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‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC Announcement

We’re excited to announce that we’re working on another DLC for Battle Brothers called ‘Blazing Deserts’.

The focus of the DLC will be on expanding and enriching the existing world with a new land of burning deserts and lush jungles to the south. Across these lands you’ll find a unique culture loosely based on historic Arabian and Persian cultures of the medieval ages built atop the ruins of the Ancient Empire in the world of Battle Brothers. You’ll find new lore and a different political system, equipment not seen anywhere else, and fresh contracts to earn your stay with. There’ll be a new late game crisis, new legendary locations and several new beasts roaming the wilds. This DLC will be our biggest one yet for Battle Brothers.

Here’s the rough list of features we’re aiming for:

- A realm of independent southern city-states with their own lore, equipment and services, as well as entirely new character backgrounds to recruit
- A new late game crisis that tests the mettle of your company in the fires of religious turmoil
- A gallery of company feats that grant permanent boons with which to customize your company to your playstyle as you progress throughout your campaign
- A variety of new opponents with their own fighting styles – from exotic beasts to desert raiders and southern armies quite unlike those in the north
- New environments both on the world map and in tactical combat
- Several new origins to pick for your company for a different campaign experience
- New banners, weapons, armors and helmets inspired by historic Arabian and Persian cultures of the medieval ages
- New legendary locations and legendary rewards
- New contracts and events
- New crafting recipes for owners of the ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC
- Several new music tracks by Breakdown Epiphanies to accompany you on your travels south

In addition to these major features, the DLC will also include countless smaller additions. Just like in the past, we’ll explain all major features and most minor ones in detail in future dev blogs as we go along, so you’ll always know what we’re working on and why. We expect to be finished sometime in Q2 of this year and will announce a release date and final feature list once we’re closer to the finish line.

Alongside the DLC, which will not be free, the game will also receive a sizable free update again. This update will contain a whole bunch of improvements, quality-of-life features and balancing changes, as well as some minor content additions.

Join us next week for our first dev blog on the new DLC!
Placing my bet that the new late game crisis is a Crusade.
turdsmcpoop: Placing my bet that the new late game crisis is a Crusade.
Very likely.
Curious to see what those 'entirely new character backgrounds' are. Since something like a dervish, fakir, hashashin or mujahideen would be too close to resp. more or less a carbon copy of an already existing one.

Dev Blog #124: New Lands

The upcoming ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC for Battle Brothers will expand and enrich the world with new lands to the south. But it also brings a significant addition to tactical combat maps. Let’s find out more!

The world

With the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC we want to add more flavor and variety to the southern part of the map. One part of the recipe to achieve this is a different geography, and so we’re going to expand the world map with new lands to the very south to create one large and continuous world. These new lands are made up of blistering hot deserts, barren rocky hills towering seas of sand, and lush jungles that hug the coast. You’ll be able to reach them both by traveling as far south as your feet can carry you, or by taking the sea route from a northern port town.

Even though the world is going to be larger, frequent auto-saves in ironman mode will actually become faster thanks to some parallelization.


The new sand is about to turn red with blood as these new types of terrain will of course also make an appearance during combat. Behold the desert.

An oft-requested feature for Battle Brothers is to portray any location that you’re fighting at, such as a graveyard or a brigand camp, also on the tactical combat map. Fighting Wiedergängers between fallen tombstones and not just on empty plains can add a lot to the atmosphere and flair to that tight battle that will decide the future of your company. We’re happy to announce that with the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC we’ll introduce a wealth of new location-based environments in combat to make possible just that.

The combat system of Battle Brothers – one of its strongest features, as most of us will agree – was designed for small scale infantry combat on open or mostly open maps, and that’s where it works best. Having the odd fight in more enclosed environments, such as in forests, can shake things up every now and then in interesting ways, but doing this too much can also wear on a player’s patience. For example, the initiative system that works well in open field battles can become frustrating in tight quarters where 12 or more characters are constantly blocking each other. So with that in mind, let’s talk about how environments based on location are going to work.

Fighting brigands at their base camp will bring a dynamic to combat that is different from fighting them in the open field. That’s a good thing, because it adds more variety to combat in general, and because it adds another strategic dimension to the world map where you’ll now have to weigh the pros and cons of luring an opponent out of their base or fighting them at home. But while there’ll now be walls, palisades and gravestones shaping some of the maps, we also won’t turn every attack on a brigand camp into a siege, or a fight in a dense forest of tents and barrels. It’s not what the combat system was designed for, and consequently it just wouldn’t be fun. All combat will still take place outside, and most location-based objects are in fact cosmetic, meaning they’ll provide a flavorful backdrop and tell a story of where you’re fighting, but they won’t get in your way and won’t block your men from moving. On top of that we’ll be adding a smaller selection of objects which actually do block tiles to change the dynamic of combat in a controlled way. For example, a brigand camp may be surrounded by palisades to create chokepoints, but there’ll be also enough open space both outside and inside to have a proper battle.

While we take care to make it visually apparent which objects block a tile from being entered, and which objects are merely cosmetic, we’re also aware that it won’t always be intuitively readable for everyone and in every situation. Again, it’s a problem that you may have already encountered when fighting in the woods. To alleviate this issue, we’re introducing a new quality of life feature with the free update that comes along with the DLC. You’ll be able to toggle at any time to have highlighted in red all tiles that are blocked by environmental objects, such as trees, by pressing a button on the top right or by pressing a hotkey. Useful for navigating those new environments and any forest alike.

Join us again next week for a very special announcement regarding Battle Brothers!
Post edited January 25, 2020 by mannefriedrich
Most character backgrounds reflect actual occupations in Feudal Europe, so I guess they'll add Near-East themed ones or maybe add more Feudal occupations that they missed the first time around. Such as scribe and executioner.
Dev Blog #125: The Ifrit

We’re back with another dev blog to take a closer look at what the upcoming ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC for Battle Brothers brings to the table. As we’ve established last time, the world map will be expanded with new lands to the south. Even though the focus of the DLC will be on fighting human opponents, those new southern deserts wouldn’t feel quite complete without their own bestiary loosely based on middle-eastern mythology. The Ifrit is one such beast that you’ll soon be able to face, so let’s delve in!

The Ifrit

The south is a harsh land, and the southern city states do not tolerate dissent. Criminals, expended slaves and bothersome political rivals all may find themselves expelled to the blazing deserts without a drop of water. There, so folklore claims, the sun shall burn away their impurities and distill their spirits to their very essence. Forged by fire and tempered with heat, every once in a while, an Ifrit is born. A cursed creature, if folklore is to be believed, a spirit saved by basking beneath the gilded shine of the eternal sun, if the priests speak true, and a strange and alien creature in any case. Made not of flesh and blood, but of rock and stone, of shifting sands, it roams endlessly where the blistering heat of the sun has baked the land into endless barren wastes that stretch between the horizons.

In battle, the Ifrit comes in three sizes of living rock. The larger, the more dangerous. Unique among all creatures in Battle Brothers, several smaller Ifrits can assemble into one larger one, and several larger ones can assemble into one gargantuan. These shuffling behemoths are slow, but they can strike powerful blows in melee, and they can also rip out parts of themselves and fling them at enemies. Not only is getting a living rock thrown at you a dangerous ranged attack, but whether the attack hits or misses, the rock thrown is itself a small Ifrit that can attack in melee once it has crashed at its destination – which may well be at your backline. Worse yet, if there’s three or more smaller Ifrits being thrown around, they can then assemble again into a larger one elsewhere!

If your men manage to destroy an Ifrit, it will crumble into two smaller parts with one part lost, until it is down to the smallest size where destroying it will end its existence permanently. If there happens to be a third part around of a fitting size, however, the Ifrit can again assemble itself to a rocky monstrosity, so fighting it is as much about dealing damage as it is about smart positioning and denying access to tiles. While large Ifrits are too heavy to be pushed around, smaller ones can be both pulled and knocked back to your advantage.

The Ifrit is a powerful opponent best taken on by experienced companies towards the later parts of a campaign. There’s a new contract dealing with Ifrits, but there’s also incentive to challenge them on your own terms, and perhaps even earlier in a campaign. Ifrits drop rare and expensive ingredients which can be used to craft some of the powerful alchemical contraptions that are coming with the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC – including one shown in this wallpaper.
Post edited February 07, 2020 by mannefriedrich
Dev Blog #126: Alchemy

After last week’s introduction of a new opponent to get crushed by, this week is about a new building found only in the southern city states, new alchemical contraptions coming with the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC, as well as changes to existing potions. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s start!

The Alchemist

Travel south as far as your feet can carry you and you’ll come upon a strange land where the sun reigns eternal. These lands are not ruled by houses of nobility, but dotted with magnificent cities that govern themselves. Here, the rulers are patrons of art and of science. And because alchemy is an important science of the medieval ages, it is here and nowhere else that you’ll find the new Alchemist building.

Naturally, the Alchemist feels right at home with decoctions, philters and elixirs, so if you own the ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC, he’ll have a varying selection of potions to sell you without you having to craft them. More importantly, however, the Alchemist has several things on offer that are entirely new to the game. One of them will be introduced with its very own dev blog in the coming weeks, while the others are what we’re taking a closer look at today. They’re essentially throwable bombs.

The Fire Pot

A fire pot is highly combustible liquid inside a ceramic pot, intended to be thrown, that will shatter on impact and set an area of seven tiles ablaze with searing flames for several turns. It works similarly to the ‘Miasma’ tile effect of Ancient Priests in that everyone ending their turn inside the burning area will take damage. Unlike ‘Miasma’, however, the fire doesn’t ignore armor but melts first armor and then flesh. It can also inflict entirely new injuries, such as burnt hands or legs.

Wood burns pretty well, so Schrats take double damage from fire, but Ifrits, being living rocks forged by the fire of the eternal sun, are unaffected by it. Not only are Fire Pots effective against tight formations of opponents, but they can also prove an effective way to deny access to tiles or funnel opponents towards a particular part of the map. That being said, some select opponents will make use of Fire Pots themselves!

The Smoke Pot

A smoke pot is throwable pottery as well, but instead of fire it quickly creates a dense cloud of thick smoke on impact. Inside this cloud of seven tiles, zones of control no longer work, and all characters can move freely without incurring attacks of opportunity. Useful for repositioning during battle, but also to cover retreat when you’re already engaged.

Additionally, the thick cloud of smoke also protects against ranged attacks. Anyone inside the area covered with smoke is harder to hit, but also has a harder time seeing clear and hitting any targets outside the area themselves with ranged weaponry. The Smoke Pot can thus provide valuable protection against ranged-heavy enemy compositions for a limited time, but at the cost of limiting the effectiveness of your own ranged characters as well.

The Flash Pot

The flash pot is filled with mysterious powders that react violently on impact to create a bright flash and loud bang, dazing anyone not immune within an area of seven tiles. Because the ‘Dazed’ status effect was already a bit too dominant even before the Flash Pot, it’s going to be slightly weaker with the 1.4 update, but applying it to a whole group of opponents at once can still make for a huge swing in how the battle goes. Careful, though, as all these alchemical marvels can affect both friend and foe alike!


Introduced with the ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC, the Taxidermist allows the player to craft various items from beast trophies, among them potions. With the upcoming 1.4 update, many potions are going to work a bit differently.

In their current incarnation, many potions tend to be somewhat hard to use because of their restrictions; they can only be used in combat, they can not be used while engaged in melee, they cost action points to use, and their effects only last a couple of turns. We’re changing them to be strategic tools that are used on the world map and no longer during combat, and their effects to last for the whole next battle. Imagine you’re about to engage an enemy at night – part of your preparations for battle could now be to have your archers drink a ‘Night Vision Elixir’ before battle starts in order for them to be deadly even under the pale light of the moon. If you’re about to engage Geists, you might want to have a key character drink a ‘Lionheart Potion’ instead in order to bolster their resolve. Preparation is key!

At the same time, antidote now not only removes any stacks of poison, but also grants immunity to poison for several turns. This means that you’ll no longer end up in situations where you spend your antidote to cure a character only to end up poisoned again the very next turn. You can choose to make preemptive use of it, or you can wait to use it until you’ve actually been poisoned, just as before. Unlike potions, however, it’s still usable in combat, because you can neither know beforehand who’s going to need it most, nor can you be expected to inoculate every single one of your characters. The full list of changes to potions and other consumables will be part of the changelog posted once the update is released.
Dev Blog #127: The Retinue, Part I

And now for something completely different. Formerly announced as company feats, the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC will introduce a new gameplay mechanic to Battle Brothers, called the Retinue. Read all about it!

The Retinue

A big reason why suffering heavy losses late in a campaign is devastating, and also why coming back from those losses is difficult, is because most progress that you attain throughout a campaign is in the growing strength of your men – which is the very thing that you stand to lose in every battle. While you can and should save some crowns for hard times, all too often you’ll have to start near the bottom again and hire fresh recruits all over. But what if you’d have a drill sergeant that whips these recruits into shape more quickly? And what if having that drill sergeant would be an advantage that you couldn’t lose again? In other words, permanent progress not erased by battles lost.

Some of you will recall the concept of having ‘non-combat followers’ – non-fighting specialists like blacksmiths, surgeons or that drill sergeant mentioned above. A retinue of people that would support your company of fighting men outside of battle. It’s an idea that we’ve been toying with since before Battle Brothers even went into Early Access, and it’s what we’re now introducing to the game.

Your retinue of non-combat followers can be found in a new screen accessible from the world map. Here, you’ll find the men, women and children that travel along with your company sitting around a homely campfire. There’s five slots in total for you to fill, and several times that many followers available to choose from. Each follower pulls their weight by granting you one or more beneficial effects on the world map. Let’s take a closer look at the drill sergeant.

The drill sergeant makes your men gain more experience from combat and never lose mood when being stuck in reserve, by keeping discipline and enforcing a hard training regime. In order to hire a follower like him, you’ll first have to unlock them. At the most basic level, followers require you to have a certain level of renown, but many also require other conditions to be met. For example, in order to unlock the drill sergeant you’ll first have to retire a brother with a permanent injury. That’s not hard to achieve, but other requirements can be more involved, giving new goals to pursue. Each follower costs a certain amount of money to hire, and you can replace a follower at any time with a different one for a cost.

There’ll be followers available that have an impact on various aspects of strategic gameplay that any mercenary company has to deal with, like the drill sergeant, but also a couple that further support more specialized playstyles. For example, if you’re particularly interested in banditry, exploration, trade or named item hunting, we’ve got you covered. Choosing the right set of followers for your company is another way to customize it to your playstyle and to make each company and playthrough feel more unique.

In addition to your entourage of followers, you’ll also find a donkey around the campfire which you can upgrade first to a cart, then to a wagon, and then to an even bigger wagon, each time to increase the capacity of your inventory. Indeed, you no longer have to wait until the right ambition comes along in order to unlock more slots for your stash, but you can at any time just buy more inventory slots for money here. Easy!

Join us again next week when we take a closer look at some of the followers available for your retinue in part two of this dev blog.
Dev Blog #128: The Retinue, Part II

Last week we introduced a new gameplay mechanic with a retinue of non-combat followers coming with the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC. This week we’re taking a closer look at a selection of three more of these non-combat followers in order to give you a better idea on how all this is going to work.

There’s a total of five slots available for you to fill, but several times as many followers available to choose from. Choosing the right set of followers for your company is another way to customize it to your playstyle and to make each company and playthrough feel more unique. Do keep in mind that everything you’re about to learn is still under development and therefore subject to change depending on how testing goes. This is doubly true for numbers, which is we’re not showing any of them this week. Onwards, then!

The Surgeon

A studied man from the south, the Surgeon is a walking tome of anatomical knowledge. A mercenary company seems the perfect place both to apply that knowledge in healing, but also to learn more about how the insides of men are made up.

With the Surgeon in your retinue, characters that fall in battle have a significantly improved chance to survive with a permanent injury instead of dying outright. A permanent injury can still end a career, of course, but it can just as well end up being but a reminder of a particularly hard-fought battle. The important point is that now it’s up to you and no one else to decide whether to let go of a character or keep them on the roster – which can be particularly helpful in the late game and with experienced and key characters. In addition, the Surgeon also looks after injuries of the non-permanent kind, and helps your men to recover from them faster, which reduces downtime.

The Scavenger

Whether the son of one of your men or an urchin you took pity on, the Scavenger pulls his weight by collecting bits and pieces from every battlefield.

With the Scavenger around, each armor destroyed will grant you a certain amount of tools and supplies after battle, the exact amount depending on what kind of armor it was. This makes the Scavenger a useful choice for heavily armored compositions that need a lot of tools and supplies for upkeep, but also for companies that destroy most enemy armors with hammers and so can’t loot those, but in this way still receive some loot anyway, and when fighting lots of Greenskins. The Scavenger also returns a part of all ammunition you spend during a battle, making ranged-heavy companies more self-sufficient, and the use of throwing weapons less expensive.

The Cartographer

The Cartographer is a man of culture and knowledge, but he also realizes that traveling in the company of well-armed mercenaries is one of the best ways to safely see the world and explore places that few visited before.

Available once you’ve found at least one legendary location, the Cartographer will pay you for each location that you discover out in the world on your own. The further away from civilization a location is, the more he’ll arrange for you to be paid. And legendary locations pay extra. The Cartographer is one example of several followers that further support specialized playstyles – if you’re more interested in heading out on your own terms, explore the world and raid locations rather than doing contracts, he’ll make this a more profitable venture. In a similar vein, there are other followers available that support playstyles like banditry, trade and hunting enemy champions for bounties and loot!
Dev Blog #129: City States, Part I

A major feature of the upcoming ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC is an expanded south with several city states that have their own distinct culture, looks, services, contracts, and more, based loosely on medieval-era Arabian and Persian culture. Time to talk about it in detail!

The City States

The southern deserts. What is a barren wasteland now once was green and fruitful. An ancient empire ruled these lands long ago, but a cataclysmic event purged it from the face of the world along with their god-emperor, leaving but ruins and ashes. And from the ashes the belief in a new god arose, a powerful god manifest in the sun, the Gilder. And from the ruins new cities arose, the southern city states.

“Are these wastes? You see nothing but sand, air so hot it burns the lungs, ferine creatures malforming just to survive, and what of the man who strides here? Distilled to his essence. The north finds nobility between the empty chatter of their artifices. Here, nature is nobility, and under such auspices it is the strongest who rise, basking beneath the shine of the Gilder, and the weak who are burned beneath His sublimity. It is a measurement most peculiar, and one not often understood by interlopers.”

The southern city states are magnificent cities now, easily as large as the largest cities found in the north. They dot the southern deserts where water is to be found, reigning over a precious resource in the otherwise dry and blazingly hot lands. Their streets are abuzz with traders offering their wares on busy bazaars. Trade with exotic spices and fabrics has made them rich, and their wealthy elite are patrons of the arts and sciences. Advancements in medicine, astrology and alchemy are unlike anything found in the north. But much of their economy was built on the back of slaves, and life is cheap here.

The city states are not ruled by nobility, but by wealth. Ruling councils consist of Viziers, ministers each responsible for a different aspect of governing the state, elected from the rich bourgeois. So decadent and removed are they from the plight of the common man, that they regard everyone as tools used for their amusement. A mercenary captain could find plenty of work here – whether hunting down desert raiders or crushing slave rebellions – but they would also find disdain from their employers, who regard a mercenary as but a ‘Crownling’, a slave of a different kind, a slave to the coin.

The southerners, who call themselves Gilded for their belief in their single god in whose shine they bask day in and out, are of darker complexion than northern folks. You’ll find many of the same professions here as in the north, but also some unique to their culture. For example, slaves can be bought on slave auctions and put to use even in a mercenary company. You pay for a slave once, but never pay them any wages, and the morale of southern backgrounds will not suffer should the slaves perish on the field of battle, for they are considered very much expendable here.

The Arena

You’ve already learned about the Alchemist, a trader that offers unique alchemical contraptions only found in the city states. Another building entirely unique to the south is the Arena.

While northerners will duel for honor, southerners do so for the entertainment of the masses, and not always willingly. Arena fights are to the death and in front of crowds that cheer for the most gruesome manner in which lives are dispatched. It is a different way to earn money with advantages and disadvantages over mercenary contracts.

Unlike with mercenary contracts, in arena fights you’re limited to fight with but a few men of your choice against various opponents. Also unlike mercenary contracts, you’ll know exactly which and how many opponents you’re about to face – a certain number of beasts, slaves, captured desert raiders or professional gladiators, for example. There’s no lengthy travelling involved, nor ambushes along the road, and you’re paid well for victory in front of cheering spectators. However, you can’t retreat once a battle has started and you won’t be able to loot after the battle has ended. If your men survive long enough, fighting in the arena will earn them unique traits as they climb the ranks from pit fighter to champion of the arena. Naturally, there’s also a new Gladiator background to be hired in the city states.
Dev Blog #130: Southern Arms

Naturally, the southern city states of the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC also have their own arsenal of weapons. Some are southern variants of weapons you already know, while others are entirely new and come with unique skills. You’ll be able to buy them in the city states and loot them from southern opponents. Let’s take a look at a selection of them!

The Saif

If you’ve been playing Battle Brothers for a while, you may already know of the Scimitar and the Shamshir, both introduced with the ‘Warriors of the North’ DLC. They were a teaser of a southern culture with their own arms to come – which now is about to arrive. As we’re adding the Saif, we’re also doing some work on the existing Scimitar and Shamshir.

A curved sword, the Saif is excellent for cutting deep wounds. It’s less suited for thrusting than straight swords, however, and therefore has a harder time penetrating armor. The Saif is a southern variant of the northern shortsword and at the lowest tier in the line of curved swords. The Scimitar has been buffed to be a middle tier weapon now, while the Shamshir remains the highest tier. All of those weapons share the ‘Slash’ skill with northern swords, but also have the unique ‘Gash’ Skill, which is much more likely to inflict serious injuries with adverse secondary effects than regular attacks are.

Not all injuries are equally useful against opponents, and many of the cutting injuries inflicted by the ‘Gash’ skill were previously among the weaker ones. We’ve combed through all cutting injuries to rectify this. Inflicting a ‘Deep Chest Cut’, for example, will now always reduce an opponent’s hitpoints by a percentage of their maximum hitpoints in addition to any damage your attack caused. It may not make much of a difference against Brigand Thugs who don’t have a lot of hitpoints to begin with, but it can mean a lot against barbarians, orcs and many beasts. As cutting injuries become more worthwhile to inflict, the ‘Crippling Strikes’ perk also becomes a more worthwhile pick – particularly if used together with the Saif, Scimitar or Shamshir to basically guarantee an injury..

The Shields

Identical in function to other shields already in the game, but with somewhat different stats, southerners also have their own shield designs that show well how their arms are inspired by those of historical Arabian and Persian cultures.

The Polemace

Southern armies are rather fond of maces, and so you’ll find a variety of southern maces with stats slightly different from their northern cousins while in the city states. In fact, they also mounted a mace on a long pole and aptly called it a Polemace. It offers the advantages of a regular mace combined with the range of a polearm.

The Polemace inflicts additional damage to fatigue with every blow. Using its secondary skill, a target can be stunned for one turn over a distance of two tiles.

The Nomad Sling

The south is no less plagued by banditry and pillaging than the north is. While the north has brigands lying in ambush along the road, the south has desert raiders descending upon trade caravans. These desert raiders – or nomads, as they’re sometimes called – have some equipment not otherwise available, including one particular weapon: the Nomad Sling.

A simple weapon used since ancient times, and the favorite of many a shepherd, a sling is used to hurl stones towards the enemy. The Nomad Sling is a higher tier variant of the existing Staff Sling with similar strengths and weaknesses, but better suited for the later parts of a campaign. It’s not particularly accurate or damaging, but 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.

The Qatal Dagger

The Qatal Dagger is a short curved blade notoriously used by assassins of the southern deserts. Like northern daggers, it’s intended for quick attacks. Unlike northern daggers, it’s not meant to puncture weak points of armor, but to cut throats of debilitated opponents.

Using its ‘Deathblow’ skill, this dagger inflicts significantly increased damage to targets which have the Dazed, Stunned or Sleeping status effects. It’s much less fatiguing to use than the ‘Puncture’ skill of other daggers, and it can be used three times a turn with the ‘Dagger Mastery’ perk. It works best, of course, in a combo with other equipment used to debilitate opponents – such as the new Flash Pot available from alchemists, or that Nomad Sling shown above.

The Swordlance

As you’ve already learned, the city states were built atop the ruins of the Ancient Empire. It’s no surprise, then, that they also inherited some of their weapons. The Swordlance is a sharp curved blade attached to a long pole and used to deliver deep sweeping strikes over a distance of two tiles. It’s effectively a Warscythe that performs slightly worse against armor, but is much more durable because it wasn’t lying in some sealed crypt for hundreds of years.

Like all polearms, the Swordlance can be used to strike a single target over a distance of two tiles. Its unique feature is the ability to perform sweeping strikes in a wide arc that hit three adjacent tiles in counter-clockwise order over some distance, which can cause mayhem in the opponent’s backline.

There’s more new weapons coming with unique mechanics, and we’ll take a look at those as well over the coming weeks!
Dev Blog #131: City States, Part II

We’ve previously covered a good chunk of what the southern city states are about. Now it’s time to take a look at some of their troops that you may end up facing on the field of battle. Charge!


Whether born into slavery, made into a slave as punishment by law, or taken on a raid into foreign territory and sold to the highest bidder on a slave auction, it’s on the back of slaves like these that much of the economy of the city states is built. But slaves are not just cheap labor in peacetime, they’re also used as expendable troops in war.

Life is cheap in the south, as the saying goes, and nothing makes this harsh reality sink in better than how the city states treat their slaves. In battle, they’re usually send first against the enemy to tire out their lines before the real battle begins. They’re poorly armed, many just carrying tools used as improvised weapons, and rely on swarming, flanking and overwhelming the enemy. They have poor morale and flee easily, but killing or breaking them does not affect the morale of any city state troops that aren’t slaves themselves. In fact, the city state troops have no qualms about friendly fire when it comes to slaves, and they may seize the opportunity that slaves provide by locking down the enemy and fire their ranged weapons into the thick of battle.


Citizens of the great city states enjoy privileges that neither slaves nor outsiders do. For example, they have the opportunity to conduct business with the legal certainty of a codified law and can even hire legal council. In turn, they also have certain obligations to their state. Having to pay taxes is one such obligation, but another one for every adult male citizen is either mandatory military service or paying a hefty sum into the state’s coffers to be exempt. The council of Viziers may decide to conscript the citizens for the defense of the city state or for otherwise protecting and furthering the interests of the state. In practise, this can mean anything between border skirmishes with other states, doomed punitive expeditions deep into the deserts to hunt down raiders, and crushing slave rebellions.

Conscripts make up the bulk of the military force of the city states. They have received some military drill and are most often dressed in a distinct southern armor made of several layers of linen, called a Linothorax, that is relatively cheap to produce. If they don’t have access to helmets, they choose to wrap cloth around their heads to protect against the sun. The color and patterns of these head wraps are often linked to a particular region of the south, and one familiar would know what place a southern conscript calls home by his headwear alone. Just before battle lines clash, Conscripts employ a unique weapon of the city states. It’s one reason why they are a military power to be reckoned with, and you’ll learn about next week in detail!


Officers of the city states are mostly made up of the wealthy who would have enough funds to buy themselves free of conscription, but seek a career commanding troops in the military by their own volition. A victorious commander will accrue influence and gravitas, and some Officers may consider the army but a stepping stone in a fledgling political career.

Considerably better armed than Conscripts, Officers carry finely crafted mail and lamellar armor with intricate southern ornaments into battle. Naturally, all armors can also be bought, looted and worn by your own men in the game!


Members of a secretive ritualistic cult, Assassins deal in death and provide murder as a service. They have no political ambition beyond the continued survival of their cult and that of their warped philosophy, and so act only in service to other parties, like individual city states. They’re not encountered roaming on the world map, but exclusively as part of contracts and events.

In battle, Assassins wear traditional black robes over finely crafted mail. Many also choose to exchange their own face for that of their master and founder of their cult, the old man on the mountain, by wearing metal face masks. Assassins have a nimble combat style and employ a variety of alchemical contraptions like Flash Pots and Smoke Pots to daze their opponents and move freely between them, only to then use a Qatal Dagger for greater impact on their debilitated victims.
Post edited March 27, 2020 by mannefriedrich
Dev Blog #132: Gunpowder Weapons

As you’ve already learned here, the southern city states are places where medieval science flourishes. Advancements in medicine, astrology and alchemy are unlike anything found in the north. You’ve also learned a good deal about the alchemy part already, but now it’s time to look at their finest alchemical achievement: Gunpowder weapons. This requires a bit of an introduction, so let’s start!


Battle Brothers is set in an era spanning the early to high medieval ages as we move from Scramasax to Greatsword and across all the tiers of equipment. There’s a few outliers, such as the Fencing Sword, but by and large this dictates what kind of equipment may make its way into the game. It’s also the reason why there isn’t any full-blown plate armor available. Naturally, the same restrictions apply to any gunpowder weapons we’re going to introduce.

Until the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC, the setting was limited to draw inspiration from Europe. Gunpowder weapons weren’t much of a thing there at the time, but it doesn’t mean that other cultures weren’t employing them. The gunpowder weapons we’re going to introduce aren’t the muskets that many people may immediately think of, because these clearly would fall out of the era that Battle Brothers covers. Instead, they are very early firearms based on what eastern cultures actually had available at the time.

Gunpowder weapons work differently from any other ranged weapons in the game and fill their own niche. Their attacks don’t target individual opponents, but instead hit an area of effect covering multiple tiles and always hit both body and head. Also differently from any other weapons, the skill of a shooter and the defenses of a target don’t determine whether a target is hit at all, but rather for how much damage it is hit. The higher the skill of a shooter, the more damage a target receives. The higher the defenses of a target, the less damage it receives. For example, while you’ll have a hard time dodging a load of shrapnel being shot at you in its entirety, a shield offers good protection against it and will reduce any damage you might otherwise take.

Because it’s important to understand the area of effect an attack with a gunpowder weapon will cover, not least to avoid friendly fire, we’ve revised how these are displayed in the game. No matter if a tile is empty or not, you’ll now always see which tiles are in the line of fire. Naturally, this goes for any melee attacks already in the game as well. So with all that said, let’s take a closer look at the gunpowder weapons available for you to use.

The Firelance

The Firelance is an explosive charge mounted on a wooden stick. Once ignited, it will spew fire in a straight line covering multiple tiles in front of the shooter. It has limited range, but can still be safely fired from the backline without hitting your own men. Victims caught in the jet of fire may suffer one of the new burning injuries.

The Firelance has a single use in combat, after which it is burned out and useless. Like throwing weapons, it is automatically refilled after each battle and can be used again in the next one. Firelances are particularly useful to soften enemy ranks in deep formation, as they are able to set ablaze opponents in their backline that are out of reach of most polearms or Greatswords and are guaranteed to hit. The conscripted armies of city states regularly make use of them before battle lines clash.

The Handgonne

The Handgonne is a massive cast iron cannon with a wooden handle. It fires shrapnel in a cone and can hit multiple targets with one shot for devastating damage, but at less range than either bow or crossbow. Similar to a crossbow, it has to be reloaded after every shot with shrapnel and powder carried in the ammunition slot. As it is heavier and more cumbersome to reload than even a crossbow, a character carrying a Handgonne can not fire, reload and move in the same turn.

The Handgonne excels against multiple lightly armored targets, but can also be effectively employed for damaging several more heavily armored opponents at once. Because the Handgonne covers a wide cone, smart positioning and watching out for friendly fire is important. Used right, it can quickly even the odds if overwhelmed by superior enemy numbers – after all, the more enemies, the more targets to hit. And any target thus hit may suffer both piercing and burning injuries.
Dev Blog #133: City States, Part III

Last week we’ve learned about gunpowder weapons. In this conclusion of our dev blog series exploring the southern city states, we take a look at their remaining troop types that make use of these weapons. Onwards!


Armies of the city states train men in the use of the Handgonne, a metal barrel with a long wooden handle that uses gunpowder to propel shrapnel in a wide cone. Below you see Gunners armed with a Handgonne. Its visuals have been revised since last week to make it more readily apparent that this is an unreliable early firearm and not some kind of blunderbuss.

Because their weapons cover a cone, Gunners excel against tightly packed enemy formations. But because their weapons also have a very limited effective range, they often have to position themselves right behind their own frontline, leaving them vulnerable to polearms and firearms themselves. The city states do not make use of traditional ranged weapons like bows and crossbows, but desert raiders – essentially the southern equivalent of brigands – make use of a new composite bow with advantages and disadvantages over northern bows.


Malnutritioned slaves toil in the fields and quarries beneath a city of golden domes that reflect the glory of the Gilder. It’s a city of architectural marvels made possible by the application of mathematics and engineering. These sciences are taught in several colleges between the city states, and their graduates make for sought-after engineers. They devise intricate water pumps and fountains that create a private oasis in the gardens of wealthy citizens, and they produce mechanical toys that makes eyes go wide.

But where a child sees but a toy, a man with ambition sees what can become a weapon. And so it is that engineers of the city states also devise terrible weapons of war, and that they operate them on the battlefield to rain down destruction on the enemies of men with ambition.

As you face engineers in battle, they don’t pose much of a threat by themselves. In fact, they try to stay as far away from the frontline as possible. Their role is not to engage the enemy in direct combat, but to operate the technical marvel that is the mortar. A bronze-cast muzzle-loaded piece of artillery, the mortar is able to fire every other round as long as it is operated by at least one engineer next to it.

The mortar has enough range to cover the whole battlefield, but it’s entirely immobile during combat. It fires explosive shells that cover a large area of effect, but it’s highly inaccurate. The howling sound of incoming mortar shells has as much a psychological impact on combatants as it has an explosive impact, or perhaps even more so. Characters in the blast zone lose morale and receive the new ‘Shellshocked’ status effect that lowers their efficiency in combat, but receive only moderate physical damage.

Luckily, because the mortar is heavy, relatively immobile and hard to operate, it’s an uncommon weapon used only with large armies, and one that you’ll most likely face only as part of the new ‘Holy War’ late game crisis.
Situation Update

There should be a dev blog explaining the changes and additions coming with the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC right here. Instead, we have some unfortunate news to share this week about the Corona situation.

Overhype Studios is based in Hamburg, Germany. As with many other places around the world, Hamburg has closed all schools, kindergarten and daycare centers, and is asking everyone to self-quarantine as much as possible. As some of us have very young children at home, this has required us to do a balancing act between working and taking care of our children for several weeks now – and likely will continue to do so for some time into the future. As more and more people get sick, we now also have relatives and friends that require our support.

Unfortunately, all of this is impacting on our schedule. We often find ourselves unable to put in the hours of work on the game required, and consequently, we’re now behind schedule. This doesn’t mean that the future of Battle Brothers or the upcoming DLC are in any kind of jeopardy, but there are still some unfortunate implications of this very unique situation in our lives;

- The ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC will likely take longer to be finished and may come out later than initially planned for.
- We can’t keep posting weekly dev blogs, because we can’t keep up pace with new features or changes to report on. As a consequence, we’ll now pause with our weekly dev blogs for a few weeks to gain more ground. We’ll resume our weekly dev blogs on the 1st of May.

It’s disappointing, but it’s just the situation that all of us currently live in. We look forward to when everything goes back to normal. In the meantime, we’ll soldier on as best as we can given the circumstances and look forward to show you more of the exciting things yet to come for a game that we all love. See you soon!
Post edited April 10, 2020 by mannefriedrich
Dev Blog #134: Soundtrack of the South

We’re back with an audible bang this week as we take a listen to the upcoming additions to the Battle Brothers soundtrack by Breakdown Epiphanies. Let’s hear in their own words what they’ve been up to!

Soundtrack of the South

The ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC is going to make the world of Battle Brothers feel more diverse and rich in culture, and this of course also goes for the game’s soundtrack. Today we are going to share a sneak peek into the musical direction in the form of short snippets of four of the new pieces that await you once your company starts to explore the new content. These tracks are all still work in progress, but they should give a good impression of the atmosphere you are presented with battling the new enemies and visiting the opulent city states.

The Sound of the Southern Realms - Battle Brothers Blazing Deserts DLC Music Preview

Our montage starts out with a new town theme and opens up with one of the Middle-Eastern instruments that we incorporated for our latest addition to the Battle Brothers OST, the Oud, a type of Arabic, fretless lute that has been used in the Middle-East and North Africa for millennia. Musically, this piece ties together with the rest of the soundtrack by means of a motif you are probably familiar with: the Battle Brothers main theme that plays in the main menu, on the world map and in northern towns. This time, though, we gave it a new spin by moving it into a key typical for oriental music.

The most prominent instrument of the second snippet you hear is a Bağlama, which is a type of Saz, a long-necked lute used in traditional music from the Balkan over Turkey all the way to today’s Iran and Afghanistan. It introduces us to one of the two battle tracks that are going to play when fighting the troops of the southern city states and the bandits in the surrounding deserts. Aside from the main motif on the Bağlama, this track features deep and heavy low string riffs that are reminiscent of the undead battle tracks (the city states are built upon the remnants of the old empire after all) as well as a more majestic brass section similar to the ones we came up with for the northern noble house battle music. The Bağlama also fills the role that the guitar did in those northern realms tracks.

The next transition brings us to a title that is going to play when fighting the new kinds of beasts introduced in the ‘Blazing Deserts’ DLC. As usual for our beast themes, the music is very heavy on percussion and the use of melodic elements is very sparse although we decided to let a flute play a bit of a more dominant role to convey that oriental atmosphere.

Finally, we have a piece that is not part of the southern deserts lore but expands the musical selection when travelling north since the new late game crisis might entail such ventures as well. This new world map track is like a more lush and open variant of the music we made for Warriors of the North, featuring the Nyckelharpa as well as deep and powerful northern choir.

This concludes today’s presentation and we hope we managed to stir your appetite for the contracts and stories that await your company in the southern realms.