The Book of Hordes

by aeyana

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The Book of Hordes

The Book of Hordes

by /u/aeyana

Preface

The Book of Hordes is a monster and military supplement created to streamline large-scale battles.

The contents of this compendium are intended to be balanced for play in a regular Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition group.

Art Credits

Table of Contents

ON THE COVER

A king approaches the walls of a sacked city.
 
First Release: 25 March, 2019
Updated: 15 January, 2020

Using this Book

The mechanics and monsters presented in this book are meant for use by DMs who wish to introduce larger-scale, grand battles, without the hassle of tracking a score of hit points and turns. Running monsters as hordes allows for faster, more simple turns, without the micro-managing required for fighting a large group of individual monsters.

This simplifies the combat two-fold. First, DMs have less things to track, and can focus their attention on the storytelling and world-building.

Second, the players no longer have to micro-manage enemy targeting, and are presented with a dynamic and interesting foe, all while not being entirely overwhelmed through sheer numbers in action economy.

Commanders

The "Commanders" section of this book presents mechanics that can be attached to regular monsters that do not fit into hordes, but that the DM still wishes to influence the horde in some way. These mechanics are simple and generally universal, and can be made to function with a variety of different monsters. Each horde in the "Hordes" section also suggests a few creatures that typically serve as commanders for such hordes.

A variety of methods to depose a commander are also listed, to provide DMs with inspiration and guidelines if the players decide they would rather not face a horde head-on.

Hordes

The "Hordes" section presents the rules for turning a group of monsters into a single horde, and provides nine example hordes. These examples are ready for use in combat, but also are presented as guides to help DMs create their own unique hordes, using other creatures.

 

Other Formats

This book can be found in PDF format.

Discussion and feedback about the book can be found on Reddit.

The contents of this book can also be integrated with various systems, as detailed below.

CritterDB

These monster statistics were made in CritterDB. This bestiary can be copied and adjusted to create custom hordes.

Avrae Integration

For players and DMs who play D&D over Discord, the monster statistics in this book can be loaded into the Avrae bot by following the commands in the CritterDB link. The magic items in this book can be accessed in Avrae by subscribing to this pack.

Commanders


In combat, hordes are often accompanied by powerful individuals which serve to direct and empower the horde by serving as a commmander. These creatures should roll initiative as individuals.

Commander Eligibility

The role of a commander is typically assigned to a creature that bears similarities to the horde it commands, but exemplifies itself in some factor. This factor can vary depending on the horde being commanded; some creatures will band together under the strongest champion, while others will follow the wisest tactician. Generally, combat prowess and charisma are used to determine the eligibility of a commander.

Examples of such creatures include the orc war chief, hobgoblin captain, hobgoblin warlord, and knight, among many others. These creatures typically possess the Leadership action, or otherwise have some method of inspiring or rallying a horde.

Commander Features

While a commander is within 60 feet of a horde it commands, the commander can take 1 legendary action, choosing from the options below, at the end of another creature's turn. The commander regains the spent legendary action at the start of its turn.

  • Attack. The commander and the horde both make one weapon attack.
  • Charge. The commander and the horde both move up to their speed.
  • Rally. The horde gains temporary hit points equal to the commander's CR plus the commander's Charisma modifier (minimum of one).
Optional Rule: Coup D'état

In order to remain in command, a commander must maintain its authority over the horde. Conversely, a commander that loses the trust or respect of the horde will find its control slipping away. When confronting a horde and commander, there are many methods to bring about a commander's fall from grace.

Arcane Intervention. Some commanders maintain control over a horde through arcane means, either with powerful enchantments or through conjured servants. An arcane commander's grasp can be shaken by use of magic-removal spells, or by inflicting an even more powerful enchantment upon the horde. Alternatively, an enchantment could be placed on the commander, thereby using the commander's influence to exert control the horde indirectly.

Bribery. A commander who controls a horde through coin can just as easily be outbid. A sufficient show of money or promise of wealth can sway a horde's allegiance.

Character Assassination. For a commander that derives its authority through charisma, smears and denigration of the commander's character can be used to weaken its authority over a horde. Attempts to slander the commander's name will naturally not go unchallenged, and may result in a contested skill check involving a Charisma skill between the commander and slanderer. Depending on the horde's initial opinion of the commander, this check may be made at advantage on the commander's part, at disadvantage on the slanderer's part, or with both.

Single Combat. For a commander that derives its authority through combat prowess, a challenge of single combat may be sufficient to shake a horde's respect for its commander. In order to supplant a commander and take control of the horde, the commander must be bested in single combat. Certain hordes may specify certain sets of rules to be upheld, and may take deep offense to any violation of these rules.

BOOK OF HORDES

Hordes


Often, combat involving a large number of combatants can become messy, time consuming, and difficult to run and track. The rules for hordes established here serve to mitigate these issues, by grouping similar creatures into a single unit, allowing the DM to track fewer turns and pools of hit points.

When an encounter would otherwise involve a large number of similar or identical creatures, a single horde can be used to replace them.

Horde Eligibility

The system for hordes requires certain conditions for the creatures that compose a horde in order to function optimally. The conditions for these creatures are presented in alphabetical order.

Homogeneity

The hordes presented here are meant to represent groups of identical creatures, working as a collective. As such, making a single horde represent a varied group of creatures can lead to complications. This is to maintain the mechanical simplicity of the horde, and to keep it simple for DMs to use.

With careful consideration, this rule can be lifted, so long as the mechanical simplicity of the horde is maintained.

Mindset

Not all creatures lend themselves well to working in groups. While a horde of berserkers may be able to rampage happily together, a group of spies would likely not function as well working as a horde as they would working as individuals. Thus, hordes should consist of creatures that benefit from working as a unit, and that have the capacity to do so.

Size

The hordes presented here are meant to represent a large number creatures working as a collective.

A horde of Small or Medium creatures is sized as Gargantuan, taking up a 20 foot by 20 foot area on a map. This size accommodates up to 16 Medium creatures, without overlap. Thus, hordes of Small or Medium creatures should represent no more than 16 individual creatures.

Creatures that are Large or larger are difficult to fit into hordes, and should be treated as individual combatants. Groups of Tiny creatures should be treated as swarms, not hordes. Examples of such swarms include swarm of rats, swarm of quippers, and swarm of insects, among others.

Spellcasting

Creatures with the ability to cast spells, either innately or through levels in a spellcasting class, should be treated as individual combatants. This is to maintain the limitations of spell slots, as spells can be extremely powerful tools that alter the face of the battlefield.

With careful consideration, this rule can be lifted, so long as the spells and spell slots available to a horde of spellcasters are carefully selected.

Horde Features

A horde of creatures retains most of the abilities of its individual creatures, and gains the following abilities:

Hit Points. The horde's hit points should be roughly equal to 12 × the hit points of an individual monster.

Ability Score Increase. The horde's Strength score increases by 6.

Challenge Rating. The horde's challenge rating is determined by its damage output and hit points. Reference the Dungeon Master's Guide (p. 273) for more information on calculating a monster's challenge rating.

Conditional Immunities. The horde gains immunity to the following conditions: charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, poisoned, petrified, prone, restrained, stunned, and unconscious.

Horde. The horde can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the horde can move through any opening large enough for an individual creature within the horde. Additionally, the horde is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Reactive. The horde can take one reaction on every turn
in combat.

Multiattack. The horde makes four attacks, or two attacks if the horde has half its hit points or fewer. If the individual creatures in a horde originally had the Multiattack action, the horde does not gain the individual's Multiattack action.

Optional Features

Some hordes can get the following features as well.

Stampede. When the horde moves through the space of a creature that is no more than one size larger than an individual member of the horde, it must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. The DC of this saving throw is equal to 8 + the horde's proficiency bonus + the horde's Strength modifier. For example, a horde of Medium orcs can trample a Large dire wolf.

Area of Effect Attack. Each creature of the horde's choice within the horde's space, or within a 10-foot radius sphere centered on a point within a ranged weapon's range, must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes damage equal to 8 times an individual creature's weapon dice, or 4 times an individual creature's weapon dice if the horde has half its hit points or fewer. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage. The DC of this saving throw is equal to 8 + the horde's weapon attack bonus.

Adapting Special Abilities

Certain abilities that an individual monster might possess are troublesome to integrate into a horde if run as is. Below are examples of some individual abilities, adapted to suit a horde.

Pack Tactics. The horde has advantage on attack rolls against creatures in its space.

Undead Fortitude. The horde has resistance to all damage that is not radiant or from a critical hit.

Turn Resistance. If a horde is composed of undead creatures, it gains this ability. The horde has advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns undead. Additionally, the horde can be affected by the Destroy Undead feature regardless of CR limits, but has advantage on the saving throw against it and is not destroyed on a failed save. Instead, it takes radiant damage equal to 5 × the cleric's level on a failed save, or half as much damage on a success.

BOOK OF HORDES

Optional Rules

This section details some optional rules that DMs can use with hordes. They cover a variety of situations, from interactions with effects that can affect many creatures to individual creatures that survive the destruction of a horde.

Area of Effects and Many Targets

Although hordes are immune to many conditions as a group, an effect that is capable of targeting the horde's entire space or of targeting a large number of creatures can suspend this. If the effect targets a large number of creatures (10 creatures or more), the horde is required to be the only target of such an effect. The horde loses its immunity against that specific effect, but makes any saving throws related to it at advantage.

Additionally, if the area of an effect that deals damage covers all of a horde's space, the horde has vulnerability to the effect's damage.

Examples of spells that would interact with this rule include fireball, fear, mass suggestion, weird, and mass polymorph, among others.

Powerful Commanders

If a powerful creature is placed as the commander of multiple hordes, the DM can choose to grant it additional legendary actions, as part of its Commander Features. The commander gains one legendary action for each horde under its command, up to a maximum of three legendary actions.

This rule should generally be used for powerful creatures serving as commanders, with challenge rating of 5 or higher.

 

Horde as a Creature Generator

Occasionally, a horde will find it economical to send out an individual creature for a certain task, such as scouting or diplomacy. At the start of the horde's turn, it can separate out one individual creature. The horde loses hit points equal to that creature's hit points.

The creature acts on the horde's initiative.

Grappling a Horde

If a creature attempts to grapple a horde, the DM can allow the horde to contest the check instead of using its conditional immunity. On a failed check, the horde loses hit points equal to the hit points of an individual member, and an individual creature is created. The creature acts on the horde's initiative, and is grappled.

Survivors

When a horde is reduced to 0 hit points by an effect that targets a large area, the DM can have it make a Constitution saving throw to determine any survivors. The DC is equal to 5 + the damage taken. On a successful save, the DM can then add 1d4 individual creatures from the horde, acting on the horde's initiative.

This rule should not be used if the horde is reduced to 0 hit points by an attack.

BOOK OF HORDES

Mobs

When times get rough and tempers flare, the general citizenry may pick up their torches and pitchforks and set out on a good ol' riot. They are typically lead by a charlatan or folk hero.


Mob

Gargantuan horde of medium humanoids,
chaotic neutral


  • Armor Class 10
  • Hit Points 52 (5d20 + 0)
  • Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
16 (+3) 10 (+0) 10 (+0) 10 (+0) 10 (+0) 10 (+0)

  • Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
  • Senses passive Perception 10
  • Languages Common
  • Challenge 1 (200 XP)

 


Horde. The horde can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the horde can move through any opening large enough for a Medium commoner. Additionally, the horde is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Reactive. The horde can take one reaction on every turn in combat.

Stampede. When the horde moves through the space of a Large or smaller creature, the horde can force the creature to make a DC 13 Strength saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is knocked prone.

Torches. The mob sheds bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet.

Actions

Multiattack. The horde makes four attacks, or two attacks if the horde has half its hit points or fewer.

Pitchfork. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage.

Torch. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) fire damage.

Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4 + 3) bludgeoning damage.

BOOK OF HORDES

The Undead

Undead hordes are usually commanded by powerful undead, such as wights, or by the necromancer that created them.


Horde of Zombies

Gargantuan horde of medium undead, neutral evil


  • Armor Class 8
  • Hit Points 270 (20d20 + 60)
  • Speed 20 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
18 (+4) 6 (–2) 16 (+3) 3 (–4) 6 (–2) 5 (–3)

  • Saving Throws Wis +2
  • Damage Immunities poison
  • Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
  • Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 8
  • Languages Understands all languages it spoke in life but can't speak
  • Challenge 10 (5900 XP)

Horde. The horde can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the horde can move through any opening large enough for a Medium zombie. Additionally, the horde is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Though usually not seen as a huge threat as individuals, a horde of undead can very quickly wreak havoc on settlements and unfortified towns, and are capable of extreme coordination under the lead of a commander.


Reactive. The horde can take one reaction on every turn in combat.

Stampede. When the horde moves through the space of a Large or smaller creature, the horde can force the creature to make a DC 14 Strength saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is knocked prone.

Turn Resistance. The horde has advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns undead. Additionally, the horde can be affected by the Destroy Undead feature regardless of CR limits, but has advantage on the saving throw against it and is not destroyed on a failed save. Instead, it takes radiant damage equal to 5 × the cleric's level on a failed save, or half as much damage on a success.

Undead Fortitude. The horde has resistance to all damage that is not radiant or from a critical hit.

Actions

Multiattack. The horde makes four slam attacks, or two slam attacks if the horde has half its hit points or fewer.

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) bludgeoning damage.

BOOK OF HORDES

Horde of Skeletons

Gargantuan horde of medium undead, lawful evil


  • Armor Class 13 (armor scraps)
  • Hit Points 175 (14d20 + 28)
  • Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
16 (+3) 14 (+2) 15 (+2) 6 (–2) 8 (–1) 5 (–3)

  • Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning
  • Damage Immunities poison
  • Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
  • Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 9
  • Languages Understands all languages it spoke in life but can't speak
  • Challenge 5 (1800 XP)

Horde. The horde can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the horde can move through any opening large enough for a Medium skeleton. Additionally, the horde is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Reactive. The horde can take one reaction on every turn in combat.

Turn Resistance. The horde has advantage on saving throws against any effect that turns undead. Additionally, the horde can be affected by the Destroy Undead feature regardless of CR limits, but has advantage on the saving throw against it and is not destroyed on a failed save. Instead, it takes radiant damage equal to 5 × the cleric's level on a failed save, or half as much damage on a success.

Actions

Multiattack. The horde makes four attacks, or two attacks if the horde has half its hit points or fewer.

Shortsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) piercing damage.

Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 80/320 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Volley. The horde launches a volley of arrows at a point within 120 feet of it. Each creature of the horde's choice in a 10-foot-radius sphere centered on that point must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 28 (8d6) piercing damage, or 14 (4d6) piercing damage if the horde has half its hit points or fewer. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage.

BOOK OF HORDES

Horde of Orcs

Gargantuan horde of medium humanoids, chaotic evil


  • Armor Class 13 (hide armor)
  • Hit Points 189 (14d20 + 42)
  • Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
22 (+6) 12 (+1) 16 (+3) 7 (–2) 11 (+0) 10 (+0)

  • Skills Intimidation +3
  • Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
  • Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
  • Languages Common, Orc
  • Challenge 7 (2900 XP)

Aggressive. As a bonus action, the horde can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.

Horde. The horde can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the horde can move through any opening large enough for a Medium orc. Additionally, the horde is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Orcs

Brutal and efficient, orcs often band
together under the command of an orc war chief or other orcs of religious importance, such as a Blade of Ilneval or Eye of Gruumsh. They work as a unit to raid and plunder.


Reactive. The horde can take one reaction on every turn in combat.

Stampede. When the horde moves through the space of a Large or smaller creature, the horde can force the creature to make a DC 17 Strength saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is knocked prone.

Actions

Multiattack. The horde makes four greataxe attacks, or two greataxe attacks if the horde has half its hit points or fewer.

Greataxe. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (1d12 + 6) slashing damage.

Bloodbath. Each creature of the horde's choice in the horde's space must make a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 52 (8d12) slashing damage, or 26 (4d12) slashing damage if the horde has half its hit points or fewer. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage.

Volley. The horde launches a volley of javelins at a point within 60 feet of it. Each creature of the horde's choice in a 10-foot-radius sphere centered on that point must make a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 28 (8d6) piercing damage, or 14 (4d6) piercing damage if the horde has half its hit points or fewer. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage.

BOOK OF HORDES

Hobgoblin

The armies of a hobgoblin warlord can be divided into squads to facilitate chain of command. Squads are typically lead by a hobgoblin captain, with the hobgoblin warlord often commanding multiple squads at once.


Squad of Hobgoblins

Gargantuan horde of medium humanoids, lawful evil


  • Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
  • Hit Points 149 (13d20 + 15)
  • Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
18 (+4) 12 (+1) 12 (+1) 10 (+0) 10 (+0) 9 (–1)

  • Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
  • Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
  • Languages Common, Goblin
  • Challenge 8 (3900 XP)

Martial Advantage. A melee weapon deals one extra die of its damage when the horde attacks with it (included in the attack).

Horde. The horde can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the horde can move through any opening large enough for a Medium hobgoblin. Additionally, the horde is immune to any spell
or effect that would alter its form.


Reactive. The horde can take one reaction on every turn in combat.

Stampede. When the horde moves through the space of a Large or smaller creature, the horde can force the creature to make a DC 15 Strength saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is knocked prone.

Actions

Multiattack. The horde makes four spear attacks, or two spear attacks if the horde has half its hit points or fewer.

Spear. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 4) piercing damage.

Coordinated Offensive. Each creature of the horde's choice in the horde's space must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 56 (16d6) piercing damage, or 28 (8d6) piercing damage if the horde has half its hit points or fewer. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage.

Volley. The horde launches a volley of arrows at a point within 150 feet of it. Each creature of the horde's choice in a 10-foot-radius sphere centered on that point must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 36 (8d8) piercing damage, or 18 (4d8) piercing damage if the horde has half its hit points or fewer. On a successful save, it takes
half as much damage.

BOOK OF HORDES

Gnolls

Bloodthirsty marauders, gnolls form packs in times of war or hunger, scouring the land for prey. These packs are often lead by gnoll pack lords, and are sometimes accompanied by the dreaded fangs of Yeenoghu.


Pack of Gnolls

Gargantuan horde of medium humanoids, chaotic evil


  • Armor Class 15 (hide armor, shield)
  • Hit Points 262 (25d20 + 0)
  • Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
20 (+5) 12 (+1) 11 (+0) 6 (–2) 10 (+0) 7 (–2)

  • Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
  • Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
  • Languages Common, Gnoll
  • Challenge 8 (3900 XP)

Rampage. When the horde reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack on its turn, the horde can take a bonus action to move up to half its speed and use its Frenzy.

Horde. The horde can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the horde can move through any opening large enough for a Medium gnoll. Additionally, the horde is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

 


Reactive. The horde can take one reaction on every turn in combat.

Stampede. When the horde moves through the space of a Large or smaller creature, the horde can force the creature to make a DC 16 Strength saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is knocked prone.

Actions

Multiattack. The horde makes four spear attacks, or two spear attacks if the horde has half its hit points or fewer.

Spear. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6 + 5) piercing damage.

Frenzy. Each creature of the horde's choice in the horde's space must make a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 28 (8d6) piercing damage, or 14 (4d6) piercing damage if the horde has half its hit points or fewer. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage.

Volley. The horde launches a volley of spears at a point within 60 feet of it. Each creature of the horde's choice in a 10-foot-radius sphere centered on that point must make a DC 16 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 28 (8d6) piercing damage, or 14 (4d6) piercing damage if the horde has half its hit points or fewer. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage.

BOOK OF HORDES

Armies

Some nations keep a standing army, while others scrounge together soldiers in times of war.


Squad of Infantrymen

Gargantuan horde of medium humanoids,
any alignment


  • Armor Class 16 (chain shirt, shield)
  • Hit Points 138 (12d20 + 12)
  • Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
19 (+4) 12 (+1) 12 (+1) 10 (+0) 11 (+0) 10 (+0)

  • Skills Athletics +7
  • Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
  • Senses passive Perception 10
  • Languages Any one language (usually common)
  • Challenge 5 (1800 XP)

Horde. The horde can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the horde can move through any opening large enough for a Medium infantryman. Additionally, the horde is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Reactive. The horde can take one reaction on every turn in combat.

Actions

Multiattack. The horde makes four pike attacks, or two pike attacks if the horde has half its hit points or fewer.

Spear. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage.

Spear Wall. Each creature of the horde's choice within 5 feet of the horde must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 28 (8d6) piercing damage, or 14 (4d6) piercing damage if the horde has half its hit points or fewer. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage.


Squad of Bowmen

Gargantuan horde of medium humanoids,
any alignment


  • Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
  • Hit Points 115 (10d20 + 10)
  • Speed 30 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
11 (+0) 14 (+2) 12 (+1) 11 (+0) 13 (+1) 11 (+0)

  • Skills Perception +3
  • Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
  • Senses passive Perception 13
  • Languages Any one language (usually common)
  • Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Horde. The horde can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the horde can move through any opening large enough for a Medium infantryman. Additionally, the horde is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Reactive. The horde can take one reaction on every turn in combat.

Actions

Multiattack. The horde makes four longbow attacks, or two longbow attacks if the horde has half its hit points or fewer.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage.

Volley. The horde launches a volley of arrows at a point within 150 feet of it. Each creature of the horde's choice in a 10-foot-radius sphere centered on that point must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 36 (8d8) piercing damage, or 18 (4d8) piercing damage if the horde has half its hit points or fewer. On a successful save, it takes half as much damage.

BOOK OF HORDES

Beasts

Social creatures, wolves rarely ever hunt alone. When calamity strikes, wolves will band together and fight as a pack. These packs are often lead by dire wolves.

Sometimes, a druid or wild warrior can strike a deal with a wolf pack, and lead it instead.


Pack of Wolves

Gargantuan horde of medium beasts, unaligned


  • Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
  • Hit Points 138 (12d20 + 12)
  • Speed 40 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
18 (+4) 15 (+2) 12 (+1) 3 (–4) 12 (+1) 6 (–2)


  • Skills Perception +3, Stealth +4
  • Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, stunned, unconscious
  • Senses passive Perception 13
  • Languages
  • Challenge 5 (1800 XP)

Horde. The horde can occupy another creature's space and vice versa, and the horde can move through any opening large enough for a Medium wolf. Additionally, the horde is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Pack Tactics. The horde has advantage on attack rolls against creatures in its space.

Reactive. The horde can take one reaction on every turn in combat.

Actions

Multiattack. The horde makes four bite attacks, or two bite attacks if the horde has half its hit points or fewer.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d4 + 4) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

BOOK OF HORDES

Player Options


Sometimes, situations may arise where player characters may be charged with taking command of a horde. This section presents magic items designed for use for commanders, as well as rules for training a horde.

Magic Items

These items are presented in alphabetical order.

War Banner

Wondrous item, rare


A banner is a flag or piece of cloth that bears a symbol or logo, used for rallying soldiers and coordinating military maneuvers. It can be attached to or removed from a glaive, halberd, pike, quarterstaff, or spear as an action.

A banner is an object with AC 15 and 20 hit points. If it is reduced to 0 hit points, it is destroyed.

The following banners have additional properties.

Commander's Banner. While you are holding the banner, you gain the following benefits when you use your Legendary Action to command a horde:

  • When you command a horde to attack, it deals 1d8 additional damage with its weapon attack.
  • When you command a horde to move, roll a d8. The horde gains a bonus to its Armor Class equal to the result until it stops moving.
  • When you rally a horde, the number of temporary hit points it gains increase by 1d8.

 

Conquerer's Banner. As a bonus action while you are holding the banner, you can exude the might of a conquerer in those around you. Until the start of your next turn, each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you deals additional damage equal to your Charisma modifier when it hits with a weapon attack, and each hostile creatures within the area has disadvantage on saving throws against being frightened.

Demonic Banner (requires attunement by a creature of evil alignment). As a bonus action while you are holding the banner, you can grant the boon of a demon lord upon each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you, which lasts until the start of your next turn. See the Demonic Boon table for the variants of this banner, and the effects of the boons.

Demonic Boons
Demon Lord Boon
Demogorgon   Two Minds of Madness. A creature under the effect of this boon has advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws.
Fraz-Urb'luu Liar's Eye. A creature under the effect of this boon has advantage on Wisdom (Insight or Perception) checks. As a bonus action, it automatically detects the location of all illusions and hidden creatures within 15 feet of it.
Graz'zt Joy from Pain. Whenever a creature under the effect of this boon suffers a critical hit, it can make one melee weapon attack as a reaction.
Juiblex Liquid Movement. As an action, a creature under the effect of this boon can move up to 20 feet through spaces no more than an inch in diameter. It must end this movement in a space that can accommodate its full size. Otherwise, it takes 5 force damage and returns to the space where it began this movement.
Orcus Undying Soul. If a creature under the effect of this boon is reduced to 0 hit points, it immediately makes a DC 10 Constitution saving throw. If it succeeds, it is instead reduced to 1 hit point. Once it has done so, it can't use this ability again until it finishes a short or long rest.
Yeennoghu Rampage. When a creature under the effect of this boon reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack on its turn, it can take a bonus action to move up to half its speed and make one melee attack.
Zuggtmoy Spore Kissed. A creature under the effect of this boon is immune to poison, as well as to the charmed and frightened conditions. In addition, if it is reduced to 0 hit points, each creature within 10 feet of it takes 1d6 poison damage.
BOOK OF HORDES

    Gruumsh's Banner (requires attunement by a half-orc or orc). As a bonus action while you are holding the banner, you can call allies to surge forward. Each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you can use its reaction to move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that you can see, and deals 1d8 additional damage when it hits with a weapon attack until the start of your next turn.

Rallying Banner. As a bonus action while you are holding the banner, you can call for your allies to rally around you. Each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you can immediately use its reaction to move up to half of its speed toward you without provoking opportunity attacks.

Righteous Banner (requires attunement by a cleric or paladin). As a bonus action while you are holding the banner, you can instill weakness in unholy creatures around you. Until the start of your next turn, each fiend or undead creature within 30 feet of you has disadvantage on ability checks and saving throws.

Spellguard Banner (requires attunement by a bard, sorcerer, warlock, or wizard). As a bonus action while you are holding the banner, you can create a magical barrier which repels arcane energy. Until the start of your next turn, each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you has advantage on saving throws against spells or other magical effects, and has resistance to damage from spells.

Stalwart Banner. As a bonus action while you are holding the banner, you can inspire resolution in those around you. Each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you gains temporary hit points equal to your Charisma modifier and has advantage on saving throws against being charmed or frightened made before the start of your next turn.

    Storm King's Banner. When a creature within 30 feet of you takes lightning damage, the electricity is instead directed toward this magical banner. The creature takes no damage, and the banner instead takes the lightning damage. As a bonus action while you are holding the banner, you can plant the banner in the ground. While the banner is planted in dirt or earth, it is immune to lightning damage. You can remove the banner from the ground as a bonus action on your subsequent turns.

Warding Banner. As a bonus action while you are holding the banner, you can rally your allies to defend. Until the start of your next turn, each creature of your choice within 30 feet of you gains half cover against effects that originate from beyond 30 feet of you.

Weathering Banner. While you are holding the banner, creatures of your choice within 30 feet from you do not suffer the effects of extreme weather, and ignore nonmagical difficult terrain.

White Flag. An almost universally recognized sign of peace, creatures that walk under this pure white banner are granted protection from harm. As a bonus action while you are holding the banner, you can grant protection to each creature within 30 feet of you. Each creature comes under the effect of the sanctuary spell (save DC 15), which lasts until the banner is lowered (the spell can end early as normal). If a creature ends the spell on itself by making an attack, casting a spell that affects an enemy, or dealing damage to another creature, the spell ends for each affected creature, and can't be used again until the next dawn.

BOOK OF HORDES

Training Hordes

When a player character is tasked with commanding a horde, he or she can utilize downtime in order to train the horde, strengthening it, fitting it with gear, or otherwise teaching it new abilities.

Resources. Following the examples in Xanathar's Guide to Everything, training a horde typically takes at least ten workweeks, but this time is reduced by a number of workweeks equal to the commander's Intelligence modifier (an Intelligence penalty doesn't increase the time needed). Training requires providing the horde salary every workweek, with a suggested cost of 250 gp per workweek. Once this training is complete, the horde gains one of the options detailed in the Training Options section.

Complications. Complications that arise while training may relate to the horde's morale or capability. Every ten workweeks spent in training brings a 10 percent chance of a complication, examples of which are on the Horde Training Complications table.

Horde Training Complications
   d6    Complication
1 The horde grows mutinous and seeks out a new commander.
2 1d6 members of the horde have had enough, and defect from the horde. The horde's hit points are reduced by a number equal to the sum of the individual creatures' hit point maximums, and the horde's can't regain these lost hit points until replacement members are found.
3 Disease, low morale, or a similar setback besets the horde, setting training back 1d6 weeks.
4 The horde's equipment is damaged or the horde causes damage to public structures, costing 10d10 gp in order to be repaired.
5 An intense divide forms between members of the horde, leaving the horde unwilling to train until the conflict is resolved.
6 A member of the horde is a spy, sent to learn the horde's plans and weaknesses.

Training Options

These training options are presented in alphabetical order.

Ability Score Training

One of the horde's ability scores increases by 1. Update the horde's statistics to reflect the change in ability score.

Hold the Line

The horde gains the following ability:

Hold the Line. When a creature enters the horde's space, the horde can use its reaction to take an opportunity attack against the creature. Additionally, the horde's space is considered difficult terrain for creatures of the horde's choice.

Intimidate

The horde gains the following action:

Intimidate. As an action while the horde's commander is within 30 feet of it, the horde can let loose a battle cry, instilling fear in those around it. Each creature of the horde's choice within 60 feet of the horde that can hear it must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or become frightened of the horde for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature's saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the horde's Intimidate for the next 24 hours.

The DC for this saving throw is equal to 8 + the horde's proficiency bonus + the commander's Charisma modifier.

Overwatch

The horde gains the following ability:

Overwatch. When the horde uses its Multiattack action, it can forgo one attack in order to make a Wisdom (Perception) check. Additionally, if the horde spots a creature that emerges from hiding before the start of its next turn, it can use a reaction to make a single weapon attack against the creature.

Restrain

The horde gains the following ability:

Restrain. When the horde grapples a Large or smaller creature, the creature is restrained until the grapple ends.

Shelter

The horde gains the following ability:

Shelter. When the horde takes the Dodge action, creatures in the horde's space gains half cover against effects that originate outside the horde's space.

Stampede

If the horde does not already have the Stampede ability, it gains it, which reads:

Stampede. When the horde moves through the space of a Large or smaller creature, the horde can force the creature to make a Strength saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is knocked prone.

The DC for this saving throw is equal to 8 + the horde's proficiency bonus + the horde's Strength modifier.

Skill Training

The horde gains proficiency with a skill of the commander's choice. The commander must be proficient with the skill in order to complete this training. Update the horde's statistics to reflect the new proficiency.

Tend the Wounded

The horde gains the following ability:

Tend the Wounded. When the horde uses its Multiattack action, it can forgo one attack in order to attempt to stabilize a creature within its space. The horde can use this ability to tend to one of its own.

Weapon Training

The horde gains proficiency with a weapon of your choice. The commander must be proficient with the chosen weapon, and each individual member of the horde must be equipped with the weapon in order to complete this training. Update the horde's statistics to reflect the new weapon.

BOOK OF HORDES
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