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Open Mass Combat System

Open Game Content

All of the material in this document regarding the Open Mass Combat System is designated as Open Game Content,
as detailed under the Open Gaming License.

NOTE: This Open Mass Combat System (OMCS) is based on Mongoose Publishing's Open Mass Combat System. Special
thanks to the Ishka Campaign website ( for the document that served as the
foundation for this one.

The Open Mass Combat System is provided Unit Hit Points: 88 (+10%: Con Bonus +1)
as a means for the gaming group to handle Initiative: +4 (Improved Initiative)
large scale combats during the game, Movement: 20'
allowing PCs to lead troops and fight grand Attacks: Hand Axe +3 (+1 Strength, +1
battles. This system will also allow the group BAB, +1 Weapon Focus)
to handle Ship-To-Ship fighting between the Damage: Hand Axe 1d6+1 (+1 Strength)
crews of large sailing vessels on the High AC: 13 (Leather armour + Shield)
Seas. In essence, the system treats units (of Ability Scores: Str 13, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 9,
like members) as being very similar to Wis 11, Cha 8.
characters - the group as a whole has a Saves: Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +0.
statistics block and fights as a single entity. Feats: Improved Initiative, Weapon Focus:
Individuals may be attached to a unit, not Hand Axe.
only significantly increasing the combat Skills: Profession(sailor) +1.
might of the unit, but also bolstering unit
morale and providing leadership. This guide Notes on the Unit Roster format:
will not contain the full rules of the OMCS,
but will contain enough information for the Race, Class, Level: Self explanatory
players to be able to use it.
Unit Size: The number of figures in the unit.
 Unit Roster Unit Type: Archers, Cavalry, Crew, Infantry
 Combat or Skirmishers.
 Melee
 Ranged
Unit Hit Points: Total hit dice of all members
 Magic
of the unit (i.e. unit size * hit dice/level).
 Turning Undead
Modifiers apply for having constitution
 Morale
bonuses, for cavalry (each man+horse is
 Recovering Casualties treated as a single figure), and so on.
 Unit Types
 War Machines
Initiative, Movement, Attacks, Damage, AC,
 Ships
Ability Scores, Saves: Self explanatory, based
 Player Characters
on averages for the unit.
Unit Roster Feats, Skills: Only some skills, feats and
special abilities apply to mass combat. These
The unit roster keeps the vital information of will be noted where appropriate.
each unit in the army. A sample roster is
shown below:

Race: Dwarven
Class/Level: Warrior 1
Unit Size: 80
Unit Type: Infantry
Combat Ten times or +5 x10 +5
more enemy's
Melee Five times +3 x5 +3
Three times +2 x3 +2
Combat works very much like standard enemy's
D&D3E combat, except that the map is on a Double +1 x2 +1
larger scale and the men are more tightly Enemy's
packed that the usual "one man per 5' square"
rule (due to the confusion and close quarters 50% of -1 x1 -1
of combat). All movement rules, such as enemy's
running, charging, double moves etc apply to 33% of -2 x1 -2
each unit. To enter combat with another unit enemy's
on land, a unit must charge however, they 20% of -3 x1 -3
cannot simply walk up to another unit and enemy's
start fighting (the charge grants the usual +2 10% or less of -5 x½ -5
to attack and -2 to AC for one round and enemy's
These bonuses may need to be adjusted during the
allows only as single attack). To enter combat
combat as a unit loses unit hit points - the new
with another unit in ship-to-ship combat, the level of unit hit points should allow you to
attacking ship must make a boarding action determine the new (even if approximate) unit size.
against the target vessel before combat can be
engaged. Once engaged, the only options are Ranged
to Attack (Allows as many attacks per round
as the unit is entitled to), or to attempt to
Unit Ranged attacks are made as per the
Withdraw. Defenders in a boarding action in
standard rules, including the range modifier to
Ship-to-Ship combat may not Withdraw, as
the attack roll. If a hit is scored, damage is
there is no place to retreat. If a unit
rolled as normal and applied directly to the
Withdraws, the opposing unit gets a single
opposing unit hit points score. However, the
free attack on them. This is the only time
damage is modified for particularly large unit
attacks of opportunity are used in unit
sizes of archers, as shown below:
Unit size of Damage
Units attack as a single entity, making a single attacker Modifier
attack roll against the opposing unit's AC. If 5-10 -5
the hit is successful, standard damage is 11-20 -3
rolled, and applied directly to the opposing 21-50 -
units Unit Hit Points. This simulates many 51-100 x2
men striking and possibly killing many men 101-200 x3
at once. A unit reduced to 0 unit hit points is 200+ x4
considered beaten, either killed off or forced
to scatter and flee, either way it's out of the The following rules are not used in Open
combat, but not necessarily slaughtered to a Mass Combat between units (they still apply
man, see the rules for determining surviving in individual combat against a backdrop of
numbers. Open Mass Combat): Flat-footed Opponents,
Magic Actions, Miscellaneous Actions, Injury
When a unit outmatches another, either in and Death, Flanking, Aid Another, Bull Rush,
terms of number or ability, they find they are Disarm, Grapple, Mounted Combat, Overrun,
able to inflict severe damage on their Trip.
opponents while receiving little in return. The
table below grants attack, damage and morale Magic
modifiers to units who heavily outmatch or
are outmatched by their opponents: Magical attacks can be devastating on the
battlefield, particularly area effect spells,
Unit size is... Attack Damage Morale which deal hideous amounts of damage on
modifier modifier Modifier
tightly packed men. Any offensive spell that Morale Modifier* +/- morale modifier
targets one subject will cause damage to a Unit Leader with + Leader's character
unit's hit points equal to one quarter the Leadership feat level
damage inflicted by the spell, rounded down. Player Character See PC section
Any offensive spell that targets more than one actions
subject will cause damage to a unit's hit Unit already fleeing -4
Enslaved Unit ** -4
points equal to the damage of the spell, due to
the close density of fighting men. Spells that
have effects other than damage (such as Bless * Morale modifiers can come from any source.
For example, the Bless spell grants a +1 morale
or Bane) only provide their bonus or penalty
attack bonus, but in this case would also give +1
if a majority of the members of the unit can to morale checks.
be affected. Other aspects of spellcasting in
Open Mass Combat will be adjudicated on a ** Includes any unit whose members have been
case-by-case basis. forced into combat against their will and/or
without pay or rewards. For ship-to-ship combat,
Turning Undead this includes pressganged crew or crew that have
force rowed in the last 24 hours.
Clerics may attempt to turn or rebuke undead,
despite the far greater numbers than might If a morale check is failed, a unit will
normally be faced. The rules for turning are automatically attempt to Withdraw during its
used to determine how many hit dice of next action, and then will continue and leave
undead are affected as normal, and as long as the battlefield as soon as possible (double
the undead in question are able to be affected movement each round). Note that, in Ship-to-
by the clerics turning attempt, this is deducted Ship combat, the defenders of a boarding
directly from the Units Hit Points. action can't withdraw, because they have
nowhere else to go. In these cases, the unit
Morale will surrender (though there is no gaurantee
the attackers won't continue to attack the
Morale checks must be made for units in surrendered unit.) A unit can rally by making
combat when various circumstances come a Morale check against a DC of 20, which is
about. A morale check is a Will save. rolled at the start of each of its turns. PC's do
not have to flee with units they are attached
Morale Circumstance Save DC to. It is quite possible to charge an already
Unit hit points reduced to half 15 fleeing unit again (and again and again
original score and...). Attacking routed units in this manner
Unit Hit Points reduced to 20 gives a +2 circumstance bonus to the attack
quarter original score roll and of course they will not retaliate
Unit suffers more damage 10 unless they rally.
than enemy in one round of
melee combat
Unit is hit by enemy of three 15
times (or greater) Unit Hit
Recovering Casualties
Unit sees friendly unit fleeing 15
nearby Unit Hit Points do not track actual deaths in a
Unit sees friendly unit wiped 20 unit. They are more a measure of its ability to
out nearby keep fighting through individual death, injury
Unit attempting to rally 20 and surrender. At the end of each combat, a
percentage of the lost hit points may be
The following modifiers apply to morale automatically recovered as those injured are
checks: helped, those who ran come out of hiding and
the death toll is finally tallied.
Morale Source Modifier
Unit Leader + Leaders Charisma Ranged Combat: At the end of any combat
modifier involving only ranged weapons, 50%
(rounded down) of lost Unit Hit Points can be War Machines are treated as if each were a
recovered. unit in its own right in the OMCS. They have
their own profile, eg:
Winning Melee Combat: At the end of any
melee, the victor may recover 50% (rounded Medium Catapult
down) of lost Unit Hit Points. Structure Dice: 1d10 (5sp)
Hardness: 5
Losing Melee Combat: At the end of any Size: Large
melee, the defeated side may recover 25% AC: 12 (-1 size, +3 natural)
(rounded down) of lost Unit Hit Points. Attacks: 1 catapult shot
Damage: Catapult shot 4d6/2d6
These percentages are modified as follows: Rate of Fire: 6
Crew: 3
Cleric with healing spells present: +2% per Special Qualities: none
level per cleric (max +10%)
Notes on the War Machine Profile:
Character with Heal skill rank 4 or greater
present: +1% per character (max +10%) Structure Dice: War machines use SP
(Structure Points) instead of Hit Points. An
Unit withdrew from combat: -20% attack by a single character or creature must
do 10 full hit points of damage to do one
structure point of damage to a war machine.
Unit Types
Some war machines do actual structure
damage, and this damage is therefore applied
Archers: Any unit armed with a missile directly to another war machines structure
weapon with a range increment of at least 50' points. Hardness never applies in this case.
is an archery unit. Attacks by units in the OMCS automatically
cause structural damage to war machines
Cavalry: Any unit riding any kind of mount because of the large numbers of men fighting
into battle is a cavalry unit. Any ride checks together.
are made by the unit as a whole.
Hardness: Only applies when attacked by
Crew: Standard shipboard crew. Any unit single characters, not when attacked by units
onboard a vessel is a crew unit. or other war machines.

Infantry: Standard foot soldiers. Any unit Size, AC: Self explanatory.
that is not an archer, cavalry or skirmisher
unit is an infantry unit. Damage: Some war machines can cause
structural damage to other war machines (or
Skirmishers: Any unit wearing light or no to walls etc). If a war machine has two
armour may be designated skirmishers. damages separated by a slash, the first
Skirmishers are more spread out than other damage rating is versus units and single
units, and as such only receive normal characters, while the second is for structural
damage from ranged attacks, regardless of the damage to other war machines or
size of the attacking unit. Skirmishers also strongholds.
gain a +2 competance bonus to initiative
checks. Skirmisher units may never number Rate of Fire: How many full round actions
more than 20 members however. Cavalry the crew must spend to reload and fire the
units with light horses or war horses with no machine.
barding may be designated skirmishers and
gain these bonuses and penalties.
Crew: The number needed for peak
efficiency. A war machine crew can lose 25%
War Machines of its number without any loss of rate of fire.

After this, the ROF is doubled for each Building Time: 4 months
additional crewman lost. Cost: 16,000 gp

Special Qualities: Self explanatory. Notes on the Ship Profile:

Notes Ship Name: Name of the vessel, either the

actual name or the class of vessel.
• All war machines have an initiative
of -4 (minimum 1) Size: Self-explanatory. Ship sizes correspond
• War machines are usually assumed to to creatures size categories three levels
be ready to fire at the start of combat, larger. Thus, a Medium ship is the same size
unless there has not been time to as a Gargantuan creature.
prepare (e.g. in the case of a surprise
attack). Ship Type: Defines the ship's function in the
• Ballistae attack all units as if they had game, which further defines its relative
an AC of 10, and damage is deducted durability, seaworthiness and agility in the
directly from the Unit Hit Points, water.
however, other war machines are
attacked by a Ballistae as if it were a • Auxillary: Catch-all term covering
single character, needing to do 10 full many smaller vessels found in rivers,
points of damage to do one Structure in harbours, or on board larger
Point, unless, of course, the war vessels as lifeboats, etc. Structure
machine lists structural damage under Dice: d4, AC -2.
the Damage entry of its profile. • Coastal: Vessels designed only for
• Catapults and Trebuchets hit all shallow waters near the coastline.
targets as if they had an AC of 10. Structure Dice: d6, Manueverability
• War machines do not make attacks of -1, AC -1.
opportunity. • Merchantman: Vessels designed to
ply the High Seas conducting trade.
Ships Structure Dice: d8, Manueverability
-2, AC -2.
Ships are treated as their own units in the • Warship: Vessels designed to
OMCS. They have described by their own conduct war on the High Seas.
Ship Profile, eg: Structure Dice: d10.

Orca Trading Ship Ship Subtype: Further defines the ship's

Medium Merchantman (Sailed) function in the game.
Structure Dice: 4d8 (18sp)
Hardness: 5 • Cumbersome: These vessels aren't
Manueverability: -2 (-2 Merchantman) designed for fast and agile movement
Speed: 20 ft/48 miles at sea, such as a barge or raft.
Turn Rate: 80 ft Manueverability -2.
AC: 8 (-2 Merchantman) • Light: Vessels intentionally built
Weapons Fore: None without many of the structural
Weapons Aft: None reinforcements, in order to create a
Weapons Broadside: None faster, more agile ship. Structure
Damage: None Points: -1 per SD, Manueverability
Special Qualities: None +1.
• Oared: Vessels that use oars to
Crew: 30 provide motion, thus not being reliant
Passengers: 10 on the wind for propulsion.
Cargo: 150 tonnes

• Sailed: Vessels that use sails to Special Qualities: Self explanatory.
provide motion, thus not reliant on
manpower for propulsion. Crew: The number of crewmen required to
• Submersible: Very rare vessels that operate the ship under optimum conditions.
can travel underwater through Any ship may set sail with a skeleton crew
magical or mechanical means. numbering no less than 25% of this figure
(rounded up), but there are inherent dangers.
Structure Dice: Ships use SP (Structure
Points) instead of Hit Points. An attack by a Passengers: Lists how many passengers
single character or creature must do 10 full (including troops) that a ship may carry in
hit points of damage to do one structure point relative comfort in addition to its crew. For
of damage to a ship. Some ships have every two passenger spaces not taken up, an
weapons that do actual structure damage, additional tonne of cargo may be carried.
and this damage is applied directly to another
ship's structure points. Hardness never Cargo: Lists how much cargo the vessel may
applies in this case. Attacks by units in the normally carry. For every tonne of cargo not
OMCS automatically cause structural taken up, two additional passengers may be
damage to ships because of the large carried.
numbers of men working together.
Building Time, Cost: Self explanatory.
Hardness: Only applies when attacked by
single characters, not when attacked by units Player Characters
or other sources of structural damage.
Characters may join units in the OMCS to
Manueverability: Works the same way as provide leadership to the unit and assist it in
Initiative does for creatures. combat. They may also range out on their
own. This system is designed to allow the
Speed: Lists the maximum speed the ship may PC's to be heroes, and as such does not
reach under normal conditions. The first rate feature instant death situations that many
is the base speed per round, and the second large scale battle rules force on individual
rate is the amount of miles per day. characters. That said, an individual character
charged by an entire unit of men is going to
Turn Rate: Indicates how far a ship must have a hard time, so it should be avoided at
travel in a straight line before it can make a all costs.
single 45 degree turn. A ship voluntarily
moving at less than half its speed may halve PC's are never considered "part of the unit"
its turn rate. when attached to a unit. This allows them to
act independently if they wish. When two
AC: Self explanatory. units are in combat, PC's may choose to help
one side or the other. To do so, they may enter
Weapons fore, aft and broadside: Lists all of in combat with one or members of the other
the ship's attacks by location/firing arc. It side. Because everyone acts in initiative
should be noted that all ship's weapons are order, the PC may well have the chance to act
considered primary weapons, no matter how before the units involved (he may need to
many are used in a round. delay his action to move with the unit, of
course) and any he kills will not be involved
Damage: Lists the damage for each weapon. in the combat.
If a shipboard weapon has two damages
separated by a slash, the first damage rating e.g.: While leading his heroic unit to attack a
is versus units and single characters, while mercenary ogre unit, Durgoran the dwarf
the second is for structural damage to other (who has the highest initiative) attacks a big
ships and strongholds. ogre as his men engage the rest of the
enemies. The unit hit points of the Ogres is

87. Durgoran dispatches his foe in one round Slaying 10% or more of +1
of combat - a normal ogre has 4HD and thus enemy unit in one attack
the mercenaries lose 4 Unit Hit Points Cutting down one of the +1
immediately, bringing them down to 83. Now enemy's sails
the units can fight, in remaining initiative
order. PCs earn experience point awards in Open
Mass Combat scenarios by two means:
PCs may also affect unit morale through their through normal combat awards for creatures
actions, as shown on the following table: that they themselves defeated in combat, and
through story awards given based on
PC Action Morale Bonus character level and challenge of the scenario.
to Unit
Slaying enemy unit leader +2 NOTE: Important NPCs, whether allies or
Slaying enemy +1 enemies, follow the same rules as PCs. They
officer/spellcaster act as individuals, not as part of a unit, and
Seen destroying enemy war +1 can influence the direction of open mass
machine/shipboard weapon combat in much the same ways as PCs.
Fleeing battle/going -4
down/diving overboard

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11. Use of Contributor Credits: You may not market or Open Mass Combat System (OMCS) Copyright 2003,
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Contributor to do so. OMCS modifications Copyright 2002-2003, Jason D. Kemp