Game Mechanics 101: Character Stats in Battle Brothers


Game Mechanics 101: Character Stats in Battle Brothers

Hi there,

today we want to talk a little about the character stats of your Battle Brothers in the game.

Designing the character stats

The character stats are a core part of the whole game design as they determine how combat plays out and how your characters perform on the battlefield. Differences in stats also distinguish to a large part individual characters and help building personalities – for example you start thinking of a Brother with high hitpoints as “the tough guy” or of the one one with the high ranged skill as “the sharpshooter” and so on. Of course, it also helps giving each guy a custom name, which you can do in the game, and outfitting him with custom armor that befits his role. Each game you will start with a new band of Battle Brothers which have randomized stats for maximium replayability. Also, you can hire more throughout the game.

When designing the character stats it was important to us to find a balance between realism and abstraction. To start with, we had to ask ourselves some important questions like: what attributes actually make a good fighter in a medieval combat situation? How do we allow for combat role specializations without a restrictive class system? (we won’t have character classes in Battle Brothers) – and so on. The outcome is a set of stats that are all important for winning a fight, so there are no useless or neglectable stats, or “dump stats” as they are known. All stats work together to simulate a quasi-medieval combat as authentically as possible while keeping it fun, transparent and decently fast paced.

By the way: Your enemies in the game have the exact same stats as your Battle Brothers, and work within the same ruleset, although their actual values can vary greatly. The Undead for example are unaffected by fatigue, or can you imagine a skeleton stopping to catch breath?

So lets go into the middle of things:

Stat overview and description

Action Points: Action Points are used to perform actions on the battlefield, with movement and different skills having different costs. They are fully refreshed at the start of each turn. You can decide when to move and when to use a skill as long as you have the action points to do so – we don’t force you into rigid movement and action phases.

Melee skill: This is the skill that makes a good melee combatant. It determines the base probability of hitting an enemy with a melee attack. Before the attack is resolved, the enemy’s defense stat is subtracted from the total.

Ranged skill: The equivalent of the melee skill but used for attacks with ranged weapons like bows and crossbows – invaluable for a ranger type character.

Defense: Defense is subtracted from the attacker’s chance to hit before resolving an attack. Equipment like shields will drastically increase this stat, and some characters and enemies have a higher natural skill in evading blows than others.

Stamina and Fatigue: Fatigue is gained by performing any kind of action or being hit in combat. It is reduced at a fixed rate each turn. The maximum fatigue depends on the stamina value and the type of armor worn (heavy armor reduces the fatigue maximum). If characters accumulate too much fatigue they may need to rest (i.e. do nothing) before being able to use more specialized skills again. While fatigue management becomes important in longer battles, and high fatigue will limit your tactical options, worry not – your Battle Brothers will always be able to perform atleast a basic attack and you’ll never have just sit idly by and wait.

Hitpoints: Give the total damage a character can take before dying, after all armor is gone. You should always keep an eye on the hitpoints as there is permadeath in the game. Once a Battle Brother is dead he will be lost for good..

Armor: Armor is worn on body and head. When the according body part is hit, armor points are reduced instead of hitpoints, for as long as there is any armor left. Once the armor points reach 0, the armor is destroyed and useless until the end of the battle. Armor also reduces maximum fatigue.

Morale: Morale is used for morale checks at the start of each turn, as well as when especially terrifying enemies use some special skills. Unpassed checks can lead to a character wavering and ultimately fleeing away from enemies, although they may eventually rally again. Slaying enemies will raise morale, while getting hit or seeing allies fall in battle will lower it. Of course, the same goes for enemies, so you might just aim to break their morale instead of fighting to the death.

Initiative: Initiative is calculated each turn based on action points and current fatigue. The character with the highest initiative performs his actions first, then all others follow in descending order. Managing your fatigue well can give you can edge, as the more exhausted a character is, the later he is able to act next turn.

Passive Skills and Levels: Characters will be able to level up and learn a wide variety of passive skills. We’ll explain this feature in detail in a later blog article!

Final thoughts

So there you have a rough overview over the stats we use in Battle Brothers. In a following article we will explain how these stats work together inside the combat mechanics. So stay tuned and let us know what you think! And don’t forget to connect on our social media channels!

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