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Orktoberfest: Ork’s System!

Naturally, one of the biggest chapters in Ork! The Roleplaying Game is combat. We’re not going to pretend otherwise. Ork! is a game that unflinchingly tells you the truth: Combat is the most important system in roleplaying games! ARRRRRGH!

Accurate representation of Ork!’s game system in action.

Accurate representation of Ork!’s game system in action.

Ahem. Yet we understand you might want to identify stupid plants or sneak up on people (hopefully, to beat them up, leading to combat) or even—and this is not a good idea if you’re an ork—use magic. So, this week we’ll look at Ork!’s core rules.

The Core Rules: You Am Fight Krom!

For the lowly ork, each day is a struggle against other orks, squishy men, and, in a larger sense, Krom—wrathful, easily bored god of the orks—himself. This constant state of conflict is reflected in the following golden rule:

All dice checks in Ork! are opposed!

Many roleplaying games use what’s called a “target number” system where the benevolent game master decides the objective difficulty of a given task, and the player only needs to meet or exceed this target number to complete the task. Such sys­tems are for the weak. In Ork!, the Orkmaster represents Krom himself, and even the simplest task requires the player to dice off with Krom to get his way!

Orks roll a number of dice equal to their skill rating, which is usually between 1 (ork sucks) and 5 (ork rocks!). The better the attribute linked to the skill (attributes are Meat, Bones, Twitch, and Mojo) the bigger the dice (d4 to d12). So, a strong but callow young ork might roll 1d10 (skill 1, Meat d10) to whack somebody, while his smaller but more experienced counterpart rolls 3d8 (skill 3, Meat d8).

If the ork is going against a live opponent—somebody to beat up or outrun—that roll is opposed by the enemy’s roll. Against environmental and other stuff, the enemy is the world—and the god who made it, Krom! The number of dice you roll for Krom depends on how much he approves of what the ork is about to do, or how much failure would amuse him, and therefore the Orkmaster. This difficulty rating is Krom’s Favor, rated in the accompanying table.

Krom’s Favor

Krom’s Attitude Type of Action Krom Dice
Krom Am Resting His Eye Very Easy 1d6
Krom Approves Easy 2d6
Krom Am Not Care Average 3d6
Krom Am Annoyed Difficult 4d6
Krom Dislikes You Very Difficult 5d6
Krom Am Want You Dead! Extremely Difficult 6d6 and up!

We recommend d6 for Krom dice, though you can change the die type if Krom is feeling particularly nasty or uninterested. A mean Orkmaster might use d10s, while a complete weakling who smells like flowers after a spring rain would use d4s.

In the event of a tie, the aggressor wins! You always want to be the one acting in Ork!, not the wimpy defender! If you’re not sure who that is, the Orkmaster decides.

Beyond Stupid Basics!

Beyond the framing (ork versus Krom!), Ork!’s core system favors intuitive ease over showing off our game design chops. Yet, we do have an assortment of the stupid game system tricks you, the discerning consumer, have come to expect from modern roleplaying games. These include:

Cheats: When Krom isn’t paying attention, you can steal dice from him and add them to your own! Unfortunately, Krom is a god, and eventually figures it out, punishing you accordingly.

Ork Points: You get these when you act in an especially orky way, such as eating a face or engaging in axe-based art criticism. These give you ork points, which you can use for a bunch of benefits, from healing to cool tricks in combat.

Combat: Ork’s Combat chapter is the most important thing in the book! It has extra rules for everything from severing limbs to impromptu combat-oriented dinosaur taming. Lots to talk about, so we’ll get to it next week.

You Am Buy Ork When?

Ork! The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition is currently doing the warehouse to warehouse dance and gets into stores this month. You can still pre-order here and get the PDF right away as a $5 add on (or just get the PDF—see the link in the link above). See you next week!

Ronin Round Table: Blue Rose Development

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Welcome! No, we haven’t accidentally reposted a previous Ronin Roundtable. This week we return to the development of the new edition of Blue Rose Romantic Fantasy Roleplaying for the AGE (Adventure Game Engine) System rules, following our successful Kickstarter for the game.

Blue Rose is through editing and now in production and layout, with Production Manager Hal Mangold hard at work both on laying out the book and assigning art to various artists to bring new visions of the world of Aldea to life. You can see a small sample of Hal’s design magic in the updated logo to grace the game’s cover above the fantastic new painting by artist Stephanie Pui-Min Law.

In addition to art, we’re working with cartographer Phillip Lienau, who provided the maps for the first edition of Blue Rose (as well as the comprehensive map of Freedom City for Mutants & Masterminds) to update his work for the new edition, particularly for the two-sided poster map for inclusion in the book. We’re eager to be able to present Phillip’s work in full color this time.

In terms of production, the new edition of Blue Rose is going to be sizeable: easily 300 pages (at Green Ronin, we like big books and we cannot lie), not quite as massive as the complete Dragon Age Core Rulebook, but easily the size of the Game of Thrones edition of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying as a beautiful full-color hardcover book.

Meanwhile, in addition to working with Hal on copyfitting and layout matters, I am working on the collection of pre-generated Blue Rose heroes for the Narrator’s Screen booklet, offering a representative cross-section of novice characters, complete with backgrounds and customization options, usable for quick-start play and great for demo adventures and convention games to introduce new players to Blue Rose and the AGE System

Speaking of adventures, I’m also developing the first drafts of a number of short Blue Rose adventures by an exciting collection of authors, including Jaym Gates, Elsa S. Henry, Steven Jones, Kira Magrann, Alejandro Melchor, and Rebecca Wise. We intend to release these adventures as short, stand-alone PDF products and to collect them into a print edition to provide Blue Rose Narrators and players with a wealth of opportunities to tell stories in the world of Aldea.

As you can see, that’s a lot of Blue Rose in the works! We’ll keep you updated as things progress, perhaps with some additional previews and looks “behind the curtain” as the book finishes production and gets ready for pre-order and PDF release. Naturally, our Kickstarter backers will have the first look at anything new that comes along, but we’re looking forward to making the new edition of Blue Rose available to everyone!