Trudvang Chronicles by Riotminds is one of my favourite roleplaying games. Recently Riotminds shipped the Stormlands sourcebook after a successful Kickstarter campaign, which details that part of Trudvang. Here’s our review of the book.
Ever since I received the Trudvang Chronicles roleplaying game in Riotmind‘s initial Kickstarter Campaign I’ve been eager to learn more about the setting. The game is set in Trudvang, a world heavily influenced by the Nordic Sagas, Beowulf and the epic poem Kalevala. This is a world filled with myths, legends and creatures from Scandinavian folk lore, where nature itself is a force to be reckoned with and can easily be your worst enemy. The rules are easy to learn and based on the old Swedish roleplaying game Drakar och Demoner.
Recently Riotminds successfully Kickstarted a campaign for a new sourcebook about the Stormlands region, easternmost part of Trudvang. The Sormlands are an interesting part of Trudvang, where followers of the Stormasirs live and die.
I’ve been using the Stormlands sourcebook for my games ever since I received the pdf via the Kickstarter Campaign. The book is easy to browse through and contains a great deal of great information, which for me is vital to get a better feel for the Stormlands and the Stormlanders.
The book is divided into three main parts. The first one details the culture of the Stormlanders, the second part contains information about each region in the Stormlands and the final part has rules for creating and playing a character from the many regions of the Stormlands.
Part 1: Culture of Stormlands
The first part of the Stormlands sourcebook details the culture of Stormlands and the Gerbanis religion. The Stormlands have a deep and significant culture which is rooted deep in their faith on the Stormasirs.
The Stormlanders are led by jarls, who have either inherited their seat of power or earned it through trials of combat. Each jarl has his own hird, which is a sort of a court, but more akin to the old norse courts, which mostly consisted of able bodied men, warriors and skalds. The hird serves a huge political role in Stormlands, and the size of the hird (and its complexity) displays the power each jarl has mustered.
The Gerbanis religion is dominant in Stormlands and there’s little tolerance for the followers of the Tenets of Nid. The Stormkelts serve as clerics and priests, interpreting the signs of the Stormasirs and teaching the dogma of Stormi to the people. Due to this, the Stormlanders are hard and fierce, where the right of the fittest is above all and might makes right. However, the Gerbanis religion as an institute is nowhere as organised as the One Faith and the Stormkelts are not as eager to convert everyone.
There are other influential groups in Stormlands, most notably the Storm-Hansa, who are merchants and traders that have gain such power that in certain parts of Stormlands they have monopoly on trade. The merchants have forged a deep bond with the Stormkelts, saying that their trade is by the will of Stormi, the most prominent of the Stormasirs.
In this part of the Stormlands sourcebook you will also find information about Stormbarlings, the great sacrificial poles of the Stormkelts, Stave Churches, the attire of Stormlanders and their building styles, along with a detailed information about the Stormasirs and the Death Gods.
Part 2: The Regions of Stormlands
The largest part of the book is dedicated to describing the many regions in the Stormlands. Each region has its own chapter and contains enough information for most game masters to flesh out and describe the setting for their players.
Every region has a short overview of the region’s history and descriptions of most prominent geographical features and landmarks. The text contains hundreds of story hooks and more lore than you could fit in and act on in your game.
For someone used to D&D sourcebooks, who many hold detailed and specific systematic information on NPCs and monsters, you might find this book lacking. It holds no such information, though each chapters has many named and important NPCs. I think this shows however, that Trudvang is first and foremost a roleplaying game, and that the NPCs are not meant to be played as adversaries, though of course a seasoned game master should find it easy to apply stats to these characters, if the need arises.
I’ve found that these chapters are immensely helpful and bring to live the Stormlands as a whole and portray the different cultures of each region.
Part 3: Playing a Stormlander
Ok, for players this is the most juicy part of the Stormlands sourcebook. It contains not only helpful information about how to play and create player characters from each region of Stormlands, but also new specific Stormlander Archetypes, like Pit Fighter, Sea Wolf, Storm Hansa and Trapper. Each of these archetypes serve game masters and players alike, to flesh out their Stormlander characters.
Finally, a new kind of archetype is introduced in this book, so called Power Archetypes. These include Storm-Maiden, Berserker (with full rules on how to go berserk) and Hel Rider. Choosing any of these new Power Archetypes costs creation points, which you spend at character creation.
All these new Archetypes, along with the Special Stormlander Traits and Abilities tables at the end of the chapter, are great and add much flavour to the setting.
Look and feel
Overall the look and feel of the book is great. The artwork is superb, as always, and the black/white images are simply awesome. Overall, the design is good as well. The maps are very nice, but the only complain I have is that the region maps aren’t always in the same scale, making it sometime hard to compare them.
Overall, this is a very good sourcebook and does a very good job on describing the setting. This is a must-have for the Trudvang Chronicles fan, especially those who wish to play characters that can go berserk or know how to fight in a shield-wall.
If you are more used to D&D sourcebooks, you will probably find this book lacking, since it does not include detailed information about NPCs and monsters. But then again, if you wish all your sourcebooks to mimic D&D, perhaps you should rather play D&D than Trudvang Chronicles.
However, I would have preferred to have minimal information with each NPC (a simple Dyfir Warrior or Human Vedma would’ve been sufficient) and the capacity of each village and city. I would also have loved to see each of the region maps in the same scale. Both of these complaints are minimal and do not change the fact that this is a great sourcebook.