Archive for Story Games

Coming Soon – Vanagard!

Posted in Fantasy, Publishing, Roleplaying Games, Uncategorized, Vanagard with tags , , , , , , on August 13, 2017 by Chall

 

Vanagard Kickstarter

This bear, this rabbit, they share a story or two.

This is a story about beginnings. Yggdrasil, the World Tree, is young, vibrant and grows between eight worlds. The ninth, our world of Midgard, doesn’t exist yet. There is no Thor or Jormungand. Odin is a young man who just befriended the mischievous Loki. The future is bright and stretches forth with endless possibility.

 
This game is about the Van-Folk, the familiars of the goddess Freya. She is a powerful witch who holds sway over beginnings and endings. The Van-Folk are her people, born out of her dreams and will. They live like normal folk; in halls, working hard and then feasting with fun, family, and music. Freya mostly leaves them to their own lives but, when needed, she calls upon her children to be her eyes, ears, and voice.

Vanagard is a story game suitable for both family and friends. The players tell a story, drawing upon runes and cards for inspiration. Each story takes an hour or so to tell, a single session can have up to five stories. At the end of the game, the characters are tucked away, waiting for the next session of Vanagard to go on more adventures. 

 

A long time I worked as a camp counselor in Jungle Cat World in Orono. Back then, I was very much into storytelling as an art and I relished the chance to perform it for young campers. As such, I wove a little mythology involving wizards by the name of Lady Night, Lord Morning, Lady Rain, and Lord Wind. Dealing with their machinations was a society of animal people, the focus was on a rat named Renn. Over the course my first summer at Jungle Cat World, I crafted a 12 story cycle of this mythology, weaving tales of this little trickster for my camper audience. I shared with them Renn’s life; as a young rat freeing his people from the tyranny of lions, to a sneaky thief who had a wonderful time winning infamy, to an old rat full of both wisdom and regret.  They cycle ended well, with peace amongst the wizards, though not without sacrifice.

The campers loved listening to these stories and I loved telling them.

In Vanagard I’m trying to capture this magic again.

If I’ve done my job right Vanagard will help families and friends can craft their own mythologies within a Norse framework. Vanagard will allow them, with little to no prep, to hold an evening of storytelling that weaves consecutive tales of a close group of Van-Folk heroes. These stories can be as dark and meaningful as what you’d find in the Eddas, or as light and heartwarming as you’d find in a Miyazaki film. The rules are simple but also allow for character growth. At the end of a Vanagard cycle, you’ll have a number of heroes, on whose cards are chronicled a great adventure.

If you want a taste of what kind of story I’m going for, feel free to check out my Vanagard Playlist.

The Kickstarter will be up very soon, in the next day or two at the latest. I hope I’ll have your support.

What I’ve Been Up To Recently: Vanagard

Posted in RPG, Vanagard, Writing with tags , , , , on September 18, 2016 by Chall

So I went dark for a little while but, there’s a good reason for that. After completing Seith and Sword Andrew approached me about writing a sister game for Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok . That’s what I’ve been working on. Here’s a rundown:

Vanagard
This is a story about beginnings. Yggdrasil, the World Tree, is young, vibrant, and grows between eight worlds. The ninth, our world of Midgard, doesn’t exist. There is no Thor or Jormungand. Odin is a young man who just befriended the mischievous Loki. The future is bright and stretches forth with endless possibility.

This story takes place in Vanagard, world of wild beauty. It is a bright land of deep forests, golden fields, and rolling oceans. Here nature is at times gentle, and at others deadly. Fruit hangs heavy on tree and vine; crops and game are ever abundant. Yet Vanagard wolves are fierce; many lions, bears, and beasts fill the woods, and dragons sleep in secret caves.

Despite nature’s hold, small pockets of civilization can be found. The Vanir rule here, wise beings of mysterious power, who live with the land rather than dominating it. Alfar and Svart Alfar, Light and Dark Elves, also reside here; immigrants from their chaotic worlds of Alfgard and Svartalheim. Also to be found are Troll wanderers and Dvergar (dwarven), merchants. The few cities in this realm are filled with lively color and diversity.

In this game, you play Van-Folk, the familiars of the Goddess Freya. Freya is the daughter of Njord, God of Oceans, and twin sister to handsome Frey, God of Harvest. She is a powerful witch who holds sway over beginnings and endings. As mistress of life magic, verwandlung, she chooses those who may have children. As mistress of death magic, seith, she also chooses where the souls of the dead rest. At times she is radiant and benevolent, moving hearts to adore her. At other times … let’s just say she can be terrifying.

 

freya_by_johannes_gehrts

Seriously don’t toy with Freya, she will mess you up.

 

The Van-Folk are her people, born out of her dreams and will. She gifts them as babes to the elder Van-Folk who raise them deep within her domain of Phantom Wood. They grow into beings who are half-people, half-beast. They live like normal folk; in halls, wearing clothes, feasting with fun, family, and music. However, at will they can assume their full animal natures; small, keen and quick. They can speak to other animals as easily as we speak to each other. They can even see and talk to the dead. Freya mostly leaves them to their own lives but, when needed, she calls upon her children to be her eyes, ears, and voice. The Van-Folk are happy to serve, for Freya is their protector, queen, and mother. Though they seem strange to the other denizens of Vanagard, the Van-Folk are given respect, for to cross them is to cross the beautiful and frightful power behind Phantom Wood.

What’s This Game About?
Vanagard is a story game suitable for both family and friends. The players tell a story, drawing upon runes and cards for inspiration. Each story takes ten minutes to half an hour to tell, a single session can have up to five stories. At the end of the game, the characters are tucked away, waiting for the next session of Vanagard to go on more adventures.

Vanagard has come about due to another game, Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok; a table top RPG of epic, Viking mayhem. Fans of FoTN wanted something they could share with their families. Vanagard touches on many of the themes of FoTN: it uses a similar mechanic, it’s set in a world of Norse mythology, and the art and feel are crafted to make it a worthy sister game.

Vanagard is about the following:
Beginnings: Unlike Ragnarok, Vanagard is focused on the beginning of the cosmos, not the end. Fate has yet to be woven. While you play there will be plenty of opportunities to explore the origins of Norse myth: How did Freya tame the boar Hildisvini? Why does Njord have such fine feet? What happened with the Vanir first met the Jotun? What happened when they first met the Aesir? On the other hand, you could make up new origins. The Van-Folk could switch things around and thus craft their own version of the Eddas. In this way, you should be able to enjoy this game whether you’re well versed in Norse mythology or not.

 

 

bear

One ill-fated Vanagard game lead to a cosmos ruled under the iron paw of Professor Bear.

Exploration: You’ll never quite know where a Vanagard game will take you. When the Van-Folk strike out they’ll encounter random places, people, and obstacles. They’ll always be seeking something new, mapping the eight worlds as they go. Who knows, perhaps they’ll even witness the creation of our Midgard?

 

Unity: The Van-Folk, created as they are through Freya’s magic, are all family. They work together in bands because they often encounter challenges they cannot face alone. Yes, at times they compete, bicker and fight, but in the end, they’ll all pull for each other. Vanagard is light on player vs player and heavy on co-operation.

The final form of Vanagard has yet to be drafted, however, we’re close. I see it as a thin booklet game that comes with all the cards you need to play. If you need to expand, doing so will be as simple as investing index cards, and, further down the line some new Vanagard decks we build them.

While primarily a DMless story game, I plan to have a full out RPG element to Vanagard, the idea being that you can run the quick story games one night and roll out into full RPG mode when you want to cover a particularly important adventure. In play testing this transition as worked out smoothly.

Expect Vanagard to be kickstarted after Pendlehaven gets the Illuminated Edda and Lords of the Ash more or less complete; as it stands those two projects are Andrew’s number one priority.

That being said, you can avail yourself of Vanagard news and notes here on the FoTN Forums. You can also listen to some Vanagard stories on my new YouTube Channel.

So check these out if you’re interested.

I’ll be sure to update the Vanagard Forum and here as more material is released.