Blood & Bronze Mechanics

crossposted from Detect Magic, Daniel’s RPG blog that hasn’t been updated in a thousand years but has tons of mostly useless stuff on it

Someone on G+ was asking about Blood & Bronze, a newish fantasy adventure D&Dish game set in the Ancient Near East.

TL;DR: if you like the historical setting, worth a buy. If you like Apocalypse World / D&D mashups, probably also worth a buy. Mechanical callouts in bullet points below.

The ANE is my jam; so of course I’d already purchased the book. (Note that links to drivethrurpg are affiliate links for my podcast, gg no re.)

You can get it here: Blood & Bronze @ drivethrurpg. Here’s the website for the game: Proper review by Swords & Stitchery here:

For D&D remixes like this, I usually buy if they have some sort of interesting simplification of the typical mechanics or if they mash up the old school formula with new tech. B&B does both, but not really in a way that I care to adopt.

  • Stats: 2d6  to generate ability scores, from which you consult a table for a rating from 1-6. Scores are for checks and saves (roll under); ratings are for skills. Fighting uses skills.
  • Skills: use your ability ratings to determine how many d6 to roll. You need at least 1 die to have a 5-6. The effects are Apocalypse World style, with bad stuff happening on misses. There’s quite a few, and you gain more by leveling.
  • HP: set by your class. Used both as trad hp and as a stat that other mechanics interact with.
  • Character generation: AW style character gen (hard eyes, young eyes, etc.), with rolled stats as Gygax would have wanted, starting gear, and a selection of skills (AW-style moves) per class.
  • Encumbrance: endurance/hp stat is softcap. For each 3 items past your endurance (round up), +1 point fatigue.
    • Fatigue: temporarily reduces all stats 1:1. When a stat hits zero, you’re weary.
    • Weariness: If you’re hit when you’re weary, you’re out.

Very barebones though written apparently for beginners (lots of talk about having paper, dice, how to roll and calculate things). However, not enough procedural stuff and thorough examples to really be suited for beginners. Organization unintuitive to me.

Nevertheless, the game has a ziggurat on the cover; so I love it.

s2e9: Out of the Abyss Review


Although this is the last episode of season 2 proper, we have a lot more material from the season that we’re not going to release right now. This episode just skips to the end of the campaign because, to be honest, we were done with it.

And not just with this module, but with WotC’s big modules in general.

So, in season 3, as we’ve already hinted in our last post, we’re going to do things differently. Continue reading

Episode 24: Review of Princes of the Apocalypse

“RECRAP more like it” — 4E-ver — good start, not so great follow through — average damage for monsters is good — fan cuts of the Hobbit movies and the SW prequels — is only low level play good? — the Shackled City adventure path good at higher levels? — game companies need a user experience editor — destroy your PC’s mini upon death, great idea — need better hooks, no “you are caravan guards” business — stop having rituals interrupted at climactic moment — changes for season 2 — there can be only one listener.


  • Daniel (GM)
  • Jim
  • Tim
  • Asa
“RECRAP more like it”
We ended up not liking it.
Because it seemed like a 4E module once you get into the dungeons. The dungeons tend to be physical spaces for fights to happen in.
good start, not so great follow through
Early levels were fun and had some variety. But once the structure of the adventure becomes apparent, interest wanes. 
average damage for monsters is good
I love using it. When you run a lot of fights (as you must here), it really speeds things along.
is only low level play good?
I think so. Higher level play doesn’t seem like real D&D to me, more like a supers game.
game companies need a user experience editor
Absolutely this is true. Someone needs to go through the book, and, at each moment, ask, “Would this be a hassle to do if I were actually running this?” You know all the supplemental material DMs have to make? They shouldn’t have to for big time publications like this. 
need better hooks, no “you are caravan guards” business
Seriously. Stop it. Any start to an adventure is better. Lost Mines of Phandelver starts exactly in this way. Hoard of the Dragon Queen is basically the same as well. 
stop having rituals interrupted at climactic moment