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Ballad of the Longbow
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Ballad of the Longbow


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Ballad of the Longbow is a role playing game inspired by stories of Robin Hood, Wilhelm Tell and Jens Langkniv.

Select your role from a number of recognizable roles from media and literature, such as the knight, the clergy, the forester and the veteran, then work to overthrow the evil villain that is terrorizing the land.

The game engine is a skill-driven roll-under system, with each character having special abilities based on their type. 

The veteran might frighten off a group of inexperienced guards, the clergy might lure out information from an unsuspecting conversational partner while the yeoman may call on the common folk for aid in their time of need.

A total of 15 skills are used, with examples on how to handle various common situations provided, along with guidelines for complex actions, helping out and more.

Characters can be created in minutes by selecting a type and assigning an array of skills as you see fit.

Character progression is handled through simple and small skill increases after each gaming session, while carrying out good deeds unlocks your characters special abilities. Along the way, your reputation will build, allowing you to gain aid from the downtrodden folk.

Combat uses a creative initiative system based on that seen in Five Leagues From the Borderlands and moves quickly, without getting bogged down and with minimal record keeping. Characters can choose from 8 actions in battle and the rules support the optional use of miniatures. 

More martially inclined players will enjoy morale rules and options like Bravado and Hinder to create interesting tactical situations.

The default game style is heroic adventure, while still retaining a grounding in realism. One-hit kills on player characters are impossible, but you should still wear a coat of mail if you are getting into a scrap.

GM tools include reaction roll tables, guidelines for building simple to use NPC’s that fit on index cards, special villain skills like being able to turn a chance encounter into a cunning ambush and more.

A selection of optional rules and GM’ing guidelines rounds out the game book, helping you both understand the game as it is intended to be played and tweak it to your liking.

Ballad of the Longbow uses straight forward rules and a recognizable game setting to give you a game that is easy to run and which players can pick up very quickly. 

 * * * * *

Ballad of the Longbow is a fairly traditional RPG, with some influence from independent games. It assumes conventional Game Master and player roles. It is best played with 2 or more characters in the party, though a single player could run a pair of characters pretty easily.

The only dice needed are D20’s. If miniatures are used, any scale you enjoy is usable. The default scale is 1” on the table per 2 meters in-game. 

Explicit solo mechanics are not included in this version, though due to minimal book keeping the game could be run as a solo game very easily, using any available oracle system. 

Note that a magic system is not included in the base rules, but a fantasy expansion could be created very easily.

As the game is a heroic adventure game, it is well suited for playing with younger players as well.

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December 30th, 2020
There's a lot to like about Ballad of the Longbow, it's a fun little indie title that sits at a crossroads between wargame, OSR and PBTA and offers a refreshingly unique blend of the three as it tries to specifically tell the story of a band [...]
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Product Information
Rule System(s)
File Size:
8.9 MB
Original electronic
Scanned image
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Original electronic format
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File Last Updated:
January 23, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on December 23, 2020.