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In a nutshell, I'm debating starting up a campaign that would use the Hundred Years' War as a backdrop, and as such, would have many battles that would have hundreds or thousands of combatants. Is there a way to simulate such interactions?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Possible duplicate of Keeping Mass Battles interesting for players \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 27 '18 at 20:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ do you expect the players actions to effect the outcome of the battle? or are they participants only? \$\endgroup\$ – Jasen Jan 27 '18 at 23:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jasen I would want to have it where with the right actions, they can effect the battle, but it would take effort and luck. Think of it as the characters were foot soldiers or archers. Normally expendable, but with one shot or blow in the right place, and they could affect the battle by saying, killing the King. \$\endgroup\$ – canadiancreed Jan 28 '18 at 13:55
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Only unreleased playtest rules right now

There are no officially-released rules currently for mass combat in 5e. However, they do have playtest rules available for mass combat released under Unearthed Arcana. That is available here. Also an older set of UA rules regarding mass combat here.

Note that all Unearthed Arcana is going to be much more rough around the edges and likely to have errors, rules holes, or imbalances than the officially released rules. So tread carefully. At the very least, it should be a good place to start.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There were two sets of mass combat rules in UA right? One with stands and solos, the other using a stat called Battle Rating (BR). The system using BR is more abstract but we've enjoyed using it during the final chapter of Tyranny of Dragons. \$\endgroup\$ – Shane Walden Jan 28 '18 at 8:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ShaneWalden You probably have enough experience with the UA rules to provide an answer. Please consider doing so. When it comes to play test material, having actually worked with it can inform a good answer. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jan 28 '18 at 14:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShaneWalden my understanding was that the UA you referenced was an earlier version of the one I linked to, but I could be incorrect. They said "We’ve touched on mass combat before in this column and have created these new rules after receiving your feedback." Regardless I think your experience would make for a good answer if you wanted to write one. Especially indicating what you thought worked well or not. \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jan 28 '18 at 14:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Our DM has used both types of mass combat in our campaign. They are both quite enjoyable and suitable for different situations. The one with the stands and solos is more strategical while the BR mechanic is more focused on the PCs with the combat in the background being determined by their actions as well as dice rolls. The BR mechanic is most suitable for two armies facing each other head-on and is devoid of strategy. \$\endgroup\$ – Kapten-N Jan 29 '18 at 9:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Kapten-N: I think an answer from you saying some of this would be very helpful as well! Please do consider writing one! \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Jan 30 '18 at 2:15

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