So as some of you may have been able to gather, I run an Exalted game and spend a lot of time doodling about with Exalted rules & universe stuff. In the process of doing this, I decided to re-write the mass combat/warfare rules, because they are excerable, to put it lightly. And so I present to you my revised rules for Exalted mass combat if you want them - in docx format because I am lazy - along with the following preface.

The Thirty Six Stratagems: A mass combat re-write

The Thirty Six Stratagems is a re-write of the Exalted 2nd Edition Mass Combat rules. If a specific rule or action does not appear to have been addressed within this document, use what is printed in the 2nd Edition core book.
Several notions have informed the design of these rules:

  • Exalted Should Matter: Great heroes should be able to face down armies alone and turn the tide of battle without necessarily losing. They probably shouldn’t defeat the army by virtue of killing large numbers of the enemy (unless they are capable of that in ordinary Join Battle situations), but they should be able to cause the enemy to falter or turn aside.
  • Corollary: Against a well-trained enemy, an enemy with magical power, or against a force commanded by an equivalent hero, solo heroes should have to run away or be killed.
  • Units and Unit Quality Should Matter: Under conventional mass combat rules, the stats of your unit matter far less than the stats of your commander. This should not be the case. Tiger Warrior mortals lead by a Tiger Warrior commander with high War and awesome gear should give Exalted commanders reason to tread carefully.
  • Corollary: At least until the Terrestrial decides he’s going to manhandle the enemy commander PERSONALLY, rather than just command the troops.
  • The War Ability Should Be Amazing: A commander with a high war skill and War excellencies should be able to use inferior troops to defeat a superior unit lead by someone with crappy War.
  • The War Ability Shouldn’t Measure “How Little You Are Penalized”: The current system’s notion of capping abilities at the character’s War rating is a boring and unrealistic method of limiting characters in War actions. These rules strive to give characters with high War plenty of things to do, while allowing “Lone Wolf” characters the ability to act without penalty.
  • These Rules are not Machine Code: Much like the Creation-Ruling Mandate rules, these are slightly less strict than ordinary Exalted rules. Please adjudicate them using a modicum of common sense.
  • These Rules Should Be Somewhat Crunchy: My players like commanding armies and making tactical decisions, but they don't want to play War Machine. By the same token, they also don't want to play Paranoia. As such, the rules should provide for interesting tactical decisions without requiring measuring tape, minis, and a slide rule.

The following is my to-do list:

OTHER CHARM ADAPTATION: Not started, lower priority due to me running an all-solar game.
EXAMPLE COMBAT: Not started, high priority, so my players can understand it better.
CONVERT TO PDF: Not started, too busy working on Shadowrun PDF docs.