Basic Rules

Ability Tests

The basic mechanic of Warband is the Ability Test. An Ability Test is a roll on a 1d10 against one of the character's Ability scores. What this means is that you have to roll equal or under the character's Ability to pass the test, so if a character has a 5 in Melee, they need to roll 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 to pass. If a character's Ability score is 0, then they automatically fail any tests in that score.

Sometimes, an Ability test is modified. For example, the Charge action adds a +1 Modifier to Melee tests. In this case, you modify the threshold needed to succeed, not the die result itself. Thus, a character with a 5 in Melee who charges is counted has having a Melee of 6, so you'd need to roll a 6 or under to pass.

Sometimes it is important to find the 'degrees of success' of a test, with more degrees of success usually resulting in a better result. The Degrees of Success (DoS) is just the difference between your Ability score and the result you rolled, so if you have a Melee of 5 and you rolled a 2, that's 3 DoS (5-2=3). You do the same to count your Degrees of Failure should you fail a test- the difference between your roll and your Ability score.

Regardless of modifiers or anything else, a roll of 1 on an Ability test always passes, and a roll of a 10 on an Ability test always fails.
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Opposed Ability Tests

Occasionally, two characters will have reason to roll 'Opposed' tests, which are special sorts of Ability Tests where the importance is on beating your opponent's score rather than passing. Both characters roll on their given Ability Test, and whoever gains the most DoS wins. If both sides fail, then whoever had the least Degrees of Failure wins the test.
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Characters

This section deals with characters, specifically how they function mechanically. It covers their Ability Scores, their Combat Scores, their Traits, their Talents, their Spells and their Resources.
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The Ability Scores

Every character has a collection of Ability scores, which number from 0 to 10. The scores represent how good that character is at various tasks. The higher the score, the better that character is at something. These are typically used for Ability tests, but some govern other aspects of your character as well.

The scores are Melee (M), Ranged (R), Strength (S), Toughness (T), Agility (A), Insight (I), Willpower (W), Fellowship (F) and Spellcasting (SC).

  • Melee represents the character's skill at hand-to-hand combat. It is used for Melee to-Hit tests, but can be also used for Defense tests in melee.
  • Ranged represents the character's skill with ranged weaponry. It is used for Ranged to-Hit tests.
  • Strength represents the character's physical power. It is used for melee Damage tests.
  • Toughness represents the character's ability to endure damage. It is used for Defense tests.
  • Agility represents the character's speed. It determines how far they can move each turn and the order of initiative.
  • Insight represents the character's mental faculties and their perceptiveness. It is not always used in combat, but its most common uses are to avoid illusions and detect stealthy enemies.
  • Willpower represents the character's resistance to terror and magic. It is typically used for Morale tests.
  • Fellowship represents the character's social abilities. It is typically not used in combat by most characters, but is used to persuade people and gather information.
  • Spellcasting represents a character's ability to cast spells. It is typically used for Spellcasting tests. At the start of each encounter, a character gains a number of Spell Dice equal to their Spellcasting score.

Ability scores are the most important part of a character. They rarely remain static, as they are influenced by experience, injuries and equipment.
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The Combat Scores

Combat Scores are special scores that are primarily used for combat. They track essential combat mechanics.

The scores are Attacks (Ak), Wounds (Wo), Armour (Ar) and Ward (Wa).

  • Attacks represent how many attacks a character can make in a single turn. Most characters have an Ak of 1, meaning they can make one attack a turn. Characters with attacks of 2 or more can attack multiple times. It is possible for a character to split their attacks across multiple weapons, so long as they have those weapons equipped.
  • Wounds represents how many wounds a character can take before becoming too injured to fight. Most characters possess 1 wound, but some particularly tough ones possess 2, 3 or more. Once's a character's wounds drop to 0, they are unable to fight any further. They must make Death saves; should they pass, they roll on the Injury Table after the fight is concluded. Characters have a Current Wound count and a Max Wound count. They regain all lost Wounds at the start of the next Chapter, unless there is a reason they have not.
  • Armour represents the degree of protection afforded to the character because of their equipment. When characters make Defense tests, they add their Armour score to their success threshold; thus a character with a Toughness of 4 and an Armour of 1 rolls against a 5. Weapons and attacks ignore some armour, based on their 'Penetration' value; a weapon with Penetration 1 treats a target's Armour score as being 1 less; so if a character only has an Armour score of 1, they treat it as though it were 0 against that attack.
  • Ward represents a degree of protection that is especially powerful, sometimes from mystical or unnatural sources. Ward is used as part of Ward Rolls, which are used to shrug off damage.

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Traits

Traits are special abilities inherent to a character that change how they behave or modify their abilities in some way. Traits are often intrinsic to a character and tend to stay fixed to them. For example, all horses possess the Fast trait, which lets it move at a rate equal to double its agility. They are often quite powerful, but some can be detrimental.

It is possible to gain or lose traits throughout an adventure, but this is rare and often a reward (or consequence) for an exceptional event.
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Talents

Talents are special abilities that are purchased with the 'experience' Resource. Purchasing a talent improves a character in some way. Careful and proper purchasing in talents will do wonders in making a character truly shine in their chosen field.

Talents are divided into six categories: Offense, Defense, Agility, Insight, Fellowship and Spellcasting.

  • Offense talents are designed to improve a character's offensive combat abilities. It covers both melee and ranged combat, and can do things such as provide them with rerolls to failed tests or improve their Attack score.
  • Defense talents improve a character's durability and ability to resist harm, both physical and mental.
  • Agility talents improve a character's movement. It also improves their ability to steal items and sneak.
  • Insight talents improve a character's ability to think, plan and sense things in the environment.
  • Fellowship talents improve a character's ability to persuade others. It also offers some leadership abilities in combat.
  • Spellcasting talents improve a character's ability to cast and memorise spells.

Talents are furthermore divided into three tiers, in order of how powerful they are. Thus tier 1 Talents are easy and cheap whilst tier 2 Talents are rarer to obtain.

If a character has Experience to spare, they can buy talents. A talent costs a number of Experience equal to its Tier (so a Tier 2 talent costs 2 Experience). Some talents also have prerequisites you must meet beforehand.

Some talents are marked as Band Talents. Band Talents are special talents that apply bonuses to the Warband as a whole, including all of its members. The bonuses can be combat-based or non-combat based, but the rule is that Band Talents do not stack. Thus, if two characters possess the same Band Talent, the Warband only gains the benefit once.
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Spells

Some characters have the ability to cast spells- a powerful, but dangerous ability at that.

Spells are divided into tiers, just like Talents, and are purchased with Experience in the same way. However, instead of being divided into categories, spells are divided into schools. And characters may not freely buy spells from any school they want: they must first be taught the basics of that school, and can only purchase spells from a school they know.

In this sense, spells are a little like a cross between traits and talents. Knowledge of a School of Magic is a trait in that it can't be unlocked without special actions in gameplay. However, once gained, the spells are purchased like talents.

Possessing spells doesn't mean you can cast them freely, however. A character can only cast spells that they have memorised. They can memorise a number of spells up to their Spellcasting score. They can change their list of memorised spells between encounters.
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Resources

Many characters possess a pool of resources, each with its own uses.

The four types of resources are Equipment, Crowns, Experience and Fate Points.

  • Equipment is the broadest type of resource. Essentially, it is gear- weapons, armour, tools, and so on- that characters use to enhance their natural abilities or make certain tasks easier. Equipment is usually obtained by post-encounter looting, as a reward, through theft or by purchasing it with Wealth.
  • Crowns, or gold crowns (gc) is the currency of the Empire. In Warband, it's used as a shorthand for any sort of currency, including for those who do not deal in actual literal currency but rather in favours and souls. Although the name for it may change based on culture, the premise remains: wealth is a resource you can spend on equipment, on services, or on paying members of the Warband. It is gained from post-encounter looting, from rewards, from selling gear, ransoms, theft… Many, many ways.
  • Experience is an intangible resource, awarded to a Warband's Heroes to represent their growing skills. Heroes can spend Experience to gain Talents.
  • Fate Points are a renewable resource that can be spent to give a character an edge. A character has a small pool of Fate Points. They can spend a Fate Point to reroll a test, add a single +1 to a test, or restore a single lost wound. Spent Fate Points are replenished at the start of the next Chapter. A character's Fate Point pool can be permanently increased, but only through exceptional deeds and moments of great roleplay.

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