Fate Crusade Mass Combat

FATE Crusade Mass Combat Rules

Mass combat is when two groups consisting of One Hundred or more soldiers clash on the field of battle. Those UNDER 100 should be done in group combat rolls, with PC's battling groups and command rolls given to coordinate attacks with NPCs. For those that are leading the idea of Mass combat is a difficult and daunting task as Armies decide the fate of anything as small as a village and up to the fates of kingdoms. To learn how to run and fight in Mass Combat read on Crusader.

The Battlefield and Movement

The first step is determining your army. The field of battle is always broken down into four sections based on the Attacker's orientation. They are:
Left Wing
Right Wing

Infantry units can move ONE section a turn provided they are not hindered and Cavalry can move two. Ranged units, such as Archers and Riflemen may shoot one enemy unit in the same section, or one in an adjacent section. This means that a unit in the Center Section can shoot both the Left and Right Wings, but a ranged unit in the Left Wing could not shoot the right wing. Artillery can shoot ANYWHERE on the battleline regardless of position, but may only target other Artillery in the support section unless they somehow know the location of enemy troops in support. (The GM can decide this)

Maneuvering your forces to gain an advantage is an important part of battle. To do this you will want to get a flank. This is where you hit your opponent's force in the side or rear. When you manage to do this, you will automatically do a point of morale damage. Similarly if they are facing another opponent, for the duration of the fight, you and any other unit they are facing gain a +1 to damage.

The Numbers Game
Some may ask why bring more troops if they all have the same stats? The answer is simply numbers provide a static bonus of +1 Morale for every 50 soldiers in the unit. This means a block of 100 soldiers would have +2 to their morale. In the case of NPC units that have stats, these are the base stats and are factored in before the number of troops. So a Matinga begins with 12 Morale, but a block of 100 Matinga would have a total of 14 morale. (12 base + 2 for 100 troops.)

Doing Damage to an Enemy Unit and Your Unit's Health.

A unit's health in Mass combat is called Morale. A unit's health is the Commander of the Unit's Mental Stress + his Command Score. For Example:
Jarret Sokar has a Command of 3 and Mental Stress of 4. This means any unit he commands has 7 Morale. 3+4=7

To do damage, each unit needs to declare what they are doing. There are a few options depending on the unit type:

Charge: Any Unit may charge, but only Cavalry will do an extra point of damage on a charge and win ties. (IE on a tie they do 1 point of Morale to the enemy charged) IF a unit armed with Polearms is charged, they will do 1 point of damage on ties, AND if charged by Cavalry from the front automatically do 1 point of Morale to the cavalry.

Fight: Two units engaged in combat can just fight. Roll as normal and tally up the effect!

Shoot: A unit armed with a ranged weapon may shoot another unit in their section range. If a Ranged unit fires on a Melee unit and they have no way of firing back they automatically do 1 point of morale + any damage they roll. If they are shooting at another ranged unit that same ranged unit may opt to fire back and both units will roll per normal.

Move: A unit may move to another section per the rules listed above. If they are engaged with another unit they automatically take 1 point of morale.

Artillery Fire: Artillery can be very frightening. Artillery automatically does 2 points of morale to a chosen unit, wins ties, and does any damage they roll on the command roll. Similarly, a unit that is charged after receiving Artillery fire has -2 command for the round.

Magic: If there is a PC or a small group of NPC's in an army who can perform magic then they may do one of the following:
1. Direct Damage. Make a SORCERY roll for the unit vs Command. If they win, then do that much Elemental Damage to them. (There may be side effects based on the element, up to GM who is running the battle. Please don't ask the GM though, Mass combat is very tricky.)
2. Support. Make a SORCERY roll for the unit vs command. If they win, then enemy unit targeted suffers a -1 to their next command roll.
If both armies have Magic elements in them, then they may try to counter, and instead of a Command Roll, may roll Sorcery to battle for the Elements. The loser takes damage, but at least you prevented that Fireball from hitting your Cavalry right?

Command the Army: Overall commanders who are commanding multiple units may issue orders to the whole Army. In this case, both Army Commanders make opposed Command rolls. The winner earns a +1 to any ONE unit on the battlefield. This roll MUST be made before any other rolls this turn.

To calculate damage roll Command vs Command unless otherwise told to roll another skill by the rules or by the GM. Remember this is cooperative storytelling and there is ALWAYS a second way to skin a cat.


Jarret and Gauvain are battling. Gauvain's Cavalry unit charges Jarret's Infantry.
Both roll +dice 1d10+command.
Gauvain gets a staggering 14 while Jarret only rolls a 9. Yikes. His unit takes 5 morale.

Raising Spirits!

Units are going to take damage. By spending a FATE point, a commander may heal a unit's morale by 2 points. This must be done at the beginning of your turn, so a unit brought to 0 Morale still breaks.

Breaking Your Foe and Calculating Losses

A unit is broken when it reaches 0 Morale. At that point, it flees the battlefield and may not be rallied. If it is reduced to -2 it takes severe casualties (See below) and if it is reduced to -4 it is wiped out to the point the whole unit will need to be replaced.

Casualties are calculated like this:

For each round in Combat, a unit takes 5% casualties. This means a unit stuck in, even while winning each round, will lose 5% each round. All of these casualties are wounded and will be fine the next battle.
Losing up to half your Morale (Rounded down) Means you have taken 25% casualties. Losing up to 0 means you have taken 50% casualties.
The above numbers sound horrific, but remember most of these are WOUNDED. And will be fine by the next battle. 10% of taken Casualties will be killed at the end of battle.
If a unit takes Severe casualties then half of the wounded calculated, including for rounds fought are killed and not wounded.


Thomas leads a unit of 100 Infantry. They battled for 3 rounds for 15%, and took only 2 Morale.
We calculate his casualties from the round. An easy 15 wounded from that.
Then we calculate his 20%. Of that, 2 are killed, because 2 is 10% of 20. All in all, Thomas's infantry unit suffered 33 wounded and 2 killed. Not bad!

Leading from the Front. Heroes and Commanders in Battle!

Not everyone sits back and watches calmly issuing orders. In the world of Tirth heroes ride forth to command from the front or are accompanied by companions who have no skill in commanding troops. Each PC who does not command a unit is called a Hero.
Heroes can do damage to the enemy. First, they just declare which unit they are fighting with. A unit that has a Hero in it gains a +1 Morale score, +2 if they are a Knight or Important Noble of the unit's house.

Myrana decides to fight with her Thornesmen rather than lead them. Her unit's Morale score gains a +2 since as the Heir of House d'Armaz, the d'Armaz troops are excited to have the heir in their ranks are willing to fight harder.

Similarly, for every 5 NPC's that a Hero kills, they do ONE point of morale damage to the enemy. To calculate this roll on the difficulty chart against groups of soldiers. ALWAYS a Hero is considered to be battling 4 or more enemies.

Levies are Skill 0
Militia are Skill 1
Professional and Elite Troops are skill 2

The Chart
Skill Opponents Total DR
0 1-2 4
0 3-4 5
0 5 6
1 1-2 5
1 3-4 6
1 5 7
2 1-2 6
2 3-4 7
2 5 8

The other option Heroes have are handling officers or other heroes of the enemy army. To do this, they must first pass a Perception roll at Difficulty 6 to locate them. Then they can attack the Hero/Officer directly. They will always be skill 2, and have the armor and weapons appropriate for their unit. If it is an officer, they will be +1 skill of the Troops Type, and if they are the unit commander they will be +1 skill of the troop type but have +2 stress. IF the player is facing the enemy command unit (Chosen at random in DCS, but should make sense) they have a chance of facing the enemy General.

Consult the following charts to see whom you face and the outcome if victorious!
Roll 1d6.

1. A Champion, the normal troop has full stress of the troop type and +1 skill. No bonus for Killing, but you got hi/.her attention and now they're all yours! Enjoy!
2. A Champion, the normal troop has full stress of the troop type and +1 skill. No bonus for Killing, but you got hi/.her attention and now they're all yours! Enjoy!
3. A Champion, the normal troop has full stress of the troop type and +1 skill. No bonus for Killing, but you got hi/.her attention and now they're all yours! Enjoy!
4. An officer! Normal troop type, +1 skill. Victory grants -1 Morale to the enemy unit!
5. The Unit Commander. Normal troop type, +1 skill and +2 stress. Victory grants -2 Morale.
6. The Army General. (Reroll if this is NOT the Command unit). Normal troops type, +1 skill and +4 Stress. Victory means this unit automatically routes, and any units in the same square will route half the time.

Similarly, Commanders may decide to add their own damage to the front line. Preferring to lead from the front and battle side by side with the men and women in his army. In this case, he still has to COMMAND his unit and his Command rolls suffer a -2 for being distracted, however instead of needing to kill 5 enemy combatants, a Commander needs only kill 4 to harm his foe. This is to represent him inspiring his troops with their commander's Heroic deeds.

A commander will always add +1 to his unit. He will add +2 if he is a Knight, and will add +3 unit morale if he is an important member of his unit's house.

Bethany is in command of a Unit of Cavalry. She gives a total of +3 morale because she is the Heir of House Tarris.

Note: Morale bonuses do NOT stack. You simply get the Highest morale. So a unit that has an important member who is also a Knight only gets the +3 if they are the commander (+2 if just a hero) and doesn't get the +1. However, if a visiting Lord who is not a Knight is commanding a unit, he will give a +1.

Maneuvering your forces to gain an advantage is an important part of battle. To do this you will want to get a flank. This is where you hit your opponent's force in the side, or rear. When you manage to do this, you will automatically do a point of morale damage. Similarly if they are facing another opponent, for the duration of the fight, you and any other unit they are facing gain a +1 to damage.

Unit Types
Call them what you will, at the end of the day, all units are the same regardless of how you arm them.
Infantry: The Rank and file. Sometimes Levies, sometimes professional soldiers hardened by war. They form the bulk of your formation and take the most casualties.
Ranged: They shoot things. Be they with bow or Musket. They form firing lines and loose volleys onto the enemy from afar.
Cavalry: Fast and usually better trained and or armored. These are usually the elite troops used in flanking maneuvers or to deliver a killing and telling blow to the enemy.
Artillery: These simply fire from a distance and blow stuff up.

However, what people are actually interested in is how their units measure up to the NPC's of the world.
NPC units commanded by NPC's will have the following stats.

Levies: 1 Skill, but 4 Morale
Militia: 2 Skill but 5 Morale
Professional Soldiers: 2 Skill but 6 Morale
ELITE Soldiers: 3 Skill but 7 Morale (Ask Staff if a troops type is Elite. Be prepared to hear a No)

NOTE: You will note that these might be weaker than what you will encounter as far as opponents. This is because your units have the options laid out in this system of locating officers and killing them, as well as having players affect the Morale score by either being Heroes in a unit or the Unit Commanders. This is an impressive force multiplier and should not be taken for granted. As such Staff has decided to make things a bit more fair on the battlefield so that players don't just ROFL their way across the West and cause Snoopy to pull his hair out. So, please. For god's sake. Don't complain about the above stats for your troops.

Terrain and Weather
Terrain and weather can have all kinds of effects on a battlefield. For a DCS battle roll on the chart below to determine the weather. For a staff battle, staff will either KNOW what the weather will be like or will roll beforehand.

Roll 1d8
1. Clear Skies.
2. A fog that lifts after the 3rd of combat.
3. Rain/snow/ or hail after 2 rounds.
4. Rain/snow/ or hail after 3 rounds.
5. Rain/snow/ or hail after 1 round.
6. Rain/snow/ or hail all day long.
7. Clear Skies.
8. Clear Skies.

Rain/snow/hail effects. What this means is that the firearms of the West have a very bad day. This also includes the Quatunax Flame Weapons. These Weapons suffer a -1 to their command roll for determining damage, and a player using them suffers a -1 to their ranged attack. Similarly, as mentioned on the Sorcery page, Fire Sorcerers CANNOT CAST when in rain or even heavy snow/hail without possibly boiling their skin.

Fog effects. When the fog is on the field, Commanders can't see, so they won't know the condition of their troops without some form of communication on the battlefield. As such without audio signals, an army will suffer -1 to their command rolls. An Army that is comprised of two forces who do not normally work together (IE Sokar and Tarris) cannot communicate even if they have audio signals, as they don't know each others methods.

As for terrain, the best method is to simply work with the storyteller to set up a battlefield that makes sense. Is there a house or a village you're battling through? Draw it on the grid map. Is there a stream or river? Draw it on the grid map. Is there a hill/copse of trees you want to hide troops behind or in? Draw. It. On. The. Grid. Map. And with your storyteller make sense of what it does. As always the Storyteller has final say.

NOTE: For reasons that will one day we're sure be made clear, the Matinga are not affected by adverse weather or terrain conditions. At All.

Surviving the Battle
You thought you were finished and if you commanded you just couldn't take damage? You my friend were wrong. Combat of this type is extremely dangerous. Therefore, have some ways to take stress!

The first deals with your dice roll. No matter what you roll, for 1 you get on a dice roll, you also take 1 pt of Physical Stress. This means that you can indeed take wounds on the battlefield. The errant arrow, or lucky sword stab in a shield wall. Whatever the reasoning you take damage. This damage only applies to Commanders.
The second is results. If your unit is routed you automatically take a temporary wound AS WELL AS WHATEVER STRESS YOUR UNIT TOOK THAT TURN. This applies to both Heroes and Commanders. In the same token if a player loses a command roll by 2 or more, they take stress equal to the amount over 2 they lost by.

Example: Jordan's unit of Spear rolls command and gets a 9. The Bitralund Vigamandr unit he faces rolls and gets a 13.
This means in this example that Jordan takes 2 physical Stress, on top of his unit taking morale damage.

And there you have it. Mass Combat. Good luck Crusaders

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