What is Heroes & Other Worlds?

Heroes & Other Worlds is a game of adventure inspired by Metagaming's classic Melee/Wizard/TFT system combined with inspiration from the Moldvay edited basic game. The rules are easy to learn and use standard six sided dice. The system is simple, sensible and flexible in the spirit of classic role playing games from the early 80's. Become a Hero, Other Worlds await!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

This is Ruskya

Don't let the quiet fool you, work on Blades & Black Magic is happening on jets as I travel (a lot) for work...

Below is a first pass at a Rodinia homeland entry for Blades & Black Magic--tell me what more (within reason) you need to make it worthwhile.  Keep in mind (from me) you are not going to get a frustrated novelist rendition of who begat who in the snowy wilderness among the wolf people before the ancients learned to write yada yada yada...

YOU can make that up and it will be more real and more important because YOU know what you like and how YOU want to play it! I want to give you enough to work with to develop that kind of story--without pouring a sticky syrup of words over it all that drowns your own creativity!

One of the features is a SWOT for each homeland.  SWOT is a business analytical brief used to determine: Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats.  This can be applied to new markets, current operations, new opportunities, etc. Having to do these in the real world made me think it might provide an interesting hook/framework to be used for each homeland.

So without further blather--here is the initial take on a homeland, let loose your comments for good or ill.

Government structure: Warring clans
Weather: Short spring and summer, long, rainy autumn, cold, snow heavy winter
Typical Food: Wild animals, root vegetables
Typical drink: Mead
Typical house: Animal skin yert or wood cabin
Gods: War, Trickster, Mother, Animal, Weather
Trade goods: Furs, raw metal, raw wood
Typical village: 140 men, 100 women, 210 kids.
Typical livestock: Goats and chickens

Ruskya Strengths
Strong fighters
Forest and mountains make them tough to invade
Many natural resources

Ruskya Weaknesses
Fear Magic
Clans mistrust each other
Harsh weather

Ruskya Opportunities
Develop industry to convert resources
Unite clans to become a power
Develop a trade city to bring in wealth

Ruskya Threats
Invasion by a unified power
Secret cabal of clan sorcerers seeks power over the clans
Clan leaders linking to outside powers to gain internal prestige but at cost of subjugation

This is Ruskya
Ruskya is a snowy, mountainous region of the north. The people are golden or red-haired, blue-eyed and the men are bearded and the women typically have hair in braids or long and left loose. Their land is made up of warring clans, but they are not opposed to working together if there is gold and prestige to be gained.

The Ruskya are traditionally armed in leather armor, furs, and using wooden round shields. They prefer hammers or axes in combat and dislike the use of bows except for hunting.

Typical Ruskya mercenaries are raiders, hunters, trackers and swords for hire.  The rare Ruskya sorcerer is seen as a dangerous oddity, not to be trusted and certainly to be feared.  

Typical names Bragi, Egil, Gorm, Heimdul, Horsa, Njord, Njal, Rann, Sigurd, Wulfhere

A Mercenary starts with basic clothing and boots, a fur cloak, a large shield, a spear, axe or hammer, and a knife. 

A Sorcerer starts with basic clothing, boots, fur robes, a dagger or staff.


  1. Ruskya - I have an association with Russia but the names doesn't match... Those are scandinavian names.
    I have a little suggestion Oleg, Maksym, Vsevolod, Ivan, Fedor, Alexiey, Mihaylo...

  2. Replies
    1. And I like the country description too. It gives enough info to create NPCs and adventures but leaves things wide open.

    2. Thanks for the feedback my hope is there are enough sparks to start a creative fire for the Referee.

      Would naming gods help? Do I need to name some clans?

    3. Add me to the list of people who like this concept. As for naming clans, I would suggest that is a good idea to help add details without it being smothering in useless details.

    4. Naming a few sample clans might be nice so we have an example of the naming conventions. Wolf clan and Hawk clan? Ok, clans are named after animals.

  3. This is an awesome setting entry/homeland. Too many settings just blather too much - I get burned out trying to digest it all when what I really want, and what players want, is suggestions to get the imagination started. This reminds me of early Greyhawk in its brevity but has better focus on what is really useful for play.

    I have to agree that adding some names for gods, clans, cities or even just a generic list of names can be a large help to GM - and they can add a lot of flavor if they have historical/linguistic rhythm to them.

    One other thing that might be useful is a brief mention of conflicts and/or relationships with neighboring societies. The conflicts can help inspire adventures and relationships can bring the world to life so that each society doesn't seem to operate in a vacuum. You would want to keep it light and suggestive though... just a suggestion.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. So adding some "regional flavor" is going to be help add sparks and I think a local rumors but like "The Iron Mountain are said to be populated by frost wisps" or The Molekin will snatch people who sleep on the ground during the spring"

  4. That's just about a perfect description of a homeland -- just enough so we can build a mental picture, not so much that we are trying to figure out what YOU were imagining and getting confused by it.

    I like that you DIDN'T add names for the Gods/Goddesses -- instead you gave us a one-word description of their "reputation" (if you will), and from there we can work their other attributes out for ourselves.

    I think you really hit the sweet spot with this one! Please don't let anyone convince you to add too much to this!

    1. Thanks Jeff! I do have some added "flavor" I want to include--like a regional myth list of about 6 "local flavor" mysteries or conflicts that might be the spark for an adventure in the area.

      I think adding more functional grist for a referee is a good thing without bogging anyone down with a mini-novel/ navel gaze at "the mighty wonders I have wrought"...yech.