Adventure and Raid in Sagas of Midgard RPG
By Jacky Leung Twitter
Vikings, Norse gods, and raiding. These were the many things I was introduced to when I recently tried my hand at a new tabletop roleplaying game known as Sagas of Midgard, written by Nick Porter and Dominic De Duonni. Players assume the role of Viking warriors that are defined by their prophecies through surnames, blessed by iconic Norse deities such as Odin, Thor, and Loki, and empowered by Nordic runes. Sagas of Midgard uses cinematic storytelling defined by dice rolls utilizing a d100 on checks across over a hundred skills and specializations. The unique raiding mechanic allows skills and dice results to facilitate and drive the narrative.
Characters in Sagas of Midgard have short lives, fifteen hit points to be exact, but upon their deaths, allies within a specific range gain a boon. So while survival is essential, just like the Viking’s way of life, there is no greater glory than dying on the battlefield. A character’s surname and title define their prophecy, which is chosen from a list that is inspired by Norse mythology that grants bonuses and abilities. From there, players can choose from over a hundred skills across five domains (which correspond with a Norse god) with subdomains to emphasize specializations. There are no character classes in the traditional sense which creates an environment that focuses on roleplay. Characters are also endowed with a minimum of two runes with effects inspired by the Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem. Runes serve as one-time use magic items that can be acquired over the course of play, or a character can start with more runes depending on their surname or title. The runes also grant effects based on their relative position, which provides additional variance in character creation and allowing each character to be genuinely unique.
Gameplay is broken into three phases: Raiding, Heroic Deeds, and Mead-Hall. Raiding is where your Viking characters travel to attack, loot, and plunder settlements. It was designed with the mindset to make the aspect of going to their destinations with your Viking Warband interesting with challenges and obstacles. During a raid scenario, players roll to overcome obstacles and complications may arise on low rolls. Heroic Deeds are what you typically come to find in an adventure tabletop roleplaying experience, they fight creatures and foes, pillage and take the loot. Sometimes they uncover artifacts or runes, sometimes they expand their jarldom, and sometimes they want to explore the world. The Mead-Hall is meant for in-between adventures but serves an important purpose, as the Viking, who boasts of their most glorious of achievement that week and deemed the winner, is awarded skill points.
A Viking’s settlement plays an important in developing upgrades for their characters and whenever they perform raid rolls. Settlements have their own “level” of development, whether it’s one that the Vikings are invading or even the one they call home. Combat is done without a grid, using three concentric circles called “distance increments” from the center of the battlefield. The intention is to produce theater-of-mind gameplay (which reduces clutter and keeps narrative pace uninterrupted).
A mythical Scandinavia inspires the campaign setting for Sagas of Midgard with new geography and points of interest, littered with gods and monsters of yore. Players can even explore the Nine Worlds cosmology, with adventures to provide more details. There is an included cultural guide to the custom setting of Drengrlands, including over 30 monsters pulled from Norse myth and the creators’ imaginations. The core book also contains three fully-fleshed adventures to help ease players into the new mechanics and game system. Additionally, backers can also secure a unique 24-card Rune deck to use during their sessions and character creations.
At the time of this article, Sagas of Midgard has hit over 400% of their funding goal and presently working on achieving stretch goals. The sneak peek worth of materials I was given the opportunity to read has a clean and straightforward structure of play with plenty of room for gamemasters and players to explore and develop their own stories. It genuinely reminds me of a Norse/Viking version of the XCOM video game franchise or even similarly Norse inspired board games such as Champions of Midgard. For a $25 pledge, backers secure a PDF copy of Sagas of Midgard. For an additional $10 to their pledge, backers can include the 24-card Rune deck at the $35 pledge. At the $45 pledge level, backers can acquire a hardcover edition of the core rulebook signed by the creators; at $60, backers get the hardcover copy and the Rune deck.
Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/2GCYZIL
Learn more about Sagas of Midgard: https://sagasofmidgard.com/