New Year, New Character Day 24: Wolves of God
New Year, New Character
Wolves of GodWolves of God is a stripped down, OSR-influences game of adventure and survival in Anglo-Saxon England. While placed in an historical time and place, much like Ars Magica this is a "fantasy" version of the real world, with ancient magic buried in Roman ruins, and the potential of supernatural monsters lurking amongst the bogs and fens of the wild.
Despite the fantastic elements, Wolves of God is hyper focused in creating the society and world of the time. The most obvious comparison, for me, is with Pendragon, another game that sets the characters firmly in the historical world of post-Roman Britain. But despite using the real world to fill in the gaps of the sagas, Pendragon was always more focused on recreating the characters of the legendarium. Wolves of God attempts the opposite, to include the legends, but also to tell adventures of something like a real person of the time and place. It's a complicated thing to pull off, but I believe it does so quite admirably.
Part of this, to be fair, is in the writing. The entire game is presented as if it were a true document, a long lost and recently rediscovered work that is only now being published. It presents Wolves of God as a translation of an authentic roleplaying game written during the 8th century, thus making it the oldest complete copy of an RPG in existence. Reading a game supposedly written by a Christian monk in 710 A.D. is a very different experience.
Unfortunately, I have not yet had a chance to actually play Wolves of God. I backed it on Kickstarter due to the strength of Kevin Crawford's previous work, but the long shadow of Dungeons & Dragons seems to have a stranglehold on my gaming circle. Having merely read it, it strikes me as a unique and fascinating game, one with potential to tell stories that other games, even other Sine Nomine ones like Scarlet Heroes, would be ill-suited to even attempt. Therefore this will be another "first character" with the system, as I attempt to delve deeper into the game rather than merely reading the text.
Much like its fellow Sine Nomine games, the basic system is rooted in Labyrinth Lord/Basic Dungeons & Dragons, with a simple skill system added for completion. Skills are rated from from -1 (untrained_ to +4 (mastery), with beginning characters limited to +1 in any given Skill. Players roll 2d6 and add their Skill and Attribute modifier to determine success or failure, Attributes are the "classic six" of Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma.
Much like its brethren (including Silent Legions and Stars Without Number), Wolves of God favors random character creation. Players roll for their Attributes and Backgrounds, but can choose their Class. Four of these are available: the Galdorman (wielders of arcane arts and sinister secrets), the Saint (pious men and women), the Warrior (the battle hearty and pure Englishman), and the Adventurer (a mixture of the previous three). Each is heavily flavored with the biases and religious traditions of the age, and the Galdorman in particular most walk a narrow path. The could become a "Merlin" type figure--feared, but respected and at least believed to be Christian. Others would be hunted by all good, God-fearing folk.
To start creating a Wolves of God character, I need to determine their Attributes. I do this by rolling 3d6 for each. In the even that none of my rolls are 14 or higher, I can increase any one Attribute to 14.