Thursday, December 23, 2010

Skulldred 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Skulldred has been, obviously, on a total back burner whilst I have been working on Bederken- I thank everyone for their playtesting and comments.

I look forward to releasing the new version early next year!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

next edition changes...

More like, change backs... the hit/miss system though being very neat and simple, seems to indeed lack the range of confidence you garner from having a target number.  The beta 1 system actually works better in most respects, except that it did not have dreadskulls and the 'dropping guard' rule of an extra hit if the opponent rolls all fails.  Those two combined actually seem to give enough scope of tactics and allows a lowly single dicer to take down a hero - only if the hero drops his guard, which is fair enough.

The other benefit of returning to the first system - where you roll under a target number based upon good you are, and a number of dice on how dangerous you are... this gives a range of new options for sure hitting weak warriors vs erratic but devastating options such as scatter guns and frenzied cave trolls- they rarely hit, but when they do its goodnight.

Thus a warrior would be defined by his combat skill/damage dice.  Size would add bonus dice.

Another point Andy Skinner brought up from his playtest game was that rolling armour dice felt awkward.  Perhaps a simple ' reroll any enemy hit dice and if they score under your armour score you discard them.' thing would be neater.

For my play testing, I am focusing on a movement system for ranked troops on a movement tray or multi-base.  I am starting to think an easier way to handle quick play tournament rules is to break models into classes- such as cannon, spear, dragon, hero, sorcerer in a similar manner to the classic HotT.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Skulldred now has a forum!

Skulldred 1.04 released

The latest version link now links to 1.04.

The new version is much more streamlined and fleshed out.  You can now field your own custom units with a functional points system, ability list and basic magic system.

Release notes:
d2 system adopted - each dice has a 50-50 chance of giving a hit-miss result.  Roll 4+ to hit on a d6.
Dreadskull counter pool used to restore ANY downed models.
Poison more lethal but also easier to cure.
Action system simplified- you can now act once or roll 2d + 1d hero bonus + 1d leader bonus to get extra actions.  You no longer become downed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beta 1.04 work

Had a little time to do some more work on it today.

I think I found the source of the staleness - The core problem was that I blasted the system back so far there was no randomness to action points. Having randomness in how many actions you can play each turn makes you feel engaged in the moment... what can I do right now with what I have?  It forces you to strategies on the fly.

I wanted to try something fresh today, so I experimented with a custom die for action points.
I put stickers on a d6 so that it reads 0, 1, 1, 2, 2 and 3 actions.  This gives a dirty sort of bell curve.
I am trialling proximity to a leader allows a model to roll two action dice instead of 1 and take the best number- meaning more chance of coordination among troops with a leader present.

All this messing with custom dice drew me to try out a small half sized deck of cards - that can be drawn to give both action points and d6 dice roll results.  Couldn't resist doing them up like tarot cards... but that's just me.

The second thing I am trying out is the concept of critical failure by rolling all fails in a combat roll.  This drops your guard, allowing opponents to score bigger hits against you than would normally be possible.  Since heroes and monsters have around three or more dice, its less likely they will be caught off guard than a peasant- but conversely a halfling can get a lucky shot on a dragon who fails to defend itself.

Well, thats it from me... Will post the new rules up on lead adventure when they are ready to play!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Beta 1.04 progress

Beta 1.04 is coming along slowly- the last couple of test games played very stale, predictable and unexciting.  Blindingly fast, yes, but somehow no sparkle.

I have been trialling a clean system using straight 50-50 odds on all dice, and making multiple dice the focus.  It works well with playing cards, drawing red cards for hits and black for misses.  Creates a pleasing, easy to play game but lacks strategy and engagement.  Tinkering continues...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dreadskull counter prototype

Here is a quick pic of a prototype resin counter I knocked up to try out the idea of fielded Dreadskull points.

The concept is you start with a pool.  When your model is downed, you place one of the skulls from your pool onto the model.  You may then discard that to make them stand again, or sacrifice the model to get back the Deadskull at any time.

I will put card equivalents in the next beta rules.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Battle of Gullet Gully - Beta test battle report

Dashbournes heroes

In the final battle of the campaign, the vile alliance of Dwerg Sorcerer Flux Capacitus and the ghost kin human Balek Krad raise a small force of undead in order to turn the final onslaught of Darc Dashbournes band of rag tag heroes.
The Dark Alliance' last stand

  The tide of war has turned - as Fegg the Bastard- former ally of the evil alliance, swore death to Balek for leaving him to die on the battlefield.
  Meanwhile, Darc Dashbourne, having rescued the northern tribe from Baleks attack and awoken from the drunken celebrations married to the chiefs daughter (damned if he can work out what her name is- she doesn't speak a word of common). is discovering his brides skill in battle matches his own!  A deep connection forms, (paired in combat +1) - and they face the final battle side by side.

The battle starts with the Heroes deploying, and as underdog, Flux gets to place his troops with full knowledge of the enemy position.

The dwarves break free from the heroes, making a sneaky swing around the back- using bushes for hidden cover against Flux and his skeleton muskets potential blasts.  Meanwhile, lone surviving archer Griff Longbrow darts to the central tree to set up his hiding place.

Sneaky Dwarves use hide counters against musket fire

Dashbourne explains his stealthy plan carefully to Mongo and Mrs Dashbourne, who both nod blankly at what he is saying- then proceed to charge directly into the enemy.  Dashbourne sighs, and chases off after them.  Fegg, seeing Balek close to the hill decides the hill should be HIS, and charges off- his chittering little weapon bearer clanking behind.

Enemy spread thin to seize high ground on flanks
Balek and Flux split up, Balek rushing to take the hill (and thus +1 dice height advantage) ready for his musket to lay down fire across the field.  Flux takes his now veteran Dwerg to take the small stone stair so his magic bolts can likewise pepper the foe.  The enemy have but one ranged weapon, and he is no hero.  Can they strike him down before he takes a....

Too late!  Griff Longbrow looses an arrow at the exposed Balek!  Balek, cockily striding across the field cackles at +3 dice (champion) +1 (magic weapon) and....  rolls no hits!  The plucky Griff manages 2- but that only downs the Dark Champion...  The player immediately spends One Skull to save him.  The enraged warrior snaps the arrow from his chest and roars!

Mongo presses forward, slamming into the zombie line, immediately sending the accursed dead back to hell.

Fegg takes the hill, using the lodestone as cover against the musket.  Balek is close, but before he can fight him, the skeletons dart forward and aim at Feggs weakspot- his weapon bearer!  Fegg would loose +1 bonus dice in combat should his servant fall!  Meanwhile, Gatt the sneaky's hiding space is discovered by a skeletal minion.  Perhaps a dagger isnt the best thing to bring to an undead battle- Gatt draws with the bonehead- and decides to hold the position.

Meanwhile, the battle of the zombies gets bloody - hoping to pierce through quickly, the heroes hack into the putrid line- but disastrous rolls hold them.  At least the plan to stop enemies firing at them by all being engaged works...

The battle rages on, Balek ignores Fegg, choosing to use his zombies to boost his dice against Dashbourne.  meanwhile, the Dwerg attack Mongo- boosting their chances by sacrificing Skull points.  Sadly, they but draw with the ogre- Azgabble uses the new draw ability to swing around behind the foe- opening up space for his mates to make a frontal attack!

For his next action, Dashbourne falls back hoping to draw his foes closer to Fegg, and expose their backs to Mongo and Mrs.Dashbournes sudden swing back.  His trick works!  His attackers choose to press on and maintain base contact.  Now, if he can only hold them while....
Suddenly Balek, kicking his own zombie into Dash, delivers a powerful blow to the hero.  Mrs. Dashbourne screams in horror as the dark knight takes the fallen Dashbournes head.  No skull points can save our hero now- he is dead!

Fegg shatters his skeletons hips, and though the villains have plenty of skull points left, they choose to keep the skeleton down- for now...
Mongo eats The silence in one go, and plants a boot into the foaming mouthed Azgabble- sending the Dwerg flying away unharmed.
meanwhile, the beastman seizes the stone stair.  The battle rages away from him, but he awaits his moment.

Balek orders his troops to descend on The Widow Dashbourne- but the golden haired amazon burns Skullpoints to exact her revenge- adding +3 dice to her +3 champion bonus to tear the dark knights black heart out- even whilst pressed by two zombies and a mad dwerg!  The heroes have now spent all their Skull points... its down to end game now, as all downed results become deaths...  the enemy still holds four points!

Flux, realising his magic is useless now, sends his familiar in to the frey to pester the heroes.  It works, and the little fool distracts Mongo long enough for the beastman to leap from his stone stair and sink his blade into mongos neck.  The Ogre falls like a tree with a confused look on its face.

The widow Dashbournebattles on- faced by a bizarre set of foes.  She rolls strong, she rolls hard... but the enemy keep toe to toe with her!  Meanwhile, the skeleton Musketeer climbs to the top of the hill- its expressionless face hunts the battlefield for potential victims of its 3 + 1 dice ranged attack...

The dwarves, stuck on the wrong side of the battlefield, play hide and seek with the skeleton gunner.  Finally, they make a run for it, the skeleton takes a potshot at the tiny Pip Bigtackle- but naturally misses the double dwarf (a dwarf suffering from a dwarfing spell) as he is a size 1.

Fegg, seeing his vengeance taken from him by The Widow, turns to leave the battle field and her to her fate.  And yet, something tugs at his mind.  Watching the valiant woman staggering under the onslaught, he feels pity for the first time since darkness seized his soul...  and with a grin, he rushes to her side!

The widow disengages back one base width, scraping off the familliar- who cannot find base space to keep engaged.  the other two press in.  She then falls back again, using Fegg as a barrier- the Rhino faced beastman cannot press!  She now faces just the zombie.  Fegg saves the day!
Seeing victory racing away, the villainous player spends his skull points to restore the skeleton on the hill, and charge him down into The Widows (nicely sculpted) rear.  She smashes him to dust.

Moments later, the battle is all but run.  Flux attacks the archer, but Fegg and the newly arrived Dwarves quickly dispatch his skeletal crew and swarm down on the Dwerg sorcerer, but not before Gatt the Sneaky's robes are set alight by a spell blast from Flux Capacitus.

Flux's dark reign is ended by Pip Bigtackles (relatively) humongous weapon.

The Victors!
Many have fallen on the road, yet the reign of terror is over.  The dwarf EverLost takes back his peoples stolen treasure, and returns (eventually) with the foul axe of Barek as a souvenir. Bigtackle becomes elevated to a champion.  Fegg switches alignment, seizes the widow as his bride, returns to her peoples village (who all agree is his much cooler than Dashbourne) and eventually becomes king with The Widow Dashbourne becoming the dreaded Queen Fegg.

Well that is the first run of beta 1.04ish.  Skull points work very well- giving a huge range of strategies.  This game was played with 2 actions per model, and no one used initiative at all, which was weird.  However it worked nicely, and the combat ebbed and flowed thanks to the new aggressive draw rules.

Next edition shortly!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New rules set coming soon

I have wrapped up the first series of sculpts for Bederken miniatures, so will have some time on my hands soon to get out a new beta set.

I am trying some new ideas out (it is beta after all).

Strength counters- aka potions - players use these at the end of any enemy action, or at any stage in their play to restore downed characters and can spend them to get bonus dice in combat- however be warned, once they have run out all downed results are deaths.  You will ONLY be able to restore downed characters using strength, otherwise they stay downed and may only crawl about slowly.

Levels - All models get level scores.  Mooks are level 0, troops 1, veterans 2, heroes 3, champions 4.  This limits the amount of strength counters that they can use, and could be a basis of a toughness base attribute.  The idea is that the units level defines default numbers, the exceptions are then purchased.

Doubletime - when a model is out of long range from the enemy, he may double move for one action.  This is counted as a single action.  This allows larger tables to be played.

Agressive Draw tactics - if you draw with an opponent, the attacker you may elect to drive the model back, slam them back, reposition itself anywhere touching the enemies base or knock them back.

Base knockback - the Smaller of the two bases is always used- so a gargantuan forced back by a fairee will only move back the width of the fairee base.

I am also trying out some alternative initiative systems shortly, all quite radically different to each other.  The aim is always be drunk, make it streamline and make it more fun.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Bikes and chariots are not included in the beta rules.  I do not have much experience feilding them in battle, so would appreciate hearing what players love about them and expect to see in a rule set.


One comment I have had is that players want weapons supported in the rules.

I think that differentiating a mace from an axe from a sword, for example, would be a layer of complexity that isn't needed.  Adding this would limit the miniatures you could field and would add a table to the book- directly contrary to the basic values of the game.  Regardless of what the miniature has been sculpted with, the only consideration you need is how good are they with the weapon they are holding.

I do think weapon powerups are a good idea- being able to find a good weapon in a treasure chest or steal one from a slain enemy is all good fun.  I plan on having weapon cards and counters in the game.  These would simply add a bonus dice to your melee or ballistic score.

Polearms, seige engines and slow loading weapons are something I think that should be factored in though.

First battle report- like eva

The award for first beta battle report goes to Thantsants for his brillaint elf vs. orc reboot on a classic campaign.  Delicious scenery and miniatures here...

Thanks so much Thantsants!

Combat went well, but the initiative system needs revising- looking at the report my gut feeling is that units need to be able to do more rather than having to rely on initiative all the time.  I am thinking a simple system where you choose either 2 free actions system or gamble for initiative by rolling under your initiative of 3 or more- though I am tempted to make it a roll stat number of dice vs game conditions- factoring in morale, if your the last man standing you get more action points, for example.

Do try out the rules if you get a few hours- the core combat system is the focus here whilst I nut out a cool activation system.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

beta 1.03 Initiative revision

Hi folks,

Initiative rules where too harsh, so try this version.

  • Downed models may not make any free actions, except a free recover.
  • A model may free recover instead of rolling for initiative.  It may not do both.
  • If a downed model rolls for initiative instead, it must spend its first action point recovering, it may then spend the rest of its points performing any actions as per normal.
  • You may sacrifice your go instead of downing a models.
And a biggie...
  • Downed models that are not engaged are not killed by a second downed result from a failed initiative roll.  They simply remain down and do not gain any actions.
  • Downed models that are engaged are killed if they get a second downed result.
Using this version means that reckless actions are no longer in the rules.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Skulldred beta 1.03 release

Beta 1.03 is released, this time with an even more streamlined core system.

The news rules flips the rolling system on its head by using SIZE directly, rather than comparitively- thus removing more step.  This makes your big models faithfully more destructive- you can count on them to put fear into the hearts of your troops.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Skulldred beta release

Welcome!  Skulldred is a set of streamlined rules for playing fantasy tabletop skirmish games.  You can play any scale of miniatures, build pretty much any warband you like, and more importantly, you should be able to play it drunk.

Skulldred beta release version 1.01 is now available for download from my site.  Just right-click and save the following link.  Its free to download for playtesting, however the price of admission is your feedback.  Please read it, play it and let me know how it went!

Version beta 1.01 has no magic system or points system, and is bare bones at the moment.  What I would like to test is if the core mechanic works and, more importantly, is fun.  Let me know.

What I am looking to achieve is a streamlined, slick and effortless core system, onto which the full game can be built.  The final goal is to have a sexy print on demand and pdf version, packed will full rules illustrations and photos.  Just cause its indy, doesn't mean it needs to be cruddy and minimalist.

Drop me a line at - just take out the word FISH from that email.  You know... Spambots.  Please put SKULLDRED in the title of the mail so my filter can catch it!

I hope you enjoy it!

Dave King