New Tabletop RPG: The Nuadan Chronicles
As tabletop role players, many of us were inspired to play in magnificent world’s created by the likes of Tolkien and George Lucas. However, one thing all groups discover along their RPG journey, is the absolute joy of taking part in that creative process with their friends. While there is plenty of room to expand those existing IPs, something about building your own world is so potent, you can practically cast spells from it. As a player, there is a sense of exploration and discovery when venturing into literally a new world. That very same sense of discovery struck me recently in the most unexpected of places.. my twitter soccer feed. (random, I know) That is where I saw the art that graces the cover of this article. A beautiful image that highlights the strengths of the Science Fantasy genre, with the addition of an intriguing title across the center: The Nuadan Chronicles. Upon clicking the link to learn more, I had a sense that I was, as Obi-Wan would say, taking my first steps into a larger world.
Investigating the kickstarter page (links below), I found The Nuadan Chronicles began as a home-brewed world stemming from a campaign all the way back in 2013. Described by the developers as an “Electro Fantasy” tabletop RPG using a modified d100 system, but what really sucked me in was the setting. Taking place on “the known world” of Nuada, players will find themselves adventuring in a time after a cataclysmic event, where the moon “cracked apart sending fiery comets of death raining down from the void.” (Roll reflects save or take a million damage). I have always been fascinated with stories of these extinction level events from myths/religions in our own world, and though it maybe a trope in RPG settings, these stories are so inherent in our own culture/experience that it gives our fantasy worlds a sense of history. Not to digress on a sociological study or anything, but this cultural phenomenon has a more tangible affect in a tabletop RPG setting, in the sense that, it provides the players/world with a shared story and starting point. A number of countries/factions have risen in the recent years that can add a little political intrigue to your games, however, it was a brief description and artwork that touches on the idea of monster from behind the void. Though only mentioned, I have a feeling these creatures may play a essential part in the story moving forward. Now, RPGs could always use cool monsters, and I liked the subtle implication that these monsters have been wronged in some way, perhaps a sins of the past type scenario? That leads into a central theme in Nuada, a sense of re-discovery after the Cataclysm. This loss of knowledge mixed with the advanced technology elements allows for the science aspects of the game to have a home alongside the more magical fantasy elements. Upon reading the kickstarter page further, I did feel shades of Eberron in Nuada. This comparison is meant in the best possible way, but what I think can elevate The Nuadan Chronicles is the assimilation of these technological advancements into the rule system.
Honestly, I would have been impressed with the world building of Nuada by itself, but then I saw the rules section… I have to say, this is an ambitious project. Boosting an array of tech-based weapons, such as kinetic shields, power suits, and arc slingers (I don’t know what that is.. but I want one). Layering on top a magic system based on words of power that will support “thousands” of spell combinations. (I think Pathfinder 1E had optional words of power rules, if i’m not mistaken?). Not even mentioning character creation, advancement, and monsters. Creating a tabletop RPG has to be a massive undertaking, and this team is swinging for the fences. Obviously, without the rules in hand I can’t speak to the quality or balance in that regard, but what I can say is, I love the inspiration and ideas. Tabletop RPGs, both the setting and rules, are an interactive art-form. It’s from this continued experimentation in the community at tables, in forums, and start up indy-publishing companies, that we as players, will in-turn be inspired to tell different types of stories with our friends. I make this point, because I feel the system is being developed in a way to best support the world of Nuada, and that cohabitation of system and setting is what could set the Nuadan Chronicles apart in 2020.
Looking at the kickstarter for the Nuadan Chronicles, I was sad to learn I had missed the opportunity to be a backer, however, was elated to find that project achieved well over it’s goal totaling $34,000 to date. Unlocking multiple tiers that include bonus art and content. So, a huge thank you to the backers who did not miss this fantastic kickstarter unlike this nerd, but fear not! You can now pre-order the Nuadan Chronicles on the publisher’s website: Brokendice.net. These pre-orders will be open until early April with a shipping date of August 2020. So, this story has a happy ending as I was able to pre-order and support indy game developers!