D&D 3rd Ed. Mass Combat System
Version 1.2

By Jerry Davis


The Dungeons & Dragons game, although it is a role-playing game, is also a combat game. Role-playing through social situations ranging from palace intrigue to negotiating with a shopkeeper to questioning a victim of some enemy is a staple of the game, but combat is no less so. At some point, antagonists will meet and attempt to resolve their differences in the oldest way known to man: violence. Thus, it is no surprise that there are many rules for adjudicating combat in the game.

Since Dungeons & Dragons is a role-playing game in which the players take on the roles of individual characters, it is entirely geared to handling combat at that individual or tactical level; man against man, or man against orc as the case may be. The game isn't all about just the characters and their dungeon delving, though. The world in which the characters exist and are played has its own larger scale events in which kingdoms and secret organizations vie for power and dominance. Periodically this will result in the mobilization of armies and battles between them.

If the characters are not involved in either the battles or the events that led up to them, the game master can simply decide which side he wants to win for the sake of the development of his game world. When the characters are involved in the battle, though, the progress and outcome of the battle becomes personally relevant to them. If the characters are simply foot soldiers in the front line, they can be given a sequence of combats within the battle and the game master can still hand-wave the overall outcome, or he can set the characters to a small task that will have a significant effect on the outcome.

What if one or more of the characters are the leaders of the army, though? There is no game-mechanical system in the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset for resolving large battles in which a player character affects the large-scale outcome through his decisions, attributes, skills and feats yet may not play a direct role in melee with an opposing NPC. There are no rules provided for a player character being the general leading an army. Some game masters may be content to simply make up a narrative suitable for his scenario or world, but others may want the same drama and uncertainty in the depiction of a large battle that they have in the standard role-playing conflicts of player character versus NPC or monster.

My objective, then, is to present an operational-level mass combat system that is as close as possible to the tactical combat system as presented in the Player's Handbook yet still models a large scale battle with a reasonable degree of verisimilitude.

Normal tactical combat is basically a contest of weapon versus armor where each side has both offense and defense; an attack roll is made against the opponent's armor class. The same does not fully apply to larger scale combat between armies. Within the context of a clash of armies, one side is the attacker and one side is the defender and there is no reasonable equivalent to an armor class that both sides would have in more or less equal degree. The closest equivalent at the operational level (the level at which large battles are actually fought) would be the terrain on which the battle is fought, but at this scale it benefits primarily a defending force that uses it to advantage in preparing a position to hold and defend. If both sides are attacking each other (i.e. neither side is attempting to hold a specific position) then the terrain benefits or obstructs both sides equally thus ceases to be a factor. Only at the strategic level of war, where decisions are made about the overall objectives of war and armies maneuver for position and advantage to achieve those objectives, is terrain a significant factor for both sides.

Another thing that is different between the tactical and operational level is the lethality and intensity of the combat. During typical combats between characters and monsters, individual opponents generally do their best to kill each other so combat is a black and white, life or death scenario. This degree of absolutism cannot normally be sustained at the operational level. When large numbers of opponents assemble into armies it is very rare for battles to go on until one army is entirely eliminated. Normally battles will end when one army breaks off combat while both armies are still largely intact because the commander perceives that he has lost some critical advantage needed for victory. Standard military doctrine is that a combat force that has lost 20% to 25% of its original strength in manpower is combat ineffective, whereas at the tactical level a character in D&D thinks nothing of continuing a battle even after he has lost a far greater portion of his hit points. Only fanatics to the extreme fight to the last man. Retreat or surrender is a far more common result.

Pre-Battle Setup

You need to know the following information about each opposing army.

  • Numerical strength
  • At least the average level/HD of the army, ideally a breakdown of how many have what levels
  • The Charisma, the skill modifier and number of ranks of Knowledge (War) and possession of the Leadership feat of the commander

First, determine who is the attacker and defender of the army. If one army deliberately chooses to hold fast in a position and receive the attack, it is automatically the defender and the army advancing to that position is the attacker. If both armies are advancing towards each other, then the attacker (or should that be the defender?) is determined by the winner of an opposed Knowledge (War) check for each commander.

Second, determine the Combat Factor (CF) of each army. This is equal to the total number of character levels or HD present. For a small example, one 5th-level fighter leading two 3rd-level fighters and 20 1st-level warriors would have CF = 5*1 + 3*2 + 1*20 = 31. If only the total numerical strength and the average level is known, then the CF is simply the numerical strength multiplied by the average level.

Third, determine the overall experience rating of the each army. This is simply a classification of the average character level/HD of the army. If you know the detailed level breakdown of the force, you calculate the average level by dividing the CF by the numerical strength and round down. In our small example above, the average level is 31/23 = 1.348 and rounds down to 1. Refer to the following table to determine the experience rating:

Table 1: Army Experience
Average LevelExperience Rating
2 - 3Regular
4 - 6Veteran

Fourth, determine the four Morale Points (MP) of each force. A Morale Point is at every 20% (rounded down) of the total CF less than the total. The first MP is 80% of the CF, the second MP is 40% of the CF, and so on up to the fourth and last MP. Whenever the total CF first drops below a Morale Point, a morale check must be made to determine if the force attempts to end combat. See the section on Morale checks for details.

Example: An army has a CF of 672. The first Morale Point is 80% * 672 = 537.6, rounded down to 537. The second Morale Point is 60% * 672 = 403.2, rounded down to 403. The third Morale Point is 40% * 672 = 268.8, rounded down to 268. The fourth Morale Point is 20% * 672 = 134.4, rounded down to 134.

With the attacker and defender identified and each side's CF and MP's calculated, go on to turn-based combat resolution. Each turn is equivalent to ten minutes of game time, which means that there are 100 tactical rounds in a mass combat turn and six mass combat turns per hour.

The Combat Round

1: Each general (the player and the DM) make the Combat Roll.

The Combat Roll is an opposed skill check on Knowledge (War). Each side rolls a d20, adds the commanding general's Knowledge (War) skill modifier to it, adds any other appropriate modifiers (as described below) to the rolls as the game master indicates, then compares the results. Note that Knowledge (War) is a skill that cannot be used untrained. A character must have at least a half a rank in it to use it. If a commanding general does not have any ranks in Knowledge(War), a -4 penalty is applied to his d20 roll in place of the Knowledge (War) skill modifier.

If the defender is attempting to hold a position rather than advancing on the attacker, he gets to add a terrain bonus to his Combat Roll (see Table 2: Terrain Modifiers to Attack Roll). If both sides are advancing towards each other, the terrain affects both equally so is not applied to either side.

Table 2: Terrain Modifers to Defender's Attack Roll
Terrain Modifier
Badlands +2
Desert, Rocky +0
Desert, Sandy +1
Forest, Light +2
Forest, Heavy +4
Glacier +1
High Mountains +6
Hills +2
Jungle +4
Low Mountains +4
Marsh +3
Moor +0
Swamp +2
(Modifiers do not stack; use the one most beneficial to the defender.)

Add any applicable Circumstance modifiers (Table 3) as directed by the DM. An example of the DM's discretionary modifier might be if the player's side specifies it is using a tactical maneuver the DM thinks is particularly good (the DM should not apply such subjective modifiers to his own force).

Table 3: Circumstance Modifiers to Attack Roll
Circumstance Attacker
Attacker is attacking uphill +3
Attacker is attacking downhill +3
Defender is concealed by means other than terrain (e.g. trenches, foxholes, concealment magic)
(This circumstance should only apply to the first round of battle.)
Attacker is exceptionally more familiar with battlefield terrain than defender (i.e. home-field advantage) +4
Defender is exceptionally more familiar with battlefield terrain than attacker. +4
Most of army is fatigued -2
Most of army is exhausted -6
Others at DM's discretion varies varies
(Multiple circumstance modifiers do stack except where explicitly contradictory)

Also apply, if known, an Enhancement bonus equal to the average magical enhancement of all weapons possessed by the army, rounded down. For example, if out of a force of 100 men there are 2 +5 weapons, 3 +4 weapons, 8 +3 weapons, 12 +2 weapons and 30 weapons that are either +1 or unmagicked masterworks (leaving only 45 of the 100 men with regular weapons; quite a magic-rich force!), that is a 100 total pluses, and for 100 total men that is an average of exactly +1 per man. This would be the Enhancement Bonus applied to the attack roll for that army. Note that in most battles by far the average will be 0 as it is very unlikely even in a Monty Haul campaign that a large force will average a +1 sword per man. Even one less +1 sword from the example would have reduced the total pluses to +99, and that would round down to a 0 average Enhancement Bonus.

Armies in combat can have critical moments in battle just as individuals can inflict critical damage in individual combat. The critical threat range is 20 minus each full five ranks in Knowledge(War) the commander has. For example, if the commander has 0-4 ranks in this skill, his threat range is 20. If he has 5-9 ranks, his threat range is 19-20. If he has 10-14 ranks, his threat range is 18-20, and so on. Unlike character-level combat in which rolling within the threat range only indicated the possibility of a hit, at the larger scale a roll within the threat range indicates an automatic critical. The tactical-level conditional critical depends on rolling d20 a second time to and applying critical effects only if a normal hit is indicated. Since at the operational level there is no specific armor class to attempt to hit, a second roll is meaningless.

Example: The attacking general (the DM's villain NPC) has a Knowledge (War) modifier of +8, and the defending general (one of the PC's) has one of +6. The defender is occupying and holding terrain that grants him a +4 modifier. The game master decides no other modifiers apply, so each side rolls a d20 and adds their modifiers. The DM rolls a 10 and adds his modifier of +8 to produce 18. The player rolls a 6 and adds his total modifier of +10 to produce 16. The attacker has a slight advantage.

2: Determine the casualty points resulting from the Combat Roll.

To determine the results of the combat turn subtract the defender's roll from the attacker's roll determine each side's casualty percentage

Table 4: Combat Results
Attacker - Defender Attacker inflicts
% Casualties
Defender inflicts
% Casualties
>= 115d31d3
5 - 10 4d32d3
0 - 4 3d33d3
-1 - -6 2d34d3
<= -71d35d3
(For d3, use d6 and let 1-2 = 1, 3-4 = 2 and 5-6 = 3)

The attacker inflicts the indicated percentage of his own current CF on the defender, and the defender inflicts the indicated percentage of his own current CF on the attacker. Always round down the result to the nearest integer. The casualties are rolled for both sides before they are applied.

If a critical hit was indicated by the attack roll there will be additional effects. I offer here two alternative methods for handling critical effects. The first and simpler method is simply to roll the damage indicated a second time and apply that in addition to the normal damage. This is the same method used in the standard D&D rules for critical damage. For example, if the normal attack roll difference indicates 4d3% damage to the enemy, then roll 4d3 twice and add them together for the total percentage of casualties inflicted.

The second method offers a greater variety of critical effects, and also allows a chance for player characters other than the commanding general a chance to participate in the battle in a meaningful way. Roll the d20 again and apply the effect indicated on this table:

Table 5: Critical Effect Table
d20 Roll Effect
1 - 6 The army scoring the critical attack may roll indicated casualty dice again and apply (as per alternative #1 and D&D rules)
7 - 11 During this turn a player character in the army scoring the critical (or NPC if the army is the DM's) is confronted with the enemy general (or the most senior enemy person on the battle line) and has the chance to engage in personal combat. Once that combat is resolved, the army of the defeated person must make an immediate morale check. If there is no player character to challenge the leader, then presume that the enemy leader was killed by some anonymous member of the army scoring the critical.
12 - 15 The army receiving the critical attack must make a morale check immediately after casualties are applied. If the casualties applied would drop the army below a normal casualty Morale Point, then it must roll two morale checks.
16 - 18 The army scoring the critical attack may roll indicated casualty dice again and apply (as per alternative #1 and D&D rules) and the army receiving it must make a morale check immediately after casualties are applied. If the casualties applied would drop the army below a normal casualty Morale Point, then it must roll two morale checks.
19 - 20 The army scoring the critical has penetrated the line of the enemy army and placed it at a significant disadvantage. The enemy army must retreat or suffer an automatic critical attack every combat turn hereafter until they do, because the army scoring the critical has flanked them and can proceed to their rear. At the DM's option, those in the army who are raging or berserk may not have the option of retreating or they may get a morale check to see if they can retreat.

Example: From the previous example we have net rolls of 18 for the attacker (the DM) and 16 for the defender (the player). Subtract the defending roll from the attacking roll gives +2, which means each side does 3d3% casualties to the other side. The attacker has a CF of 1200 and the defender has a CF of 1000. The DM rolls a total of 5 on his 3d3, so he inflicts 0.05 * 1200 = 60 casualties on the defending force this turn. The defender rolls a 7 on his 3d3, so he inflicts 0.07 * 1000 = 70 casualties on the attacking force.

3: Apply casualty points to the Combat Factor of both sides.

Deduct the casualties the attacker inflicts from the defender's current Combat Factor, and deduct the casualties the defender inflicts from the attacker's current Combat Factor.

Example: The DM's army inflicted 60 casualties the PC's army, so the PC deducts them from his current total: 1000 - 60 = 940. The PC's army inflicted 70 casualties on the DM's army, so the DM deducts them from his current total: 1200 - 70 = 1130.

Casualties at this point do not necessarily mean death. All it means is that portion of the army was rendered combat ineffective; for example, if a warrior were incapacitated. The DM will determine what portion of the casualties represent the dead and injured after the battle is over.

4: Both armies roll any morale checks that might be called for.

Morale checks may be required for an army being reduced below one of its Morale Points or from a critical combat result. The morale check is simply a Charisma check for the commander against a DC of 10, with a number of modifiers applied. If mutual losses indicate that both sides must make Morale Point morale checks, the attacker makes the check first. If the attacker fails the check the defender need not roll one unless the defender wishes to switch to the attack and pursue the retreating enemy.

Table 6: Army Experience Modifiers for Morale Check
Experience LevelMorale Modifier
Green +0
Elite +6

Table 7: Casualty Modifiers for Morale Check
Percentage of Combat Factor Casualties Morale Modifier
< 20% 0
< 40% -2
< 60% -4
< 80% -6
>= 80%-8
(These are not stackable or cumulative. Choose the highest that applies.)

Table 8: Odds Modifiers for Morale Check
You outnumber enemy in CF by at least Morale Modifier
(These are not stackable or cumulative. Choose the highest that applies.)

Table 9: Circumstance Modifiers for Morale Check
Circumstance Morale Modifier
Commander has Leadership feat +4
Army has no commander -4
Army is predominately Lawfully aligned +2
Army is predominately Chaotically aligned -2
Most of army rages (as per barbarians) during battle +4
Army is fanatical for reasons other than rage. +2 or more
Others at DM's discretion varies
(These are stackable except where explicitly contradictory.)

An army might be fanatical for a number of reasons. The army might be motivated by a religion or ideology the soldiers have sworn their lives to, or the soldiers might have a strong cultural hatred for their enemy, or they might be the last line of defense with nothing between the enemy and their homes and families except themselves. Or, if an army finds itself trapped in restricted terrain such that the only way out is through the enemy and the soldiers know that enemy will show them no quarter or mercy, their morale might well be not just fanatic but maniacal thus justifying an absurdly high modifier. (Or, the army might become suicidal and kill themselves (e.g. Masada, Saipan) so the battle never happens.) The DM will have to judge how high the level of fanaticism is, but it should be at least +2.

If an army passes a morale check, it remains in the battle. If it fails a morale check, it must attempt to withdraw in good order, i.e. engage in an organized retreat. If the result of a morale check is less than or equal to 0 after all morale modifiers have been applied, the army is routed. Army cohesion is lost and the enemy flee as individuals or in small groups.

After the morale checks (if any) are done, either army may still attempt to withdraw from battle if its commander sees no advantage to be gained in continuing.

Whether an organized retreat is either forced by a failed morale check or is voluntarily ordered by the general, the army that does not retreat has the option of letting the enemy retreat or pursuing him to continue combat. If the victorious general chooses to pursue and his army moves at the same speed as the retreating enemy he must roll an opposed Knowledge (War) check with the enemy commander to see if he can re-engage the retreating enemy. In this instance, the retreating commander is treated as the defender and may apply the terrain modifier to his skill check for this purpose only even though both sides are moving. If the retreating commander wins the roll, he successfully evades and the battle is over for now. If the advancing commander wins then the battle may continue. If the battle continues the retreating defender may not apply the terrain modifier to his actual Combat Roll because he is in the open and moving. In any case, if either army is routed the opposing army cannot pursue in this manner because the routed army is likely fleeing in a number of different directions and there is no organized force to pursue. Note that this applies only to two armies that move at the same speed. If the retreating army moves faster (after terrain and circumstances are accounted for) it automatically escapes. If the pursuing army moves faster it automatically forces combat on the retreating enemy.

On the greater strategic scale an army may be forced to retreat, successfully evade, set up another defensive position, and stand again in a second round of battle. In any successive rounds of battle that take place on the same game day, the Morale Points and accumulated morale penalties are not reset during that game day. If a battle spans more than one game day, then the Morale Points and accumulated morale penalties are reset for the new Combat Factor of the army, but at the DM's discretion a penalty may be applied for losing the battle the previous day. Recent defeats are not conducive to good morale.

If both armies are still able and willing to fight, the process repeats for another turn. Once either army either is routed or successfully retreats and disengages, the battle is over.

After the Battle

Once the battle is over, both sides need to determine their casualties. As mentioned before, the casualties inflicted don't necessarily represent actual fatalities. They represent total casualties including wounded as well as immediately killed. On average, there will be twice as many wounded as immediately killed so one third of the total casualties will be immediately killed in action and two thirds will be alive but wounded at the end of the battle. (This proportion is adjustible by the DM, of course.) Some of these wounded are mortally so. The exact proportion of the wounded who will die later depends on the availability and quality of medical care. In the real-life modern era, up to 98% of these would live. In the real-life medieval era, at least half (if not a great majority) would die. The presence of clerics and healing magic in Dungeons & Dragons should ameliorate this to some degree.

Medical treatment aside, the number of the casualties that survive will also depend on how they are treated by the victorious army retaining possession of the battlefield. A human army that was victorious over another human army might be inclined to show some mercy towards the enemy wounded left behind, depending on how they felt about the enemy before the battle or war. After a battle between an elvish army and an orcish army, neither side would likely be inclined towards mercy and in fact may even dispatch wounded enemies. If wounded enemies are treated, they of course become prisoners of the victorious army.

Also remember that the Combat Factor that casualties are applied to actually represent character levels, not individual characters. For example, five casualty points could mean that either five 1st-level characters are casualties or a 10th-level character lost about half of his hit points.

To convert the casualty points into actual casualties, refer back to the average level of the army that was determined before the battle. Divide the total casualties by the average level to determine the actual number of individual casualties. The "total casualties" then become the number of hit dice worth of damage done to those individual casualties. The DM can allocate those to the individual as he sees fit, then determine whether those people are simply wounded or actually dead.

Example: An army was comprised of 400 men before the battle that had an average level of 2.5, making it an army of regulars. It had an initial Combat Factor of 400 * 2.5 = 1000. It was victorious in battle at the cost of 300 casualty points. Divide this by the average level to get the number of actual individual casualties: 300 / 2.5 = 120. Thus, 120 men were casualties. If the standard ratio is applied, that means 40 men were killed outright and 80 were wounded. Some of those 80 will die after the battle, and how many will be determined by the availability and quality of medical care, both normal healing and clerical magic.

Optional Rule: A good rule of thumb might be that of the living wounded, a number will survive equal to half of them plus the total number of cleric levels available after the battle. For example, if there are 10 1st-level clerics, 5 2nd-level clerics, 3 3rd-level clerics and one 5th-level cleric, that amounts to 10*1 + 5*2 + 3*3 + 1*5 = 34 levels of cleric. If there are 80 living wounded, half plus 34 individual, or 74, will live and the remainder, 6, will die. This means that after the clerics are done the overall death toll for the battle will be 46.

Advanced Warfare

If the DM wishes to set up a more complicated battle scenario, he can set up multiple forces in different places for both sides and resolve the battles separately. For example, each opposing army may be a Grand Army with three composite forces that make up the center and left and right flanks. The different flanks might occupy different terrain, and one flank might hold while the other is driven back.

Most historical battles would be modeled by this advanced method. For example, the Battle of Gettysburg (American Civil War, July 1-3, 1863) would be composed of several separate battles: Heth's division against Buford's cavalry on the morning of the 1st, followed by Heth against Reynold's corps then Hill's corps against several Union corps, on the next day Devil's Den and Little Round Top, then on the third day Pickett's Charge would all be separate actions in this system.

Factors Not Considered in This Version of the Mass Combat System

I have not factored in different types of forces (e.g. cavalry or artillery). I have not considered the deleterious effect of hunger or disease on an army. I have not considered the past history of the army in terms of morale. An army that has suffered a string of losses might have a negative modifier, while an army riding a wave of several victories in the past year might have a positive morale modifier. I have not attempted to incorporate siege warfare into these rules. I have not considered average differences in armor class, assuming that an army of a given average level will be suitably equipped for that level.

I have not considered the effects of magic other than weapon enhancement. The reason for this was deliberate. It is a general principle of D&D 3rd Edition that the classes are balanced. Whether this is true or not is arguable, but that's what the authors claim. A wizard or sorcerer of any given level is supposed to be at least roughly balanced with any other class at the same level, so a 9th-level wizard should contribute about the same to the army as a 9th-level fighter given that the authors are correct in their premise. If a given DM disagrees with this, he might at his discretion simply multiply the total number of wizards by some factor (e.g. 1.5) before adding it into the total CF for the army.

Example Battle:

King Obould Many-Arrows (orc Bbn5/Ftr4) is on the march. He is leading his army southwest through the foothills of the Spine of the World, bent on expanding his army on the way to cause mischief in the Frost Hills, possibly even attempt to take Mithril Hall from the hated dwarves. Obould has his entire warband with him including his personal entourage (as listed in the Silver Marches supplement). His warband is composed of the following: Ftr8, War7, Bbn6, Ftr6, Bbn5 (2), War5 (2), Bbn4 (3), Ftr4 (2), War4 (5), Bbn3 (3), Ftr3 (3), War3 (22), Bbn2 (7), Ftr2 (6), War2 (73), Bbn1 (13), Ftr1 (21), War1 (447). His entourage includes Black Lorog (Adp13), Numath the Serpent (Bbn3/Ftr4), Bosk the Fat (Ftr4), Brymoel (Clr6), Ulthrang the Mad (Bbn5), and six ogre bodyguards (Ftr3 (6)). Obould left his eldest son Scrauth back at Dark Arrow Keep.

Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for the rest of the dwarves and the Silver Marches as a whole) the questing paladin Sir Andreth Stormraven (Pal16 of the Red Knight) has discovered Obould's march. Sir Andreth is leading a small army (including his adventuring companions, his cohort and 44 followers and a mixed force of humans and dwarves) on a patrol of the foothills looking for a fight. His adventuring companions include a Clr16, Rgr15 and Wiz15. His cohort is a Ftr13, and his followers include Pal5, Ftr4, Ftr3, Rgr3, Clr2, Ftr2, Pal2, War2, Brd1, Ftr1 (10), Pal1 (5), Rgr1 (4), War (20).

King Obould has a Charisma of 10 (0 bonus), he has no ranks in Knowledge (War) and he cannot use it untrained so his Skill Modifier for it is 0, and he does not have the Leadership feat. (Given his description in FRCS he should have the skill and feat, but it's not listed.) Obould's himself has 9 levels, and his entourage is composed of 5 individuals with 36 total levels. His bodyguard is 6 individuals with 18 levels total, and his army is comprised of 613 individuals with a total of 824 levels. Adding this together gives 625 individuals with 887 levels. Obould's starting Combat Factor is 887. The average individual character level is 1.42, which makes his force a green army. The Morale Points for King Obould's force are 709, 532, 354, 177.

Sir Andreth has a Charisma of 16 (+3 bonus). He has 6 ranks in Knowledge (War) and an Intelligence of 12 (+1 bonus), giving him an Knowledge (War) Skill modifier of +7, and he has the Leadership feat. He and his fellow adventurers are four people with 62 levels among them. His cohort and followers comprise 49 men with 76 levels, and the mixed force marching with him is 200 humans and dwarves having a total of 440 levels. This amounts to a total of 253 people having 578 levels. Sir Andreth's starting Combat Factor is 578. The average individual character level is 2.28, making this a regular army. The Morale Points for Sir Andreth's force are 202, 151, 101, 50.

Sir Andreth sets his force up in a small pass between two steep hills that is on King Obould's direct marching path and determines to hold the pass. Obould sees that numerically he outnumbers this force by over 2.5 to 1 so he chooses to attack.

King Obould has no ranks at all in Knowledge (War), and since that skill cannot be used untrained he suffers a -4 penalty (technically, he shouldn't be allowed to roll at all but the battle system requires a roll to determine results). Sir Andreth, on the other hand, has a +7 modifier for his knowledge of war and a +2 terrain modifier on top of that for holding a position in hilly ground. Although King Obould's numerical superiority appeared to him to be significant, it is evident that Sir Andreth's knowledge of military matters and leadership will counter this to a high degree. But will it be enough?

For the first combat round, Obould rolls 6, which is modified to 2. Sir Andreth rolls 20, which is modified to 29. The difference of these rolls (attacker - defender) is -27, which means Obould inflicts casualty points equal to 1d3 of his own CF on Sir Andreth, while Sir Andreth inflicts 5d3 percent of his CF in casualty points on Obould. Obould rolls 1 on 1d3 for casualties inflicted, which will equal 1% * 887 = 8. Sir Andreth rolls 11 on 5d3 for his casualties to inflict 11% * 578 = 63. He rolled a critical attack, though, so he rolls a d20 for table 5. He rolls 4, which simply allows him to roll the damage again. He rolls another 11 on 5d3 for another 63 casualty points, which sums to 126 total. Obould subtracts 126 from his Combat Factor of 887 which leaves him with 761, and Sir Andreth subtracts 8 from his CF of 578 to leave him with 570. The opening round of the battle goes decisively to Sir Andreth!

For the second round, Obould rolls 15 which is modified to 11, and Sir Andreth rolls 8 which is modified to 17. The difference is -6, which indicates the attacker rolls 2d3 for damage and the defender rolls 4d3. Obould rolls 2 to inflict 2% * 761 = 15 casualty points on Sir Andreth's army, and Sir Andreth rolls 11 to inflict 11% * 570 = 62 casualty points on Obould's force of orcs. The damage is applied, leaving Obould with 699 CF and Sir Andreth with 555 CF.

Obould's force just dropped below the 709 CF of his first morale checkpoint so he must roll a Morale Check against a DC of 10 to see if his army will continue to follow his lead or become disheartened. He rolls 20, but he has no Charisma modifier to adjust that. Because his army just dropped below the 80% mark, though, -2 is applied as a casualty modifier and another -2 is applied because his army (being orcs) are mostly chaotic and difficult to control. This modifies the roll to 16, but that is still quite enough to pass.

For the third round, Obould rolls 14 which is modified to 10, and Sir Andreth rolls 12 which is modified to 21. The difference is -11, which indicates the attacker rolls 1d3 for damage and the defender rolls 5d3. Obould rolls 2 to inflict 2% * 699 = 13 casualty points on Sir Andreth's army, and Sir Andreth rolls 12 to inflict 12% * 555 = 66 casualty points on Obould's force of orcs. The damage is applied, leaving Obould with 633 CF and Sir Andreth with 542 CF.

For the fourth round, Obould rolls 8 which is modified to 4, and Sir Andreth rolls 4 which is modified to 13. The difference is -9, which indicates the attacker rolls 1d3 for damage and the defender rolls 5d3. Obould rolls 3 to inflict 3% * 633 = 18 casualty points on Sir Andreth's army, and Sir Andreth rolls 13 to inflict 13% * 542 = 70 casualty points on Obould's force of orcs. The damage is applied, leaving Obould with 563 CF and Sir Andreth with 524 CF.

For the fifth round, Obould rolls 20 which is modified to 16, and Sir Andreth rolls 20 which is modified to 29. Both have made critical rolls! Obould had seen that his forces are dwindling rapidly, and had roused his men in a last full effort to turn the tide of battle. Sir Andreth is determined to hold, though, and rallied his men to a similar maximum effort to bring the battle to a climax. The difference in the Combat Rolls is -13, which indicates the attacker rolls 1d3 for damage and the defender rolls 5d3. Obould rolls 3 to inflict 3% * 563 = 16, rolls 6 on d20 for Table 5, and rolls 1 on another 1d3 to inflict another 1% * 563 = 5. Obould inflicts a total of 21 casualty points on Sir Andreth's army. Sir Andreth rolls 11 to inflict 11% * 524 = 57 casualty points, rolls a 2 on d20 for Table 5, and rolls 12 on another 5d3 to inflict another 12% * 524 = 62 casualty points. Sir Andreth inflcits a total of 119 casualty points on Obould's force of orcs. The damage is applied, leaving Obould with 444 CF and Sir Andreth with 503 CF.

Obould's total CF has dropped below his second Morale Point of 532, so he must make another morale check at DC 10. Obould rolls 15, but must apply -4 because he is below 60% strength and another -2 because of the chaotic nature of his warband. The modified roll is 9, and thus Obould fails the check and must retreat. He does retreat in good order, though.

Sir Andreth views the battleground and is entirely satisfied with the rate of casualty exchange. He sees a golden opportunity to end the threat of King Obould once and for all and directs his army to pursue the retreating orcs. Both Sir Andreth and King Obould must make an opposed Knowledge (War) check to see if Sir Andreth can press the battle or if Obould can make good his retreat. Because it is a pursuit check rather than a combat roll, Obould is the defender and benefits from the hilly terrain surrounding him. Sir Andreth rolls 3 on d20, which he modifies with his +7 Knowledge(War) modifer to 10. King Obould rolls a 17 on d20, which he modifies with his -4 for lack of Knowledge(War) but with +2 since he is evading in hilly terrain for a net of 15. This handily beats Sir Andreth's roll, and King Obould and the remnants of his warband fade into the hills. King Obould is down for now, but he is not out and the North has not heard the last of him.

Sir Andreth views the battlefield of the pass between the hills. There are 443 CF of orc casualties, and 75 CF of his own men. The orc warband had an average level of 1.42, so there are about 311 orcs lying on the ground, a little over 200 wounded and a little over 100 dead. Sir Andreth's army had an average level of 2.28, so there are 32 of his own men lying among the orcs, a little more than 20 wounded and 10 dead. He has his two clerics, his Clr16 adventuring friend and his Clr2 follower, and a Pal5 follower who can lay on hands. Most if not all of his own wounded will live to fight another day. While he did not achieve the strategic victory of ending Obould's threat that this opportunity presented, he considers the battle a decisive tactical victory.