Discussion:How would the battle of five armies work best?
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 How would the battle of five armies work best?
 Mr. Saltine 19:47, 15 November 2007
I'm trying to recreate The Battle of Five Armies from The Hobbit using goblin mounted spiders vs. orcs vs. humans,constructs vs. undead vs. some cold creature from Frostburn once I get my hands on a copy. The party is not aligned with any army and are basically stuck in the middle of a really big fight. At this time the party consists of 4 lvl6 PCs and a lvl6 NPC, though the PCs don't know about the NPC yet. My question is how does one run something this big? By the way this is my first campaign.
 Daniel Draco 18:15, 16 November 2007 (MST)
First thing: please try to follow the instructions on the preload...it's not that big a deal, but it makes everything easier for others :). Second, the answer you wanted: Heroes of Battle and Miniatures handbook both contain rules for wars and mass battles. Beyond that, I'd imagine it's just a matter of being a good DM.
First campaign? try something smaller at first, methinks. "Recreate the battle of the five armies from The Hobbit"!?! With those combatants!!! I am confused; the battle of the five armies was between goblins (and orcs) and wargs (and wolves) (two armies) Vs. Elves, Dwarves and men (three armies)... Spiders, constructs, undead and "some cold creature from frostburn" where not involved. Looks to me like you are not trying to recreate the battle of the five armies, but some other battle with five armies.
If you really want to recreate the battle of the five armies from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, read the chapters in The Hobbit that are concerned. And choose combatants that are mentioned. Also, can I direct your attention towards The Lord of the Rings Campaign Setting? It will help recreate stuff set in Tolkien's world, as well as adventuring in Tolkien's world.
But I think that you should not start so big if this is your first campaign. Battles in D&D can be difficult, not to mention impractical. Which is why we have wargames. Start smaller, with low level characters (less than level 8). Think carefully on the campaign setting you use. Use a relativly simple storyline, with mostly dungeon-delving and combat. Then build on that.
As for campaign settings; if you still want to play one set in Tolkien's world (called Arda, meaning "The World That Is", though the part people know is called Middle Earth), use The Lord of the Rings Campaign Setting, and don't use frostburn, or any other sousebook (they aren't built for such a thing, and just don't work in Tolkien's world). That way you can have a realistic campaign setting set in Tolkien's world. If you don't want to play a campaign set in Tolkien's world, then either create a small one for yourself, or choose a published WotC campaign setting. And stay away from the huge battles.
 Mr. Saltine 20:44, 17 November 2007
Yes recreate the battle not copy it. The humans & constructs are in for plot purposes. I've got a plot line layed out, this I might scale down to two armies as it was originally. There is alot of dungeoneering and combat already. This campaign is definatley not set in Tolkien's world, I don't like playing/using precreated enviroments, so this is set in my world. Thanks for the book ref. I'll look at it.
Ok so I did end up dumbing it down to two armies, and there not really armies anymore. 4 goblins mounted on 4 medium monsterous spiders + 1 lvl2 goblin mounted as such (CR total: 7 2/3). And 10 orcs + 1 lvl3 orc (CR total: 7 1/2). and the party of course (lvl7).
Not set in Tolkien's world? Different storyline? Then it is not the battle of the five armies from the hobbit. It is something else. The battle of the five armies was caused by the death of Smaug the Dragon and the death of Bolg's dragon, and was set outside of the lonely mountain, when Elves, Dwarves and Men fought together against Goblins (and orcs) and wargs. Bilbo the hobit fell unconcious after putting on the ring, and Thorin Oakenshield was mortally wounded. During the battle, the Great Eagles showed up, followed by Beorn. Beorn slew Bolg and caused the goblins (and orcs) and wargs to flee. That is the battle of the five armies. Recreating it is basically roleplaying (or wargaming) the events of the battle. So you do not want to recreate it.
There is a better way to go through a battle- represent it as seperate small scenarios in which the players have a lesser objective that leads to the greater whole, and describe the atmosphere and events of the battlefield around the players.
 ShadowyFigure 10:57, 3 April 2008 (MDT)
... Don't spoil the book for people!
Also if he wants to call it the battle of five armies (though its more "a battle with five armies in it") then let him. Don't bold type him over it :D. However I do agree first campaign try something smaller. And this is not gonna be the battle of five armies tbo.
Are you nuts
If 5 lvl 6 characters are fighting in a mass battle scenario the chances of their survival is slim.
Not enough hp to take to many hits.
I smell TPK
That's silly Shadowfax - average level 1 people survive huge battles all the time, in both history and fantasy.
Though a battle of undead vs constructs vs spiders etc as the first poster described would be rather a different story...