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1/25/2024 3:46 pm  #11

Re: Barbarians of Legend (BoL)

Gruntfuttock wrote:

Is the intention to keep to 5 Hero/Villain points?

Also, will critters (natural and otherwise) be generated as in standard BoL?

I've been looking at running some Hyborian scenarios with this (probably sometime next month). 

Yes to Hero/Villain Points.

Probably, with regard to critters. But I haven't got that far yet.

I've sent you the latest updated draft.


1/26/2024 11:41 am  #12

Re: Barbarians of Legend (BoL)

Reading it now, Simon. Looking good!

My real name is Steve Hall

1/31/2024 11:36 am  #13

Re: Barbarians of Legend (BoL)

Baring accidents or 'Real Life', tomorrow evening I will be running a Barbarians of Legend game to see how it plays when dice hit the table.

I've adapted the Modiphius Conan Quick Start adventure 'To Race The Thunder' to BoL-Legend. It should prove a useful first test as it basically consists of PCs being chased back to the safety of the far bank of the Thunder River, featuring lots of combat with Picts, sneaking around, and assisting fleeing pioneer settlers of Conajohara Province. It should be good mix of activities to test the rules. I might run another more fantasy city based game after this.

I'll let you know how we get on.

My real name is Steve Hall

1/31/2024 12:10 pm  #14

Re: Barbarians of Legend (BoL)

Look forward to seeing your report, Steve,

     Thread Starter

2/02/2024 11:38 pm  #15

Re: Barbarians of Legend (BoL)

The game went well - I hope to post a report on how it worked later today.

My real name is Steve Hall

2/03/2024 11:37 am  #16

Re: Barbarians of Legend (BoL)

I ran my adaptation of the Modiphius Conan Quick Start adventure 'To Race The Thunder'. Barbarians of Legend worked well in this action-packed scenario set in Hyboria – basically being chased by bands of roving Picts after the fall of Fort Tuscelan, trying to make the safety of the far side of Thunder River while protecting fleeing Aquilonian colonists.
The PCs were all mercenaries working as scouts and so all had military or para-military backgrounds. I adapted the PCs from the Quick Start, my wife Alison played all of them but only her chosen PC had any Hero Points. I held back one of the PCs to make up numbers if the party was losing too many people too early on (he wasn’t needed).
The opposition were mostly made up of roving bands of Rabble Picts, but in large numbers – 10 to 15 or more, sometimes accompanied by a Tough or two, or even one Villain Pict. Even when facing just Rabble it was a tough fight, and the PCs took a lot of damage. In the end the party lost one PC, Alison’s PC went down to zero Lifeblood but used a Hero Point to stabilize, and the other survivors were pretty knocked about.
The climax was a confrontation with a Pict Shaman and his pet carnivorous Gorilla, and earlier they had been attacked by a jaguar controlled by the shaman. As the draft version of BoL Legend doesn’t so far include critters, I took stats for the ape and the jaguar from the latest edition of Dicey Tales (a good resource for real world and monstrous BoL critters).
Obviously, this play test threw up some thoughts and some questions.
We thought the absence of Boons & Flaws would prove a bit of a no-no with us, but the extra die you roll when making a career roll sort of mitigated this. However, I can see some people complaining that without Boons & Flaws it make PCs too similar to each other. We missed Boons &Flaws.
The rules change from Mythic BoL whereby ‘Bloody Slash, Crushing Blow’ and ‘Rabble Slayer’ etc are only available on a Legendary Success caused me to worry that the large Pict Rabble groups would overwhelm the PCs too easily. Rolling three dice for a career roll mitigated against this as double 6 came up a few times, but the PCs were all from a military background. I suspect a group of ‘civilians’ in a different scenario would find BoL Legend far more deadly than regular BoL. What is the thinking behind this change?
 As there was lots of sneaking around in the forest and so those PCs without the Hunter career were at a disadvantage in spotting/hearing things. They just had to rely on a roll on Wit, which was a bit tougher than we would have liked. I suppose I could have made the rolls ‘quite easy’ (+1), as the PCs had been patrolling the forest for some months.
On a double 1 result there is no option to invoke Calamitous Failure. We did this anyway, as frankly Alison’s PC needed all the help she could get. Why was this option left out?
Magicians got no Arcane Points. This seemed odd. Is it assumed that magicians can keep casting for as long as they want until a barbarian chops their head off? Alison hated Hunter’s Mark, as she thought that the need to aim for two whole rounds was far too long. Surely one round is enough? Doubt if she’s going to use it again though, as she bounced off this one hard!
One of the PCs was a noble. The Special Ability for nobles of owning two properties or ships seemed like not an ability but a bonus. It was totally useless in the context of the scenario, and I suspect in many other potential scenarios.
What occurred to me was that a noble’s bonus for being a noble is influence. Most peasants and those of the middling sort would probably defer to them, while fellow nobles would recognise them as ‘one of us’ and would look on them kindly, even if they were fighting for an opposing army. So, this would help with assistance, accommodation, food, etc. On the other hand, nobles who were family enemies might hate them on sight (even if they have never met them before), while starving peasants and bandits might hate them on sight as well.
Next week I might try and find time to run a city based game featuring thieves, acrobats, fire eaters, dodgy doctors, con men and mercenaries down on their luck; to see how Barbarians of Legend handles a more mixed party. Perhaps set in Lankhmar? We’ll see.

My real name is Steve Hall

2/03/2024 1:44 pm  #17

Re: Barbarians of Legend (BoL)

Boons & Flaws take up many pages of the BoL rules. As I'm trying to get these rules into 6 pages, they had to go. I also worry about rules bloat with boons & flaws as people just keep adding more and more. I think less is more. The career bonus die is effectively a boon for each career.
Your issue with non-hunter characters would arise with regular BoL since you set it in a forest, so I' m not sure I see your point. Anyhow, I dislike every PC getting to make a roll, because with maybe five or six people in a party, someone's going to succeed. My view, is if the Hunter doesn't succeed in his own environment, then no-one else is likely to.
Not sure why I left out "Calamitous Failure". I'll think about it.
I wanted to drop as many l "points tallying" operations as possible. Therefore no Fate Points, Craft Points or Arcane Points.
Hunter's Mark: I'll look at changing that to one round. Some of the career "special abilities" will be untried and therefore might need tweaking. This looks like one.
The point with the career special abilities is that they mustn't require rolls (except spell casting, which is a special case). Many of the non-warrior abilities will not be used from one adventure to another.
I will have a think about Nobles though - although, what you're suggesting steps into the territory of Merchant's and Temptresses. Your suggestion, I would let Nobles do with a career roll anyway. I was trying to find things that weren't covered by normal career rolls. Maybe special abilities are not needed.
With warriors, I was trying to cater to players who felt that the fact that their career doesn't help in combat is an issue in regular BoL.

Thanks for your report!


     Thread Starter

2/05/2024 11:07 am  #18

Re: Barbarians of Legend (BoL)

I take your point about Boons & Flaws rules bloat and the need for brevity to keep the document to 6 pages. However, it could be a ‘baby and bath water’ situation – if it comes in at 7 or 8 pages it might be better/easier to understand than at 6 pages. It would still be a short ruleset. Contrarywise a 6 page document might well be doable, and it really calls for a ‘rulings not rules approach which I like.
You make a good point about disliking ‘everyone gets to make a roll’ although in my experience players get annoyed if they are denied the chance of rolling because “the expert didn’t make it” – perhaps I’ve just played with too many competitive players!
I think adding in Calamitous Failure would be a good addition, as would tweaking Hunter’s Mark.
On reflection I do see the appeal of dropping the ‘bean counting’ involved with Arcane Points, Faith Points, etc. – especially in a rules set this short. However, it has the potential of making wizards even more powerful and possibly not so sword & sorcery in aspect. Mind you, you might get some good wizard duels happening – remember the duel in the old Roger Corman flick ‘The Raven’?
I can see your point about showing the noble’s influence by calling for a career roll. I suppose I just see it as a more intrinsic part of the noble’s career – like nice clothes and good weapons, and being well fed from birth and so taller, etc. I’d just roll 1d6 for NPCs reaction to nobility with a 1 meaning they don’t like or defer to nobles. Like King Arthur’s encounter with the anarchist peasant in the Monty Python film. (Outside of the Lemurian setting I assume most people will use the rules in a faux medieval setting.)
I personally think the Special Abilities do add to the game and should not be dropped. They are very good where warriors are concerned.
Finally, some queries about weapons:
The Medium-heavy category with its ‘d6 or d6H’ value confuses me. Is this down to GM fiat? Or is it say d6 for a bastard sword used one-handed and d6H if used 2-handed?  I can see that working also for a long axe but I can’t see it working for a flail (I’m assuming you mean the long handled version here).
I miss the lighter crossbow under the Medium category as that suits an earlier period in history and a fantasy version thereof, rather than the later High Medieval arbalest. There is more chance of the lighter crossbow being a ‘civilian’ weapon.
And having recently visited the Legion exhibition at the British Museum and seen remains of the Roman gladius, I think adding ‘small sword’ to the same category as dagger is a bit off. Or does small sword refer to weapons like the 17th century small sword, rather than weapons like the gladius? I’ve always liked the way that in standard BoL all swords were clumped together, so players chose the sword that suited their character concept rather than looking to obtain the ‘best sword’. Interested on your thoughts behind this design decision.
I’m still aiming to run a city based game soon to try out the other careers.

My real name is Steve Hall

2/05/2024 8:17 pm  #19

Re: Barbarians of Legend (BoL)

I've been following this discussion quite closely and just want to make a few comments of my own.

Sailor and Thief have similar-sounding special abilities (Quick Reactions v Swift React). While the actual abilities are different, I do think it might be worth changing the name of one of them.

On the subject of special abilities, I am not a fan of abilities that can only be used once per adventure. I think the abilities should be allowed to be used several times based on a specific Attribute or Combat Ability (similar to the Calling special ability of the Priest).

The Executioner's special ability seems weak unless it is specifically designed to be used with Hero Points to upgrade it to Legendary Success, in which case it is pretty good.

Hunter's Mark ability confuses me - it states "no penalty die if aiming..." but I'm not sure from where the original penalty die is coming. Also, why is a Hunter not considered a Warrior for combat purposes?

Warrior abilities for combat are not the only abilities in use in combat - Dancer/Acrobat, Executioner/Torturer, Hunter/Tracker, Thief/Rogue are all combat-related abilities, and even Minstrel/Harper and Sailor/Mariner are really useful for combat.

Rabble Slayer (Legendary Success) should more specifically state that the damage result is the number of Rabble put out of action, not opponents. I know it's obvious based on the title, but you know how gamers love to be rules lawyers.

Crafting - I presume there is an intention to flesh this out more, otherwise why list it at all?

Last edited by The GIT! (2/05/2024 8:28 pm)

Wealth can be wonderful, but you know, success can test one's mettle as surely as the strongest adversary.

2/06/2024 2:48 am  #20

Re: Barbarians of Legend (BoL)

I've changed the thief special ability to Alert.

I've changed the ones it applies to to "once per session". Most of the ones that applies to would get really annoying if overused - that's the only reason I limited them. I guess you could do it again using a HP.

Hunter's Mark: It has changed since the draft you have. I'll send you the latest.

Hunters are not warriors. They have a completely different skillset.

Dancer/Acrobat et al. Cool, but they aren't warriors. I'm not sure of your point?

Crafting: Yes, it is fleshed out in the update.


     Thread Starter

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