Actual Play – Battle Royale with Cheese (7/25/2009)

System: L5R

Play-test 1 of our mass battle system. Travis and Fattig came over to test out the new mass combat system. We tested a scenario where there was one player on each side with a single personality in each battlefield.

Overall, with two players on opposite sides the system didn’t work. It was designed to accommodate many personalities and at least three players per side. We only had one per side and that left us without commanders in multiple battlefields. A lot of the kinks were discovered and we got a lot of good data (like removing three rounds of scripting per single round of battlefield conflict, etc). Enough that I have good confidence it will work once we have the right number of players.

Here is the progression of play as I remember it.

  1. Each player assembles their personality deck and shuffles their nine card Fate deck. They draw cards equal to their Battle skill from the Fate deck. They may opt to spend a void to draw another card.
  2. Players and GM roll Tides of battle for initiatie (Water + Battle / Keep Water) and in reverse order (lowest first) places a personality into the battle field of their choice. On the GMs initiative he or she places out a number of personalities equal to the numbers the players will place (so with four players he will place four personalities at a time) into the battlefield(s) of his or her choice. Repeat until all personalities are placed.
  3. Each player attaches himself to one of his personalities to personally lead their troops.
  4. On the player’s side each battlefield elects a commander. Of all the commanders, the players elect one to be the general of the entire battle.
  5. Secretly the general and the GM each script one military maneuver for each of the three battle fields. No two fields can use the same maneuver. The options are:
    • Attack (Uses Water + Battle / Keep Water + Force of your unit)
    • Hold (Uses Earth + Battle / Keep Earth + Chi if your unit)
    • Position (Uses Fire + Battle + Force of your unit)
    • Feint (Uses Air + Battle /Keep Air + Chi of your unit)
  6. Once the moves are selected the general places a token on each battlefield to signify the maneuver that the battlefield will take.
  7. Going around the table, each player performs a heroic action. They can either play a card from their hand or they can bow one of their existing units to use its Battle ability
  8. The GM then chooses to either play a card into that players battlefield or use one of the Battle abilities of his cards in that battlefield.
  9. After using a card or ability they choose a maneuver (Attack, Hold, Position and Feint). If they choose the maneuver that the general ordered for their battlefield, they can add their general’s battle score to their roll. If not they are acting on their own, don’t gain the general’s support and may face repercussions later. Once the maneuver is chose they roll against a TN 10 + ((Total enemy battlefield Chi if enemy forces are Feinting or Defending or Force if enemy unit is Positioning or Attacking) X 5).. They may take raises to protect their personality, their unit, and/or create a heroic opportunity (a personal scene).
  10. If the play fails the roll by up to four or succeeds by up to four nothing happens. For every five they succeed by they may bow one enemy unit. Instead, for every ten they succeed by they may destroy an enemy unit. Consequently for every five or ten they fail by, the GM can do the same to their allied units.
  11. If the player took raises for a heroic opportunity, they then declare what they want to do in the battle, declare their stakes and the GM sets stakes of his own to match. The heroic scene is played out with the normal (non-mass battle) mechanics.
  12. These steps are repeated for every player at the table.
  13. Once all the players have taken actions the commanders of each field execute the maneuver prescribed by the general for all of their unattached, unbowed units. The maneuvers are compared on a chart. Attacks are independent of other attacks, a versus test against Positioning and Hold and are uncontested (automatically trump) Feints. Holds are a versus test against Positioning and Attack, untested (no roll on either side) versus a Hold and trumped by Feints. Position are independent of other positions and Feints and versus against Attacks and Holds. Feints are versus against other Feints, independent of Position, trumped by Attacks and trump Holds. Independent tests are rolled against a TN of 15, using the same increments above to Bow and/or Destroy units. Versus tests go to the winner (who must exceed by the same increments to bow or destroy).
  14. Clean up phase. All units in battlefields that have closed (which happens any time all enemy units are destroyed) move to adjacent battlefields. Units in reserves may move to any battlefield. All players who’s characters are unattached (because the unit they controlled was destroyed or removed from battle) attach their character to an allied unit. Each commander can unbow a number of cards equal to his battle. The general can then unbow a number of units equal to his battle.
  15. The battle ends when all the enemy units are destroyed in two battlefields

18 15 steps huh..  I’m sure this can be condensed.  I hate to ask but anything I missed?