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[BARBAREN!] Updated test version (long)

Started by Frank T, July 14, 2005, 12:19:57 PM

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Frank T


this is an update on my write-up for my current project, BARBAREN!. You can find a more detailed version in German language here, but it is an older version that does not incorporate the recent changes to the rules. As the manuscript for the actual rulebook is half-finished, I haven't bothered to update the test version, but since I'm still desperate for more playtests and some people have shown interest, it seems a sensible investment to do this update on the English version.

So the purpose of this thread is mainly to provide information about the game for people willing to playtest it. Feel free to comment, though. Also, please don't hesitate to ask questions. I know this is all pretty brief, but then again, I'm dealing with professionals here. ;-)

1. Concept[/b][/u]

BARBAREN! is about fucking and butchering. It is a none-too-serious game about mighty Barbarians that live in a vast wilderness, hunt bears and tigers, slay inferior foreign soldiers or challenging barbarian foes, and have wild hot sex with ever different desirable women. It is a macho's dream about harsh nature, gleaming steel, fire, blood and naked skin. It's about lust, anger, ambition and any number of other raw, impulsive emotions. It is also about whom you fuck or butcher, and why. The game is purposefully sexist and glorifies mindless violence, but hopefully does so with an unmistakable wink of an eye. I have raised the comparison with Manowar's "True Metal". Grim and powerful, but so over the top that it's funny again.

[Disclaimer: Take my word that I have no sympathy for applying the macho picture of a woman featured in BARBAREN! to reality. In reality I am one of those wimps that sit down to piss, can cook better than their girlfriend, and will let a woman drive their car. I honestly hope that a lot of women will play this game and enjoy it as much as the male players. As Caynreth pointed out, women will probably make the better machos anyhow.]

2. Setting[/b][/u]

I am taking an approach similar to DitV, describing the way that the Barbarians live, but giving only very little information on actual places and persons. Some have pleeded I should make the Barbarians resemble the acient Germanics, but right now they are more of a mixture of Germanics, Native Americans, Cimmerians and Fantasy Metal Cover Art.

2.1 The Barbarians
They are big, strong and masculine. Their women are long-legged and beautiful. Their language is primitive and guttural, they have names like Kuthroc, Gorack or Berren. The name of their people is Barbarians. Whenever anyone uses that term anywhere on anyone else, it is only in reference to the real Barbarians. Oh, and most importantly: every Barbarian has a nine inch cock. No shit.

2.2 The Wilde Lands
The Barbarians live in a fierce environment. Towering mointains, jagged rocks, active vulcanos, deep valleys, thick woods, thundering rivers and every kind of predatory animal. There are dragons, too, but those are not intelligent AD&D-style semi-gods, but just animals, though of terrific strength and beauty. Summers are hot and dry, winters ice cold and snowy, spring and fall stormy. A world of extremes, always.

In the German Write-Up I enlarge some on the Barbarian's way of life as semi-nomads, but most of that you can guess. They have swords, bows and axes, are clad in horn, leather and fur, eat mostly meat, drink mostly mead, etc.

2.3 Myths and Customs
I have based the mythology of the Barbarians on animal spirits. The women pray to the Great Tigress. There are five tribes, derived from the Great Raven, the Great Bear, the Great Eagle, the Great Wolf, and the Great Tiger. However, the Great Tiger's son fell from grace as he took his mate by force, angering the Great Tigress who caused his genitals to shrink and eventually fall off. To date, no Barbarian will ever take a woman by force. (I included this because I really do not want to see rape in this game.)

Laws of the macho society are pretty much clichéd, men can have as many wives as they like, the strongest warrior is chieftain, a duel is a legitimate means to settle arguments, etc. I have also included some customs, like a fertility festival à la Belthane held each month, and the Great Dragon Hunt that takes place every four years, when the best warriors of all tribes meet at the legendary Dragon Valley to measure their skill.

2.4 Barbarian Society
Barbarian society is based on families and clans. The clans belong to the four tribes: The Ravven, decendents of the Great Raven, who dwell mostly in the high mountains. The Berrva, decendents of the Great Bear, who inhabit the valleys and woods. The Ardir, decendents of the Great Eagle, who live by rivers and lakes. The Whulfir, decendents of the Great Wolf, who roam the Great Plateau on horseback and venture far into foreign lands. Each bear some physical and mental resemblance to their ancestor, yet the tribes have mixed a lot because women have been robbed and seduced at all times.

The fifth tribe, the Thigra, decendents of the Great Tiger, have become a tribe of fearful amazons that hide in the most repellent areas and slay every man except when they need to mate.

2.5 Foreigners
In German I have also briefly desribed the nations and lands surrounding the Wilde Lands. Those are there to provide male victims and female challenges. They are pretty bluntly inspired by real earthly cultures. The Corians resemble the Celts. The Shuarans resemble the Romans. The Nyclamics resemble Palestine as occupied by Rome. The Tarsians are a mixture of the Touareg and ancient Persians. Lastly, the Iveri resemble the Finnish.

3. Character Creation[/b][/u]

Player characters are obviously male and fierce Barbarian warriors. There is no exception.

3.1 Clan and Group Concept
I want players to sit together when they make characters. I want them to start by making up their clan and specify its tribe, domain, name and possibly feuds and alliances. Moreover, players are supposed to develope a group concept which includes their character's place in the clan, some thoughts about their childhood, and their relationship to one another. The player characters are supposed to start off as brothers either by blood or by oath. This is not to say that the bond between them should not be tested during play.

3.2 Attributes
There are five attributes whith ratings ranging from 1 to 5, 2 being an average Barbarian. The player distributes 16 points at character creation. The attributes are: Strength, Agility, Stamina, Wits, and Virility.

3.3 Fighting
There are some special stats for fighting, since fighting is crucial. These stats are derived from the attributes in the beginning, to be improved during play. Combat starts at 2*Strength + 2*Agility + Stamina + 5 base value. Momentum starts at Strength - 1 base value. Elegance starts at Agility - 1 base value. Aggression has no base value, but starts at the Virility rating. It can be used to improve the other fighting stats or as a resource in combat. It is gained through having sex.

3.4 Wooing
Corresponding with the fighting, there are also special stats for the other crucial thing: wooing. Attractiveness starts at 3*Virility + Wits + Strength + 5 base value. Charme starts at Wits - 1 base value. Touch starts at Agility - 1 base value. Horny has no base value and starts also at the Virility rating. As with Aggression, it can be used to improve the wooing stats or as a resource in wooing. It ist gained through fighting and other rough things.

3.5 Specialties
Every Barbarian is trained at hunting and fighting, and knows how to lay a woman. Additionally, the player can pick three specialties from other areas that distinguish the character, like climbing, swimming or any other typical "skill" that does not help him in fighting or wooing. Specialties can be single, called Competence, or double, called Expertise and pointed out through an exclamation mark behind the description.

3.6 Personality Traits and Goals
Also, every Barbarian is a primitive macho. However, to distinguish him, the player should pick two personality traits to describe what kind of Barbarian he is. These can be as positive or negative as the player sees fit. A single personality trait is called Formative, a double personality trait is called Characteristic (again, add an exclamation mark). Moreover, the player picks a goal or two for his character to strive for. These traits do not have any effect regarding the mechanics.

3.7 Relatoinships
Each player picks three relationships, which must be one of the following: Enemy, Rival, Leader,  Follower, Friend, Mentor, Ward, Desired, Wife. These start out at a rating of 1. The player gets the say about who these people are and what's up with them.

3.8 Equipment
The equipment rule is: if the player can sensibly argue why his character has the desired object with him, then he has it with him. The only exception is the personal weapon. A Barbarian can have any number of bows, arrows, spears, shields, and hatchets. But he can have only one sword or battleaxe, which should have a history, too. Armor is never used by Barbarians. Real men fight bare to the belt.

4. Play Mechanics[/b][/u]

4.1 Checks
These are your normal task resolution regarding everything that is not fighting or wooing. Checks can be single or comparitive if an adversary is involved. A fitting attribute is picked and a number of d6 equal to the rating is rolled. Every 4, 5 or 6 counts as success. Note that fierce Barbarians automatically succeed at mundane tasks like making fire or climbing the face of a cliff. They would need to roll only for a really challenging task, like making fire in the rain or climbing a steep, slippery cliff. And a single success would still be sufficient. Two successes are required for very difficult tasks, four successes for the almost impossible.

Competence at a certain task gains one additional automatical success. Expertise gains two. Narration is always granted to the successful party, in case of a tie it's shared. If the player fails a single check, the GM narrates the outcome.

4.2 Fighting

4.2.1 Initiative
Initiative is a vital component in combat for it determines who is acting and who is reacting. You cannot attack if you do not have Initiative. Who has Initiative at the beginning of a fight is derived from the situation preceding the fight. Normally it will be pretty obvious who attacks first. Only if the situation is unclear are stats used to determine Initiative. Make a comparative check on Virility if it's about guts who goes first, and on Agility if it's about reflexes.

If you don't want to use your Initiative to attack, you can withdraw from the fight or just pause. Gaining Initiative if you don't have it can be done by defending especially well, by taking a blow (unless it's too heavy) or by spending Elegance on a counter-attack. These options are detailed further below.

4.2.2 Attacking and Defending
Attacker and defender roll a number of d6 against each other, again 4, 5 and 6 counting as success. Each fighter gains 1d6 for free. He can spend Combat points to gain more dice. The maximum a player can spend is 4 points as attacker and 5 points as defender respectively. The maximum number adversaries can spend varies.

If both fighters score equal successes, the attack is blocked. If the attacker scores more successes, he hits and there is bloodshed. If the defender scores more successes, he has gained Initiative. You can also choose not to defend, which is called "taking a blow". In that case, the attacker still needs one success to hit. Write down the number of points you spend on a piece of paper, so your oponent doesn't know yours when he picks his and vice versa.

4.2.3 Bloodshed
If someone is hit, there is bloodshed. The number of successes the attacker scored above the defender is added with the weapon damage (a number between +1 and +3, see below). The victim gets to roll Stamina against that and substract any sucesses. The final result indicates the level of bloodshed.

--> No success means it's just a scratch.
--> 1-3 successes mean a flesh wound. Substract -3 from Combat.
--> 4-5 successes mean a deep wound. Substract -5 from Combat and -1 each from Momentum and Elegance. If the victim was "taking the blow" to gain Initiative, he fails. The attacker may go on.
--> 6 successes mean a critical wound. The victim looses all Combat, Momentum and Elegance. He can do no more than crawl and will bleed to death if nobody helps him.
--> 7 successes mean a fatal blow. The victim is just straight out killed.

In combat, narration is normally granted to the successful party just as with other checks. However, a player always gets to describe the wounds his character takes.

There may be other sources of bloodshed, but remember, just falling three meters and hitting a rock will not shake a mighty Barbarian! If a certain action or the failure of a check can result in serious injury, the GM must tell the player beforehand which kind of injury might be expected. If the player decides to go on and takes the injury, he may still roll Stamina--three successes will get the bloodshed one level down.

4.2.4 The End of a Fight
The fight ends for anyone who is dead, critically wounded or down to zero Combat. The winner interprets what zero Combat means. It could be total exhaustion, being backed against the wall with a blade at your throat, or any other situation that leaves you at your opponent's mercy. To be clear: the winner can, and probably will, kill the vanquished.

4.2.5 Recovering
Combat score is regained quickly, but only if you are not under the pressure of a fighting situation. Pausing during a fight will lose you Initiative but gains you Combat equal to your Stamina rating. If you rest some time after a fight, your Combat is fully refreshed. However, the subtraction from wounds remains until the wounds are healed. Wounds heal as follows:

--> Flesh wounds: 1 day.
--> Deep wounds: 1-2 weeks. A visible scar remains.
--> Critical wounds: At least a month. A critical wound always means that one attribute (player's choice) is reduced by 1.

4.2.6 Momentum
Momentum can be spent for special moves in combat. It is regained after a night of rest or, better still, drinking and fucking. You can spend 1 point of Momentum to create any of the following effects:

--> Hammerblow: Add +1 to damage if you hit.
--> Knock-Out: Hit your opponent with your fist or the blunt side of your weapon. No weapon Damage score is added. Opponent rolls Stamina as normal. If successes remain, you have just k.o.-ed him.
--> Sweeping Blow: Use your two-handed weapon against multiple opponents. You must have Initiative against the first one, whom you attack normally. If you hit, substract 1 from your dice pool and attack the next. You can proceed this way until you are blocked or run out of dice, even if this meens stepping by your first targets and attacking the "second line".
--> Split Shield: Your opponent must score at least one success more than you, or his shield is rendered useless. He cannot use that same spare success to gain Initiative.

The use of Momentum must be declared before you roll, but can be declared after the number of dice to roll has been picked.

4.2.7 Elegance
Elegance is much the same as Momentum, used to the following effects:

--> Lightning-Reflex: One additional automatic success on your defense.
--> Feint: Subtract 1d6 from your opponent's defense.
--> Counter Attack: If you roll equal successes to block your opponent's blow, use the counter attack to gain Initiative.
--> Flashing Blade: As Sweeping Blow, but done with a one-handed weapon. Can also be used to defend.
--> Throw Weapon: Use your close combat weapon for ranged combat. Requires an additional point of Momentum if it is a two-handed weapon.

4.2.8 Weapons
These are the weapons available to Barbarians:

--> shield (no damage, +1d6 defense)
--> knife or club (+1 damage)
--> bow (+2 damage, ranged weapon)
--> hatchet (+2 damage, +1 Momentum)
--> sword (+2 damage, + 1 Elegance)
--> spear (+2 damage, suited for close and ranged combat)
--> two-handed sword (+3 damage, +1 Momentum, + 1 Elegance)
--> battleaxe (+3 damage, +2 Momentum)
--> dragon spear (+5 damage, +2 Momentum each, must be used by two fighters, each of whom must spend the full Combat, Momentum and Elegance for every attack)

4.2.9 Ranged Combat
Ranged Combat is exactly the same as close combat. Of course, if only one opponent has a missile weapon, he automatically has Initiative. Normally, only one shot can be fired before the opponent gets a chance to hit cover or close up for hand-to-hand combat. If the circumstances make it likely, the GM can determine that more than one shot can be taken.

4.2.10 Multiple Opponents
If a character fights multiple opponents, he has to split his dice between them. Of course, he can also choose not to defend against all. He may have Initiative only against one opponent at a time, so the others can always attack him. Up to three opponents can band against one that way. If one opponent falls, another may step in. As long as the warrior who is ganged up on uses at least 1d6 for Defense, he can spend 5 points of Combat each exchange.

I do not encourage multiple fighters on both sides. In such a case, the fight should be split up into seperate procedures.

As you can see, ganging up is pretty tough. You will most probably need Momentum or [/i]Elegance[/i] to save the day. Also, things can get a little confusing with multiple opponents. Just remember: Initiative determines who attacks. You can only have Initiative against one opponent at a time, so everyone else has Initiative against you. The only exceptions are the Sweeping Blow and the Flashing Blade.

4.3 Aggression
You can use Aggression in combat to gain an additional 1d6. This can be declared after all other dice have been rolled. Only one point of Aggression per roll can be spent.

You can also use Aggression to increase your other fighting stat base values. Momentum and Elegance cost their current rating times 2. Combat is at 3 per point until you reach 40, at 4 per point until you reach 60, at 5 per point until 80, and so on. Not that I expect PCs to go way beyond 40 in a normal game.

Aggression is gained through wooing. Each time a character woos a woman, he gains 5 points. He may gain bonus points of +1 each if:
--> He secretly watches a woman undress or have sex.
--> The woman he woos belongs to another warrior.
--> He woos several women to join in an orgy.
--> He woos a Real Hot Bitch. (This is the best I can do, though not nearly an accurate translation of the German "echt geile Sau", which also incorporates Nasty Horny Sexy Babe and more.)
--> He woos a goddess (that's worth +2).
--> He succeeds.

4.4 Wooing
Wooing uses much the same mechanic as fighting. There is one major difference, though: Attractiveness is not an absolute value like Combat. It can only be viewed in relation to an individual woman. So you have to keep track of the Attractiveness in relation to every single woman your character woos.

Also, Attractiveness is not regained as quickly as Combat. Women are vengeful, so the scores are kept for quite some time (group's decision) until they are both refreshed. A woman fights the warrior's Attractiveness by using her Reluctance.

4.4.1 Initiative
Initiative mechanically works the same way as in fighting. In the game world, it indicates whether the warrior is just making advances on the woman or if he is just being rebuked. When the wooing begins, Initiative is always on the warriors side.

4.4.2 Advances and Rebukes
A man who has Initiative can make advances, a woman with Initiative makes rebukes. These are handled just the same way as attack and defense, using Attractiveness and Reluctance respectively. As in combat, if the "defender" scores more successes, Initiative changes, if successes are equal, nothing happens. More successes by the "attacker" meen there is Advacement (if it was the man) or Distance (if it was the woman). Results are described by the winner, in case of a tie by both.

4.4.3 Advancement and Distance
Take the successes that are left from the "attack" after substracting the "defense" and add the "damage". Damage for the man is: +1 if they were just talking, +2 if he was touching her, +3 if he was pressing her body against his naked skin (without using more than tender force, of course). Damage for the woman is: +1 if she was physically pushing the man away, +2 if she was talking, +3 if she was trying to utterly humiliate the warrior. After adding damage, roll the target's Wits and substract any successes. The final number indicates the level of Advancement/Distance.

--> up to 0 successes: Tension is mounting. Start a new advance or rebuke in just a second.
--> 1-3 successes: (A) The ice is melting. Substract -3 Reluctance. (D) It's getting chilly. Substract -3 Attractiveness.
--> 4-5 successes: (A) The fire is blazing. Substract -5 Reluctance and -1 each on Cool and Venom. (D) Ice wall. Substract -5 Attractiveness and -1 each on Charme and Touch.
--> 6 or more successes: (A) Irresistible! She is yours and will do as you please. (D) Messed it! Better get her out of your head for you won't have her.

4.4.4 The End of Wooing
It's finished if either Reluctance hits zero--then the warrior gets her--or Attractiveness hits zero, meaning she definitely resists. In the former case she will be available for some time, until there is some sort of cesura, after which the game begins anew. In the latter case, she will not be available. The warrior must wait for a long time until the stats are refreshed and he can try again. In any case, the outcome of the wooing will affect the Reluctance score in later wooings (see further below).

4.4.5 Charme
Charme is spent and regained as Momentum and Elegance. Effects may be:

--> Spray Charme: Essential for orgies, you can make an advance that is treated like a sweeping blow.
--> Retrieve Situation: -1 "damage" from a rebuke.
--> Enchanting Compliment: If your advance is successful (she believes in your honesty), add +1 "damage".
--> Make Laugh: Your joke knocks her off ballance--substract 1d6 from her pool for next rebuke or "defense".

4.4.6 Touch
--> Electrify: Render her your elecrifying touch to substract -1 from her "defense" and her Wits for resisting "damage".
--> Relax: Make a woman who is already available to you more comfortable, dealing the same effect as "Electrify" but in favor of another warrior.
--> Take Advantage of Situation: Turn "The fire is blazing" immediately into "Irresistable!" if you can roll success with a single d6.
--> Make Hesitate: A sudden embrace or a brief touch can make a woman hesitate. Use this to gain Initiative on a "tesion is mounting" result.

4.4.7 Cool
Instead of Charme and Touch, women have Cool and Venom. The former can be used to the following effects:

--> Ignore: An additional 1d6 each on "defense" and Wits for resisting "damage". (Man, it's tough to do this without a dictionary, so forgive me if my choice of words is not always colorful.)
--> Self-Control: Substract -1 from "damage".
--> Make Hesitate: Her coolness just makes you hesitate. She gains Initiative on a "tension is mounting" result.

4.4.8 Venom
--> Snappish Comment: Substract 1d6 from your pool on the next advance or "defense".
--> Gang up: As you will see below, women normally don't gang up to rebuke a warrior at the same time. A woman can, however, join into another's rebuke if she is especially venomous. In that case, the warrior must split his dice pool to block both "attacks".
--> Be Mean: The woman says something really mean. If the rebuke is successful (the warrior takes it to heart), add +1 to damage.

4.4.9 Orgies
When wooing several women to join into an orgy, you must devide your Attractiveness to get them all at the same time. Every warrior involved must conquer every woman involved before the orgy can start. Unlike in a fight, where several foes may strike at the same time, women normally sit back and watch as another woman rebukes you, so you don't have to worry about splitting your dice pool unless they use Venom. It's hard enough without, though, believe me.

If you have Initiative against one woman, you can use that also to make advances on another woman, thus switching your "target" for the next exchange. Once you lose i]Initiative[/i], however, you cannot advance on anyone until you regain it.

4.5 Horny
Your Horny score corresponds to your Aggression. You can spend it to gain additional dice in wooing or use it to increase wooing stats much the same way as with Aggression (see above).

Horny is gained through fighting. Each time the character involves in a fight, he gains a basic 5 points. He may gain a bonus of + 1 each if:
--> He faces great peril in the wilderness and thereby risks injury.
--> He eats the raw testicles of a beast he just killed.
--> He is outnumbered in a fight (Swordfodder only count if they are more than four, Small and Tough only if they are more than two).
--> He duels a mighty foe.
--> He fights a towering foe.
--> He duels a towering foe (to a total +2, if he survives).
--> He wins.
(Mighty foes include tigers and bears, towering foes include dragons.)

4.6 Relationships
You can establish new relationships during play, especially through creating Central Persons (see below), but also through just picking an NPC you like. You need to gain one point in the relationship to establish it.

4.6.1 Advancing Relationships
Your rating in a given relationship increases by 1 every time you adress that relationship through play. What needs to be done differs: you might fight an enemy, protect a ward or woo for a desired. But you might also adress the relationship indirectly, e.g. by wooing for your enemy's wife or fighting to defend your desired's honor. Not just any scene that includes the NPC is enough. It needs to have an impact on the relationship.

4.6.2 Effects of Relationships
If a fight or wooing is somehow significant to the relationship, its rating is added to the character's Combat or Attractiveness score. If a normal check is significant to the relationship, the character gains extra dice equalling the rating devided by 3, rounded down.

4.6.3 Ending Relationships

A relationship can be ended by giving it up or betraying it. What you are required to do to give up or betray the relationship depends on the kind of relationship. Giving up a wife would meen casting her out, betraying a Leader would meen treachery or leaving him to the mercy of his foes, giving up an enemy might meen not killing him when you have the chance, or actually helping him. The the relationship is erased, but its rating is added both to the character's Aggression and Horny. The player can establish a new relationship to the NSC. A betrayed leader might become an enemy, an enemy might become a rival or even a friend. Note that these rules may be applied between PCs also.

4.7 Improving Attributes
The player can spend an additional point on his attributes every time his Combat + Attractiveness reaches a multiple of 20, starting with 40. He may not, however, increase any attribute more than once.

4.8 New Specialties and Personality Traits
New specialties can be gained with the group's approval if it makes sense. Personality traits and goals can be changed or added by the player as he sees fit, though he is supposed to do it mostly to match the character's developement through play. The personality traits don't have an impact anyhow, they are just a reminder.

5. Running the Game[/b][/u]

5.1 Preparation
At the end of an adventure or the character creation, one participant (GM or player, rotating) decides on the Frame for the next adventure. This means the main context of events, so it could be "a raid on foreigners" or "a feud with another clan" or simply "the fertility rites".

After this, every player requests a Central Person ("Bezugsperson") for his character. This person must be one of the categories detailed under relationships: Enemy, Rival, Leader,  Follower, Friend, Mentor, Ward, Desired, Wife. The GM can request that the player make a suggestion how that person fits into the Frame. The person can be an existing relationship, an NPC that has already been introduced, or someone newly invented by the player.

It's the GM's job to turn the Frame and the Central Persons into an adventure. It's the players' job to get themselves some fucking and butchering.

5.2 Adversaries
In German I have detailed fighting stats for different kinds of creatures and people. You can find them on pages 34 pp. of the German write-up (see above), though the stats are slightly outdated.

Foes are devided into the categories Swordfodder (4/0), Small and Tough (10/2), Robust (13/2), Dangerous (18/4), Equal (24/4), Mighty (40+/5), and Towering (80+/6). The numbers indicate Combat scores / maximum points that can be spent on an attack. The number of points that can be spent on defense is always 1 higher, except with Swordfodder who are zero all the way and thus can only attack and defend with 1d6. Note that Swordfodder also goes down more easily since they have a different bloodshed table, allowing immediate kill at 5 spare successes already, with 4 a fatal wound, 3 a deep wound and 1-2 a flesh wound. Momentum and Elegance range from zero to 12+. Foes never have Aggression, but may have relationships.

5.3 Women
Women are devided into Sweet Things (15/3), Beauties (20/4), Real Hot Bitches ("echt geile Säue") (30+/5), and Goddesses (50+/6). However, Reluctance is further modified by the situation:

--> -7 if the the woman is a real slut available to anyone, or if she's filled up with thorn apple wine.
--> -5 if the warrior just saved her life, or if the warrior already had her in the past and they didn't part in anger.
--> -3 if it's the fertility rites, if the woman is a little drunk, or if she has reason to be grateful regarding the warrior.
--> +3 if the warrior holds the woman captive, if it's cold and uncomfortable, or if the warrior is dirty and stinks.
--> +5 if the warrior has just had a bad argument with the woman, if the woman already rejected the warrior once (except if he had "the fire blazing"), if she belongs to another man (unless she is annoyed by that man), if the warrior wants her to join in an orgy, or if the woman is foreign or belongs to an enemy clan (the latter two not applying for the decadent Shuaran women).
--> +7 if the warrior has killed someone the woman really liked, or if the woman is an amazon (not applying if the warrior has bested her in duel).
--> +10 if the warrior has killed someone the woman loved.

I hope you play it, enjoy it and post about it. :-)

- Frank

Stefan / 1of3

Quote3.6 Personality Traits and Goals
(...)These traits do not have any effect regarding the mechanics.

Well, why not?

You could let them work like Specialties.

Sydney Freedberg

Or like Relationships -- they could even be conceived of as a relationship to an emotion or ambition rather than to a person.

I also like the way there's not only a mechanical incentive to address Relationships in order to raise the bonus, but also -- a mechanical temptation to change the relationship (betray your friend, befriend your foe, etc.) in order to "cash in" for a boost to Aggression & Horny. (Ha! I just wrote "Horny" in a discussion of RPG mechanics! Snicker!).

The tricky part in playtesting will be figuring out these rates of exchange in your game's various forms of "currency" -- and you do have a lot of them: not just Relationship -> Aggression/Horny, but also all the expenditures of Momentum/Charme/etc. for die roll bonuses. It's almost inevitable that something is going to be broken and require you to tinker with the numbers.

Frank T

Yeah, tinker with the numbers I will. I have done some dry calculating, of course, but that can never replace playtesting. For the temptation to trade off relationships, credits go to Ralph Mazza. Delightful idea indeed.

Regarding the personality traits: I have thought about giving them a mechanical effect, but refrained. There is already so much mechanical stuff in this game saying "do this": Look for fights, woo for women, address your relationships... I think it's better to leave it up to the player whether he wants to invest into his character's personality traits.

Basic premise of the game right now is: Fucking and butchering. Whom you fuck and butcher, and why. Now, the "why", in this case, represents theme, as in "how does a Real Man act?" It's not about "are you a bravo or are you a jester?" Stating that the personality traits are not mechanically important also shifts the focus to what is important (beside mindless violence and excessive orgying, that is). Think about your relationships and how they develope. Make decisions regarding those relationships. That will teach you about your character. Don't bother with trying to meet a pre-established "personality". The personality traits are only there to give you an idea, not a guideline.

So, if the personality traits don't look good the way they are, I'd rather kick them out than give them a mechanical effect.

Make sense?

- Frank

Sydney Freedberg

Ja, ich verstehe. (Was that right?). Frankly, then, if the personality traits don't have a mechanical effect, I'd say toss 'em; just have each player describe his/her Barbarian for narrative color and have done with it.

Oh, also: I'd recommend an explicit statement in the rules saying that a Barbarian can't take a woman by force -- not that there are penalties for it, but that it just simply doesn't happen, not in the rules, and if you say you want your PC to do it, that's in the same category as saying "I fly to the moon!"


He does have something like that. It is also worked into the culture of the Barbarians. It states in the Myths and Customs section, with the story of the Great Tiger's son.
"Crazy are the people inside my head, one of them's got a gun, to shoot the other ones!" It's a song... really, it is...


Hey Frank, this is looking really really good.  The currency exchange will be a little tricky to pin down because you have so much of it, but conceptually that combat system with all of the different moves seems pretty entertaining in its own right.

I agree about not making the personality traits mechanical.  For another game, yes definitely.  But not for this one.  The mechanical linkages of relationships, aggression, and horny serve to highlight what's important to the game.  Having personality traits NOT have mechanical linkages I think sends its own powerful message.  "It don't matter whether your a nice guy, a vicious bastard, a happy go lucky type, or Mr. Dark and Brooding.  How well do you fight and how well do you fuck?"  Its basically a rules mechanics answer to the ultimate question "Barbarian, what is best in life..."

Trollbabe is similar with its lack of mechanics for descriptive elements.  I'd keep them just the way they are.  

I can't wait for the day I can send you cash for a nice printed game with a completely tasteless macho cover that would put Avalanche Press to shame.


QuoteI can't wait for the day I can send you cash for a nice printed game with a completely tasteless macho cover that would put Avalanche Press to shame.

Seconded. Although, I can't help but note that Necromancer Games has been putting recycled Frazetta covers on some of their Judges Guild retreads. I'd love to see a Frazetta cover on this puppy!

Frank T

Thanks! :D I don't have any idea what Avalanche Press and Franzetta are, but I'll hit Google when I find the time. I can't wait to see the first artwork finished, but that'll take some time yet. Check out these references of my artist, though:

- Frank

Ron Edwards

Wincing. Ralph has been committing this abomination for a while.

The artist's name is Frank Frazetta.



Hi Frank -

Frank Frazetta is a big part of the reason this game has a potentially huge fan base waiting for it in the United States of America. He's possibly the premier pulp-fantasy artist of all time.

Do yourself a favor and buy a collection or two of prints of his works. The person who designed Barbaren will be a happier man when he dies if he has spent some time looking at Frazetta paintings and drawings.[/img]