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The Art of War ?


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In the not so far future our current Carelan low fantasy campaign will probably

move from character combat to skirmishes and then to battles, and I am loo-

king for suitable rules to play them.

At the moment I am thinking of the battle rules of the Pendragon game, which

would fit our magic poor setting well and seem to model a pseudo-medieval type

of mass combat at the right (= low) complexity level, including the more or less

"heroic" involvement of the characters.

However, since there might well be better options out there, I would like to ask

for your recommendations for such a system, which should:

- be close enough to BRP to make an adaptation easily possible,

- be simple (no detailed tabletop rules, I would not be able to handle them),

- model combat between units of dozens to hundreds of medieval soldiers,

- include rules for surprise, ambush and hit and run tactics,

- include rules for terrain (marsh / swamp will certainly be a location),

- make it possible to determine the fate of characters during the combat,

- enable "heroic" characters to influence the outcome of the combat.

What they do not need to do is to deal with magic, siege combat and non-hu-

man soldiers / monsters.

Any help with this would be most welcome. :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Pendragon would be my first choice. Flashing Blades has a very good battle system as well. A bit more abstract than Pendragon maybe... Allows characters to have some influence on the battle and do some cool things like capturing an enemy flag.

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It has been a while since I played Flashing Blades and longer since we used the battle system. My recollection is it allows you to fight out a war in 3(?) engagements. Players who were in charge of units or noble orders could volunteer their forces for the war. If they scored well in their strategy or captaincy skills they would add a modifier to the outcome of the engagement. I believe the rules were heavily stacked in France's favor for any war, but I suppose that is fairly true to the history of the time:)

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Another interesting option could be GURPS Mass Combat, which I just re-discove-

red on a backup CD. It is slightly more abstract than the systems of Pendragon

and Flashing Blades, the referee has to provide more of the "fluff", but otherwise

it seems to be as fast and simple as I need it, and includes rules for terrain, re-

connaissance, surprise and ambush, heroic actions and all that, as well as diffe-

rent types of defensive and offensive tactics.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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