Why your game needs a ‘Creation Myth’.

Written By: Stephen Dove - Nov• 11•13

Just thought I’d call out the post over at my other site Waysider Press, that talks about World-building via Creation Myths. The post is about my new world Mundus, but applies at least as much to Legend and Mythic Europe. ‘But we don’t need to World-build Legend I hear you howl!’ Wrong! You do, and the post will start to show you why.

Jib’s Hollow lives!

Written By: Stephen Dove - Nov• 10•13

I want to run ‘The Miller’s Tale, but needed a map to stir the players’ imaginations, so I made one. Feel free to use it for you own games!

Jib's Hollow1 Jib's Hollow_no_legend

There you are; with and without a Legend, to fox your players!

 

Review of ‘The Miller’s Tale’ by Serpent King Games

Written By: Stephen Dove - Nov• 09•13

the-millers-tale

The Miller’s Tale is Serpent King Game’s eagerly awaited first published adventure for the Dragon Warriors Game; though the adventure is not particularly Legend specific and could be ported to any pseudo-medieval world quite easily. Indeed, GMs of any low magic FRPG could easily re-cast the single stat-block for the adventure’s main villain into their own preferred gaming rules, as this is primarily an investigative adventure that relies upon misdirection and intrigue, rather than combat.

The adventure is a short PDF from DTRPG and retails at $1.99.

WARNING; Contains Spoilers! Do not read if you intend to PLAY this adventure! You have been warned!

The actual adventure is 6 pages long and is essentially a ‘murder mystery’. The cover is by the redoubtable Jon Hodgson, and is as excellent as all of his work tends to be. This cover actually, is one of my favourite of his pieces in fact.

The adventure itself is evocative; a very ‘Dragon Warriors’ offering. It’s  nice to see any adventure that isn’t a dungeon bash, and this one, despite having a fairly simple premise, is rather well conceived.

A miller has recently been slain in the village of Jib’s Hollow and his ghost confronts the PCs and asks them to find his murderer and protect his wife. The latter plea is a fiendish red-herring, as the wife is not in danger from the murderer; she is considering suicide because of all the offers of marriage she it getting from aggressive suitors, looking to take over the mill.

The rest of the scenario revolves around trying to find an undead Sorceror, who has possessed a local Vinter (ale and wine merchant) and is busy going about the country trying to exact revenge on the family of the warrior who slew his original mortal form, hundred of years ago.

Basically, Martin the Miller had ‘second-sight’ and saw that something was wrong with Godfrey the Vinter; this aroused the Sorceror’s ire and got the Miller killed. There are a fair number of NPCs who might be witnesses and/or suspects detailed and the PCs essentially have to work out what is going on.

My ‘beef’ with the adventure is this; Vodenus (The Sorceror) is 7th Rank and is described as a coward. His backstory, though simple is intriguing, but unless the PCs capture him, there is no way they can learn it. I can see from the way this adventure is set up, that the three most likely outcomes are;

a) a TPK (total party kill) because Vodenus is pretty powerful. The tagline says the adventure is for 2nd to 5th Rank PCs and also emphases that the adventure ‘is not a combat adventure’ yet it’s hard to see how the typical group of adventurers could do anything other than try and subdue Vodenus/Godfrey. As there is not really any way for the PCs to discover that they’re dealing with a Sorceror; one lucky Deathlight or Transfix and it could be all over…………….. I would suggest the GM inserts a planned encounter early that alerts the party to the possibility that they may be dealing with a powerful spell-caster. Perhaps a related thread of local animals being ritually slaughtered, suggesting that more something sinister is going on in Jib’s Hollow, than a simple murder.

b) Vodenus is killed. He is a very powerful NPC and if I were in battle with him, I would not want to give him a chance to heal or kill my party. It would be no-holds-barred combat and I doubt he’d survive.

c) Vodenus runs. This is the most intriguing of the options, because the Sorceror then becomes a re-occurring NPC. Now that the PCs have ‘met’ him once, they’ll be ready for this next time and there is a chance they’ll learn of his backstory.

The problem with all of these is that, as said above, the PCs have no way of knowing what on earth happened in Jib’s Hollow at the end of the adventure. I would suggest that the GM place a diary in Vodenus’ laboratory that changes handwriting from that of Godfrey to someone who is obviously different and becomes erratic in tone. It could also be written in a ‘dead’ language to alert the PCs to the idea that this is someone from long ago, and can only later be read, when the denouement with Vodenus is over. I would further suggest that Vodenus would have collected all sorts of notes on the family of the local lord; because that family is the lineage of the warrior who killed him centuries ago and would suggest where he’d go if the PCs decide to pursue him, should he flee.

The GM will also need a map for the adventure. One was not provided because this adventure can be set anywhere, but this could be an annoying oversight.

Legend Map

Written By: Stephen Dove - Nov• 08•13

Lands of Legend10

The Lands of Legend as you’ve never seen them before! This was part of an abortive recent attempt to create a Small Press RPG company to make new material for the Dragon Warriors Game. That deal fell through, mainly due to impatience and inexperience on my part, but I wanted fans to be able to see some of the stuff I did before I re-focussed my efforts onto Mundus and LORE RPG. You can find a concept map for an expanded Lands of Legend here. This map includes countries only hinted at in the original books, as well as a few of my own.

Created in Photoshop CS2

Pathfinder versus Dragon Warriors; a youngling’s perspective

Written By: Connor Gadsby - Oct• 23•13

Jasper

Hi there; Connor here! I’m a relatively new player compared with the rest of the group, so I usually end up not knowing what to say when the conversation veers into ‘statistics territory’, or going through all the feats/spells/class combinations that are broken;  leaving me to wonder ‘how they’re broken?’ Then I give up and resume trying to memorise every bloody spell in the Pathfinder rulebook again; and failing!

So I suppose it’s no wonder that I prefer the story and character bits of roleplaying; the meat on the bones that are the mechanics. But with no bones, the meat is unable to keep its structure, and without mechanics a peasant in the first village you visit in a campaign, could just wish you out of existence. Although, that would be…. intriguing………

Anyway, a good system is needed to compliment the characters and story being created. Now being no expert on tabletop gaming – or indeed anything except hitting
my head on my Stephen’s campervan Betsy–so I cannot claim the know-how of a seasoned veteran. But, having now played extensively with both Pathfinder and Dragon Warriors, two very different systems, I have naturally been comparing them to try and see which system is more suitable for me, and by extension, more suitable for character driven gameplay.

The first game I played was Pathfinder, and as someone who prior to my first session had only played mainstream RPG video games, the mechanics were a bit overwhelming, limiting my ability to strategize. My sneaky Rogue would only ever – in a combat scenario – do one of two things; fire at range with my bow, or sneak from behind and stab an enemy. This got ‘samey’ quite fast and took me out of the roleplaying experience a bit. It was just too complicated for me to get my head around.

It’s a good thing I didn’t start out as a wizard or sorcerer, because when you’re a newbie, it looks easier to work magic in real life than in game. According to the other players however, I learned comparatively quickly, and started to lose myself in the statistics and mechanics, so much so that I often lost sight of what my character actually was.

In hindsight, I barely stayed in character, and while it was still fun, it wasn’t as fun as I know it could have been. Though Pathfinder is a game of dizzying depth, the depth did sometimes get in the way of the storytelling, and the storytelling, I had quickly discovered, was what I was there for.

After quite a few months of Pathfinder, the simplicity of Dragon Warriors was actually quite refreshing. With a much more streamlined approach in every aspect from attacking to levelling up, it seemed to be what I was looking for. Combat was much faster too, with only one action per turn instead of two, it felt like it was your turn a lot more often. Of course, this was also because there as less to think about, less variation on what each player could do in combat, leading to quicker decision making.

While I did miss having heaps of weapons, armour, spells etc. to choose from, it did leave a lot more time for actual character development. More room to breath. If the group took a break to smoke or eat, they were no longer talking about weapons or spells, they were talking about the story. Sometimes they’d just carry on a conversation between their characters, providing a more enjoyable experience for me.

A simple approach to the gaming mechanics may seem comparatively shallow if you’re a regular D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder player, but I find a more streamlined approach to compliment my playing style far better. Don’t get me wrong though, Pathfinder is great, and I will no doubt return to it. But for good character driven gaming, I’m all in favour of less is more.