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Dev Blog #79: Progress Update – Injury Mechanics

Battle Brothers, as you know, is a game about managing a mercenary company. This week we’re talking about a new aspect to manage both on the battlefield and when travelling the world: the upcoming injury mechanics. There’s two types of injuries – temporary and permanent ones – and they both serve a different purpose in enriching the game. Let’s delve in!

Temporary Injuries

Temporary injuries add complexity to both combat and worldmap gameplay. They are effectively status effects that represent serious injury that diminish a character’s ability to fight effectively, different from lighter wounds by loss of hitpoints only. Depending on where a character is injured, they may suffer from various disabilities; for example, an injured leg may impede movement, whereas an injured arm may lower offensive capabilities, and a swollen eye may lower vision.


In combat, injuries are inflicted if an attack surpasses a certain threshold of hitpoint damage relative to the maximum hitpoints of the character hit. The higher the maximum hitpoints of a character, the more difficult it is to inflict injury upon them, and the more damage inflicted, the more serious the potential injury may be. This applies to both your Battle Brothers and your enemies – it’s easier to inflict serious injury to fragile Goblins than sturdy Orcs, or to those of your men that have a lot of hitpoints. A select few enemies may also be immune to some or all types of injuries. The type of injury inflicted depends on the weapon used, with blunt weapons inflicting different injuries from cutting or piercing ones. With the new injury mechanics, combatants will no longer be able to fight to their fullest at even just a single hitpoint left, but will now progressively get weaker as you beat on them.

Outside of combat, temporary injuries take a certain amount of time to heal – how long exactly depends on the specific injury, with a broken leg taking quite a bit longer to recover from than a light concussion. While you can send your injured right back into combat, it’s a good idea to make use of the reserve roster so that they can recover and don’t have to limp onto the battlefield. Injured characters have icons shown right next to them in the roster view, allowing you to see at a glance who’s fit and who may need to sit out a contract. In order to make the best out of the men available to you at any given time, you’ll now have to shuffle your roster every now and then, which should help to shake up what could previously become too static a gameplay element once you had assembled a good team.

battle brothers with temporary injuries

If you’ve played Battle Brothers before, you’ll be aware of certain events that may end in fists flying amongst your men, particularly with certain party compositions, or combat drills ending in accidents. Consequences were previously limited to a loss of hitpoints very quickly healed by passing time. Now, events can also come with injury as a consequence, like a broken nose as your men beat on each other, which should make for a more serious concern as you weigh your options.

temple interface

Finally, the upcoming update will also have the temple building serve a function. In temples across the land, devout followers of the gods will pray for and treat the wounds of the pantheon’s children as mandated by their faith. Your men will recover faster from injuries expertly treated here, and you don’t run the risk of developing gangrene like you do in the field. The bandages shown on your characters are even visibly replaced by clean ones.

Permanent Injuries

Life expectancy can be short for mercenaries. But while permadeath is and will remain an important part of Battle Brothers, not every downed character has to be quite dead. Assuming a character isn’t decapitated, has their skull bashed in or suffered a similarly gruesome fate, there’s now a chance for them to survive with a permanent injury that will accompany them the rest of their lives.

permanent injuries

A character may get lucky and suffer an injury that has only a minor impact on their abilities, such as missing an ear, or they may suffer a more crippling disability, such as missing a whole hand. Permanent injuries all have negative effects, but some may also include positive ones. Brain damage, for example, doesn’t make a character any more competent, but it may make them just dumb enough not to realize when it’s time to run, effectively lowering their chance to break and flee.

Depending on the injury sustained and the role of the character in your company, a permanent injury may be anything from a small reminder to be more careful next time, to a crippling disability. From a design perspective it is a tool to cushion the impact that losing important characters can have on your campaign. Whether you choose to ultimately replace that character or not, they’ll be around for a while longer to help you succeed – especially useful with the optional Ironman mode we’ll be introducing next update. Also, of course, missing noses make for distinct characters and contribute to the emergent story of your very own mercenary company.

Young Orc Blog Header

The Music of Battle Brothers

We’ve entered full production now on the excitingly gruesome new injury mechanics and will be revealing them to you next week in a detailed blog post. For now, we give the word to our talented musicians to listen to and hear their thoughts on the most recent additions to the soundtrack of Battle Brothers.

The Might of Obrokk

Hi everybody, Patrick from Breakdown Epiphanies here. Over the course of the last weeks we added some new tracks to the Battle Brothers soundtrack, a few of which we would like to showcase in this week’s devblog.

So without further ado we’ll start with the latest piece in our musical arsenal, the third theme for battles against the notorious orcs that are haunting every late-game mercenary company’s dreams. We’ve started naming the tracks for the soundtrack inspired by names and places from the game now, so instead of the rather bland “Battle Track III”, we give you “The Might of Obrokk”.

At the start, our goal was to have two fairly long and varied themes for battles with each faction in the game. This third Orc track we did mostly for fun, although you can say that the Orcs pose a prevalent threat in the late game so more music that carries the weight of fighting these armored behemoths will be a welcome addition.

We’ve been listening to Howard Shore’s beautiful and brilliant soundtrack to the LOTR-movies a lot lately and we always loved Shore’s take on Tolkien’s world. So we had to have a go at an orchestration in his style while trying out some awesome new instruments we got our hands on. Like with all of the Orc music for Battle Brothers, we’re relying mostly on brass in our arrangement, accompanied by odd rhythm patterns that feature somber and tuned percussion, as well as hammering on all kinds of metal surfaces. All of this culminates in a more harmonic but still menacing ending with a big choir build-up. If at that point Obrokk has not wiped the floor with your puny mercenaries, and somehow you managed to survive, feel free to loot some juicy man-splitters off of those greenskin corpses, as the approaching reinforcements sound their war horns in the distance.

Traversing the Northern Clanlands

A few weeks earlier the guys from Overhype asked us for another track that could be played when travelling on the world map. Although we already wrote a bunch of music for this part of the game, some more variety was needed, given how much time players spend getting from town to town and looking for work for their company. Overhype have a lot of stuff planned that will incentivise exploring even further to make this part of gameplay stronger for the final release, so providing more music for the world map is also setting up for these improvements.

“Traversing the Northern Clanlands” starts out with a very mellow and soothing string arrangement that won’t get in the way when quickly hopping on to the world map screen and e.g. back to a city. After the first part though it transitions to a wide and epic theme that evokes (so we hope) a feeling of wandering and exploration (I’d say riding across the countryside but you all know that we are not very keen on horses around here ^^).

Rise and Fall of House Kaltenborn

Lastly we would like to present a piece that has been in the game for quite some time now but that many of you might not have encountered up until now because battling the forces of the various noble houses still needs a rather complicated setup at the moment. This will change when faction warfare becomes a thing, but until then, feel free to have a listen to the first Noble Houses Battle Track here.

All of the tracks related to the human faction in the game (bandit themes, town- and stronghold themes) feature acoustic guitars in some way and so does the music for battling the noble houses. Other than that, given the tone of Battle Brothers we could not help ourselves but think about Ramin Djawadi’s main theme for GOT and came up with a waltz in 6/8 (much like our “Stronghold Theme”) that uses a similar call-and-answer structure between a solo cello and the rest of the string section. Later, there are more strings, lots of brass and choir. We basically pulled out all the stops on this one, and its project in our audio workstation is a good contester for “most-notes-played per minute” in the soundtrack.

What’s next?

So what’s on the horizon? Next up is a second track for the beast faction that is already in the works. It will feature almost exclusively drums and percussion (those direwolves still having problems to play melody instruments with their clumsy paws) and will be a bit more up-tempo and dramatic than the first theme that was more about setting a dark and threatening atmosphere. After that we’ll tackle the second noble houses theme so we’ll have that ready for when faction warfare is being introduced. There might be some more new content that will need some musical accompaniment until the final release (like locations or events).

Anyhow, we will probably sit down and write a few more tracks in the meantime just because it’s a lot of fun, like we did with the latest orc song. Boy, are we lucky to work on this game 😉


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