Home Forums Ancients The Sword and the Flame & the Dark Ages

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    I’ve been working on a Dark Ages rule set for ‘big battles’ (read: a few hundred warriors): specifically for the Late Romans/Arthurian British versus the invading Saxons on and off for the past 4 months.

    I’m coming from a SAGA background but want to field substantially more figures. I’ve looked at published sets, “borrowed” a few ideas from them, tried out some ideas of my own but can’t get it quite to gel.

    That’s when I got a Bright Idea!

    ‘The Sword and the Flame’, of course, pits smaller numbers of drilled soldiers against larger numbers of less disciplined warriors. Perfect!

    I’ve had a look at my TSATF rules and it can be done…..but before I burn out a few brain cells I can’t really afford to lose, I wonder if anyone else been before me & can I see what they’ve done?





    You could contact Lori Brom of Sargents3 and ask her if her Dad did a Dark Age variant?



    Thanks, KB, I might do this.

    I, of course, have a copy of the original rules.
    It seems to cry out for the Dark Ages modification I want.

    The Original is, of course, weighted towards shooting &  Dark Age warfare isn’t.

    However, I don’t think firing will be an issue. There will be a set limit to the number of missile units allowed. The Barbarian archer & javelin units will get “native-like” poor stats, the Late Romans will be much better…..but I think the ‘ammunition’ optional rule should be used.

    And the LRs should get the ability to throw a spear (javelin) just before closing to melee (like the Zulus).

    The LRs will have a bunch of troop types (artillery, infantry, skirmishers, missile light cavalry & cataphractii). Getting the mix right & the relative abilities should be the real challenge.

    I need to think about whether the Barbarians should be as invisible as Zulus….is this historical because, after all, they’re mostly the invaders?

    Hopefully, I will locate a variant but if not, I think I could make my own version work.




    Sounds good.


    You may want to look at The Sword In Gaul which they sell as an ancients supplement.



    Thanks Noel. I dug up the ‘Sword & the Raven’ variant which gives me a leg up on the rule writing.

    What I’ll end up with won’t be wholly ‘TSATF’. I’ll stick to the variable move concept, for example, but the combat mechanism is far too creaky even for big/little Dark Age battles. I have a few ideas of what I might use here.

    Progress is several pages of notes. I need to start writing a coherent set of rules &, almost simultaneously, throwing dice & moving figures around to see how it works.

    “Clever” ideas so far include having a set number of heroes who attached add to morale & combat factors but, more originally, can be challenged to a duel by an opposing hero (simple odd-even throw to see who wins?).

    Include skirmishers who can only fight each other but provide protection from missiles for the troops behind them?

    Anyway, writing rules that may or may not be much good, is still very enjoyable.


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