Many Hands

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As in, 'many hands make light work'.

This replaces the Mass Combat system in Exalted with something saner. The purpose of this is to provide a streamlined system for cooperative rules that are simple, easy to use and at the same time, descriptive.

These rules make the assumption that your combat involves the Exalted, or other high-powered beings. Combat is very modern - traditional, rank and file unit formations are going to get torn to shreds in this system, just like they would against a modern force. You will notice that these rules heavily penalize "One direct commander over hundreds of troops."


This idea draws in part from the idea of Brute Squads in 7th Sea. A Squad can be one person or several, but always, they act like a single character, and for all intents and purposes, essentially are. Squads have an additional Trait, called Drill, which limits the die bonus they get from leadership.

They are constructed as follows. You will notice that this is a lot more straightforward for identical troops. Mixing Essence user types in squads should not be allowed.

  1. Note the leader of the Squad. They should have the highest appropriate Ability - typically War or Bureaucracy, but sometimes a different trait will be required, or a person unfit for command is given the post.
  2. The commander's rating in this ability limits the number of people they can directly coordinate with maximum efficiency. Each additional person 'gets in the way', instead, subtracting one die from the following bonus, instead of adding.
  3. For each non-background Trait (Attributes, Abilities, Essence, Willpower, and Virtues) except Stealth, and applicable equipment statistic (Soak, Rate, Accuracy, Defense, Damage), find the corresponding lowest value in the squad. This is the squad's base value. Add up the remaining values, and quarter them. This is the squad's 'bonus' to said value, which is limited by 1 + their Drill score. Compassion may have restricted bonuses at the discretion of the commander.
  4. Add up the health levels of the squad. Only the squad's Valor in members may be counted in this manner.
  5. Calculate all derived values, including Essence pools if necessary, except Movement, Weapon Speed, Mobility Penalty and Fatigue Rating.
  6. Weapon Speed is equal to the average (rounding up) of all members in the Squad. Movement, Mobility Penalty, and Fatigue rating all use the worst value of all members in the Squad. Stealth also uses the worst value of all members in the squad.
  7. Charms and other supernatural abilities need to be considered individually. In many cases, if one member of a squad has a Charm or Spell, they all have it, but if its benefits can only apply to a single member (typically things that would split up the Squad), they do not have it.
  8. Flurry penalties are reduced by the additional number of members in the Squad past the first, limited by the Squad's Drill.

The result is a group of people who act as a single character. The Squad acts in normal time. This suffices for small units, but not for mass combat. That follows.

Simplified Squads

Larger Units, such as Companies, are based off of simplified statistics. These imply identical (or nearly so) members in the Squad, and use long ticks instead of normal ticks. For military squads, they have the following Traits:

  • Coordination: This is the Squad's Wits+War rating (increased normally - may be higher than the commander's).
  • Size: Number of members in the Squad
  • Loyalty: The Drill+Conviction of the Squad, plus any Intimacies or motivations that apply (or minus...)
  • Melee Attack: This is the Squad's Melee attack rating, in dice, based off their Melee or Martial Arts.
  • Melee Speed: Divide 60 by the Melee weapon speed. This is the Melee speed.
  • Melee Damage: This is the Squad's Melee damage bonus (including Strength score), multiplied by Melee Speed.
  • Ranged Attack: This is the Squad's Ranged attack rating, in dice, based off of their Thrown or Archery.
  • Ranged Speed: Divide 60 by the Ranged weapon speed. This is the Ranged speed.
  • Ranged Damage: This is the Squad's Ranged damage bonus (including strength if applicable), multiplied by Ranged Speed.
  • Range: Their range increment.
  • Health: Total health levels of the Squad.
  • Move: How far they can move in one long turn (one minute). Take the lowest Dexterity+Athletics or Stamina+Athletics score in the Squad (subtract 1 from effective dexterity per mobility penalty, 1 from effective stamina per fatigue), and add one. That's their base movement (in scores of yards per minute).
  • Soak is multiplied by 10.
  • Mental Defense Value: Squad's Dodge MDV (their purpose ain't to argue)
  • Physical Defense Value: Higher of Squad's Dodge and Parry DV's
  • Morale: The Squad's Drill+Valor, plus any Intimacies or motivations that apply (or minus...)
  • Discipline: The Squad's Drill+Temperance, plus any Intimacies or motivations that apply (or minus...)
  • Perception: The Perception+Awareness pool of the Squad.
  • Resistance: The Stamina+Resistance pool of the Squad.
  • Ride: The lowest Ride ability in the Squad.
  • Sail: The Squad's Sail Ability
  • Stealth: The lowest member's Dexterity + Stealth dice pool in the Squad.
  • Survival: The squad's Survival+Medicine abilities

This creates high damage, health, and soak values. This will get simplified in Companies, below.

Charms, and other abilities need to be considered individually. The Storyteller should assign bonuses to various ratings as appropriate, rather than actually recording each individual Charm.


Companies are larger units, made up of Squads. They have a Command Squad, which can command a number of Squads equal to their coordination score * the lowest Discipline in the Company. More can be commanded, but these must be effectively reserve forces, as they cannot be coordinated effectively.

  • Size: Number of troops in the Company.
  • Move: Is the lowest Move rating in the Company.
  • Melee Attack: Is the average Melee Attack rating of the Company.
  • Melee Damage: Is the total of all Melee Damage ratings in the Company, divided by sixty.
  • Ranged Attack: Is the average Ranged Attack rating of the Company.
  • Ranged Damage: Is the total of all Ranged Damage ratings in the Company, divided by sixty.
  • Range: The company's Range Increment
  • Health: Is the total of all health ratings in the Company, divided by sixty.
  • Soak: The average Soak rating of the Squads in the Company, divided by ten.
  • Mental Defense Value: Average MDV of the Company.
  • Physical Defense Value: Average PDV of the Company.
  • Morale: The average Morale rating of the Company.
  • Discipline: The average Discipline rating of the Company.
  • Loyalty: The lowest Loyalty rating in the Company.
  • Perception: The average Perception rating of the Company.
  • Resistance: The lowest Resistance rating of the Company.
  • Ride: The lowest Ride rating of the Company
  • Sail: The average Sail rating of the Company (or highest, on a sufficiently small ship)
  • Stealth: The lowest Stealth rating of the Company
  • Survival: The average Survival rating of the Company

Company Combat

First, note the amount of space each company is taking up. Squares are twenty yards to a side, and tightly packed formations will have up to five hundred troops per square, but Companies to not function well at all like this in combat involving Exalted or artillery, and Storytellers should penalize appropriately.

A better rule of thumb is a hundred humanoid troops per square, or fifty mounted/large troops. This is considered an average, more than anything - actual values will flux and flow constantly.

Companies may freely move up to their Move rating in squares (diagonal counts as 1.5 moves) each Long Tick. If adjacent, overlapping, they may make a melee attack. If within range, they may make a ranged attack. Terrain, height, stealth/perception, fortifications and other preparation will also need to be taken into account.