Cover image by Steve Slater

Last week we discussed the way in which wounds were determined and measured in 'Bastards, along the lines of type, location, and severity. This week we'll be talking about how you actually use that information in combat and track the results.


When a wound is taken, the victim suffers Impact, representing the immediate pain and distraction caused by an injury. This is measured by an Impact Rating and manifests as a number of dice discarded from your current pool, equal to twice the wound level received (4 dice, at level 2). This effect is immediate, and only effects the pool in the next tempo without the need for further tracking.

Base TN

As you're probably aware by now, 'Bastards uses a d10 dice pool system based around the number of individual successes rolled, rather than adding them together. Each die that shows a number equal to or higher than you the Target Number counts as a success. For example, rolling seven dice against TN6 and getting 7, 6, 2, 2, 5, 3, 9 would be three successes.

The TN required is usually determined by what we refer to as the Base TN. By default, that begins at TN6 but when wounded or fatigued it can be raised. A broad guideline follows:

Had the character in our previous example been significantly wounded, they would have needed to roll vs a Base TN8 instead and would have scored only a single success.

In the case of multiple wounds, the Base TN is determined by the worst injury that the character has. A character with one level 2 wound and two level 3 wounds would make up Base TN8.


The escalating Target Number system in ‘Bastards has a number of advantages over the "wounds reduce die pool" system that we used in early testing:

No need to adjust the character's Combat Pool, meaning that we need to do less math and track less information between tempos.

Base TN only shifts when you receive a worse injury than you already have; breaking two fingers does not hurt twice as much as having one finger broken.

Making the penalties for wounds scale on TN instead of subtracting dice means that wounded characters are penalized evenly, no matter whether they are making a skill check with 6 dice, or have 25 dice in a pool with SAs firing.

It can sound complicated at first, but in practice it’s remarkably simple. The first significant injury often decides the outcome of a fight, placing the victim at a disadvantage, and limiting the amount of wounds that need to be looked up at all. Impact takes effect immediately, requiring nothing in tracking. The agony and disability of a wound is represented in the Base TN, which is represented by a simple mark on the character sheet.

The only other details aside from the shifting TN you need to track are the wound location and its severity. Some wounds also cause bleeding, which we didn’t cover here, but in all but the most severe cases, Blood Loss is something that takes place in the aftermath of combat, rather than in the rapid clash of steel.

In short, discard a few dice when you’re hit. Mark down the wound location and Blood Loss (if any). If the wound was worse than your character already had, shift the Base TN. Repeat until someone surrenders or stops moving. If you’re still standing, have someone ready with bandages.

Until next time, join us on our forums and let us know what you think!