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Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Kings of legend sleep under the forest

Another trailer from Serpent King Games to get you in the mood for the new wave of Dragon Warriors material coming soon.

For anyone not familiar with DW, this description by gaming éminence grise James Wallis says it better than I ever could:

Dragon Warriors is set in the Lands of Legend, a world that resembles parts of our world as they were around the thirteenth century, specifically Europe at the end of the Crusades. The world works the way that people in medieval Europe believed it did: there’s a feudal order, might makes right, and barons squabble and vie for power to stymie or oust the king, who is a weak fool.

But on top of that magic is real; the power of the Church is real; the devil is real and may meet you on the road at midnight; superstition and folklore are real; fairies and goblins are real and may sour your milk, lame your horse or steal your child if you don’t keep them happy; there are giants and dragons deep in the mountains; and the great kings of legend sleep under the forests and will return if their domains are threatened.

The world of Dragon Warriors is familiar. You have been there many times in the stories of King Arthur, the tales of Robin Hood and Richard the Lionheart, the classic works of fantasy fiction, and the histories of the medieval world. But at the same time it is a place filled with threats and the unknown. And the further you stray from home the stranger the places you will encounter: the desolate wastelands of Krarth, home to the Rathurbosk, a city built entirely on a bridge over the Gouge; the ruins of the city of Spyte, once ruled by (and perhaps destroyed by) the magi-lords, whose descendents still control Krarth today; the dangerous jungles of Mungoda filled with the remains of dead civilisations and populated by the bizarre Volucreth bird-men; the New Selentine Empire, trying to recapture the glories and power of the previous millennium; the Nomad Khanates; the Ta’ashim lands; the great city of Ferromaine where money is king and anything can be bought if the price is right; the Principalities of the Crusade; and much more.


  1. As a late arrival at this party, could you please spell out the differences (besides the obvious) between Dragon Warriors and Fabled Lands? Thanks :)

  2. A good question, and one I've been asked before. I hope you'll excuse me quoting from previous replies:

    "The worlds differ greatly. Legend (the setting of Dragon Warriors) is low-magic, dark 'n' dirty medieval fantasy. Think of how people in the Middle Ages actually perceived their world, with dangerous spirits and goblins lurking on the moors, magic a real if rare force in the world, and faith the only protection for a poor mortal soul.

    "On the other hand we have Harkuna, the world of the Fabled Lands, which is a high fantasy setting where magic is common, the gods give undeniable blessings to those who can pay, and the politics are Tolkienesque rather than the brutal, bloody realism of Legend.

    "When I commented that Legend games usually end in only partial victory for the players and that most DW campaigns are shot through with elements of suffering and tragedy, somebody said, "Who'd want to play that?" And I agree: if your taste runs to carefree, swashbuckling adventure you're going to get on better with Fabled Lands.

    "Put it this way: Legend/DW is Aguirre, Flesh + Blood, The Sopranos, Deadwood, Pan's Labyrinth, The Godfather. Fabled Lands is LotR, Merlin, Howl's Moving Castle, Pirates of the Caribbean, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Clash of the Titans."

    In terms of systems, Dragon Warriors is seriously old school with multi-sided dice, loads of special casing. The Fabled Lands RPG is both more streamlined and more versatile (in the sense of covering many more ways to deal with a problem than hitting it with a sword).

    My own games are set in Legend and use a GURPS variant of my own devising called 7URPS. Players rarely get access to magic, and those that do experience what "real" Legend magic is like - a two-edged weapon to be used with extreme caution.

  3. I've always wondered Dave, does all of Legend resemble medieval Europe, or are there certain parts of the setting that are similar to other real-life historical cultures?

  4. Hi Hamza, there are analogues of the Middle East, Africa and Russia in the main books, and references to India and China - all as seen through medieval European eyes, that is.

  5. Thanks, Dave. That's very helpful. I already have DW, but have never read it properly, and strongly suspect I'll be picking up Fabled Lands anyway.

    Surprised to learn that you use neither system for your own games though ;)

  6. Well, to be fair the FL RPG has only just come out, so I haven't had a chance to give it a go yet. I certainly intend to!

    As for the DW system, the thing is it's 25+ years old, uses loads of multi-sided dice, and was really just designed as an entry point for new roleplayers. So it never was my own system of choice. We did try playing a Legend game using DW rules recently, but with all those "assassins" and "mystics" and what-have-you in the party... I just don't see Legend through that lens.

  7. Again, interesting insight, thank you. I just assumed you'd have been in on the "playtesting" of Fabled Lands ;)

  8. Hi Dave,

    Thanks for this blog. Always enjoy reading new posts.
    I was just wondering - does Krarth correspond to any real world country? I would guess Estonia due to its geographic position on the Legend map and Viking / Scandinavian influences. (Although I'm an Aussie living in Estonia - so I might be a bit biased.)

  9. Just received the Fabled Lands Role Playing Game. The book is beautiful. I can not wait for the supplements.

    This Dragon Warriors looks neat too. I wish I would have found you guys earlier. Thank you for your efforts and bringing us these glorious games.

  10. Ah, I'd forgotten about Crescentium and the lands of the Ta'ashim.

  11. Adam, I'd say definitely a mix of Estonia, Finland and Russia - with a lot of creative licence. But Finland in particular is famous for its wizards, just like Krarth.

    Tatem, you found us now, that's what counts :-)

    Hsmza - you forgot?! It's like half the point of DW, that conflict with the Ta'ashim.

  12. My apologies, the memory's a bit fuzzy these days.

    Oh, and of course there's that Japan-esque country Aiken's from. What's it called? Yamato?

  13. Yamato, yes. It's quite similar to Heian Japan, which should be familiar to FL readers as the main inspiration for book 6.