Saturday, December 3, 2022

Spotlight On Dragonbane or Drakar och Demoner Beta

First, I've always been a fan of ADnD's D20 roll equal to or under an Ability score and have brainstormed about expanding it into a full blown game for decades. Second, I love how easy it is to teach someone Basic Role Play/Call of Cthulhu/RuneQuest' percentile system. Third, I think DnD can be a bit daunting for new players with some of its concepts.

Dragonsbane (here in the States) or Drakar och Demoner's newest edition addresses all three of those things for me. I think it is an excellent RPG to teach to new players and yet rich enough to hold the interest of veterans. It has the roll under mechanic that older editions of DnD and ADnD utilize and while it doesn't use a percentage system I like how it sets base Skill chances and Trained Skill ratings.

DB or DoD for short, has six Attiributes: Strength, Constitution, Agility, Intelligence, Will, and Charisma. They are rated on a scale of 3 to 18 and are rolled using the classic 4d6 drop the lowest die. Your Ability score sets your base chance to perform a Skill, which range from 3 to 7 and if you are Trained in a Skill you double that amount. 

The game features six Kin: Humans, Halflings, Elves, Dwarves, Mallards (apparently DoD borrowed from Chaosium's RuneQuest and therefore uses that game's Ducks) and Wolfkin or wolf-like humanoids, Dog Men, if you will. Each kin has a Heroic Ability which requires Willpower, a pool of points equal to your Will Attribute, to be used. They are a lot like Feats from DnD and can have a broad spectrum of effects.

After choosing your Kin you choose a Profession, which is not a Class, but a group of Skills, Heroic Ability, Gear, and some form of Personalization such as an object from your past or a series of scars. You must choose to be trained in four of your Profession Skills during character creation and there are currently 16 which range from Swords and Marksmanship to Spot Hidden and Survival. The number of starting Skills is dependent on your age with younger characters being Trained in 5 Skills but a +1 to Agility and Constitution, adult characters being Trained in 6 Skills and old characters being Trained in 7 Skills but taking a -1 to Strength, Agility, and Constitution and a +1 to Will. The developers are planning to add more Skills, going to 25 of them, in the next Beta update and instead of each Profession have a specific Heroic Ability you will be able to choose the one you want.

Character creation yesterday took me about 15 minutes which is ideal, in my opinion and I really enjoy that this is a Skill based game so that while I might not start out with one of the three Magic Schools (Animism, Elementalism, and Mentalism) I can choose to study them at a latter point in the game. Experience is similar to BRP's you put a check next to any Skill you used that session that rolled a 1, called a Dragon and a Critical Success, or a 20, called a Demon and a Critical Failure. Additionally, you also answer the following six questions and put a check by a Skill of your choice at the end of each session. 
   Did you participate in the game session? 

   Did you explore a new location?

   Did you defeat one or more dangerous adversaries?

   Did you overcome an obstacle without using force? 

   Did you roleplay according to your motivation?

For each Skill checked you roll a D20 and need to exceed the Skill Rank with a success adding +1 Rank to it.

If you want to learn certain Skills you will have to seek training for a period of time. Additionally, you gain a new Heroic Ability every 5 sessions.

Armor subtracts from damage unless its from a spell and weapons range from 1d6 to 2d10 with a damage bonus (a D4 or a D6) from exceptional Strength and Agility Attribute scores.

To cast spells you make your Magic School's Skill check and spend the appropriate amount of Willpower Points even if you fail your Skill roll. You can decide to inflict damage upon yourself to gain WPs ranging from D4 to a D20 but you also take damage of the same amount.

I really, really like this game. I'm hoping to run some newer gamers through it and I am really glad I backed it. I even upped my pledge after reading the Beta.

I think it has a lot of charm and really flows into the background during play. 

Late Pledges are currently available on the KS page.

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