Table for one

So this weekend I attended Birmingham MCM Comic Con. I had a great time cosplaying as Percival Graves and soaking up the atmosphere. It then dawned on me: the next event like this that I attend, I’ll be showcasing RAIDS.

Talking with people about features they’d like to see and playtest, there was a lot of interest in the single player mode: so today’s post is all about that.

Now I know I’m not the only one who’s ever been in this situation: you’ve just moved or due to “real world” interference, you just can’t maintain that group. Technology has really helped over the years, but even so I’ve still found myself without a game. Some people want to play these games, and haven’t been lucky enough to get a group, through no fault of their own, and that just doesn’t sit right with me.

I’ve created countless characters over the years, but without a game they just sit there unused (although many of them will probably make their way into adventures in the future now). I want everyone to have the chance to play and create stories, so that nobody is left on there own like I was.

Single player mode isn’t designed to split the party though- the goal is to build a community that will create adventures for each other to play. There’s a lot more support for that sort of thing now than there was years ago, and I will be creating dedicated forums and community pages for this in the future.

To help guide everyone on how to create solo adventures, every adventure I write will have a multiplayer and single player version. The adventures will be scaled appropriately, and extra characters will be added into the mix.

New companion characters will be included in every adventure for you to take with you, but you can of course create your own, and travel with them for as long as you like (or as long as they live…)

The adventures themselves will be interactive documents, revealing things as you go along and succeed on rolls. For the old school players among you, print versions will be supported, although they may appear more like a read and play book.

Full tutorials will be made available after launch to help those of you who want to create single player adventures.

I hope this gives you a bit more of an insight into Solo RAIDS. Feel free to message me with any more questions, and I hope to see some of you soon at UK Games Expo for a game of RAIDS!

Time for the big announcement

This year, RAIDS will be an exhibitor at UK Games Expo, 2nd – 4th June at Birmingham NEC.

This will be the first time that players can get hands on with the game and playtest it, and marks the first convention that RAIDS will be showcased.
I can’t tell you how excited I am for this and I can’t wait to see you all there.
Please continue to follow for more updates as they come, and thank you for your continued support.
http://www.ukgamesexpo.co.uk/exhibitors.php
http://www.raidsgame.wordpress.com
http://www.facebook.com/raidsgame
http://www.twitter.com/raidsgame
http://www.instagram.com/raidsgame

Creating a Character

I’m going to level with you here- I love creating characters. Even in the times where I had no active games, I used to roll new characters anyway. Whether it was to find any interesting dynamics, or to get an idea out of my head and onto paper, character creation has always been a keen interest of mine.
Because of this, I knew that a big focus of RAIDS was going to be character creation. RAIDS is a storytelling game at heart, and great stories start with great characters. I didn’t want the rules to be too constrictive so that players didn’t feel able to make the characters they wanted to, but of course I had to put limits in place so that all players were able to enjoy the game equally. The rules are open ended and not just linked to the campaign world that they come with. My hope is to eventually support all genres and all worlds that players would want to interact with seamlessly- so that a character could fall from one world into the next without needing to learn a new rule set, or change their sheet around.
Most roleplaying games revolve around core attributes or stats, and RAIDS will follow that trend. I wanted to make them simple but diverse, so that new gamers aren’t overwhelmed but experienced players can get the level of complexity that they want. There are 5 core attributes which players will need to roll for when creating their characters. The stats are a little lower in values than some RPGs, but that is to give it a more grounded feel so that the characters don’t seem overpowered- every choice will have a consequence.
Skills will be governed by the main attributes but there won’t be a long list of them. Because RAIDS focuses on stories, characters will be able to attempt any possible action to aid the story without checking to see if they have the skill or not. There will be some bonuses given for trained skills, which they will pick some of when creating their characters, and as they perform certain actions again and again they can train new skills to progress their character.
Levels and classes are another core part of most RPGs- but RAIDS has neither. Characters will progress by improving their skills and techniques, rather than gaining HP and higher stats. This helps to keep the game a bit more grounded, but also give a higher sense of achievement to defeating bosses and dangerous missions. The reason behind no classes is simple- that way players can create whatever characters they want to play as and not be pigeonholed into a role they may not want to. If they want to wield magic, or sneak around, or both that is their choice: not what the class says they should do.
A few weeks ago I finished the prototype of the character sheet and sat down to roll a character. Piece by piece the rules are getting finalised (magic was a big sticking point for a long time, but more on that in the future…) and I can’t tell you how proud I felt to make it through the character building process and hold that sheet in my hand. Soon I hope that all of you can share a bit of that too as we get closer to playtesting and the release.

Lore of Novathe (the world of RAIDS)

This is the start of what I hope will be a fun series of sneak peeks regarding the lore for the initial setting of RAIDS.

These topics were picked by two Amino communities that I post to (Tabletop and Dungeons & Dragons), and were posted to their respective communities first as thanks.

Now the time has come to share it with everyone who doesn’t have the Amino app. I do plan to release more exclusive information through various channels, but I will always upload that information here on the official RAIDS website.

So without further ado:


A Creation Myth

The Great Flame burnt solitary in the universe. Along its flames danced images of beauty and mirth. It was the spark of life. The potential that this life held filled The Great Flame with joy, and a desire to see these things play out. And so, he sculpted the world, with its crashing waves, tall mountain peaks, lush forests and dazzling planes. He formed each piece of his world with the care and skill of an artisan. And then he breathed life into the world.

Small creatures began to frolic across the countryside, others explored the waters, and some even travelled on the winds themselves. One particular type of creature though was more bizarre than most. Not content with merely experiencing the world, they attempted to understand it.

These humans developed tools, built homes, created language, art and music. The Great Flame was overjoyed. This was the beauty he had seen. Though he held the spark of their life, these achievements were their own design. He was enthralled to see what they would create next. 

In the darkness, something stirred. It had watched silently as The Great Flame created the world, jealous of his abilities, but respectful of his power. But when the humans too began to create, The Shadow flew into a rage. Why could they create things of their own design when he could not?

The Shadow descended upon the world. As he stretched across the land, his touch scarred all that he came into contact with. If he could not create, he would corrupt. And so he did: forests died, rivers dried up, crops withered, birds picked at the carrion that was left. The Shadow brought pain and death.

Savage shadow tainted creatures attacked the villages. They resembled their faithful hounds, but with a ferocity unseen before. As they dragged away their victims, screaming into the darkness, the humans called out for aid.

The Great Flame felt the pain and sorrow from each of the humans as if it were his own. He wanted desperately to help them but he was in too much agony. He tried to focus his efforts, to shake off the sounds of screaming, and purge the darkness from his world. Through all of the suffering, he could hear the prayers of the humans. They still believed in him. Their faith lent him strength and he burned brighter than ever, casting The Shadow from the human settlements.

The Shadow tried but could not extinguish the light of The Great Flame. He retreated, content with the pain he had caused for now.

The Great Flame took some of his fire and created beacons for each of the settlements. With these beacons, he promised to cast out The Shadow from their homes, so that they would never again suffer at his hands. Every year, the humans pay tribute to the beacon and The Great Flame at the Festival of Promise.
Creatures of Novathe:

Dwarves

When The Shadow first came to Novathe, many towns were torn apart. In the chaos, the humans prayed for The Great Flame to save them. In time, he would, but until then the humans had to fend for themselves.

Seeing their homes and families torn apart, some of these humans took refuge in the caves and mountains, hiding from The Shadow and denouncing The Great Flame.

These people made their homes underground. They carved out a new life for themselves, and even learnt how to fight back the shadows. Their new home provided everything for them, and they had no desire to return to the surface, or the wars of the gods.

Over time, the surface world believed these people had been wiped out when The Shadow attacked. If they had been seen though, they would not have been recognised.

The men of the ground were shorter than the surface dwellers. They were athletic, since their homes required fitness to safely navigate. Their time underground had gifted them with better eyesight in low light, but sensitivity in sun light. They were pale and smooth skinned, often without even eyebrows.

Recent events and mining expeditions have led to the surface world’s discovery of these “dwarves”, but just because the world is aware of their existence, does not mean that they wish to be part of it. 
Shadows

Shadows are an extension of The Shadow. They are his eyes and ears wherever they dwell. In their most basic form they can be deterred with light, but if they attach themselves onto a host, they can be difficult to remove.

When a shadow bonds with another living being, they become shadow-touched: a distorted and nightmarish version of what it once was. The host is tormented and subjected to such immense pain that they forget all that they were, and any bonds that they had.

They are completely under the control of The Shadow, acting as his weapons, infecting everyone that they come into contact with.

Blood dragons

Fierce beasts exist without the aid of The Shadow, and one of these is the blood dragon.

A blood dragon is a carnivorous winged creature who gets stronger by drinking blood. As it absorbs the life essence of its prey, it grows in size and its life is prolonged. However, if the blood dragon doesn’t feed enough and expends too much energy, it will turn to stone.

Some blood dragons will pick off sustainable livestock from farmers, to ensure they remain active. But some of the more ancient blood dragons will make a nest beneath the plains outside cities, waiting, fossilised, for the bloodshed of war to reanimate them.

An introduction

Hello there, my name is Liam and I’ve been playing pen and paper RPGs for somewhere over 10 years now. I also play a lot of board and card games, and am always looking for new additions to my games library.

I was first introduced to D&D 3.5 and instantly fell in love with it. I’d only really played miniature war games before, but the level of fun and storytelling had me hooked. I played a few sessions with this group, before our DM moved away and entrusted me with his books and campaign notes to keep the game running.

Sitting behind the screen was a lot of fun, and for years I continued to bring new adventurers into the fold and show them a whole new realm of gaming. But after a while, I felt the call to play as a character again.

Uni was the perfect opportunity, as I found some local gaming groups. I ran some D&D games still (moving through 3.5, 4th, Next playtest and 5th), but as a player I explored new games: Mutants and Masterminds, Fate, Dragon Age and Doctor Who. I enjoyed all of the interesting mechanics of the games, but the main thing that kept me going was the stories.

I am a storyteller at heart. I’ve been working on a fantasy novel since I was 7 (the world has become my go to world for running games in), and after graduating in Drama and Creative Writing, I have written and staged a fair few plays.

One of these projects was a livestream audio drama that ran as part of a theatre festival: it was about a group of friends playing D&D, with their real world and game world adventures. I really enjoyed the project and wanted to do more with it, however to turn it into a podcast series I would have to lose the D&D brand.

My decision in the end, was to create my own game system. A ruleset that would leave all listeners on equal footing as it would be new to everyone, but familiar too. The essence of it is storytelling, with dice mechanics to help add tension and challenge to it.

After a while of working on it, I’m almost ready to begin some public playtesting and thought that this community might be interested in hearing about my project.

The podcast will move into production as soon as I am satisfied that the ruleset works fully, so that their world feels more authentic. I can honestly say I’ve never been more excited about a project in my life.

So that’s me. On to the next adventure!

– Liam, game designer for RAIDS

What is RAIDS?

RAIDS is a new tabletop role playing game. It uses familiar mechanics such as dice rolling, storytelling and a character sheet with attributes and abilities. However, the storytelling aspect is very much at the core of the game. If it makes sense within the world, and it would add to the story, my goal is that a player should be able to do pretty much anything they wish- as long as everyone playing has fun with it.

 
What is the setting for RAIDS?

The initial setting for RAIDS that will be included in the rulebook is a dark fantasy realm. Novathe will be the land which adventurers can explore and carve out a legacy. It is a world that constantly feels the struggle between the light and the dark. Living shadows terrorise the people, and their only security is in the beacons of holy flames that cast the shadows from their homes. Gods walk amongst men, battling for their right to rule, while a civilisation forgotten by the gods is ready to return to the world and overthrow them.

But RAIDS is designed to be a framework of rules which you can fit to any game world that you wish. If you’ve ever wanted to see your favourite Saturday morning cartoon characters clash, then this is the role playing game for you.

Listed in the rulebook will be conversion notes on how to tailor the game from magic to technology, superpowers or whatever else your game world needs. Think of it as a tried and tested homebrew for everyone to enjoy.

 
What is the story?

As mentioned above, the story is whatever your game group want to tell. But if you prefer to play a game with modules and campaign settings then RAIDS has you covered.

Sprinkled throughout the rulebook is lore pertaining to the world of Novathe and there will be a full campaign included with the final release.

There will also be more campaigns released as time goes on, but the real goal is to get players to share their adventures with each other to build a community. We want you to play such awe inspiring adventures that others will want to tackle them too.

 
What makes RAIDS unique?

RAIDS focuses more on storytelling than stats, and so to this effect the whole character sheet is a bit more grounded. There are no levels, no classes and no limitations.

Your abilities will upgrade through practice, so if you use a bow regularly in combat, you’ll get better at using a bow. However, just because you don’t normally use a long sword, that doesn’t mean you can’t wield it if that’s all that is lying around.

The decision to remove classes is so that your characters can evolve as the story progresses, instead of being pigeonholed into something you may fall out of love with. This way, players are free to pick however they want to play to make the story fun for everyone, rather than feeling like they’re doing the team a disservice if they don’t take a healer or tank role. 

These changes exist to make the game easy for beginners and seasoned gamers, and to keep everyone on a level playing field. But there’s plenty of challenges to keep everyone on their toes, as they have to think outside of the box to reach their goals.

RAIDS is being designed with the player in mind, and we know that sometimes it can be difficult to get a gaming group together. We hope that we can build a community of players who can meet up in real life or online to play, but we know that sometimes this won’t be possible for everyone. Because of this, RAIDS will be playable with as few as one players. Solo adventures will be launched, which can be played with or without a game master. There will also be instructions on how to scale encounters for the size of the party.

  
Where did the idea come from?

RAIDS was initially meant to be a small set of rules that could be referenced in a podcast series that I was working on. It was an audio drama focused around a gaming group and swapped between reality and their campaign. I initially used Dungeons and Dragons when the podcast, “Never Split The Party”, was aired as a livestream for Leicester’s Story City Festival, but when we thought about turning it into a series, we felt it would be better to use our own rules to allow equal footing for all listeners, and to give us more creative license with changing rules for dramatic effect. The process of creating the ruleset however, snowballed into plans for a fully fledged game. I haven’t stopped working on the podcast, but I want the rules to be 100% true and playable.

I knew that I wanted the rules to fit whatever setting the players wanted, that was key, but writing the rules without a concise setting to use as an example proved impossible. And so I turned to Novathe.

The world of Novathe has been a part of my life since I was very young. I would write stories about it and the characters that inhabited the world. As I began playing and running role playing games, the world became a campaign setting that I would use and their adventures helped me to flesh out the world.

At university I had to produce two novel ideas and the openings for those stories. Once again I went back to the world of Novathe and focused on two very different aspects of it: the pantheon, and the forgotten hills men who would become dwarven kind.

  
How far away from production is the game?

Currently, RAIDS is still in a very raw form, being lists of stats and rules. As the last main rules are solidified, the next stage will be a playtest. Aspects of the rulebook will be made available to people who wish to participate in the playtest and give feedback about how they found the game and any improvements they would like to see.

From there it will be a case of tidying it up and putting it into an easy to read document, with that premier look and feel that gamers expect.

Then comes the digital release. RAIDS will be made available online for players to enjoy in a digital format. The dream is to turn it into a physical publication, maybe even take it to a convention like UK Games Expo, but digital publication is the best way to share it with as many gamers as possible for the smallest cost for the players.
If RAIDS sounds like something that you or your friends may enjoy, then please like, share and subscribe for more updates, so that we can start to build this community and make RAIDS our reality. Thank you.

 
– Liam, game designer for RAIDS

A new tabletop RPG