Découvrez ce fascinant jeu suédois, superbe mélange de mythe et d’héroïsme et dont a qualité graphique est à couper le souffle.
To non-French speakers, here is roughly the content of Mathieu’s review:
Trudvang Chronicles (TC) is a fascinating game. At first, you are obviously blown away by Paul Bonner’s art but now we no longer fall into the trap of the « Oh what a fantastic art, where can I pledge for this new wonder? »/ So, one the big issue was what we could find behind these lavish illustrations. Let’s cut to the chase and just say that as soon as you start reading , it is a relief to realize that this game is far more than meets the eyes.
Another Swedish game to hit the French market, TC really shows how different and interesting these productions can be, making us wish we could have discovered them sooner. Of course, everything is not perfect and surprisingly enough, the biggest misstep comes from the four-panel GM screen which punishes one player who will have to stare at the weapons table for the whole session. Added to that, an un ugly barcode is printed on the main illustration and you have a subpar product, compared the rest of the line. This bad surprise behind us, let’s get into the thick of this nonetheless excellent game:
I really love the fact that it feels like you think you know this world but you clearly know nothing about. For example, you know what a troll is but you don’t have the slightest clue about what a Trudvang Chronicles’ Troll may be. You are never lost but you are always off-target. I really think it is the gist of this game. It’s a trip to the core of Norse and Celtic legends through people which are surrounded with this culture and have grown up with them, far from the Fantasy clichés we might have and encounter.
There’s a constant back and forth between amazement and fear when looking at the art or reading the description, such as : « I hope I won’t meet it…..It brings a renewal, being more than just splendid art. By renewal I mean we are seldom surprised anymore and we can easily feel jaded with fantasy games at times. While reading the book, I experienced a certain « pleasant uneasiness » , reminding me of my first RPGS and the thrill of picturing myself dealing with frightening encounters. What came to mind was when our entire group (being D&D-formatted) got wiped out by a SINGLE Orc during our first MERP game session. I love the names (« Dimwalker » is a gem of fear and poetry) and I also love the fact that this world is so hostile. You barely have any mentions of any urban cultures, the forests are dangerous, wilderness is made of storm and twisted trees. No peaceful blue skies nor pleasant green valleys here. Magic is also in accordance with the world: common, powerful but also dangerous, wild and unpredictable. Once again, you are far from your typical fantasy game.
As far as the system is concerned, it is quite smooth even the Combat Points system caused some eyebrow-raising, as it is quite confusing at first because of its originality. When you read the example pages, they clearly look like some alchemy formulas with abbreviations all over the place and it is a tough read, let’s be honest. But I tested the system and it works, it just needs some practice at first and expect a certain learning curve. It is in no-way a deal breaker, it is just another system we have not seen in recent memories that you need to add to a whole new background to discover. You have been warned: Trudvang is like nothing you have seen ! (In case you could not get over it, the important D100 flavour allows an easy hacking)
The Bestiary is worth a buy, even, without playing the game. It’s clearly an artbook with a quality text, which is delight anyone loving Norse myths. It is a feast for the eyes and you can also read him to your children if you want some calm at home.
Wildheart is a very nice and somewhat touching story, a jumpstart for a campaign and it encompasses many themes. It reminded me of Norse legends, also of Siegfried and Fafnir, with a Tolkienish atmosphere of former triumphs and a bleak present (and we know where Tolkien took inspiration from). You can even find a Princess Mononoke echo. Nevertheless, you will have to do some fine-tuning concerning the various events and a convincing introduction. The forest not having a map, make sure you create one with the players to give even more life to Wildheart.
As for my final words, I would say TC is a journey. A journey into myth and into a dark world that will create a bond between the PCs when they have to deal with this world. It is a much-needed change of pace and flavour to anyone who loves gritty worlds (and REALLY small dwarves). The depth of the world harmoniously mixes myth and history (the Virann people and their monotheistic views could trigger a massive world-changing conflict) and when you take into account the various steps of discovery until you master it to play on a wider scale, TC’s longevity is really tremendous. If you want something different, this game is definitely for you. You will be (players and GM alike) out of your comfort zone, ready to experience unforgettable gaming memories!
Our hat is off to Riotminds and we cannot wait to review LexOccultum which was successfully funded last week for a French version by Arkhane Asylum Publishing. Les Chroniques de Trudvang will be translated by BlackBookEditions.