Thursday, September 10, 2009

Mass Combat Plug-In based on Art of War: Intriguing or Useless?

I'm currently re-reading The Art of War. I'm also finishing a long campaign that's led up to epic thousand man battles. There are currently two things going through my mind:

1. Mass Combat systems in RPGs are atrocious at worst, groan worthy at best. Yet, 'epic heroes' will inevitably find themselves there time and again. As fun as it is in the movies, it's absolute shite in an RPG. Even DitV's awesome rules for Groups break down when you have a group of 50. (break down as in tedium, not 'realism')
2. The Art of War is simple, classic, deep, and heavy with the ring of truth.

My idea (inspired by Daniel's Fighting Fighters) is to design a plug-n-play set of Mass Combat rules that can drop into almost any game, using the classic Art of War as a starting point.

The Art of War 1:4The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine [advantage] . . . These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.

To me, this just screams for the initial skill rolls to martial your troops and the recon missions necessary to gauge the enemy's strength. The better your scouts or generals roll on their 'Knowledge Nature' checks to evaluate the terrain, the larger the bonus provided to your army for the upcoming battle. Etc, etc, etc.

So what do you all think? Is this a curious idea that you'd love to hear more on or is this a complete waste of time and something you'd never use?

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