Another new, very pretty, imported-from-the-Swedes RPG from Modihpius. I read through some of the preview docs from the original IndieGoGo campaign and it seems pretty nifty. A class-but-no-levels fantasy game in a dark setting (you play humans, ogres or goblins; elves are monsters) with some nifty mechanics (the GM never rolls dice, a la Numenéra). Seems very much in the “fight-y party of adventurers” zone, but I am certainly curious.

But, lordy, the art. Tolkien-meets-Warhammer-via-del-Toro. So gorgeous.

Symbaroum Core Book

72 thoughts on “Another new, very pretty, imported-from-the-Swedes RPG from Modihpius. I read through some of the preview docs from…

  1. This is the property where I wish BWHQ would do a licensed adaptation. Can you imagine?

    If they have an art/setting book I might pick it up. Swedish fantasy art is superwhite and supermale but I love the heck out of the vibe anyway.

  2. < ![CDATA[This is the property where I wish BWHQ would do a licensed adaptation. Can you imagine? If they have an art/setting book I might pick it up. Swedish fantasy art is superwhite and supermale but I love the heck out of the vibe anyway.]]>

  3. Dave Turner I don’t know for a fact that the elves are bad, but they are not a playable race in the core book, and they were in the setting info docs along with stuff about monsters.

    Honestly, I was sad to see them appear at all. Having the only playable races be humans, ogres, and goblins is, to me, a big selling point. If they had included the usual humans, elves, dwarves, hobbit-surrogate I would have dismissed it completely.

    Paul Beakley Looks like splats are planned, so maybe they’ll do some setting books.

  4. < ![CDATA[Dave Turner I don't know for a fact that the elves are bad, but they are not a playable race in the core book, and they were in the setting info docs along with stuff about monsters. Honestly, I was sad to see them appear at all. Having the only playable races be humans, ogres, and goblins is, to me, a big selling point. If they had included the usual humans, elves, dwarves, hobbit-surrogate I would have dismissed it completely. Paul Beakley Looks like splats are planned, so maybe they'll do some setting books.]]>

  5. Mark Delsing I was totally inspired and impressed by a new dad who brought his infant to RinCon (the Tucson convention) last October. Man I wish I’d understood how completely inert and low-maintenance they are at that age. Had the kid in a carrier, had the carrier draped, had a little cooler loaded with formulae, totally into his Imperial Assault game.

    I know I’d do things a lot different the second time around.

  6. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing I was totally inspired and impressed by a new dad who brought his infant to RinCon (the Tucson convention) last October. Man I wish I'd understood how completely inert and low-maintenance they are at that age. Had the kid in a carrier, had the carrier draped, had a little cooler loaded with formulae, totally into his Imperial Assault game.
    I know I’d do things a lot different the second time around.]]>

  7. Mark Delsing A minor correction, it’s not a class based system, although the book does provide some example archetypes to give you ideas.  I got my copy of the book yesterday.  Haven’t run it yet but I’ve read through it extensively (I helped with localizing the text) and I’m happy to answer questions.  Elves are bad from the perspective of the majority human culture, since they try to keep the humans form awakening the slumbering evil within the big forest with their clumsy treasure hunting.  Delving into the forest is definitely  one of the main campaign styles the game supports, but some of the upcoming adventures (in translation now for PDF release as far as I know), there are plenty of other options.  And, yes, the book is gorgeous.

  8. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing A minor correction, it's not a class based system, although the book does provide some example archetypes to give you ideas.  I got my copy of the book yesterday.  Haven't run it yet but I've read through it extensively (I helped with localizing the text) and I'm happy to answer questions.  Elves are bad from the perspective of the majority human culture, since they try to keep the humans form awakening the slumbering evil within the big forest with their clumsy treasure hunting.  Delving into the forest is definitely  one of the main campaign styles the game supports, but some of the upcoming adventures (in translation now for PDF release as far as I know), there are plenty of other options.  And, yes, the book is gorgeous.]]>

  9. < ![CDATA[John Marron Thanks for chiming in!  How much, if any, of the game deals with non-fighty situations? It seems like ti's pretty much about adventurers going adventuring, but I am curious.]]>

  10. Yeah, the system is pretty traditional in that most of the special abilities are focused on fighting, and things like social interactions are left more to the players and GM to play out without a lot of mechanical support.  The magic system is fun and not super combat focused, with both spell-like abilities and rituals form multiple schools of magic, all of which have the potential to corrupt the user.  You could easily do a non-fighty campaign (exploration, high level politics, creating a new settlement, clash of cultures stuff between the barbarians and civilized invaders, etc.), but you wouldn’t have a lot of rules support beyond the abilities (skills) system.  I love the setting and think it has lots of potential.  The system is a lot more traditional than things I usually run these days (mostly *World games), but I will say that it is a very well designed and elegant trad system. Being a *World GM, I’m very happy with the player-facing rules.

  11. < ![CDATA[Yeah, the system is pretty traditional in that most of the special abilities are focused on fighting, and things like social interactions are left more to the players and GM to play out without a lot of mechanical support.  The magic system is fun and not super combat focused, with both spell-like abilities and rituals form multiple schools of magic, all of which have the potential to corrupt the user.  You could easily do a non-fighty campaign (exploration, high level politics, creating a new settlement, clash of cultures stuff between the barbarians and civilized invaders, etc.), but you wouldn't have a lot of rules support beyond the abilities (skills) system.  I love the setting and think it has lots of potential.  The system is a lot more traditional than things I usually run these days (mostly *World games), but I will say that it is a very well designed and elegant trad system. Being a *World GM, I'm very happy with the player-facing rules.]]>

  12. Now thinking about running this for Gameday… and the last thing I need is another game to consider running for Gameday.

    John Marron Is there a sample adventure in the core book, or available for download?

  13. < ![CDATA[Now thinking about running this for Gameday... and the last thing I need is another game to consider running for Gameday. John Marron Is there a sample adventure in the core book, or available for download?]]>

  14. There is a short intro adventure in the core book, which is basically a way to introduce the system and involves some travel, some fighting, and some investigation.  There is a follow-on adventure that will be out as a PDF (pay or free, I don’t know) that is a long, involved investigation scenario that introduces lots of setting elements, but I don’t know when that will be out. I think the intro adventure in the core book would run pretty well in a con slot, and comes with pre-gens as well.

  15. < ![CDATA[There is a short intro adventure in the core book, which is basically a way to introduce the system and involves some travel, some fighting, and some investigation.  There is a follow-on adventure that will be out as a PDF (pay or free, I don't know) that is a long, involved investigation scenario that introduces lots of setting elements, but I don't know when that will be out. I think the intro adventure in the core book would run pretty well in a con slot, and comes with pre-gens as well.]]>

  16. I’m reading this right now. The art is what sold me originally, too, but the setting is top-notch. Quick summary for anyone curious:

    An entire culture – Ambria – is made into refugees by a brutal war (then Pyrrhic victory) against mysterious dark lords. They flee their poisoned land, over the mountains and into neighbouring Davokahr. This brings them into conflict with its indigenous barbarians, some tribes of which they exterminate, some of which they ally with. It also puts them next to a vast, primordial forest, rich in resources – a forest which they have a divine duty to tame and exploit if they are to revive their dying God. The forest, however, is not happy about it. It begins to stir.

    Every group has explicable, justifiable reasons to be pissed off at the others. There are no easy solutions. There’s no static, stable situation. Everything is on the verge of going straight to hell. The background is full of delicious ambiguities – did the human cultures’ ancestors really promise the elves not to disturb the forest? Why exactly does the Ambrian Queen wear a mask? Excellent world building.

  17. < ![CDATA[I'm reading this right now. The art is what sold me originally, too, but the setting is top-notch. Quick summary for anyone curious: An entire culture - Ambria - is made into refugees by a brutal war (then Pyrrhic victory) against mysterious dark lords. They flee their poisoned land, over the mountains and into neighbouring Davokahr. This brings them into conflict with its indigenous barbarians, some tribes of which they exterminate, some of which they ally with. It also puts them next to a vast, primordial forest, rich in resources - a forest which they have a divine duty to tame and exploit if they are to revive their dying God. The forest, however, is not happy about it. It begins to stir. Every group has explicable, justifiable reasons to be pissed off at the others. There are no easy solutions. There's no static, stable situation. Everything is on the verge of going straight to hell. The background is full of delicious ambiguities - did the human cultures' ancestors really promise the elves not to disturb the forest? Why exactly does the Ambrian Queen wear a mask? Excellent world building.]]>

  18. If I recall, it’s an odd mix of “theater of the mind” with a fair few tactical options.  You could use minis for positioning, but a grid is definitely not needed, which is how I prefer my combats these days.

  19. < ![CDATA[If I recall, it's an odd mix of "theater of the mind" with a fair few tactical options.  You could use minis for positioning, but a grid is definitely not needed, which is how I prefer my combats these days.]]>

  20. Mark Delsing This is one of the interesting bits of the system. You could use miniatures, but they’re not the default. Instead, your movement action does specific, mechanical things – it gets you into combat with someone, or out of it. It gets you past an obstacle, or into a flanking position, or somewhere with line of sight on a target.

    So it’s partly theatre of the mind in that there’s no definite map and markers, or movement distances. But it also avoids the wibbly, vague ‘well, you can probably get to about here this turn, I guess’ that tends to come with TotM.

  21. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing This is one of the interesting bits of the system. You could use miniatures, but they’re not the default. Instead, your movement action does specific, mechanical things – it gets you into combat with someone, or out of it. It gets you past an obstacle, or into a flanking position, or somewhere with line of sight on a target.
    So it’s partly theatre of the mind in that there’s no definite map and markers, or movement distances. But it also avoids the wibbly, vague ‘well, you can probably get to about here this turn, I guess’ that tends to come with TotM.]]>

  22. Update: I’ve had a chance to look through a friend’s copy and read some bits, and my interest has definitely cooled. The art is amazing and the setting is very, very cool. But the rules just aren’t doing much for me, though I’ll say that there are a few nifty innovations. Just not enough to inspire me to purchase or play.

  23. < ![CDATA[Update: I've had a chance to look through a friend's copy and read some bits, and my interest has definitely cooled. The art is amazing and the setting is very, very cool. But the rules just aren't doing much for me, though I'll say that there are a few nifty innovations. Just not enough to inspire me to purchase or play.]]>

  24. Dave Turner I also am not nuts about the die mechanic, or that NPC stats show both the attribute value and the NPC-only die modifier.

    The whole system would make more sense to me as a d6-d6 mechanic where attributes ranged from -5 to +5, and then PCs and NPC stat blocks would be identical. To succeed you have to roll your attribute and try to meet the level of the opposing attribute.

    Also, the individual and party goals the game asks you to write don’t seem to have any mechanical teeth that I can see, but I didn’t read too closely.

  25. < ![CDATA[Dave Turner I also am not nuts about the die mechanic, or that NPC stats show both the attribute value and the NPC-only die modifier. The whole system would make more sense to me as a d6-d6 mechanic where attributes ranged from -5 to +5, and then PCs and NPC stat blocks would be identical. To succeed you have to roll your attribute and try to meet the level of the opposing attribute. Also, the individual and party goals the game asks you to write don't seem to have any mechanical teeth that I can see, but I didn't read too closely.]]>