Granted, there are plenty of skirmish style tabletop games out there. So why care about this one? Especially if it is old by comparison? The answer is quite simple. It’s because of the freedom of choice imbued into the game itself. It’s about the “Freedom of Game”.
When I stumbled over Bladestorm about a year ago, it was because of my ongoing collecting habits for ICE products. I read about the game somewhere online and I was intrigued by the fact that it was set in the Shadow World, which my RPG group was currently exploring. The rules promised to make larger Rolemaster battles that involved more than your garden variety group of adventurers much quicker (anybody who undertook a battle involving more than 20 combatants knows what I mean).
There were other expeditions by ICE towards tabletop gaming. But quite contrary to publications such as War Law or Star Strike this game promised to be way more simple. It feels like an add-on that you can draw upon whenever you need. Combat requires only one roll of dice to resolve the situation. See if you hit and if you do, see how much damage you deal. There are no dice pools made up of dozens of different dice. D6’s and D10’s, that’s it. It’s lean.
Now, converting characters from our Rolemaster Classic group is one thing. But what is even more interesting is the combatant creation that allows you to create combatants from scratch. Anything goes in this department!
- Take characters from a campaign and throw them onto a larger battlefield, a dungeon, another plane of the void.
- Have some spare encounters in your back hand. Switching tables is a nice surprise!
- You own dozens of miniatures and want to breathe life into them for some afternoon fun? Pick your champions!
For those of you who have been exposed to miniatures and roleplaying and followed some of the discussions, it always comes down to this one simple fact: either you have the miniature gene or you don’t. There is no need to argue about bringing miniatures to the table if they’re just standing in the way of your favorite junk food.
But if you do have the miniature gene, Bladestorm brings everything to the table that you could wish for.
The last chapter of the Bladestorm Rulesbook contains all the information that is needed to create your own combatants or units for the game. The first part of combatant creation is governed by Total Point Costs, meaning, the stronger your combatants are, the pricier they become. Each stat increase, weapon or skill has it’s own price that is added to the total. This is very important when setting up a balanced encounter.
The second part is about converting characters from other RPG-systems to become a part of your tabletop adventure. The main stats of these systems are used to acquire the necessary Bladestorm stats. Select the weapons, spells and special powers as known by your character and you’re ready to go.
Either way, what you need now is a way to bring this character or miniature into action. You need a combatant card.
For ease of use we are happy to provide an editable template. You can download these nifty little cards as word-documents from the Product News and Announcements section of our MX forums. The cards carry all information you need to put any miniature on the table.
As can be seen in the above picture, the Bladestorm Combatant Card is divided into several blocks of information. Only the upper blocks containing general information, weapons and hit points are relevant for all miniatures in the game. The blocks for leaders, spell users as well as the lower block contain optional information.
Whenever you have determined what your miniature’s stats, weapons, spells and special powers are, you can print out the template. You might consider printing out some buddies, too. Because we want to make the most of a piece of paper, there are four combatant or unit cards on a template. Templates come in English (US-Letter) and German (A4) paper sizes.
TIP: Save a bunch of prepared combatant cards for later by organizing them on your computer in different folders. That way, you can easily come up with new encounters and speed up the process for setting up a game.
I hope you found this little excursion into the whys and hows of Bladestorm interesting. Be it as an add-on to your rpg-campaign or as the source for a dedicated tabletop adventure series. It´s all about your game and your miniatures. Enjoy the freedom.