Apr
26

Dev Blog #123: Tools of Death

The ‘Warriors of the North’ DLC for Battle Brothers will be released on May 9th with a whole bunch of features. You can read up on those and add the DLC to your wishlist here. In the meantime, let’s talk about an important topic we haven’t touched on yet: New weapons! With the DLC, you’ll also get your hands on new tools of death, including hybrid and niche weapons to create new builds and tactics with. Let’s take a look!

Bardiche

The Bardiche is a variant of the Greataxe with a differently shaped head and a longer shaft. Like the Greataxe, it comes with the ‘Split Man’ skill for great single-target damage. But while the Greataxe has more damage potential against up to six targets with its ‘Round Swing’ skill, the Bardiche instead comes with the ‘Split’ skill of Greatswords for more surgical precision and hitting two targets in a straight line at once. Like the Greataxe, the Bardiche is excellent in destroying shields and penetrating armor.

Staff Sling

A simple weapon used since ancient times, and the favorite of many a shepherd, the Staff Sling is used to hurl stones towards the enemy. It’s not particularly accurate or damaging, but it’s cheap, and with stones abundant everywhere, it will never run out of ammunition. Two stones can be hurled each turn, and on hitting a target in the head it will inflict the ‘Dazed’ status effect.

Scimitar

An exotic curved sword from the south, the Scimitar and its higher tier cousin, the Shamshir, are excellent for cutting deep wounds. They’re less suited for thrusting than straight swords, however, and therefore have a harder time penetrating armor. Like other swords, they come with the ‘Slash’ skill, but unlike those, they don’t have the ‘Riposte’ skill as a second. Instead, they have the ‘Decapitate’ skill of cleavers.

Heavy Javelins & Heavy Throwing Axe

For users of throwing weapons that long for an extra bit of oomph, the DLC adds the Heavy Javelin and Heavy Throwing Axe. They’re sometimes used by barbarians and can be looted off of their cold dead hands.

 

Warfork

A pitchfork re-forged into a battlefield weapon, the Warfork is the pride of any militiaman, and looks right at home with the new ‘Peasant Militia’ company origin. It’s a lower tier variant of the Spetum, which has in turn been slightly buffed. Like the Spetum, it is a specialized polearm that can be used to form a more deadly yet more fatiguing ‘Spearwall’ than with a one-handed spear. Particularly useful against non-sentient beasts, but also against humans if your battle line is long enough.

Battle Whip

The Battle Whip is a specialized weapon with plenty of strengths, but also a clear weakness. Covering a whole 3 tiles, it has the longest range of any melee weapon currently in the game. Hitting an enemy with the ‘Whip’ skill will inflict two stacks of the ‘Bleeding’ status effect at once, and because the weapon is classified as a cleaver, this skill also benefits from taking the ‘Cleaver Mastery’ perk for further bleeding damage. However, the weapon doesn’t have a high base damage, and while it can be deadly against unarmored or lightly armored targets, it performs dismally against armored ones.

Luckily, it brings another bit of utility to the table. Its second skill is called ‘Disarm’ and on a hit will inflict the new ‘Disarmed’ status effect on a target, preventing it from using any weapon skills for one turn. Some targets which are immune to being stunned, like Orc Warriors, can still be controlled this way, but unarmed targets, like Direwolves, can of course not be disarmed. Disarmed targets can still move and use non-weapon skills freely, just not attack. Barbarians also have their own variant of the Battle Whip, called the Thorned Whip, which has slightly different stats.

DLC Supporter Edition

Thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response to our announcement of the ‘Warriors of the North’ DLC, and many people expressing their desire to support us again even beyond the asking price, we’ve decided to also offer it as a special Supporter Edition again. This Supporter Edition includes the ‘Warriors of the North’ DLC, as well as an additional new player banner and shields with a nordic motif as a thank you from us to you. The bundle will be priced at $18.99, and you can already add the second part of it to your wishlist here as well.

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Apr
19

Release Date Announcement

What started out as a small DLC has become a sizable expansion again. We’re happy to announce that the ‘Warriors of the North’ DLC for Battle Brothers will be released on May 9th for the price of $8.99 or your local equivalent. You can already find and wishlist it on Steam right here and on GOG here.

The artwork above can also be downloaded as a wallpaper here.

The ‘Warriors of the North’ DLC for Battle Brothers expands the game with a more distinct northern region, as well as different starting scenarios to pick for your mercenary company. Face an entirely new faction of barbarians in battle, wear new viking and rus themed gear, and follow the legend of the ‘Ijirok’, a mythical creature of the frozen north!

Features

  • Origins – Pick one of ten different origins and play as northern barbarians, peasant militia, or a flock of cultists. Each origin has special rules that shape your campaign into a different experience from beginning to end.
  • New Opponents Face an entirely new faction of northern barbarians, complete with their own gear and unique mechanics.
  • Legendary Locations – Visit two new legendary locations and fight two new bosses in a quest that leads to a legendary reward.
  • Champions – Hunt down enemy champions and face them in battle to claim famed items for yourself.
  • New Banners and Gear – Dress in style with a collection of new viking and rus inspired banners, shields, helmets and armors. Use new weapons and let loose the new nordic warhound!
  • New Contracts and Events – Earn your stay in the north by taking on new contracts. Immerse yourself in leading a mercenary company with even more illustrated events.
  • New Music – Two new music tracks accompany you on your adventures.
  • New Achievements – Challenge yourself with new achievements.

Please note: You’ll be able to continue your current campaign with the DLC, but you won’t have access to all of the new content until you start a new campaign.

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Apr
12

Dev Blog #122: The Ijirok

Aside from new contracts and events, the upcoming ‘Warriors of the North’ DLC will also introduce two new legendary locations linked in a single quest leading up to a legendary reward. Today we’ll look at one of the two bosses that you’ll have to face along the way – if you don’t like to be spoiled about any of that, you may want to skip this dev blog. All others, let’s go!

The Ijirok

The Ijirok is a mythical creature of the north, folklore of the barbarian folk. It’s called the Beast of Winter, for it is said that it first carried the cold into this world on its back. Legend claims the creature to be a shapeshifter and deceiver, appearing in many forms. It abducts children solely to enjoy the pain of the parents. It leads men astray in the white wastes just to watch them go in circles and freeze to death. Some regard it a spirit, some a god, and others a force of nature, like the sun or wind, but with found divinity within the aspect of a cruel creature. Whatever its true nature, in the north they all can feel the presence of the Ijirok, and they count themselves fortunate that the horrors it brings are scant and passing.

When your mercenary company finally faces the Ijirok in battle, it will appear as a great horned beast with four legs and hooves. It’s a boss fight, and it will challenge you like fighting the Kraken or the Rachegeist does. Leading up to the battle, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the true nature of your opponent by reading events and visiting locations in the game.

The Ijirok charges you from afar to gore and trample anything in its path. Unlike the charge of other opponents in the game, the great horned beast charging you will inflict damage, but you can defend against it with melee defense like against any other melee attack. Even if your shields prove sturdy and your men are not impaled outright, however, the force of impact may still throw them back and stagger them.

Then, at the beginning of each turn, the Ijirok will shift into a different world, one where cold and ice reign supreme, only to emerge at a different place and charge you anew. While the great beast enters into and emerges from this other world, cold seeps into ours, turning the ground frozen and changing the battlefield permanently. Anyone near the Ijirok will get the new ‘Chilled’ status effect, which will freeze your men’s limbs stiff, and lowers their initiative and action points for one round.

The Ijirok is as elusive in combat as it is outside of it, but each round you’ll have the chance to wail on it before it charges you from a different angle. Like with fighting Necrosavants, your formation is key in defeating the beast of winter while the world around you slowly turns into a frozen hell.

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Apr
05

Dev Blog #121: Champions

As we’ve talked about a while ago, we’re overhauling how named items work and how they can be acquired. One way to get named items is by fighting champions – and that’s what we’re talking about today. Let’s delve in!

Champions

Hitherto, named items could primarily be found by looting locations – whether you followed tavern rumors or ventured out on your own. Occasionally, but rarely, they could also be looted from particularly strong enemies. And that’s where champions come in.

Champions are particularly skilled and experienced individuals of any non-beast faction. They’re guaranteed to carry at least one named item and have significantly increased stats over their brethren. You’ll be able to easily recognize them by their special base and unique name. They are, in a way, minibosses. They challenge you to fight hard to claim what is theirs, and they shake things up, but prevailing against them will always reward you with the named item they carry – be it weapon, shield, armor or helmet.

So where do you meet champions? The most reliable way is to complete contracts with a difficulty rating of three skulls. Those have always been a high risk proposition for any mercenary company, but they now come with more of a reward for taking that chance: the possibility of getting named gear by facing enemy champions. Another way is to simply play into the late game. The further along your campaign, the more likely that you’ll find champions roaming the world outside of contracts or defending a location.

While champions may prove challenging to defeat, they are significantly easier to beat than some of the battles around legendary locations. This way, they can also fill the gap in challenge between defeating your first late game crisis and starting to take on legendary locations, like the Black Monolith, with your company.

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Mar
29

Dev Blog #120: The Barbarians, Part III

In part two we introduced three basic unit types of the new barbarian faction that is to claim the north in the upcoming ‘Warriors of the North’ DLC. This week, we take a closer look at their more specialized unit types. As always, keep in mind that things are still in development and may change. With that said, let’s go!

Drummers

As has been tradition for generations, larger parties of northern barbarians that go to war are often accompanied by drummers. In a sea of rhythmic tribal beats and chants, the barbarian mind will enter a trance-like state where there is only battle, and the barbarian spirit will press the body to its limit and beyond.

As mentioned previously, barbarians have a very physical and fatiguing style of combat, and they don’t pace themselves well. They’re especially dangerous in the first few rounds, but if you can weather this opening onslaught, barbarians will then often find themselves exhausted.

The rhythmic beats of the drummers will have barbarians press on to glory despite this, reflected in the game by reducing the fatigue of any barbarian on the field by a small amount each round. A barbarian can have their fatigue reduced only a single time per round, no matter how many drummers on the field, but it may be enough to give them the strength to use an additional skill, which makes them all the more dangerous. It’s worth considering, therefore, to make drummers a priority target – even if they themselves are unlikely to inflict any damage on your men with their wooden drumsticks.

Beastmasters

Beastmasters are revered for their druid-like abilities to control the biggest natural predator of the north – the unhold – and lead them into battle as living and breathing war machines. They wear ceremonial helmets with long horns and decorate their armor with animal bones, but their most useful tool is a thorned whip with which to exert dominion over their beasts.

In battle, the beastmaster will always appear with one or more unholds. These mighty beasts can wear anything from a simple metal harness and chain, to be controlled more easily, to having metal plates nailed right onto their hide – something possible only due to the unhold’s uncanny ability to quickly heal any wound, even during battle. A beast armored like this can be impossible to bring down if you’re not equipped both for handling massive amounts of armor and health at the same time.

Every turn, a beastmaster cracks the whip to direct their beastly warmachines to do his bidding. However, a beastmaster can not do so if anyone is in their zone of control. And they very much can’t do so, if they’re dead. If an armored unhold doesn’t get directions from any beastmaster, they become confused, and every round there is a chance that they become feral, change to the beast faction, and attack player and barbarians alike in a mad rage of befuddlement.

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Mar
22

Dev Blog #119: Tunes from the North

Before venturing further into the northlands, let’s set the mood this week by taking a closer look at fresh music accompanying the new faction of northern barbarians coming with the “Warriors of the North” DLC. Yup, Breakdown Epiphanies are on board again to add to the game’s music. Let’s see what they have to say in this week’s dev blog!

Tunes from the North

As those of you who have been following Battle Brothers since they days of Early Access know, as composers we ourselves took an RPG approach when it comes to orchestrating soundtracks for the various factions in the game. The undead are accompanied by an orchestra solely comprised of dark string instruments and percussion that is supposed to resemble the rattling of bones, the orc music is dominated by dark and menacing brass as well as sounds of metal, for the brigands our theme was „instruments you can carry around with you“, and so on. The signature sound of each faction in the game grew from imposing limitations upon ourselves, which in turn lead to a very distinguishable tonal landscape that could even give away what the player is fighting the first time they do so.

You may be happy to hear that for the upcoming “Warriors of the North” DLC we got on board again to expand the soundtrack with new music accompanying the player’s battles against their new adversary, the northern barbarians.

Adding new factions to the soundtrack gets more tricky as time goes on: While from a gameplay standpoint, fighting the barbarians will play out differently than fighting orcs, there are certain aesthetic similarities (brute force, heavily armored higher tier units, show up in clans) that would also favour a similar approach to the music (which in case of the orcs translated to throwing all the brass instruments and war drums that we could find into the mix). Luckily, though, the barbarians also lend themselves well to going a different route, which is mostly inspired by their nordic and rus themed lore and background.

Avoiding brass (and the resulting overlap with the orc faction) completely, we decided to use vocals as the tonal backbone of this faction of northmen. Aside from more common singing styles, we incorporated mouth percussion, overtone and throat singing, which is a vocal style found in Norwegian folklore, Mongolian music and shamanist rituals leading back to the stone ages. As, from a gameplay perspective, the barbarians are a variant of the brigands, we also fell back on the brigands’ „instruments you can carry around with you“ philosophy. Only a single violin, a Swedish nyckelharpa (a medieval string instrument), a couple of drums and a choir of hardened nordmen come together to add new signature battle tracks to the Battle Brothers soundtrack. While production is still ongoing, we are happy to give you this sneak peek today.

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