One of the RPG Blogs I’ve subscribed in Google Reader is the german blog Rollenspiel-Almanach. Today a post about Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies grabbed my attention. I actually haven’t heard of that game before but I immediately saw flying ships and sky pirates in my mind’s eye. The post linked to a post by Evil Hat Publishing’s Fred Hicks who is obviously working on the layout of this upcoming game where he showcases two fully layouted pages.
So, what’s Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies about? Here’s an excerpt from the Atomic Sock Monkey website:
Skyships ply the 7 Skies, soaring from Cloud-Island to Cloud-Island for conquest, espionage, trade, and piracy. Kingdoms clash, cultures collide, and secrets abound. Heroes and villains roam Above the Blue, seeking action, intrigue, adventure, and style. Will you be one of them?
Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies
*Written by Chad Underkoffler
*Art by Greg Holkan & Scott Kane
*Layout by Fred Hicks
Wow, that sounds really intriguing! The game is driven by the Prose Descriptive Qualities (PDQ) System Core Rules which reminded me a bit of FATE. I had to admit that I haven’t had the time to check the PDQ rules out completely but PDQ’s Qualities (or Fortes as they are called in PDQ#, the Swashbuckling version of PDQ) have a lot in common with FATE’s Aspects, but that’s perhaps just me. You can get both the PDQ and PDQ# rules as free PDF documents on the Atomic Sock Monkey website’s Freebies section.
Since my group wants to continue playing Dungeonslayers, I’ve decided to create a small campaign world to play in. It’s nothing fancy of course but it’s just enough information to use as a nice backdrop for a dungeon delving campaign. And since we want to keep up a light-hearted approach to roleplaying, I’ve added a few eastereggs, made sure the names were at least a bit cheesy and even included hommages to Gary Gygax, the creator of DS, Christian Kennig, and D&D. Check out the map I created this morning with the simple map creation tool that came with the AD&D Core Rules CD-ROM. Although this tool is quite old and lacks a lot of features it’s still the best way to create simple campaign maps.
The map shows the kingdom of Sturmfeste (Stormhold). The town Belseburg is the place where my group fought those rats and destroyed the altar of the rat king. You will probably remember that from my last post. The world itself is of my creation but I will probably rip-off a few elements from my favorite MMO World of Warcraft. So expect some gun-wielding dwarves, tech-tinkering goblins and an army of orcs coming through some wierd portal…
Yesterday, a few friends came over to my place to play some games. One of the things I had prepared was Dungeonslayers, a free, rules-light, old-school game. The 18-page rulebook contains the rules for playing the game, a couple of monsters and an introductory adventure called “Herr der Ratten” (Lord of the Rats).
The character creation took ten minutes tops and my three players were ready to enter their first dungeon. The party consisted of a human fighter, an elven magic user (healer) and a dwarven scout. As all good old-school adventures, it started in the local inn where the inn keeper asked them to clear out a rat infestation in his wine cellar. So our three hero-wannebes entered the cellar, with sword and shield in hand. As soon as they reached the cellar they were attacked by a couple of rats.
The combat system in Dungeonslayers is pretty easy. You roll a d20. If your roll is equal or below your combat ability you have hit the opponent and your roll result is the damage you’ve dealt. So no extra damage roll (like in D&D etc.) is needed. Then the target may make a defense roll. The result of the defense roll (if successful) is substracted from the damage. It’s as easy as that. When all the enemies are killed, the GM hands out a couple of experience points.
After a couple of rooms, a lot of laughs and several killed rats my players reached an underground temple of an old rat cult. Although the temple was abandoned the evil influence of the rat gods’ altar could still be felt. In the end, they destroyed the altar, fought an animated statue of the rat god and returned to the surface with hands full of loot.
Dungeonslayers is a fun game that takes only minutes to get into. Although we are all veteran roleplayers we enjoyed the light-hearted nature of the game. We decided to continue playing DS next week. I am pretty sure that I can come up with a fun adventure on my own during the coming days or I will just adapt a D&D adventure to Dungeonslayers.
If you can read German, you really should check out Dungeonslayers ASAP. For everyone else, Christian Kennig (the creator of DS) and a few fans (including me) are going to translate the rules to english, so that more people can experience this fun game!