Dungeon Master Assistance

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5th Edition D&D – For Free

Dragon_5th

I am very pleased, and presently surprised, at Wizards of the Coast releasing the core rules for 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons as a free PDF download. They are calling this “Basic Rules for D&D” and it is scheduled for release on July 3, the same day as the release of the Starter Set.

Mike Mearls said on “Legends & Lore” today, “For the D&D basic rules, our initial release will include character creation. It features the human, elf, dwarf, and halfling for races, along with the cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard classes, all from 1st level to 20th level. As the Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide near completion, we’ll add to the basic rules with more material to grow it into a complete game. Our goal is to continue to make updates to the basic rules for D&D until the end of the year, at which point it will be feature complete.” (Read “A Bit More on the Basic Rules for D&D” here.)

So we will have to wait until the end of the year for the full version that will include more monsters and more information on running your own campaign.  I can hardly wait to download this.

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Time Travel – for D&D Next

Download a free copy of Time Travel for D&D [ here].

This is a complete re-write of the Time Travel supplement to third edition Dungeons & Dragons that I published [here] in 2012. This completely abandons those rules in preference to these new simplified rules and brings them in line with D&D Next (the current playtest version of v5.0). You can use these rules with v3.5 with a little adjustment.

Consider this an interim version of these rules. I will make any needed tweaks to them and re-publish them when the official v5.0 rules are published.

I got a lot of good information from “Chronomancer” published by TSR in 1995. I am using it’s concept of Temporal Prime as a tool for time travel. I also used some of the spells presented there, with a little modification.

As always, all comments are welcome.

Enjoy!

Mass Combat Rules – for D&D Next

Download a free copy of D&D Wsrs for D&D Next here [D&D Wars Next].

This is a complete re-write of the D&D Wars supplement to third edition Dungeons & Dragons that I published here[D&D Wars] in 2012. This re-write simplifies those rules and brings them in line with D&D Next (the current playtest version of v5.0). You can use these rules with v3.5 with little or no adjustments.

Consider this an interim version of these rules. I will make any needed tweaks to them and re-publish them when the official v5.0 rules are published.

As always, all comments are welcome.

Enjoy!

Addendum: On page 13, it says” For every 10 points healed, a counter is added back to the unit.” That should instead say “A counter is added back to the unit every time the number of hit points healed is equal to the maximum number of hit points in one counter.”

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New Module – “Fires of Hell” for D&D Next

Download a free copy of this adventure here [Fires_of_Hell-Nextl].

This is a complete re-write of the module I posted last year. I updated the entire module to work with D&D Next rules. It also includes converted monster specs – on new color reference sheets.

This  adventure (like the 3.5 version) takes place after a Total Party Kill (TPK).  I modified an old AD&D adventure (The Fires of Dis) to accommodate a group of DEAD PCs to earn a second chance by fighting their way through the first layer of Hell to retrieve a stolen artifact.

 

Comparing D&D Lite to D&D Next

DNDNext

D&D Next is the play test version of the next (v5) version of D&D. It addresses many of the issues I have with v3.5 (I never cared for v4).

D&D Lite is a set of “House Rules” that I have published here, that are intended to simplify and speed up play of v3.5 D&D.

D&D Lite was designed to meet the following criteria:

1. “Character creation and promotion should be simple, fast and easy.” – D&D Next does this, and also provides a lot of customization options at character creation for those who want it.

2. “The rule set should be fully compatible with other v3.5 stuff (adventures, sourcebooks, etc).” – D&D Next is not fully compatible. It feels a lot like a streamlined and improved version of v3.5. It should be very easy to convert adventures or other game materials from 3rd edition D&D to D&D Next.

3. “Complicated rules should be simplified to the point where you can play 90% of the time without having to look up a rule.” – D&D Next nails this. The rules are much simpler than 3rd edition D&D.

Below are some D&D Lite rules followed by comments on how D&D Next addresses these issues.

D&D Lite: No Multiclass characters.

D&D Next: Multiclass characters are optional. By frontloading the character creation you can get pretty much any type of character you want to play without multiclassing.

My thoughts: I had to restrict multiclassing in order to eliminate feats. D&D Next accomplishes what I was after without restricting character development. I like it.

 

D&D Lite: No Feats.

D&D Next: Feats are optional. If you do use them, you get to choose one feat at level 1, 3, 6, and 9 for a total of 4 feats.

My thoughts: My problem with feats is that there were too many of them and they over complicated the game. I can live with characters having 4 feats.

 

D&D Lite: No selection and distribution of Skill Points.

D&D Next: No skill points. Your character starts with four skills of your choice, from a much shorter list of skills. At levels 7, 12 and 17 you can add one more skill or improve one you already have. All skill checks are ability checks. If you happen to have the skill involved, you add 1d6 to your d20 die roll.

My thoughts: I wanted to get rid of skill points, but I couldn’t do it and still use 3.5 rules. This new way of dealing with skills addresses all of the issues I had with them. I like it.

 

D&D Lite: No Armor or Weapon Proficiencies.

D&D Next: Your character is proficient with certain weapons and armor depending on his class. Using weapons he is not proficient with is done at a disadvantage.

My thoughts: While not as simple as my system, it is much simpler than the 3.5 system, and the weapons are either simple or martial. This is very workable, fast and easy. I like it.

 

D&D Lite: No separate rules for Bull rush, Disarm, Overrun, Sunder, Grapple or Trip. To accomplish any of these you use a “heroic action”.

D&D Next: You can attempt any of these as an improvised action. Some classes are especially good at Bull rush, Disarm, and Trip. The rules for grapple have been greatly simplified.

My thoughts: D&D Next “improvised actions” are almost identical to D&D Lite’s “heroic actions”. How could I complain about that? I like it.

 

D&D Lite: No Attacks of Opportunity.

D&D Next: Attacks of Opportunity are almost eliminated. D&D Next reduces them to only be used if a hostile creature that you can see moves out of our reach.

Mt thoughts: To get rid of attacks of opportunity I had to require a heroic action to do anything that would provoke one. Dropping them altogether and still not allowing you to simply run past the guards with impunity is a good move. I like it.

 

D&D Lite: Simplified the rules for Turn Undead.

D&D Next: Simplified the rules for Turn Undead.

Mt thoughts: I tried to keep the results about the same as standard 3.5 rules. D&D Next just came up with a much simpler solution. I like it.

 

D&D Lite: Dropped the rules for nonlethal damage and implemented a simpler solution.

D&D Next: Dropped the rules for nonlethal damage and implemented a simpler solution.

My thoughts: D&D Next’s solution is simpler than D&D Lite’s solution. I like it.

 

D&D Lite: Character alignment is optional. There are no alignment related game rules or effects.

D&D Next: Character alignment is an important aspect of the game.

My thoughts: This was one of the hardest changes to implement in D&D Lite. I made this change primarily because of some unbalanced spells, such as “detect evil”, but the concept of good vs. evil and chaotic vs. lawful is so ingrained into D&D I was considering changing this. D&D Next corrects this at the source, by re-writing the spells so “detect evil”, for example, becomes “detect good or evil” and instead of allowing you to “sense the presence of evil”  you “perceive a strong concentration of good or evil as well as creatures formed by them”.  This is a subtle but important difference. I like it.

 

D&D Lite: Each of the classes has specific abilities (like feats) that they receive at pre-determined class levels, thus eliminating the need for feats.

D&D Next: Does the same thing, but offers more options in the form of backgrounds and sub-classes.

My thoughts: Thisallows the player to customize his character more than allowed in D&D Lite. I like it.

 

Conclusion: If they don’t mess it up, D&D v5 should be the game that I was hoping v4 would have been. I will quit using D&D Lite and whole heartedly endorse v5.

 LONG LIVE DOUNGEONS AND DRAGONS!

Fantacy Adventure Module – “Fires of Hell”

fires-of-hellDownload a free copy of this advanture here [Fires of Hell].

This adventure takes place after a Total Party Kill (TPK).  I modified an old AD&D adventure (The Fires of Dis) to accomoate a group of DEAD PCs to earn a second chance by … well you will see.

It is a version 3.5 D&D adventure for a party of any size and any level (1 to 20).

Let me know what you think about it.

Iconic Sorcerer

Thinking of playing a Sorcerer ? Here is an excellent article regarding the pros and cons of playing a Sorcerer : Sorcerers with Class By Skip Williams.

Here is the information for playing an iconic Sorcerer character. Start with my post on Iconic Characters, then add this specific information.

Hit Die: d4

Class Skills: Bluff, Concentration

Class Knowledge: The planes

Spells: The sorcerer can cast any spell at any time. He doesn’t have to prepare or select his spells ahead of time, but can simply select which spell he wants to cast when he casts it. This is limited only by the number of spells of each level he is allowed to cast each day and which spells he knows. As he increases his level, he selects more known spells from the sorcerer/wizard spell list.

Special abilities: The following are the special abilities available to sorcerers. The abilities are listed under the level that they are acquired. Where an ability is described as (ref PHB), you should refer to that ability’s description in the players handbook.

1st Level
Base Attack Bonus +0, Fort Save +0, Ref Save +0, Will Save +2
Spells Known: 0 (4), 1st (2)
Spells Per Day: 0 (5), 1st (3)
Spell Penetration: You get a +2 bonus on caster level checks (1d20 + caster level) made to overcome a creature’s spell resistance.
Familiar: A sorcerer can have a familiar. (ref. PHB)
2nd Level [1,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +1, Fort Save +0, Ref Save +0, Will Save +3
Spells Known: 0 (5), 1st (2)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (4)
3rd Level [3,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +1, Fort Save +0, Ref Save +0, Will Save +3
Spells Known: 0 (5), 1st (3)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (5)
Magical Aptitude: You get a +2 bonus on all Spellcraft checks and Use Magic Device checks.
4th Level [6,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +2, Fort Save +1, Ref Save +1, Will Save +4
Spells Known: 0 (6), 1st (3), 2nd (1)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (3)
Ability Score Adjustment: Add 1 to any ability score.
5th Level [10,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +2, Fort Save +1, Ref Save +1, Will Save +4
Spells Known: 0 (6), 1st (4), 2nd (2)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (4)
6th Level [15,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +3, Fort Save +2, Ref Save +2, Will Save +5
Spells Known: 0 (7), 1st (4), 2nd (2), 3rd (1)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (5), 3rd (3)
Greater Spell Penetration: You get an additional +2 bonus on caster level checks (1d20 + caster level) made to overcome a creature’s spell resistance.
7th Level [21,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +3, Fort Save +2, Ref Save +2, Will Save +5
Spells Known: 0 (7), 1st (5), 2nd (3), 3rd (2)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (4)
8th Level [28,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +4, Fort Save +2, Ref Save +2, Will Save +6
Spells Known: 0 (8), 1st (5), 2nd (3), 3rd (2), 4th (1)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (5), 4th (3)
Ability Score Adjustment: Add 1 to any ability score.
9th Level [36,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +4, Fort Save +3, Ref Save +3, Will Save +6
Spells Known: 0 (8), 1st (5), 2nd (4), 3rd (3), 4th (2)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (4)
Lightning Reflexes: You get a +2 bonus on all Reflex saving throws.
10th Level [45,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +5, Fort Save +3, Ref Save +3, Will Save +7
Spells Known: 0 (9), 1st (5), 2nd (4), 3rd (3), 4th (2), 5th (1)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (5), 5th (3)
11th Level [55,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +5, Fort Save +3, Ref Save +3, Will Save +7
Spells Known: 0 (9), 1st (5), 2nd (5), 3rd (4), 4th (3), 5th (2)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (6), 5th (4)
12th Level [66,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +6/+1, Fort Save +4, Ref Save +4, Will Save +8
Spells Known: 0 (9), 1st (5), 2nd (5), 3rd (4), 4th (3), 5th (2), 6th (1)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (6), 5th (5), 6th (3)
Ability Score Adjustment: Add 1 to any ability score.
Iron Will: You get a +2 bonus on all Will saving throws.
13th Level [78,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +6/+1, Fort Save +4, Ref Save +4, Will Save +8
Spells Known: 0 (9), 1st (5), 2nd (5), 3rd (4), 4th (4), 5th (3), 6th (2)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (6), 5th (5), 6th (4)
14th Level [91,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +7/+2, Fort Save +4, Ref Save +4, Will Save +9
Spells Known: 0 (9), 1st (5), 2nd (5), 3rd (4), 4th (4), 5th (3), 6th (2), 7th (1)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (6), 5th (5), 6th (5), 7th (3)
15th Level [105,000 Xh]
Base Attack Bonus +7/+2, Fort Save +5, Ref Save +5, Will Save +9
Spells Known: 0 (9), 1st (5), 2nd (5), 3rd (4), 4th (4), 5th (4), 6th (3), 7th (2)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (6), 5th (5), 6th (6), 7th (4)
Great Fortitude: You get a +2 bonus on all Fortitude saving throws.
16th Level [120,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +8/+3, Fort Save +5, Ref Save +5, Will Save +10
Spells Known: 0 (9), 1st (5), 2nd (5), 3rd (4), 4th (4), 5th (4), 6th (3), 7th (2), 8th (1)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (6), 5th (5), 6th (6), 7th (5), 8th (3)
Ability Score Adjustment: Add 1 to any ability score.
17th Level [136,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +8/+3, Fort Save +5, Ref Save +5, Will Save +10
Spells Known: 0 (9), 1st (5), 2nd (5), 3rd (4), 4th (4), 5th (4), 6th (3), 7th (3), 8th (2)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (6), 5th (5), 6th (6), 7th (6), 8th (4)
18th Level [153,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +9/+4, Fort Save +6, Ref Save +6, Will Save +11
Spells Known: 0 (9), 1st (5), 2nd (5), 3rd (4), 4th (4), 5th (4), 6th (3), 7th (3), 8th (2), 9th (1)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (6), 5th (5), 6th (6), 7th (6), 8th (5), 9th (3)
Improved Counterspell: When counterspelling, you may use a spell of the same school that is one or more spell levels higher than the target spell.
19th Level [171,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +9/+4, Fort Save +6, Ref Save +6, Will Save +11
Spells Known: 0 (9), 1st (5), 2nd (5), 3rd (4), 4th (4), 5th (4), 6th (3), 7th (3), 8th (3), 9th (2)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (6), 5th (5), 6th (6), 7th (6), 8th (6), 9th (4)
20th Level [190,000 XP]
Base Attack Bonus +10/+5, Fort Save +6, Ref Save +6, Will Save +12
Spells Known: 0 (9), 1st (5), 2nd (5), 3rd (4), 4th (4), 5th (4), 6th (3), 7th (3), 8th (3), 9th (3)
Spells Per Day: 0 (6), 1st (6), 2nd (6), 3rd (6), 4th (6), 5th (5), 6th (6), 7th (6), 8th (6), 9th (6)
Ability Score Adjustment: Add 1 to any ability score.

Animal Companion / Familiar Character Sheets

Animal-Sheet

Animal-Sheet

This is a character sheet for animal companions and familiars for Dungeons and Dragons Lite.

This is a multi-layer PDF file. When you open it, it will be unreadable until you turn off some of the layers. To use it simply turn off all of the layers except for those that contain the information you desire.

1) For a blank sheet – turn off all of the layers except for the “Sheet” layer.

2) Turn on the layer “Animal Companion – Wolf”  for a ready-to-play wolf animal companion.

-or-

2) Turn on the layer “Familiar-Rat” for an almost ready-to-play rat familiar. It has the information filled in for a normal rat, but you will need to adjust its statistics based on your player character’s as explained in the 3.5 Players’ Handbook.pdf-xchange_1

pdf-xchange_2

Please let me know if you discover any mistakes, or if you think I should have created these differently.

UPDATE: There is now a fillable version of this popular file – Find it on this post: Animal Companion / Familiar Character Sheets – Fillable

UPDTATE 2: By request – you can now download a completely blank version (no layers) for those of you who prefer to print out a bloak sheet and fill it in by hand. Click on this link  animal-sheet-blank

Fast-Play Character Sheets

Character-Sheet

Human-Sheet-Front                   Human-Sheet-Back

Half-orc-Sheet-Front                 Half-orc-Sheet-Back

Halfling-Sheet-Front                  Halfling-Sheet-Back

Half-elf-Sheet-Front                  Half-elf-Sheet-Back

Gnome-Sheet-Front                  Gnome-Sheet-Back

Elf-Sheet-Front                          Elf-Sheet-Back

Dwarf-Sheet-Front                  Dwarf-Sheet-Back

 

These are fast-play first level character sheets for Dungeons and Dragons Lite.

They are multi-layer PDF files. When you open them they will be unreadable until you turn off some of the layers. To use them simply turn off all of the layers except for those that contain the information you desire.

1) Download the front and back sheet for your character’s race.

2) For a blank sheet – turn off all of the layers except for the “Sheet” layer.

3) Turn on the “Class” layer for the class you are going to play to get all of the standard information, including the default equipment, for your character. You can print this out and it will be ready for you to add a background skill and to roll your ability scores. Everything for a first level character will be filled in that is not dependent on your ability scores.

4) Turn on the “Abilities” layer for the class you are going to play to get a ready-to-play character sheet. Everything except the character’s name, sex and description will be filled in and ready to use. The “Abilities” layer and the “Class” layer must both be for the same class or the numbers won’t add up correctly.

5) Optionally – on the Back sheet – you can turn on a “Sketch” layer for your character class. This will give you a drawing of your character. (These were all found on the internet, converted to black and white and scaled to fit on the sheet. They are all male characters.)

EXAMPLE: If you want a ready-to-play first level Half-orc Monk character. Download the files “Half-orc-Sheet-Front.pdf” and “Half-orc-Sheet-Back.pdf”. Open both of them using Acrobat Reader. On the Layers menu turn off (by clicking on the little eye beside the layer name) all of the layers except for these: “Sheet”, “Race_Half-orc”, “Class-Monk”, and “Abilities-Monk”. On the Back sheet, you can turn on the layer “Sketch-Monk” for a drawing of the character. Print both sheets (they are designed to print on the front and back side of a single sheet). Now all you have to do is fill in the name and sex and you are ready to play. The character’s description on the back side has been left blank for you to describe him as you see fit.

 

BEHIND THE DOUNGEON MASTER’S SCREEN

(For those of you that are interested in what I did and why I did it this way.)

For abilities I used this default ability array: 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8

This makes for interesting characters with everyone having some ability that they excel at and one that they are very bad at. With most of the abilities above average this makes for heroic characters.

I then assigned the abilities (highest to lowest) based on the character’s class.

Barbarian, Fighter, Monk: STR/DEX/CON/WIS/CHA/INT

Bard, Sorcerer: CHA/DEX/CON/INT/STR/WIS

Cleric, Druid: WIS/CHA/INT/STR/ DEX/CON

Paladin:  CHA/STR/DEX/ INT/WIS/CON

Ranger, Rogue:  DEX/STR/WIS/INT/CON/CHA

Wizard: INT/DEX/CON/WIS/CHA/STR

 

I tried my best to make the abilities work well for each class. I am sure others might have assigned them differently.

On a side note – I originally intended to have at least one class have an ability score of 8 (a -1 ability modifier) for each of the abilities, but I decided not to give anyone a score of 8 in Dexterity. Strictly interpreting the rules, if your character’s dexterity score is very low he is easier to hit if he is aware of the attack than if he isn’t! This is the result of a negative DEX modifier on his armor class. This reminds me of Jar Jar Binks leaning into the punches, but I think that even his flat-footed AC would be lower than his normal or touch AC.

Next I applied the standard ability score modifiers for each race.

Then, based on their ability modifiers, I modified or calculated:

– Saving throws

– Initiative (Dex)

– Armor class (Dex) [and (Wis) for monks]

– Hit points (Con)

– Melee weapon attack (Str)

– Ranged weapon attack (Dex)

– All of the skills [I selected a skill that I thought would be useful for a background skill]

– Loads (Str)

I also gave the classes these default Alignments:

Barbarian, Chaotic Neutral / Bard, Chaotic Good / Cleric, Matches his Deity / Druid, True Neutral / Fighter, Lawful Neutral /Monk, Lawful Neutral / Paladin, Lawful Good / Ranger, Neutral Good / Rogue, Chaotic Neutral / Sorcerer, Chaotic Neutral/ Wizard, Lawful Neutral

 

A lot of people are not familiar with multi-layer PDF files, but if you have any trouble turning layers on and off just let me know.

This gives you a total of 77 different ready-to-play characters.

Please let me know if you discover any mistakes, or if you think I should have created these differently.

D&D Wars – Mass Combat Rules

War_book_cover

D&D Wars – Front Cover

[There is an updated version of these rules available here: D&D Wars ]

Download these mass combat rules here (free): WAR

D&D Wars is a supplement to third edition Dungeons & Dragons that provides a set of mass combat rules for conducting battles with units as small as one to armies numbering in the thousands. D&D Wars are not simply armies making battle with each other. It is armies intermixed with monsters and NPCs. Added to this mix is a group of PC heroes doing what they can to change the tide of the war.

–My goals in creating these rules —

– The rules must be compatible with Dungeons and Dragons version 3.5.

– There must be rules for creating armies comprised of units of various sizes and compositions.

– It must have consistent rules for scaling the battle from a small group of villagers with torches and pitchforks all the way up to epic battles with thousands of soldiers on both sides.

– The rules must accommodate individual monsters wandering across the battlefield as well as other NPCs and PCs that are not part of the units.

– It must use standard combat rules without modification as far as possible.

– To this end:

  • It uses a standard 6 second combat round.
  • Creatures occupy the standard amount of space. The size represented by a 1” square is larger than the standard 5 ft (15 ft. being typical). Thus accommodating larger size armies.
  • Movement, Armor Class, Hit Points and Attacks/Damage for individual creatures that are not a part of a unit remain unchanged.
  • Movement, Armor Class, Hit Points and Attacks/Damage for one counter (representing several creatures that cover 1 square as part of a unit) will be the same as for a single standard creature. That way when counters of one unit attack counters of another unit, standard combat rules apply with very few exceptions.
  • Individual creatures that are not in a unit can attack, and be attacked by, the creatures in a unit. In either case it will be creatures attacking creatures. A simple conversion is done to calculate the amount of damage.
  • To speed up play, because of the potentially large number of units, monsters, NPCs, siege weapons, and PCs involved, each of them is restricted to only one action (move, attack or defense) each round. Also creatures with multiple attacks each round (except for PCs) will get only one attack action.
  • Then of course there must be special morale rules and rules for how to handle magic spells cast by or against units.
  • Throw in some rules for siege engines and I’m done.

Before creating these rules, I tried to find out if someone else had already done this, and I found several who had.

First, there are several excellent wargame systems. A mass combat system for an RPG and a wargame are not the same thing. Excellent wargames don’t necessarily deliver as RPG mass combat systems so I passed on them.

Second, I found several homebrew systems. Most of these are of the “treat a unit as a really large monster” variety. These all work for their games, of course, but most fall short of what I was looking for.

Third, there are a few serious, published attempts at creating RPG mass combat rules.

The best of these are described below in no particular order.

__________________________

Adamant Entertainment’s “Warpath

This is a Pathfinder supplement.

Even though it is not specifically for v3.5 it is close enough with only minor adjustments.

What I like:

It is an excellent, well thought out system. It uses a clever idea of making each 1” square represent 10 feet and each unit be represented by a 3”x6” index card.

It also contains information on the upkeep of an army, mustering armies, supplying an army and siege warfare. There is an alternate way to quickly resolve mass combat in only a few rolls of the dice.

It uses a standard 6 second combat round.

It is well presented and I got a lot of good information from here.

Why I didn’t use it:

It assumes that the PCs are commanders of the army, or at least unit leaders. There are no good rules to allow a PC to act independently from the unit (other than being a solo unit).

There are no rules to deal with units in combat against individual monsters or heroes.

It doesn’t scale well for different size battles. The rules for larger battles are unsatisfactory. It simply recommends that you use larger unit cards and to “be sure you have the space available” for all of the additional space it will take up on the battle matt.

_____________________________________________

Mongoose Publishing’s “Mass Combat

This is a supplement to Conan The Roleplaying Game which is v3.5 compatible.

What I like:

This is one of the best set of rules that I found. It does a good job of integrating v3.5 rules into a set of mass combat rules.

They have good rules for resolving magic use against units and for war machines.

It treats units as a group of counters, with each counter representing a number of individuals.

It uses a standard 6 second combat round.

Why I didn’t use it:

It relies heavily on unit formations, unit faces and a special “surge” attack. I wanted to avoid having facing rules. D&D 3.5 has no facing rules for creatures, so I didn’t want to introduce this into my mass combat system.

It is a little vague on how much space a counter covers.

Units do not make saving throws, but always take the average amount of damage they would have received if each individual had made a separate saving throw.

There are no rules to deal with units in combat against individual monsters or heroes.

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Wizards of the Coast’s “Complete Warrior

This official D&D accessory contains a chapter on Fantasy Warfare.

What I like:

It has a very good overview of how one can integrate warfare into a standard D&D campaign.

It has a good list of ways PCs can tern the tide of battle, with a table of possible missions and mission complications.

It would be good to use if the war is simply going on around the PCs.

Why I didn’t use it:

It doesn’t have any mass combat rules.

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Udo’s D20 Mass Combat

This is a small (5 pages) document that attempts to bring mass combat to d20 games.

What I like:

It scales up nicely. One 1 inch square can represent a 5, 25 or 100 ft. square.

It uses standard rules for the most part.

Why I didn’t use it:

It uses a 0-10 scale for health and attack damage, rather than standard hit points.

Any monster or character would have to be converted to the 0-10 FSP (Force Strength Points) system for both hit points and attack damage.

The system, although workable, is a little too rules light for my taste.

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Races of War’s Mass Combat Minigame

A 3.5e Sourcebook

“It’s a mini-game inside regular 3.5e that has been designed for simplicity and a minimum of bookkeeping.”

What I like:

It introduces a morale score (similar to Hit Points). When the unit’s morale score reaches 0, the unit flees form the battlefield.

Why I didn’t use it:

It uses squares that represent 50’ x 50’. This is workable, but I wanted more flexibility for larger or smaller armies.

It doesn’t use a simple initiative order, but each army acts in an order depending on its position and type of attack.

The rules for attacking a unit with spells (other than damage causing spells) are turned into damage causing spells or have no effect.

It has no rules for anything other than units or PCs (No rules for monsters or siege weapons for example).