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War Pigs & The Mob Rules

The Mob Rules can scale up and War Pigs can scale down so there is some overlap but there are also situations where it’s really clear which of the two systems to use.

The Mob Rules

From 5e DMG, these are great for quickly handling groups attacking.

“Handling Mobs”, from the 5e DMG, can handle smaller groups like five, eight, something like that up to maybe a hundred. It’s great for when like ten goblins attack you! It can also be used for henches and skirmish groups on your side, too.

A huge upside is that The Mob Rules mixes very well with normal heroes and monsters! It’s just a way to group some creatures together into mobs while others can still be handled as normal.

It works best when the creatures in the mob have pretty much the same attack bonus.

Throughout the fight keep track of the numbers we calculate out because they can be reused for future rounds making the rest of the fight even faster♥

When that mob attacks, cross-reference the mob’s attack bonus with the target’s defense value in this attack matrix to find the “attackers needed” number.

Attack↓/Defense→ -2 -1 +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12
-3 3 3 4 4 5 5 10 20 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
-2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 10 20 20 20 20 20 20 20
-1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 10 20 20 20 20 20 20
+0 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 10 20 20 20 20 20
+1 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 10 20 20 20 20
+2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 10 20 20 20
+3 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 10 20 20
+4 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 10 20
+5 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 10
+6 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5
+7 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 5
+8 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 4 4
+9 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 4
+10 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3
+11 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3
+12 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
AAC→ 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Let’s say it’s goblins (+4) vs guards (AC 3 [16], a.k.a. defense +4) so we find a 2! That two means that for every two goblins in the mob, one gets to roll damage dice! So a mob of six or seven goblins would roll 3d6 damage! (3d6+6 in 5e.)

That’s right! The mob doesn’t even need to roll to hit, they are just that good! (The downside is that they can’t crit. They trade precision for brutality.)

If the creatures in the mob deal different damage, the most brutal people are definitely among the ones that hit! (And if they have multiattack, all of their attacks hit!)

For defense, the individual creatures in the mob defend and die like normal.

When the “Attackers Needed” number is larger than the amount of people in the mob, it’s time to split the mob up and handle them as individuals.

If you have a type of creature you use often for mobs, consider writing a custom table for them with just their row from this attack matrix. If there is a long stretch of twos, then also put in the boundaries for that stretch, like for a +4 creature put 10–16 so you know that for all opposition with that AC in that range you don’t even need the table. Half the mob just hits.

Offscreen fighting

It’s not fun to roll out NPC vs NPC but you can use the mob rules to fight a bunch of rounds at once. One NPC vs four might be treated as 10 vs 40 or 5 vs 20, combining many rounds in one roll. Be careful with the granularity here, if you choose too big of a multiplier, both sides will just annihilate each other. It could be worth going for a slightly lower number so that there are, say, two rolls each.

War Pigs

Here is my own spin on the “War Machine”, from the classic D&D Rules Cyclopedia, for when armies clash! Down to 10 v 10 but can handle millions upon utter millions! And, the armies can be completely diverse too♥

Both armies just roll a d100 and add their Battle Ratings to that and the result with the highest number wins. Easy peasy! See this table for detailed results:

Diff Losses (w) (l) Exhaustion (w) (l) Location (w) (l)
1–8 0 10% 0 0 Holds the field Must retreat one
9–15 0 20% 0 0 Holds the field Must retreat one
16–24 10% 20% 0 +2 Holds the field Must retreat one
25–30 10% 30% 0 +2 Holds the field Must retreat two
31–38 20% 40% +2 +4 Must retreat one Must retreat one
39–50 0% 30% 0 +4 Holds the field Must retreat three
51–63 20% 50% +2 +4 May advance one Must retreat four
64–80 30% 60% +2 +4 May advance one Must retreat four
81–90 10% 50% 0 +4 May advance three Must retreat three
91–100 0% 30% 0 Routed May advance three Routed
101–120 20% 70% 0 Routed May advance three Routed
121–150 10% 70% 0 Routed May advance three Routed
151+ 10% 100% 0 May advance five

Routed means that the survivors scatter and might make it home in 1d10 weeks.

This kind of fighting has a cap of four exhaustion levels and they are removed normally, by resting.

Optional Tactics Rules

Each side secretly chooses and commits to one of these six tactics (for example by hiding a six sided die):

  1. Overwhelm (forceful attack to overrun)
  2. Attack (close and combat)
  3. Envelop (attempt to encircle foe)
  4. Trap (lure foe to an ambush)
  5. Hold (stand fast at all costs)
  6. Withdraw (retreat rather than fight)
→/↓ Overwhelm Attack Envelop Trap Hold Withdraw
Overwhelm C2/C2 -20/C2 C1/+10 +20/C2 -25/C2 C3/+2O
Attack C2/-20 C1/C1 -10/C1 +10/C1 C-1/— C2/+10
Envelop +10/C1 C1/-10 NE -20/C-1 C2/+20 C-1/+10
Trap C2/+20 C1/+10 C-1/-20 NE C-1/-20 C-1/C-1
Hold C2/-25 —/C-1 +20/C2 -20/C1 NC NC
Withdraw +20/C3 +10/C2 +10/C-1 C-1/C-1 NC NC
C1, C2 etc
Casualties increase by 10%, 20% etc
-20, +10 etc
Battle Rating changed by -20, +10 etc.
NE
No effect, fight as normal
NC
Fight canceled!

War Machine RPS Wheel

Optional Mercy Rules

When the winner is showing mercy:

  1. The loser’s casualties are cut in half.
  2. All wounded may be recovered, even if the loser has been driven from the field.
  3. A + 2 bonus applies to all the loser’s future reaction rolls involving the winner (including both leaders).
  4. If the loser fights the winner again within 1 year, a -20 penalty applies to the loser’s BR.

Splitting Forces

Both sides need to have the same amount of forces so just split the larger force up. Each force can still be hundreds of people so good luck♥

Calculating Battle Rating

The Battle Rating is not fun to calculate out. So please keep the basic Battle Rating written down for each army.

You can look at troop class or level to find out the start battle rating. (The idea of going this direction instead of the other way came from the Immortals Companion♥)

Troop Class Level Start Battle Rating
Untrained 1–2 10
Poor 3–4 30
Mediocre 5–6 45
Fair 7–9 60
Good 10–12 75
Very Good 13–15 90
Great 16–18 110
Superb 19+ 130

You can also look at CR; look under level and then go up one step. So CR 11 means Very Good.

Then note what’s ten percent of that start Battle Rating and add it as a bonus for each of the following questions that’s true:

(For example a Great army with five of those things true will have a battle rating of 110+5×11 = 165.)

Then write it down for each army and keep it forever since it’s so boring to calculate!

There are some situational modifiers too, specific to each fight.

The bigger army gets a bonus by its ratio to the smaller.

Bigger to larger Bonus
1½ to 1 +15
2 to 1 +30
3 to 1 +45
4 to 1 +60
5 to 1 +70
6 to 1 +80
7 to 1 +90
8–10 to 1 +100
11–15 to 1 +110
16–20 to 1 +120
21–30 to 1 +130
31–40 to 1 +140
41–50 to 1 +150
51–60 to 1 +160

etc

And here are some ideas for things that can give advantage on the d100 roll:

(Add +150, instead of advantage, if all of the force is immune to the all enemy’s attacks.)

And some things that can give disadvantage: