Games Design - Wolfpack

Posted by: Christopher Davies On: Feb 9th 2010

Last year I found myself reading Raven: Blood Eye by Giles Kristian, a book based around a character called Osric and his induction into Sigurd’s Wolfpack (a band of Norse warriors). When reading the book I found myself looking at the book from a gaming point and thought how much fun it would be to play out the adventures of the wolfpack and so I e-mailed Giles and after a number of mails back and forth was given the rights to use the characters and story from Blood Eye in a rpg.

Wolfpack would be a resource based role-play game in which a group of players embark on an epic quest in which their characters must face countless dangers in the pursuit of glory. Each player would take on the role of a Norseman within Sigurd The Lucky's Wolfpack. As well as controlling their characters the players could also influence the epic chronicle by deciding to cast their Viking Runes (Players to decide on the amount of castings that can be made per game). Using a set of rules based upon Norse Runes utilizing a traditional: Three Rune Method of casting that allows you to cast and consult your Runes giving you past, present and future the meaning of which are gained through the symbolic meanings of the Runes which would allow the Runecaster to influence and progress the chronicle, controlling any non player characters in sense giving the player the GM role for part of the scene before handing back to the GM. For combat and actions I’m sorting something along the lines of Marvels stone system I’m just trying to work out the kinks.

So my question is would it be wise to allow a player to take control from the GM even for a short space of time or would this just create chaos and GM meltdown? and would removing dice in place for a system based on Runes kill the game stone dead (no pun intended) before someone even looked at it........

Posted by: James Mullen On: Feb 9th 2010 edited

Damn your eyes for getting to this idea before me! Yes, I think a Rune based resolution system could totally work and would add flavour to the narrative, e.g. the reason for your success/failure could be determined/influenced by the Rune drawn.

I can't see any problem with handing narrative authority to the players; I wouldn't run a game any other way, but how would it work? I've seen other systems where players interpreted a symbol and narrated that interpretation into the game, but it was bordering on freeform, so they could always twist the symbol to suit their ends, no matter which one it was. How do you see your Rune Casting taking place? Can you imagine an actual example of it and talk us through the process?

Posted by: Christopher Davies On: Feb 9th 2010

The Rune system will allow the player to add bonus to the combat of action taking place which will mean a lot of flying by the seat of your pants at times because the Runes have a very open meaning sometimes and are build for you to add fluff... a combat system using them is a lot more easy to build as the stones will have less of a meaning, but returning to a narrative tool I was looking at something like this.

Ok lets say your group has found themselves surrounded by the evil Black Shields and the outcome looks grim, one of the players who we shall name “Bob and his Character Ken”, decides this is the moment he will call to the gods to grant him victory or a glorious death and so he grabs up his pouch and draws the following Runes. – Feoh (Past), Ur (Present) and Ken (Future). The first Rune which will represent the past allows the player to roleplay a flash back scene.

(Past) Feoh: Symbolizes vitality and power, especially in the area of personal wealth and finances. The inherent strength of Feoh means it is good for any undertaking, for moving a situation onwards and upwards.

Bob takes a moment to have a slurp of his beer and ponders the vibrations send out by the gods and finds that in this current situation Feoh is not going to offer up anything he could bring to the table but might have some bearing later on so he has the option to bank this Rune for the next cast by himself or another member of the party.

(Present) Ur: Good for any enterprise that has a high risk factor. It symbolizes rapid change, the shouldering of new responsibilities, and the ability to sweep away obstructions.

Bob grins to himself it seems fate has smiled upon himself and the Wolfpack.
“Ken knew that the chance of the Wolfpack making it to there ship was fading away with each second, they stood there shield to shield waiting for the charge they knew would come, and it was then that Ken heard the whisper of Hermóðr the Brave, a Norse War-Spirit upon the wind and so Ken took up the manta of responsibility and screamed for the Wolfpack to charge..” Bob then informs the group that the Black Shield taken by surprise by the sudden howls of rage and the sight of the Wolfpack panic a small number of them turning to run the others becoming shaken. The group agree and 2 of the NPCs are removed and the rest revise a penalty for the first round of combat.

(Future) Ken: A very positive rune that symbolizes the gentler acts of creation such as writing music or crafting talismans. It imbues all aspects of life with a protective and creative warmth.

“The Wolfpack knew today would be sung for years to come, for this was the battle of Sun Ridge where the Black Shield came to feel the might of the Norse, this knowledge drained any fear form the hearts of the pack for today was a glorious day” Bob informs the GM and group that all glory gained from kills in these scene will count double.

I think as long as people around the table agree to each cast there should not be to much twinking, but again I'm still working out the kinks.

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