I recently read Njáls Saga, which is an icelandic viking saga from the 13th century. I must say, I really liked it. It’s quite different from modern stories, obviously, but still similar in some aspects. I can’t really put a finger on it, but it was very good anyways. I myself got inspired to write something in a similar style. Actually, I got inspired to write a viking rpg in that style. Yes, I make like 5 different rpgs at the moment, but that’s how I roll. I’ve messed around with viking style systems before, but I’ve only played a one-shot. This time I’ll try to emulate the heroic viking fiction… Which is also somewhat gritty, actually.
So, where to start? Determining some basic stuff, I guess.
- Strength of arms is certainly important. Battles are brutal, with people often being killed in a single strike unless they are more skilled than their opponent.
- Another arena for battle is the althing, the general meeting and court for all of Iceland. They battle it out using wits and knowledge of the word of the law.
- It’s mainly a trade economy. No actual currency is used, but things are paid in cloth, weights of silver, or other valuable or useful things.
- Viking code of honor: killing someone? Sure, if it’s justified. Lying? Ok in some situations. Setting fire to a guy’s house? Cowardly. Oathbreaking? Despicable.
- Magic is very subtle. Illusions, information gathering, and so on. I like it. Also there’s not that much of it, as the story is based on actual historical happenings.
- Skills are not overly specific. Gunnar (Njal’s friend in the saga) is good at almost evry physical activity, combat included. Though, he’s called out as exceptional, but still. People are good at a group of activities, not highly specific ones.
- Reputation is important, and inslults should be avenged or paid for.
Hmmm… Not sure if I can come up with anything more like this right now, but this is just a few bits for a game, both mechanically and setting-wise. I’m quite excited now, because I think this would be a good fit for an RPG. Also I like vikings. This was just a little introduction. If you’re interested in viking history there’s a bunch of online resources you can look up. If you’re lucky you can find correct ones, even. I’ve read a bit at a site called viking answer lady, so google that, if you want. The viking culture really is interesting, and could also fit pretty well into a murderhobo-type game if that’s your thing. But that’s it for tonight. I’ll defenitely return with more on this system, probably soon. Until then!