CROM Mechanics Teaser #6 – Morale

Defeating an opponent may mean killing every lest foe, or it might simply mean breaking their spirit. Morale is an essential element in the shifting tides of battle, and a good general must consider it carefully in order to emerge victorious.


The Basics

Whenever a unit first drops below half its total Wounds or figures it must roll a morale check. Roll two dice, if any swords come up the unit is fine. If not it must run towards its edge of the map, and it gains a Fleeing token. The next time a fleeing unit activates it must make another morale check. If it does not succeed, it runs again. Leader figures like Conan and Thoth-Amon are immune to morale – if they retreat it’s due to strategy, never cowardice!


Although you have a pretty good chance to roll a sword on at least one die (5/9), that chance may not be quite good enough for some situations. Destiny tokens may be spent for extra Morale dice for those critical rolls where the unit must stay in (or to rally when fleeing).

It may be possible for fleeing to be beneficial to a unit, not only to save it from potential destruction but also to refocus it on a different part of the battle. If a unit successfully rallies, it may immediately take its full turn as normal. This can include moving (or even charging) and attacking. Plus, once a unit has made its successful Morale check, it usually does not have to make

Some special abilities can affect these rules. Certain units gain extra dice – Bossonian Archers are Steadfast and gain one extra die on Morale checks, while the undead Ancestor Guard of Stygia are Implacable and gain two extra dice for Morale. And Dragons force a unit in melee to make a Morale check before any Counterstrike, disrupting the usually simultaneous attacks and possibly forcing opponents to flee before avenging any hits!


Finally (as usual), Fate Cards can certainly affect Morale. For instance, the Legion of Set has the Panic card, which forces a unit to make an extra Morale check at a 1-die penalty. But we will leave some of those details for next time, when we’ll start talking about the Fate Cards themselves.