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System for Fighting Multiple Enemies (i.e. emulating that scene where 1 warrior kills a hundred mooks)


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Hey there everyone! I've been thinking recently about creating a system to emulate the kind of epic fight scenes that occur regularly in fantasy films (especially asian fantasy films) where a single hero takes on several dozens enemies at once, and emerges victorious. I was wondering what people thought of the following system, as a means for capturing that kind of encounter:

1. There are two main stats used for attacking: finesse and strength.
2. There are also two types of enemies: "Elites" and "Companies"
3. When you attack an Elite, you roll 1d20+[Finesse]+[Skill with weapon x], to see if you hit (so far so vanilla D&D).
4. When you attack a Company, you roll 1d20+[Strength]+[Skill with weapon x]. Each group has a "defence" value (which might be 3 for an ordinary group, for instance). Your total roll, divided by the defence value, is the number of mooks you kill or incapacitate.
5. Both Elites and Companies would have a morale value between 1 and 20. When they are reduced to half health (or half the total number of mooks in a companies), they roll against their morale value. On a failure, they flee (or surrender if flight is impossible). There can be some synergy here where some Elites increase the morale of nearby companies.

The classes would then be as follows:
1. Dragon: strength focused, specialised to take down companies, but weak against elites.
2. Hawk: finesse focused, specialised to take down elites, but weak against groups.
3. Serpent: stealthy, debuffs groups with smoke/poison/caltrops/crude gunpowder bombs, defeats enemies by triggering morale rolls through ambushes, brutal takedowns, etc.
4. Heron: agile, debuffs elites with disarmament, paralysis, etc.; buffs fellow fighters with inspiring words
[5. Owl: wizard, probably superfluous]
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Second Variety

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Would you consider a combat being two rolls?
1d20+[Finesse]+[Skill with weapon x] and 1d20+[Strength]+[Skill with weapon x]

One roll could be primarily for defense and the other for attack but you could shift points from one to help the other.
I'm thinking of the scenes where the hero sometimes focuses on defense at the expenses of offense and vice versa. Of course that raises the question of how defense works, if by AC, would say you can trade the groups defense value in dice points to improve AC by 1.

I get the idea in point 4 about dividing, but wonder if it quickly reduces the efficacy of the approach, and also limits the range of defense values
to low numbers, which may be what you want. I guess it depends on the range of the numbers such as finesse, strength and weapon skill.

Shadow Captain

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Validated User
The earliest D&D games (up to and including AD&D, I believe) gave fighters 1 attack per level against mooks (level 0 opponents). So the concept isn't a new one. It's a matter of execution. Your method is one, and yes, it's needed in some systems.

Octopus Prime

Retired User
Anima Prime does this really well. It breaks enemies into Individuals, Squads, and Swarms, but they all have basically the same attributes. Certain abilities can only affect individuals (Life Drain and such) and others are more effective against Swarms (Fireballs and the like).
The damage mechanic is the same, but abstracted differently; a wound on an individual represents an actual wound; a wound against a squad represents losing a member of the squad; a wound against a Swarm represents the loss of many members or a break in their morale.
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