A few quick reminders, notes and simple house rules:
- Heroic Assault: This is a "lead from the front-lines" attack using a normal (Dexterity + Archery/Brawl/Melee/Thrown) dice pool. It's named only for clarification purposes, given the existence of War-based Attacks. War applies a cap to your combat ability, but not to the close combat rating of your unit.
- Dedicated Stunt: This is a stunt whose "reward" is the ability to use a personal scale charm or action to influence a Mass Combat. It's necessary to use any Charm without the War Keyword in Mass Combat. You do not regain any essence or willpower from a successful Dedicated Stunt.
- Reminder: You can freely use Reflexive Charms with other Charms in Mass Combat, even without the use of a Combo.
- Corollary: Combo's do not require the use of a Willpower in Mass Combat.
War-based Attacks and Defenses
In the world of Exalted, war leaders typically lead "Heroic Assaults" from the front lines. This is not, however, the only available option and thus it's helpful to consider the other leadership style and it's trappings - the War DV, and the War-based Attack.
A commander's War DV measures the commander's capacity to react to changing battlefield conditions and minimize the effects of enemy actions. This trait equals the character's ([Wits + War + Drill] ÷ 2). Exalted and other divine beings round up, mortals and heroic mortals round down. For example, a Dawn Caste Solar with Wits 4, War 4 (Marukani Cavalry x3), leading a Drill 4 unit of Marukani Cavalry would have a War DV of 8. Only Complimentary Units have a War DV; this is an invalid defense for Solo Units who must defend themselves with their Dodge or Parry DV. All uses of the War DV are considered to have the "War" keyword.
A commander making a War-based Attack isn't charging heroically into the fray, leading the commanders by example. He instead directs the battle from a remove, operating through the efforts of his relays. A War-based Attack is launched with a roll of (Wits + War), which if successful has a base damage equal to the commander's (Charisma + [Drill + Might]). Any net successes on the attack roll add to this damage normally, and charms can modify this process significantly. The attack itself is a Speed 3 action with a -0 DV penalty, but most Commanders will precede their attack with the Position Troops (Speed 3, -1 DV) action, gaining one to three bonus dice on their attack. A War-based Attack is considered to have the "War" keyword. It can be defended against with Dodge or Parry DV, but this requires a dedicated stunt explaining how your actions blunt the attack.
Your War ability (plus any applicable specialties) serves as a cap to Close Combat Rating, prior to any multipliers from Charms or Formation. Thus, only the greatest generals can take full advantage of the the greatest troops! As a bonus, though, War-based Attacks do not require you to be the commander of the unit in question and can even be placed in a flurry to control entirely different units (up to a maximum number of units equal to your War rating). The "General" makes all the attack rolls, but the damage statistics for the unit are based on its own commander. If controlling multiple units, a General can attack multiple units or make a single coordinated attack with against a single unit with the unit he's coordinating (though this forgoes any attempt to Position Troops).
- The Officer counts as a Relay for the purposes of meeting the requirements of Magnitude 3+ units, but are very useful in any Complimentary Unit. An Officer can lead a War-based Attack similar to how a Hero can lead a Heroic Assault. This counts as the units attack, though the Commander can make an attack as if he was a Solo Unit (similar to a Hero) if he wishes. An Officer can also take the Signal Units and Rally actions on his own turn.
The roll to perform a Rally is (Charisma + [War or Performance]), with a difficulty of (Magnitude - Drill) if performed as a Complimentary Action. I.e., if the Rally represents the Complimentary Unit's action for that turn. If an Officer performs a Rally as a solo character, similar to a Hero making an attack with his own stats while a member of the Unit, the difficulty is instead calculated as (1 + Magnitude), to reflect the greater difficulty of one individual affecting the Unit.
Officer's can also perform the following Rally variants:
- Drill: Success increases the Drill of the Unit by 1 for a single action.
- Morale: Success raises the Morale of the Unit by 1 for a single action.
- Ferocity: Success boosts Close Combat Damage by 1 for a single action.
Only a Commander with an Officer can perform the above variants of the Rally action, and the Officer himself must make the rolls. Note that in order to be useful, as they only last one action, the above variants require the Officer to perform the Rally action as a solo character at the increased difficulty. These are not the only possible Rally variants possible; Players are encouraged to come up with many more. Officers can also influence the battle through the use of dedicated stunts.
Exhaustion, Hesistation and other Hazards.
When making a Rout Check, you roll your unit's Morale and factor in a bonus or penalty equal to (Endurance - Magnitude). As a large unit becomes more and more fatigued, they become more and more prone to rout. A rout check is rolled when any of the below conditions apply.
|Suffering Magnitude loss from damage||+0|
|...two or more in one attack!||+1|
|Receive a ranged combat (once per action)||+0|
|Receive a ranged attack from flame/Essence weaponry||+1|
|Being the subject of a spell|
|...of the Emerald Circle||+1|
|...of the Sapphire Circle||+2|
|...of the Adamant Circle||+3|
|Becoming engaged with an enemy unit|
|...that is roughly equivalent in quality.||+0|
|...that is superior, or led by a supernatural being.||+1|
|...that is overwhelmingly superior (supernatural?)||+2|
|AND, that unit outnumbers your own|
|...enemy unit is 1 Magnitude larger||+1|
|...enemy unit is 2 Magnitude larger||+2|
|...enemy unit is 3+ Magnitude larger||+3|
|Successfully disengaging from an enemy unit||+1|
|Failing to disengage from an enemy unit||+2|
The Endurance of a Unit is, thus, a very important task. The reflexive (Charisma + War) roll to avoid the loss of fatigue is one of the most important rolls of the entire combat, and one of the most important tasks that is done by the Commander or one of his Officers. This roll is made after an attack, or in other circumstance that the Storyteller deems requires an Exhaustion roll.
|Unit's Morale 3, 4||-1|
|Unit's Morale 5||-2|
|Unit's Morale 6+, or Perfect||-3|
|Unit is in a Fortified Position||-2|
|Unit is engaged with an enemy unit|
|...enemy is the same size, or smaller||+2|
|...enemy unit is 1 Magnitude larger||+3|
|...enemy unit is 2+ Magnitude larger||+4|
|Unit charged as last action||+1|
A unit's Might is composed of three sources.
- One, the Base Value, which is 0 for Mundane Troops of any kind. It ranges from 1-5 for other units.
- Two, the Equipment Bonus, which measures any special equipment or other bonuses that the unit has. It ranges from 0-4.
- Three, the Leadership Bonus, a bonus gifted from War Charms and other magical abilities. It ranges from 0-3.
A Unit thus has a Might anywhere from 0, to 12.
Leadership Bonus: This is a charm-based bonus to Might, which stacks fully wit the Equipment bonus.
- A +0 bonus is provided by a Mundane Mortal Commander with no especially potent magic.
- A +1 bonus is provided by Terrestrial Exalted Charms, Fair Folk glamour, most Little Gods and Artifacts.
- A +2 bonus is provided by Celestial Exalted Charms, War Gods and similar Divinities, Demons, and so on.
- A +3 bonus is provided by the Solar Exalted, the Unconquered Sun, the Maiden of Battles, and such.
It's possible for Leadership bonuses from different sources to combine, but no magic can provide more of a bonus than its own cap and the overall bonus is limited to the highest applicable cap. I.e., one of the Solar Exalted might provide a Unit led by a Terrestrial with a +2 leadership bonus. That Terrestrial could provide a +1 leadership bonus, for a total of +3. The opposite situation (a Solar providing a +1 bonus, with a Terrestrial providing a +2 bonus) could not work.
A complimentary unit has it's own Health Track, composed entirely of -0 health levels (complimentary units don't take any Wound Penalties, but similar penalties can be inflicted with special "called shots"). A Unit's health track measures how much damage it can take in Mass Combat prior to losing a point of Magnitude and (absent charms) is composed of a base value based on the Commander and a number of bonus health levels derived from the Unit's drill.
The Base Value for a given Complimentary Unit is based on it's unit composition, as follows:
|Health Levels||Troop Composition|
|(Morale x 1) + (Drill x 1)||Poorly outfitted cannon fodder; the worst militia.|
|(Morale x 2) + (Drill x 1)||Light Foot, Archers; skirmishers, barbarians, etc.|
|(Morale x 1) + (Drill x 2)||Medium Foot, Light Cavalry; fast infantry, best militia.|
|(Morale x 2) + (Drill x 2)||Heavy Foot, Cavalry; lancers, macemen, "Infantry".|
|(Morale x 3) + (Drill x 1)||Light Defensive; a tough dug-in militia, massed Zombies.|
|(Morale x 3) + (Drill x 2)||Heavy Cavalry, Raiders; armored knights, fast coursers.|
|(Morale x 2) + (Drill x 3)||Heavy Defensive; elite garrison units; heavy phalanx.|
The above formula assumes troops composed entirely of mortal extras. More impressive forces gain from 1-5 additional points that they can distribute to the modifiers as the storyteller feels is most appropriate. Heroic Mortals add +1 to the Morale Multiplier, for instance, while a unit of Young Exalts adds +1 to both the Morale and the Drill Multipliers. A unit of Lesser Elemental Dragon's adds +3 to the Morale Multiplier and +2 to the Drill Multiplier.
Finally, add a flat bonus depending on the Commander:
- +1, Extra
- +2, Heroic Mortal
- +3, Terrestrial Exalted
- +4, Celestial Exalted
- +5, Solar Exalted
Soak & Armor
A complimentary unit provides its own armor, based on the average armor worn by the unit as a whole. This is added ontop of a natural soak value derived from the Unit's Commander, by adding the unit's (Drill + Might) to the Commander's Stamina and then calculating natural soak as normal (round up).