Horde Battle System

So H.O.R.D.E. should stand for something awesome. Right now, it doesn’t.

Here’s the system:

Decks are arranged by unit type. There are six unit types:

General Standard: Rally — advantage on any one roll
Infantry Standard: Soak — redirect damage to any source to self
Archers Standard: Advantage on attack if unopposed
Cavalry Standard: Advantage on damage if unopposed
Scouts Standard: Force and lock opponent’s next card, draw one terrain
Special Standard: None. Single RP focused ability that rocks but does not cause “bullshit”

Units are arranged from plausible inferences from game play. If you have recruited a unit of Gond Salar, then they serve as excellent cavalry.

The rule: Simplicity, Versimilitude, Roleplaying, and Balance. Anything that drives things to be more simple, more realistic, DRIVES PLAYERS TO ROLEPLAY, or more balanced should be adopted. Anything that cuts against those four principles should be mercilessly staked out in the sun and left to be eaten by the ants.

It is important to state the purpose so that it is understood at the outset that this is a system both with rules, and that those rules will be adapted if it is causing people to game the system rather than recruit NPCs, engage in tense diplomatic relations with enemies who might be friends, or detract from the all-out awesomeness of a desperate fight.

Cards themselves have two slots: standard, and special. The standard is listed above. The special is unique to the unit. The goal is that these abilities be strong, balanced, disruptive of current corner strategies, and tied to the game through strong roleplay.

Special abilities are gained by placing the unit under the command of a specific NPC. Some special abilities:

D.: Acts on defense as if it opposed an offensive unit of a given type. So a scout unit with D. Archery would count as defensive archers for purposes of shutting down the Archers’ advantage on offense. An infantry unit with D.: Cavalry would be (1) equipped with pikes and (2) act on defense as countering the cavalry’s advantage on damage rolls.
Earthquake (Thumper): On a 5-6, Thumper delivers damage to a random enemy unit. This is in the special phase of combat. This ability would be bullshit, see below, if it were not on a special.
Heal: Priests heal 1d6 once per battle.
Shield Wall: Infantry soak 1d6 once per battle.
Trample: Unit does half damage to target unit, half damage to another unit.
Flank: Unit avoids infantry’s soak ability and may damage target.
Cursed Arrows: Unit causes disadvantage on enemy roll once per battle.
Necromancy: Add 1d4 Strength (not above max) to Infantry. Recharge 5-6
Berserk: Unit goes insane with rage. Add +2 to Infantry (above maximum)
Dazzle: Unit causes 1d4 reduction in enemy attack role. Recharge 5-6

Cards are placed in an order by the player or GM, then played simultaneously. One roll is made to determine who gets the upper hand. That party makes a damage roll equal to the die necessary to accommodate the strength of the unit (e.g., a d4 for a strength 3, a d6 for a strength 5, a d8 for a strength 7, etc.).

Once all cards are laid, each player may remove a card from play during the draw phase. Any card withdrawn does not suffer the consequences of defeat.

A defeated card (determined only at the end of battle) loses the next die down worth of strength (e.g., d4 for a strength 5, d6 for a strength 7, etc.). This means a unit may be wiped out.

If a unit is defeated that is commanded by a specific named NPC, that NPC dies 50% of the time.

A victorious npc or a defeated npc that does not die has a chance to learn a new ability.

Two additional rules:

Bullshit: If an ability causes the GM to call bullshit, it is removed from play. All players who contributed to the bullshit should probably get Dutch rubs. Players may veto the bullshit, but only at the cost of the next army being comprised overwhelmingly of units that use the ability, no mercy, and the devil take the hindmost.

Encounter: Players immediately encounter the unit and severely hamper, damage, or neutralize it if they succeed. May be called as an interrupt. May have the effect of “bullshit,” above, as discussed by the table.

Terrain: Play a terrain tile at any time to make the upcoming battle take place under those conditions. May be overruled by another player laying a different tile.
Open Grass: +2 cavalry, -2 Specials
Mountains: +2 Infantry, -2 Cavalry
Plateau: +2 Archers, -2 Scouts
Desert: +2 Specials, -2 Infantry
Woods: +2 Scouts, -2 Archers

Horde Battle System

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