A break to test Burning Sands

     The summer days normally pass between hot, dried paints and I want to but I can because of the heat... But this days have been a bit differente my challenge "Slorm against the Lead Pile" is working, and two days ago appeared my good friend Criamon with a new rulebook called "Burning Sands", casually during the week we were talking about the great campaign that Alexander Wasberg was playing, it is called "Tale of the wandering Slayer", because it is epic, a hero against the elements, with few scenery and solo gaming.

 Well, and two days later, appears Michael Stocking, publishing this book "Burning Sands", the ruleset that is been used in the campaign... obviously, Criamon caught it and we have tested it.


 The rulebook propose a system to play small heroic scenarios, very solo friendly, with no more than 5 miniatures per side, but you can use more if you have a big control of your dice pool. The actions are solved using a dice pool based in three stats: Vitality (Life points and effort capacity), Prowess (all the task related with the physical skills) and Wits (all the task related with the psychic skills). The Vitality generate a number of vitality points equal to that value, I mean, if our hero has Vitality 5, he will have a pool of 5 vitality points to use each turn. But can't use more points of the pool than his Prowess or Wits indicate.

 It is based on CROM from Mataskishi, but is not the same, here the author explain the differences.

 During the encounters, each time the character wants to do something, will need to stablish if is a Prowess or Wits skill, and them use as much dices as the skill indicate. For example, if the character (V5 P3 W2) wants to bash a door, it is a Prowess action, and he will consume 1 point of Vitality to receive 3 dices to attack the door, for example, if the door requires a damage of 10 to be opened, he can use another Vitality point to ensure that he destroy it. He will roll 3d6 per Vitality point consumed and if he get a number adding the scores bigger than 10, the door will be opened.

 Each time that you suffer a wound,  you lose one Vitality point, and one point of your vitality pool. When you arrive to 0 Vitality points you are dead.

When all the Vitality pool points are consumed, the turn is over. The consumed Vitality pool points are recovered at the begin of the turn.

 In the book you can find a lot of examples, but here I am going to show you the one that I use:

 Our hero is Karl a Teutonic knight who had bumped into a group of Baltic Pagan Barbarians
Here are the stats: Karl V5 P3 W2, and the Pagans V2 P2 W1

 TURN 1
 Roll for initiative:
Karl 1d6 +V5 = 4+5= 9
Pagans 1d6 +V2+V2+V2 = 12
Karl the Teuton
The Pagans

Initial deployment

 The Pagans win the Initiative and decide to advance against Karl.

 One Pagan advances using one point of his pool, so he roll 2d6 (his Prowess stat) and get 3+1, advancing 4cm, far away of Karl. He decides to not use more points, because if he gets contact with Karl, he will be out of Vitality poll points.

 The other Pagan consumes one point, and obtains 5+1 advancing 6 cm.
 The last Pagan does the same than his comrades, 2+1 advancing just 3cm.


 Karl charges against the first Pagan, consuming 1 point, rolling 3d6, and scoring 5+1+1= 7cm, contacting with the first Pagan. And attacks using one point, the Pagan use another to defend. Karl rolls 3d6 and the Pagan just 2d6. Karl gets 6+3+6 and Pagan 6+4, so not only Karl wins but also he produces two wounds on the Pagan a wound, killing him. Each No matter  how many sixes do you get, a six on the winner fighter is a critic and causes 2 wounds. The Pagan is dead.


 Karl continues his slaughter and advances against the second Pagan. 1 point for moving 2d6, 3+3, 6cm advances. Contacting him, he uses another point from the pool to attack, taking to 3, and the Pagan uses another one. Karl rolls 3d6 (4+2+3) and the Pagan 2d6 (3+1), Karl wins, the Pagan suffers one wound so his Vitality is reduced to 1, and has no option to defend in the next attack. Karl attacks another time against the helpless Pagan, consuming one point of his Vitality pool, scoring 4+1+4, so he kills the Pagan.


 With the last point, Karls decides to recoil to avoid the charge of the Pagan he rolls 3d6 moving 10cm (6+2+2) and the turn finishes.


TURN 2
 The survivors recover all the Vitality Pool Points. Karl 6, Pagan 2. If some of them was has been wounded, they would have recovered as much points as was their current Vitality stat.


Roll for Initiative:
Karl: 1d6+V5: 2+5
Pagan: 1d6+V2: 3+5
 Note: Well, now  I realize that Karl had a lot of possibilities to win this Initiative roll, so the best thing would have been that with the last point to have moved to contact the Pagan, to attack him now at the begin of this turn... Well, everyday you learn something new....

Karl uses one point to assault the Pagan rolling three dices 4+2+2= 8cm, and attack him, using another point. I don't know if is possible to use more than one point when you attack. Dices dance on the board... and Karl gets 2+1+1 and the Pagan 3+2, so the Pagan wounds Karl, so the Teuton loses 1 Vitality Point, and another point of his pool. Karl attacks another time. Incredible! Karl gets a 2+2+2 and the Pagan... 5+3, so Karl receives another wound, reducing his pool and his Vitality in another time, now he has Vitality 4 and the Vitality pool just 1. He attacks for the last time... and the Archangel Rafael come in Karls help because in the roll he gets:6+5+2, without option to save for the Pagan, who suffers two wound by the critic attack. And dies heroically.



 Karl must heal his wounds, and get ready for the next enemies...

 Well, front my point of view, the rule book is very promising, because the action is intrepid, and you never knows what is going to happen, look at the last turn, Karl was in problems if another Pagan had arrived... On the other hand the Stats of Wits and Prowess let you to create various warriors, and the simplicity of the stats let you worry about the action, without having to remember each number. The author offers cards to locate the Vitality and the Vitality pool, but you can put them, like me, next to the miniature.
 The rulebook comes with various enemy stats and outline how to create more creatures or characters. And special rules that you can use with the troops.

 I am sure that it could be used for other periods, adding some rules for fire weapons.

 On the other hand, the wargame is not suitable for competitions, and is centred in epic combat of heroes against villains.