5E Hardcore Mode - Question about Hordes rule


Hello Hammer People!

I searched using the search tool to no avail about this question so I’m posting it for some help. In the 5E hardcore rules it uses a “Hordes” setting rule for mass small combat for groups of monsters and says to “simply divide player damage by a constant and fell that many enemies at once”. But what do you use as a constant? The hit point maximum of the monsters? Fingers and toes on a duck? Or whatever the player wants to use after damage is rolled?

Any help with this is much appreciated!


I like 3. It works out to 0-3 enemies per round for my group, which feels right. If they had a higher damage average, I might increase it a bit.


Sadly, I just read the 5e hard core book.

For the Horde!!!

Had to say that when talking horde stuff, just too ingrained even 10+ years later.

Being that I love my players or characters to occasionally wade down the enemy like a scythe to wheat…this was quickly recognizable.

Decide how many HP your Enemy will have, for hordes, 1~5 seems appropriate, that is the constant. But you don’t track individual hordes HP, just their number.

So if your constant is 1, and the fighter hits for 4 damage, 4 of the horde go away…

If we are now fighting Imps as opposed to Skeletons…the imps might be 3…so the fighter would only have dispatched 1, and the 10 points from a fireball will dispatch 3 unless the imps are immune to fire based spells or take half damage from them…at half damage, only one imp dies…10 x 0.5 damage (because damage resistance) x 0.333 (because constant of 3)= 1.665…the .665 has no relevance. So 1.

I hope that helped???

It’s really simple once you do it 3 or 4 times. But it’s not what you might be used to, this is an abstraction used in mas combat games.


That does make more sense. I appreciate the help!


Can I cut in on this question and ask something else to clarify?

“For each enemy in the horde, add 1 to your D20 attack.”

Does this mean that, if I have 8 bad guys in the horde and their attack is +5 to hit, I roll d20+5+8? And as monsters are killed I lower that +8 appropriately?

I am playing vanilla 5e tonight and there is a horde of cheap ass vampire crawling out of their graves. In 1d4 rounds they are gonna break down that door…


I would treat hordes as having no bonuses except for the +1 per enemy.

Example: last week, my game contained several units of archers. Each unit was treated as consisting of 5 enemies. Consequently, they rolled d20+5 to hit and did d6+5 damage. As their numbers dwindled, so did their to-hit and damage bonuses. When there was only one enemy left, they rolled d20+1 to hit and did d6+1 damage. But at that point, they had already routed.


Makes sense. The horde my players will be facing will be a bit tougher than that at full strength, I am honestly hoping they run away. But I will keep each group at 10 creatures to start. They will probably plow through them anyway.


Yeah; Like with the “constant”, different numbers are going to make sense depending on the overall power inflation of the campaign. The idea is just to reduce overhead by counting minis (or notches, if theatre of mind) instead of having stat blocks.

Basically, hordes are like fractions of an enemy that can be used to have mass-battle encounters without being overwhelmed as a GM, balance the action economy, or to present a tactical challenge that is more about distances and positions than about damage output per turn. So the actual numbers (+1 or +2 per enemy, for example) are really secondary.