The Darkbane Warders
- Dice: Anytime a passage refers to unspecified value dice, they refer to 1d3-1.
- Commander: Player in control of an army or faction.
- Unit: A fighting group of about 20 people of a specific type, the basic components of an army.
- Resource Points: A representation of total resources (gold, lumber, stone, etc) available to the commander(s) of a faction, used to hire units, build structures, pay upkeep, and likewise.
- Leader: A special character that leads a unit, granting it various bonuses (or penalties).
- Tactical Advantage: When one army has a significant advantage over another based on special abilities of their units. Various units can grant combat advantage in certain situations.
- Force Value: The generalized strength of a unit which represents the base dice value it adds to an army and the amount of damage it can take before being destroyed.
- Special Qualities: Unique benefits or detriments of a unit that may increase or decrease a unit’s dice contribution to an army’s total force value, provide tactical advantage, allow spellcasting, or some other effect.
The sum of the available resources available to a faction is measured in Resource Points (RP) which represents an amalgam of all the gold, lumber, stone, supplies, and other resources possessed by the group. Resource points are spent to hire units, pay upkeeps, build structures, and generally provide for the expenses of maintaining the faction. Resource points roughly translate to 4,000 gold pieces worth of material.
The players are beginning this story with 20 resource points.
Resources can be gained in a variety of ways. To start, while the party is working in the north Sir Cedric continues to try to find aid in Stormwind, providing the party with a steady stream of resource points per play session, which may fluctuate depending on certain events. Typically however Sir Cedric manages to provide two dice worth of resource points per play session. In addition to this outside support the players may claim key resource points such as farms, mines, and the like and post workers there to generate resource revenue per session. Finally, players may also claim resources from missions against enemy territory, taking enemy fortifications, and other events during play.
Armies require more than just payment and training up front, they also require supplies, repairs, and other necessities to continue operating in the field. The more units a faction maintains the more these costs rise. For every full 5 units a faction maintains it must spend one resource point per play session in upkeep to maintain these units. If this upkeep is unspent the total morale of the units is reduced, which may cause them to desert, and they have the fatigued condition for that play session.
Units are fighting groups of about 20 individuals with a similar skillset which provide the basic building blocks of an army. Each unit has a Force Value which represents its essential strength and may have any number of special qualities depending on the type of unit or advantages offered to it by experience, situations, spells, equipments, leadership, or otherwise which provide it with differing capabilities. When mass combat breaks out the force values of each unit on either side, including any bonus dice granted from special abilities, are added together to determine the total force value of the army.
Units can be assigned damage in battle, which may injure or outright destroy the unit. A unit with damage equal to half its force value (without bonus dice) gains the injured condition (-1 die), while a unit with damage equal to its force value is destroyed. Damage can be removed by rest at a rate of one per session so long as the unit is garrisoned and not participating in combat during the time of that session.
- Mercenaries (FV: 1. Cowardly. 1 RP.)
- Workers (FV: 1. Builder, Pacifist. 2 RP.)
- Scouts (FV: 1. Scouting, Pacifist. 2 RP.)
- Footmen (FV: 2. 3 RP.)
- Riflemen (FV: 1. Sharpshooter +2. 3 RP.)
- Mortar Team (FV: 1. Seige +2. 3 RP.)
- Catapult (FV: 1. Seige +4, Mechanical. 5 RP.)
- Mages (FV: 1. Spellcasting. 6 RP.)
- Priests (FV: 1. Spellcasting. 6 RP.)
- Gryphon Rider (FV: 3 Flying+1 6 RP.)
- Knights (FV: 4. Mounted. 8 RP.)
- Paladins (FV: 4. Mounted, Holy +1. 9 RP.)
- Cannons (FV: 4. Defensive +3 10 RP.)
- Siege Tank (FV: 5. Siege +4, Mechanical 13 RP.)
- Injured – -1 penalty to dice pools.
- Fatigued – -1 penalty to dice pools.
- Well Equipped – +1 to Force Value.
- Veteran – +1 to Force Value, improved morale, some unique effects based on unit.
- Defensive – Grants bonus dice when defending.
- Marauder – Grants bonus dice while attacking.
- Builder – May build or repair structures and mechanical units.
- Pacifist – Will not participate in battle.
- Cowardly – Deserts more easily with low morale, may attempt to desert when facing groups of more than 5 enemy units.
- Sharpshooter – Grants bonus dice when enemy army contains units with flying, stops enemy army from gaining tactical advantage from flying units.
- Siege – Grants bonus dice when sieging enemy structures.
- Mechanical – Does not heal normally, can be repaired by Builders even from destroyed condition like a structure.
- Mounted – Can participate in mounted missions. Grants tactical advantage if no enemy units have the mounted ability.
- Flying – Can participate in scouting or mounted missions. Grants tactical advantage and bonus dice if no enemy units have the flying or sharpshooter abilities.
- Holy – Grants bonus dice when enemy army contains undead units.
- Spellcasting – Unit can cast spells during spellcasting round.
- Fortification – Cannot be the target of damage due to tactical advantage, typically granted by structures.
- Tactical – automatically grants one point of tactical advantage.
- Magic Resistant – Cannot be targeted by spells except those allowed by the unit’s commander.
- Assassin – May perform assassination missions. Leaders who possess this quality do not grant it to units, but may engage in assassination missions solo.
Each unit may be assigned a single leader, a unique character that leads the unit in battle and provides special bonuses (or penalties) to them. Leaders may be assigned at the beginning of a play session and remain with their unit until removed or reassigned. Leaders fight with their units, and if the unit is destroyed there is a chance that the leader will be slain alongside his or her allies. If the body of a dead leader can be recovered it may be resurrected by players with the Raise Dead (or similar) spells or by a Priests unit with the Raise spell, at the cost of 2 RP.
Players as Leaders
Players may wish to take the field as a leader of a unit from time to time. In this case the player should work with the DM to create a leadership profile suitable to representing that character’s most important contributions to a large fight, for example a Fighter might contribute extra FV for his martial ability and command, while a Cleric might grant a unit Spellcasting as a Priest to represent the addition of her powerful divine magics. Players otherwise function as other leaders, including a chance on unit defeat to be slain (determined secretly by the DM).
Particularly powerful individuals, namely player characters and some leader characters, are strong enough to take the field as a unit in and of themselves. Any character with ten or more levels may take the field on their own as a hero unit, treated as a unit with 1 FV that has all the qualities granted by the character’s leadership. Taking the field in this way is risky however, for if the hero unit receives enough damage to be defeated the character dies. Hero units cannot gain the veteran or well equipped qualities, these are assumed by nature of the hero unit.
When a single unit has participated in five battles, it becomes a veteran unit and gains the Veteran special quality. A group of mercenaries who gains the veteran quality loses the cowardly quality permanently.
The fighting spirit of armies can fluctuate with victories, losses, and other factors. Unit morale follows the following continuum: Very low – Low – Average – Good – High – Very High. Armies begin with a morale of good, rising one rank on the continuum for each major victory and falling one for each serious loss. Various events may raise or lower morale. If morale falls too low units may begin to lose faith in the cause and desert.
Leaders of armies can take steps maintain morale in the face of hardship. Players may attempt to rouse the morale of the troops with a DC 25 diplomacy check. Success raises the army one rank on the continuum. Players may also provide extra food and supplies for troops, paying the army’s upkeep twice that session (min 1 RP) to raise morale by one rank. Any one method may only raise morale once per story arc and may not raise morale above High.
When the players establish a base of operations, or claim a base of operations as the case may be, they may build structures on that point to fortify and improve the area. Generally speaking a structure has a cost in resource points and requires a number of sessions of work by worker units equal to half this cost. Multiple units may work upon a structure at the same time to increase speed of its construction. Repairing structures requires half the cost in both resource points and building points.
Standard Military Structures
- Castle (54 RP) – The heart of a keep, provides a safe stronghold and direction. Provides fortification to all units within the castle, counts as a garrison, and halves the cost of a Town Hall.
- Caster’s Tower (30 RP) – A mage’s tower for use by wizards. Trains Mages. Allows for various magical upgrades to a base.
- Temple (32 RP) – A place of worship for Priests. Trains Priests. Increases healing of garrisoned units.
- Town Hall (22 RP) – A place for workers (and citizens, in a city) to organize, gather, and store records. Reduces the cost of Scout Towers and Barracks in a base by half.
- Barracks (12 RP) – A place to garrison troops, allowing them to recover from battles.
- Smithy (10 RP) – A place for workers to create improved equipment for units, providing them with the ‘Well Equipped’ quality for a cost of 2 RP.
- Stone Wall (8 RP) – A sturdy wall of stone to protect from invasion. A closed area of wall provides the Fortification quality to all within. Additionally every 4 lengths of wall grants a defending group one bonus die on defending rolls, doubled if the wall is closed.
- Palisade Wall (2 RP) – A wall of spiked lumber, which provides the same benefit as a Stone Wall except that all die bonuses are halved and it is easier to break.
- Scout Tower (6 RP) – A tower either built as part of a wall or as a stand alone defense. Provides fortification to a single unit within the tower and allows for greater vision around the tower area which reduces the chance of surprise raids.
When two armies clash combat begins in rounds. At the very beginning of combat if one side is caught ambushed, unawares, or otherwise tactically disadvantaged the battle begins with an ambush round. An ambush round behaves like a normal round, except that the ambushed party cannot take tactical advantage (automatically granting it to enemies) and all units suffer a -1 penalty to their total Force Value contributions. After the ambush round, or if no ambush round was taken, normal combat rounds begin and continue sequentially until it one side is defeated, retreats, or surrenders.
The Combat Round
Each Spellcasting unit may cast a single spell. Spells are cast simultaneously but resolve in the following order: Effects, healing, damage.
2: Determine Tactical Advantage
Determine what units grant tactical advantage and how much each side has. An army gains one point of tactical advantage for each unit that grants advantage in that round.
3: Determine and roll the Total Force Values of each side.
Each unit of an army contributes their Force Value in dice, modified by any special qualities or other bonuses/penalties they have, to the total Force Value of their side, which is then rolled against the opposing army. The side with the highest roll is victorious, and deals damage to the opposing side equal to the amount their roll beat the opposition’s roll. Tie rolls count as a wash.
4: Deal Combat Damage
Combat Damage is dealt to units of the side that lost the round. The opposing commander chooses how the first points of damage are dealt up to the amount of tactical advantage he has, then all remaining damage is dealt as chosen by the unit’s commander.
5: Deal Attrition Damage
Each side deals a point of damage to the opposing side equal to their FV roll divided by ten, rounded down. This damage represents mass combat chaos and attrition and can never be made tactical.
6: End Step
Any short term effects count down one round, if they reach 0 rounds they end. Commanders may choose to retreat or surrender at this step.
If an army decides to retreat they give up the ground they are fighting over and withdraw to a nearby friendly territory. When a commander declares a retreat a single retreat round begins as a normal round, however the retreating units suffer a -1 penalty to their rolls.
Certain units have the Spellcasting ability, which enables them to cast a spell during the combat round. Each Spellcasting unit, or leader if the leader grants Spellcasting, knows a number of spells and has its own mana pool with which to fund them. Spells may be cast out of combat, to heal injured units or arrange an ambush for example.
Spells cast by units are funded by their mana pool. Each unit has an amount of mana equal to two plus one for every spell known. A unit’s mana recovers to full at the start of each play session.
Each unit knows a number of spells based on its type and may learn more by gaining experience or training at a respective institution. When a Spellcasting unit gains the veteran quality they automatically learn one spell from their list. Otherwise spells may be learned at a tower, temple, or other place if learning based on the unit type, which requires one resource point and one session’s worth of effort by the unit.
Some spellcasters can learn spells from multiple lists. If a spellcaster draws upon more than one list of learnable spells, when he chooses his spells he must always choose one from the list he has fewer spells from. If he has an equal number from both lists he may choose one from either list.
- Slow (1 mana) – Reduces the target unit’s speed, halving its dice contributions and making it unable to retreat. Lasts 2d rounds.
- Invisibility (1 mana) – Provides 1d6 units with the tactical quality for one round.
- Polymorph (2 mana) – Turns target unit into sheep for 1d rounds, during which they contribute no dice to the battle and have no special qualities.
- Blizzard (3 mana) – Deals 4d damage.
- Expeditious retreat (1 mana) – removes penalties of a retreat round.
- Summon Water Elemental (3 mana) – Creates a FV 2 water elemental that lasts for the remainder of the play session.
- Fortification (2 mana) – provides all allies with the fortification quality for 1d+1 rounds.
- Heal (1 mana) – Removes 1d+1 damage from a unit.
- Dispel Magic (1 mana) – Removes 1d negative magics from one allied unit or 1d positive magics from one enemy unit.
- Inner Fire (2 mana) – Provides one allied unit with a +1 FV bonus for the remainder of the play session.
- Raise (3 mana) – Saves one allied unit lost in the current battle from death, returning it to the field with damage equal to half it’s FV.
- Mass Heal (3 mana) – removes one damage from up to five allied units.
- Shackle Undead (2 mana) – Functions as Polymorph but only targets undead units.
- Righteous Aura (3 mana) – Provides all allied units with Holy +1 for one round.
Certain units have qualities that allow them to be assigned to special tasks. These missions vary based on the unit qualities, as described below. While on a mission a unit detaches from the main army, making it unable to be present for battles that occur during the mission. Unless otherwise specified missions require one session to complete.
- Scout: The unit scouts enemy forces in a nearby area, revealing information about enemy units, numbers, and fortifications. Scouts are normally stealthy and undetectable during this process, but might be spotted by enemy towers or scouts in the region.
- Watch: Deploys scouts into friendly territory, greatly increasing the chance to detect enemy scouts and surprise attacks.
- Patrol: Sets unit to patrol the roads, granting a chance to stop enemy raids or to intercept enemy supplies.
- Raid: Strike quickly at enemy outposts to harry troops and pillage supplies.
A leader or unit with the assassin quality can perform assassination missions in attempts to kill enemy leaders. Assassination is risky business however, never guaranteed and sometimes just as likely to cause the end of the assassin.
Every play session there is a 25% chance for a random event to occur, which may be something positive or negative. If the previous play session did not have a random event, the chance increases to 75%.