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Created On 19 March 2005
Last Updated On 19 March 2005
Copyright © 2005 Simon E. Phipp

Army Combat

One of the advantages of the HeroQuest system is that is is scaleable using the same basic rules. So, you can use the same rules to describe Hero-Hero interaction as you can with Army-Army interaction. Since there are times when a Narrator needs to decide the outcome of a battle, I thought that some simple rules on army combat would help things along.

I used these in one of our sessions and they worked reasonably well, at least they didn't have massive holes.

1. Each unit is treated as a single entity with basic combat ability approximately equal to the average member's ability.

2. Only magic/skills that affect an entire unit will increase/decrease combat ability.

3. Powerful heroes may augment a unit at equivalent APs / 50. Normally, Heroes may augment using up to 2 augmented skills, for instance Close Combat and Warband Tactics.

So, Zhara has Close Combat 12W3 but has + 16 with augments, giving her 8W4 = 88 / 50 = 2, so she augments a unit with +2 (Close Combat).

Rangali has Close Combat 17 (??!) (+42) = 19W2 = 59 / 50 = 1, so he gets +1 (Close Combat). But he has Warband Tactics 5W with +4
augments = 9W = + 3, so he has +1 (Close Combat) + 3 (Warband Tactics) for a total of + 4.

Hallarax has Close Combat 18W (+10) = 8W2 = 48 / 50 = + 1 and Uplifting Anthem 5W (+24) = 9W2 = + 5, so he gives a +1 (Close
Combat) + 5 (Uplifting Anthem) = + 6. (I am aware that someone using magic to affect a group of people should take a modifier, perhaps 20, but I wasn't sure whether to use that here.)

4. So, breakpoints for augmenting are 5W (+1), 15W3 (+2), 5W6 (+3). Are these too high? Should we use a lower divisor?

Divisor +1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5
50 5W 15W3 5W6 15W8
40 20 20W2 20W4 20W6 20W8
30 15 5W2 15W3 5W5 16W6
25 13 18W 3W3 8W4 13W5

5. Only someone with augmented skill more than 1 Mastery above the base ability of the unit may augment the unit as above. Otherwise
they are considered a normal part of the unit.

6. Units with a Guardian that helps in combat may use their Guardian's magic to augment their skills. So a unit with Stand Fast 19 and Men of Courage 2W could use these to augment, adding +2 and +2 = +4. Note that many regiments are made up of HeroBands, each with its own magic.

7. Each unit here is considered a separate entity. Allunits should be of similar numbers, if a unit is particularly big then treat it as two or more units. The actual size of the unit is irrelevent as these rules work equally well with small scale and large scale combat.

8. Treat combat as either a Simple Contest or an Extended Contest, depending on the scale and importance of the battle. For example, a lightning raid on an opposing clan might be rolled as a Simple Contest, but a full scale battle involving magic regiments and many units might be better as an Extended Contest.

9. Depending on the rolls, you may have to roll to see if any participants have been injured or not. Basically, this is a roll of your ability vs 20, with
a bump down for every level of failure of the army roll. If you fail then every level of failure is a level of hurt. So, if Zhara is at 8W4 but her unit has suffered a Major Defeat (3 levels, equivalent to W3) so rolls at 8W4 vs 20W3, she rolls a 10 (failure bumped to worse success) against a 4 (success), so she has a marginal defeat and loses 1 level of health, to Hurt. Clearly, this only needs to be rolled for player or important Narrator Heroes.

Strengths of Units

It is always difficulty to determine the basic strengths of units, so the easiest way is to take the typical stats of a member of the unit and use those as the unit's ability. Many of the following are taken from published supplements. I took most of them from combat statistics from the Sartar Rising series and a few other places. They seem to be fairly consistent and should give an idea of the relative strengths of the units.

Where a unit is enhanced by heavy armour or weapons, I have included these as they give an advantage over units without them.
Unit Close Combat Ranged Combat Other Combat Spells/Abilities
Typical Clan        
Fyrd 13 13    
Shield Thanes 18 15    
Ancestors     2W  
Tribal Thanes 4W      
Tribal Cavalry 4W      
Standard Soldiers        
Tarshite Shieldwall  18(+3)      
Imperial Soldiers  20(+3) 1W(+3)    
Sun Dome Peltasts  12 3W(+3)    
Heavy Troops        
Diavizzi Guards  4W(+3)  10W(+3)    
Lasadag Lions  10W(+4) 10W(+3)    
Scorching Swords  6W 11W    
Tarshite Heavy Foot  10W(+4)      
Beryl Phalanx  14W(+4)      
Granite Phalanx  10W      
Sun Dome Pikemen  19(+11)      
Shock Troops        
Red Tribe  10W(+10) 10W(+10)    
Black Horse Troop  12W2(+6)      
The Army Villians  3W2(+5)      
Black Leopard Mandate  1W2(+3)   Terror Tactics 20W  
Chaos Thing  5W2(+10)     Cause Panic 10W
Luathelan Heavy Foot  10W2(+10) 10W2(+10)    
Luathelan Cavalry  15W2(+10)