DaW advice

Hi all!

I’m playing around with the idea of converting D@W to be used with 5e, probably with the Rise of Tiamat adventure, and I’m encountering some problems.

First of all, how to calculate uhp? I’m thinking of doing it pretty much like it say in the book and treat every +- for con as +- 0.25 for the purpose of calculating uhp.

So for example a unit of human gaurds (using the statistics from the basic rules DMG PDF) with 2d8+2 hp, will have
[(1.25 x 2 x 120)/15] 20 uhp.

While a unit of normal humans (using the commoner state bloc) with 1d8 will have [(1 x 120)/15] 8 uhp.

Now, that’s seems like a lot, I’m toying with the idea of treating every creature with one HD the same as 1-1 HD creatures in D@W and treating 2 HD creatures as 1 HDS creatures in D@W.

In that case a unit of human gaurds will have [(1.25 x 120)/15] 10 uhp. And a unit of commoners will have [(0.75 x 120)/15] 6 uhp. In essence the gaurds are simply veteran commoners.

Thing is, I’m not sure it’s viable to the entire game, I need to figure how to throw it all in a spreadsheet and check the numbers.

Next up, Cleaving Factor.

This one is for Alex, how important is this? Vanilla 5e don’t have ACKS cleaving rule, there is an optional rule that basicaly allow you to transfer remaining damage from a dead foe to an adjacent foe if your original Attack throw was good enough to hit the new target but that’s it. My question is, can I just drop it out?

For example our human gaurds unit from above Attack with spears for 1d6+1 points of damage, so it’s number of attacks should be [(120) x (1) x (4.5) / (60 x 4.5)] so a 2.

Last question is about movment rates, considering that in 5e a combat round is 6 seconds and most creatures can move 30 feet in a round how do I convert it to D@W scale? How long is combat round in D@W?

Thanks in advance!


I am not an Autarch, but I am experienced with both systems (5E and D@W).

I would definitely not calculate their UHP based on their Con mod. ACKS and D@W assume a lower average stat than 5E does, as well as having lower stat modifiers, and so using their con mod would lead to many problems as you notice with the guards.

It’s also worth noting that HP and HD in 5E scales much, much faster than it does in ACKS.

My recommendation, in general, would be to simply use the unit stats from D@W instead of converting the 5E stats. Your guards would be a unit of normal humans or veteran humans as you choose. Commoners are better represented by militia than a normal unit.

D@W has stats for a wide variety of creatures and types of unit; if you want to have a unit of a type that isn’t in the book, I’d simply select a similar one and reskin it.

ACKS and 5E, both being d20-based games, are similar enough that there won’t be any kind of jarring transition if you simply use the ACKS stats for mass combat and the 5E stats for personal combat. (At least, this will remain true at relatively low levels, and shouldn’t be a problem for the HotDQ adventure levels. At higher levels, you will need to convert things if you want to maintain the same ratio to their personal power, but by then you’ll have more experience with D@W and you should find it easier to work with.)

As far as combat and movement; a D@W combat round is ten seconds (D@W Battles page 112). It’s close enough and uses similar enough movement rates that I would not bother converting them.

I second Aryxymaraki - in the long run, you’re doing a lot of work for not enough gain; the systems are similar, so it looks like it should work out fine, but they’re different enough you should just let it go and use the D@W numbers.

If you come across an instance where there’s a 5E mob with no ACKS equivalent you need to give D@W stats, my best recommendation would be to find the B/X or LL or 1E equivalent, and convert it into a unit using those stats, rather than the 5E ones.

Same goes for hero-on-unit actions or the like; convert them as-is using the few stats you need off the character sheet.

When you go into heroic forays, slip back into the 5E rules.

Attack damage might be a little weird if your 5E PC can deal three times as much damage as an ACKS character of the same level, but for hero-on-unit interactions I’m pretty sure that it’s almost impossible to deal more than one UHP anyway unless you’re absurdly high level, so you might just skip damage calculation and always round to 1, since that’s what you end up doing 99% of the time anyway. Or leave it as is, and worst case scenario, oh no, heroes can fight really well! How dramatically inappropriate! Doesn’t strike me as a real problem except that I’m pedantic.

First of all, thanks guys.

Thing is I don’t want to confuse my players. I got several players who never played D&D before but who are keen on building their own armies and recruiting soldiers and such, I would love to be able to tell them how to calculate their unit BR and statistics and that they will be able to see how the classes correspond to the different units.

For example if the players managed to recruit the good dragons and would like to have Dragon wings on their forces I want them to be able to do it with fifth edition rolls instead of sending them to learn a whole new different system ,don’t get me wrong, I love ACKS But they know that my players will not find it intuitive or interesting.

So basically I’m trying to jury rig domains at war to work with 5e as closely as possible I want the mass combat rules to reflect the game the players know.


The answer to your question is “it depends”.

D@W had two goals:

  1. To simulate large-scale battles such that they would have outcomes that were similar to what the outcome would have been like had it been fought out using ACKS scale rules in 1:1 scale (internal consistency); and
  2. To simulate large-scale battles such that they would have outcomes that were similar to what the outcome would have been like had it been fought out in the real world (external consistency)

I think that it succeeds in both of these goals. The math inherent to the unit building system ensures internal consistency. The math of ACKS itself, combined with how I structured it, creates external consistency: To the extent that normal (1-1HD) and veteran (1HD) troops are deployed, armed, equipped, and led according to historical norms the game plays as a very good ancient/medieval battle simulator.

In adapting D@W to 5E, you have to decide how important these two goals are to you, and how much work you are willing to put in. Small changes can have big consequences.

Things to look at:

  1. The relationship of damage output to hit points. How many rounds of battle does it take for an infantry unit to destroy another infantry unit? How many rounds of battle does it take for a cavalry unit to destroy an infantry unit? How does charging matter? What impact do flanking attacks have?
    –Key ACKS rules here were the bonus to hit from charging; the fact that during a charge, spears and lances do double damage; the fact that horses get hoof attacks ona charge; the fact that horses can cleave if they kill; and the fact that 2 rows of spearmen can attack;

  2. The relationship of damage output from missile weapons versus damage output from melee weapons.
    –Key ACKS rules here were the very painful penalties for shooting at range (-2/-5), the fact that melee ROF and missile ROF are identical (1HD gets same number of attacks with sword or bow)
    –A D@W-specific rule introduced for mass combat was the Shield Wall formation and its variable bonus against melee, thrown, and bow weapons

  3. The effect of morale on creatures. How much damage can a creature sustain before it flees? How many creatures can a group lose before it flees? What determines whether it flees?
    –Key ACKS rules here were the 2d6 Morale Roll system, the Morale Score for monsters, and the impact of Charisma and various proficencies
    –A D@W-specific rule was the separation of Morale into Shock and Morale, with the former being unit-specific for its casualties and the latter being general for the army as a whole

  4. The effects of magic. The most important aspect here is damage dealt relative to area of effect versus unit size. If you calculate areas of effect for spells as a proportion of a unit’s area, you’ll see it matches up to the maximum damage the spell can inflict on a unit. If fireballs had twice their radius, they’d be four times as deadly in D@W, for instance.

  5. The ratio of ground speed to combat round. 1 round is 10 seconds and 1 hex is 20 yards. In ACKS, a heavy infantry unit has a combat movement of 20 yards in 10 seconds and a charge of 60 yards in 10 seconds, which yields the 1/2/3 movement rate for Heavy Infantry. If 5E assumes 1 round is 6 seconds with movement of 10 yards you might have to adjust those numbers.

Of the top of my head, I might consider an 5E adaption that says:

  1. Each combat round is 12 seconds (2 5E combat rounds)
  2. Each unit can move twice its 5E combat rate (so a typical heavy infantry’s combat movement becomes 20 yards, or 1 hex, just like in D@W)
  3. Since the round is twice as long, each unit has half as many hit points (or twice as many attacks). That puts uhp very close to ACKS numbers.

That would yield a unit of human guards (using the statistics from the basic rules DMG PDF) with 2d8+2 hp as having [1/2 x [(1.25 x 2 x 120)/15]] 10 uhp. That’s very close to the ACKS “veteran” 8 uhp.

Awsome, now I have to gork this down.


Great Designer’s Notes! This should appear in the future Axioms, or similar. Or you might expand it into a conversion article somewhere. (Although we all know ACKS Rulz!)