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9littlebees
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[HACK] Nordsaga

Sat 24 Feb 2018, 08:07

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Friends and foes, for your gaming pleasure, here is the official thread for my Year Zero hack, Nordsaga.

[reserved space for playtest link, when ready]

Here are some of the features (nothing set in stone yet), put into a scrollable quote-box to save space:

  • The setting is medieval Europe (1200 AD) with a strong Viking feel.
  • Otherworldly races from Norse myth now reside in our world (Midgard) - the Aelfar, Dvergar, Jotnar and Nissar are all playable races alongside Humans.
  • There is ethereal Corruption from the Norse worlds of Ice (Niflheim) and Fire (Muspellheim).
  • Professions are being replaced with Careers. There are currently 32 Basic Careers available at Chargen, with between 8 and 16 Advanced Careers planned. The idea is for PCs to move between careers over the life of a campaign. Like similar games (WFRP), your PCs don't start as heroes. They are normal, mundane people. The adventures you play together tell the story of how they advance to glory (or perish in the attempt).
  • Each Career has a list of Talents and other options available during Advancement. Rather than having every Talent and Skill available to everyone, this keeps things a bit more focused on the Career at hand.
  • Talents behave similarly to Aspects in FATE. Essentially, if a PC can explain how a Talent could be used in a situation, they get +1D. This removes the need to track lots of Talent-specific rules.
  • To counter overly-powerful Talents, I am creating Tactics & Runes, which are basically combat & magic Talents and will have specific rules attached.
  • The setting is low fantasy (it's our world after all), so magic styles will be few, but thematic (rune, blood, dark).
  • Magic will be overhauled, removing Willpower Points, instead relying on more dangerous miscasting tables and ingredient/requirement lists to temper constant spell-slinging.
  • There are 6 Attributes (though 2 are derived and not usable with Skills - Willpower & Toughness) and 16 different Skills (split between Basic & Advanced) which are not paired with Attributes.
  • Skills can only go to a maximum of 3 points (Apprentice, Journeyman, Master), with the 3rd point only being accessible to Advanced Careers.
  • Misery is replaced with two types of Trauma: Wounds and Stress. These do not reduce Attributes (players with Coriolis will be familiar).
  • Weapons have critical values which (with enough successes) allow crits prior to breaking an opponent.
  • Combat options will be simplified, mainly by adding Stunts back in, now requiring more successes to do more advanced moves.
  • Falling prone will only happen when a Stunt is triggered (and knocking someone over is chosen),  for certain Critical Injuries, or for bonus dice on a Dodge roll. Or PC choice.
  • And finally, the big one - dice pools. I am only having two pools (Base and Gear), with all 1s causing Wounds or Stress when pushed. To counter the deadliness of this, and make the game more gritty, the dice used in Nordsaga are D8s. Yes, that's not a typo. Eight.

Now that's not a full list, but those are the main changes.

I will post updates here with teasers and excerpts from the book as it progresses, and I'm hoping to get the first playtest into your hands within the next coupe of months (real-life permitting).
Last edited by 9littlebees on Sun 25 Feb 2018, 12:38, edited 4 times in total.
I'm an English game designer working on Nordsaga, a career-focused dark Viking game, powered by the Year Zero engine: https://9littlebees.com
 
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9littlebees
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Re: [HACK] Nordsaga

Sat 24 Feb 2018, 08:09

And here's the first teaser - the playtest book cover, complete with horrific homemade art.

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Last edited by 9littlebees on Sun 25 Feb 2018, 12:51, edited 2 times in total.
I'm an English game designer working on Nordsaga, a career-focused dark Viking game, powered by the Year Zero engine: https://9littlebees.com
 
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King_Kull
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Re: [HACK] Nordsaga

Sat 24 Feb 2018, 09:53

Great work and very interesting setting! How long have you worked on your hack? And do I need MY0 to play it?
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9littlebees
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Re: [HACK] Nordsaga

Sat 24 Feb 2018, 10:38

King_Kull wrote:
Great work and very interesting setting! How long have you worked on your hack? And do I need MY0 to play it?

Thanks!

I've been working on it since June 2017, though that was before Forbidden Lands was announced, so it's changed a bit since then.

You won't need anything else to play it. The rules borrow certain elements from each of the other YZ games, with lots of other influences thrown in (WFRP1-3, FFG Star Wars, FATE, Shadow of the Demon Lord, Apocalypse World, Blades in the Dark). So a complete ruleset is needed, though it very much is more "Year Zero" than anything else.
I'm an English game designer working on Nordsaga, a career-focused dark Viking game, powered by the Year Zero engine: https://9littlebees.com
 
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Klas
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Re: [HACK] Nordsaga

Sat 24 Feb 2018, 12:09

Nice :)
How far have you come with the setting?
 
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Re: [HACK] Nordsaga

Sat 24 Feb 2018, 12:57

Klas wrote:
Nice :)
How far have you come with the setting?

Well, I have an overview finished (though I constantly tweak it) which fits on one page of A5. As for the rest, here's a big wall of text in a scrollable quotebox:

I have the draft of a more detailed history of the setting (how Sigurd became immortal and convinced the other races to come with him to Midgard) which I may include in a GM chapter, though it's so far in the past that most of the detail has been obscured by Sigurd's own "official" saga.  So I hesitate to include it in the text, as the players really shouldn't know about it.

Other than that, I have a rough map of Europe with the countries carved up and plan to write a brief gazeteer of the Imperial Kingdoms, plus the main neighbouring powers (Caliphates in Spain and Northern Africa, Holy (Eastern) Roman Empire in Greece & Turkey, the allied but independent Kievan Rus in northeastern Europe, and the Mongol Empire spreading from the East).  Once Sigurd overthrew the (mainly) Christian powers from their old lands, he declared new Kingdoms which used older, pagan names (still working on these, though there will be probably be somewhere between 8 & 12).  The Empire includes all of northern Europe (though not Finland) and Britain, has a southern border with the Pyrenees, only includes northern Italy, and the eastern border runs roughly along the borders of Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and the western part of Poland, but I will draw it up based on large rivers.  Don't worry, there will be maps. :)

As for an expanded history, it's in draft form, and may not be released until later in the playtest cycle.  Sigurd has no desire to expand the Empire's borders from their current locations, and has been keen to make an Empire which will stand the test of time.  As such, he has adopted many customs and new ideas from his own lands as well as abroad.  This means that the tech level of 1200 AD is really not too far off of our own history (though with far more runes!).  The custom of wiking still exists, though only officially in much more temperate waters, as the Empire harries their neighbours to the south and east.  Naturally there are pirates and outlaws within the Empire who must be kept in check.  Writing is also encouraged, and knowledge of the runic alphabet (my own version of the Younger Futhark) along with the Norse language are widespread throughout the Empire.

All this sounds reasonably peaceful, right?  Wrong!  I haven't even mentioned the corruption from Niflheim and Muspellheim yet... This has created monsters and unearthly locations throughout our world.  Sigurd does his best to keep the corruption out (runes and magic are very effective), but there is only so much he can do with the constant threats to his borders.  Plus there are the cults from within the Empire itself who worship these ruinous powers, ultimately seeking to start Ragnarok (they have been promised that they will be saved).

I'll stop there, I'm giving too much away!!  ;)
Last edited by 9littlebees on Sat 24 Feb 2018, 19:17, edited 1 time in total.
I'm an English game designer working on Nordsaga, a career-focused dark Viking game, powered by the Year Zero engine: https://9littlebees.com
 
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Tomas
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Re: [HACK] Nordsaga

Sat 24 Feb 2018, 18:15

Very cool stuff!
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9littlebees
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[HACK] Nordsaga - Setting

Sun 25 Feb 2018, 18:12

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Time for the first excerpt from the book. Continuing from my earlier setting reply to Klas, here's the full text of the setting overview, as it appears in the current draft of the rules. It fits onto one A5 page (about half the size of Letter format), so it's not a lot to read.

Nordsaga is set in an alternate history which asks: “What if legendary Viking warrior Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye had been given the aid of the Aesir (Norse gods) to push back Christianity’s spread?” The answer provides a pagan Norse Empire spread across Europe, with Emperor Sigurd somehow ruling over the Imperial Kingdoms after more than four centuries.

Strange beings from across the Nine Worlds now inhabit Midgard (our Earth), some gifted with land by Emperor Sigurd. However, the events which brought these creatures also brought ethereal manifestations from Niflheim (the World of Ice) and Muspellheim (the World of Fire), which slowly began to transform elements of our world in horrific ways.

Within the first century, these corrupting influences had taken firm root across the wild places of the Empire. Cults worshipping this corruption became increasingly active, seeking to bring about Ragnarok, the End of the World (from which they believe they will be spared). Travel between cities dwindled as tales spread of hideous, twisted creatures hiding in the hills and forests.

Despite the Emperor’s repeated efforts to rid his lands of this otherworldly menace, continuous threats on the Empire’s borders prevent him from using his full might. To the southwest, the Caliphates seek to spread from their foothold on the Iberian peninsula. To the southeast, the (Eastern) Holy Roman Empire desires its ancient lands. To the east, a new threat has emerged, an unstoppable Mongol Empire determined to conquer everything in its path.

It is now the year of Sigurd 440, and there is much glory to be had, for those willing to seek it.
I'm an English game designer working on Nordsaga, a career-focused dark Viking game, powered by the Year Zero engine: https://9littlebees.com
 
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King_Kull
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Re: [HACK] Nordsaga

Mon 26 Feb 2018, 01:21

Well, well, well... Very interesting :)
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Re: [HACK] Nordsaga

Tue 27 Feb 2018, 16:15

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Okay, the next peek into Nordsaga is up, this time looking at the base mechanics. It's a big post, so I'll kindly redirect anyone interested to the blog:

9littlebees.com/nordsaga-mechanics

Some of my design decisions are bound to receive criticism, so please hit me with it, but please try to keep the criticism friendly! ;)
I'm an English game designer working on Nordsaga, a career-focused dark Viking game, powered by the Year Zero engine: https://9littlebees.com
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