5 September 2021

Guilders: Pious Pickpockets - Battlereport

Guilders - A Life In Shadows is (when writing this) in Beta. The campaign system has its first version out. It is time to play a lot of games to tweak the system. As something new, I'll be writing some battle reports from games, perhaps it'll inspire some people to give Guilders a go. 

The photos are greyscale because everything is not yet painted - so it looks a bit better. 

The Guilds:

The Eastwall Cornerclub Clubbers

Is my guild. I've gone for a max bodies approach. 

Guild Master: Decently armed. Got the Scout ability (to gain 6" in the first turn) and doctor (to help my guilders when hurt). I want to make him a support master with his skills. 

Enforcer: Good arms, this is for the violence. 

Acrobat: Carries a bola to knockout enemies and get a high placed objectives. 

Sharpshooter: with a bow. Means to hide and provide security from a high place. 

Shadow Priest: Armed with a staff and Prayer of Silence (to make characters unable to cause Alarm).

3 thieves: all armed with clubs. two with pickpocket, one with lockpick. 

1 scum: armed with a club.

2 street urchin. 

This gang is very lightly armed and armored. I've spend coins on getting all thieves and urchins a lockpick or scissor for the first heist, to make sure I got some loot. Also left good money in the bank, enough for a very bad day - so I would still be able to cover my upkeep after the game. 

I've added a lot of clubs, making them kind of bruisers. Use the priest to keep some people quite and then wack them on the head with the club. Keeps my infamy down and let me pick up some loot with those unable to pickpocket. That's the plan anyways. 

The Guild of Unaffiliated Wine Stompers

A deadly and quick-moving guild, focused on controlling the center of the board. I spent every sinlge guilder coin on getting a strong and well equipped guild, hoping they can bring back enough money to heal their injuries

Guild Master: scout and charge combined with a two-handed weapon and good armour makes her a dangerous force who can keep the center of the board free from enemies, for a while at least. The risk being that she may go down fighting

Enforcer: good armour and a halberd, so he can support my boss on the center of the board or take out enemy stragglers, who cant fight back.

Brawler: With Taunt and a hand weapon, to make controlling the center easier.

Acrobat: Bola and flash bomb. Her job is taking out anoying guards or slowing down enemies

Sharpshooter: with a deadly crossbow he can take to the roofs, and try to keep the enemy in their shadows, or kill of guards who are getting to dangerous

Alchemist: In the group for their doctor skill. Have a bow, if they should be lucky enough to take a pot shot at someone, but she will stay in the back, getting ready to be handed loot, and fleeing at the first sign of danger.

Three Thieves: with lockpick skill. To quickly get into the nearest buildings and get the loot, so the guild is secured some money.

Two Urchins: have pickpocket skill. Trying to steal from civilians and crowds, maybe getting lucky and avoid guard attention enough to try to steal loot from enemies or targets at the last second. Totally expendable (small feet dosen't stomp a lot of grapes)

The scenario: Pious Pickpockets

There's some good loot in a temple, protected by paladins and priest. The real money is in getting Loot II and Loot III and this is inside the temple. It start Hidden, so first guilds must break in, then make Spot checks to find it. Steal it and get out. 

Any violence or getting caught trying to steal and the paladins (counting as Royal Guard) will start attacking the guilders. 

It's the first time playtesting this scenario, so we figures there would be some checks or 'didn't cover that when writing' situations. That's what playtesting is for. 


We setup a suingle piece of my dungeon board (1'x1') in the center as the temple. Around it we placed a bunch of buildings, the streets are around 3" wide. Enough for the crowds to move and really create barriers for us or the guards. 

We also added a large bell tower and a church to further enhance the temple district feeling. 

My guild setup really centered at the middle. The plan was to steal as much on the direct route to the temple. Urchins was on the flanks, just get some purses from crowds and then get off the board. Guilders can only carry as much as their strength stat, so urchin are full with just 1 loot token. 

I had my sharp shooter setup on a roof from the start, able to provide some good cover on my side of the temple. 


Right from the get go my thieves spread out, shouldn't be a problem picking the locks - it's a 50:50 chance and even better with their lockpick. The rolls weren't great though. I didn't want to stop, nect turn they would move on. 

You can only do an action once each turn - unles you have a high skill level. Would try other doors closer to the temple. 

The paladins and priests inside the temple are stationary at the beginning of the game. The doors are locked with a high level lock as well. They'll not activate unless someone breaks down the door or get caught stealing inside - then they'll act like guards on high alert. 

The valueable Loot is hidden in the two sacophagi. 

By the end of turn two my guild was at the temple door. The shadow priest was using his Prayer of Silence on the guild master, then I wouldn't cause alarm when trying to break down the doors. Unfortunately I wasn't able to break it down. The enforcer and scum would be ready to help insde, getting the loot. 

My opponents guild had also brough a sharpshooter, this guy was wielding a deadly crossbow and had taking a position similar to mine. Protect their side of the temple with some deadly shots. 

We've already nerfed shooting a bit. Getting caught in the open by a shooter, that's aiming from high ground is very deadly. So stick to cover and shadows. 

Since there's two paladins in the temple, this scenario has fewer regular guards from the start. Most scenarios have six guards from the start, this only has two. So there's good time to sneak up to the temple. When there's no alarm, the guards will walk around randomly - and sure a guard walks straight into my side of the temple. He has a clear look at all the trouble I want to make. 

While my guild was getting into position for a stealthy heist, the opponent guild was also swarning around their side of the temple. But unlike me they were seeking a confrontation. An acrobat took a long leap from a balcony and closed in quickly on my guild - probably planning to do something against my guys! 

There's all manner of nasty thrown surpises in Guilders - bombs and bolas can create a lot of trouble for your enemies. 

This acrobat ends up trapping the legs of my Guild Master with a bola - for three turns. Leaving my guild master tangled outside the temple and forcing a friend to help release her. Before thos guards come swarming.

There's no way to hold civilians in place, they move randomely each turn. So both guilds were quick to have some street urchin blend in with the crowds - that will make them move with the crowd. It's a good place to be in for pickpocketing them. If they fail they'll get kicked out of the crowd of cause. 

Street Urchin are great cheap guilders and the Guards don't notice them until they're carrying stolen goods or cause alarm. 

The Guild of Unaffiliated Wine Stompers have made it to the temple. A thief, enforcer, brawler and the guild masters - the last three are geared up for violence. Both guilds are at their doors on opposite sides.

Getting the iniative my guild is able to pick the lock with a one-use lockpick. Then the scum move inside to spot the loot, leaving the thief with actions to steal it. The plan is to have the shadow master use Prayer of Shadows, so even if I fail the stealing it won't cause alarm. And not having angry heavy armored paladins in your face is a good thing. 

But not all guilds are taking the stealthy route - and my opponents feel some time presure as I'm already inside. They elect to those their big two-handed swords to simply smash down the doors. This activates the angry paladins and make them very hostile! 

Which also change my plan ... because those paladins don't really see any difference between thieves. And the other paladin has line of sight to my own people - so there goes all stealth options out the window. Might as well try to knockout the priest now. We are the Eastwall Cornerclub Clubbers after all! 

Each turn in Guilders new guards will enter from a random board edge. The more alarm that's cause, the more and tougher guards will enter. There's a threshold for alarm - at which point all the guards on the table become very hostile. 
So far we've only caused a bit of alarm getting caught pick pocketing. There's not a lot of guards coming and they're not hostile. 

That fact change cery quickly when temple paladins start stabbing guild enforcers, those enforcers fight back - and the guild master cleaves the paladin in half with a giant sword. Each fight (three) cause 2 alarm tokens - and there's the smashed door. There's some temple relics to loot on that corpse. 

I elected to go for dodging - which is a lot less noisy. 

Up goes the Overall Alertness soring past 10 making all the guards hostile. Including the guard that was just casually strolling the street earlier - and his friend that enters the board right on my escape route! 

Getting out loot brings XP, so I've handed over loot to my Acrobat, that didn't have specific part to play in the Heist. He's fast but needs to activate before the Guard (this is random) - otherwise he'll get based on the skull with a town guard club. 

He dashes away and get off to safety - leaving his companion to deal with two guards on her own. 

... which se handles in a poor way. Armed only with a club and no armor, she elects to try a dodge. It's a better option, better stats for it. But the two guards (offering support to each others rolls) knock her down and put her in handcuffs. 

Guards might appear from a random board edge, but the always appear as close to alarm as possible. They also have too actions and if there is no target within line of sight - they move towards whatever alarm they hear. 

The Wine Stompers suddently find themselves with a lot of guards closing in. It's time to get the valueable guilders out with whatever they can carry. 

Here's a great trick, that I had not considered myself. The street urchin - at the very end of the heist - manage to steal loot from a priest. And there's even room for her to slip away. And despite everything being kind of violent, kids are not targeted unless they're infamous. Excellent work by my opponent. 

Nearing the end of the Heist - that turned violent quickly. I'm able to extract most of my people without trouble. I have a single thief knockout by town watch and a scum got wounded by a temple guard. The rest of my guys got off the board, most of them with a bit of loot. I only manage to get one Loot III from the temple - as I completly fail to knockout the paladin and priest - despite trying a lot. 

My sharpshooter does manage to shoot down an opposing thief with a deadly sniper shot, fired from the shadows. All in all it seems a good haul for me, decent amount of loot and all my guys manage to exfiltrate the board.  

The game ends at the end of the turn where one team has exfiltrated all models. You gain some extra XP for moving off the boards - so that's nice. But in the end my opponent takes the win - having gotting Loot II from both the paladin and a priest. 

The win bonus is kind of nice, it gives a bit more XP and a double roll on the Loot table. 



There's a lot of stuff to gain XP from in Guilders. I got extra XP on most of my guys, because they all manage to get off the board. Where my opponent ended the game with three models on it, they don't get that bonus.

In Guilders the Guild Master may give away its own XP to guilders needing it and there's a d3 XP win bonus. So The Wine Stomper was able to get three level ups after this first game, as the Guild Master handed out XP. 

Thief rolled 2d10 for 4+7: Gets a common skill and chose to get Lockpick lvl 2. 
Alchemyst rolled 10+2: Get a common skill and chose to get Doctor lvl 2
Guild Master 4+7: Get a common skill and chose Leadership lvl 2

I on the other hand did not gain any level ups, but have multible guilders really close to it. My Guilder Master elected to keep the XP. 


A big part of Guilders is the after heist gameplay, this is a big reason for wrting the game in the first place. Wanting a skirmish game with a bit more RPG elements. 

The Wine Stompers had two injuries from the fight. First injury turned out to need some medicine - but having spend every single coin in guild creation - it couldn't be aquired. The guilder got a light disease or would be forced to stay bedridden. The second was a lot harder - needing two rolls on the Serious Injury table. My opponent used the doctor reroll on the Apothecary and instead ended with the best result - 1 free XP. 

My own guys did fine. I had one female thief rolling on the Captured table, from getting caugt by town watch. She had to pay a fine or go to jail - and expecting something like this - I had saved a few coin. 
My injured guilder did allright, got a few bruises but would be ready for the next Heist. 

The Loot

The Loot tables  are huge, and will with tweaking have even more randomness hidden in entries. 

The Wine Stompers had most Loot and made some very good rolls on the loot they got. Getting away with 67 guilder coins (some of it in contraband items that must be Fenced, rolled a small sarcophagus for example - very thematic for the scenario), some bolas and 3 tool boxes (containers for thieves tools or decent sell value). Plenty of coins to pay for upkeep in the guild and put some money aside for later.  

My Cornerclub Clubber did a bit worse. I did manage to steal an oppulent bejeweled crowbar (probably an iron priest staff that's been covered with gold and jewels) - that will bring in decent money with the fence. But I might keep it for better breaking into houses.

My Loot I rolls was worse, not a lot of coins in those. Guilders is balanced so that each Guilder getting away with a Loot I token (and there's plenty on the board) should be able to pay its own upkeep and a bit extra. 

If I chose to keep the crowbar, I'll have to take some of that reserve starting coin to pay upkeep. Exactly why I kept some - in case my guild had a bad Loot run. In total my upkeep is 25 gc, but I only found 20 from loot. I did also get some whetstones, a dagger and a flash bomb. 

And I found a cup from a famous inn, I can fence the cup (rolled a low value on it) - or return it to get free beds for wounded characters. So I'm keeping it for later.


Lastly all the guilders (not in jail or bedridden) may do jobs for the Guilds. Running protection rackets, visit the market, work the infirmery, sell stuff to the fence. The guild need to prioritze these jobs, as all are given at the same time. 

There's not much to do for the first few games. If guilders have infamy they might get caught will working in the city. All our guilders it without trouble. The Wine Stompers did a bit of shopping (selling items to the Fence) and craftede some medicine for later. 

My own guild really didn't do anything this time. Need a bit more XP before I starte doing stuff. 

Thoughts on balance

This was a playtest and the first game in the campaign. It did well. Both guilds would be able to pay all upkeep with found loot and had a few items to put in the vault. All have XP and no crew members missing. Progress don't need to be super fast. But being closer to level ups, having a few coins for the treasury. Both guilds took a step forward towards glory. 

Good game. 

Last words

Find more info about the game in these places. 

The current rules, tokens: Google Drive

Facebook group: 
For anything about the game.

Discord: The Bloodbeard's Garage Discord, lots of room for Guilders. 

Hashtags: #Guilders #ALifeInShadows 


  1. I am always interested in new skirmish style games, so thank you for highlighting this one.

    1. Cheers mate. I'ts getting really good I think, so would love to hear your input on it.