Friday, March 18, 2011

NS-1 Vengeance of the Long Serpent Design Notes

When I set out to write this adventure I wanted something that dealt with themes from the Nordic Sagas and other works of the medieval Germanic peoples. However, I did not want to just do Pathfinder Beowulf or some such, but instead take these themes, mix them with history and the great tradition of fantasy role-playing, and see what happened. What developed was a blend of the Greenland sagas, the history of Norse exploration of the North America (which we will see more of in later parts of the Northlands Saga), and a heavy dose of inspiration from Lovecraft and Howard.
What we see in Vengeance is the PCs becoming involved in what should be a voyage of exploration aimed at garnering some wealth. In some ways they are caught up in this, as their new friend and patron, Halbjorn, may likely be more enthusiastic about the whole endeavor than they are. Once they reach the Far North, they discover that things are not as they thought they would be, and (hopefully) take part in the uprising against the Children of Althunak.
Two items in the adventure of which I am inordinately proud of are the Far North itself and Halbjorn's long monologue. In designing the Far North I wanted to provide not just a setting for the adventure, but a place that the characters can return to again and again in search of wealth, fame and glory. There are mammoths to hunt, areas to explore, and wealth to be garnered in that frigid land. Hallbjorn's monologue includes a large number of kennings; turns of phrase that are used to poetically describe an event, person, or place. I simply love kennings and writing so many of them into the dialogue was a great joy.
There is more that I can say about Vengeance, but that would probably give away too much of the adventure. I encourage anyone who plays fantasy or historical RPGs, and especially those who play Pathfinder or Swords and Wizardry to pick up a copy, in print or pdf (why not both) from Frog God Games. Next up in the series is NS-2 Beyond the Wailing Mountains, which continues the story started in Vengeance. I am currently working on NS-3 The Death Curse of Sven Oakenfist that promises to be a humdinger of an adventure involving the laws of hospitality, two dungeon crawls, and plenty of curses. Finally, if you enjoy the Northlands Saga, a short system-less campaign document, the Northlands Saga Campaign Setting is in production and will be available as a pdf in the near future.

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