We got together a few days back to do more systems testing. This time, we had a go at mass combat. We’d already done a bit of mass combat in the third playtest session, but this time we’d have battle groups on both sides.
Unfortunately, we got off to a late start. Not having enough time for an elaborate large-scale battle, we went with a relatively simple scenario. 300 elite soldiers from Scavenger Land Sparta had assembled to hold off a far larger force of mediocre-quality River Province Persians in a mountain pass. (We put 300: Rise of an Empire on the TV for background, largely because 300 itself wasn’t available on Netflix.). However, to spice things up—and to test out the command rules—we added my melee Twilight, Prince Clovis of Ysyr, to the Spartans’ side.
The engagement was short and brutal, largely due to the Solar’s involvement. As the Persians moved toward melee range, Clovis ordered them to unleash a barrage of thrown spears, which left the enemy vanguard in tatters. Clovis and the Spartans then surged forward from the mouth of the pass to take advantage of the enemy’s momentary disarray. The Solar’s blade carved a bloody swath through the enemy, leaving them ripe for the Spartan charge. Hundreds of Persians broke and fled the field, but while the overall formation wavered, the Persian officers pulled them back into line.
Clovis and the Spartans weathered the Persians’ blows with negligible casualties. They then pressed their advantage, slaughtering dozens more of the foe. The lines surged back and forth, with the Persian front unable to deal any meaningful damage to their Spartan foes. Despite their superior numbers, the Persian line wavered a third time, and this time it crumbled, the rank and file routing and scattering back the way they came.
The results of the battle paralleled those of our previous mass combat test, demonstrating that a combat-oriented Solar can quickly tear through large bodies of poorly- to moderately-trained troops, but only at a significant cost in Essence. If Clovis had merely restricted himself to his personal mote pool, the battle wouldn’t have been nearly so one-sided. In retrospect, I wish we’d played out the scenario using only the mortal contingents, as it would have allowed me to focus more on the battle group mechanics themselves. But there’s always next time!