Category Archives: Barbarians of the Aftermath

BotA, Etc. – Gladiators of Zhaartahl IV

Wherein your humble scribe presents a couple of characters and a terrible beast in Barbarians of the Aftermath/Barbarians of Lemuria/Etc. format. Because he wanted to, that’s why.

The Shade Ale was flowing freely in the gladiator’s quarters. The men drank toasts and oaths and dirty jokes, all in honor of the undefeated duo from the west.

“If we defeat the Lord Mayor’s prized Boorm Cat, we will be made free men!” Adran bellowed, laughing as the cobalt blue fluid sloshed over the rim of his mug. The others roared and pounded their tables in boisterous excitement. All except the small pale man at the giant’s side.

“If we slay the Lord Mayor’s prized Boorm Cat,” the little man whispered, “he’ll have us killed immediately. He thinks of that damned thing as his own flesh and blood.”

“Come now, Hanlan,” Adran answered quietly. “Did not the arena master himself tell us this welcome news?”

“He lied, Adran. I could read his… face,” the wiry Baltierran’s voice trailed off, well aware that other ears were likely to overhear their conversation. “We can’t fight tomorrow. We have to escape. Tonight.”

“Flee? From the greatest challenge a man could hope to face? Where else are we to fight a Boorm Cat? There are no more in the wilds. The damnable Vanth have seen to that.”

“That may be true. But it also may not. The Vanth aren’t generally known for their truthfulness. And wouldn’t it be better to live long enough to find out?”

“I suppose. I suppose,” responded the Kortman. “So what is the escape plan this time?”

“Just follow my lead, Adran. Unlike last time…”

In the far distance the bells of the grand clock tower tolled nine times, indicating that the city’s gates were closing. And signaling the time for the lights to be extinguished in the gladiators’ quarters. The Lord Mayor was especially insistent that the people’s entertainers be well rested before their turns in the arena.

Adran / Lifeblood 15 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 3 Agility 2 Mind 0 Appeal -1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 1 Melee 2 Ranged 0 Defense 1
Careers: Gladiator 2 Barbarian 1 Thief 1 Miner 0
Boons: Determined, Steely Gaze, Hard-To-Kill
Flaws: Savage, Honorable
Languages: Kortmanish
Equipment: Sword (d6+2), Very Light Armor (d3-1), Shield (1)

Hanlan / Lifeblood 10 / Hero Points 5 /
Attributes: Strength 0 Agility 1 Mind 2 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 1 Ranged 1 Defense 2
Careers: Thief 2 Scholar 1 Psychic 1 Gladiator 0
Boons: Carouser, Man About Town, Natural Thief
Flaws: Compulsive Gambler, Unlucky
Languages: Baltierreien, Kortmanish, Thoog, Vanth
Equipment: Sword (d6), PsiDagger (d3), Very Light Armor (d3-1)

Boorm Cat / Lifeblood 30
Attributes: Strength 3 Agility 2 Mind 1
Combat Abilities: Defense 3 Protection d6
Attack with bite +5; 2d6 damage
Attack with 2 claws +3 per attack; d6+3 damage each
Attack with all 3 attacks at +1 each

Once the dominant predator of Zhaartahl IV, Boorm Cats have been hunted to near extinction by the alien PsiLords of Vanth. A few of these terrifying creatures likely remain in the wilds, but none have been seen in more than a decade. A handful of specimens remain in captivity, where they are often well-cared for and highly prized.

Boorm Cats stand 8′ tall at the shoulder and are generally 10′ to 15′ in length. They are covered with a thick coat of azure and ochre striped fur and have piercing blue eyes. Though their size, strength and speed make them deadly, it is their keen intellect that makes them truly dangerous. They are cunning hunters and exceptionally clever combatants. Worse still, Boorm Cats are known to possess a number of psychic powers, including the ability to cause a single target not to be able to perceive them.

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BoL: Mission to Enceladus

It’s time for another imaginary movie with Barbarians of Lemuria (etc.) stats for the major players. This time, let’s check out a completely fictional East German science fiction “classic.”

In 1974, after the success of Stanley Kubrick’s film of Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Andrei Tarkovsky’s version of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, the East Germans decided to get in on the deeply philosophical (and sometimes psychedelic) science fiction film action. Thus was born Einsatz zu Enceladus (Mission to Enceladus), which tells the story of a group of international explorers traveling to (oddly enough) Enceladus, one of the moons of Saturn. This being East Germany in the thick of the Cold War, the film is replete with Communist/Socialist propaganda despite its initial conceits of an East-West partnership in exploring space.

Under the auspices of the IWP (Internationale Weltraumforschung Partnerschaft, or international space exploration partnership), a crew comprised of an American soldier, a British scientist, a Russian cosmonaut, and an East German engineer set out in a Soviet spacecraft for Enceladus after a number of radio transmissions – in ancient Greek! – are received from that icy moon. The first half of the film or so consists of slow, largely silent shots of the crew performing their assorted duties and looking at very nice computer readouts, rather like the filmmakers were aping 2001 very closely and carefully.

The propaganda starts to creep in about the time the crew passes Mars (the Red Planet, get it?). At this point the swaggering, cartoonish American soldier, Colonel Rick Carson, begins hitting on the taciturn yet beautiful (and intelligent!) Soviet pilot, Commander Valentina Yegorova. Carson tries to buy her affections with stories of American excess. He breaks into a musical number (yes, it’s wildly out of place) in the style of Elvis movies. And ultimately he tries to force himself on her, only to be stopped with a strong punch to his glass (lantern) jaw by the ugly yet honest and upstanding (and intelligent!) East German engineer, Lieutenant Knut Volkmann. Being a creature of much bluster and little-to-no substance, Carson backs down immediately.

Throughout all of this the British scientist, Professor Alec Baxter-Pearl, is shown to be a weak-willed (and incompetent!) lackey of the domineering American.

Once the ship reaches Saturn the movie turns back towards the somber. For what feels like a very long time, we are treated to some slightly less stunning visuals and more of the slow, quiet shots. Eventually, an outpost is sighted on the surface of Enceladus – an outpost that looks for all the world like the Parthenon perched high atop an outcropping of rock rising from the icy seas that cover the moon.

The ship’s landing module, piloted by Yegorova, descends to the surface, with all four crew members aboard. Once on Enceladus, Carson, Volkmann, and Baxter-Pearl set out to explore the “ruins” and perhaps make contact with whoever lives there. Yegrova stays behind to helm the landing module in case of any trouble.

The three explorers discover a set of long stairs cut into the rock and ascend to the summit. They poke about the marble structures and are eventually greeted by a sole white-furred, yeti-like being wearing Greek-style clothing. The creature converses with Baxter-Pearl, revealing himself to be Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods. When he is told that the Olympian gods are no longer found on Earth, he flies into a rage and vows to destroy the planet for its insolence. Or something like that.

Baxter-Pearl tries to calm Hephaestus, spouting off incessantly about all of the Greek ideals that live on in the world (Democracy comes up more than once), but the “god” is having none of it (“Democracy is for fools!” he shouts back in response). Carson, back in stereotype mode, tries to fight Hephaestus, is beaten, and begs for mercy, offering to sell out the entire planet so that he may live on in service to the god. He is slain for his troubles, and Baxter-Pearl is destroyed as well (on principle, one presumes).

Volkmann escapes and returns to the landing module, where he manages to stammer out a brief explanation of what has transpired. Alarms then go off, indicating the launch of a missile from the west (which just happens to be painted red, white, and blue). Volkmann and Yegorova spring into action, launching from the moon intent on intercepting the projectile – even if it means their own doom. Instead of dying, however, the crafty engineer devises a way to “fire” the landing module at the missile and deflect it back to the surface where it might just destroy Hephaestus.

The plan works. The East German and the Russian embrace. (A) god is destroyed. The world is saved by Marxist-Leninist ideology. And the credits roll over brass-heavy closing music.


  • Astronaut/Cosmonaut as a career is meant to cover all of the things that go with being an astronaut, like vacc suit operation, piloting, operating communications arrays, etc.
  • Scientist as a career represents an overall science background, while specific careers like Archaeologist or Physicist represent the more specific fields of study identified by their names.
  • Spacesuits are rated Light, Medium, and Heavy. Light suits provide little defense and are not rated for extravehicular or direct contact with hostile atmospheres/environments for more than 1 hour. Medium and Heavy suits provide more protection at a cost to mobility and are capable of 2 and 4 hours EVA/hostile environment activity.
  • Laser Weapons are incredibly accurate and grant a +1 to Ranged COmbat Ability.


Professor Alec Baxter-Pearl / Lifeblood 9 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength -1 Agility 0 (-1) Mind 3 Appeal 2
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 2 Ranged 1 Defense 1
Careers: Archaeologist 2 Poet 1 Scientist 1 Astronaut 0
Languages: English, Russian, German, Greek
Equipment: Medium Spacesuit (d6-1), Archaeological Tools, Hand Computer

Colonel Rick Carson / Lifeblood 12 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 1 (0) Mind 0 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 1 Melee 0 Ranged 2 Defense 1
Careers: Soldier 2 Astronaut 1 Musician 1 Politician 0
Languages: English
Equipment: Laser Pistol (d6), Medium Spacesuit (d6-1)

Commander Valentina Yegorova / Lifeblood 10 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 0 Agility 2 Mind 1 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 2 Melee 0 Ranged 1 Defense 1
Careers: Cosmonaut 3 Physician 1 Scientist 0 Farmer 0
Languages: Russian, English
Equipment: Laser Pistol (d6), Light Spacesuit (d6-2)

Lieutenant Knut Volkmann / Lifeblood 12 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 1 (0) Mind 2 Appeal -1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 2 Melee 0 Ranged 2 Defense 0
Careers: Engineer 2 Astronaut 2 Soldier 0 Bureaucrat 0
Languages: German, Russian, English
Equipment: Laser Rifle (d6+2), Heavy Spacesuit (d6)

Space Yeti Hephaestus / Lifeblood 20
Attributes: Strength 4 Agility 1 Mind 2
Combat Abilities: Defense 1 Protection d6-2
Attack with Fist +2; 2d6

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SciFi BoL Characters For Fun (But Not Profit)

Wherein your humble scribe presents a trio of NPCs for Barbarians of Lemuria… In Spaaaace!. These are put together mostly using the rules from Barbarians of the Aftermath and a few pulls from the other key BoL resources I’ve used before.

Traveling from the outer worlds to the Alliance capital aboard the tramp freighter Archilochus, Parjon Kelas (a minor noble with unique powers), Narsa Tash (a former slave from Aekos IV), and the disgraced boxerbot B0-RG9, are certainly bound for trouble. It’s in their nature.

Parjon Kelas / Lifeblood 10 / Hero Points 5 / Psychic Power 13
Attributes: Strength 0 Agility 0 Mind 2 Appeal 2
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 1 Ranged 1 Defense 2
Careers: Noble 1, Psychic 1, Scholar 1, Chemist 1
Boons: Learned: History, Prismatic Soul
Flaws: Reluctant Fighter
Languages: Galactic Common, Aekosian, Fajash, Botic
Equipment: Blaster Pistol (d6+1)

Narsa Tash / Lifeblood 13 / Hero Points 6
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 2 Mind 0 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 1 Ranged 2 Defense 1
Careers: Barbarian 2, Thief 1, Slave 1, Spacer 0
Boons: Hard-To-Kill, Lucky
Flaws: Savage
Languages: Aekosian
Equipment: Sword (d6+1)

B0-RG9 / Lifeblood 13 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 3 Agility 1 Mind 1 Appeal -1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 2 Melee 0 Ranged 0 Defense 2
Careers: Gladiator 2, Mechanic 1, Spacer 1, Priest 0
Boons: Self-Repair, Brawler
Flaws: Batteries Required
Languages: Botic, Galactic Common
Equipment: Fists (d3+3)

I’ve realized that I just don’t have the interest, inspiration or ambition to put together a proper BoL space game at the moment. But then again, with BotA handy there’s not much that needs to be done mechanically. I’ve decided that “Spacer” is a career in the same way that “Sailor” is in BoL. It covers piloting, general engineering, zero-g combat, and pretty much anything else you’d expect a person who has spent significant time in space travel to do.

You could certainly break these things down to “Pilot” and “Gunner” and other such things if you wanted to. But I think that pushes you closer to Traveller, et. al., and thus misses the point of the BoL system.

But that’s just me. And it’s not like I’m getting to play any of this anyway, so what do I know?

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Agents of GHOST (v 0.9)

Wherein your humble scribe presents his first stab at turning out a Ghostbusters/Chill kinda of hack using the Barbarians of Lemuria system. I started with Dogs of WAR as my basis, but now that I’m putting this out there I’m thinking maybe I should have built things more from the ground up. Then again, I’m not looking to write an entirely new game, so maybe not. But it’s possible I should have started with Dicey Tales as the base instead. In any case, make of the following what you will. And maybe I’ll get around to making a proper v1.0 of this one way or another eventually.

Agents of GHOST (General Hostile Occult Suppression Team) is a hack of Dogs of WAR intended to yield Ghostbusters-like hijinx or Chill-esque “serious” stalking of the night fantastic.

Note: Some material found in this document may be drawn from or reference other BoL-derived games, like Barbarians of the Aftermath, the BoL edition of Legends of Steel, Dicey Tales, and Barbarians of Lemuria itself. If you don’t own those fine games, I heartily suggest you pick them up from your favorite game outlet. And I humbly salute those responsible for these fine games. I wouldn’t be writing this without their outstanding efforts.

Changes To Dogs of WAR

The details for each of these changes are discussed below. This is just a high-level summary for cataloging purposes.

  1. Possible reduction of the starting Attribute, Combat Ability, and Specialization ranks, depending on “feel” desired.
  2. Rename Scientific Background to Academic
  3. Rename Academic Specialization to Scholar
  4. Paranormalist Specialization added
  5. Renaming Exploit Points to Luck Points
  6. The possible addition of Magic (and the Sorcerer Specialization)

Character Creation

A brief outline of the character creation process, which is essentially the same as that found in Dogs of WAR, with changes described in the sections that follow:

  1. Allocate points to Attributes
  2. Allocate points to Combat Abilities
  3. Choose Background, Boons, and Flaws
  4. Add a Background-derived Primary Specialization at rank 1
  5. Add Paranormalist Specialization at rank 1
  6. Add X ranks to Background-derived Specializations
  7. Distribute X additional ranks to Specializations of choice


For a Ghostbusters-like game where failing is almost as much fun (if not more) as succeeding, start the characters with only 3 points for Attributes.

For a Chill-like game where competence in the face of danger in the form of creatures of the night, start the characters with the normal 4 points for Attributes.

Combat Abilities

For a Ghostbusters-like game where combat isn’t necessarily a focus, start the characters with only 1 or 2 points for Combat Abilities.

For a Chill-like game where characters will likely have to engage in battle against countless hideous things, start the characters with either 3 or 4 points for Combat Abilities, depending on your tastes.

Background & Specializations

For a Ghostbusters-like game, limit the characters to 3 points in Specializations: 1 in the primary, 1 in Paranormalist, and 1 more of choice.

For a Chill-like game, hold the characters to 5 points in Specializations: 1 in the primary, 1 in Paranormalist, 1 in a secondary related to the background, and 2 more of choice.


As DoW, with the following change:

  • Scientific Background renamed Academic, but functions in the same ways.


As DoW, with the following change and addition:

  • Paranormalist: Paranormalists are students of all things strange and unusual, from ghosts & monsters to magic & psychic powers to aliens and demons. A paranormalist knows facts and legends relating to such things, and is less likely to be frightened or driven insane by encounters with creatures of the night.
  • Academic Specialization renamed Scholar, but functions in the same ways.

Boons & Flaws

One specific Boon needs to be added to DoW to make AoG just about right:

Knowledgeable: The character receives a bonus die when dealing with his or her area of specialty. These areas include:

  • Ghosts & Spirits
  • Monsters of Legend
  • Extraterrestrials
  • Demons, Devils & Gods

Other Boons & Flaws found in the other BoL-derived games might be appropriate to AoG, so be sure to take a look through those games if you need more options. Dicey Tales seems to be particularly rich in options that fit the ghost/monster-hunting genre.


If you’re going for a Ghostbusters kind of game, you’ll obviously want to include some kind of Proton Pack for fighting those ectoplasmic baddies. Here’s my suggestion:

  • Proton Gun: Does d6 damage vs spirits, but 2d6 vs corporeal creatures and objects, so be careful with that thing!

You may also want to consider the usefulness of traditional “weapons” used against the paranormal, such as crucifixes, holy water, silver bullets, and the like.

  • Crucifix: Does d6 damage when used as a weapon against vampires and other similar baddies. May also be used to keep vampires at bay (just out of melee range) by making an attack roll using Defense
  • Holy Water: Does d6 damage when used as a weapon against vampires and other similar baddies
  • Silver Bullets: Either do an additional d6 damage against werewolves and other similar creatures or may be the only way of damaging such foes. In the second case, the damage is equal to the base weapon damage


Again, if it’s Ghostbusters you’re after, you’ll need to add in a Ghost Containment Device. You can pretty much hand-wave this thing, except you’ll want to have some idea of how many spirits a specific unit can hold. I suggest that a normal field unit be limited to holding 3 “regular” ghosts at any given time, and fewer more powerful spirits.

  • Garlic: Automatically prevents vampires from entering any doorway or window where a strand is hung. Additionally, vampires will not enter into melee combat against a person wearing a strand of garlic.
  • Wolfsbane: May prevent lycanthropes in were-form from passing through a doorway or window or approaching within 10′ of a person holding a significant amount of the herb.. Additionally, a lycanthrope in were-form who ingests wolfsbane is poisoned and must make a Difficult Might check or suffer 3d6 damage. If wolfsbane is ingested by a lycanthrope in his human form, the lycanthropic change begins immediately, regardless of the moon’s phase (or any other “normal” trigger for the change). Of course, wolfsbane can be toxic to non-lycanthropes, so one is not advised to go around foisting wolfsbane on every suspected lycanthrope.
  • The Common Cold: If unleashed against alien monstrosities, have the creatures make a Difficult Might check, with near-instant death as the outcome for failure and a lingering, wasting death for any other result except a legendary success.


DoW doesn’t assume magic is present or used in-game. Obviously, a game about the paranormal should at least include the possibility of magic. Fortunately, DoW is derived from BoL, so all we need to do is plug in that magic system and let it ride.

It must be left up to any particular GM whether they want to allow spellcasting PCs or not. If no, just ignore this section. If yes, I advise requiring at least a single rank actually be applied to the Sorcerer career (i.e., no “rank zero” Sorcerers) and the acquisition of the Magery Boon (which “costs” two Boons) to “buy in” to being able to cast spells. I’d also limit PCs to second magnitude spells at the highest, and even those should require some in-game effort to track down in musty tomes and lost grimoires, etc.

Regardless of PC access to magic, it’s likely that they will face foes who can bend the laws of the universe with arcane and/or divine powers. Behind the screen you don’t really need rules for this kind of stuff, but following the general principles of the way sorcererous and priestly magics work should keep you honest and give the PCs a fighting chance against your threats.

Playing The Game

The Dogs of WAR rules don’t need to change much, really. The basic mechanics will get us pretty much wherever we need to go. But here are a couple of things you might think about incoporating into your game to help with genre (or at least game system) emulation. These are strictly optional and may not provide the right feel for your game, so use or ignore as you see fit.

Fear Checks

Whenever the characters encounter something truly frightening (or mortifying, or sanity-blasting) have each one make a check using his Mind value and his ranks in Paranormalist.

On a failure, the character is stunned for 1d6 rounds and can only stand there stammering (though he may defend himself if attacked – that is, his Defense still counts as a modifier against any attacks directed at him).

On a Calamitous Failure, the character goes temporarily insane (1d6 days). If the result is a Calamitous Failure as the result of rolling a “1” on a penalty die, or if the source of the fright is otherwise related to one of the character’s Flaws, the insanity is, sadly, permanent and the character should be retired. Investigating the terrible isn’t always pretty, after all.

A Wild Ride

Any time a 1 is rolled on either die when making a check, something “bad” happens. If the roll was a success, make it an interesting bad, not a game-crushing one. If the roll was a normal failure, make it something more noteworthy. On a Calamitous Failure, go for broke. And if the 1 was rolled on a penalty die, it’s time for some serious consequences.

Any time a 6 is rolled on either die when making a check, let the player roll it again, keeping the 6 and adding the result of the new roll. And if that roll is a six, keep on rolling and adding until something other than a six is rolled. If the results of a check wind up at 18 or higher, the check becomes a Mighty Success. If the results of the check wind up at 24 or higher, the check becomes a Legendary Success.

Put It On The Company Card

Since the PCs are presumed to be members of a larger organization, they can generally be assumed to have significant enough financial backing to be able to acquire just about anything they feel they need. Still, resources aren’t unlimited, so every time an acquisition is attempted, a check should be made using the characters average Mind score, modified by the GM based on the expense and nature of the goods to be acquired. If the check succeeds then the items are acquired with no complications. If the check fails, the gear is not secured and future acquisition attempts suffer a cumulative -1 penalty for each previous failed roll. If the check results in a Calamitous Failure, the company’s card is maxed out an no further gear can be acquired during this mission.

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BoL, etc. Characters: Monster Hunters (Three Different Ones)

Drawing on all the BoL-based products, including Dicey Tales, Dogs of WAR, Legends of Steel, Barbarians of the Aftermath, and (of course) Barbarians of Lemuria itself, one can do a lot of things. With that in mind, and with my thoughts turning to working on some kind of game to run at the end of October, here’s a trio of gentlemen who (completely independent of one another) make their living hunting down things that go bump in the night.

Colonel Horst Kosmos

A retired army officer from the dark forests of Eastern Europe, Col. Horst Kosmos has sworn to rid the world of the curse of vampirism. He travels with a hunchbacked companion named Doctor Jorst, and is an accomplished swordsman.

Horst Kosmos / Lifeblood 11 / Hero Points 3
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 1 Mind 1 Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 3 Ranged 0 Defense 1
Careers: Soldier 2, Slayer 1, Priest 0, Noble 1
Boons: Edged Weapon Specialist, Fearless, Uncanny Tracker
Flaws: Taciturn
Languages: Transylvanian, German
Equipment: Sword (d6), Dagger (d3)

Agent David Malder

An FBI agent who works almost exclusively on cases with possible paranormal connections, David Malder is obsessed with conspiracies, psychic phenomena, aliens, and anything else that is sneered at by his fellow agents.

David Malder / Lifeblood 11 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 1 Agility 2 Mind 1 Appeal 0
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 0 Ranged 2 Defense 2
Careers: Espionage Agent 1, Law Enforcement 1, Scholar 1, Occultist 1
Boons: Forensics, Detect Deception
Flaws: Unsettling
Languages: English, Latin
Equipment: Medium Pistol (d6), Badge

Dr. Paul Vankman

Paul Vankman is part of an organization dedicated to capturing and containing ghosts, spirits, and other manifestations of psychokinetic energy that infest New York City. Though his partners are serious eggheads, Vankman has more of the conman about him.

Paul Vankman / Lifeblood 10 / Hero Points 5
Attributes: Strength 0 Agility 0 Mind 2 Appeal 2
Combat Abilities: Brawl 1 Melee 0 Ranged 2 Defense 1
Careers: Academic 2, Scientist 1, Administrator 0, Faceman 1
Boons: Bluff, Natural Leader, Fearless
Flaws: Hot Shot, Lecherous
Languages: English, French, Italian
Equipment: Protonic PKE Blaster (d6+1), PKE Detector

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BotA Character: Jong-Kyu, The Jade Horseman

Wherein your humble scribe presents an NPC for Narakam, his Barbarians of the Aftermath setting.

Riding south from the shining city of Bu – the last bastion of science and technology in the outer realms – comes Jong-Kyu, the Jade Horseman. A powerful warrior with the heart of a poet and the calculating mind of a scientist, Jong-Kyu seeks to uncover the true, scientific history of Narakam. The Jade Horseman fears no creature of the wastes nor any science or magic possessed by the Varna or the Deva. This bold adventurer’s thirst for knowledge will bring him to the Gates of Wisdom and the Doors of Understanding, and though those temples be guarded by powers unguessed, Jong-Kyu will conquer them or die trying.

Jong-Kyu / Lifeblood 12 / Hero Points 5
Genotype: Pariah (Wastelander Human)
Attributes: Strength 2 Agility 1 Mind 2 Appeal 0
Combat Abilities: Brawl 0 Melee 2 Ranged 1 Defense 1
Careers: Barbarian 1, Beast Rider 1, Scientist 1, Poet 1
Boons: The Strong Survive, Slasher
Flaws: Honorable
Languages: Pariah, Varna
Equipment: Light Pistol (d6), Sword (d6+2), Very Light Armor (d3-1)

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BoL Character: Captain Axl Gunnarson

Wherein your humble scribe presents a Barbarians of Lemuria system character he put together as a test of the system for use in that highly-amorphous psychedelic scifi setting that still won’t gel in his head. Barbarians of the Aftermath informs this concept as well, as will be obvious in short order.

Axl Gunnarson, captain of the Hazj-class merchant vessel Alfadis, was truly born to the life of a spacer. His mother, Teja Khadim Gunnarson, was pregnant with Axl when she entered the stasis chamber aboard the colony ship that would take her and her husband Ivar to their new home on Djaribhk IV. The journey lasted some 12 years, and during that time something unusual occurred with the development of the child within her womb. Somehow, against all known medical wisdom, the child’s consciousness continued to develop even as its body remained frozen in time. Now, as an old man of the spacelanes, Axl is one of the few documented psychics within the Galanas Federation. Axl is not fond of his unique abilities and seldom uses them, leaving him more of a raw talent than a honed instrument. He prefers to make his way between the systems and starports, buying and selling goods when he can and ferrying passengers when he must.

Captain Axl Gunnarson / Lifeblood 12 / Hero Points 5 / Psychic Power 10
Attributes: Strength 2, Agility 0, Mind 1, Appeal 1
Combat Abilities: Brawl 1, Melee 0, Ranged 2, Defense 1
Careers: Spacer 2, Merchant 1, Scholar 1, Psychic 0
Boons: Born To The Stars (bonus die on piloting, etc.)
Flaws: None
Languages: Galanash, TradeSpeak, Draybledhi, Vaarntic
Equipment: Laser Pistol (d6), Personal Shield (d6-2)

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Quick & Dirty BoL to Labyrinth Lord Conversion

We’ve been over this before, but it never hurts to say it. I love Barbarians of Lemuria. It’s a great little system that inspires me and I find it painless to write stuff for it. Of course, great as it is it has a limited player base, especially when compared to a certain well-known 800 lb. gorilla of the RPG scene. So here are some notes I’ve knocked together for converting BoL characters to Labyrinth Lord and other games in that big ol’ extended family. Use or ignore as you see fit.


First up, the ever important Attributes. Just like in my Quick & Dirty BoL to BRP Conversion post, attribute values can be derived by taking the BoL value, doubling it and then adding 10 to it. So a BoL merchant with a Strength of 1 would have STR 12 in LL while a mighty thewed-barbarian with a Strength of 4 in BoL would rock an 18 STR in LL. And so on. Hooray for that 3-18 scale that’s so popular with a certain era of games!

Of course, we need to map the BoL stats to LL stats. Here’s what I propose:

  • BoL Might = LL Str, Con
  • BoL Agility = LL Dex
  • BoL Mind = LL Int, Wis
  • BoL Appeal = LL Charisma

As with the BoL-to-BRP conversion, one could surely devise more detailed and “realistic” formulas for this sort of thing. But for most purposes, the above should work. That said, if you really need a character to be high INT/low WIS (or low STR/high CON, etc.), just adjust as needed.

Careers To Levels & Classes

Probably the biggest issue in this conversion is dealing with taking a non-class/non-level system like BoL and rendering class- and level-based characters out of it. There are probably a million different takes on this, but my suggestion is just to make the LL character’s level equal to the sum of the BoL characters career ranks. So your typical starting BoL character would come over to LL as a 4th level character, while the average BoL NPC (per the examples in the Legendary Edition) would wind up as a 2nd level character. This power level in LL might not quite match up with BoL, but it seems to give the characters a reasonable leg up while leaving room to grow as well. And hey, the original title for a 4th level Fighter was Hero and a 4th level Magic-User is called a Magician in those lovely light blue rules designed for experts*, so I’m happy with this.

As far as classes go, I feel the best thing to do is just pick the class that seems to fit the character best – multi-classing where needed, but preferably as little as possible. A character whose capabilities in BoL would require two classes in LL are really the only ones who should multi-class (e.g., characters with rank in both Soldier and Magician). If it is at all possible to stick with one class, though, that’s what I recommend. “But what about my Magician 2 / Merchant 1 / Sailor 1 / Torturer 0 character? Shouldn’t she be a F-M/U?” I hear you ask. And the answer is no. Being a merchant and a sailor – even skilled ones – doesn’t make you a Fighter in LL terms. But don’t worry, you’re not screwed. Read on for more…

Since classes are normally generalized while careers can be a bit more specific, I also suggest looking at the character’s career ranks and giving them +2 per rank in a career on Ability Checks related to the careers (but not to combat or thieving abilities or anything else that specifically mechanical in LL – those things come with level, not career rank). So that BoL character with 2 ranks in Merchant would get +4 on attribute checks relating to the buying & selling of goods, knowledge of caravan routes, and so on. Oh, and while having a Zero in a career rank won’t get you a bonus to checks, just like in BoL it could very well make checks possible that a normal person wouldn’t be able to make (por exemplo, the classic Thief 0 allowing you to know about the local thieves’ guild in ways that someone with no rank at all wouldn’t).

Combat Abilities

BoL’s combat attributes don’t translate all that well, since fighting skill is a defined function of classes in LL. You can either ignore these entirely (advised for most NPCs and Mooks) or bring them over where each rank provides a +1 bonus to the appropriate kind of attacks (for Brawl, Melee, Missile) or −1 to AC for each rank in Defense. Doing this for PCs and significant NPCs will further help with the perceived power level difference between BoL characters and their LL analogues. [editorial aside: This is one of the reasons I really adore BoL. Your combat skills aren’t based on whether you’re a fighter or a thief or whatever. They’re based on whether you’re good at combat or not. And that means you can have badass sword-swinging wizard or a fancy “can’t hit me” lightly-armored fighter without throwing a monkeywrench into the rules. End of editorializing.]

Boons & Flaws

BoL’s Boons & Flaws also don’t translate directly to LL. But, just like with Careers I suggest granting PCs and important NPCs a bonus (+2 or so, but maybe higher or lower depending on your needs) on Ability Checks (or Saving Throws) that relate to a boon that the BoL version of the character possessed. Similarly, imposing a penalty of −2 (or so) on rolls relating to a Flaw found in the BoL iteration of the character should get the job done just fine.

In the case of Boons & Flaws that don’t modify dice rolls, a little improvisation will be necessary. But the author of this quick & dirty guide trusts that his readers can handle those situations on their own and in the ways that will best suit their own needs.

Weapons & Armor & Such

Obviously BoL handles armor in a completely different fashion than Labyrinth Lord does. The easiest thing to do is just assign an Armor Class based on the overall armor level found on the BoL character. Translate as follows:

  • BoL No Armor → LL AC 9 (unarmored)
  • BoL Very Light Armor → LL AC 8 (roughly, Leather armor)
  • BoL Light Armor → LL AC 6 (roughly, Leather armor & Shield or Scale alone)
  • BoL Medium Armor → LL AC 4 (roughly, Chainmail alone or Studded Leather & Shield)
  • BoL Heavy Armor → LL AC 2 (roughly, Chain & Shield, Plate alone)
  • BoL Very Heavy Armor → LL AC 1 (roughly, Plate & Shield)

The examples given above are, as indicated, rough equivalents. I can do the math and know that Chain & a shield actually equals AC 4 and not AC 2. Remember, though, that BoL is much more fluid in its definitions of what armor levels equate to. If you want to be more precise, then by all means be more precise.


Oy, here’s a challenge. BoL’s magic system so completely doesn’t mesh with the Vancian fire-and-forget stuff that Labyrinth Lord and its relatives use. I suppose you could just say “Well, you’re a 4th level magic-user, so act like one” and be done with it if you want to keep it simple. I also suggest having BoL characters with Priest career ranks but no Magician ranks not be treated as Clerics, since BoL Priests don’t really work “magic” in the spellcasting sense. Ignore that suggestion if being a Cleric is really key to the conception of the character as it is crossing the line between these two world.

One other idea that occurred to me is that the Vancian stuff could work as a reasonable model of BoL’s Alchemy. Instead of having X number of spells per day per level, though, you’d get X number of alchemical preparations (which you define with Labyrinth Lord spells) per adventure. Just use the M/U spell tables to determine what X is and you’re set. So I’d class BoL characters who were Alchemists as M/Us in LL-land but restrict their usage of spells as noted above. To offset that, I figure you’d need to give them better HD or something. But again, that’s beyond the scope of this post.


The above stuff works for characters who display a full range of stats, but normal BoL monster listings are a bit more abstract. Ultimately, though, what you need for a Labyrinth Lord monster is an Armor Class, a number of Hit Dice, and a concept of how they attack & what damage they do. So here’s how I’m breaking these numbers out from a BoL listing:

  • LL HD = (Lifeblood/5)
  • LL Attacks = BoL attacks (i.e., claw/claw/bite or whatever, with the bonuses to hit listed), with damage as follows:
    • 1 LB = 1 HP
    • d2 LB = 1d2 HP
    • d3 LB = 1d3 HP
    • d6-1 LB = 1d4 HP
    • d6 LB = 1d6 HP
    • d6+2 LB = 1d8 HP
    • 2d6-1 LB = d10 HP
    • 2d6 LB = 1d12 HP
    • 2d6+2 LB = 2d8 HP
    • 3d6 LB = 3d6 HP
    • 3d6+2 LB = 2d10 HP
    • 4d6 LB = 2d12 HP
  • LL AC = 9 – (Defense + Average Protection/Armor Value)

But what about Movement? As I see it LL Movement varies quite a bit independent of creature size, while in BoL’s “Base Move” is entirely based on creature size. I’m too lazy to come up with a specific approach here, so I’d suggest just defaulting everything to LL’s 90/30 unless being fast or slow is part of the creature’s schtick. In that case, adjust accordingly.

For monsters’ attributes, just use the same translation method as for PCs ([BoL Att*2]+10) if you need to know them. But since LL doesn’t often reference creatures’ attributes, this shouldn’t matter too often.


A couple of examples are probably in order. So first, let’s look at a character. How about good ol’ Captain Ertegun Vaul? Based on his listing in the linked post, here’s how I would render him as a Labyrinth Lord character:

Ertegun Vaul / Human Magic-User 4 Chaotic Good
STR 12 INT 12 WIS 12 DEX 10 CON 12 CHR 14
HP 13 AC 7 Gold 40
Scimitar, +1 Dagger, Leather Armor
MU Spells: Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, ESP, Phantasmal Force
Non-Combat Bonuses & Penalties: +6 to mariner rolls (+4 from careers, +2 from boon); +2 to merchant rolls; +2 to religion rolls; +2 to carousing rolls; −2 to resisting greed

Note that even though he had a rank of 0 in Sorcerer as a BoL character I went ahead and made him into a 100% Magic-User in LL. Even rank zero qualifies you to cast some scary stuff in BoL, so having that should – at a minimum – result in a 2/2 split with another class. More often, though, it should override all the other possible class considerations (in my opinion). Or you can, of course, build the character without magic at all. That’s an entirely reasonable approach as well. Mostly I think it depends on your conception of the character in question and the level of magic in the campaign you’re working with.

Now, let’s convert a monster – just for fun. In this case, let’s use the Ilthoth-eg of Nogoloth.

No. Enc.: 2d4 (2d4)
Alignment: Chaotic (Neutral)
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 1-1
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d4
Save: F1
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: VI
XP: 7

Small, grey-furred cat-like beasts that inhabit the caves deep within the northern mountains of Nogoloth, Ilthoth-eg are set apart from the “normal” wildcats of the region by their abundance of eyes. A typical Ilthoth-eg possesses somewhere between 7 and 11 eyes arrayed across their bodies. Though not truly intelligent, these animals chitter and whisper their previous victims’ words as they stalk their prey through the darkness of the caves.

Due to their abundance of eyes, Ilthoth-eg are only surprised on a 1-in-6. Further, these creatures are incredibly difficult for thieves to backstab. A thief attempting to perform this maneuver against an Ilthoth-eg suffers a −25% penalty to the move silently and hide in shadows rolls necessary for a successful backstab.

Following my suggestion of tweaking the movement rate for a converted creature beyond 90/30, I upped these guys slightly based on their wildcat-esque nature. I improvised on the No. Encountered, Morale and Hoard Class for these guys. The Save As and XP Value were calculated per the LL rules.

In Conclusion

So that’s my ideas for converting Barbarians of Lemuria characters and monsters to Labyrinth Lord. I think they’ll get the job done well enough for most purposes. These should also allow you to take BoL resources and use them in any other game from the same gene pool as LL. Those games are, after all, pretty much the same game with some minor changes here and there.

I’m open to any thoughts you, my readers and friends, might have on how to handle things. So go nuts in the comments if you like. Your input is, as always, invaluable to me.

*Other iterations of the source material refer to a 4th level MU as a Theurgist. You can’t win ’em all.

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Barbarians of Heavy Metal Design Diary 8


Hey, Nathaniel here. After a bit of a delay due to a host of other stuff on my plate, I am now ready to divulge the basic tenants of Warp travel in the BoHM universe. This is important because any adventure game on an interstellar scale needs a coherent underlying rationale for the ability to travel faster than light in order to fully flesh out the ramifications of that technology on the rest of society. In our case in particular, what exactly led to an intergalactic society of rockers, punks and metalheads in general? Remember, what is being put down here is still in a rough, conceptual stage, but it should give you a good idea of the direction I’m going in. As always, comments are appreciated.

Now, I have to say that there has been a LOT of thought going on behind the final ideas presented here (a there will probably be a great deal more once writing commences) and not just on my end. I have to give a big shout out to two folks, Aaron Smith, whose comments have constantly kept me from drifting too far from the thematic basis of the game,  and LTCMDR Tom Mays, my oldest friend and Mister Physics, who helped me ground it in some basic ‘reality.’

With those necessary credits issued (and the both of you will be included in the credits of the game as well), here’s the nitty-gritty on riding the warp of space…

How It All Came About – The Birth of the Precogs

‘Back in the Day’ (the term used by the modern headbanger to refer to the pre-war past) scientists started to discover more and more about the ‘superstrings’ that formed the underlying superstructure of the universe. Eventually, Harmonic Resonance Technology came about allowing the scientists to ‘pluck’ those strings and affect the physical universe in a variety of ways using special ‘Forks’ whose vibrations resonated in a ultra-high frequency that transcended physical dimensions.

It was during these experiments that certain researchers started having vivid audio and visual ‘hallucinations.’ It turned out that certain people (almost uniquely women, as the mutation required two X chromosomes to function properly) had a very special ability which allowed them to see and hear the disturbances in real space caused by the manipulation of superstrings.

Once they had these initial hallucinations and their ‘hyperspatial sense’ had been stimulated even further by further experimentation, their perceptions got sharper and they could eventually, with concentration, even see and hear the basic harmonics behind the universe itself. With this ability they could perceive the flow of local events and this gave them a predictive power, bordering on actual precognition,  that made them very useful indeed (and which would eventually lead the universe into the apocalyptic horror of  the Thousand Psychic Wars).

Into The Warp

Of the many things the Precogs could see, the most useful of all was the warping of space caused by the manipulation of superstrings in the ultra- ultra-high frequency range. These folds, being of space and not inside it, could be set to move at incredible speeds that transcended all the physical limitations of interstellar travel.

Eventually the scientists and the emerging precog class learned how to move a ship ‘between the curves’ of this warp in space, into a hyperspatial interface generated by two layers of space-time in close proximity to each other, and travel across vast interstellar distances became possible.

This travel was not without its dangers, however. A Warp travels through a universe of mass and energy that vibrates on numerous frequencies and creates harmonic disturbances that can throw it all over the place like a leaf on the wind. It was here that the true value of Precogs was recognized as they could see these disturbances and, by manipulating the Harmonic Forks empowering the warp, steer it in the right direction. Thus interstellar travel was established and the Warp Riders became a power in their own right (eventually dividing into three competing Sisterhoods: Ouranos’ Daughters; Hermes’ Brides; and the Mistresses of the Mysteries).

Warp Mechanics

Warp ships are made up of three very important parts. The first is an array of rather specialized harmonic resonator forks that not only generate the fold in space, but create the wormhole that allows the ship to pass into the hyperspatial interface between the folds.

The second is a hull made up of Vibranium, an extremely specialized  alloy used in the creation of Harmonic Resonance Forks. This acts to help amplify the forks function and protect the ship in Hyperspace and outside it [Ed. I’m still working out the ramifications and possibilities of Vibranium].

The third is the Warp Rider herself, the Precog who can hear the music of the universe inside her head, see the waves of  convergence and dissonance and then play her 6 Dimensional String Manipulator (which takes the form of some sort of musical instrument) to move the warp.

Controlling a Warp Ship in flight in real-space is done by normal stellar navigation. To transcend physical space a Warp Rider must play the Superstrings to create a fold. Once the fold is created, the Warp Rider uses a discordance to rip a hole through space-time and into the Hyperspatial interface so that the ship can maneuver inside it. After that, they begin the musical manipulation of the superstrings in earnest and the Warp Fold is set in motion, like a wave in space-time.

Once in the fold of space, it is the musical virtuosity of the Warp Rider that controls the direction and speed of the Warp Fold. The harder the music rocks, the tighter the fold, the faster  the potential flight. They have to take care, however, as too tight a fold will cause the two sides of the warp to touch and become a singularity which crushes the ship and everything within 1000+ kilometers of it into a point before (assuming it wasn’t foolishly created close to a large stellar mass) dispersing.

Along with plotting a flight to distant stars and knowing how to compensate for interstellar movement and the like, The Warp Rider also listens to the harmonics of the universe and watches the waves of discordance as they pass around the warp and then plays to compensate and push the warp in the right direction. On smaller ships a single Warp Rider can control the miniscule fold created relatively easy, but the Harmonic Resonance needed to push folds that can encompass larger ships or even entire fleets requires a whole band or even a choir of Warp Riders to play in unison, with a leader known as the Navigatrix acting as the band leader. The whole group functions in a manner very similar to a jazz ensemble, playing to a set path, but also improvising to counter unexpected distortion from the universe.

Once the Warp Fold reaches its destination just outside a star system (going into a system can potentially collapse the fold with the ship still inside it as the extreme masses of the planets and suns overwhelm the Warp Riders ability to compensate, although the more talented they are, the closer in they can get) the Warp Rider slowly releases the fold, flattening it out and then moving the ship out of the Hyperspatial Interface and back into real-space.

The Silence & The Fury

There are pockets of space where, for whatever reason, the superstrings of the universe are so flaccid or broken that no sound can be brought forth from them. Initially, these pockets were rare, constrained to areas where dark matter is in such abundance that it collapses any waveforms before they can be created, like a universal sound cancelling effect or an interstellar calm. These areas said to be ‘Cursed by The Silence.’ There are other areas where the noise from extreme stellar phenomena like massive quasars drowns out all other attempts to manipulate the superstrings. These areas are said to be ‘Ravaged by The Fury.’ Black Holes can qualify as both Silence and Fury, flipping from one to another at random intervals.

Both of these areas can have adverse effects on a Warp Fold. The Silence will prevent any manipulation of the fold causing the Warp to move uncontrollably towards an unknown destination. Even worse than that, the cancellation of all harmonic resonance will sometimes cause the fold to flatten out, forcing the ships inside to make an emergency re-entry into real-space where they will remain stranded until they can leave the Silence behind by way of real-space travel (which can take decades or even centuries).

The Fury will blind a Warp Rider and send the Warp off in Lord only knows what direction, sometimes in several different directions in rapid succession, so that by the time they emerge, they could be anywhere. It can also cause singularity collapse and a host of other problems, as the insane vibrations of the strings around the disturbance cause energy discharges in the Hyperspatial Interface analogous to the electrical storms on Jupiter. Again, a ship can be forced out of the Warp Fold and into a real-space from which they can only escape by slow physical travel or by risking their own destruction trying to create and enter into a new Warp Fold.

Pockets of The Silence and The Fury occur naturally, but they can also be caused artificially. This occurs in areas in which Harmonic Resonance is used as a weapon on such a scale that it tears space-time apart, breaking or stretching out the strings or setting them to vibrate eternally without end. The Thousand Psychic Wars saw just such a scale of universal destruction and for that reason, travel between the stars has been reduced to limited routes of known ‘clear’ space, which are meticulously marked on astronavigational charts. This has led to interstellar trade routes and borders being formed, restricting the ability of the various petty baronies, kingdoms and fiefdoms to engage in all out war without a well established route to attack along (which often requires such a large number of temporary alliances, sweet deals and pacts of non-aggression that the initial diplomacy to clear the way can be more difficult and costly than the actual conflict itself).

The destruction in some areas of space was so complete that some systems are cut off entirely from any kind of interstellar travel, the Earth in particular, which no one has been able to visit in over 300 years. While there may, indeed, be paths to these lost systems, it takes a great expedition to find and chart them again, and while there are entire companies devoted to re-forging these paths across the galaxy, most believe Earth to be lost forever, as the few who have set out to find a way back to humanities home-world have never returned.

Up Next: Random Subjects of Interest

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The Sword – Warp Riders

The title track from the new album by The Sword – Warp Riders.

To cross the Universe / in hyper-spatial flight.
We ride the warp of space / into the womb of night.

Alright. This needs to be gamed. Soon. The only question is what system to use. I think I want to make a BoL/BotA 60s/70s-style SciFi/metal thang. No one I know will play it, of course. But I still want to do it.

Oh, and for more inspiration, observe the Art of Penguin Science Fiction

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