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Torava - My private little island ...


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You know, those players and their strange ideas often get into the way of a re-

feree's innocent fun, and so I decided to create my own private little sandbox

for an undisturbed solo game now and then.

It started with a look at the map of the old AD&D Birthright game. There was this

island, Torova Temylatin, which we always wanted to explore and colonize, but

the campaign ran onto a real life rock and sank before we ever came close to it.

Well, better very late than never.

After a suitable location I needed the rules for such a solo game. Fortunately the

"Building Kingdoms" chapter of Runequest II Empires has such rules, and it was

easy to expand them with material from other sources, like the Harnmaster and

Pendragon games, to get what I wanted.

Since I did not like the Birthright background very much, I moved my island - now

renamed Torava - into another game universe, one where it is situated north of

Angilia, a low fantasy version of medieval Britain which was heavily influenced by

the "Merrie England" supplement for Runequest.

Finally I needed a "hero" to conquer and rule Torava, and for some unknown rea-

son my mind decided to come up with a knight named Sir Richard Herriot. With

him at the bow of a sailing ship, looking out for the land he is determined to ma-

ke his own, the game could start.

Meanwhile Sir Richard has become Lord Richard, Baron of Torava, and the two

settlements he founded, Herriot and Westport, are doing fine, although with only

a little more than 300 inhabitants they are still quite small and vulnerable (curse

those many raids thrown at them by the tables ... ).

The monks of the Monastery of Saint Botolph on the Tora provide the settlers

with a bit of education and culture and introduce new ways of growing crops and

breeding livestock, and a source of iron has been discovered in the Barrier Moun-

tains, where Lord Richard will found a third settlement aptly named Ironmine - as

soon as he has managed to pay off the huge loan he had to take to finance the


Ah, there is so much to do. Roads have to be built, a fortified manor house made

of stone is a necessity, the children have to be sent somewhere for their noble

education, the raiding pirate scum has to be dealt with ... at about one year of

game time per real world week this can go on for quite a while. ;)


"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Yes, it is indeed quite similar to games like Civilization or Europa Universalis, only

more "zoomed in" to the personal level, with slightly more detail and much more

freedom. The main characters are BRP characters with full game stats, skill rolls

and character development, the setting has more details and options, and I can

add new elements whenever I consider it useful for the game.

Oh, and I can play with maps - this is the current map of the main settlement of

the colony, with lots of space for future improvements:


"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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The first twenty years of Torava's game time have passed, and things are going

well - almost too well. The main character, now Baron Richard Herriot, has rea-

ched a noble standing of about 120, the population mood is at about 300, and

the island's meanwhile six settlements have become almost luxurious, because

there was so much money for building projects and other improvements. The on-

ly problem are the many rivals and enemies Lord Richard made during his various

otherwise successful political missions to the royal court.

Fortunately Lord Richard will soon retire to his new manor on the Willowplain Ri-

ver, and his son Andrew will be knighted and take over the administration of To-

rava. Since he is young and inexperienced his skills are far less well developed,

and so the chance for interesting failures and fumbles increases. Of course I do

not hope that he will ruin Torava, but a little more tension and uncertainty after

the hugely lucky and successful reign of his father would be welcome.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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