Jackals: Bronze Age Fantasy Roleplaying is the upcoming new addition to the Osprey Roleplaying line from author John-Matthew DeFoggi. On the blog today, J-M will be discussing some ways to approach Jackals as a Loremaster!

Hello, once again! J-M here, talking about Jackals: Bronze Age Fantasy Roleplaying. Today is the last of our four articles, so I wanted to touch on some advice for new Loremasters.

There is a lot of advice about running Jackals in Chapter 8 of the Jackals: Bronze Age Fantasy Roleplaying rulebook. There, we cover rules for advancement and retirement, how to handle corruption, the themes and influences for the setting, and more. Jackals also comes with three starter adventures for new Loremasters to use so they can get a feel for the game (additional adventures appear in the forthcoming The Fall of the Children of Bronze).

But here, I want to talk a bit about how a Loremaster can start a Jackals game. If you read the first article in this series, you know the core influences on the Zaharets. It can be quite helpful to review any of those stories with which you are already familiar. The Iliad or the Book of Judges are great places to start.

Artwork by John McCambridge


I tend to outline the adventure the same way whenever I introduce people to Jackals for the first time:

    1. Introduce a Problem—The Jackals arrive in a small town that is dealing with some issue. Usually, this relates to some infestation or outbreak of Chaos. The Takan are a simple and expedient threat to us here. During the introduction, focus on letting players get used to the d100 system of Jackals. Save Mettle, CP, Valor, and combat for later. This is also a good time to explain how passive advancements work.

    2. Getting to the Problem—Once the players have a good grasp on the core mechanics, send them on a journey to get to where they need to go. This does not require them to learn much more than they already know, but adds in skill modifiers and an explanation of Mettle. In this way, you slowly introduce complexity as you move through the first adventure. Additionally, use this time to point out how the world is much older than the Jackals. Have the group find stelae or another monument from one of the forgotten peoples (see Chapter 8 of Jackals), and perhaps even earn a bit of Ancient Lore in the process.

    3. The Problem—Here, you bring the Jackals face to face with the problem and introduce the combat mechanics. A simple fight—perhaps against twice their number in Norakan—allows the players to build on what they know and see how it all comes together. In my experience, this takes them from the initial shock of the Norakan outnumbering them to buying the idea that their characters are well on their way to becoming heroes. Once the initial fight is over, I explain how active advancements work. A return journey, the claiming of a reward, and the suspicious stares from the townsfolk sends the Jackals back on the War Road and gives new players and Loremasters a great introduction to the game.


Another great way to start planning your Jackals campaign is to look at the questions your players answered as part of the character creation process. The answers to those questions not only help frame a character’s journey into the Jackal lifestyle, but they also provide Loremasters a great sense of what matters to their players. Further, they tie the characters to the themes we present in Chapter 8 of Jackals from which you can build a campaign. 

The Fall of the Children of Bronze—coming in May 2021—also provides a complete campaign, along with advice and adventure ideas for Loremasters.

Thank you for joining me as for this behind-the-scenes look at Jackals. I hope you enjoy playing and running it as much as I do.

Excited to explore the land of the Zaharets? Order your copy of Jackals: Bronze Age Fantasy Roleplaying today!