Carnagecast 57: Gulveig

Carnagecast logo. The grim reaper leaps in the air, strumming a power chord on his scythe-guitar.Ray flies solo this episode as he talks with Andrew Valkauskas, the designer behind Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok, about his new card game Gulveig, the future of the Fate of the Norns line, crowdfunding and more.

Gulveig is a quick, casual card game, featuring dynamic trick-taking and bluffing, with Viking clans gaining and losing supremacy over the course of the game. It’s designed to be family-friendly, with optional elements to increase the crunch factor.

The conversation turns to Pendelhaven’s success with the crowdfunding model of raising capital and future plans for the Fate of the Norns line. Depending on their success with titles like Gulveig and Vigridr, a crunchier card game now in beta testing, Fate of the Norns may expand beyond the role-playing market to become a genre-spanning game property.

Andrew and his crew will be at A Fistful of Carnage, demoing Gulveig, building interest for a tournament and, of course, running Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok adventures. Carnage-goers can look forward to being the first to try out new characters for Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok, experiencing new content from the forthcoming Denizens of the North lorebook and a brand new Mjolnir, weighing in at a svelte 109 pounds. You’ll have to listen to the episode to hear Andrew’s challenge to anyone looking to heft Mjolnir.

A Fistful of Carnage is two weeks away! Download the convention book and preregister, before time runs out!

Subscribe to Carnagecast on iTunes! Like Carnage on Facebook. Follow Carnage on Twitter: @Carnagecon. Go behind the jump for the show links.

Apologies for the rocky audio in parts. Skype couldn’t decide if it wanted to play ball with us or not. Stick with it. Andrew’s got a lot of cool stuff to share about Gulveig and Fate of the Norns! Continue reading

Carnagecast 50: Pathfinder

Carnagecast logo.In episode 50 of Carnagecast, we kick off with breaking news about Carnage on the Mountain 2014! Then, in our regularly scheduled episode, John joins us to talk about Paizo’s Pathfinder role-playing game. Branching out from the d20 era of Dungeons & Dragons, made possible by the open game license, Pathfinder carried on that style of role-playing when Wizards of the Coast opted to revamp Dungeons & Dragons with a whole new set of rules. Talking about Pathfinder, John reveals one of the things he likes most about the game is the ever-expanding room for variation and experimentation. Mechanics and concepts swirl and blend, as sometimes a new class sparks inspiration, or a character concept strikes that he works to realize within the rules.

Pathfinder Society is a living campaign, wherein players across the world adventure through a shared canon of scenarios. John takes us through some of the ups and downs of the organized play model as it applies to role-playing, and even pulls back the curtain, as he’s a frequent GM at the local Pathfinder Society tables at Quarterstaff Games.

Go behind the jump to check out the show links and leave a comment with your thoughts on Pathfinder or living campaigns. Continue reading

Carnagecast 39: Carrion Crown: Broken Moon

Carnagecast logo.In episode 39 of Carnagecast, Dan, Hunter and Toby return to discuss the third chapter of the Carrion Crown adventure path, Broken Moon. Our heroes ventured into the Shudderwood of Ustalav, wherein Victor the unflappable coach driver made his debut, resolute against the strains of ethereal music. At an exclusive hunting lodge and in the depths of the forest, there was a cavalcade of every NPC in Golarion, their names all embroiled in a “Slavic consonant pile-up,” as Toby put it.

Broken Moon is somewhat characterized by that cavalcade of NPCs, many of which monologue about the minutiae of local lupine politics. Still, the adventure works in a fun final setpiece which sees a showdown with Auren Vrood, whom the characters have chased since The Haunting of Harrowstone. Dan marks Broken Moon as his favorite chapter in the path to date. Hunter reveals just how much he loves to play the ghost NPCs.

Also! Like the official Carnage page on Facebook. It’s page-riffic. Continue reading

Carnagecast 37: Carrion Crown: Trial of the Beast

In episode thirty-seven of Carnagecast, Dan, Hunter and Toby return to the show to discuss their further adventures in the Pathfinder adventure path, Carrion Crown, following on from their first excursion in The Haunting of Harrowstone. From the sleepy village of Ravengro, the heroes stride further to the relative metropolis of Lepidstadt, embroiling themselves in the trial of a monster and nefarious doings of the Whispering Way.

Trial of the Beast saw the birth of Ustalav’s pickle motif, viz. the “mob of angry pickle farmers,” plus some of the most fun Toby’s had in the campaign to date in the titular court proceedings, but also warrants critique on the topics of tacked-on dungeons for the purposes of leveling and deprotagonization of player characters during narrative climax. Continue reading

Carnagecast 34: Arthur, King of Time and Space

In episode 34 of Carnagecast, cartoonist Paul Gadzikowski joins us to talk about his early brushes with tabletop role-playing, cartooning, his on-going series Arthur, King of Time and Space, the changing ways in which we create and consume stories, plus his long-standing interest in the Arthurian mythology and how its characters have been interpreted over the years, such as Arthur’s multiple faces, from high king of a fairy tale realm to warlord in post-Roman Britain.

In addition to our usual show links below, Paul has provided his own annotations and links to the episode’s conversation over on his Livejournal. Check them out! Continue reading

Carnagecast Extrasode 8: Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok

In extrasode 8 of Carnagecast, Andrew Valkauskas joins us to share his role-playing game Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok, now celebrating its twentieth anniversary with a third edition on Kickstarter. In Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok, players delve into the grim fantasy of a world without the sun or moon, when Fimbulwinter lays heavy on the nine worlds.

Hear about the rune-based resolution system Andrew developed, where a character’s essence and destiny play a hand in their success or failure, as well as how outside the traditional character progression, a meta progression provides a mechanical kick for hearty warriors not only to relish every battle that may be their last, but enhances the social aspects of role-playing, even in traditionally asocial aspects.

We also talk about the history of Fate of the Norns, from its conception as a computer game to the iterative development it goes through today from player feedback, and the success of the Kickstarter campaign, in how that process has informed the publishing of the game, particularly showing the need to reach a worldwide market.

Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok has currently reached its funding goal on Kickstarter, but the project doesn’t end until Sunday, September 16th. Visit the Kickstarter page to learn more and see the physical components of the game. Continue reading

Carnagecast 31: Carrion Crown: The Haunting of Harrowstone

In episode 31 of Carnagecast, Dan, Hunter, Toby and Tyler talk about their experiences playing the Pathfinder role-playing module The Haunting of Harrowstone, first part of the overarching Carrion Crown adventure path. Filled with horror tropes, from the Gothic to the Hammeresque, Carrion Crown kicks off a tour of the Pathfinder campaign world’s Transylvania analogue, Ustalav, with the charred remains of a prison teeming with ghosts and supernatural phenomena.

Prospective players beware, this is spoil-all episode as Hunter pulls back the GM curtain to give a peek at how he chose to use and modify the written adventure. Dan, Toby and Tyler share their perspectives as players in the campaign, as well as some insight into their characters. Continue reading

Carnagecast 30: Lords of Waterdeep

In episode 30 of Carnagecast, the gang discusses Lords of Waterdeep, an Euro-style board game from Wizards of the Coast based on the perennially favorite world of the Forgotten Realms for Dungeons & Dragons. Rod runs down how the game works, then the conversation breaks out into how this game may appeal to different groups of people. Rod and Chuck point out that as Lords of Waterdeep mixes contemporary board game trends with a traditional role-playing world, it can bring the world of Forgotten Realms to a new audience beyond tabletop role-players, and potentially introduce longstanding Dungeons & Dragons players to a new kind of game for those nights when the whole group can’t get together for the campaign. Continue reading

Carnagecast 27: Companions of the Firmament and Geek Industrial Complex

In episode 27 of Carnagecast, we talk with Neil Carr of Geek Industrial Complex, based in Barre, Vermont. Neil’s raising funds via Kickstarter for his first role-playing publication, Companions of the Firmament, which brings flying characters, mount options and expanded aerial rules to the Pathfinder role-playing system.

Neil tells us about his goals for Companions of the Firmament: supporting a robust experience of flying in a Pathfinder-style role-playing game and using this book, along with previously published articles, to demonstrate to the role-playing community that Geek Industrial Complex can offer quality material. Neil also talks about his experiences with the crowdfunding model, including conducting a study of previous role-playing related funding campaigns and using that data as a guide to design his own crowdfunding effort.

We manage find time to ponder about the paradox of playing games of pretend that are structured to rule out certain modes of pretending. Why do people do that? Continue reading

Carnagecast 26: Tales from the Fallen Empire

In episode 26 of Carnagecast, James Carpio of Chapter 13 Press returns to tell us about his latest endeavor, Tales from the Fallen Empire, a sword and sorcery campaign setting for Goodman Games’ Dungeon Crawl Classics role-playing game.

James tells about the world of Leviathan, formed from the carcass of a primordial dragon, and the people who scratch out a living after the fall of the Sorcerer Kings of old. It’s a world that samples from the buffet of history and fiction, where the elephant golem of Shesh carries a market on its back around the land of Kesh and the Draki people seek a way back to their home dimension. As a sandbox setting, James wanted Tales from the Fallen Empire to recapture the freeform nature of old school gaming, where the players’ choices kept the GM on his toes.

The conversation turns to the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG as well, and how it differs from its root sources, such as the character funnel leading up to a first level character, the hazardous, unpredictable nature of magic and the other alterations made to the core classes. Additionally, Tales from the Fallen Empire introduces its own variants, such as the sorcerer, drawing inspiration from the original pulp fantasy tales of Howard and Lieber, the pirate and the witch.

Since recording this interview, Tales from the Fallen Empire is now on Kickstarter! From now until the drive ends on July 18, 2012, backers can pledge money to fund the project and receive special rewards, which include the book itself, but extend to elements within the world of Leviathan. Continue reading