Dev Blog #116: The Barbarians, Part I


Dev Blog #116: The Barbarians, Part I

The upcoming ‘Warriors of the North’ DLC will not just bring more replayability and nordic equipment, but also introduce an entirely new human faction to the game. They’ll come with their own lore, armor and weapons, enemy types and fighting styles to pose a unique challenge to any mercenary commander. Let’s delve in!


During the development of the ‘Beasts & Explorations’ DLC we had this idea for groups of wildmen roaming the northern parts of the map. Essentially, they’d be a different flavor of brigands and use existing assets. Except, maybe we could also squeeze in one new armor if we found the time? Or maybe even two? And so we decided that if we wanted to do them, we’d do them right and dedicate the time necessary to give them equipment and mechanics of their own, their own music, as well as contracts and events to convey their lore and the part they play in the world of Battle Brothers. So here we are, with a ‘Warriors of the North’ DLC in development.

Many hundred years ago, in a different era, an empire of man spanned much of the known world. An empire, not of petty noble houses, but one of a dozen provinces, from the blistering sands of the south to the frozen tundra of the north, of a dozen peoples under one banner. As the empire spread further and further to the north, it became entangled in constant war with countless tribes of barbarians. Some were subjugated by force, some saw opportunity and swore allegiance, others faded into nothingness, but many more remained free; their constant raids and incursions a thorn in the side of the empire.

The empire, as you may know, eventually crumbled under its own weight, and feudal houses emerged from the dust to rule the lands in its stead. Yet, in the very north, the free barbarian tribes remained free still. For them, their own tribe is the beginning and the end, it is bliss in life and death, for their family is holy to them and they believe to sit with their ancestors if they meet their end in this life. They roam the harsh and infertile lands as they have been for hundreds of years, they raid to claim what they need, and they sacrifice their prisoners in bloody rituals to prove their worth to ancestors who ascended to be gods through their deeds in life. But they’re not beasts, and they’re not of alien minds like the greenskins. They’re humans; and while they speak a different tongue, they can be reasoned with, and they know the concepts of honor, and friendship, and truce and bartering. What they do, they have to do in order to survive in the unforgiving lands they inhabit. They follow their old ways to this day. They’re the warriors of the north.

Fighting Barbarians

The warriors of the north are ferocious fighters, but with scarce resources and a nomadic lifestyle, they usually don’t have access to the level of equipment that other human factions do. Many of them wear armor crafted from pelts and furs, and while some do boast metal armor, not least because it is a matter of prestige, the harsh climate of the north often has taken a toll on it over the years. Some barbarians even forego armor altogether, and instead paint their bodies with magic runes to call upon their ancestors to protect them from harm.

Their weapons are likewise often crafted from wood and bone, some of the few materials readily available to them, or have been handed down through generations and show signs of wear. Generally, all barbarian weapons have somewhat lower base damage values, but a higher percentage of damage that ignores armor than comparable weapons in the game. Of course, all their armor and weapons are lootable and equippable by you, too – and there’ll be named variants as well!

In combat, a barbarian warband doesn’t bother with formations, and they have no backline with polearms or dedicated archers. They are a horde of ferocious warriors in a constant shuffle of everyone trying to bring their weapons to bear against the enemy. They’ll shower you with throwing weapons, they run towards your line, and they make ample use of the ‘Adrenaline’ perk to overwhelm you before you can even strike back. They don’t fear death the same as other humans do, so they are not easy to break, and getting hurt will only further incite their barbarian wrath.

Because a barbarian warband is but a loose collection of individuals, unified only in their tribal bonds and their willingness to fight for their place in both life and afterlife, their unit types are quite diverse in terms of equipment and perks, as you’ll see in a future dev blog.

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About Jaysen


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    Mar 1, 2019 @ 15:53 pm

    Holy Bear, sounds perspective and new game exp like. And new otions to kill newby streamers party- good !

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    Mar 1, 2019 @ 16:12 pm

    It is very epic! Really amazing. You are logical, and have a good sense what we need and what makes that game awesome! Godd job
    I definetly buy that.
    Anyway pls now start to think about other logistical options, like managing the company, having some intelligence, not a fighter in the team for instance a treasurer a smith etc etc.
    AAAAAND In my humble opinion people really like crafting systems in game.. you gave us one. But you can do more about it. Like more recipies, maybe some armor crafting, more materials, moooooore legendary weapons.

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    Ieuan Mawr
    Mar 1, 2019 @ 17:03 pm

    Hmmmmm… this feels less like a fully formed society and more like a new contribution to the gaming meta. Not fearing death and just getting angrier as they fight feels is closer to a twist on zombies than an alternate to nobles, militia, and brigands. Will they have their own tribal gathering places that underpin their nomadic way of living? A place to settle disputes, honour their gods, trade resources, let their elderly rest, bury their dead?

    “In combat, a barbarian warband doesn’t bother with formations, and they have no backline with polearms or dedicated archers.”
    This is weird. For such a distinct and militaristic culture you’d think they’d be adept and specialist tacticians. Norse warriors were highly innovative in their sea-craft and tactical adaptability. Aesthetics aside what makes barbarians barbarians? Perhaps I’m too cynical but this sounds like tougher thug bandits. Perhaps this will be covered in the unit type dev blog.

    Nevertheless the new DLC looks very exciting. The look and feel of the armour and weapons is fantastic. The north of the map is becoming as interesting as the east and west. Gameplay wise it’ll be interesting to see how lower base value trades against higher direct damage to health. Will the barbarians rely on weight of numbers, with mobs of 12-18? Do the new weapons open up options for the ‘The Militia’ company origin and mob/zerg playstyle?

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      Mar 1, 2019 @ 18:16 pm

      The term barbarian usually does not refer to a Norse warrior. That is more of a viking, especially if they use the sea to raid.

      Barbarian is usually in reference to a less developed group compared to a more civilized one, such as the Gauls or the Germans vs the Roman empire. Although these groups had elite troops that probably had their own formations, they a) very much relied on a relentless charge and b) elite troops did not represent much of the army, compared to the Romans whose backbone was elite troops. Most Gauls/Germans were to some extent civilian fighters with only the noblemen being properly geared and experienced. Most of these battles were also defensive for the “barbarians” so large groups of what would otherwise be civilians were given minimal equipment and thrown into haphazard army structures. Many of these would be at war with each other, but had to unite against a common foe, thus a group of 8 separate tribes who dislike each other would not have been able to suddenly coordinate into effective formations. As stated before, yes a small group were elite warriors, but this was not representative of the vast majority, and even the elite warriors relied heavily on a full on assault as their main strategy, which was hugely unsuccessful until they switched across the board to more guerilla-type tactics.

      Long story short, it is accurate for barbarians to charge relentlessly with comparatively no tactics and limited equipment. Most battles barbarians fight against each other are attacking weaker or unprepared tribes. So although the charging tactic seems foolish against a professional army, it was actually very effective for much of history.

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    Mar 1, 2019 @ 17:47 pm

    Looks awesome, can’t wait for those weapons and that armor. Especially interested in an adrenaline-heavy enemy – I feel like I under use that perk and this might help push me to figure out some builds that take advantage of it.

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    Mar 1, 2019 @ 19:47 pm

    When I saw those armor, I was thinking why no loincloth. but very soon, I realize, that’s because the north is very cold!

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    Mar 1, 2019 @ 21:40 pm

    Perhaps there’s scope for an extra end-game crisis, “Barbarian invasion” :-)

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      Mar 4, 2019 @ 21:24 pm

      This crysis DEFINITELY should be! Otherwise I see no sence in making new faction, though so far Northmen look very similar to Orcs – very offensive, poorly armored (mostly), and helping themselves a little from distance by throwing javelins.

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    Mar 1, 2019 @ 23:06 pm

    Waooooh !!!! DLC after DLC the spirit of the game is improve with a rich ideas !!!! It’s difficult to wait !!!! I hope we will hire few babrians in villages of the north. With lot of resolve, fatigue, melee attack and lot of tribal tatoos !!! Great job !!!! Have nice week-end !!!

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    Apr 9, 2019 @ 20:06 pm

    Yea awesome!

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