Trudvang Chronicles by Riotminds was voted the most anticipated RPG in 2017. After a very successful Kickstarter Campaign it is due to be released later this year. Trudvang Chronicles is a high fantasy roleplaying game, based on the Swedish Drakar och Demoner, which was first published in 1982.
Last week we took a look at the Trudvang Chronicles setting (see here) and it looks really good, especially for those who love Beowulf, Nordic and Celtic mythology, and Nordic Medieval literature, e.g. the finnish poem Kalevala, the viking poetry Havamal and Voluspa.
Trudvang is old and full of traditions, yet the world is changing. The setting and the many different cultures offer great roleplaying opportunities, but it also offers room for gamemasters to add their own ideas and adventures.
Dice and rolling
Trudvang Chronicles uses three kind of dice, d6, d10 and d20. In some cases players need to roll a d3 or a d5 and sometimes you need to roll more than one die, e.g. 2d6, 3d10 etc.
The system also uses a form of explosive die, i.e. some rolls are called “open rolls” which means, that if you roll equal or higher than a certain number you can roll that die again, adding the result to the roll. Open rolls are labeled OR and the target number is shown after the label, e.g. 1d10 (OR 9). This means that some rolls result in much higher number than the range of the die.
Traits and skills
Trudvang Chronicles roleplaying game is a skill system. Every character has seven traits, which are similar to the D&D set of abilities, and nine general skills. To perform skill-related action a character needs to roll equal or under the skill value on a d20, the higher the value, easier it is to succeed.
There are seven traits in Trudvang Chronicles: Charisma, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Perception, Psyche and Strength. Each of these corresponds to similar D&D abilities, strength represents your character’s raw physical power, Charisma is your character’s charm and force of personality etc. Psyche, a non-D&D trait, represents your character’s willpower and mental health, while Perception is your character’s ability to examine and study the world around her.
The traits don’t use traditional D&D numeric values. Every trait has 7 different values, and players can buy different trait levels at character creation. The levels are: -4, -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 and +4. The lowest number, -4, means that your character has serious disadvantage in the given trait, e.g. -4 in Constitution could mean that your character has a chronic disease that causes her health to be greatly reduced, while +4 in the same trait means that your character is at a peak performance level, with great fortitude and superb health.
Modifiers from traits are added only to Situation rolls, not Skill rolls.
The traits also affect your character in many different ways, e.g. a character with a positive number in Constitution heals more Body points per day, and the traits also affect situation rolls.
The skill system in Trudvang Chronicles is deep and thorough, more in line with skill systems like BRP than D&D. Skills are very broad and general, but to attain deeper level of expertise characters need to learn disciplines and later specialities. Under each skill are a number of disciplines, which represent a focus on specific area within the skill, while a speciality is the deepest form of specialization.
All skills are valued in a numeric range, 1-10. All characters begin the game with 1 in all general skills, which can be raised in character creation and/or by using adventure points (or experience points). By attaining a discipline and a speciality the skill value can be raised above 10 and even in some situations above 20. Characters need to follow the order of learning, i.e. to learn a speciality a character must know the related discipline.
There are 9 general skills; Agility, Care, Entertainment, Faith, Fighting, Knowledge, Shadow Arts, Vitner Craft and Wilderness. Each is provided with a skill tree, where you can find disciplines and related specialities, e.g. Survival is a discipline under Wilderness and Pathwalker is a speciality under Survival.
All characters have a set of secondary traits that are either derived from or affected by the traits or skills, e.g. body points, combat points and Raud points (which is a form of destiny points). Then there are other secondary traits that are chosen by the players, e.g. age, weight and weapon hand.
Trudvang is a dangerous place and the characters can’t help but solve some of their problems through either slinging a spell or swinging a sword, after all their survival could depend on it.
The combat system is turn-based. Players declare their actions, roll for initiative and then act in their turn.
You roll for initiative every round, which differs from modern D&D. The reason for this is, that actions have a different initiative modifier (abbreviation IM) , e.g. spells differ in IM, just as weapons. In a way, this initiative system resembles older editions of D&D, where your action determines your initiative, and initiative not solely based on your dexterity.
Before you roll for initiative you declare your combat actions. You can attack and parry your opponents attacks, cast a spell, move around the battlefield etc. Each weapon has a number of actions, called weapon actions.
Every character has a set of Combat points, which represent your characters combat prowess. You choose how to spend the Combat points every round, you can divide the points between actions. The situation value, i.e. the number you need to roll equal or lower than, differs according to how many Combat points are put in each action. The Combat points are renewed after each action round.
Attacks and parries are calculated as situation rolls. The target number, or situation value, equals to the number of Combat points spent on the attack or parry, plus or minus modifiers. Character can use different kind of attacks, e.g. unarmed attacks, glima (which is a form of wrestle), grapple etc.
If an attack hits, it does damage. Each weapon group has its own damage, e.g. a seax (dagger or knife) does 1d10 (OR 10) while a Spjót (long spear) does 1d10 (OR 8-10). After damage has been rolled, your character’s armor protection value (if any) is subtracted from the damage and if there’s any damage left, your character suffers it. Once a creature’s body points drop to 0, it falls unconscious, for there are always a few moments before the spark of life goes out. To see how many rounds it takes to go out, a d6 is rolled and the creature’s constitution modifier is applied to the result.
There are four levels of damage; lightly damaged, injured, seriously injured and critically injured. The exact range of each levels is determined by taking your character body points and divided by four. Each level has a modifier, representing the more character gets injured, the harder it is for her to take actions.
Damage can be healed using the Care skill, magic and natural healing.
Fear plays a huge role in Trudvang, after all standing brave and courageous against a raging troll is not an easy feat. To measure fear and its effect Trudvang Chronicle uses fear factor, which represents how horrible situation is, Fear points, which is the cumulation of all fear factor rolls, and finally, fear level.
There are five different fear levels, which each have their own negative effect on your character. So, whether your character encounters something that only makes her anxious or something so utterly horrible that it driver her mad, fear is a force to to be reckoned with.
Characters can use spells, divine feats and even some extracts to gain some courage, the effect of fear can be modified by these things and the Psyche trait.
There are two different kind of spellcasters in Thrudvang, those who weave Vitner (a kind of a magical energy) into spells and those who call upon the gods to perfrom divine feats.
To cast a spell or use a divine feat the spellcaster needs to spend either Vitner points or Divinity points, roll a skill roll for related skill, apply all modifiers before seeing if the result is equal or lower than the skill value.
There are many spells and divine feats to choose from, both for protection and attack, not to mention all the different spells and feats that can be used outside combat. Magic is a huge part of Trudvang and using it is pivotal to the setting and its atmosphere.
Trudvang Chronicles’ system is a modern skill based system, yet also true to OSR in its own way. It puts the characters’ action in the spotlight and gives them much room to act. For veteran roleplayers, I guess that learning the system shouldn’t take long, though perhaps those new to roleplaying might take a bit longer learning the ropes, due to the difference between the skill rolls and situation rolls, e.g. combat rolls.
Stay tuned for our Part III: Trudvang Chronicles – Character creation and adventuring, where we will go deeper into Combat Points, Vitner Points etc.