Excerpt from
Heroes of Battle Excerpt
By David Noonan, Will McDermott, Stephen Schubert

Bring the battlefield to your player characters with the Heroes of Battle rules supplement! This book provides you with new feats, spells, uses for traditional spells, and prestige classes that you can use on the battlefield. To help you vanquish your foes, you'll find tools such as siege engines, weapons, magic items, steeds, and other exotic mounts, plus discussions of terrain-oriented topics. To help the DM further, encounters and details about designing battlefields are included within the book. Learn more about this supplement by reading the Introduction excerpt, which goes over the book's topics in more detail, and then take a look at the second excerpt, which goes over some of the rules regarding the use of teamwork benefits. For more excerpts from this book, check out both the April 2005 and May 2005 Previews.

Introduction

Plant the Standard

Heroes of Battle is a rules supplement for the Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game. It's a player resource that gives players the tools they need to take their characters from the dungeon to the field of battle, where they'll play pivotal roles in the clash of great fantasy armies. DMs can use this book as a resource for wartime adventures, whether building an entire narrative around a military campaign or throwing the players onto the battlefield as a change of pace at the climax of an adventure.

What's in this Book

Heroes of Battle contains information for DMs and players alike. The book starts by showing what an adventure on the battlefield is like, giving players an idea of what to expect and handing the DM a construction kit to bring massive battles to life. Later chapters provide the nitty-gritty tools that increase the chance of PCs and NPCs surviving and thriving on a fantasy battlefield.

The War Campaign (Chapter 1):D&D uses the word "campaign" to refer to a series of linked adventures, but it borrowed the term from military parlance, where it refers to a series of battles fought to achieve a common objective. Chapter 1 discusses issues you'll face when you make the battlefield a dominant part of your ongoing D&D game.

Building Adventures (Chapter 2): A major battle is the functional equivalent of a traditional D&D adventure. Chapter 2 provides a step-by-step process for designing a battlefield adventure that offers opportunities for treasure, victory, heroism -- and plenty of danger and challenges. Chapter 2 also provides directions for designing interesting maps of the battlefield as a whole and the specific areas where pivotal encounters take place.

Battlefield Encounters (Chapter 3): The basic building block of any D&D adventure is the encounter. Chapter 3 lists staple encounters appropriate for a mass battle and provides tips on awarding XP for battlefield encounters. The chapter also includes some sample military units to throw against your PCs on the battlefield.

Rules of War (Chapter 4): Through their bravery and clever tactics, PCs will often have a chance to influence the overall battle -- especially as they reach higher levels. In Chapter 4, a simple victory point system helps adjudicate how the PCs' efforts have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the battlefield. Chapter 4 also has a morale system so the DM can easily determine whether the enemy flees rather than facing the PCs directly, and a set of rules to help PCs earn promotions, decorations, and the other glories of war.

The Military Character (Chapter 5): Most characters are ready for the battlefield. The feats and skills they possess will be as useful on the battlefield as they are in the dungeon. But for characters who want to maximize their prowess on the battlefield or emphasize their military background, Chapter 5 offers new feats and prestige classes designed for warfare. The chapter also has more detailed rules for character training and teamwork, and battlefield-inspired uses for existing skills.

Magic of War (Chapter 6): Spells and magic items useful to (or against) the army in the field are detailed in Chapter 6. Magical versions of the siege engines depicted in Chapter 4 also appear here.

Sample Armies (Appendix I): For the DM in need of a big army in a hurry, this appendix includes a wide range of fantasy armies appropriate for any D&D battlefield campaign, from teams of human soldiers to squadrons of orc savages.

Sample Soldiers (Appendix II): You can't have an army without soldiers, and this appendix presents full statistics blocks for all the soldiers used in the various armies included elsewhere in the book. A Dungeon Master can mix and match these NPCs to build just about any army he or she needs.

Battlefield Steeds (Appendix III): This section details six exotic beasts of war suitable for serving as battle-mounts.

What You Need to Play

Heroes of Battle makes use of the information in the three D&D core rulebooks -- Player's Handbook,Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual. In addition, it includes references to material in Complete Warrior, Complete Adventurer, and Miniatures Handbook. Although possession of any or all of these supplements will enhance your enjoyment of this book, they are not strictly necessary.

Heroes of Battle and D&D Miniatures

As you read this book, you'll see rules such as commander auras and morale checks that echo rules found in the D&D Miniatures skirmish game and the Miniatures Handbook. That's intentional. But while they have a common heritage, the two experiences have some important differences as well. Rather than focus on skirmishes between two small forces, this book focuses on the role PCs play in truly grand battles: ones featuring thousands of soldiers on each side. Any miniatures you have will be useful when you undertake a battlefield adventure, but realize that this game is the cooperative, player character-centered D&D experience you've been enjoying for years. The action has merely been moved from the dungeon to the battlefield, and we've surrounded the PCs with a cast of thousands.


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