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Infamy, Infamy! Errata & FAQ (and a bit extra)

Over the past week we have trawled through all of the questions asked here and elsewhere in order to produce the Errata and FAQ for the rules.

The attached document has the one-page errata followed by six page of questions that we have been asked. The vast majority of these are not actually asked frequently, often only once, but for completeness we included ALL of the questions that we could find in the hope that we have covered all bases.

Also included are links to the five programmes we have produced for Lard TV which we hope are useful.

You’ll find it all here:  Infamy Infamy Errata and FAQ’s1

The Tale of Bloody Billicus
We had an excellent question which is not included in the FAQ but which I’d like to address here.  It’s about capturing any wagons or carts that can crop up in the scenario and whether it is possible to capture them.

At first this is a pretty straightforward inquiry, and the answer is equally direct.  Yes, you can capture wagons and, indeed, livestock or anything else that crops up by simply making contact with them.  Obviously, if your opponent is also in contact with them you fight, and it’s a case of ‘to the winner the spoils’.  But in fact it’s a more interesting question as it unlocks the door to a whole raft of ideas that can make your game even more fun and narrative.

With any set of rules that we write, the narrative of the game is first and foremost in our minds.  These are not rules designed for competitive play; they are intended to create stories that the players can watch unfold and enjoy being part of.  The rules are essentially a set of paints that allow you to paint a picture with your game.  All the colours are there, but how you apply them will determine how each game looks and feels.

Vehicles, the wagons and carts that we see in our games, have been designed to be slightly problematic.  In the same way that livestock can wander off on their own, wagons move independently, even when being accompanied.  Sometimes they throw a wheel or get bogged in.  It is not simple for an escorting group of troops to keep perfect pace with the wagon.  As with any column of march, some men move faster than others; a baggage train that takes up a mile when stationary stretches to two miles or more than on the march.  Of course, our games are a microcosm of that, but you will see a disconnect between the wagon and an escort.

All of this is, of course, intentional.  It is just another part of the narrative of the story, an opportunity for things to go wrong that the commander on the ground needs to deal with.  It offers opportunities for a fast-moving opponent to grab your wagon and make off with it if your escort is too far adrift.

One question asked was how the wagon is captured?  What mechanism was there in the rules to cover that?  The truthful answer is “that depends”.  Is the wagon locked in a grain store?  If so you’ll need a task roll to open the door.  Is the wagon immobilised in some manner?  Do you need to hitch up a team of horse or oxen?  Is the wagon defended by a valiant teamster?

Of course, as with ‘capturing’ a box of chocolates, or a five-pound note; you own it when you grab it.  If you move into contact with an unguarded wagon it is yours.  But is it?  Should it be that simple?  We should ask ourselves some questions here.  What will the wagon driver do?  What will the contents of the wagon do?  What is happening close to hand?

If it’s a pile of spuds or some amphorae of wine then the contents will be inert, so that issue doesn’t arise.  But if it’s a Roman Senator or a British Chieftain’s daughter on her way to her wedding then that’s a very different matter indeed.

If the tribal chief of the Silures was sending his daughter to be married to a Prince of the Cornovii he is probably not going to allow just anyone to drive the wagon.  It’s likely that it’s be the big ugly thug with a reputation for his ferocity in war.  Quite a different matter if its fifteen hundred-weigh of cabbages.

Naturally, we don’t know the situation until we dice for our scenario and it’s impossible to create hard and fast rules to cover every situation.  Can a bunch of skirmishers capture the wagon?  Well, yes, if its totally defenceless, but if Bloody Billicus the tribal chief’s champion is driving it, then that’s probably a big no. The circumstances need to determine the narrative outcome of the game. In the latter case the skirmishers will try to overwhelm the driver with missiles.

So, let’s try an example.  My Roman Auxulia approach a wagon carrying wine to the local chieftain.   There’s just a single Group of them.  What does the wagon driver do?  Well, the options seem to me, off the top of my head, to run off, to fight to protect the wine or, probably most likely of all, to simply do whatever he’s told.  So, in that very specific situation we could roll a D6 and on a 1 the driver runs, on a 2 to 5 he acquiesces to whatever he’s told to do, but on a 6 he fights.  He won’t do much good, probably just rolling 1D6, but you never know.

Now change that to Bloody Billicus escorting the princess, and that run-away option probably disappears altogether, although he may well sling the princess over his shoulder and run for the woods if any are nearby.  More likely he will try to put up a fight to buy time for the princess to leg it under her own steam.  Or maybe she will fight by his side?  Once again, deciding on the odds ‘on the hoof’ is a perfectly legitimate thing to do.  Discuss the options with your opponent and roll the dice.  If Bloody Billicus fights then he probably counts as three men, being a champion.

What is going on close to hand can also influence the possible result. If the wagon has a Warrior group escorting it, but it has simply become slightly detached, then the chances of the driver fighting are probably doubled.  If he is alone and the enemy overwhelming, the acquiescence or flight is increased.

Each and every game will, be dint of the scenario, provide a different set of circumstances that should inform your decision.  This is NOT a competition game, this is a narrative game where you have a direct input into the story that is being created.  Some things will not be covered by the rules; how many dice does Bloody Billicus have?  Where will the princess run to?  Can she throw a javelin before she runs?  The answer to these questions is that the rules provide mechanisms for combat, missiles and movement.  How you apply them is really up to you.

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