The Swedish role-playing game Drakar och Demoner gets a new edition and is translated into English for the first time. Under the name Dragonbane we can enjoy a new fantasy role-playing game from Free League. In my preview series, I want to show you what to expect and how Dragonbane differs from Forbidden Lands.
BRP as a basis
Drakar och Demoner (DoD) is based on the basic roleplaying system, which is known to most from Call of Cthulhu. However, the version used is significantly slimmed down and adapted, so that nobody needs to be afraid of having hundreds of different skills on their character sheet. Also, Dragonbane (DB) does not use a D100, but rather the classic D20. As known from BRP you have to roll the skill value or underneath. As in many modern role-playing games, there are advantages and disadvantages here, i.e. throwing two dice and depending on which one you can take the better result or have to be satisfied with the worse one. Rolling a one is called a dragon and is a critical success, while rolling a twenty is called a demon and is a particularly severe failure.
A fresh start in the Misty Vale
Dragonbane takes place in the Misty Vale, which was occupied by the orcs for a long time. Now the orcs have left, making way for adventurers to explore the land and its ruins. Here you can see a great similarity to Forbidden Lands (FL). In FL it was also not possible to travel for a long time and therefore offers a fresh start.
Once again, Free League collaborates with Johan Egerkans. However, the artwork in Dragonbane is not completely new, many illustrations are already known from Ruinmaster, which was a kind of unofficial sequel to DoD from Riotminds.
Old and new acquaintances
Dragonbane uses many typical and well-known kin, there are humans, elves, dwarves and halflings. The wolfkin were taken over by Free League for Forbidden Lands and then a very classic species from the old DoD versions is not missing, namely the mallards. There are very different opinions about the ducks, many do not seem to be so enthusiastic about them. The artwork of the duck on the cover of the DB beta is very reminiscent of Darkwing Duck, who I used to be a big fan of, so personally I’m looking forward to the ducks.
Combat and Action Economy
In DB cards are used for the initiative, typical of Free League. Many monsters have more actions in a turn and therefore get more cards. What is very interesting is that you can only perform one action per turn and a reaction, such as parrying, uses up this action. As already known from Forbidden Lands, monsters have tables for their attacks/actions.
Travel and Survival
Based on the beta, the focus of Dragonbane seems to be less on travel and survival. Forbidden Lands has much more extensive rules for travel, in Dragonbane you only have to roll dice when you move off the beaten track. Here I am actually very much considering whether I shouldn’t rather adapt the rules of Forbidden Lands here.
Dragonbane Beta looks very exciting. You can see many similarities to Forbidden Lands, but also some peculiarities. I’ll definitely try out the rules once and then decide whether I’ll use Forbidden Lands and adapt a few rules. In the next preview I’ll go into the characters and their creation.