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Trudvang Chronicles RPG: An Interview with Theodore Bergquist

Trudvang Chronicles RPG: Game Master Guide (Image: Riotminds)

Trudvang Chronicles RPG: Game Master Guide (Image: Riotminds)

Finally, the printed Trudvang Chronicles RPG is coming in English!

About one year ago, I backed on Kickstarter The Fabulous Art of Trudvang – a gorgeous and inspiring fantasy artbook with images by Paul Bonner, Alvaro Tapia, Justin Sweet, Jonas Vallentin and Niklas Brandt (among others).

I contacted Riotminds, the project creators, during the Kickstarter campaign for an interview. After some mails we decided to postpone it. The artbook contains beside fantastic illustrations some tidbits of information about the setting. I really like what I saw and read.

A few days ago, they launched their Kickstarter for the printed Trudvang Chronicles RPG and I backed it without any hesitation. Since the fine The Fabulous Art of Trudvang I want to know more about the Trudvang Chronicles RPG. After pledging on Kickstarter, I asked Theodore Bergquist, one the founders of Riotminds, for an interview again. I hope you enjoy his answers.

What are the major aspects of the Trudvang Chronicles RPG? Please give us an elevator pitch of the system and the setting.
It’s Nordic fantasy at it’s best. Norse and celtic myths in a dark mood is something different than what’s out there today. The artwork is ”some of the best artwork I’ve ever seen in a roleplaying game” to quote Angus Abranson writing for ENworld. How the art sync with the story and rules is something we’re very proud of. With inspirational sources like Beowulf, Kalevala, John Bauer and the old Norse sagas, it’s something that can’t go wrong!

You describe your game “as a skill-based BRP-clone” (BRP = Basic Role-Playing Game, Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, etc.). What makes the Trudvang Chronicles RPG system-wise unique?
Wow, that’s a broad question. I’d say how the rule system is linked to the setting is one thing. Combat is pretty unique with ”dynamic” capacity whereas the player decide from round to round how many attacks, parries, move etc, is drawn from a pool of Capacity Points. Damages can be “open-ended” (if you roll 10, roll again) which mean that even the smallest guy can defeat the biggest troll.

Drakar och Demoner Trudvang (Image: Riotminds)

Drakar och Demoner Trudvang (Image: Riotminds)

Also what’s quite unique is how we handle religion and faith. Each race and even humans have their own gods and powers, it’s not a generic system for all races. Magic is more down to earth, more shaman-like with different kind of styles to weave magic (singing, chanting, stave-magic, etc.).

The Fabulous Art of Trudvang (Image: Riotminds)

The Fabulous Art of Trudvang (Image: Riotminds)

How would you describe a typical Trudvang Chronicles “adventure group” and what makes them interesting? Which cool classes, races, powers, etc. can players expect?
A typical group would be pretty much the same as in all RPGs (a warrior, a mage, a bard, a thief), but what really differs is the context they play in. This game is far from dungeon-crawl and endless search for more treasures, it’s more about taking part of something bigger, a saga. The main villain might not be that big green dragon, it may as well be the evil forest, or the icy plains. Nature and spirits of nature play an important role in the setting. At the same time, not all sagas are big, some are just short and mysterious.

Races and classes are also pretty much same as in any other game, but what makes them different is the depth and the story behind. How a dwarf is born, why the dark elves are dark, why the Stormlanders shave their head, that kind of stuff. The stories behind are the cool stuff I’d say. It gives each character more meat on the bone than just “+5 on this, or that”, or “this cool power for this”.

The Fabulous Art of Trudvang: Giants (Image: Riotminds)

The Fabulous Art of Trudvang: Giants (Image: Riotminds)

Trudvang Chronicles RPG is based on Norse and Celtic myths and sagas. How does this affect the game? What are stories that players will tell? Which kind of threats will they likely have to oppose?
It affects the mood of the game. This is a grim and dark saga, just like the old Norse and Celtic sagas. The ”otherworld” is always present, it’s always there reaching out for the players, drag them into the mist – kind of feeling. Also, the Bestiary is pretty unique Scandinavian I’d say. We include monsters never seen before in fantasy games, and they got a story too.

It’s more than playing a game, it’s like taking part of a saga.

Götterdämmerung (Image: Riotminds)

Götterdämmerung (Image: Riotminds)

Who or what is Riot Minds?
We’re a bunch of people who started 16 years ago with the ambition to create good quality games for the Swedish market. We’ve produced numerous of games and books, both for Trudvang but also for Götterdämmerung (an 18th century, mystery game) and a local game called Drakar och Demoner. The founders are Magnus Malmberg and myself (Theodore Bergqvist). I’ve spend 12 years in the PC gaming business founding Paradox Interactive and Gamersgate, but that’s all history now.

After the Kickstarter, what kind of further development can fans expect? Any other projects you want to share?
Yes, aside from expanding Trudvang Chronicles with world setting books and campaigns, we plan to release a Kickstarter campaign for Götterdämmerung. It’s an 18th century dark mystery/horror game with secret societies, occultism, faith against science kind of game. It was hailed as “The game of the year” in Sweden when it was released. We’re so looking forward to this one. It’s build on the same rule system as Trudvang and thus the setting and rules are very much connected. Most likely to launch that campaign beginning of 2017, but may be earlier. News on our FB-page.

Why do you think fans should support the Kickstarter for Trudvang Chronicles RPG right now?
Well, if you like Nordic and Celtic fantasy, the artwork from Paul Bonner and Alvaro Tapia, 6 books, one map, one adventure and more for $ 70, it’s a pretty solid package. This is an award winning game and I think people will say ”hey, that’s truly something I have not seen before.” Quality and hand-craft is exceptional, if I may say.

Trudvang Chronicles RPG (Image: Riotminds)

Trudvang Chronicles RPG (Image: Riotminds)

Finally, how do you explain the international success of so many Swedish games (KULT, Mutant: Year Zero / Genlab, Coriolis, Mutant Chronicles, Symbaroum)? Please tell us more about Swedish roleplaying scene.
I guess the no 1 thing is that role playing games was really big in Sweden in the 80´, and I mean really big. It’s always been there since then. When we released the first version of Trudvang 16 years ago we set a new standard with high quality books and everyone could see it was doable. Kult is a story of itself I think. It was big outside Sweden even back then. If you haven’t checked out Symbaroum, it’s also pretty cool. Love the art-work! Or just wait for Götterdämmerung!

Götterdämmerung RPG (Image: Riotminds)

Götterdämmerung RPG (Image: Riotminds)

Thank you, anything else you want to add?
I want to thank all our backers. They are our gods! They made a dream come through! Thanks for your support!

You can support the Trudvang Chronicles RPG project until 2. Okt 2016 on Kickstarter. I did …

Disclaimer: This is – not – a paid advertisement. I have neither a personal relationship to Riotminds nor to the Trudvang Chronicles RPG team. When they launched their Kickstarter for the Trudvang Chronicles RPG, I backed it without hesitation.

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