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[Interview] A Neo-Trad Take on BRP


clarence

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15 hours ago, Conrad said:

Krister, I'd like to ask if you have ever heard of Ron Edwards, and if you have what you think of his ideas about roleplaying games? :)

Yes, I studied The Big Model back then. I think Edwards has a lot of good ideas. I agree on his essay System Does Matter, except that I think that the reality is a bit more fluid. I'm not as focused on the narrativist agenda as Edwards is. 

Of his games, I have only played Trollbabe. I saw what he did there, but there was something missing for me. I look very much on those that picked up from there: Vincent Baker, Luke Crane, Jason Morningstar etc. I would like to mention the writers of Smallville RPG as well – that game is pretty much in the same ilk. Honorary mention to Robin D. Laws, one of my favourite game designers!

Edited by Krister Sundelin
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Hell yeah!

Love the Swedish RPG scene. Don't understand the language, but I have often seen some real gems out there when visiting a gaming store in Stockholm. Lately some of them have already been translated to English and love them both (Symbaorium, Mutant: Year Zero). I will pass Mutant Chronicles, but will get the 2d20 Conan RPG by Modiphius.

So I am very interested what they are bringing from this gold mine next. Järn sounds very cool - iron age clans - yeah! But the book cover? Cartoon Dragon and a goofy hellokitty fighter girl? Is it still the same game you are talking about?

Also there are other fantastic-looking games like Saga, Eon, Alver ... looking forward what future holds for them too. It just baffles me how this small scene is miles away with their product lines compared to Chaosium.

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  • 3 months later...

No, that's right. Järn is a different game. I spoke with the author, Krister, yesterday at a bookshop signing event and the translation has not come much further. He's a very busy man (among other things, a simplified version of Järn has just been released, as an entry-level game for a new generation of gamers).

Trudvang Chronicles looks nice though : )

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M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

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50 minutes ago, RosenMcStern said:

Are there are more Swedish variants of BRP than English ones?

As I understand it, almost all of the early Swedish roleplaying games were based on BRP, but most of those that are still around have either changed the system so much that I would hesitate to still call it a BRP clone or have changed to an entirely different system.

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"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Rust's got it right. So, let's see what we've got...

Drakar och Demoner Retro: The classic Swedish RPG, based on Worlds of Wonder. Reprint, with new artwork but rules mostly intact, due in October. Often referred to as DoD 2.

Järn: Rooted in BRP, but with a new approach inspired partly by storytelling games (I know, not the best term). Two versions out now.

Trudvang Chronicles: This is the game that the original Drakar och Demoner evolved into over the years. It's a d20-based version of BRP, and was a massive best-seller for several years when published in Swedish. Gorgeous artwork and a fleshed out setting with a "Nordic sagas with a brutal edge" feel to it. 

Mutant: Post-apocalypse game released in 1984 (?), a pure BRP product for many years. A follow-up called Mutant: Heirs of the apocalypse was also a BRP product; huge setting and very popular here. The team then went on to produce Symbaroum. Mutant: Year Zero, released last year to much acclaim, is a direct relative to Mutant, but with rules heavily influenced by Apocalypse World (though there is an official BRP version in one of the Swedish supplements). 

Kult: Originally a Swedish BRP-based game, later translated to English. Caused a lot of controversy in the late 1980s/early 1990s. A new version has recently been funded by a Kickstarter campaign, getting loads and loads of money. BRP engine not being kept though. 

I'm sure there are more, but these popped up right away : )

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M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

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Thanks for the interview, Clarence. It's always interesting to see the thoughts and motivations behind an author's work. Also, I don't really understand the reaction to the criticisms of BRP. BRP is not without its flaws.

However, I'm pretty sure this game isn't for me. Largely because I'm an old dude stuck in his ways. However, more power to the author and those fans that do want Jarn.

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Thanks yojimbo! I'm happy you like it. And I agree with you: it's always interesting to find out an author's driving forces.

Regarding old dudes, I know what you mean. For myself, I try to think of it as opening a jar filled with stale air; sometimes it's good to let just a little bit of oxygen into the jar : ) Just not too much or too often. 

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M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

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Old school/new wave debates happen from time to time in all creative hobbies and pastimes, and a bit of tolerance for new ideas is no bad thing. The issue with Ron Edwards that grated, and largely soured many people's feelings about indie games, is that much of his output was merely asserting that other people's experiences and preferences were invalid. This culminated in the infamous 'brain damage' essay, werein he suggested that people who played the "incoherent" game of Vampire - The Masquerade were doing literal, physical damage to their brains. I found the arguments regarding GNS theory flawed too - by extension, RuneQuest is a flawed game if you use it for anything other than Simulation for example - but I can see the influence on later game design from ideas developed in The Forge. 

Historically, I think that most European RPG design throughout the 80s and 90s was broadly based on ideas from RQ/BRP. The same is true of the Warhammer games in the UK, or SLA Industries for example. Aquelarre is a Spanish game with a BRP style system. The transition to looking at more 'narrative' design can be seen as some sort of general international trend, although I would point to my copy of Ghostbusters RPG (1986) and Toon (1984) to suggest that a lot of the narrative ideas we moot as modern have actually been around for a long time. 

 

Edit: Just to note that the Swedish version of Kult was released in 1991, the US version in 1993 and the controversies in Sweden were very much a 90s thing! 

Edited by TrippyHippy
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On 5/9/2016 at 4:51 PM, clarence said:

Trudvang Chronicles: This is the game that the original Drakar och Demoner evolved into over the years. It's a d20-based version of BRP, and was a massive best-seller for several years when published in Swedish. Gorgeous artwork and a fleshed out setting with a "Nordic sagas with a brutal edge" feel to it. 

How far / close from BRP is it?

 

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Trudvang Chronicles are less relient on stats (only very high, low stats affect you). Human cèntric, other species exists but you are probably human, skillsystem have specialiations, (that gives bonus on skills used in a special way, like mounted combat) skills are therefore broader. Weapons do d10 openended damage, keep in mind that I am rusty on the ruleset and don't have the latest versión.

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5 hours ago, smiorgan said:

How far / close from BRP is it?

 

I'm not very familiar with the most recent version. The version prior to this one was very clearly BRP, but with a d20 instead of d100. They made some changes for this version; not sure how much though. 

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M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

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2 hours ago, muminalver said:

Trudvang Chronicles are less relient on stats (only very high, low stats affect you). Human cèntric, other species exists but you are probably human, skillsystem have specialiations, (that gives bonus on skills used in a special way, like mounted combat) skills are therefore broader. Weapons do d10 openended damage, keep in mind that I am rusty on the ruleset and don't have the latest versión.

Thanks! I've posted a few question in the Trudvang kickstarter thread here:

Maybe you can answer...

I'm thinking about pledging

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  • 2 months later...
On 6/4/2016 at 11:07 AM, Krister Sundelin said:

Yes, I studied The Big Model back then. I think Edwards has a lot of good ideas. I agree on his essay System Does Matter, except that I think that the reality is a bit more fluid. I'm not as focused on the narrativist agenda as Edwards is.

Any news if the Järn translation is still a thing?

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I met Krister at a book signing two months ago and asked him about it. Nothing had been done by then, as he had been too busy with other projects. There are new Järn books coming out soonish and my guess is they keep Krister quite busy. 

On the other hand, more and more new RPGs made here in Sweden are published both in Swedish and English (for example Coriolis and Tales from the Loop by the Free League). I'm sure Krister is aware of that. 

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M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

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Is this a Swedish only RPG, or is it going to be translated into other languages? I find it kind of hard to get into a interview with a game designer about a game that I can't read and find out about. The author may have made improvements to BRP, and came up with new interesting changes, but I can't tell a thing based on the interview.  

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Yes, Järn is Swedish only. At least at the moment. One of the reasons I wanted to interview Krister here, was that he had expressed a wish to translate the game into English. If and when is not currently clear. I realize you can't judge the result of Krister's ideas without reading Järn, but I hope the interview gave you some insights into its inner workings. And it has been very well received here in Sweden, both by critics, hard core gamers and casual roleplayers.

1683589267_frostbyteloggaFsvarttiny2.jpg.22ebd7480630737e74be9c2c9ed8039f.jpg   FrostByte Books

M–SPACE   d100 Roleplaying in the Far Future

Odd Soot  Science Fiction Mystery in the 1920s

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Maybe you could do up some sort of review of the game, and explain how the new mechanics work? No offense, but I think most of us here don't know enough about the game or it's author to get much out of the interview. 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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