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All Rules in Mass Combat

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Battle Phases

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 236
Mass combat takes place over the course of three battle phases: the Tactics Phase, the Ranged Phase, and the Melee Phase. A phase doesn’t denote a specific passage of time, leaving the GM latitude to determine how long a mass combat takes to resolve. For example, a battle in a muddy field after a rain could take place over hours and involve several short breaks to remove the dead from the battlefield, but still counts as one battle for the purposes of these rules. If there is an extended break (such as stopping at nightfall to resume combat in the morning) or the battle conditions change significantly (such as the assassination of a commander, the arrival of another army, and so on), the GM should treat each period of combat between armies as one battle. The battle phases are as follows.

1. Tactics Phase: The GM decides what battlefield modifiers apply to the battle. The commanders each select a tactic their respective armies will use during the battle.

2. Ranged Phase: Any army with the ability to make ranged attacks may make one attack against an enemy army. This phase typically lasts for 1 round (one attack) as the two armies use ranged attacks while they advance to melee range, and then use melee attacks thereafter. The battlefield’s shape and other conditions can extend this duration. If both armies have ranged attacks, they may choose to stay at range and never approach each other for melee (at least until they run out of ammunition, though the Consumption cost of maintaining an army generally means the army is capable of many shots before this happens). Armies without ranged capability can’t attack during this phase, but may still rush forward.

3. Melee Phase: The armies finally clash with melee attacks. Each commander selects a strategy using the Strategy Track, then each army makes an attack against another army. Repeat the Melee phase until one army is defeated or routs, or some other event ends the battle.