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Humanity’s Scythe

Trudvang Chronicles

By Theodore Bergqvist, Magnus Malmberg, Anders Jacobsson & Max Herngren (Translated by Andovar)

1 Sep, 2021

Roleplaying Games

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Trudvang Chronicles Gamemaster’s Guide , published in 2021, was written by Theodore Bergqvist, Magnus Malmberg, Anders Jacobsson, Max Herngren, and others. It is one of two core Trudvang Chronicles books: the other book is 2021’s Trudvang Chronicles Players Handbook , written by Theodore Bergqvist, Magnus Malmberg and Anders Jacobsson and others. The English translator for both books was Andovar.

Back in the dawn of time, Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying begat Äventyrsspel’s 1982 Drakar och Demoner (in its first edition, a combination of Basic Roleplaying and Worlds of Wonder’s Magic World ). After a convoluted process too lengthy to be detailed here, this led to Riotmind’s 2016 Nordic-and-Celtic-themed fantasy roleplaying game Drakar och Demoner Trudvang1, the Anglophone edition of which is Trudvang Chronicles .


In many roleplaying games, only gamemasters need all of the core books. When playing Trudvang Chronicles , *everyone* needs both books. Crucial need to know information found in one is not duplicated in the other. Knowledge of certain basic game mechanics found only in the Gamemaster’s Guide is required (or at least useful to avoid confusion2) when designing characters using the Players Handbook . Read the Gamemaster’s Guide first. I, of course, did it the other way round.

Like BRP (Basic Roleplaying ), Trudvang is a skill-based system, although its use of archetypes borders on D&D style classes, as does its use of a d20 for task resolution. However, Trudvang ’s game mechanics differ in many respects from those described in Basic Roleplaying and its immediate derivatives. Characters appear to be far more durable than their BRP analogs.

Note that “OR” mechanism, which I helpfully explain in a footnote you will not have read at this point, means that it is possible to die from a single blow. As well, when magic goes poorly, it can go very poorly indeed. Immediate death may follow.

In addition to “OR” there’s a lot of game mechanic jargon to master, not to mention Combat Point3 math to manage on the fly. Trudvang Chronicles does not appear significantly more convoluted than the RPGs I played in my youth (don’t ask me how long ago that was), but math-averse players, or players more used to narrativist games, may struggle. Presumably, the Game Master will provide a helping hand. Or perhaps players can use pools of variously coloured glass beads to manage their Combat Points.

Both texts are sturdy hardcovers. The Gamemaster’s Guide is some 130 pages while the Players Handbook is longer at 250.

The art is far more polished and professional than RPG art was in The Old Days. Curiously, while the text suggests that men and women wear clothing that is, broadly speaking, similar, the art indicates that either women have less money than men for clothing in general and shirts in particular, or that women are considerably more resistant to cold than are the men.

On the whole, the occasional typo aside, the two books look very professional. In the right hands, this game could be a lot of fun.

Trudvang Chronicles is available here. Note that the site does not appear to care for Firefox.

Now for the nitty-gritty.

Gamemaster’s Guide

In addition to the writers credited above, the following folk helped create the Gamemaster’s Guide :

Additional Writers and Helpers: Ray Vallese, Luca Cherstich, David

Malmström, Robert Frick, Kevin Tompos and the Proofreaders’ Guild

Translation: Andovar

Art Direction: Theodore Bergqvist

Layout and Typesetting: Magnus Malmberg

Cover Art: Paul Bonner

Interior Art: Alvaro Tapia, Thomas Wievegg, Jonas Valentin Persson, Justin Sweet, and Paul Bonner

Maps, Borders, and Weapons: Niklas Brandt

Introduction

Following a brief explanation of roleplaying in general, this provides the minimum necessary game mechanics needed to play this game.

Trudvang

A sixteen-page guide to the regions, peoples, and cultures of the vast continent of Trudvang.

Campaign Play

This details the long-term issues inherent in multiple session games covering extensive timespans.

Monsters and antagonists can only kill characters if the characters somehow survive Trudvang itself, whose habitability is open to question. It appears quite possible for ill-prepared or unskilled murder hoboes to starve to death between towns.

Combat

The game mechanics for combat in this game. A lengthy, detailed example of combat is included.

Interestingly, while the mechanics are fairly detailed, this does not extend to weapons damage. Most weapons do 1d10 damage. What distinguishes weapons, beyond the usual ranged vs melee categories, is what numeric range triggers the Open Roll rule. For example, 10 for a light one-handed weapon, 9 and 10 for a heavy one-handed weapon, and 8, 9, and 10 for a two-handed weapon. I will let the stats mavins work out the implications of that.

Damage and Fear

This explains the effects of physical and mental trauma, and how characters recover from them.

Equipment

What it says on the tin.

Monsters And Beasts

Also, what it says on the tin.

Presumably, Riotminds would like GMs to buy Jorgi’s Bestiary , a complete list of monsters. There are a sufficient number provided in the Gamemaster’s Guide to nicely thin any party of adventurers.

There is a perfectly functional index.


Players Handbook

Additional Writers and Helpers: Ray Vallese, Luca Cherstich, Max Herngren, David Malmström, Robert Frick, Kevin Tompos and the Proofreaders’ Guild

Translation: Andovar

Art Direction: Theodore Bergqvist

Layout and Typesetting: Magnus Malmberg

Cover Art: Paul Bonner

Interior Art: Alvaro Tapia, Thomas Wievegg, Justin Gerard

Per Sjögren, Jonas Valentin Persson and Paul Bonner

Skill Trees, Signs, and Borders: Niklas Brandt

Despite being considerably thicker than the Gamemaster’s Guide , the Players Handbook has but four chapters.

The Character

Character generation is points-based, influenced by player choices regarding race, culture, archetype, religion, and other elements.

This chapter is quite detailed, with voluminous explanations of each facet of character generation. Playable races include humans, elves, dwarves, and various mixed heritages (human and elf, human and troll, dwarf and troll). Archetypes are essentially career paths and there are but seven in this volume: bard, dimwalker (cleric), dweller (settled folk), ranger, rogue (career criminal), vitner weaver (mage), and warrior. The limited range of options is compensated by a wide range of permutations governed by race and culture (which as the text points out, are not the same thing).

A note about damage levels: when the text says things like “Lightly damaged 1 — (BP/4)”, that’s an em-dash, not a minus sign.

Skills

Rather unusually, the skill system is tiered: there are general skills covering broad areas of expertise, disciplines within each skill that focus on narrower aspects of the skill, and finally specializations that are extremely specific. Skills are capped at +10, but both disciplines and specializations permit one to exceed that limit, sometimes quite dramatically.

Weavers of Vitner

This details the rules pertaining to magic. Magic comes in three schools: Hwitalja (white), Vaagritalja (blended), or Darkhwitalja (dark). Weavers belong to one school exclusively. The cost of particular spells is determined by which of the three orders a character selects. Learning thematically inappropriate spells is potentially quite expensive, while thematically appropriate spells offer price breaks.

Darkhwitalja vitner at least flirts with being inherently evil. On the plus side, it’s the easiest form of magic to learn. On the minus, it’s the order of magic most likely to produce fatal fumbles.

Dimwalkers

With the exception of the elves, who are not talking to their gods, each race has at least one religion, sometimes more. This chapter explains the rules for divine magic.

There is a perfectly functional index.

1: And a movie!

2: My reading strategy failed when I encountered notations of the form “1d10 OR 9-10”. Id10 refers, as one would expect, to rolling a ten-sized die but “OR” in this case stands for “open roll”. If one rolls a 9 or a 10, one rolls 1d10 again and adds the result to the original value. The second 1d10 is also open, so if that result is a 9 or 10, one repeats the procedure. There is no limit to this process save probability.

3: I will not explain Combat Points in a footnote. I will reassure possible players that lines like

The player decides that Thorgarth will try to Parry with 14 Combat Points (9 Free CP, 1 Attacks & Parries, 4 Shields). The player rolls a [15] which means failure. Thorgarth has now 11 Combat Points left (Attacks & Parries 3 / Armed 2, One-Handed Heavy Weapons 6)

will make sense once you read the rules.