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Barons of Braunstein is complete with the latest update, adding two new appendices for lethal combat and divination! But there's even more in the upcoming hardcover edition, but more on that one later...

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Any idea on some very simple mass combat rules for BoB?

Inspired by the shield walls rules on p. 18 I came up with this, not sure if and how it works.

The goal is to have the same mechanic as normal melee and fit also with the shield walls rules. 1 man equals 1 LUCK, hits damage are standard, with +1 if 12 and +1 if double handed. Longer weapons can have longer reach. Armor works as per the original rules, with the % of LUCK points recovered being unarmored men left of the unit. If men are less than 3, standard melee occurs.

Rolls required to hit:

3-6 men vs 3-6 men: 9+
3-6 men vs 7-9 men: 10+
3-6 men vs 10-12 men: 11+
7-9 men vs 3-6 men: 8+
7-9 men vs 7-9 men: 9+
7-9 men vs 10-12 men: 10+
10-12 men vs 3-6 men: 7+
10-12 men vs 7-9 men: 8+
10-12 men vs 10-12 men: 9+

Horsed unit can have the advantage of increased movement and +1 to hit. Every hit received could have 1-3 chances to unhorse them (horse is injured/killed).

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I think this belongs here ;)

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A couple of months ago I collected some house rules I had in mind for Barons of Braunstein. The gist of them was finding a way of introducing common archetypes and features into the game without altering in any way the mechanics, suggesting rulings to the judges and backgrounds to the players; a careful read of the rules looking for spaces to fill in.

This will be the cover, I hope in a few days to have the PDF ready.


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Yesterday, in a rainy afternoon, I organized a last minute Barons of Braunstein game for 8 players.
Despite the change in tone (exploration of a haunted underground church) it went great. Only few minor house rules were used: it was 90% vanilla BoB (except for the setting).

The party had 5 players experienced in RPG (Lab. Lord, Pathfinder) and 3 newbies.
I had each player think freely of its own character and putting down the 25-word description. For some it was difficult to come up with that: they used some Munchkin cards as an inspiration. I let 3 of them play demi human races - an orc, a dwarf, an elf - but it actually did not come up in roleplay or game mechanics at all. We had an escaped slave, a farmer with a pitchfork, a couple of brigands…
One of them wanted to be some kind of cleric - for her I had some house rules for thaumaturgy and the ability of CALMING (not “turning!”) the spirits of the dead. Another one wanted a small animal companion - she was some kind of lonely forest ranger - and there it was a squirrel (5 LUCK). I had them roll dice over 3 basic equipment packs; I had them roll for an additional bonus in LUCK (max +3); they could choose 1 weapon, and armor OR shield. Some of them used non conventional weapons.

The tone was more of low fantasy/horror than historical. After a landslide apparently destroyed an old building everybody was afraid of because of various rumors, a secret opening was exposed on the side of a mountain. And so the party went exploring, finding themselves in an intricate underground heretic monastery. They met skeleton soldiers; they fought aggressive hooded initiates; they were followed by ghosts turning into zombies of long gone soldiers; they awaken and pissed off mummies of knights by looting their tombs. One of them stole an amulet that made the whole room pitch dark; another one read the damp pages ripped of a grimoire activating a weird protection spell. They actually role played the ignorance of their characters: so the farmer convinced of purging the devil with fire actually tried to set fire to a mummy. The other dead knights did not enjoy it.

Really minor equipment. I had the whole map on a sheet and brief description, plus my notebook and an a5 booklet print of Barons of Braunstein rules; the player had some quick rules handout for the basic stuff (combat, usage of weapons, or spirits, or shields, movement etc.) I had translated in italian. A bunch of d6 dice from Tiger and my mp3 player connected to speakers and subwoofer for ambient background sound. Lots of improv stuff on my side.

It run for more than 6 hours with a dinner break. And we stopped just because everybody had to work today (and my throat was getting sore). Response by everyone: it was great. In like 15 minutes anybody had picked up the mechanics of rolling 7+/9+ and adding LUCK points; even the players in more complex rulesets appreciated the tone and the easiness. We used strict turns for movement, almost like a boardgame: the party split in multiple direction and they were mapping the position of everybody and multiple events were happening all together. Combat turns blended in as standard turns: I did not use initiative at all. In combat they performed some quite cool moves - one of them used a pole to jump over the enemy and attack them in flight, and rolling a 12 helped her succeed. A couple of players launched a broken door from a staircase to slam skeletons.

I’m not sure when we’re gonna finish - we’re 50% of the map, and there’s a second level totally unexplored - but they asked me to “freeze things and pick up from here next time”.
For my next experiments I’d like to introduce more NPCs and classic Weseley’s Braunstein cards for individual goals.

tl;dr: I ran a dungeon exploring session using Barons of Braunstein + minor house rules for 8 players and we had a blast.

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As I said in my post when I first discovered BoP/Braunstein, I love taking things from other sources and making them work in RPGs. After reading through the books, I figured that Barons of Braunstein would work best for "real-world" games with Luck being the primary resource. (Life could work I suppose, but Luck seems like a better fit)

Anyway, I've recently started watching Person of Interest on Netflix, and I'm amazed. It's pretty much Batman, but spilt into two people. Fantastic stuff! I'm only a handful of episodes into season 1, but I already had the itch to write up the two main characters as PCs. Enjoy!

▪John Reese
Former Army soldier and CIA operative. Expert in close combat, firearms, infiltration, and surveillance. Homeless after returning to America, he was "hired" by Harold Finch.

▪Harold Finch
Enigmatic billionaire and technological genius. The inventor of The Machine and the one who decodes its intent. An injury has left him with limited mobility.

P.S. I do this A LOT (writing up characters), so if it's irrelevant or discouraged on this page, I can always post them publicly.

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Planning a one shot exploration of an underground cathedral for newbie players with simple rules handouts.

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David Wesely running one of his original Braunstein games at GaryCon, and look at the Barons of Braunstein rulebook he took with him. Wish we could have been there...

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Ever heard of a pious knight only existing within the boundaries of his full body armor? Please welcome Agilulfo: the man so righteous, so perfect, so faithful that he simply does not exist. No identity; no body. Only a paladin made of the protcols of the knighthood. He's the main character of an italian allegorical novel, "The Nonexistent Knight", by Italo Calvino. It may be a good, weird NPC in one of your campaigns.

As anybody may have already realized I like to find ways to extending BoB beyond its initial purpose. At the moment I'm preparing a set of house rules for creating characters "original 1974 gaming" style without altering the mechanics and middle ages settings of BoB. This is one bit I wrote this morning regarding BoB in hack and slack one shots.


Such a lite ruleset like BoB serves players very well even when in need of a fast paced, on the fly one shot chronicle, like storming a castle, delving into scary underground ruins and other classic adventures of horrors and treasures. It’ a different kind of role-playing, but it’s role-playing nonetheless. For such purpose it could be good to alter slightly the EXP system. The JUDGE could grant each player half the LUCK of the foe defeated in EXP points, rounding down; +1 if the player has scored the death blows to the foe, +2 if a 12 is rolled during attack. Of course the characters would advance much faster than normal, allowing them to have more LUCK and EXP to spend and the JUDGE to make their lives hard. This could led BoB to be a suitable ruleset for tournament play.

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