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Greetings travelers!

January 13, 2011

This first post inaugurates the “Champions of the Realm” Solitaire RPG game blog. It is intended as an ongoing discussion of the development of the Champions of the Realm game. For now the blog is divided into two major sections:

  • About – Provides background information about the game and the core rules.
  • Chronicles – Offers actual play examples…basically games in progress…to act as an example for the game and playtest the rules.
  • If you have any questions or thoughts about the game, please feel free to leave comments.


Playtest Observations

January 20, 2011

I had a chance to really playtest the game on Monday, but with 2 players rather than solo. My son, Xander, and I played the Champion for almost 6 hours straight. We had some key observations that I think we’ll need to incorporate into the rules…

  • Combat takes a while…particularly at the beginning of the game. When the characters had only a few points in categories, waiting for the right cards to come up took a long time (as you could probably tell from the Laird Strongblood Turn 3 entry). That’s ok…it sort of mimics the new character progression…things are tough at the beginning, but much easier later.
  • One problem that we had was that when we started the game, a new evil location came up almost immediately. It was HARD to deal with that and it eventually wound up beating us outright.
  • We realized that the Evil Presence turn was a little unbalanced. As my son put it, “Nothing ever happens good for us in this game”…meaning that the evil just keeps growing, but our good locations stagnate. I thought that the Champion represented what was happening for the good side, but that didn’t seem to be enough. After my second character died using the same map, we tried changing the table for the Evil Presence turn so that nothing happens on a draw of hearts or diamonds. That seemed to give the characters a breather and I think was more satisfying for us as players.
  • The 10×10 grid may be too big. It took quite a while before we made it to the Evil Presence location. It seems like a smaller grid will allow a quicker confrontation with the Evil Presence…though that might not be in the best interests of the Champion if s/he doesn’t have a lot of resources.
  • A great suggestion from my son was to wait a bit before the Evil Presence starts taking action. He liked the set up in a board game we got for Christmas (Betrayal at the House on the Hill). In that game the players explore a haunted house until a condition is met (rolling dice)…which triggers the possession of one of the player characters. So his idea was to let the characters explore the land a bit…fill in the terrain on the grid…then “wake up” the Evil Presence. I have to put some thought into it, but it might be that the Evil Presence goes on the move once a certain number of squares are explored. I initially thought 25 squares or an attack on the Evil Presence would do it. Right now I’m thinking that the Evil Presence wakes (starts drawing cards) with one of the following conditions: (a) a direct attack on the Evil Presence; (b) an Evil location other than the Evil Presence is revealed; or (c) 10 turns…whichever comes first.
  • We played the game cooperatively and wound up losing. I’d imagine this could also be played with one person playing as the Evil Presence…controlling the Big Bad (or perhaps and evil Champion) just the way the regular player does. Combat wouldn’t be any different. That might be an interesting variation.
  • A last thought I had as I was playing with my son was that it might be cool to use the hex tiles from Settlers of Catan to set up a map…with farmland tiles counting as desert. You’d shuffle them and put them face down…then flip them as they’re explored. When a tile is flipped a card is drawn to see if there’s a good or evil location on that terrain (if a face card shows). I might try testing that out next time we play…which I hope will be soon.

Laird Strongblood – Turn 3

January 17, 2011

Map of Kindlemist

Vault of
Vile Torments
Res: 10
+1 Resource Fiendish Warren
Res: 5
Res: 9

Laird Strongblood

Health: 9
Attributes Initial Modifiers Total Score
Strength 4 None 4
Smarts 2 +1 () Ritual of Focus – Sacred Chalice 3
Quickness 1 None 1
Faith 3 None 3

Refuge of Good: Celestial Palace (9 2) (Resources: 9)
Other good locations: None
Evil Presence Location: Vault of Vile Torments (K♠ Q♠) (Resources: 10)
Evil Presence Big Bad: Cursed Lich Deprava (Health: 21) (2♣ A♠)
Other Evil Locations: Fiendish Warren (Resources: 5)

Champion Turn

Travel: (Draw: Q – Desert…lose 1 life and draw 2 encounter cards) Still attempting to break free from the desert, Laird is exhausted (he loses 1 life). (Encounter Draw 1: 7 – Monster + Loot; Draw for Monster: A♣ – Kobold) As he wanders, he sees the glint of something in the sun…it’s off in the distance, but he is determined to find out what it is. Perhaps it’s an oasis! As he draws closer, he realizes it is an encampment…though not what he expected. It’s a small kobold war party. They seem to have been heading across the desert towards the Celestial Palace. Luckily, Laird intercepts them and draws his sword.

Combat with Kobolds: (Draw: 4♣ – the Kobolds favor Faith attack…4 beats Laird’s rating of 3…Kobolds attack first) As Laird approaches the encampment, he sees that the kobolds are in a circle, chanting in an evil dialect he could not understand. As they chant, the fire at the center of their circle changes color…shifting hues as if someone were trying to select the right color. Finally, the flames  turn a bright blue. Laird notices that cold emanates from the encampment. Suddenly the fire pulses, sending a blue ball of flame hurtling at Laird. (Draw: 6♠…not ♣…kobolds miss). The ball moves slowly at first, then picks up speed. Laird uses this to his advantage, easily dodging the ball of flame. (Draw: 8…above Smarts score of 3…Miss) Laird realizes that the source of their power is the fire at the center of the circle, so he attempts to dowse the flames with sand. He launches forward trying his best to scoop sand up with his shield and toss it into the fire. It doesn’t work…he couldn’t scoop enough sand. (Draw: K…not ♣…kobolds miss) The kobolds continue to chant, but the fire seems depleted since their last attempt. The fire doesn’t seem as bright as before. (Draw: J♣…above Faith score of 3…Miss). Laird attempts to counter the kobolds’ efforts by reciting a prayer to defend against evil. His prayer goes unanswered. (Draw: 2♠…not ♣…kobolds miss). The kobolds seem to be showing the strain of their ritual. The fire seems to be dying and their chanting is much less enthusiastic. (Draw: 5…above Smarts score of 3…Miss) Laird charges the kobolds, attempting to break their magic circle, but he meets a force that pushes him back. It seems that their chanting offers them more than odd blue fireballs, but also a mystical barrier. (Draw: A…not ♣…kobolds miss) (Draw: 4…above Smarts score of 3…Laird misses) (7th round Draw: 3♣…Laird hits!) Laird attempts his prayer again…this time remaining calm and focused…he sits close to the kobolds and begins his own chant. Back and forth the chanting goes, sometimes the kobolds are louder, at others Laird seems to be louder. The kolbolds seem to be worn down, losing their focus. In this battle of wills, Laird seems to be triumphant! The fire at the center of the kobold circle seems to shrink down, as if folding in on itself…then suddenly it explodes forth in a single mighty pulse. The blue flames envelop the kobolds, but instead of burning, they turn to ice. Laird is unharmed and approaches the circle. He touches a kobold’s shoulder and it immediately shatters into thousands of pieces of ice. Laird searches the encampment and finds (draw: J…food…face card…so it’s a potion) a vial holding a potion of (draw: 9…water magic) ice control…a mere sip will give Laird the ability to hurl bolts of ice at his enemies. Laird gains an additional 1 Smarts bonus for the potion.

(Encounter Draw 2: 7 – Uneventful)

Evil Presence Turn

(Draw for Vault: 10♣) The Evil Presence steals 1 resource. It seems that the kobold war party was only a small band of a larger force that actually made it through the desert. The harried the Celestial Palace and were able to steal a resource, which was taken back to the Fiendish Warren (the Vault already had 10 resources, the Warren’s resources increase to 6).

(Draw for Warren: 8♣) The Evil Presence steals 1 resource. The attack on the Celestial Palace was extremely successful. The Kobold force took even more than was at first realized, helping the Fiendish Warren grow further (increase resources to 7).

Reeling from this assault, the Celestial Palace tries to marshal it’s forces, preparing for the next assault which is bound to come. (Resources reduced to 7)

Laird Strongblood – Turn 2

January 16, 2011

Laird Strongblood

Health: 10
Attributes Initial Modifiers Total Score
Strength 4 None 4
Smarts 2 +1 () Ritual of Focus – Sacred Chalice 3
Quickness 1 None 1
Faith 3 None 3

Refuge of Good: Celestial Palace (9♦ 2♥) (Resources: 9)
Evil Presence Location: Vault of Vile Torments (K♠ Q♠) (Resources: 10)
Evil Presence Big Bad: Cursed Lich Deprava (Health: 21) (2♣ A♠)

Turn 2

Champion Turn

Travel: (Draw: 4 – Desert…lose 1 life and draw 2 encounter cards) Ready to begin his journey, Laird packs his things and sets off into the unexplored wilderness. The Celestial Palace is in a remote location, bordering on a vast desert. Even with the sacred chalice, he is overcome by the extreme heat and lack of water (he loses 1 life). (Encounter Draw 1: A – Uneventful; Encounter Draw 2: 9♣ – Uneventful)

Evil Presence Turn

(Draw: 10♠) The Evil Presence grows. Striking out with a new sense of purpose, in light of the wrath of Deprava, the evil forces expand into a new territory. (Draw: 5♣ K♣)  They find kindred spirits in the Fiendish Warren of the Goblin Hordes. Constantly feuding, the goblins have not been much of a threat to the Realm in the past…concentrating on petty squabbles and treachery within their clans. The Cursed Lich Deprava gives them just the right incentive…end their endless bickering or die miserably at the hands of an undead wizard who has honed his skills in the Vault of Vile Torments for centuries. With the death of only a few dozen goblins as an example, the horde fell into line and welcomed their new dark lord. The Fiendish Warren has 5 resources (based on the adjective card, 5♣).