I've run into a little homebrew game-designing issue and maybe you may have just the creative solution I'm looking for. I'll try to explain this as best as I can!

  • I've been trying to create an intelligent solution for a "platoon ranged attack roll" in a large-scale battle and I just cannot seem to find the creative mathematical solution for it. (We're aiming for something simple, realistic and dynamic.)

To illustrate how our large scale battles system works when two melee infantry regiments meet:

  • Regiment 1: d20 + basic modifiers: (Morale+Stamina+Cohesion+Experience)


  • The Regiment 2, same basic modifiers.

The same was supposed to work when a ranged regiment is attacking another regiment (with slightly different modifiers):

  • The Regiment that is being shot at (Morale+Cohesion+Armor+Attention):

    Rough example: d20 + Morale(Steady 0) + Cohesion (Disciplined tight formation 2) + Armor (linen+shield 1+3) + Attention (Not engaged 0) = d20+6


  • Ranged Regiment: (Missile+Accuracy+Weather+Range + Numbers)

    Rough example: d20 + Missile type (Bows&arrows 0) + Accuracy (High Accuracy 1) + Weather conditions (Zero wind 1) + Range ( -3) + Numbers (40 Archers) = d20-1 and... 40 Archers.

What do I do with those "40 Archers"? I'm quite lost and cannot find a creative way to solve this "math problem." I'd appreciate it so much if you could offer your insight! How do we make a reasonable roll so that the number of ranged units in a regiment also plays a role in that ranged attack roll? I'm unfortunately not familiar with many RPGs, so if you know a good system that resembles what I'm trying to go for here, I'd be thankful if you shared that too.

P.S.: Our aim was also not to use HP and count casualties only after the battle is over. What we do instead is that when a regiment loses a roll in a combat exchange, its modifiers change. So for example, an infantry regiment is being beaten by another infantry, it first loses stamina, then cohesion and morale, until the whole regiment breaks and flees the field.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What's the possible range of those parenthetical modifiers? That is, can the weather modifier go from +10 (sun overhead on a cloudless day in flat terrain) to -50 (on a moonless night during a hurricane) or do they range instead from +1 to -5 or something else? Or has that yet to be decided? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 28 '18 at 3:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, welcome to this stack! I'm not sure this is the best stack for this question—Board and Card Games might be better—, but this stack does field questions about semi-RPGs like Car Wars and such, so it may be okay. (It might help the question stay open to include—even in an unrelated note—how role-playing elements influence unit statistics, though!) Anyway, good luck, thank you for participating, and have fun! \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 28 '18 at 3:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close as opinion-based, since I'm not seeing a good way to determine answer quality here. It seems like any answer with a creative solution to the numbers problem would be equally good by the text of the question, and there isn't a metric to determine which answer would be the best. It feels like an idea-generation question to me, which is probably better suited to a forum than this site. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Jul 28 '18 at 4:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why do you count the size of the unit for ranged attacks but not for melee? \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Jul 28 '18 at 4:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, define and rank order for us your criteria for success. You say "simple, realistic, and dynamic", but there is tension between those three. Simple is almost always the enemy of realistic, in my experience, and dynamic can mean a lot of things. \$\endgroup\$ – Paul Jul 28 '18 at 4:48

Off the bat, there are already a lot of modifiers going into it. :) There are a couple of ways you could approach it, but some thoughts:

Why don't you have each unit that moves represent a platoon instead of individual soldiers? If you both have squad-based combat where each marker would indicate one soldier AND where each indicator would be a squad, then you'd want to keep the rules relatively similar. So, you would just use the same ruleset and have each marker/token represent 12, 20, however many archers are in a squad.

Alternatively, you mentioned a d20 as a base. Make the d20 represent 20 soldiers, which have health states like:

  • d20 - Full health
  • d12 - Losses
  • d6 - Crippling Losses

So, your base attack modifier would drop significantly based on the number of remaining soldiers. Yes, this is getting closer to HP, but it's not tracking beyond a few levels, and it sounds like the cohesion/morale system would be more complex.

This would, however, make even a damaged unit much harder to hurt a full-health squad. For that, don't have the defenders roll dice. I've found in a lot of tactical games it's best to make the dice roll represent one single thing - in this case, attacking. Outside of attacking, dice shouldn't be rolled. Off the bat, this sounds like it would make it hard to have a complex game - in practice, it just makes it more approachable and consistent, so you're not going d20 against d20.

This changes the game so your defender's ability to survive would be based entirely on their use of terrain, cohesion, skill, and other modifiers. Give cover and terrain more of a benefit - this would be more realistic, since you can't really dodge a bullet, but you can hunker down and if you're smart, reduce the odds of you getting shot.

Since it's your game, though, you'd need to figure out what makes the most sense for your players. A system can work for one group of people but not another, so you're probably going to have to play a few different methods, try some features, and maybe pick up a couple tabletop tactics games to see how they approach it - numbered die aren't the only dice out there, so consider some with custom faces where depending on what comes up it would represent a solid hit, a weak hit, or a miss, and the more archers you have changes how many dice you roll.

Hopefully this helps!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi, and welcome to RPG Stack Exchange! The advice that you give hear seems like it's coming from a good place, but it runs afoul of one of the core rules of the site, namely "Back It Up!" On RPG.SE, if you want to include homebrew in your answer, you have to back it up with experience of actually running that homebrew. It's easy to come up with ideas for how to solve things, but it's really hard to know if an answer actually works without playtesting it first. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Jul 28 '18 at 3:51

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