Vikings: Shields in the Wall - teaser

(James A Collette) #1

Hey everyone, here’s a teaser for my FitD game “Vikings: Shields in the Wall.” I’m about to run my first playtest this week nervous squeal, so wish me luck.

The Pitch:

Shields in the Wall is a Forged in the Dark Role-Playing Game about a group of Vikings; raiding, warring, and driving their enemies before them… But not really. It’s a game about the bonds and strains of friendship and family, forged in blood. It is about community building, accruing wealth and fame, and upholding or eschewing tradition. Eventually, should your Vikings survive the stress and trauma of The Wall, they will face new challenges: the fraught dangers of politics, the trappings of power, and the horrors of war. It is inspired by Norse history and mythology, but also by modern popular media representations of the Viking life. Although it draws on these touchstones, the moment it enters your hands, its world becomes yours, and is not beholden to canon, ‘authenticity’, or historical accuracy.

The game is designed to be played by 4-6 players, with one taking on the role of the MC (or Master of Ceremonies), with the others playing the protagonists of the story.

(James A Collette) #2

The biggest thing I’m working on right now is a community/settlement building mechanic that recycles some of the design space of Claims and Crew Upgrades into something new, where the players potentially have to take on the roles of other community members who are doing work while the PC vikings are off being violent warmongerers - I’ll post more after my first PT

(Calle Andén) #3

As long as there’s no horned helmets, you have my attention.

(James A Collette) #4

Not a single horned helmet nor un-round shield in sight. A strangely disappointing thing for me is that Vikings didn’t really use heraldry, only colours, and I feel like players would enjoy picking a Device.

(James A Collette) #5

The early draft Community & Settlement Sheets I will be using for the playtest. I have tomorrow set aside to fill in some design (cohorts are a big one). Also, since I’ve kinda combined heat and rep into glory+fame, and removed the sink (you can’t reduce glory, you only ever get more famous), I realised I maybe need to mechanically incentivise pursuing glory (perhaps an XP trigger?) since ATM, Fame only makes your life harder.

(Tim Denee) #6

This is looking great!


Is there a form or generalized template for Forged in the Dark character sheets? The sheet looks gorgeous!

(James A Collette) #8

@timdenee thanks!

@Harrow Not that I know of - I spent a many hour teaching myself InDesign making these. For me it really helps the process to visualise my design, so even though it may be putting the cart before the horse in some ways, making it look good inspired me.

(James A Collette) #9

The 8 Character types:
BANNERS are Compelling Leaders SKALDS are Eloquent Storytellers
BEARS are Powerful Berserkers OUTSIDERS are Talented Foreigners
SHADOWS are Stealthy Trackers WEIRDS are Strange Believers
SHIELDS are Dangerous Warriors WRIGHTS are Skilled Artisans

The 4 Community types:

CONQUERORS are an Ambitious Dominion EXPLORERS are Pioneering Colonists
CULTISTS are a Zealous Sect TRADERS are Enterprising Merchants

actually maybe all you smart people can help me. Ideally I’d like to invert the community types (IE/ DOMINIONs are Ambitious Conquerors, SECTs are Zealous cultists), but couldn’t really work out good names for an exploration empire or mercantile empire? I feel like these words must exist.

(Tim Denee) #10

Hmm. Migration, Diaspora, or Flight for the exploration empire? Mercantile empire is tricky… Hoard, Treasury, Market?


i like that. I’ll have to check out InDesign, too!

(Calle Andén) #12

The mercantile domains would be Leagues, most notably the Hanseatic League. A bit later than the Viking age, but close enough to forgive.

(James A Collette) #13

@timdenee Ooo I quite like Diaspora. It is a little culturally dissonant though. Will consider :smiley:
@Umbra League doesnt quite have the right feel to it but could work. Enterprise perhaps…

(Tim Denee) #14

Speaking of the Hanseatic League, Hanse could work… Or maybe there’s something in the more archaic meaning of guild, like a merchant’s guild. Could go with a slightly archaic spelling like Gilde or Old Norse Gildi, which also evokes gilding and gold, appropriate to enterprising traders.

(John Coleman) #15

Perhaps Empire for Pioneering Colonists and Company for Enterprising Merchants?

(James A Collette) #16

@timdenee I’m wary of using words that are out of common parlance, because accessibility is important. Even Dominion for conquerors is on the edge of how obscure id want to be. Having Skald as a playbook at least is specifically Norse, but I’m not 100% sold on it.

@JohnnyC I worry Empire has too many violent overtones and people wont be able to discern it at a glance from Dominion. Company is alright, but I’m feeling Wnterprise might be more fitting :thinking:

Thanks to everyone helping me sort through thoughts on this :slight_smile:

(James A Collette) #17

Here’s the starting situation I’ve written for tonight’s playtest:

Swords in the Fjords:
Jarl Ingstad, an aging Jarl, once known for their ferocious might on the battlefield, but now more interested in quietly running their earldom, is awaiting a Trader Caravan at his Settlement. Jarl Borg, a ferocious chieftain, and Ingstad’s neighbour, thinks that the ‘old fool’ has lost their edge, and this caravan is ripe for the picking. Meanwhile, the crafty and ruthless Earl Eriksson, whose land lies north of the other two, believes that the conflict between the two serves as the perfect distraction to conduct a raid on one of their settlements. You can choose to have any one of these 3 be your Jarl, or you may have been contacted by any/all of the above, requesting aid (for a price of course), in either case, choose your mission:
Ingstad: Escort the caravan.
Borg: Raid the caravan.
Eriksson: Raid one of the settlements.

(James A Collette) #18

Here are the playbook sheets the group used for the first playtest! The group were so excited with the community and character creation process, interweaving their stories, that we only just got to the mission right at the end, and are meeting again this week to finish the mission, do end-of-mission procedure, and hopefully downtime. I need to write at least a stand in table of entanglements by thursday!



I really, really like the Outsider playbook. Athelstan and Heahmund were/are one of my favorite characters on the show, and I’d kill to play that kind of “caught between worlds” kind of character at the table. Let me know if you’d like a player to test that playbook haha

Also, do you have a blank playbook sheet? I’d love to write a “Vicker” playbook, if that’s not too outside the fiction?