Mass Combat Rules

Mass combat

Mass Combat Rules

An integral part of running a kingdom is fielding and using armies in mass combat.

Armies represent large masses of armed combatants. A kingdom without armies includes town guards, constables and other miscellaneous armed men. However (unless organized as an army), these men are insufficiently organized to engage in mass combat.

For purposes of the mass combat rules, an army unit (or just a “unit”) is the smallest atomic unit that can maneuver, attack and defend separately. An army may contain one or more units. For example, a typical medieval army may consist of separate units of foot soldiers, skirmishers, knights, archers and scouts.

We will be using the mass combat rules from the Pathfinder – Ultimate Campaign book with the following exceptions:

House Rule Exceptions:

Automatic Leadership Boons
Ruler – Bloodied but Unbroken, Loyalty
Marshal – Bonus Tactic, Flexible Tactics, Hold the Line, Loyalty, Merciless
Constable – Defensive Tactics , Hold the Line, Loyalty
Justicar – Hold the Line, Merciless
High Priest – Hold the Line, Live off the Land, Triage
Magister – Triage
Royal Executioner – Merciless
Spymaster – Hit and Run, Merciless , Sharpshooter
Warden – Live off the Land, Hit and Run, Sharpshooter, Triage

Defeated: Each time a unit is defeated, your kingdom takes a war fatigue penalty to its Stability, Economy and Loyalty modifier equal to the ACR of the unit. This penalty is cumulative with each destroyed unit, and a long war with heavy casualties can crush a nation. War fatigue is reduced by 1 automatically each month during the unrest phase if the nation is no longer at war.


For purposes of raising and maintaining army units, there are three different types of units: Regular units, Mercenary units and Feudal units.

Regular Units: In order to raise a regular unit, take the following steps:

  • Step 1—Select Unit: Select the unit from among the sample units available, or check with your GM to create a custom unit.
  • Step 2—Loyalty Check: Make a Loyalty check against your control DC + twice the units CR. If the check fails, spend BP equal to half the army’s consumption, and stop. If you are unsuccessful at raising the army this month, you can try again next month with a +4 bonus on the Loyalty check.
  • Step 3—Place Army: Spend BP equal to the unit’s consumption. Place the unit in any hex you control with a Defense value at least equal to the unit’s size modifier (an unit of size “Small” or smaller can be placed in any hex you control).

Mercenary Units: Raising (really hiring) a mercenary army is faster and simpler, although more expensive. Simply spend BP equal to the mercenary army’s consumption, and place the army in any hex allowed by your GM. A mercenary unit’s consumption will usually be double that of an equivalent regular army.

Feudal Units: Feudal units are created automatically when the feudal estate is created. When the feudal estate is created, a unit selected by the GM will be placed upon the feudal estate. The most common feudal unit will be a small troop of knights (level 3 cavaliers) or equivalent. Once a particular type of unit is selected, it cannot be changed for that feudal estate.

A feudal estate cannot support more than one feudal unit. If the feudal unit supported by an estate is destroyed, a new unit can be created one year later. If the feudal estate is no longer part of the nation, the feudal unit will immediately retreat to the estate and act according to the new situation.


Normally, you must pay a unit’s consumption in BP each week that it is in the field (i.e. four times in a monthly kingdom turn).

Garrisoning: If the unit is garrisoned in a hex, you only need to pay the BP once each month. A hex can garrison units with total unit size modifiers equal to the defense value of the hex. Garrisoned units can participate in battles fought in the hex, but cannot move outside the hex during the month they are garrisoned or they begin paying weekly consumption.

Units of “Small” size and smaller can be garrisoned in any settled hex under your control, so long as the combined size modifiers are less than 1 (in the case of a 0 defense hex.)

You do not need to pay BP for the consumption of feudal units (so long as the feudal estate hex is part of your kingdom).

Supply Line Consumption: A solid supply line is critical, and an army cannot survive long without supplies. A unit’s supply consumption begins at 0, and increases by 1 for every 3 hexes away from a location that could garrison the unit (always rounded up).

Disbanding: Each week that a nation fails to pay an army’s consumption, reduce its morale by 2 points. If this penalty results in a morale of -5 or lower, the army disbands. Mercenary armies immediately disband if their consumption is not paid.


Attacking an army occupying a defensive fortification can be an extremely difficult task. Instead of continually losing forces in combat, it is possible to Siege a fortification. Laying Siege requires a unit with siege capability.

The first step in laying siege is investment: surrounding the city and isolating its methods of resupply. The waterways have to be isolated in some fashion as do the roads leading into the city. Cavalry patrols control the terrain between road and water. Field fortifications are erected first facing the city walls, then facing outward to protect against any enemy forces attempting to relieve the besieged city. Supply of the invested forces and communications have to be established.

Isolating the city and getting the basic logistics takes one day. Erecting the investment field fortifications takes longer. The longer the siege, the more developed these become. If a besieged enemy is going to attempt to sally forth and strike a blow, the first days are the most crucial.

  • The force laying siege gains a cumulative +2 defensive modifier for each week they are attacking (maximum +8.)
  • While a fortification is invested, it cannot act as a supply line for any outside forces.
  • It is possible to a besieging army that has invested an enemy city to find that they themselves have also been invested!


Once a fortification has been invested, it cannot raise any additional armies from outside of its walls. The fortification’s own populace has to supply the manpower and officers for any new armies and have all necessary buildings and all of the requisite BP accessible through its granaries.

A city has sufficient foodstuffs “on hand” to feed its population for one week. The primary building that represents food storage capacity is granaries. Since the kingdom’s farmlands can no longer supply the besieged city, each granary represents sufficient stored chow to supply 100BP worth the kingdoms treasury for the fortification.

  • A city under siege does not apply any bonus to the nation’s Economy, Stability, or Loyalty (including bonuses from any leaders trapped within)
  • A besieged city’s consumption cost is added to the consumption cost of its defending units to realize a weekly (instead of monthly) consumption total
  • The benefits of garrisoning units do not apply to a city under siege.

Once supplies run out, the defending forces must make a kingdom loyalty check each week equal to the Control DC + 10 per additional week of siege or the fortification surrenders and is at the mercy of the attacking force.

Siege Combat

Battles are not required to take place during a siege, and generally do not unless one side wishes to press for victory.

  • A fortification’s defensive modifier can be reduced in combat by siege engines. These defenses can be repaired immediately at a cost of 5BP per point of defense, but all supplies must come from within the fortifications granaries.

Pressing for Victory: If at any point either side wishes to press for victory, a battle takes place.

  • The provoking side gains no bonus from their respective fortifications during this battle, otherwise normal mass combat rules apply.
  • If the siege force retreats or is routed in this battle, the siege ends immediately and any siege modifiers reset.
  • If the defending force retreats or is routed in this battle, they may choose to retreat back into the fortification or abandon it entirely. If abandoned, the siege ends immediately and the fortification surrenders to the mercy of the attacking force.

Mass Combat Rules

The Empire Cidwin Cidwin