KING BEOWULF Development Journal 4

KING BEOWULF is a major expansion for BEOWULF: Age of Heroes that provides resources for higher level play, including a realm management system that allows your Hero to become the ruler of their own land, manage events that occur in their realm, and negotiate or wage war with other rival realms.

Jacob back with today’s subject: KING BEOWULF’s campaign outlines. So KING BEOWULF is all about higher-level play with a focus on realm management and we want to make sure we give you plenty of tools to run those sorts of games. This means we are going to provide various outlines for your game, along with suggestions and random tables you can use to introduce new elements for your ruler(s). As an aside, while BEOWULF Age of Heroes primarily focused on duet play – one Player and one GM – KING BEOWULF supports duet play of course but also allows play styles with two or more players and even two or more GMs. That sounds like its own development journal, so we’ll leave details to a later time.

So first up are three campaign outlines all about how a ruler comes to have a realm to rule:

The first involves creating a new realm out of the wilderness so prevalent in the lands of the Twin Seas. This involves setting boundaries, determining natural (or unnatural) resources and convincing folks to join the new realm. Unlike other campaigns, the ruler is starting with a blank slate and so will spend many of their early days creating settlements and facilities to harness those resources (for example building a mine to make use of underground veins of metal, a lumber mill to turn the edges of the Dark Forest into construction materials, and more).

The second possibility is to inherit an already functioning realm. Whereas the first outline is about establishing a new realm, in this one the realm is already up and running and the Player is just its new ruler. Perfect for players who want to have the full range of options immediately available once the GM works up the realm or has the Player randomly generate it (if the realm is being created just for the convenience of being inherited this may be easiest), realm management turns can begin.

The last covers taking over an existing realm (or the remnants of a once existing realm) and the challenges that they might encounter in the process (like the people there dealing with some hidden element, an entirely different alignment from the options presented in Age of Heroes, or beliefs unknown to the Hero) as they attempt to win over the existing populace, importing additional folk loyal to the ruler (which comes with its own challenges as the existing populace are faced with the newcomers), deal with any immediate threats to the restored realm, and then announce the revitalisation of the old realm to neighbours and allies.

But acquiring a realm is not the only campaign framework we will provide. Once you’ve begun a KING BEOWULF game and the Player’s (or players’) realm is firmly established then what? The next campaign framework, ‘Challenges to a Realm’ answers that by allowing the GM to introduce such threats as hostile action by another ruler (who could be another player in KING BEOWULF or a NPC), a civil uprising, a rampaging monster, or a natural disaster. For almost all of these challenges, the goals or particulars of the challenge can be randomly determined or selected by the GM (the goals of a rampaging monster are often simple or highly dependent on the nature of the monster so this is the one exception).

Our last campaign outline allows players and GMs to explore another aspect of realms. We spoke before about campaigns to restore moribund realms but how did they come to this state? ‘The Dying of the Light’ explores the twilight years of a realm, giving its ruler a chance to revitalise it or shepherd it into the darkness of history.

So that’s our development journal for now. KING BEOWULF will be coming to Kickstarter this year and we’ll share even more news as we get closer to that time. Next time we’ll talk about realm management turns, which means it’ll be time to have the promised discussion on taxes!