Archive for December, 2011


Siratsia and powerful heroes

Returning to an old game after many years away from it can be both a blessing and a curse. It can bring back many happy memories of joy and excitement, but also the stark realization of how utterly bad the game was. I might be about to go on such a journey.

Siratsias vita formelbok (The white spellbook of Siratsia) is a more than 20 years old adventure for the Swedish roleplaying game Drakar och Demoner (Dragons and Demons). It is centred around the very powerful, but confused, wizard Siratsia and her plot to take control over the northern kingdom of Barbia. I have played parts of it two times before, but I only remember small fragments off it. I’m hoping that the third times the charm and that I will actually be able to play through it all this time. I’m not sure when (or if) we’ll actually get to play it, we’re still all in that early “I wanna run this sometime, anybody want in?” phase. Still, I can’t help but get excited about it and I already have a handful of interesting character concepts.

The book mentions that the adventure is suited for four to six powerful heroes, and that they should be well equipped with at least one magic item each. This made me think. Enchanted items have become a commonly accessible thing in a majority of modern fantasy games. Everybody and their grandmother has some kind of imbued gear, be it healing potions, sorcerous runes or some kind of enchanted weapon. Back in the mid 90s when we played Drakar och Demoner every weekend we were lucky if we ever got more then one magic item on any of our heroes. Times have indeed changed.

This in turn got me thinking about power levels. When we sit down to make our characters for this adventure, should we aim for balanced or highly specialized characters? Should each character be build to stand alone or should we create them together as a group? It’s possible to break the game by having one player play an artificer and create some extremely powerful magical items to hand out to the other characters. Why would the barbarian pay 40 points to max out his strength when he could just pay 1 point to have really low natural strength and let the artificer create a magical item that raises it to his racial maximum for him? If you can create amulets that grant the same level of protection as the finest armour around then why wouldn’t you make sure that everybody in your group had one? What fun is there to overcoming challenges with god mode enabled?

I don’t know if we’ll ever get this going, but if we do then I will return with an update.

Winter is finally here and with it the return of my gaming nonsense! I have a lot of things to talk about so let’s get going. These are some of the things that has happened in my gaming life since my last blog entry.

* The IRC Exalted game I was looking forward to kinda imploded, so no Exalted for me. That game has been on my list of roleplaying games to try for many years, but something always comes up and it all ends up being nothing…

* I was invited to an underwater Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 campaign, but had to turn it down because of the difference in time zones. It did however inspire me to sit down to create a swashbuckling octohuman. Being able to use five fencing blades at once is cool.

* The game File 13 was mentioned a couple of weeks ago by my buddy Mike on his podcast Nerd Pride Radio. File 13 was a little game that came with an issue of the Dragon magazine back in 80s. The idea is something I’ve toyed around with before, it’s a game about creating games.

* A couple of days ago I got wind of a rules-light fantasy rpg called Warrior, Rogue and Mage. After having read through the 4-page version I found out there was a pulp version called Resolute, Adventurer & Genius so I had to look at that too. Then inspiration hit me and I began to twist the rules engine into a superhero game. The working title for it is Paragons, Gadgeteers & Mystics.

* I listened to a book review while out walking a couple of weeks ago and was reminded of Era, an old rpg a friend and I made back in the mid 90s. I was able to find my old character sheets, some info on how to write spells (if was very much like programming in BASIC) and what dice to roll to generate stats for the different races, but most of the rules are still missing. I’ve been thinking about recreating the missing information, or perhaps redoing the entire game from scratch, but that will depend on if I can get people interesting in it or not. I did remember that the campaign we played was heavily influenced by the Artifacts of Power series by Maggie Furey, so I’ve been trying read my way through that.

* I have once again fallen into the time-devouring abyss that is the Final Fantasy game series. I am once again replaying Final Fantasy IX, all thanks to a Swedish retrogaming podcast that I listen to.

* I have finally gotten a chance to play Descent: Journeys in the Dark. The game has been described as a tabletop version of Diablo or a WoW instance, and that I can agree with. The Hero players run around in a dungeon with the goal of slaying monsters and grabbing treasure while the Overlord player tries to kill the heroes with monsters, traps and other nasty things. The biggest downside to the game is that it takes a long time to play even a simple quest.

* I am currently working on a FF9 version of Descent for an upcoming weekend thing at my local gaming club. Creating custom characters and monsters for Descent is relatively simple, but I’m not sure how much I dare to change the rules regarding revivification and the handling of money and items.