How to Build a Burrows and Badgers Warband

Continuing right along covering this wonderful little game, today we go over how to create your starting warband for Burrows and Badgers. If you missed it, we interviewed the creator and owner of Oathsworn minis all about his inspiration and process for the minis and game. 

Squirrels and foxes and terriers and badgers, oh my! But how do you pick which ones you want? And how do you form them into a band of fighters working together towards some form of (probably) common goal? With pennies, of course!

Set in Northymbra (which is very, very, very much like the north of England) the currency of the land is pennies which you’ll be using to purchase the members of your warband as well as all of their equipment from arms and armour to magical supplies and spells themselves.

Before we get too far here: the only thing that really matters here is that you like your warband. This is not a competitive game, or anything close to it, and if you really want to look at how to break it then you’ll absolutely find it. But that’s not the point of the game, it’s a light hearted, fun spirited fantasy skirmish game where you can stack the odds in various different ways which might pay off! Or might not. 

credit Bair

Choosing your minis

Really the only wrong answer here is picking models you don’t like. You can very easily and happily choose just about any mix of miniatures to start your warband with! Certain aesthetics will lend themselves more closely to certain themes, but there’s no reason a knight couldn’t have recently left their order for a reason you give them to join up with a band of Freebeasts or whatever else you like!

One thing to keep in mind is that you often do want to have a mix of small and large beasts in your roster to start with, the smaller ones are of course cheaper and easier to get a few more in and you’re limited on how many of the especially-large beasts like badgers or beavers you can have at once. While large beasts do hit hard and are hard to take down, a gang of mice surrounding one large beast can take it down nearly just as fast!

I’ve gotten all of my minis directly from the creator of the game. He’s sculpted over 200 minis so far for the game with even more on the way, too. Generally I like to choose a cohesive aesthetic for my warbands to easily theme them around whether that’s forest rangers, city watch, wandering knights, or witch hunters (the four I’ve done so far!). There’s just as easily options for necromantic warbands with undead beasts and simply townsfolk to use as NPC’s if you want to add to games, or to use as a warband in their own right.

Creating your Warband

Types of warbands 

In the core rulebook there are 4 Allegiances for your Warband to be:

  • Royalists
  • Wildbeasts
  • Freebeasts
  • Rogues

Each comes with its own perks and a blurb about the idea behind the warband. The type of warband you have also determines what Den your warband will be operating out of such as a Town Building or Abandoned Farm. Your choice will also restrict the types of magic your warband is allowed to use.

Royalists are expectantly…loyal to the crown and fight for their (missing) king and country, mostly. They make for better fighters and get a stats increase on a couple of fighters to show it. 

Wildbeasts are often more druidic cults or more tribal based forms of society on the outskirts of Northymbra; they don’t suffer any penalties to horizontal movement from terrain since they’re so accustomed to rough areas.

Freebeast society is a meritocracy, or so they’d tell you, living with their own ruling families across small villages ignoring the crown. Since they’re ruling their area of the map they start with up to three Rare items and can modify the result on the Rare Item Table too.

Rogues are exactly what you think: bandits, thiefs, and hunters working together to survive in these uncertain times. To represent their sneaky behaviour a pair of your fighters gain a concealment stat increase. 

There are plenty more types of warbands too which you can find throughout Oathsworn’s Journals, all free to download. The best place to find them all in one spot is their Facebook page under Files. Warbands like Necromancers, Witch Hunters, Hillfolk, Town Watch, and others. If you want to keep it nice and simple any warband can easily fit into one of the above, you can even use your undead ghostsly beasts simply as the normal version of themselves as a Wildbeast warband to account for their ghostliness to move across terrain freely. 

credit Bair

Purchasing Your Fighters

Everything costs something. Nothing is free in our world, and the same goes for the Kingdom of Northymbra. You’ll start out with 350 pennies to spend as you please on your fighters, equipment, spells, and anything else you may be starting with. The one rule here really is that every beast must have something. They don’t have to have a weapon but they have to have some piece of equipment on their person (animal?) or know at least one spell. They don’t need to be fully kitted out and you can always add to their equipment later on in your campaign, as a treat. 

Various Beasts

The characters you’re able to choose from are those native/living in real-world Northern England, the setting of Northymbra. From the humble dormouse all the way up to mighty badgers and everything in between. Each of these will have a stat-line appropriate to that beast and often come with built-in skills. Birds all have Fly, hedgehogs have Spines, Beavers have Swim. These make sense!

Beasts fall into size categories which determine their base size and the limit of how many you can take. You have to take at least 3 characters and have no restriction on the number of Small or Medium. You’re allowed up to 10 characters on your roster at a given time so you can’t just max out with a lot of mice with daggers, sorry! Large beasts are limited to 6 maximum on your roster and you’re only allowed up to 3 Massive at any time.

The larger the character, the better its stats, the more skills it will have to start with, and the more expensive it will be. Mostly.

Rare Beasts

There are a few non-English-native beasts you can choose from but you’re only allowed one of each race on your roster and they cannot be part of a single species warband (below) either. You can have as many as you like though so long as they’re each a different species!

Some of these include Green Lizards, Marmots, Tortoises, and Armadillos.

Single Species Warbands

While the “normal” route will be taking a mix of small, medium, large, and maybe even massive beasts in your warband covering an assortment of different species you can lean into just a single species instead. You miss out on having a mix of characters that are innately good at specific skills so to make up for it you gain 2 additional stat or skill upgrades on different characters. The list of single-species warbands is:

  • Mouse (including Dormouse)
  • Hare
  • Squirrel
  • Rabbit
  • Mole
  • Shrew
  • Otter
  • Hound (up to 2 Large and up to 1 Massive)
  • Badger (maximum warband will be 3 models!)
  • Fox
  • Black Rat (and up to one Brown Rat, as a treat)
  • Wildcat
  • Stoats and Weasels (and a Ferret, also as a treat)

The normal restrictions to the amount of Large and Massive beasts does still apply, so be careful if this is the route you’re going with. During a campaign you can still only hire on new characters of the same species as well.

Arms and Armour

The different types of equipment you can buy for your beasts are:

  • hand weapons
  • missile weapons
  • armour (including shields)
  • items

Like the rest of the warband building you have a lot of freedom in how you kit everyone out. Be mindful that while more equipment will often make your individuals better it also makes them much more expensive, and you only 350 pennies!

Have a good read through the various types of hand weapons available to you and notice that even a simple one-handed weapon will work differently if being dual-wielded, used with a shield, or all on its own! Spears, polearms, and double handed weapons are all very powerful but are restrictive with shields. If your character doesn’t have a hand weapon at all then all of their Strikes and Blocks will be made with a -2 penalty to roll. That might not sound like much but reducing a D6 roll by 2 can mean the difference of life or death!

Missile weapons like bows use the character’s Strength skill modifier just like a melee weapon would, representing their sheer strength causing more damage on a successful hit. Crossbows however have their own Strength modifier built in and do not use any Strong or Delicate from the beast. Black powder weapons do the same but have a potential of blowing up and going horrible wrong for the user!

All classes of armour will make your beasts harder to take down, but heavier armours also add penalties to Nimbleness which helps you avoid getting shot among other roll-offs in your games. It’s also very expensive, so might be something that you skip out on for now and that’s ok! They also effect wizard’s proficiencies with magic; you normally don’t want your mage in armour so buy them some nice spell ingredients instead.

Speaking of ingredients you can buy your mages, wizards, etc a Mage’s Pouch to store such items as you gain them throughout your campaign. Other items such as camouflage cloaks, healing potions, and lucky charms are generally useful to your characters but add up in cost quickly. You can always add more later on!

Heavy Arms and Armour mount up the pennies quickly!


This gets its own section because it is just so different from the rest of the equipment that you buy your beasts. And yes, you buy magic. There’s no hard limit on the number of spells that one of your beasts is allowed to know. The schools of magic they can know spells from will depend on your Warband choice so take this into consideration when you’re putting it all together.

Each spell costs 5 pennies on the beast that knows it. Also for each spell they know they gain Delicate (1) and Weak (1); if a beast knows 3 spells from the beginning then they’ll have Delicate (3) and Weak (3) for example. This only applies to spells for your starting warband, as your mages progress then they’ll have the chance to learn new spells in-the-field and when they do it doesn’t weaken them at all. I love one of the explanations for this as well: they’ve spent too much time in the library and not enough time in the training yard! Really though it works as a great balancing mechanic.

Magic in skirmish games an be a tricky mechanic. Almost by definition they’re things that will be breaking the core mechanics of the game and so are very powerful. Spells you can choose range drastically from dealing damage, healing allies, giving extra actions to fighters or teleporting them, automatically revealing all hidden enemy beasts in ambush, and many more. This is one area where if you’re not a little self-restrictive you can easily break the game early on and counter what your local group is playing with so please ask yourself: is this fun for people I’m playing against as well as myself? If it’s not something you’d want to play against, then it might not be something your friends want to deal with either!

Magic enough to make the sanest Mole Mad. Credit: Lenoon

Leader and Second

We’re nearly through building your warband I promise! But before we get there you need to know that when you set up your warband you’ll be choosing a Leader and a Second. Your leader doesn’t have to be the largest or strongest character by any means, anyone can lead that you choose! However having a Leader with higher Presence will give you a better chance of going first in each turn, so weigh up your options btu also stick to the narrative you’re building around.

Your leader gets to increase any one of their Dice values by 1 (ie a d6 stat turns into a d8 stat) up to a maximum of a d12. They also gain 1 skill of your choice, of which there are many to choose from and all are very powerful so pick something fitting to their character, fighting style, or something defining for them. The Second of your warband also gains a skill to start with.


The last thing you’re going to need to think about is just a couple of skills to get started with. Many beasts come with one or more skills already; I find it’s best to jot down on my roster what those skills do so I don’t forget! The most common are Strong, Tough, Delicate, and Weak and are all very simple in use. Strong increases the amount of wounds dealt on successful Strike and Shooting attacks equal to the number in brackets; Strong (2) will cause 2 additional wounds on a success. Tough does the opposite and reduces the number of wounds instead. Weak reduces the number of wounds dealt and Delicate increases the number of wounds that you suffer.

If you’re not taking a single-species warband then you’ll only have 2 on your Leader and Second as above. Skills are broken down between Fighting, Shooting, Cunning, Strength, Movement, and Innate. Innate skills are not skills that you can give to your fighters at any point, they just exist on some beasts so need their own section. The other skills all fall into things that you’d expect from their respective names. Fighting skills improve your characters martial prowess with hand weapons, Cunning skills can help sniff out ambushing beasts or make your character a healer, etc etc etc. There’s 12 pages of skills here and you’re going to need to make your own decisions to fit the nature of your character and how you want them to perform on the table. On top of that the various Oathsworn Journals also contain new skills for certain warbands, Witch Hunters for example are able to have beetle grubs (and other similarly small things) as this world’s version of bloodhounds.

A few examples of skills include:

  • Focused Strike – with melee weapons this character ignores enemy Armour and wounds caused are not reduced by enemy’s Armour Tough bonus
  • Eagle Eyes – adds 6″ to the range of Missile weapons for the character
  • Melt into the Shadows – after successfully ambushing an enemy this character remains Hidden
  • Paladin – does not suffer penalties to casting magic while wearing armour
  • Slippery – can move out of Combat with opponents without affording the usual free strike, getting to safety without penalty

credit Bair

Our Warbands

Freebeasts Warbands

Bair: I’m not normally this sort of gamer. I build competitive lists for games without thinking too much about the story and I don’t normally go too far in for lore either. Something about this game just hits an entirely different chord with me and I’ve been loving coming up with names for my little guys and theming this warband around that old anthro animal Robin Hood movie that I’m sure you’ve seen. If you haven’t seen it then go and watch it, now, it’s fantastic. At least that’s what my memory of it is, I haven’t actually watched it in like a decade. It’s probably still very good.

Something about a band of merry animals roaming the woods, using their skills for the good of the people and fighting against the crown is just extremely compelling to me. You can ignore the Royalist-aligned warbands that I’ve painted and posted for the sake of this piece, there’s just too many cool minis ok? I’m sure Lenoon will go on about Redwall and also some other mole-based series in one of the entries below, I’ve not read or even heard of any of these until a few weeks ago.

While this game is not a strict WYSIWYG (ie what’s on the model is what they have) game equipping my guys in-game with what their model is holding is just much easier for my brain to remember what they have, so I’m doing that.

Freebeasts get to roll on the Rare Items Table 3 times at the start of the campaign and even get these items for free! You don’t have to pay the usual (often expensive) cost on these to take so there’s no harm in it. No harm for your warband anyway. They can also modify the roll on the table by plus or minus 1 every time getting you the items you really want much more often. Thanks to this I’ve managed to roll 2 magical items, a ring and a sword, as well as some Mortal Poison for Mercy to use. I’ve chosen an Abandoned Burrow for my Den as it seems fitting for the rag-tab band of merry beasts hiding out in the forest. I’m also foregoing magic for the start at least, keeping it simple!

My badger leader will be hanging in the back/mid-field raining down extremely deadly shots with an increased ranged stat up to D8 adding his Strong (3) to all successful hits and Expert Shot to re-roll any Ranged attacks he makes. He also gained a rare weapon that gives +1 to Strike Roll-Offs making him as much of a menace in hand to hand combat as well should the need arise. The rest of the warband are all very straight forwards, bows and hand weapons all around! The only other Rare item I could afford to start with is Pain Poison on Mercy, my Second, which is a one use poison she can use on either a melee or shooting attack to cause a wounded character -2 to both move and roll-offs. Used at the right time it will be hamper even the most fearsome beasts.

Credit: Bair
Jon Hodgson Backdrop

Arledge, Leader (Badger)

  • Bow
  • +1 Ring of Blocking (magical item)
  • Light Shield
  • 3 Broadhead Arrows
  • Expert Shot (Leader, skill)
  • Ranged Dice (Leader)

Mercy, Second (Fox)

  • Bow
  • Mortal Poison (Rare Item)
  • Melt into the Shadows (Second, skill)

Garnell (Otter)

  • Bow
  • +1 Sword of Smiting (magic item)


  • Bow
  • Sword

Quense (Mouse)

  • Bow
  • Sword


Mono-species Warbands (also Royalists)

Lenoon: I decided to go mono-species due to formative, deeply traumatic, experiences as a kid with the Duncton Wood series by William Horwood. These are Redwall if Redwall was about the rise of Christ, horny, extremely, if not horrifically, violent, and all about Moles. Luckily, Oathsworn make enough Moles to make a hard-hitting, highly armoured Mole warband. There was no planning initially beyond “buy some Moles”, so I did. Then I worked out what I had.

Mono-species warbands get powerful bonuses to stats to make up for an overall lower flexibility. As you can choose to improve several stats over the warband, you can either cover your bases or go further down the mole-hole of specialisation. I chose the latter. The list was centred around doing what Moles do – popping up annoyingly exactly where you don’t want them – and then staying there. Hard to shift, highly armoured and armed to the teeth, the ideal situation is pop up to target one opponent, then hide and ambush the next one to come along. All Moles are Strong (1), helping them put wounds on opponents, and I’ve carefully allocated mono-species and Royalist bonuses to improve strike dice to make that pay off. The three heavy Moles are backed up by more utility Moles, all with ranged weapons with incredibly short ranges, but can pop up where I need them to be (hopefully). All that heavy armour comes at a cost, but luckily, playing whack-a-mole is a bugger when the Mole is in heavy armour and is armed with a zweihander!

In a campaign, I’d hope to use the Royalist base – a townhouse with inbuilt smithy – to survive what would be some very tight first games before I can tool everyone up in increasingly heavy armour. I’d just need more heavily armed Mole models!

Lenoon’s Moles

Talpid-Day Mining Company

It’s a mercenary world out there and the Rt Hon. Cristata Cashylura needs protection in order to find, and keep, promising mining prospects. Does it really matter if they already have owners when you find them? It’s a Mole-eat-Dog world out there, and sometimes money has to be made by the tip of a sword. 

Maulwurf, Leader

  • Strike Dice (Royalist)
  • Block Dice (Leader)
  • Zweihänder Skill (Leader)
  • Double Handed Weapon, Light Armour

Muldvarp, Second

  • +Strike Dice (Royalist)
  • Feint skill (Second)
  • Heavy Armour, Shield, One handed Weapon


  • +Strike Dice (Mono-Species)
  • Heavy Armour, Shield, One handed Weapon


  • +Concealment (Mono-Species)
  • Caliver, Sword


  • Hand Weapon
  • Magic User – Delicate
  • Natural Magic: Haste

Rt Hon Cristata Cashylura

  • Sling
  • Hand weapon

Rogue Warbands

Credit: HardyRoach

HardyRoach: I have maybe six warbands at this point (each with another models to make 2-3 starting warbands), and likely will end up with more. The models are just too great, and it’s so much fun to group together your favourite sculpts into a coherent scheme. For my first campaign, starting soon, I’ve opted to make a Rogue warband roughly formed around the concept of Highwaymen. 

Rogues have access to the benefit “A Life in the Shadows”, which lets you upgrade the Concealment stat of two characters, and gives you an extra 2 Fate points per game. This plays into an Ambush-heavy playstyle, where you spend your hefty store of Fate points in order to deal maximum damage with your first attacks. In addition, they can choose either the Abandoned Burrow (two characters can be set up hidden), or Ruined Farmstead (no upkeep costs), and start with the Gambling Den upgrade (more money at the risk of losing money). 

For my warband, I really wanted to lean into the Ambush plays. As such, the Abandoned Burrow was the logical Den pick. I’m going for a small model count, but with more big creatures. This is mostly because they’re my favourite models, but it does allow for some incredibly meaty Ambush strikes. Due to the number of larger creatures and good ranged weapons, I didn’t have much money left for armour, so in a protracted fight this warband will start to struggle. 

I’ve taken a couple of the optional negative traits from the Oathsworn Journal on my leader to give her a couple more skills and improve her sniping ambushes with her Caliver. Melt Into the Shadows lets her stay hidden after successfully ambushing, and Killshot inflicts more wounds on a successful ranged attack. As a downside, she’s Overconfident (slightly better at hitting, much worse at blocking) and has Hatred (Rats) meaning that no rats can ever be hired, and she must attack any within range. My second is a badger mage, whose innate toughness and strength helps to balance out spellcaster weakness. He’s a close-range fighter, with Mangarr’s Mystical Blade and Morglum’s Fiery Blast. With the skill Gifted he can pop off his spells automatically when not moving, thanks to the modifiers. A fox armed with a hand (paw?) weapon and pistol provides mid-to-close range damage, and a wildcat with a two-handed (pawed?) weapon provides some massive burst damage. Finally, to fill out numbers and prevent my opponent from being able to dominate turns by sheer numbers, a small bird with a sling to give some ranged support. 

The game plan for this warband is simple enough – apart from the badger and the bird, everyone has a concealment of d8. The cat sniper and the fox start hidden in prime spots, ready to pop off some ambush shots and control space. The badger hurls fireballs until distance closes, then he conjures the magic sword and gets stuck in. The wildcat moves up slowly, staying hidden by jumping between cover, then doing a big ambush charge to (hopefully) one-shot something. The bird flies around providing ranged support and spotting hidden opponents. 

Also my leader is based on my own cat, who is better than your pet.

Lady Lula’s Larceny League

The roads are Northymbria are never safe, not while gangs of cads, rotters and sundry reprobates roam the highways and byways, unleashing cowardly attacks on the upstanding citizenry. You’ll not find a more good-for-nothing band of crooks than Lady Lula’s Larceny League, a group of rascallish vagabonds with curiously incongruous titles given their seeming low-birth and rustic accents.

“Lady” Lula, Leader (Cat)

  • Ranged die (Leader)
  • Concealment die (Rogue)
  • Fortitude die (negative trait)
  • Melt Into the Shadows skill (Leader)
  • Killshot skill (negative trait)
  • Overconfident
  • Hatred – Rats
  • Caliver

Johnny “the Gaffer”, Second (Badger)

  • Gifted (Unbound) skill (Second)
  • Mangarr’s Mystical Blade spell
  • Morglum’s Fiery Blast spell
  • “Captain” Dick Furpin (Fox)
  • Concealment die (Rogue)
  • Hand Weapon, Pistol, Light Armour, Healing Potion

Wor Jackie (Wildcat)

  • Two-handed Weapon
  • Light Armour
  • Healing Potion

‘Lil Petey Pump-a-Rum (Small Bird)

  • Sling


Wildbeasts Warbands

Robert Bass: Before picking what Allegiance I wanted to run with, I already had a story in mind for my warband. I envision my warband being rather secluded and living a nomadic lifestyle, following the guidance of a kind druidic healer in the form of an albino hare called Hatty Oakes. With her knowledge of healing and wisdom the group mostly do well for themselves, living outside of royal rule and keeping to themselves for the most part.

When the need calls for it, the group will not hesitate to fight. Be it to gain resources or to defend themselves, a particularly large and experienced wildcat will step up and lead the warband. Michael Whiteclaw is an impressive sight, sporting two swords, heavy armor and his signature red cape, it is easy to see why the warband rally around him. He is also known for his speed, and ferocity, often being the first to charge into the fight.

Other characters in the warband consist of small and medium races, including a tomboyish Rabbit archer (Goldie), a crazy greatsword wielding Ferret (Bandit), and two mice with one (Arthur) idolizing their Wildcat leader and hoping to do him proud, and the other (Ritchie) being far less willing to fight fair.

Choosing an allegiance for this warband was tricky, as Rouges, Freebeasts, and Wildbeasts would all fit the story. Ultimately I decided to pick Wildbeasts, as the core book talks of them often being more tribal and magic focused, which is ideal for where I see the warbands story developing.

The bonus for choosing Wildbeats is “Attune to the Land”, which allows all models to ignore most difficult terrain and move at full speed while moving horizontally. Perfect for a speedy Wildcat seeing to charge unhindered into his prey.

Wildbeast magic users can pick from Natural, Dark, Noble or Wild Spells. This spell selection tends to focus more on support or debuffing effects such as being able to heal your characters, or give your mouse the strength of a bear. It also have some fun offensive options as well, though often in tricksy ways such as the Dark spell Control, which allows you to take control of an enemy model for a single action, forcing them to attack a friend, or to walk off the edge of that high tower.

For my starting warband, Hatty is my only wizard, choosing the Nature spells Cure and Luck to stay on the theme of being the healer and guide of the group. As the warband grows, I can see additional wizards being included to take advantage of the variety of spells available.

For your Den an Abandoned Burrow or Ruined Farm can be chosen. The Abandoned Burrow will allow you to deploy two characters almost anywhere on the table so long as they are in hiding and further than 8” away from enemies. The Ruined Farm allows you to ignore all Upkeep costs for the warband, which is the option I chose to go for. You will also get the Magical Garden upgrade, which generates 4 magical ingredients free each game, and generates 2d6 pennies each game. When you don’t have to spend anything on upkeep or ingredients, those pennies are going to add up quickly!

For the starting warband, each character will have the following…


The Druids of Surbyton

Michael (Mikey) Whiteclaw – Wildcat – Leader

  • Strike Dice (Leader)
  • Equipment – One Handed Sword, One Handed Sword, Heavy Armor
  • Skills: Species – Strong (2), Tough (1), Fearsome, Natural Hunter.
  • Leader – Burst of Speed

Hatty Oakes – Hare – Second

  • Equipment: Unarmed
  • Item: Mages Pouch – x3 Galingale
  • Skills: Species – Leap, Strong (1)
  • Second – Apothecary
  • Mage debuffs – Delicate (2), Weak (2)
  • Spells: Nature – Cure, Luck

Goldie Fletcher – Rabbit

  • Equipment: Bow
  • Skills: Species – Leap

Bandit Smith – Ferret

  • Equipment: Two Handed Sword
  • Skills: Species – Fearless

Arther Knight – Mouse

  • Equipment: One Handed Sword

Ritchie Browne – Mouse

  • Equipment: One Handed Sword


I also painted my wildcat like my beloved cat Mikey, who sadly passed at the beginning of the year, but will live on leading my warband!

Lots of Options in Northymbra!

This is just the beginning! There are plenty of other options you can go with. Burrows and Badgers is a very relaxed game and setting, it’s not the sort to be “What You See is What You Get” or WYSIWYG which some gamers will be familiar with. You do NOT need to limit yourself to the equipment on the models!

Creating your own unique warband with their own motives and story is one of the most compelling aspects of this game so run with it! There are a few restrictions but players will find that they will hardly really come into play; you’ll be able to have a great mix of beasts at your command to protect and/or raid the Kingdom and it’s surrounding lands.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at