Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Amendments for Black Powder Medievals

I'm a tease, I know, but it was worth doing this properly.

General Rules:

Poor Command Structure: Units within a Brigade must stay within 4" of one another to use a Brigade order. If a commander wishes to issue orders to separate units he must deduct one from his command rating for each successive order he attempts to issue (reflecting less provision of staff to convey or execute the orders). The range of command radius is also halved and so a commander deducts one from his rating for every 6" between him and the unit he wishes to order. All other command rules apply as normal.

Weapon Ranges and rules:

Javelins etc: 6"
Slings: 12"
Shortbows: 18"
Longbows: Direct 18", Indirect 36"
Handguns: 18" Slow fire, Penetration, Fulminate
Crossbows: 24" Slow fire, Penetration
Catapults: 24-48" Indirect fire, Slow Fire, Brutal
Cannon: 48" Slow Fire, Brutal, Fulminate

Indirect: Unit may fire up to stated distance without needing a clear line of sight, though Forest and hills are considered substantial enough that units can only be targeted if part of the firers Brigade can see the target already. However as indirect fire is unaimed and so suffers an automatic -1 to hit, and all other modifiers still apply.

Penetration: Units with 3+ Morale are reduced to a 4+ morale from this fire

Slow fire: May not fire the same turn as they have moved

Fulminate: The weapon is prone to be a danger to it's own user. Any rolls of '1' to hit result in a morale test for their own unit.

Brutal: any unit hit by this weapon reduces its Morale by 1 e.g. from 4+ to 5+


Massed Bodies, equivalent to columns of attack are the standard formation. Special rules like Pikestand can only apply to units in this formation. Shooting units lose 1 dice of fire in this formation.

Lines are formations of two ranks deep. shooting units may fire at full strength in this formation.

Marches are formations no more than three figures wide, they may not fire but gain the special rules for columns of march.

Warbands are particularly common in this period, as are skirmishers

Unit Rules:

Pike Stand: Cavalry may not charge an unbroken Pike unit, except to its rear arc. They reroll misses in combat if they are fighting to their front and were charged or are charging this turn.

Pavaise: Troops with Pavaise always count as obscured to shooting.

Sample troop types:

(Unit name; Melee, Shooting, Morale, Stamina, Special rules)

  • Mounted Knights 9, 0, 3+, 3 Lancer, Ferocious Charge, Determined, +D3
  • Mounted Men at Arms 8, 0, 3+, 3 Lancer, Ferocious, Determined, +1
  • Sergeants 7, 0, 4+, 3 Marauder
  • Foot Knights 6, 0, 3+, 3 Steady (may have Penetration - Halberds, etc)
  • Foot Knights Demi-Lance 6, 0, 3+, 3 Pikestand, Steady
  • Men at arms 6, 0, 4+, 3, May have Pikestand, or Penetration
  • Pikemen 5, 0, 4+, 3 Pikestand
  • Halberdiers 5, 0, 4+, 3 Penetration
  • Spearmen 5, 0, 4+, 3 May have Pavaise
  • Swordsmen 4, 0, 4+, 3 May have Pavaise
  • Crossbowmen 3, 2, 5+, 3 May have 4+ morale
  • Longbowmen 3, 3, 5+, 3 May have 4+ morale
  • Handgunners 3, 2, 5+, 2 May have 4+ morale, Skirmish, Marauders
  • Spanish Bidets 2, 3, 5+, 2 Warband, Skirmish, Marauders may carry Javelins, Slings or Short Bows
  • Irish/Scots 4, 1, 4+, 3 Warband, Javelins, Option of Marauders and or Bloodthirsty
  • Peasants 3, 0, 5+, 3 Warband, Unreliable, Wavering, Option of being stamina 4
  • Cannone 1, 3/2/1, 5+, 2

Other special rules can be applied from the main rulebook as deemed appropriate by the players. For example English longbowmen could be considered Tough Fighters and Steady...

Well I hope that's enough for you get an idea of the potential, if anyone tries it out I'd like to hear their thoughts, is anything too powerful, anything need tweaking, any other additions in terms of special rules?


  1. Tried a game last night, it didn't take long to get used to the changes, and we had an enjoyable game, but a number of points came up during play.

    1) Can cannone move during the game? we decided not.

    2) The ability of mounted troops to ride from well out of longbow range right up into combat and only receive closing fire from the archer unit they choose to target (This of course is common to the whole black powder)

    3) Similarly the ability of a cavalry unit to sally out from behind a solid front of infantry.

    4) Some rule is need for archers placing stakes.

    5) Archers v's archers are more vulnerable than muskets v's muskets, this didn't feel quite right.

    Command and control was more awkward but this felt right for the period and increased the temptation to use a "follow me" order and the resulting greater risk to commanders.

    We'll certainly give them another outing.



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