Table of Contents
Whenever PCs fight in a massive battle, the players will naturally want to know how their success or failure impacts the fate of the army as a whole. You can’t roll every attack in a battle involving thousands of soldiers, and if you simply decide how much impact the PCs had on the battle based on your estimation of their performance, that decision might seem arbitrary to the players and can rob them of a sense of satisfaction. By assigning victory points to the various missions PCs undertake during a battle, you can provide the PCs and their players with a sense of accomplishment but still maintain control of the overall direction of the war.
At its heart, the victory point system is a way to reward PCs for adventurous behavior. Players will have some sense of what sorts of activities earn their characters victory points, and they know that those victory points can affect the outcome. During the battle, the PCs will try to earn as many victory points as possible (subject to the lure of other rewards such as treasure, experience points, and the recognition points discussed later in this chapter).
When the battle nears its climax, the DM compares the victory point total amassed by the PCs to a list of potential outcomes designed for that battle (see The Victory Point Framework, page 41). More victory points will earn the PCs a better outcome for their army, while characters who shirk their duties, play it safe, or otherwise fail to perform as expected could hurt the fortunes of their army.
Discussed below are a number of ways PCs can earn victory points, along with suggested awards for each completed mission. You can add new activities worth victory points to reflect the character of a specific battle or alter the awards as you see fit. For example, in a battle between two armies separated by a river, establishing control of the largest bridge might be worth 100 victory points, not the normal 10 to 70 points for a “seize maneuver point” mission (see page 84).
Chapter 3 describes how to construct a victory point framework for a particular battle and how to assign victory point thresholds necessary to achieve different outcomes. Those decisions are in your hands. The victory point awards themselves are described in this chapter because smart players will let an anticipated victory point award influence their decisions on the battlefield—especially if they aren’t following direct orders. When presented with a choice between attacking four ogres on an open battlefield or four ogres atop a nearby hill, a strategically minded character probably chooses the ogres on the hill.
Defeating four ogres is worth 70 victory points (see Defeat Enemy Units, below) no matter where they are, but seizing the hill is worth at least an extra 20 victory points (see Seize Defensive Point, page 83).
The PCs collectively earn victory points; NPCs never earn them. Victory points represent the PCs’ ability to change the overall outcome of a battle, and NPCs’ efforts are already accounted for in the different battle outcomes you created when designing the battlefield adventure.
ASSIST FRIENDLY TROOPS
1 victory point per ten soldiers assisted (see adjustment below); maximum 50 points
On most battlefields, it’s a simple matter to take the fight to the enemy. Still, sometimes it’s more important to help the soldiers on your side. Elite troops can spend all day successfully hunting down enemy units, but if the rest of the army is overrun and decimated while they are doing so, they haven’t won any sort of meaningful victory.
To earn the victory points, PCs must provide tangible aid to a unit of allied troops. Such aid can consist of instruction (“Here’s how you load that catapult you captured”), healing (“Heironeous offers succor in your time of need”), other magic (“Give our wizard a minute, then get behind the stone wall he conjures up”), or rallying demoralized troops (“The cavalry’s arrived … who’s with me?”).
Examples: Helping typical soldiers is worth 1 victory point per ten soldiers, so rallying a group of twenty archers is worth 2 victory points.
If the PCs are helping a unit whose individual members are significantly more powerful than the usual low-level troopers, adjust the victory point award upward. There’s no hard and fast rule for victory point awards, but 1 victory point per 10 points of CR of the unit the PCs are helping is a good starting point. For example, setting up sniper blinds for five 6th-level elf archers (each CR 6) is worth 3 victory points.
Adjustments: The formula of 1 victory point per ten soldiers assumes that the PCs are helping the friendly unit by providing tactical assistance (“Fire your bows at the cavalry; they’re the greatest threat”) and/or morale assistance (their presence prevents the friendly unit from fleeing, as described in the Morale section earlier in this chapter). If the PCs provide significant healing or protective magic, increase the total award by 50% (the maximum award remains 50 points).
If the characters are providing tactical or morale assistance, they earn the victory points only if they’re still around when the unit is actually involved in significant fighting. If they provide tactical advice but aren’t around to see it employed, they earn only half the victory point award; their advice is less useful because they aren’t there to make adjustments and further suggestions during the fight. Furthermore, if the friendly unit doesn’t use the characters’ tactical plan, the PCs don’t earn any victory point award.
A group of characters can earn this award multiple times if they provide assistance for the same friendly unit throughout multiple conflicts. For example, if the PCs are shepherding a group of twenty archers across the battlefield, they earn victory points when their tactical advice enables the archers to defeat attacking hobgoblins, again when a screen spell cast by a PC spellcaster hides the archers from marauding worg-riders, and a third time when the characters rally the archers after a particularly bloody orc assault.
ATTACK ENEMY SIEGE ENGINES
10 to 60 victory points
Few elements of an enemy army inspire as much fear as siege engines: battering rams, siege towers, and catapults. By destroying them, PCs reduce the enemy’s ability to attack—and help their comrades breathe a little easier. To earn the victory points, the characters must render an enemy siege engine (or, better yet, several of them) unusable. They earn the victory points whether they destroy the siege engines or capture them. If the engines are captured, PCs earn the points when they turn the weapons over to a friendly unit.
Examples: You must decide how much a particular siege engine is worth, using the following as a guideline. In general, a light catapult is worth 10 victory points, a battering ram or siege tower is worth 10 or 20 victory points, and a heavy catapult is worth 30 victory points. Magic siege engines are worth twice as much, provided the magic has a significant impact on their effectiveness. For example, a trebuchet that fires hellwasp shot (see page 136) is worth a double victory point award, but a simple +1 ballista isn’t. A particular siege engine, or a group of them, might be worth more than normal if destroying or capturing the weapons is of crucial strategic importance in the battle.
Adjustments: If the PCs capture a siege engine while the weapon is still functional, they earn an extra 10 victory points when they turn the weapon over to a friendly unit that can use it.
DEFEAT ENEMY UNITS
(EL of enemy unit × 10) victory points
This award represents the most basic battlefield mission, and the essential reason the two armies are here. By killing enemy soldiers, rendering them unable to fight, or forcing them to surrender or flee, the PCs make it easier for their army to achieve its objectives and harder for the enemy army to reach its goals.
To earn the victory points, the characters must disable or kill enemy units, or cause them to retreat in disarray. Merely forcing an enemy squad to make a fighting withdrawal isn’t worth victory points, although the PCs might earn victory points for seizing a location that the enemy has withdrawn from.
Examples: The PCs are sneaking across no-man’s-land in the middle of the night when they encounter four elf commandos led by an elf sniper captain (see page 146). The enemy elves are trying to do same thing as the PCs—sneak across to the other side and engage in night sabotage and reconnaissance. If the PCs defeat the elves, they earn 70 victory points because the elves are an EL 7 encounter.
Adjustments: Some enemies are more precious to their commanders because they’re particularly versatile or effective on the battlefield. Defeating enemy cavalry (whether in the form of mounted soldiers or intrinsically fast creatures such as giant eagles) is worth an extra 10 victory points. Elite or well-known enemies (such as a band of mercenary ogres hired by a goblin army) are worth an extra 10 to 20 victory points. Enemies with significant spellcasting at their disposal are worth an extra 10 victory points, because they’re versatile—their commanders can have them prepare different spells depending on what they anticipate the day of battle will bring.
DISRUPT ENEMY COMMAND
1 victory point per ten soldiers under command (maximum 100 points)
Attacking enemy commanders can be an efficient way to win a battle—the PCs are essentially beheading the enemy and rendering its other advantages moot. But the enemy knows how valuable its commanders are, and every army protects its command structure as well as it can.
To earn the victory points, the characters must render some part of the enemy leadership unable to command the rank and file. Usually this means killing a commander, but if they capture one, force the commander to flee, or otherwise sever the commander’s contact with the troops under his or her command, that’s good enough to earn the victory points. The PCs also earn victory points for defeating the commander as an enemy, and they’ll probably get still more victory points for defeating the enemy guards and seizing the headquarters if it’s an important defensive point.
Examples: You decide how much a particular commander is worth. In general, a commander is worth 1 victory point for every ten low-level soldiers under his or her effective command, to a maximum of 100 victory points. A soldier is considered to be under effective command if he has responded to this commander’s orders (directly or indirectly) within the last hour or so. If the commander is in charge of units significantly more powerful than the usual low-level troopers, adjust the victory point award upward. There’s no hard and fast rule for this victory point award, but 1 victory point per 10 points of CR under command would be a good starting point. Thus, the commander of a squad of twenty hill giants (each CR 7) is worth 14 victory points.
Adjustments: If the enemy army can quickly replace the disrupted commander with a subordinate or another officer, cut the victory point award in half. The new commander isn’t as practiced as the old one was but can still give orders and try to win the battle.
DISRUPT ENEMY COMMUNICATIONS
(EL of enemy unit × 2) victory points for small groups 2 to 50 victory points for larger units
The PCs might be able to intercept a runner heading from the front lines to enemy headquarters, or capture the wand of whispering wind that the enemy listening post was using. Whenever they disrupt the enemy’s ability to communicate, they slow the reaction time of their foes and make it easier to outfight and outmaneuver them.
To earn the victory points, the characters must disrupt enemy communications to the point where a particular enemy group isn’t communicating with its fellow units or with its leadership.
Examples: Disrupting communication to and from a unit of less than twenty enemies doesn’t do much—unless the enemies are elite or otherwise valuable out of proportion for their numbers. Isolating a squad of eight 1st-level dwarf warriors, for example, is worth 10 victory points. Preventing a group of four 5th-level dwarf fighters from getting new orders is a bigger deal, earning the group 18 victory points.
Large units of low-level enemies don’t have ELs because the PCs don’t really encounter them all at once. Cutting off communication to large groups of this sort is worth 1 victory point for every ten enemies in the group, to a maximum of 50 victory points for a group of five hundred enemy soldiers.
Adjustments: The above awards assume that after the characters disrupt communications, it takes hours for the enemy to figure out what’s going on and reestablish contact. If the communications blackout lasts longer, increase the victory point award by 5 to 20 points. If the communications blackout doesn’t last for at least an hour, it’s probably not worth any victory points.
If the characters think to replace the enemy communications with false messages of their own, this tactic is worth an extra 10 victory points, or 20 if the ruse lasts throughout the battle and is particularly convincing.
If the PCs intercept an enemy courier, that creature might have intelligence useful to their army. If that’s the case, they’ll also earn victory points as described in Provide Intelligence (see page 82).
DISRUPT ENEMY SUPPLY
10 to 50 victory points
Few armies can survive for long without periodic resupply. If the characters can take away replacement weapons, food, and other necessities, they hamper the enemy’s fighting capability.
To earn the victory points, the PCs must seize a significant amount of enemy supplies—at least a wagon train’s worth. They earn the points whether the supplies were stockpiled for later use (in an armory, perhaps) or en route to the front lines.
Examples: You decide how much a particular supply attack is worth, making that decision based on how soon a lack of supply will cripple the enemy army. Capturing a food convoy is typically worth only 10 victory points, because the enemy army might still be able to fight for days or even weeks without an external source of food.
Destroying the water cisterns behind enemy lines could be worth as much as 30 victory points, because the enemy soldiers will die of thirst after a few days without water. A supply train carrying arrows and healing magic might be worth 50 victory points, since the archers who would have received the supplies will be useless once deprived of ammunition, especially if they are already badly wounded.
Adjustments: If the characters seize supplies (without destroying them) that are useful to their army, it’s worth an extra 10 victory points when they turn them over to friendly units that can add the captured matériel to their own supply chain.
If the PCs disrupt the enemy’s supply lines without actually destroying or capturing the supplies themselves, they earn half the victory point total they otherwise would. For example, if they drive off a wagon train bearing food for enemy units, they get 5 victory points. That food will eventually reach the mouths of the enemy, but it won’t arrive on time, and the enemy army will have to make new plans and expend extra effort to redirect the food where it’s needed.
PROTECT DEFENSIVE POINT
10 to 80 victory points
Sometimes an enemy horde assaults the walls, and the PCs are charged with helping to repulse the attack. This sort of mission is safer than many others, because characters can use the defensive point’s protective value to keep their own skin intact.
To earn the victory points, the characters must prevent the enemy from seizing the defensive point for itself. The PCs also earn victory points for defeating the enemy units.
Examples: You decide how much a particular defensive point is worth, based roughly on how much defensive advantage it provides or how valuable the location is in the context of the battle. Typically, the successful defense of a low wall or a series of trenches is worth 10 victory points or less. A timber-walled stockade is worth 20 victory points. A stone tower is worth 40 victory points. A walled keep is worth 60 victory points, and a floating castle is worth 80 victory points or more.
The above figures assume that, all other things being equal, the defensive point has a value roughly equivalent to the amount of protection it provides. If a certain kind of location is more or less important in the context of the battle, reduce or increase the victory point award accordingly. For instance, a timber-walled stockade atop a mountain ridge might be the only barrier that keeps the enemy from streaming into the valley below and overwhelming the friendly troops located there. The victory point award for holding the stockade could easily be twice or three times the usual 20 points.
Adjustments: If the enemy is able to damage the defensive value of the point during the fight, the victory point award is reduced by 5 or 10 points. If the characters improve the defensive qualities of the point while they are there (for example, by digging pits to trap charging enemies, or foxholes to protect defending troops), they earn an extra 10 victory points.
PROTECT INTRINSIC POINT
10 to 100 victory points
The enemy might try to take some point away from the PCs’ army despite the location’s lack of direct strategic significance—for instance, a cathedral could be the target of an enemy force that wants to carry away the relics inside it. In such a case, the PCs could be ordered to blunt the assault.
To earn the victory points, the characters must repulse an enemy attempt to seize or destroy an intrinsic point. They also earn victory points for defeating the enemy units involved in the assault.
Examples: You decide how much a particular intrinsic point is worth, depending on its symbolic significance to both armies. The victory point reward should be the average of how each army values the intrinsic point. If only one army cares a lot about controlling the point, it’s worth less than a point prized by both sides (even if they seek control of it for different reasons).
Assuming both armies value the intrinsic point equally, a site of limited significance (such as a small shrine to a god of warfare) is worth 10 victory points. A site of moderate significance (the entrance to a gold mine) is worth 30 points. As the intrinsic value of a site or the potential power vested in it increases, so does the victory point award. A site where magical healing is empowered could be worth 50 victory points. A portal to another plane could be worth 70 victory points (presumably one army wants to open it, and the other wants to keep it closed). The sepulcher of a crusading king might be worth 90 victory points or more.
Adjustments: If the enemy damages the intrinsic point before the PCs defeat them, its victory point reward is reduced by 10 points. If they ruin the intrinsic value of the point completely, the PCs earn no victory points.
PROTECT MANEUVER POINT
10 to 70 victory points
When the enemy tries to take roads, bridges, and passes away from the PCs’ army, it is trying to restrict their maneuverability while improving its own. If the characters can hold a key maneuver point from enemy attack, they’ll make the friendly commanders’ jobs a lot easier.
To earn the victory points, the characters must defeat the enemy force intent on seizing the maneuver point, while preserving the point’s value for friendly maneuvers. In other words, if the PCs repulse the enemy after it blows up the bridge, they don’t get the victory points. They also earn victory points for defeating the enemy units trying to seize the maneuver point.
Examples: You decide how much a particular maneuver point is worth. In general, a key section of road is worth 10 victory points, and a fordable spot in a river between two armies is worth 30 victory points. A strategically important mountain pass is worth 50 victory points. The sole bridge between the army and its objective is worth 70 points.
Adjustments: If the maneuver point is particularly fragile, such as a rickety wooden bridge, it’s worth 10 victory points to reflect the greater difficulty of protecting it. If the PCs can make the maneuver point more effective or more easily usable (for example, by clearing debris off a road or building a defensive structure at the location), they earn an extra 10 or 20 victory points.
PROTECT OFFENSIVE POINT
20 to 100 victory points
The enemy is often smart enough to target archers occupying the high ground, catapults behind the battle lines, and other points of offensive value to a friendly army. In such a situation, the PCs might be entrusted with the task of protecting a point that has offensive value. To earn the victory points, the characters must repulse an attack from enemy units while keeping the offensive value of the point intact. That often means protecting the friendly units at the point. If they keep the high ground but all the friendly archers who occupied it die in the process, they don’t get victory points.
Whether or not the PCs successfully protect the point’s offensive value, they earn victory points for defeating the enemy units trying to seize it.
Examples: You decide how much a particular offensive point is worth. Generally, the value of an offensive point depends on the quality of the attacks emerging from it. A low hillock occupied by friendly archers is worth 20 victory points. A ridge with snipers on it is worth 40 victory points. A clifftop with friendly catapults is worth 60 victory points.
Adjustments: If the PCs turn the offensive potential of the point on the attacking enemy, impose a –20 victory point reduction if their actions divert friendly attacks that would otherwise have gone elsewhere. For example, if the PCs commandeer a pair of friendly catapults and fire them at orcs trying to seize the point, they lose 20 victory points because those catapults would otherwise have been aimed elsewhere (and an allied commander somewhere might have been counting on that catapult support). However, if the offensive point is merely high ground, or if the friendly units aren’t otherwise occupied, the victory point award is not reduced.
If the offensive point also has aspects of a defensive point (such as the clifftop catapult example above), it’s easier to protect and thus worth 10 points less. If the defensive aspects of a point have a significant impact on the struggle to control it, calculate victory points as if the location were a defensive point.
If the PCs improve the ability of the site to project attacks at the enemy, that’s worth 10 victory points. For example, a PC spellcaster could use mirage arcana to enable the archers on a hillock to ambush passing enemies.
10 to 50 victory points
An army without good intelligence is like a boxer who has been blindfolded. It can deliver a powerful punch, but it poses little threat because it can’t put the punch where it’s needed. An army that knows its enemy’s location, future plans, strengths, and weaknesses can concentrate its efforts at key points, enabling it to defeat a much larger enemy. Whether the PCs’ reconnaissance patrol spots enemy campfires or a PC’s charm person spell gets an enemy prisoner to talk, the PCs aid their army whenever that information gets into the hands of their army’s decision-makers, because it helps the commanders make smarter decisions that can turn the tide of battle.
To earn the victory points, the characters must discover useful information about the enemy army and then deliver the information to the friendly chain of command so it can be acted on.
Examples: You decide how many victory points a certain piece of information is worth, depending on what kind of information it is and how many enemy units it pertains to. In general, intelligence about enemy units is worth 10 victory points if it applies to less than one hundred enemy soldiers, 20 points if it pertains to one hundred or more, and 30 points if it applies to one thousand or more.
Detection: The detection of previously undiscovered enemy units is worth victory points. If the enemy units are on the move and the PCs report their direction and speed, they earn an additional 10 victory points. If they see a platoon of twenty enemy archers hustling north along a forest path, that information is worth a total of 20 victory points (10 for the detection of the unit and 10 more for the information about its present movement).
Plans: If the PCs capture written orders or otherwise discover what enemy units are going to do later in the battle, they earn victory points. If the enemy’s plans are particularly unusual, the information is worth an additional 10 victory points because the friendly chain of command wouldn’t otherwise have been able to anticipate the enemy’s moves. For example, if the characters learn that a company of three hundred enemy troopers are intentionally weakening their own castle walls so that the walls will collapse onto attackers, they earn a total of 30 victory points.
Weaknesses and Strengths: If the characters learn about a previously unknown weakness or strength that enemy units have, they earn victory points. If the weakness is so severe that foreknowledge of it makes the enemy unit’s defeat almost automatic, the intelligence is worth 20 victory points. If the PCs discover that the two hundre soldiers in the enemy castle have run out of water and will be unable to fight in three days’ time, that information is worth 40 victory points. Conversely, if the enemy units’ hidden strength is so overwhelming that only special countermeasures will give the PCs’ army a chance, they earn an extra 20 victory points.
Terrain and Logistics: If the characters find a previously unknown offensive, defensive, maneuver, or intrinsic point on or near the battlefield, it’s worth one-quarter of the victory points they would get if they had seized the point in battle (or one-half the victory points if the enemy doesn’t know about it either). For example, finding a new place to ford a river is worth 15 victory points if the enemy doesn’t know about the site yet.
Adjustments: Add 10 victory points if the enemy units are elite, spellcasting, or faster-moving than typical low-level soldiers, because the PCs’ commanders are particularly interested in keeping track of those sorts of units. If the characters acquire intelligence about enemy units without those units knowing that they have it, the PCs earn an additional 5 victory points, or 10 victory points if the enemy commanders are relying on the element of surprise in their plans.
If the enemy gets the PCs to pass along false information, not only do they not earn any victory points, but they lose 10 or more victory points if they had previously acquired any.
SEIZE DEFENSIVE POINT
20 to 100 victory points
The enemy has taken cover atop or behind some location that has protective value, and it’s the PCs’ mission to root them out.
To earn the victory points, the characters must clear the defensive point of any enemies and turn it over to friendly troops. They also earn victory points for the enemy units they defeat while seizing this point.
Examples: You decide how much a particular defensive point is worth, based roughly on how much defensive advantage it provides or how valuable the location is in the context of the battle. In general, it’s more difficult to seize a defensive point than it is to protect one. Thus, using the same examples given in Protect Defensive Point (page 81), seizing a low wall or a series of trenches is usually worth 20 victory points. A timber-walled stockade with a guard tower is worth 40 victory points. A stone tower or small keep is worth 60 victory points, as are natural terrain elements that provide similar benefits, such as a high cliff. A walled keep is worth 80 victory points, and something fantastic such as a floating castle is worth 100 victory points.
Adjustments: If the point’s defensive value is less important considering the direction the PCs’ army is moving (such as a guard post that looks only to the east when the army is traveling westward), its victory point award is reduced by 5. If the characters damage the defensive value of the point when they seize it (by blowing big holes in the walls, for example), the victory point award is reduced by 10. If they ruin the point’s defensive value (by destroying the walls with a transmute rock to mud spell, for example), the victory point award is reduced by 20.
SEIZE INTRINSIC POINT
10 to 90 victory points
Some points on the battlefield are important not because of their offensive, defensive, or maneuver value but because they are somehow valuable to one or both armies. A shrine devoted to a patron deity, a village full of noncombatants, a zone where mysterious magic occurs—any of these are intrinsic points worth seizing.
To earn the victory points, the characters must defeat any enemy units present at the point and otherwise make the location safe before they turn it over to friendly units. They also earn victory points for the enemy units they defeat while seizing the point.
Examples: You decide how much a particular intrinsic point is worth. These victory point awards are generally the same as those described in Protect Intrinsic Point (see page 81).
Adjustments: If the PCs damage the intrinsic point in the process of seizing it, its victory point reward is reduced by 10. If they ruin the intrinsic value of the point completely, subtract the value that the friendly army placed on the point from the averaged total. This calculation might produce a negative result, which represents a monumental screw-up on the part of the PCs. Or it might have little effect, if the friendly army didn’t care about the point but the enemy army did.
SEIZE MANEUVER POINT
10 to 70 victory points
Maneuver points are places on the battlefield that an army must move through to get somewhere else important. They are often based on natural features like river fords, mountain passes, and canyons. If the enemy is holding a maneuver point, the PCs might be charged with seizing it so that friendly units can move through the location and take the fight elsewhere.
To earn the victory points, the characters must defeat the enemy units holding the maneuver point and make the location safe for friendly units to move through. They also earn victory points for the enemy units they defeat while seizing the point.
Examples: You decide how much a particular maneuver point is worth, depending on how much the army’s movements are restricted without access to it. These victory point awards are generally the same as those described in Protect Maneuver Point (see page 81).
Adjustments: Unless the PCs were specifically directed to render the maneuver point unusable (destroying a bridge, for example), damaging the maneuver point reduces the victory point award by 20. Conversely, if the PCs can improve the value of the maneuver point (by casting wall of stone to put a bridge at the site of a ford, for example), they earn an additional 10 or 20 victory points. Building defensive structures to make the maneuver point easier to hold is likewise worth 10 victory points.
SEIZE OFFENSIVE POINT
10 to 50 victory points
The enemy occupies ground that’s an advantageous place from which to attack. The PCs’ job: take the location from the enemy before more of their comrades are killed. To earn the victory points, the characters must defeat or drive off any enemy units occupying the offensive point, then turn it over to friendly troops. They also earn victory points for the enemy units they defeat while seizing the point.
Examples: You decide how much a particular offensive point is worth. These victory point awards are generally the same as those described in Protect Offensive Point (see page 82).
Adjustments: If the offensive point is useless to the army seizing it because of the direction it faces (such as a cliff that faces the sea the PCs’ army just came from), its victory point award is reduced by 5.
Almost every military organization has a way of recognizing members for their contributions. From the lowliest private whose only duty is to obey orders up to a brigadier general who commands thousands or tens of thousands of soldiers, a mere look at a soldier’s attire often reveals where he or she stands in the organization.
The symbols and medals worn on the chest and arms of a soldier’s garb usually indicate one of two things: rank or decoration. Rank is a measure of status and responsibility in the military. At its most basic level, a character’s rank determines who must follow that character’s orders. Decorations—often in the form of medals and ribbons— describe where a character has been, what she has done, and how well she did it. Decorations cover accomplishments ranging from mere survival or the completion of elite training to the utmost act of bravery and heroism in the face of overwhelming opposition.
A character earns both rank and decoration by doing good things when others are watching. In game terms, a PC earns recognition points during a battle whenever she does something worthy of notice and commendation. When the battle is over, the DM converts the recognition points a PC has accumulated into rank and decorations. Then a higher-ranking officer or noble comes up to the character and pins a medal on her chest or introduces her to the unit she will now command.
Earning Recognition Points
In an ideal army, the same accomplishments that earn characters victory points would also earn them recognition points, so the perfect army would reward its soldiers in exact proportion to how much they help win battles. Of course, no real-world or fantasy army is that efficient.
Some crucial elements of a military victory (such as espionage and reconnaissance) happen behind the scenes, and other elements (such as building fortifications and gathering supplies) are unglamorous, however necessary. Conversely, defeating an enemy champion or capturing an enemy standard might not have a big impact on the battle’s overall outcome, but these are the sorts of deeds that spread through the rank and file like wildfire.
That’s why recognition points are tracked separately from victory points. As characters travel from mission to mission on the battlefield, they might face a choice between a mission that’ll earn them victory points (such as getting some captured supply wagons back to a friendly logistics unit) and a mission that’ll earn them recognition points (such as climbing to the top of a nearby hillock and planting their army’s standard).
Only PCs earn recognition points. NPCs earn promotions and medals when other NPCs see fit to award them (in other words, whenever the DM believes it fits the ongoing narrative). Discussed below are several examples of activities that would make characters eligible for recognition point awards.
Capture Enemy Standard
(EL of enemy unit × 1/2) recognition points
It’s considered bad luck to have your standard captured, and the pennants of enemy units are therefore prized trophies. It cheers the heart of a soldier to see an ally galloping toward friendly territory, holding a captured enemy standard upside down.
To earn the recognition points, the PCs must take possession of an enemy standard and then return it to a commander behind friendly lines. Simply grabbing an enemy’s national flag or army insignia doesn’t count. They have to steal a distinctive standard that identifiably belongs to a specific enemy unit. If they take multiple standards from the same unit, they don’t earn the recognition award multiple times.
Examples: The value of the enemy standard varies depending on the effectiveness of the enemy unit displaying it. If PCs take the pennant from a group of six human knights (CR 1 each), they earn 3 recognition points when they get it back to headquarters.
Adjustments: Some standards might have a recognition point value that’s higher or lower than average. If the standard belongs to a once-proud unit whose ranks are now filled with green replacement troops, it’s worth more than the low EL of the unit would indicate, for example.
Defeat Notable Unit
(EL of enemy unit) recognition points
The enemy leadership esteems some of their units more highly than others. If the PCs render such a prized unit unable to fight, that would be a stinging blow to the enemy—and a sure way for the characters to get noticed by their own leadership. Such notable units often have elite soldiers within them, but notoriety doesn’t always correspond to fighting prowess. Some elite units aren’t well known within their own army, much less to the enemy. Other units are famous simply because they hail from a particular place or because they have a famous commander.
To earn the recognition points, the characters must disable, kill, or capture the enemy unit or cause it to retreat in disarray. Furthermore, a friendly unit that isn’t directly involved in the battle must witness the PCs’ victory.
Examples: Defeating an elite squad of eight bearded devils known as the Tormentors of Minauros is an EL 11 encounter, so it’s worth 11 recognition points. However, defeating another squad of eight bearded devils isn’t worth any recognition points—they weren’t particularly wellknown or feared as the Tormentors were.
Adjustments: If the notable unit is able to regroup and make a significant contribution later in the battle, only half the normal recognition point award is given out.
Fight in Famous Battle
3 to 5 recognition points
Some battles, whether won or lost, have a special resonance among the soldiers who fought in them. If you’ve survived the catapult barrages of Rorak’s Point or the ghoulish hordes during the Second Battle of Gethasee Fields, you’ll never forget the experience, and you’ll feel a kinship with comrades who fought at your side. This kinship extends beyond those who actually fought in the famous battle. Civilians and soldiers who are elsewhere, if they’ve heard tales of the famous battle, will be fascinated by those who were actually there.
To earn the recognition points, the characters must play a meaningful part in a battle important enough to occupy a prominent place in history. Whether a particular battle is noteworthy enough to earn recognition points for its participants is a matter for historians and storytellers to decide, so the recognition points are awarded at the DM’s discretion.
Examples: Many of history’s famous battles are resounding successes or tragic failures and are named accordingly. If the characters survive a battle that is afterward referred to as “Last Stand of the …” or “Final Triumph at …” they might be entitled to a recognition point award. Typically, over the course of a military campaign, only a few battles (maybe one in five) are noteworthy enough to warrant a recognition point award.
To use some real-world examples, the Battle of Gettysburg, Custer’s Last Stand, the trench warfare on the Western Front in World War I, and the Normandy invasion on D-Day are famous enough to warrant a recognition point award, but the Battle of Pea Ridge, the Battle of Fallen Timbers, the Gallipoli campaign, and Operation Torch (the Allied landing in North Africa) from those same wars are not. Although each is a significant battle that greatly influenced the eventual outcome of the war, these battles simply aren’t as well known among the general populace.
Adjustments: Sometimes a battle’s importance isn’t obvious right away, in which case you are justified in withholding the recognition points until the battle actually becomes famous. If the PCs engage in a bitter skirmish in a remote province that later leads to a full-scale war, you can later award them recognition points. The retroactive award represents all the people who are impressed that the PCs were there “when it all began.”
If the PCs earn recognition points by participating in a famous battle, they have an additional way to spend those points—service decorations that commemorate their participation in the battle (see page 89). Perhaps every surviving worg-rider who made the final charge in the Battle of Kereindeau wears a red ribbon to honor those who fell. Or perhaps those who defended the sacred city of Garintell to the bitter end wear a necklace made of a chunk of white marble taken from the rubble of the Garintell palace. Those familiar with military history will see the ribbon or the marble necklace and know where the wearer has been.
Fight in Famous Campaign
5 to 10 recognition points
Just as certain battles have historical significance, so too do certain military campaigns earn a measure of respect for those who saw them through. The criteria for a recognition point award is the same as for participating a famous battle; the decision is essentially in the DM’s hands.
To earn the recognition points, characters must meaningfully participate in more than half of the major battles in the military campaign. The DM awards the recognition points at the military campaign’s conclusion, whether it was successful or not.
Examples: This recognition point award is tied to a military campaign (a series of battles fought to achieve a common objective), not necessarily a campaign in the D&D sense of the word (a series of linked adventures). Of course, it’s possible that your D&D campaign will run concurrently with a military campaign. If the PCs are trying to drive an invading army of drow back underground, for example, their actions represent a campaign in both senses of the word. The PCs would take part in the major battles against the drow, and in between those battles they would probably undertake traditional D&D adventures with the drow as antagonists.
Adjustments: If a major military campaign ends with success and peace rings out across the land, it’s possible to have a larger recognition point award than the 5 to 10 points recommended above. After a successful war, many armies are generous with promotions and medals for the survivors. Especially if your D&D campaign ends when the military campaign does, a large recognition point award is a good way to conclude the war, because it leads to a number of medals and promotion ceremonies for the player characters.
As with those earned by taking part in famous battles, PCs can spend these recognition points on special decorations that indicate they are veterans of a famous campaign.
3 recognition points when planted; then +(EL of enemy unit) recognition points for each subsequent attack repulsed
Due to the limited availability of magical forms of observation and communication, flags and other standards are the primary way that military units identify each other at a distance. Most military units have a flag, pennant, or other symbolic standard that represents their unit, and another standard to represent the army as a whole.
When you plant your standard in a prominent point on the battlefield, you are claiming that location; your flag says, “This spot belongs to us, and we’ll fight to make sure it stays that way.” Everyone within sight of the flag, friend or foe, understands the implicit challenge you make when you wave the flag in this way. To earn the recognition points, characters must plant the standard in a location of geographical prominence (such as a hill or tower) or a point with intrinsic value to their side (see the What Kind of Point? sidebar, page 82). This location, which must be highly visible to both sides, might also be an offensive point, a defensive point, or a maneuver point (in which case the PCs also earn victory points for seizing it), but it doesn’t have to be. The point must lie significantly beyond the front lines of the friendly army; no one’s impressed if the PCs claim something their army already possesses.
Once the PCs have planted the standard, everyone in the unit earns 3 recognition points. Each time they successfully defend the standard from a significant enemy attack, they earn additional recognition points.
Examples: Characters always earn 3 recognition points for planting their standard in the first place, but the subsequent points they earn depend on foes they defeat while defending the site. They earn the recognition points only if their standard remains flying throughout the combat.
Adjustments: If the enemy knocks the PCs’ standard down even momentarily, they get no recognition points for that combat because troops elsewhere saw their standard waver. If their standard falls and the PCs have to retreat, they lose recognition points equal to the EL of the unit they retreated from if the enemy unit plants its standard in the same spot.
If enemy troops capture the PCs’ standard, they lose 10 recognition points if they don’t recover it by the battle’s end.
Rally Demoralized Unit
(EL of all creatures successfully rallied) recognition points
Rank-and-file soldiers remember the event when someone takes command and turns a rout into a staunch defense. If the PCs can inspire bravery—or at least duty—in their fellow soldiers, they’ll get a reputation as great leaders (or at least individuals with leadership potential).
To earn the recognition points, three events must occur. First, the characters have to be fighting in the presence of a unit with at least half its surviving members in a morale condition of frightened or worse (see page 73). Next, the PCs must make enough successful rally attempts that less than one-quarter of the unit ends up running away. Soldiers can flee for a round or two before being rallied, but they have to return to the fray before the combat is over in order for the rally attempt to count. Finally, the PCs have to win the current combat, killing their enemies or forcing them to flee.
Examples: The characters come upon a squad of seven elf rangers (CR 2 each), five of whom are frightened because they just failed a morale check. (There were originally fifteen rangers, but eight were killed, thus forcing a morale check on the survivors.) The PCs’ rally attempts bring four of the five back into the combat, but the fifth one flees out of their sight. If the characters win the immediate combat that led to the archers’ breaking ranks, they earn 6 recognition points because four CR 2 archers would be an EL 6 unit.
Adjustments: If multiple PCs make successful rally attempts on the same unit, they must come to agreement on which of them gets credit for the rally (such credit is often noted in the after-action reports that an organized army writes, or in the spontaneous conversations and interviews of an irregular force). When it comes to leadership issues, military types of every stripe like the simplicity of saying, “This guy turned us around,” and they get suspicious whenever two leaders try to take credit for the same rally. If the PCs can’t come to agreement, no one gets the recognition points.
Receive Elite Training
3 to 5 recognition points
Some military organizations have training regimens so difficult or prestigious that soldiers earn acclaim simply for completing them successfully. Real-world soldiers who have completed airborne training have earned such recognition, for example, because it’s fundamentally impressive to others when someone intentionally jumps out of a perfectly good airplane.
To earn the recognition points, the characters must successfully complete training that somehow confers elite status on them. Unless you have a barracks adventure planned for the training period, players won’t spend any time at the game table while their characters earn the award. Their elite training will be incorporated into the training they undertake between levels to gain new skills, feats, and class features. You decide which training regimens are worth recognition points (and whether PCs have access to that training), so this reward is made entirely at your discretion.
Examples: Whether at peace or at war, armies spend much of their time putting their soldiers through endless drills and exercises. Only a few of these efforts are noteworthy enough to earn recognition points for their participants, and the type of training varies from army to army. In an elf army, undergoing treetop sniper training might be worth recognition points. By contrast, a human army might esteem riders who succeed on the “Four Stations Gallop,” a journey that only the best equestrians can complete within the four-week training period.
Adjustments: As with recognition earned from famous battles and famous campaigns, the recognition points received from training can be converted to a special decoration: one that indicates the wearer completed the training. The Wind Archers of Kelanon, for example, give green gloves to everyone who completes their mounted archery training, while the orcs of Palnanak etch symbols into their tusks if they survive the “Winter of Blood” scouting regimen.
Replace Fallen Leader
(commander rating of fallen leader × 2) recognition points
In a pitched battle, officers are in at least as much danger as rank-and-file soldiers. When a leader falls, the soldiers immediately look for someone else to give orders. If a PC jumps into the breach and takes over the responsibilities of leadership, then acquits himself well in the subsequent combat, he earns respect and acclaim from both the chain of command above him and the soldiers he led into battle.
To earn the recognition points, a character must take over command of a unit whose leader has fallen in combat or fled and then win at least one combat while leading the unit. Furthermore, the unit itself must survive as an organized group until the end of the overall battle (although obviously all the unit’s members didn’t).
Well-organized armies have strict procedures for replacing officers at each point in the chain of command so that subordinates know where to turn when their commander goes down. Of course, the situation is less clear among barbarian hordes and other irregular forces, in which a leader’s demise can set up a personality struggle in the middle of the battle.
Examples: The more important the leader a PC replaces, the bigger his recognition point award. If he replaces a sergeant (+2 rank bonus), for example, he would earn 4 recognition points if the unit goes on to win a combat and keeps its cohesiveness throughout the overall battle.
Adjustments: In rare circumstances, a character might earn this award if he replaces an incompetent, shell-shocked, or otherwise ineffective officer. Such events are always controversial, however, because military adherence to the chain of command runs deep.
Rescue Endangered Unit
(2 × EL of friendly unit’s surviving members) recognition points
Sometimes a friendly unit is cut off from the rest of the army, or multiple enemy units converge on one part of the army’s lines. Characters can earn great acclaim if they can get to the endangered unit and either relieve the pressure on it, help the unit get to relative safety, or destroy all the enemies nearby.
To earn the recognition points, characters must get the relevant unit out of immediate peril. That might mean defeating the enemy units threatening it, creating a diversion elsewhere that draws the enemy’s attention away, or using magic to enable the endangered troops to retreat. When a battle rages, every unit on or near the battlefield is endangered to a degree. Characters earn recognition points for rescuing a unit only when the situation is dramatic, dire, and well known to at least the commanders involved. If the dangerous situation and the nature of the rescue are the sort of thing the army will be talking about long after the battle is over, the PCs will earn recognition points. However, if the activity is just a garden-variety example of one unit covering another, it won’t be worth recognition points.
Examples: A platoon of dwarf sappers was digging a tunnel toward enemy lines when the passageway collapsed between the dwarves and the rest of the army. If the PCs can reach the dwarves and get them out of the remaining tunnel section before the enemy’s trained umber hulks find them, they’ll earn recognition points—and probably a debt of honor from the dwarves.
Adjustments: The recognition point award could be increased beyond the standard amount to account for special circumstances of the battle being fought. For instance, if the dwarf sappers in the example above were the only such units remaining in the friendly force and their survival is essential to ultimate victory in the battle, the accomplishment of rescuing them could be magnified accordingly by those who live to tell the tale.
Survive Overwhelming Odds
5 × (EL of each significant combat – average PC level)
Sometimes an army sacrifices specific units so that the rest of the army can benefit. While such sacrifices are tragic for the members of the destroyed unit, they are an important part of military strategy. If the army decides to sacrifice the PCs’ unit and they accept this role, they can earn great laurels if they somehow survive to fight another day.
Characters don’t get this recognition point award for missions that are merely dangerous, nor for missions that turn out to be more hazardous than expected. To earn the recognition points, they must know ahead of time that they have been ordered to sacrifice themselves for the greater good; the army must get the benefit it needed from that sacrifice; and then the PCs must somehow stagger back to friendly lines when the battle’s done. At its most basic level, this is the recognition point award characters get for surviving a suicide mission.
Examples: If the PCs are part of a beleaguered rebel army surrounded by the force of a tyrannical warlord, they could earn the recognition points if they are part of a delaying force that engages the warlord’s units while the rest of the rebels withdraw.
Adjustments: This recognition point award is based only on combats against foes of a higher EL than the average level of the PCs. Characters don’t get recognition points for run-of-the-mill challenges they overcome while they’re undertaking the suicide mission, only the challenges posed by particularly dangerous foes.
OTHER WAYS TO EARN RECOGNITION POINTS
If PCs from other walks of life answer a call to arms and join the army, it’s certainly appropriate to make a one-time award of recognition points that reflects their status as adventurous civilians. If they’re already heroes of a realm when suddenly thrust into war, you should give them enough recognition points so that they have military rank commensurate with their status as well-known, capable civilians.
Likewise, in a D&D campaign that includes both battlefield adventures and more traditional fare, you should reward PCs who do good work on the army’s behalf, even if such missions don’t take place on the battlefield. If the queen orders the PCs to leave their units, disguise themselves as courtiers, and steal the war plans of a rival noble, they should get a recognition point award (probably 5 to 10 points) when they successfully complete their mission.
SPENDING RECOGNITION POINTS
At the end of each battle, characters convert the recognition points they have earned into two rewards: decoration points and promotion points. The two rewards function differently. Decorations are based on the battle the characters just fought in, and are acquired on the spot—or as soon as the army leadership gets around to giving them out. Promotion points, on the other hand, are an ongoing reward. A character accumulates them from battle to battle, and becomes eligible to be promoted to a higher rank when he reaches certain thresholds.
After a battle, the recognition points a character has earned is split evenly between decorations and promotions. If a character receives an odd number of recognition points, the player can put the extra point wherever desired.
Bucking for Promotion or Decoration: A character can try to influence whether his commander rewards his valor with a promotion or a decoration. Doing so means that the character must expend some of the goodwill and acclaim he has earned. If a character decides to do this, three-quarters of the recognition points (rounded down) that he has just received are converted into either promotion points or decoration points (as prefrerred), and the remainder of the recognition points are lost.
For example, if a character receives 11 recognition points from one battle, he would normally get 5 promotion points, 5 decoration points, and 1 point that the player can assign to either category. If the character decides to buck for promotion, he instead gains 8 promotion points and no decoration points (3/4 × 11 = 8.25, rounded down to 8).
Every army has a different system of decorations, from the simple (barbarian hordes who wear body parts of the foes they slay) to the complex (national armies with multiple medals, each with one of several ribbon colors for specific occasions). When you design an army, one of the features you can construct is a system of decorations that the army gives to soldiers who show excellence of one kind or another on the battlefield.
The table below, presents a hierarchy of decorations of particular point values and the benefits those decorations provide. Use your own unique names in place of the generic titles on the table—after all, no army offers a “10-point decoration”; it offers the “Conduct in Crisis badge,” “membership in the Order of the Stag,” the “gold crescent with honor tassels,” or “the brand of Myrvak’s favor.” The form and history behind an army’s decorations says a lot about what virtues that army values and what kind of soldier it idealizes. Making distinctive decorations is one of the best ways to make a fantasy army come to life at the gaming table.
Within the game rules, however, all decorations function the same way. Almost all of them provide a circumstance bonus on Diplomacy checks made to adjust an NPC’s reaction and on Intimidate checks made to change an NPC’s behavior. However, the bonus only applies if the NPC in question knows what the decoration signifies.
An NPC knows what a decoration signifies if that character qualifies for inclusion in the “automatically affected” column on Table 4–7, or if the character establishes the ability to identify the decoration by succeeding on a Knowledge (history) check (using the DC found in the table). If an NPC knows what a decoration represents, the wearer of that decoration gains the indicated bonus on checks made to influence that NPC. In general, the more significant the decoration, the more likely it is that NPCs will recognize it—with the exception of the widely seen 1-point wound decoration, which is familiar to many individuals regardless of their expertise (but which provides no circumstance bonus in any event, simply because it is so common).
Decorations and NPC Interaction
|Decoration||Bonus||Automatically Affected||Knowledge History DC top Identify|
|1-point wound||—||Virtually everyone||10|
|2-point training (specific type)||+1||Soldiers in same army||20|
|2-point service (specific battle)||+1||Soldiers in same army||18|
|4-point service (specific campaign)||+2||Soldiers in same army||15|
|5-point||+2||Soldiers in same army||12|
|10-point||+2||Soldiers in same army; political and religious leaders in army’s territory||10|
|20-point||+3||Everyone in army’s territory||10|
|40-point||+4||Everyone in army’s territory|
|80-point||+5||Everyone in army’s territory and neighboring territories||10|
Circumstance bonuses from multiple decorations ordinarily stack with each other as long as each decoration represents a different circumstance (generally meaning that it was earned in a different battle or campaign). Keep track of which other medals you possess, however, because it’s possible that an NPC will recognize a well-known minor decoration but not an obscure service decoration.
Ossian Army Decorations
|Prerequisite Points||Decoration Name||Notes|
|1 Point Wound||Bloodmark of Valor (Tattoo)||A stylized red blood-drop, normally with the battle credits tattooed in or around it.|
|2 Point Training||Silver Horseshoe||Received training in|
|2 Point Service (Battle)||(Weapon Etching)||/|
|4 Point Service (Campaign)||(Medal)||/|
|40 Point||(heraldry addition)||If not already a noble, a base heraldic crest is issued along with a title and land|
The most common form of advancement for most PCs in a military campaign is advancement by deed. Advancement by deed occurs when a character earns a promotion through hard work or brave deeds—the sorts of acts that earn recognition points, which in turn can be spent on promotion points.
However, this is far from the only method of advancement. Advancement by attrition occurs when a character is moved up in the command structure because a higherranking officer left or died. Attrition also covers those promotions based solely on a character’s ability to survive longer than everyone else around. Most lower-ranking leaders, past and present, have earned their ranks by either deed or attrition.
Advancement by title occurs when a character is granted a rank based on his title outside the military. Officers were historically members of the royalty such as dukes or clan chiefs, or those who bought their commission with currency, land, or soldiers.
In the modern armies of the real world, promotions are earned primarily by deed. However, a measure of advancement by title still exists in the modern military. A modern soldier with the rank of sergeant (an enlisted noncommissioned officer, or NCO) is rarely promoted directly to the rank of lieutenant (a commissioned officer) without first being sent to an officer candidate school. While officers in the modern world might not rely on receiving a commission from the ruler (a typical method of appointment for characters in a medieval fantasy world), they are still separated from NCOs by education or lineage or some other title-related reason.
Characters accumulate promotion points by converting recognition points, and they keep track of their promotion points as an overall total. When a character’s promotion points reach one of the thresholds indicated on Table 4–9, he is eligible for a promotion. This promotion advances the character’s commander rating, which typically goes hand-in-hand with a new rank title.
Promotions and Rank
|Promotion Points||Commander Rating||Rank Name||Troops Commanded|
|9 or less||0||Private||N/a|
|10 - 24||1||Corporal||1-4|
|600 or more||7||General||5000 +|
Any character with a rank higher than private (or its fantasy equivalent) has a commander rating. Table 4–5 lists the range of values, along with some sample rank names applicable to those ratings. Commander rating acts as a bonus on the rally checks a character make to attempt to rally demoralized troops (see Morale Checks, page 72).
For example, a lieutenant trying to rally shaken troops gets a +3 bonus on the rally check; even if they’re demoralized, most soldiers have a degree of respect for the rank the lieutenant has attained.
Not every army uses the same rank structure, of course— one army’s captain is another’s warchief is another’s lord knight. Regardless of the name by which a rank is known, all characters of a certain rank have more or less the same amount of responsibility.
Regardless of rank, not every officer is in command, making decisions and issuing orders. Every officer has lower-ranking officers whose job it is to offer advice, manage logistics, and handle other specialized functions such as communications and intelligence, even if this support staff consists of only an aide or two.
These staff officers make up the bulk of many armies’ officer corps. They rarely exercise their authority to give orders to lower-ranking troops, instead putting their own expertise at the disposal of the officer in command.
Rank Has Its Privileges
In addition to the commander rating, rank often has benefits that go along with its responsibilities.
Access to Information: The higher a character’s rank, the more information he’ll get in formal briefings and other meetings before a battle begins. Such information helps him understand the overall strategic situation, which in turn helps him make better choices on the battlefield.
A lowly private might just be told “Seize that hill.” But a lieutenant accompanying the unit seizing the hill knows that the army hopes to deploy siege engines to that hill later in the day, and the major who orchestrated the attack on the hill knows that those siege engines will be trained on the road south of the hill, an important line of retreat for the enemy. The general hopes that the presence of siege engines on that hill will convince the enemy to retreat through the valley instead—and into a trap (those woods are full of hidden archers).
Commander Aura: Each commander has the ability to grant certain benefits to nearby allies. See Commander Auras, below, for more details.
Entry Requirements: Some prestige classes, organizations, and feats might have rank as a requirement.
Pulling Rank: A commander can issue orders to soldiers of lower rank, and they’ll usually obey. When a commander makes an Intimidate check to coerce a lower-ranking soldier to comply with a command, he gains a bonus on Intimidate checks equal to the difference between his commander rating and the lower-ranking character’s rating.
As a character’s commander rating improves, he gains access to gain special abilities that he can share with his allies. These abilities are called commander auras. Despite being a reward for military rank, these auras are beneficial to almost any group of adventurers (or, in the hands of NPC enemies, to the foes the PCs face).
Unless otherwise noted, a commander aura provides its benefit only to allies with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher within 30 feet of the commander. Characters can benefit from more than one commander aura simultaneously.
Commander aura benefits never stack.
Commander auras do not provide any benefit to characters whose commander rating is equal to or higher than the commander who has the aura. Thus, a commander can’t ever benefit directly from his own commander aura. A character selects his first commander aura upon gaining rank 1 (corporal or the equivalent). Each time the character’s rank improves, he can either keep his current commander aura or replace it with any other commander aura for which he qualifies. No character can ever have more than one commander aura unless specifically allowed (such as by a prestige class feature).
If a character’s commander rank is reduced, he may not replace his commander aura unless he no longer qualifies for the one he possesses (in which case he must immediately replace it with one for which he is qualified).
You are adept at using warbeasts to assault your foes—and bringing them back alive when the battle is done.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 1, any neutral alignment, wild empathy class feature.
Benefit: Animal and magical beast allies within 30 feet of you gain a +2 morale bonus on saving throws. This aura affects allies with Intelligence scores of 1 or higher.
You have a knack for directing arrows from the archers in your command.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 2, any chaotic alignment, Point Blank Shot.
Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you gain a +1 morale bonus on ranged attacks. Add 1 to the save DC of any volley of arrows (see page 68) that you direct.
You are most effective when you direct your troopers to finish off wounded enemies.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 3, any evil alignment.
Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you gain a +1 morale bonus on damage rolls against wounded creatures.
Your allies battle undead with exceptional fervor.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 2, any good alignment, ability to turn undead.
Benefit: Living allies within 30 feet of you deal an extra 1d6 points of damage on melee attacks made against undead creatures. This benefit is considered a morale bonus.
The orders you give in combat always keep the safety of your troops paramount.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 2, lawful good alignment.
Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you gain a +1 morale bonus to Armor Class.
You direct your troops to press the advantage against enemies they have wounded.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 5, chaotic good alignment.
Benefit: If an ally within 30 feet of you rolls a natural 20 on a melee attack, that ally can immediately make another melee attack with the same weapon or natural attack, using the same attack bonus.
You are adept at inspiring your troops to stand fast against giants and other foes of the dwarf people.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 3, dwarf, lawful good alignment.
Benefit: Dwarf allies within 30 feet of you gain a +2 morale bonus to Armor Class, or a +4 morale bonus to AC against giants.
You are particularly good at safeguarding the elves under your command.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 3, elf, chaotic good alignment.
Benefit: Elf allies within 30 feet of you gain a +2 morale bonus on saving throws.
You can whip animals under your command into a bloodthirsty frenzy.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 3, any neutral alignment, Handle Animal 5 ranks.
Benefit: Animal and magical beast allies within 30 feet of you gain a +2 morale bonus on attack rolls. This aura affects allies with Intelligence scores of 1 or higher.
You can direct your troops to bring down enemies bigger than they are.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 2, Small or smaller size, any good alignment.
Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you gain a +2 morale bonus on melee attacks against creatures at least two size categories larger than they are.
You bring out the bloodthirsty, savage nature in your goblinoid troops.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 3, goblinoid, lawful evil alignment.
Benefit: Goblinoid allies within 30 feet of you gain a +2 morale bonus on melee attack rolls.
Your healing touch can inspire your troops to charge back into battle.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 3, any good alignment.
Benefit: Whenever you use a spell or effect to heal damage taken by an ally, you can attempt a rally check as a free action to improve that ally’s morale.
You keep your soldiers always on the move, looking for the weakest points in your enemies’ defenses.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 2, chaotic good alignment.
Benefit: Any ally who starts her turn within 30 feet of you and moves at least 10 feet gains a +2 morale bonus on the next melee attack roll she makes her turn.
You are most effective when inspiring your soldiers to take the fight to the enemy in hand-to-hand combat.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 3, any lawful alignment, base attack bonus +2 or higher.
Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you gain a +1 morale bonus on melee attack rolls.
Your troops are exceptionally fleet of foot.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 3, any chaotic alignment.
Benefit: Any ally who begins his turn within 30 feet of you gains a 5-foot bonus to his speed. This benefit is considered a morale bonus.
Your unliving allies battle the living with exceptional fervor.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 2, any evil alignment, ability to command or rebuke undead.
Benefit: Undead allies within 30 feet of you that have an Intelligence score of 1 or higher deal an extra 1d6 points of damage on melee attacks made against living creatures. This benefit is considered a morale bonus.
You can direct your soldiers to take advantage whenever your enemies are distracted or overwhelmed.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 1, any chaotic alignment.
Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you deal an extra 1d6 points of damage on any successful attack of opportunity. This benefit is considered a morale bonus.
You can hone the fighting instincts of the orcs under your command.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 3, orc, chaotic evil alignment.
Benefit: Orc allies within 30 feet of you deal an extra 1d6 points of damage on melee attacks. This benefit is considered a morale bonus.
You are adept at getting your soldiers back into the fray quickly.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 2, any lawful alignment.
Benefit: Any ally rallied by you gains a 10-foot bonus to its speed for 1 round. This benefit is considered a morale bonus.
Your allies benefit from your protective guidance.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 1, any lawful alignment.
Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you gain a +1 morale bonus on saving throws.
You direct your soldiers to chase down any cowards who dare try to escape your iron grip.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 2, lawful evil alignment.
Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you deal an extra 1d6 points of damage against foes who are frightened or panicked. This benefit is considered a morale bonus.
You inspire your allies to charge ferociously into battle.
Prerequisite: **Commander rating 2, chaotic evil alignment.
Benefit: **Any ally who begins her turn within 30 feet of you deals an extra 1d6 points of damage on the next charge attack she makes during her turn. This benefit is considered a morale bonus.
Your soldiers delight in fighting foes that are smaller than themselves.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 2, Large or larger size, any evil alignment.
**Benefit: **Allies within 30 feet of you gain a +2 morale bonus on attacks made against foes at least one size category smaller than they are.
You are good at surrounding your enemies, then striking from all sides.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 5, chaotic evil alignment, sneak attack ability.
Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you deal an extra 1d6 points of damage against foes that they flank. This benefit is considered a morale bonus.
The spellcasters in your command are inspired by your presence and can channel extra energy into their combat spells.
Prerequisite:Commander rating 3, ability to cast 1stlevel spells, Spellcraft 5 ranks.
Benefit: Any area spell cast by an ally within 30 feet of you deals an extra 1d6 points of damage. Only spells that deal damage gain this bonus. This benefit is considered a morale bonus.
You are skilled at getting your troops to hold the line against the fiercest attacks.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 5, lawful good alignment.
Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you gain a +2 morale bonus to Armor Class against foes who move at least 5 feet before attacking.
Your soldiers are more afraid of you than they are of the enemy.
Prerequisite: Commander rating 5, lawful evil alignment, Intimidate 5 ranks.
Benefit: Allies within 30 feet of you gain a +5 morale bonus on morale checks but automatically become panicked if they fail a morale check.