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Battle Question


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I'm reading the battle rules in Pendragon 5e and was wondering about some details of First Charge and Melee rounds.

My impression is the First Charge is a one-off opportunity to charge and roll a Lance skill vs. whoever you happen to be charging then you have the rest of the battle rounds in a a series of Melee combats. What I don't understand is are these rounds all full combats vs. a particular random foe that you play out as a regular combat encounter? I can read these rules as being an abstraction of a single melee round of an exchange of blows and then moving on to Melee round two, etc.

I wish I had an example of an army battleĀ to look at to get a sense of what I should be doing.

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The battle rules do get expanded on a bit in the book of battle, but I believe the general representation is the same.

Generally each round of battle represents 1 hour of fighting with a single roll.

The first charge is a chance to charge with your Spear Expertise/Lance skill, and possibly with a bonus, depending on if you're army's commander's battle roll beat the other army commander's battle roll.

After that - options for each 1 hour round are dependent on the player's unit commander's battle roll - which then dictate whether or not the unit is in close combat (fighting with spear/sword), or able to charge again (with a new charging bonus). If a player impassions - it only lasts for one of these battle rounds, and passions can only be used once each per battle.

A lot of people also interject moments of drama into a battle - trying to rescue a particular lord who has been unhorsed, or attacking an enemy commander - and in those cases, they sometimes will go to a traditional pendragon combat sequence.

But Your Pendragon May Vary. My advice, find which style suits your players, and lean into that. In my own games, we often have a combination of the two styles.

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BioKeith got it right. Each Battle Round is an abstraction covering a chunk of the battle, usually around 0.5 - 1 hour. One opposed Weapon roll (assuming one opponent) and that is it. Then the ebb and flow of the battle tends to push the combatants apart, and new enemies might appear (enemy unit roll). Admittedly, both Book of Battles 2 and I myself allow the PKs to charge back in, if they have pulled back / disengaged for a round, which might give them the Lance charge bonus again, if their opponents do not have lances ready (often the case, in the midst of a battle).

I prefer to center my battles on a single extended melee. That is the main event, where the PKs can show off their heroism and can influence the flow of the story. BioKeith had some good examples. The PKs' personal enemies are good options as well, if they happen to be on the opposing side. This extended melee is fought with normal combat rules rather than with just one combat roll, and is over when one side is defeated (captured, killed, fleeing).

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