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"BattleLust and LoTR" Topic


11 Posts

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Marcus Brutus18 Feb 2003 6:42 p.m. PST

I am interested in hearing comments (praise and criticism) about the Columbia game BattleLust. My group and I are interested in doing mass battle LoTR games and are looking for a single fig combat system for hero vs. hero combat when such circumstances should arise in the game. Any other suggestions? What about Columbia's HarnMaster combat system?

The Dread Pirate GeorgeD18 Feb 2003 6:56 p.m. PST

I would think that it would be a wonderful system for LOTR Skirmishes. I have Run a Harmaster game on and off for several years ( The world Where Battlelust is based). The system is great. And the basic mechanics have somewhat of a LOTR, historical feel to them. I especially love how Cavalry charges are handled in the game. Very Deadly. If you are looking for resources, contact me at
I will send you some links for the game, and Rpg resources that will come in handy.

Thurlac19 Feb 2003 4:07 a.m. PST

I tend to use De Bellis Fictionalis (courtesy of Evil Gong Miniatures) for all the fantasy battles that I fight in various role playing campaigns. However, for conflicts with PC / Major Hero characters against one another, I've always taken it off line and fought the battle one on one using the normal combat rules for whichever role playing game I'm running.


Because, if the carefully crafted hero that one of your players has spent days rolling up and tweaking to be able to do the double back somersault and skewer manoeuvre dies due to rolling a single D6 and rolling lower the Mongo the Black Wizard of Basingstoke, then there will be hell to pay. The player will feel cheated and it does leave a very unsatisfactory taste in the mouth.

What I have done in the past is run the entire battle at one week's session and make Players record which unit their character was with and what they were trying to do (how brave they were being, were they targeting enemy heroes etc.). Any special powers that they have were noted and incorporated into the battle result.

The following week, we ran the battle again, this time running each turn for each PC and his actions in full combat.

This gave an extremely exciting and tense result, particularly since the players' army was severely mauled.
However, each player grew noticeably tense as the climactic TURN 7 came closer and all their units had been engaged in conflict.

IMHO then stick to your RPG system for combats but use a proper wargames set of rules designed for the purpose for the battles.

I tried the Harnmaster set once and, well, it left me a little cold. It felt like an extension of a RPG system and not a wargames set of rules themselves.

SHIV0919 Feb 2003 6:43 a.m. PST

By far the most fun game you can play.Great battles that feel real.Lots of excitement and realistic combat.The system is set on choice to block a blow or dodge or counter strike.It is the best system for combat i have ever played

Landorl19 Feb 2003 7:21 a.m. PST

I love Battlelust. It has a realistic feel to it, and is easy to modify with house rules. I have done some Middle Earth battles using, it, and am figuring out how I want to make some house rules to mimic some of the things in GW LOTR game.

It is a skirmish set, and can get cumbersome when used for large battles. However, I have heard of people doing some house rules to make larger fights work.

As they are written, a battle with 20- 40 figures per side is the norm.

They are great rules for any Dark age/Early Medieval style of battle. They can also begin to bog down if too many of the combatants are too heavily armored (plate).

Thomas Whitten19 Feb 2003 8:25 a.m. PST

Good choice. Has a lot better feel than the GW LOTR rules. Use the Harn rules for special characters to add to the heroic nature of their abilities.

Personal logo deanoware Supporting Member of TMP19 Feb 2003 8:41 a.m. PST

I have BattleLust and for 'one on one' skirmish I would recommend it. However more than that and the game does bog down. IMHO don't even think of 20 to 40 figures side you could spend two days resolving one round of attacks and wounds as all of these are very detailed, including weapons. The game is set in Harn which is set in the mythical "Age of Arthur" so it is Dark Age but encompasses grand castles like in LotR and most other high fantasy settings. I think if you are doing individual combat with say three to four figures at most per side, it would be okay. However, I can see even this "cut away" from your main battle or campaign consuming a good hour!

I am actually working on a skirmish game right now to do exactly what you mention. Allow me to fight detailed single combats during a mass battle without bogging the entire battle down itself. Most of the rules are complete and have tested very well, I am now tweaking skills and weapons. So stayed tuned.

Luisito19 Feb 2003 11:24 a.m. PST

I use BattleLust too and I love it but I found it bogged down with GAC 3 and 4 ( amor class). I just scaled down the effect of the armor and change the impact of some weapons and it works well for me . One last thing my new table I use D8 instead of D6 : ) That make combat more deadly and the game shorter .
In my games we dont dodge arrow too so I reduced the to hit pourcentage .

I have put the new Impact tables and characters on my website a while ago so have a look and let me know what you think of them. It was a while I didnt have a discussion on BattleLust.

see you

(Change Name)20 Feb 2003 11:24 a.m. PST

While I like the Harn universe, I gave up on it years ago because it is not properly supported by its publisher. Even when they were producing new stuff, it came out painfully slow. Not much new has come out in the past decade, except for re-packaging prior materials.

The roleplaying and battlelust rules left me cold. This is a game system which cries for computer moderation. Plug the stats into a computer beforehand, and let the computer calculate the combat. As it stands, there are too many factors and calculations to have a good miniatures game. (Miniatures games must move fast, and combat should resolve quickly and easily.)

Moreover, Battlelust is really a set of skirmish rules (like the GW rules). For LOTR large battles, a more conventional and well tested set of rules should be used. Some of the large scale battles appear on Merlin's website (referenced elsewhere).

Marcus Brutus20 Feb 2003 11:35 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the comments. Some further thoughts for clarification. We are imagining playing large mass battles of LoTR using Piquet Archon or some similiar rules set (involving 100s of figs) and desire to include indiviudal hero type personalities (Gandalph, Nazgul, Aragorn, Glorfindel, the Balrog, Orc Commanders etc.). These personalities would of course influence combat, morale, and have other command characteristics but we can imagine situations where one on one combat could occur in the game (say Gandalph vs. The Lord of the Nazgul). We would like a more complicated combat system than just rolling dice against each other (like most Mass Battle Fantasy games) and were wondering whether BattleLust or Harnmaster would provide an interesting system for one on one personality combat. Appreciate your further responses!

(Change Name)21 Feb 2003 5:10 p.m. PST

Piquet may be a better choice than you suspect. I have seen it used for the Siege of Minas Tirith. Of course, you may want some custom cards for the scenario you use. However Piquet is one of those games that one either loves or hates.

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