Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Dreams of Dragons

Just a mock up for the beta, the final version will have original artwork.


So I’ve alluded to an RPG project we are working on and I think it’s safe now to share at least a little bit more about it.

The project is titled Dreams of Dragons.

As a few of you guessed, the project is based off the venerable Swedish game Drakar och Demoner
BRP / Runequest derivative with some unique qualities of its own and its legs somewhat firmly planted in a kitchen sink fantasy with a sort of common-sense Nordic sensibility. 
That does not mean it will be a strict clone, but rather we are using it as a starting point to achieve our goals.

* * *

Thematically, this is a reach back to a gaming style that has become a bit over-looked, but which we believe still has adherents.
Roleplaying tends to be dominated now by either narrative-driven story-game experiences, survival-focused dungeon crawlers or meticulously balanced tactical systems.

We’re not setting out to create “gonzo” or “weird fantasy”.
There’ll be no endless dungeon levels or anime heroes. 
We’re not trying to be offend your grandma or to make you have a deep realization about interpersonal relations.

Instead we hope it will be a game where Tolkien’s Strider and Edding’s Sparhawk may feel at home, adventuring to the tune of a Blind Guardian song, while scenes from a Michael Whelan or Angus McBride painting play out.

Those are somewhat lofty aspirations and we hope we can achieve them with your help.

* * *

What is the game system going to look like then?

Mechanically, it’s a skill-driven system using a D20 roll-under system. 
There are no character classes. Instead once you have created your character (a fairly quick process) you are free to pursue any activities you are interested in.
Skills improve slowly as you use them, reflecting your characters actions. 
If you want to master something, you must train hard or seek out an instructor.

Combat is gritty without being excessively lethal.
A simple action system with attacks, parries and hit points that don’t escalate out of control.

Magic is skill driven with the ability to cast spells at increasing levels of power, granting players a lot of flexibility without endless lists of “cure tiny wounds”, “cure small wounds”, “cure somewhat bigger wounds” etc.

Miniatures will be catered for with simple but robust rules for their use, whether you prefer playing on a grid or wargaming style with a measuring tape.

Complexity wise, we’re aiming for something with more meat to it than something like OpenQuest or most OSR games, but without being as involved as Runequest or GURPS.
Most players should be able to pick up how to play in a single session.

More interesting features include a “Hero” system, allowing players to gain powerful abilities if they prove themselves, Orders and organizations to join from the mundane to the mystical and the chance to become a messenger of the gods with all that entails. 
Backing that up will be rules for overland travel, mass warfare so you can lead armies to save the kingdom, creating your own magical items and of course a huge array of creatures to role play as.

The rules should be sufficiently compatible with other BRP games that you can easily use creatures and monsters from games like OpenQuest or Runequest with very little difficulty. 

* * *

The aim is a one-book game, with the possibility of further books or later expansion down the road.
This book will include multiple magic systems and the sprawling campaign setting of Erehwesle to play in, with everything from degenerate lizard men, war torn battlefields and sea knights to crusading minotaurs and animal worshipping imperialists. 
There’s centaurs and cat people and… ducks? Yeah. Definitely ducks.

The setting will be supported with character creation options for the different people and critters of the world, allowing you to make characters that feel right at home immediately.

We will be doing a beta test for the game.
This will function the same way as past Nordic Weasel beta tests have worked:

The beta version will a fully playable game, though without a lot of the fancier stuff (mass combat f.x.) and some with some sections such as the bestiary heavily reduced.
When you buy the final game, you will then get a discount equal to the cost of the beta copy.
This way when you put money down, there’s a game to get stuck into right away instead of kickstarting for stuff that may never be finished.

As with any other Nordic Weasel title, updates, corrections and improvements will be added even after the final game is released.
We’ve all bought a game in PDF and been irritated that there’s obvious mistakes from years ago.

* * *

When will all this go down?
Hard to say because this has become a huge project, but hopefully very soon.
The version on my hard drive is fully playable right now, but needs more work to be presentable. 

Monday, 26 August 2019

New Five Leagues expansion available


https://www.wargamevault.com/product/286930/Roads-well-traveled-A-Five-Leagues-expansion 



This expansion for Five Leagues From the Borderlands dramatically expands the Roadside Encounters mechanic in the core rules.

The worlds of fantasy tales are always filled with interesting, memorable and occasionally dangerous travelers and our campaign games should be no different.

The existing tables have been expanded to include new results, allowing for more variety and more things the person might want from you.

Some existing results have been tweaked to be more interesting as well.

Players have remarked positively on the ability to make Friends with travelers, but they haven’t been that easy to get an advantage from.

We’ve updated that system to make it a bit more helpful to the player.

There are also more opportunities to have roadside encounters now.

Most excitingly this pack adds 30 unique encounters ranging from a treasure hunter joining you for a bit to the local drunkard wanting someone to hang out with.

These new encounters can grant you rewards, new problems to deal with or a welcome respite fro the merciless world.

Some are simply events that happen, while others give you decisions to make.

The new rules, updated tables and unique encounters are all integrated into the new encounter table, allowing you to take full advantage of this pack.

Players who have their rules printed in a binder can simply replace the “Roadside Encounter check” pages in the rulebook with the pages from this supplement.

The pack is written for the 2nd edition rules, though it should be usable with 1st edition with very little adjustment.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Assorted news, updates, thoughts etc.

As the summer is winding down, I thought it was time to take stock of things.


* * *
First, if you don't receive email from the Wargame Vault, we have a "going back to school" sale going on.
As the kids go back to school and busy themselves with homework (in theory) or hanging out with their friends (more likely) , there's usually a bit more hobby time.
Perfect time to start a new project!

All of these codes are for a game for 9.99 and they will probably run through to the end of the month.

5 Leagues https://www.wargamevault.com/browse.php?discount=9bef03e42f 

* * *
Five Leagues 2nd edition has been doing quite well and feedback has been pretty much all positive.
It's also been hanging out in the top sellers spot on Wargame Vault for quite a while.

Thank you everybody for your support.

We will be reviewing more of the original supplements for update/conversion. The challenge is in determining how much to add / change vs just checking for compatibility and stamping it "okay for 2nd edition".

* * *
Updates to Five Klicks have been coming pretty fast.
I am going to not touch anything this week, before uploading a new version, just so people have some time to settle in and get more games in. 

* * *
I've gotten some guesses as to the future RPG project and what it might be. 
If you haven't keyed in yet, it involves a certain aquatic bird. Maybe. (Definitely) 

* * *
Occasionally I get email from a fan of this or that game and they are surprised at a different game I've done is so different.
F.x. some players were surprised at the open-ended nature and "vagueness" of the Squad Hammer titles, others missed solo options in Renegade Scout or Laserstorm etc.

That's inevitable, since we have so many titles but I feel it's important to note that the "Weasel way" of gaming is not to repeat the same idea over and over again.
Sometimes a given idea or concept has legs and can be re-used (Five Parsecs, FiveCore and Hammer are all "families of games") but ultimately, I don't believe in a single system to rule them all. 

* * *
With that being said, I sometimes get a question if there's something brand new on the way: A completely new system and game engine etc.
The answer right this second is no, I am taking some time to consolidate my position, build on our successes and go back and update assorted lines. 
That includes new versions of some very old titles, as well as more support material in general.

I do have ideas for something brand new (as always) that I think could be super cool, but it'll be a little bit before I want to delve into that, as it'd be a massive endeavor.

* * * 
What have I personally been playing lately?

Unfortunately not a lot of war gaming outside of testing things, though I've been dabbling with Columbia Games "Battlelust". 
We're several months into a very fun Harnmaster RPG campaign and just started a small side game with two friends of myself and my wife.


Friday, 16 August 2019

Project Dread Onion Dog

This project is far enough along that I feel I can talk about it now.


The title of the blog post is just a code-word for now, because I was feeling silly.
There is an actual name, but I'm not sharing that until we're a touch closer.


So what is the project?

Well, it's an RPG project.
It'll be a retro-clone of sorts of a venerable Nordic role playing game.

What all is it going to include?
Well, ideas change but right now, the goal is:

* A skill-driven RPG derived from BRP roots.
No classes or levels: Make a character and develop them as you see fit.
Improve as you adventure and train, based on the actions in-game.

* Quick character creation that still produces a well rounded character, with a mixture of random rolls and player choices.

* Combat that is fast, yet has enough detail to be interesting.

* A complete game with mass combat rules, creatures, magic item creation etc.

* A logical, consistent game system that isn't driven by tons  of special cases.

* A flexible, open-ended magic system.

* Gritty game play with room for heroics.

* "Cosmopolitan" game play where characters can be from a number of interesting species and places.

* A built-in game world with a mixture of recognizable fantasy tropes and creative ideas.  A loving homage to "kitchen sink" fantasy worlds but with a more cohesive feel.

* Also a game world where we hope players will read about it and immediately want to make a character from one of those places.

* * * * *

I realize that the above probably sounds fairly vague.

So let me try to explain it this way:

The trends of roleplaying right now tend towards one of three things in my view:

*The OSR, with a big emphasis on random encounters, survival-dungeon crawling and player-over-character approach.

*Indie/story games, with their emphasis on precise marriage of theme and mechanics and telling of specific story experiences.

*"Big Traditional" games like 5E and Pathfinder (2 now) with a focus on chains of tactical combat experiences and precise encounters.

What we're working on is not any of those.

Instead it is (hopefully):

*A style of game where a reasonable degree of realism and simulation is viewed as a positive.

*A game where characters are expected to have a place in the world and not simply be blank slates.

* Encouraging a play style where it is understood that fantasy adventure is about many things: Dialogue, sword fighting, exploration and excitement.

* Exists in a game world that facilitates adventure but also feels like it was alive before the players came along.

* A game that evokes a sense of fairytale adventure:
If the stories of Conan and Barsoom and Lankhmar are the building blocks of the OSR, this is the stories of Middle Earth, Sparhawk and Lyonesse.

* * * * *

What we're hoping to do is around 200 pages, including a complete game setting, world map, character sheet and an introductory adventure.

We may try to do a POD version as well, that remains to be seen.

It's VERY unlikely there'll be a kickstarter or anything like that.
It's possible we'll have a beta test version.
If so, it'll be done NWG style where you buy the beta for a reduced cost and then get a discount on the final game.

* * * * *

Answering a few obvious questions:

Q: Why would this be better than [insert BRP game here]?

A: I think this will sit nicely in a spot where there's more "meat" than something like OpenQuest but be a bit smother than most versions of Runequest.

Q: Can you tell us exactly what game you are retro-cloning?

A: If you haven't figured it out, I'm not telling.

Q: How much original content will there be?

A: The game world is 100% our own creation. Mechanically we're trying to lean on the source material but the goal isn't to be a precise copy (which would be pointless)

Q: There's already 10 billion roleplaying games on the market, why don't you just publish the 47th new take on B2 instead?

A: The reason to do anything creative is because you want to do it.

Q: Is this a solo project?

A: No, it's a collaboration with someone.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Updates and news

Several updates to Five Klicks have come out, so make sure you have the most up to date version downloaded.
If you are wondering about what changed, check the changelog on the final page.
At the moment, since page numbers often change from version to version, it's not really practical to list what pages things were changed on, I apologize.

If you didn't pick up the new rules yet, make sure you do so at :
https://www.wargamevault.com/product/284182/Five-Klicks-from-the-Zone?src=hottest 

Renegade Scout players can rejoice in the Fighting Vehicles expansion, offering 13 pre-built vehicles (complete with profiles, weapon load-outs, variations and points costs compatible with the Elite Pack values), as well as a few new gadgets and background information.

It is available here:
https://www.wargamevault.com/product/285647/Renegade-Scout-Fighting-Vehicles-of-Unified-Space?src=newest_recent