1 to roll.  Roll each and calculate modifiers.  Each high cuts a lesser.  Ties mean no one is lost.

Example: Goblins roll 2d4 and get a 4 and a 2.  Humans roll 2d6 and get a 4 and a 1 equaling a 5 and a 2 (+1 to each roll for having one unit over).  The Goblins lose one die.

Next round the goblin rolls 1d4 and the human rolls 1d6 (+2 for having two additional units).  Keep resolving.

Author: wrathofzombie

I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn.

4 thoughts

  1. I dig this. It really is as advertised and very workable. I like the way you use “Tide Turners.” That’s a nice touch.

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