Thursday 1 September 2022

TONK Turns 100: Reflections and Prognostications

So this is actually the hundredth post for Tales of the New Kingdoms, which is kind of a cool thing, and about ninety more than I expected to do. I can't claim that this blog has taken off, but it does seem to get a little attention now and then, and hopefully provides some enjoyment or interest. I don't know what amount of views constitutes success, and, in any case, that's probably not the best metric: putting this stuff online - a species of thinking aloud - has been enjoyable in its own right, and has enabled me to consider many different gaming systems as well as refining my own ideas about the New Kingdoms themselves. A lot of what's been presented here has found its way into my own campaign (one way or another), and I hope that some of the ideas have been adopted elsewhere. That pretty much ticks all the boxes for me, as a niche writer in a niche hobby. 


Of those hundred posts, some have been very minor, whilst some have required a very great deal of thought. Oddly enough, some of the high effort posts have gone unremarked, almost unviewed, and a few of the posts that were almost automatic in their production seem to have attracted a quite high - for this blog - number of views. The Callac, Grommel and the Winter Gnomes seem to have been very popular, as have been the Petty-classes and there seems to be some need for converting Rolemaster skills to Pathfinder skills and vice versa. 


Conversely, some of the posts that have been most important to me have passed without much of a ripple: the material on broadening the possibilities of RMFRP professions through Talents and skills for OSR games seems to be overlooked, and certainly passes without comment. But, as I noted above, its the act of writing, and thinking about all this stuff that is intrinsically rewarding, so in many respects, the popularity contest aspect of blogging about TTRPGs, is, if not wholly irrelevant, mostly so.


ANYhoo, I've been gratified to have struck a chord every now and then, and hugely appreciative of anyone who reads this stuff - even if they come away thinking it's not all that good. Thanks very much for your time and attention.


OK, so that's looking back: what about the future direction of this generally directionless blog? I suspect that there will be less and less material for OSR systems outside a select few. There are so many that I suspect I'll confine myself to Blood & Treasure and Labyrinth Lord. As to RM in its various guises, it remains my first love in tabletop gaming, so I doubt I'll stop making up material for previous editions, when I care to. So far, so more of the same. I've also recently re-engaged with Fantasy Hero, and Against the Darkmaster (and the Open00 License!) and discovered Legend. Quite what that means for this blog, I'm not sure, but I suspect material influenced by those systems, or even directly related will seep in over time. Pathfinder probably won't get an awful lot of love, but the mountains of content out there for the game will doubtless see some conversion and adaptation.   


However, I've not given up on the idea of gifting the New Kingdoms their own system, for reasons I've given previously (and often! My apologies). It may well be that this blog transmutes over time into a TONK-system only blog. Of course, that will require finishing - and releasing - the system, so that's taking the longue durĂ©e with a vengeance. A true TONK ruleset would incorporate lots of the material around Petty-classes (and OSR content in general), some facets of RM, WFRP or vs.D and incorporate it all under a single percentile mechanic, but with some use of other kinds of dice (why? I like different kinds of dice, especially in odd combinations in character creation. No other more serious reason).


The other thing a true TONK ruleset would have is skills GALORE. I’m a mostly unapologetic fan of skills, and, indeed, finicky arithmetic (in any case, a TONK ruleset would not see release without a viable spreadsheet for character creation, so, arithmetic shouldn't be a barrier to entry). I find myself thinking that everything in a TONK game could plausibly be reduced to skills, including magic, unique talents and so on. I rate skills higher than I do classes/professions, so I’d possibly go classless, and let the characters express themselves through their choice of skills.


Much to think about, and, I hope, much to look forward to. Thanks again, so very much, for checking out Tales of the New Kingdoms over the last hundred posts and – almost – five years. More to come!

As a late addition, I decided to celebrate by releasing the first ever Tales of the New Kingdoms product on DTRPG. It's PWYW, so feel free to check it out!

As another late addition, posts may be even more sparse than usual here at Tales of the New Kingdoms for a while: this weekend just gone has been busy ("Men's Health Weekend", when five of us. friends since school and university, hire a house somewhere and spend a weekend playing Rolemaster and board games, as well as hurling good-natured abuse at each other and solving the world's problems), and also there are family medical issues that will be taking up a likely huge slice of time over the next month or so. I have a bit lined up - just needs editing - for the next few weeks, but once that's cleared up, there may be something of a hiatus.

And, in the final update, I'm happy to share that the family medical issues mentioned above have been surmounted for the while, and a period of chaos at work is hopefully abating for now as well, so I can hopefully start getting content out again. 

Wolves of War: The Ulfarga for Blood & Treasure (& RMFRP)

  Ulfarga (Lupine Beastkin) Wild-hearted but honourable wolf-like humanoids, Ulfarga represent one of the largest populations of any Beastki...