Auxiliary rules for Band of Blades

After the end of actual play - Band of Blades I’ve gone back to some scattered thoughts I had after running a few sessions of the game. In my home game, the Legion wanted to recruit a pack of wild wolf to fight against the undead (The Horned One special ability gave them the ability to talk to them). In the actual play campaign, the Legion recruited a bunch of bandits. For both cases, the system isn’t really built to accommodate using the non-Legion personal in game.
So, here is my not-playtested rules for using auxiliary forces in Band of Blades:

Auxiliary Forces
Auxiliary forces are personal that are not sworn to the Legion but still travel and fight with them. Tracking them and deciding if to send them to a mission is the Marshal’s job. As they are not sworn, every engagement roll for a mission were auxiliaries are deployed does not get the dice for “everyone is oath sworn to the Legion”. Can’t be sent to a mission without accompanying Legion squad. in secondary missions and if you use the “three missions at once” optional rule, the Marshal can sacrifice auxiliary size die instead of legionnaires, one for one. Dead auxiliaries are not Legion and so do not cost 1 Moral per auxiliary force annihilated, and not per death.

Auxiliaries have Size, Quality and Upkeep.
Size is one to three dice.
One die is small force, 5-10
two dice is medium force, 11-20
three die is large force, 21+
Exact numbers are not important - the badass Seven Highwaymen Of The North can be a medium force, 15 folks with pitchforks from the local farm can be small.
Killing a force down in size is a 4 clock for each die. So a medium group would take 4 clock to kill them down to be a small force with one die, and another 4 clock to kill\break the moral of them all.
Quality is binary - Elite or Normal. Elite force gets another die to their pool and killing them down a size is a 6 clock. Elite auxiliary usually have a Supply recruitment cost, because all this high quality equipment wouldn’t pay for themselves.
Auxiliaries roll their pool when fighting and when doing things that they are good at (bandits are good at scouting and terrorizing civilian population, Panyar rangers are good at laying traps, tracking and dealing with wild animals, ect’). When doing something they are not good at, auxiliaries roll 0 dice, or one if the GM feels generous.
Upkeep cost is what you need to pay to when the auxiliary join you and each time a time clock is finished. usually food.

When the Legion have auxiliaries, it can recruit legionnaires from the auxiliaries even if the current region have no other recruitment opportunities. Recruit legionnaires from an auxiliary reduce it’s size by one die. When recruiting legionnaires from an elite auxiliaries, the new recruits always include two soldiers.

Now let’s see how it comes together:

generic small auxiliary
upkeep: 1 food dot
1 die (4 clock)

generic medium auxiliary
upkeep: 1 food dot
2 dice (4 clock each)

generic large auxiliary
upkeep: 2 food dots
3 dice (4 clock each)

Elite: +1 die (all dice are 6 clocks), need to pay 1 Supply at recruitment

Now let’s try to use the formula to represent some… weirder auxiliaries:

Medium Vampire Cohort
upkeep: sacrificing 1 legionnaire
Elite at night
2 dice +1 at night (6 clock each at night, 4 at day)
Special: when recruiting legionnaires out of a vampire cohort, the resulting legionnaires can preform feats of outright superhuman strength and speed at night if they push themselves, start with 1 Blight, take double contraption from any source and can only heal by killing a living human and drinking their blood - sacrifice 1 legionnaire to completely heal one Vampire legionnaire, otherwise harm is permanent.

Small Wolf Pack
upkeep: 1 food dot or 1 horse dot
1 die (4 clock)
Special: you can’t recruit legionnaires out of Wolf Pack, but they roll to track enemies with 2 dice

Medium Guard Mechanic Squad
upkeep: 1 food dot +1 Supply upon recruitment only
3 die (each 6 clock)
Special: function as laborers on downtime after not being sent on a mission.

So, what do you think? will this work?

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Well, to be honest I’m not sure you’re not bending the rules a bit too much here. Having auciliaries whose deaths don’t count against morale and who can be recruited direclty as soldiers, does break the balance.

Of course “Breaking the rules” is possible, but for that you normally need a Long term project. But I’m not sure just paying some more food as upkeep makes it a sufficient cost.

That said, convincing bandits or wolves to help on a given mission is perfectly valid, and very well done. But to have them accompany the Legion?..

And, I mean, a Vampire cohort, and sacrificing Légionnaires to feed them? Why not direclty join Render’s troops? Do you think there are some small lines in the Oath that allow for that ? I would have a full fledged mutiny at the first occurrence.

I’ll explain my rational for the weird parts you’re pointing at:

  1. when marching through the map, the players have a very natural tendency to think - well, all those people are just going to die soon, and some of them can fight, but we can’t train them all to be legion with the time we have, so why don’t we just take them with us and send them with our soldiers on missions to have more men power to fight the undead? Right now, the system don’t have an answer to that question, that the gap this rules are trying to fill.
  2. having said that, it’s reasonable this rules would break the game in ways I didn’t foresee. I do say that the fact that their death don’t count against moral is somehow offsetted by them taking a die out of every engagement roll they take part in by not being oath sworn to the Legion. if it doesn’t seem like enough, and sensationally if the Legion have taken the auxiliaries out of pity, losing moral for every dice of auxiliaries lost might be more appropriate.
  3. Only Elite auxiliaries are recruited directly as soldiers, the rest are recruited as rookies. as such, it’s more a refund of the Supply you’ve invested in them then anything else. As recruitment is not that hard to come by in the map, I don’t think it’s too powerful.
  4. convincing bandits to accompany the Legion had happened in actual play, and convincing wolfs is plausible if Blighter or Breaker are fucking up the forests and the Legion have the ability to talk to them.
  5. the Vampire cohort is example as to how this little system can be stretched to fit weird occurrences in game. I thing no players in their right mind would actually take this option.


  1. The system is flexible and could allow for things like these (having auxiliaries on a specific mission). But It’s true it’s not clearly written. First I would put a limit: they can’t scout or fight alongside the legion because they don’t have the training, the discipline etc. So you can’t, for example, have a squad of auxiliaries helping a Heavy fight an Infamous, providing Scale and improved position, as in the example p 229. But you could have them make a diversion or Something. No need to give them Dice, Quality etc, just roll a fortune roll, or have a Legion member roll Marshal (to motivate them and explain the tactic chosen and the desired outcome) to estimate the result. If you play the auxiliaries with your rules as you wrote them, it will only add crunch to the game and lengthen time without the players being involved.

3 and 4. No problem for recruiting the auxiliaries. But here you do have to pay a price, not just saying “we recruited them during the play”. The Quartermaster still has to spend a downtime action as a Recruit action. Maybe that’s what you already did? Or, perhaps, a per special rules on page 376, a 4-clock LTP to “untrain” them as bandits and break them to Legion discipline?

  1. Allright! That was more or less what I thought.

Anyway, I am myself also a beginner GM with BoB, so my advice is just that, no more, As they say, YMMV, and id what you did is fun to you and your players that’s the most important.

oh, yes, sorry, my intent was that the downtime Recruit action is always available when you have an auxiliary (even in the Maw, for example), as long as you are willing to pay a die of auxiliary size.