It isn’t often that my old internet memories come back to haunt me, but when they do, they come back with a vengeance. Today we’re doing an interview with Blaede, Nicolas Nayaert about their project, Seeds of Wars. This is an exciting supplement for me as I am familiar with Blaede from the old Birthright Forums, which are still up and talking about fan created supplements for one of my favorite settings. My GM, Jeremy (aka Osprey), was seriously invested in the development of materials for the 3.0 and 3.5 version of Birthright we played, and it is still one of my top three RPG experiences all these years later.
1) So, Blaede, to start, can you tell us about your inspiration for this project and why you developed it?
Hey Josh, as you might have guessed, my inspiration comes from the AD&D Birthright campaign setting. My Birthright campaign lasted for over 20 years and gave me my fondest RPG memories. In 2014, I developed an application to help our game master manage the campaign. You know how difficult it was to keep track of everything in Birthright. My initial idea was to create a web application for Birthright but we couldn't manage to get the licence so I decided to create a whole new setting. The game stopped being published in 1998. In my opinion, there is no other real realm management system on the market. I am trying to bring one back.
2) What else have you (or your team) written for that we can check out?
When I decided to create a new campaign setting, not being a writer myself and not being an English native speaker, I knew from the start that I had to hire people to do the job. I started contacting the authors I enjoyed reading and/or that had a good reputation. During my search, I noticed Gen Con was about to take place in Indianapolis and I had a quick look at their Author Guest List for 2018. There I came across Erik's short resume and it seemed to me he was the perfect fit. He had already created an epic fantasy setting (the World of Ruin), had published novels in the storied Forgotten Realms, and was the lead creative consultant for Red Aegis, a big Kickstarter success from 2014. You can find his bibliography on erikscottdebie.com
3) If there was one thing that you would want everyone to know about this product, what would it be?
Seeds of Wars is not a standalone game. You'll need another RPG system for character creation, combat & magic rules... but that's a good thing! It means you can use the game system you love to build your character and level up. SOW will provide a new fantasy setting and extensive rules to manage your realm. It's a bit like building up your character but instead you will be improving your assets. Whenever you feel like stretching your legs, pack up your bag, call your friends and go on adventure. You then switch to your traditional RPG system and spend some time fighting monsters, exploring dungeons, you know, that sort of things. Once you're filled up with emotions, you can come back to your headquarters, store the spoils of your expedition in your treasure room and go back to business!
4) Why Realm Management? What does that offer the TTRPG space that doesn’t already exist?
To my knowledge, there is no other TTRPG on the market with the same level of macro management. You are managing a realm (not necessarily a kingdom, it can be magic schools, places of faith, trade guilds, cultural centers) and you really have to think on a much larger scale than in your traditional RPG. It offers a mix between diplomacy, economy, mass army battles and traditional adventuring.
5) Tell us about your setting.
Thousands of years ago, the people known as the Vareene waged a brutal war against a galactic infestation known only as the Congregation. These humanoid aliens buried their last hope–a powerful artifact called the Catalyst–on the distant, primitive planet of Ceres, where the Congregation would never think to look for it. Cut off from their homeworld, the small enclave waited for the war to run its course, when they would return. The Vareene died out, leaving the small outpost on Ceres as their last legacy. The survivors integrated with the native peoples of the planet, giving rise to powerful bloodlines linked to the ancient technology of the Vareene, which eventually became known as magic. Over centuries and then millennia, the Vareene ceased to be as a distinct culture, and in time their origins and purpose became the stuff of myth and legend.
6) How can I use this for my games? Imagine I’m writing a Savage Worlds setting book that might have Ruler level play options. Can I use this for that? What about Birthright, or Pathfinder, or one of the existing settings that has realm level play?
I mentioned you can use Seeds of Wars with any traditional RPG system. It means you can create your character and level up using the game system you like. Now, you CAN use our management rules with your own setting but it will require a lot of work from the GM to divide his map into kingdoms, the kingdoms into counties, enter all the realms date, all that is provided in our setting. It will be easier if we manage to unlock the web application stretch goal as you will be able to upload your map, draw the borders and fill in the data in a user friendly way. If you want to keep playing your Birthright campaign, the only added value would be the web application. Pathfinder is more focused on micro management and keeping your character busy between 2 adventures (which is fine, it's just a different approach).
7) If you had a vision of where this could go in the future, what would that be?
We would love to keep publishing supplements for the game. The setting’s mythic story is a cyclical one: in every age, Ceres faces a rising doom. In the fantasy era, those with the genetic power of the Vareene discover buried secrets of their interstellar past and must overcome scouts from a small band of Congregation. Centuries later in the “modern” age, our heroes face an impending invasion by unlocking the power that lies dormant within the planet and also reverse engineering the technology of the scouting unit. And finally, after Ceres has won its first battle against the Congregation, the heirs of the world must take to the stars to confront their destined foes. On the digital side, there are also endless possibilities of improvements and new functionalities.
8) What, if anything, can community members do to support this project?
I think what we need the most is visibility. We believe we have an interesting and original product and we have very talented people in the team. The difficulty for a project like this, with a first time publisher like me, is to attract people's attention. Especially people who are not familiar with Birthright and other macro management systems. If your readers would like to help us, they would definitely do so by spreading the word and sharing our posts on forums and social media. And if they really want to support us, of course they can pledge on our Kickstarter page. We are halfway there but it get more and more difficult to keep the momentum going.
9) Is any of this OGL or similar? Can folks work with you to use your framework for new products?
Right now, we are focusing on getting the Kickstarter funded and hopefully unlock the web application. We want to offer the best product possible, hence we will write the corebook and develop the app with the teams of professionals we assembled. Beyond that, I am open to all collaborations, discussions, exchanges, suggestions for improvements, both for the management rules and for the application. It will be subscription based, which means we have to keep the players satisfied. The best way to do that is to listen to what they have to say and try to go in the direction they want to go.
CHECK OUT THE SEEDS OF WARS KICKSTARTER HERE
Josh is the intrepid Chief Operations Officer of High Level Games and he organized the first HLG Con. With 20 years of playing rpgs, Josh started with Mind's Eye Theater LARPs and loves the World of Darkness. He runs, www.keepontheheathlands.com to support his gaming projects. Josh is the administrator of the Inclusive Gaming Network on Facebook. He’s a serious advocate for inclusive gaming spaces, a father, and a graduate from the International Peace and Conflict Resolution graduate program at American University in Washington, D.C. You can also find Josh’s other published adventures here and here.
All blog materials created and developed by the staff here at High Level Games