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The Quests of Brin the Barbarian (V1.1)

The Quests of Brin The Barbarian
(based on The Quest of Thane Tostig by Eric and William Knowles 1977)

1. Sequence of Play

a) Sorcery (if included; currently not) - simultaneous
b) Roll for initiative
c) Movement
d) Missile Fire
e) Combat

2. Organisation

The game is played on a 1" square grid. Movement and ranges are in grid squares.
A record system is required to list the Movement and current Strength status, and any other factors of each figure in the game.
Figures are individually based and start the game with pre-determined Strength Points or SPs (TT - Energy Levels). SPs are lost as a figure is successfully hit and damaged by an opponent or undertakes Sorcery.
Movement allowances are also pre-determined depending on the figures in play, how they are equipped etc - logic suggests that a heavily armoured man will move more slowly than an unarmoured man, however your Hero gets to avoid this logic because he/she is, well, a Hero.
Each game represents a Quest and requires a pre-set objective for the Hero/Heroes.

3. Movement
Movement rates (see example table) are in grid squares and should be self-explanatory. A Charge move can only be carried out if it brings figures into adjacent squares for the purpose of combat. If Sorcery is included, figures cannot move whilst casting spells. Obstacles (such as large rocks, fences etc require one complete turn - figures should commence the turn in an adjacent square to the obstacle. Streams count as obstacles, however rivers require a bridge, ford or boat to cross.

4. Missile Fire

Throw d10 and add any bonus. If the score is 7-10 throw d6 and consult the hit Illustration/table. Subtract result from the targets' SPs. From the d6 throw determine where the figure has been hit (the illustration is a person but intuition/imagination will allow you to determine where an animal or monster has been hit!)

5. Combat
Combat occurs when opponents are in adjacent grid squares.
Each figure in combat throws a d10 and adjusts with any bonuses. If the score is 6-10 throw d6 and consult the hit table. Subtract result from the targets' SPs. Hero's may throw twice if they are in combat with more than one enemy figure (potentially inflicting hits on two attackers). Once a figure (not Heroes) is down to 50% SPs throw a d6 each turn to assess their morale; 4,5,6 = Fight on, 1,2,3 = Run Away!

6. Solo Play - Control of Non-player figures
For completely random movement: Determine which side of the grid is North. each turn, throw direction dice to determine where the non-player person, animal or monster is going. Move the full move allowance in that direction. If the figure moves off the board they have left the game.

For more "realism" the non-player figures are set an objective; eg a group of warriors are moving across the board North-South and will only deviate to move around obstacles, or if a Player Character enters their line of sight at which point they will attack.
Carnivorous animals or monsters may also deviate from random or programmed movement if they scent a Character (potential meal) that is within 4 squares (though maybe out of sight).

7. Sorcery
Only dedicated Magic-Users can cast spells. Casting a spell takes one move during which the Caster (Wizard, Sorcerer, Witch, whatever) cannot move or fight, but can take hits from an opponent and suffer magical attack. Casting a spell takes a toll on the Caster; the Spell Table (below) shows how many SPs are temporarily deducted from the Casters' SP total. Each turn after the spell is cast 1SP is added back to the total up to the value the Caster was at immediately before casting the spell. Caution! there is a cumulative effect. If a Magic-User casts a further spell before the restoration of all the SPs s/he had before casting the former spell, the SP level can only be returned to the second level during the current game, etc. Roll 1d6 and check that the spell worked (SPs are deducted even if it didn't). The spell and its cost take immediate effect on a successful roll.

. Gaining SPs
At the end of the game a Hero who has survived AND achieved the objective of the Quest gains an additional 2SPs - this represents an increase in skill and toughness due to success in battle and is carried into the next Quest. Bonuses for reaching higher SPs are as follows:
A Hero starts with +1 attack
For each multiple of 20SP Hero's gain an additional +1 attack bonus (ie at 20,40,60SP etc)
For each multiple of 20SP held by a Magic-User they gain an additional d6 to throw when attempting a spell, so a 42SP Magic-User has 1d6 plus 2d6 for 2 multiples of 20SP etc.


  1. I will give these a go very soon and let you know how it goes.

    1. Fantastic! I'd appreciate any comments and interested in any changes/additions you might make.

    2. I forgot to say, you can read the original rules (and see loads of other Amazing stuff on the Dear Tony Blair blog) here

  2. For the new sorcery rules, if a magic user takes a hit post casting a spell, does the SP spent become a real loss instead of temporary? That's how I read it/played it, but was curious if that was the intent.

    1. John, Yes any physical non-magic hits cannot be recouped during the game. Non-magic hits are recovered between games. The idea of losing SPs from performing Magic was to show how it weakened the Magic-user. Also I hoped that even powerful Magic users wouldn't be able to dominate a game. Still trying it out so please send me your thoughts!!

    2. I think it's a great way to mitigate the powers of the magic user without resorting to things like "they can only memorize X number of spells and once cast they forget it" (D&D I'm looking at you!). This approach reminded me of Tunnels & Trolls (a game I wish I had found much sooner in life) although they may in fact have nothing in common.

      I also like that you have provided a chance of failure when casting - I think that's really important to make magic seem like a mysterious process and not just a glorified firearm.

    3. John
      I played T&T a lot back in the early 1980s and enjoyed it more than D&D (heresy!!). My inspiration here is the original rules by the late Eric Knowles (see the Sorcery Table
      I may have made magic too costly and too hard to achieve so please do feed back any thoughts!