Frequently Asked Questions
1. What makes this game "cinematic?"
2. How do artifacts change the characters' personalities?
3. What are players/characters in this game rewarded for doing (by the mechanics of the game)? I noticed that raiding grants a few things like favor in the eyes of the Gods, but what other rewards can be earned, and how?
The game looks very interesting, thanks for sharing it with us!
Awesome questions. While promoting the game it's been tough threading the needle between adequate explanation and trying to stay "out of the weeds" over-explaining things, so I'm glad to do it here.
Question 1: "Cinematic" and "Story-based" are as much a statement of intent as anything, because ultimately an individual group works together to create a story, and to create a story in a meaningful, memorable way. However, I've felt that many systems incentivize certain styles of play, and that they typically involve solving everything through combat, in which a fight becomes a small miniatures-based game and transaction of HP. With Sagas of Midgard, we've sought to create combat that is both fast and deadly (either you or your enemy will be dead within about 5 rounds), exciting (we have a Horde mechanic whereby lower level mobs can group up, giving your players the satisfaction of wading into a mob of them instead of just creating more HP sponges), and concrete rules rewarding not just doing cool things, but describing them in cool ways (In between sessions players boast of their greatest accomplishments and vote on the coolest, most memorable thing that happened; the winner of this "Mead-hall Boasting" receives a modest amount of Bonus Skill Points).
I think I've started sermonizing, so I'll jump to #2:
Question 2: It depends on the Artifact, but pretty directly. Another thing we had discovered while playing other systems was how, in certain settings, magic items didn't feel so... magic. If players could go to the Magic Item Store and trade in their Holy Flaming Sword of Might for one with sliiiiiiiiiiiiightly better stats, it made them less special. Artifacts are meant to be rare (1-2 per Hero per campaign with the one-use Runes of Power acting as a more common magic item find), and each has a designated Personality (which projects onto the Hero attuned to it), Boon (the cool thing it does), (a drawback of some kind). Looking through the Artifact chapter, the personality changes go from less severe (Hymir's Cauldron of never-ending mead instructs the player "You are always the life of the party, ready to fill drinking horns, entertain guests, and challenge people to drinking competitions. If there’s not a party, you’re itching to start one.") to more severe (Andvaranaut is one of the Artifacts upon which Tolkien's One Ring is based. We've included it, because we're evil. The wearer is granted a number of different, powerful bonuses but is eventually doomed to die).
Question 3: Hacksilver is the basic currency in Sagas of Midgard. Hacksilver can be sacrificed to the Gods once an adventure during blota to gain Favor, which is used to power abilities. Hacksilver is gained primarily via Raiding (if you do a better job on your raid rolls, you get more loot. Simple enough). Beyond that, Hacksilver can function for bribes and any other over or underhanded ideas your Warband may have. However, whatever you choose to take back can be used at your Settlement. Each player claims a Settlement, either one that they manage as a Jarl or one to whom they are sworn to protect. Mechanically, upgrading your Settlement gives you bonuses to everything from the different Raiding rolls (in case your party has a gap in its skillset) to modest, across-the-board increases to attack rolls, Dodge, HP, and more. Story-wise, Settlements are meant to be a living, breathing space within the game world, and we have guidelines for turning them into such within the game (E.G.: Every time you build a Settlement Upgrade, create an NPC to run it).
Question 4: We have a sentence in the end of our first chapter: There is no winning or losing in Sagas of Midgard; there is only the story you create with your friends.
What story-oriented means to me is that you give players a framework around which to interact, not a VERY REGIMENTED RULESET THAT CANNOT BE BROKEN. My favorite TTRPG sessions have been exercises in improv, with skill checks and die rolls as a mediator. The die rolls will still decide if you pass or fail, but allowing as many "Yes, and..." moments into your game is what turns it from a numbersfest into something that should be memorable (and, when it fails, hilarious). We've been playing TTRPGs almost twenty years, and what we remember aren't the rolls (unless they came at a clutch time). What we remember are the strange, often bad decisions the players made at tense moments that, win or lose, created stories we still laugh about.
Thanks for the questions and sorry if I got a little off-topic with my sermonizing. Please let me know if I can answer anything else!Last updated:
While there's a lot written...there's not really a lot of detail. After looking at your kickstarter I can't even tell what die mechanic you use, how combat is "fast" or how raiding is made interesting. You mention using a rollover mechanic in a comment but I still don't even know if you are rolling dice pools, d20s, etc...could you share some more on that?
Heck, I can't even tell that you if you use dice or not from the kickstarter..
The system uses a d100 for all of its skill checks. Every task has a "rollover" (DC, if you prefer): you roll a d100, add whatever pertinent bonus you have, and if you've rolled over the rollover, you succeed. Damage for abilities is pre-assigned depending on weapon size and scales depending on your Spent Skill Points (SP); someone who's spent 20 Skill Points in Hammer will do more damage than someone who's spent ten.
Combat is fast because we've employed a "go big or go home" attitude toward it. Both PCs and mobs have relatively high damage and low hit points; although there are healing abilities, they're limited and most of our support skills buff things besides hit points. We made this decision after playing in systems where our more min-max'y players could create a healer that did no damage, ever, but could basically ensure that we never, ever died. It turned combat into a slog and a numbers exchange.
We wrote an article about raiding that I'll link here: https://sagasofmidgard.com/raiding/
In a nutshell, Raiding allows a way for players to engage in the world thematically (Vikings raiding villages for loot), solves the problem of boring travel, and allows the players to use their abilities while giving them something meaningful for them on which to spend their plunder (Favor to power abilities, Player Settlements, and anything else that may come up).
Thanks for the questions. Like I said above, we've tried not to drown newer players in detail with a lot of the promotional material, so I'm glad to answer it here!Last updated:
Very interested. That said, while I’m an avid tabletop gamer, I haven’t played a true pen and paper RPG in over 30 years. I’m basically at square zero. Is the book structured in a way that’s entry level?
Our goal when we developed the game was to make it accessible for brand new players, but with enough "meat" for veterans. We had one of our playtesters (who's never run a game before, in any system) create and run an adventure in Sagas of Midgard and she did a great job! She said it was a little intimidating running for the two developers of the system, but that the rules got out of the way enough that while she could keep the game running smoothly, it wasn't so rigid or rules-heavy that she felt like she was overwhelmed or missing anything.
Our favorite part of Tabletop RPGs are the stories that you create with your friends, and that's how we've structured the system; to make great stories first and worry about complex rules last.Last updated:
We all know that rape was a common feature of Scandinavians going a viking. While the early English definition of rape referred to the destruction wrought by raids, that included the modern notion of rape as a tool of terror or a reward. This is obviously a non-starter for most gamers (myself included) and so I am curious from a lore standpoint how you have addressed this or if it is abstracted out.
Rape is a subject we don't take lightly, and it's something that I personally have never thought to include in any detail within any game system I've run. From Chapter 6 of the book (in which we discuss Viking Culture):
"Additionally, one of the concepts with which we've grappled while developing this game is that of sexual assault: while killing the men and raping the women was an all-too-common "conqueror's tactic" in warfare across the world, graphic depiction of rape is not something that we feel belongs in a game and have chosen to omit it from our descriptions of raiding. It may have been a common fixture in ancient and medieval warfare (and, if we're honest, modern warfare as well), but if your group feels the need to graphically depict and act out sexual assault while sitting at a gaming table, that's a poor reflection on you more than anything. As with the use of slavery, if you choose to include it as a means of augmenting the historicity of your game, we ask that you treat it with the gravity and respect that its (all-too-many) survivors deserve. "Last updated:
Is there any preview of the layout and character sheet? Also what format will the book have? Thanks.
We have a fillable PDF prototype character sheet we've used for playtesting, but it's far from done. Our second stretch goal (unlocked!) included Hand-Drawn Illuminated Manuscript Character Sheet so once the Kickstarter ends we're going to be turning the character sheet over to our Art and Design Team for a pretty big overhaul. That said, right now we have it in three pages: The first page is "Objective Information": basic character info and almost all of the numbers you'll need at a glance to play your character. The second page is "subjective" information: information about your settlement, Artifacts, equipment, etc. The third page has room for descriptions for the "Powers" your character can buy.
Here's one of our Demo Characters (again, the actual sheet is due for an overhaul): https://drive.google.com/open...
As far the book itself, it's laid out in the following chapters:
Chapter 1: Introduction to Sagas of Midgard (our goals with the system and the basics of how the rules work)
Chapter 2: Character Creation (How to make characters and the powers they can buy)
Chapter 3: Raiding and Settlements (our unique Raiding Mechanic, as well as player Settlements)
Chapter 4: Runes (Our Single-Use magic items that can be chained together with proper skill buy-in)
Chapter 5: "Under the Hood" (A deeper dive into combat rules and how to effectively run the game)
Chapter 6: The World as We Know it (A fully fleshed out Viking game world and descriptions of our interpretation of ancient Norse culture. Per a stretch goal, we'll also be including information on five additional kingdoms).
Chapter 7: The Nine Worlds (Information about ancient Norse cosmology and how to incorporate it into your game)
Chapter 8: Monsters, Enemies, and Allies (Monsters to Fight and ideas for NPCs to include in your game taken from our playtesting)
Chapter 9: Artifacts (our permanent magic items that change not only the character's stats but also their personality)
Chapters 10-13 are the included adventures (including Ragnarok, our first Stretch Goal).
There is an additional, Kickstarter exclusive adventure that will be sent in PDF form to all backers once the book itself is finished.
Please let me know if you have any other questions!Last updated:
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