House Rules: Mass Combat - Tactics

Tactics are options an army can use to influence aspects of a battle. A newly recruited unit doesn’t know any of these tactics unless specified by the GM. A unit learns new tactics by being victorious in battle. A unit can know a number of tactics equal to half its UCR, minimum 0.

When a battle begins, the unit leader selects one tactic to use for that battle (if the unit doesn’t know any tactics, the unit uses the standard tactic). At the start of each Tactical phase, the leader may try to change tactics by attempting a DC 15 Morale check. Success means the unit uses the new tactic for that phase (and the modifiers from the old tactic cease); failure means the unit continues to use its current tactic. The effects of tactics end when the battle does.

As with battlefield conditions, gaining benefits from a tactic is subject to GM discretion. (For example, you may not get the expert flankers benefit if you cannot actually flank your enemy).

All units know the Full Defense, Furious Charge, and Standard tactics (and a unit with ranged weapons automatically has the Volley tactic); these tactics do not count against this maximum. Tactics marked with † are usable only once during a battle by each unit as they represent either maneuvers based on limited resources or on battlefield deception. Some maneuvers require one or more kinds of specialized equipment for the unit performing it.

  • Cautious Combat Your unit fights cautiously in order to maintain morale. Decrease its OM by 2, and add 2 to all its Morale checks.
  • Cavalry Sweep Your unit is trained in making swift ride-by attacks against infantry, dashing across the battlefield and harrying the enemy. Your unit can attack two non-mounted armies in a single Melee phase. Your unit gains -4 to OM, and -2 to DV for the remainder of the Melee phase and your attacks deal only half damage, but you are not considered engaged after attacking a non-mounted unit. Requirement: mounts.
  • Covering Fire Your unit keeps some of its soldiers back from the front lines in order to provide covering fire for you and allies and to strafe targets of opportunity trying to move around you. Once per Battle round, when your unit or an allied unit the Disengage or Retreat action, or a unit that routs or is destroyed, you can make a ranged attack against the enemy unit from which it is trying to disengage. If your attack hits, you inflict 1d4-1 Casualties on the enemy unit, and your allied unit gains a +1 bonus to DV and to opposed Morale checks made to disengage. Requirement: ranged weapons.
  • Defensive Wall Your unit fights defensively, taking actions to protect fellow units as needed. Decrease its OM by 2, and increase its DV by 2.
  • Dirty Fighters† Your unit uses trickery and unfair tactics to gain an advantage during battle. For one Action phase this battle, its MV increases by 6.
  • False Retreat† Once per battle, your unit can make a false retreat, luring a target enemy unit deeper into your territory. On the phase your unit makes a false retreat, it doesn’t attempt an Offense check, and make an opposed Leadership check with the enemy unit's leader. If your check is the higher of the two, both your unit and the target enemy unit move one zone closer to your Camp; if not, both units remain in place. Regardless of the outcome of the check, your unit gains a +6 bonus to its OM and DV against the target unit.
  • Feint Your unit feigns an attack to draw enemies out of position and distract them from greater threats elsewhere on the battlefield. On a successful attack, you deal half damage but do not become engaged. In addition, your unit and the unit you attack must make opposed Morale checks with a bonus equal to the unit’s UCR. If you win this opposed check, the defending unit is drawn out of position and takes a -2 penalty to DV for the rest of the Battle round. If your attack fails, your unit becomes engaged with the defender.
  • Full Defense Your unit focuses on total defense of the battlefield. Increase its DV by 4, and decrease its OM by 4.
  • Furious Charge Your unit makes a furious rush to attack a defending unit. You gain +2 MV and -2 DV for the remainder of the Battle round. An engaged unit cannot use this tactic. If you successfully attack an enemy unit, it takes a -1 penalty to Morale checks made to try disengaging with you until the end of Battle round.
  • Overwhelming Onslaught Your unit makes a wild and reckless attack meant to overwhelm and overrun the defending unit. Your unit gains +4 MV and -4 DV, and after resolving your attack you take you take 1d6-3 Casualties if the attack succeeds, 1d6 if the attack fails (these Casualties are modified by your Strategy, as per Table 1). If your attack succeeds against a target using Full Defense, Pike Square, or Screening Defense tactics, the defending unit must succeed on a Morale check (DC 10 + Attacker’s UCR) or those tactics are negated for the remainder of the Battle round. If the Morale check fails by 5 or more, that unit cannot use any of those tactics again for the remainder of the battle. If you successfully attack an enemy unit, it takes a -2 penalty to Morale checks made to try disengaging with you until the end of Battle round.
  • Pike Square Your unit grounds its polearms and sets them to fend off enemies, especially mounted foes, while setting a shield wall to protect against infantry. Your unit gains -2 MV but gains +2 DV against mounted units and deals +2 damage on a successful attack against a mounted unit. In addition, your unit deals +1 damage against any unit using the Aggressive Attack strategy, +2 against armies using All-Out Attack strategy. Requirement: reach weapons, no mounts.
  • Pincer Maneuver Your unit is trained to envelop an enemy unit engaged with yours. You gain +2 MV against a unit that is already engaged by an allied unit; however, because you are spread out you take a -2 penalty to your DV for the rest of the Action phase against attacks from armies that are not already engaged with you. Your unit's size must be equal or larger than the enemy to use this tactic. When you use this tactic, a unit engaged with you takes a -2 penalty to Morale checks made to disengage, retreat, or rout for the remainder of the Battle round.
  • Pursuit When an enemy unit disengages, retreats, or routs from the battlefield, your unit can try to chase them down, even if they are in the Camp zone. Make an opposed Morale check against the target unit, with each unit adding +1 for every 10 ft. of their Speed to this check (you gain an additional +1 bonus if the target unit routed in the previous Action phase). If your Morale check succeeds, you force the target unit to remain in its starting zone, and can make a free melee or ranged attack against that unit. You cannot use this tactic if your unit is engaged.
  • Relentless Brutality Your unit throws caution to the wind and attacks with savage and gory vigor. Increase its MV by 4, and decrease its DV by 4.
  • Screening Defense Your unit may choose another unit to protect on the battlefield. Melee attacks made against the unit you are protecting affect your unit instead. While using this tactic, your unit cannot attack any unit unless it first attacks you in melee. The unit you are protecting cannot be engaged by an enemy unit unless your unit is routed or destroyed. If the unit you are protecting is already engaged, it remains engaged; using this maneuver does not force the opposing unit to disengage. The unit you protect can be targeted with ranged attacks, though it gains a +2 bonus to DV against them. If a ranged attack hits either you or the unit you are guarding, the damage is split in half between the both of you.
  • Siegebreaker Your unit targets another unit’s siege engines in an attempt to destroy them. If your unit damages the target unit, your unit attempts a second Offense check; if successful, destroy one of the target’s siege engines. This tactic has no effect on enemy armies without siege engines. In addition, a unit using this tactic can try to circumvent the protection of a unit using the Screening Defense tactic if the unit it protects is equipped with siege weapons. If your attack against the screening unit succeeds, your attack deals half damage to that unit and you can make a second attack against the protected unit and its siege weapons. This attack also deals half damage.
  • Skirmishers Your unit makes a quick probing strike and then disengages. Your unit takes a -2 MV penalty and deals half damage on a successful attack, but you do not become engaged with the target unit whether or not your attack succeeds. Requirement: no medium or heavy armor.
  • Sniper Support Your unit holds some ranged units in reserve to attack a target enemy unit during the Action phase. If your unit damages the target unit in the Action phase, it deals 2 additional points of damage from these ranged attacks. The unit must have ranged attacks to use this tactic. Requirement: ranged weapons.
  • Spellbreaker Your unit has specialists who can disrupt enemy spellcasting. Increase its DV by 4 against armies with the spellcasting ability.
  • Standard Your unit’s attacks have no additional modifiers to its MV, RV, DV, or damage.
  • Strafing Skirmishers Your unit keeps on the move while riddling its targets with quick volleys. Your unit takes a -2 RV penalty and deals half damage on a successful attack during the ranged combat phase, but it gains a +1 DV and once per round when attacked during the melee phase your unit can attempt a Morale check to avoid becoming engaged. Requirement: ranged weapons, no medium or heavy armor.
  • Taunt† Your unit is skilled at taunting its opponents, provoking stupid mistakes and overconfidence in battle. The target unit must attempt a Morale check (DC = 10 + your unit’s UCR) at the start of each Action phase; failure means it reduces its OM and DV against your unit by 2 for that phase. If the target unit succeeds at two of these Morale checks, it’s immune to this tactic for the remainder of the battle.
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