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Chaosium's Lords of the Middle Sea Cover Art

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In July last year Chaosium announced Lords of Middle Sea: The Roleplaying Game was in development. Based on Lynne Willis's 1978 futuristic proto-Steampunk board game, set in the post-apocalyptic ruins of a flooded North America, the tabletop RPG utilizes a streamlined version of the Basic Roleplaying system.

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While writing and playtesting continues, the project's creative director Jason Durall has also been working on concept art for the game. Here's a work-in-progress of the cover! It's by acclaimed Finnish artist Ossi Hiekkala (Flamme Rouge, Honshu, Eclipse, Nations, Castell, etc).

The figures depicted on the cover are pregens and characters from the in-house playtest campaign, shown at right.

For more about the upcoming game, see Jason's recent EN World interview.
 
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Ringtail

World Traveller
I love BRP so this sounds great. I also like the "streamlined" aspect.

While I already find BRP pretty simple, there are some bits of say Call of Cthulhu 7e that I don't like. (Chases for example, I find them very fiddly and complex and kills the mood while I try to figure them out) I actually almost prefer using the CoC Quick-Start rules to the full version.
 



I love BRP so this sounds great. I also like the "streamlined" aspect.

While I already find BRP pretty simple, there are some bits of say Call of Cthulhu 7e that I don't like. (Chases for example, I find them very fiddly and complex and kills the mood while I try to figure them out) I actually almost prefer using the CoC Quick-Start rules to the full version.
I agree, compared to the combat system, the chase mechanic for 7e is a bit fiddly. One thing that I've found that works well when running chases for 7e is to have a grid up. The opposition's tokens are placed in a column on the far left and there's a marker showing how far the PCs have to move. I then start the PCs with a 2 space lead, per the rules. Then I run the chase as normal, but you can see where everyone is at any given point and how far they are from escaping, which leads to some very interesting decisions on the part of the players; a particularly fast PC may make it to the end with relative ease, but will he keep going? Double back and try to help? Etc.
 


Adapting a 1978 board game. You've got to give Chaosium credit for marching to the beat of their own drum.

I feel like they read my mind about what I'd like to see in an RPG, especially a BRP RPG. I've shared the cover art on other RPG sites (linked back to here, the original source) and there is a real interest out there. Just have to spread the word.
 

Michael O'Brien

Adventurer
Publisher
Adapting a 1978 board game. You've got to give Chaosium credit for marching to the beat of their own drum.
"As a sort of futuristic proto-Steampunk – before Steampunk proper existed as a genre – Lynn Willis's Lords of the Middle Sea was Chaosium's second original IP, after Greg Stafford's Glorantha. It's a pleasure to be bringing it back for a new gaming audience", said Chaosium president Rick Meints.

[Lords of the Middle Sea was Lynn Willis's first Chaosium title. Lynn went on to become one of the longest-serving members of the Chaosium team, co-authoring or contributing to such revered titles as Basic Roleplaying, the second and third editions of RuneQuest, the original Masks of Nyarlathotep (with Larry DiTillio), Worlds of Wonder, Ringworld, Elric, Ghostbusters (for West End Games), and the fifth and sixth editions of Call of Cthulhu. Lynn Willis passed away in 2013.]
 



I feel like they read my mind about what I'd like to see in an RPG, especially a BRP RPG. I've shared the cover art on other RPG sites (linked back to here, the original source) and there is a real interest out there. Just have to spread the word.
Oh, I don't think they're wrong to make this game. It just isn't coming from some sort of focus grouped, market-driven spreadsheet. This is them saying, "you know what would be fun? This!"

I think that's awesome, honestly.

We got eleventy million zombie games in various media over the last decade. Some of it was likely because of zombie superfans. But some of it was because The Walking Dead was hot, and cashing in on that seemed smart.

There's no existing audience for a post-apocalyptic flooded United States with a steampunk/1970s drive-in movie vibe. There's just creators with vision and enthusiasm.

We need more exciting and novel stuff, not less. Rock on, Chaosium.
 

Oh, I don't think they're wrong to make this game. It just isn't coming from some sort of focus grouped, market-driven spreadsheet. This is them saying, "you know what would be fun? This!"

I think that's awesome, honestly.

We got eleventy million zombie games in various media over the last decade. Some of it was likely because of zombie superfans. But some of it was because The Walking Dead was hot, and cashing in on that seemed smart.

There's no existing audience for a post-apocalyptic flooded United States with a steampunk/1970s drive-in movie vibe. There's just creators with vision and enthusiasm.

We need more exciting and novel stuff, not less. Rock on, Chaosium.

I am an audience of one.

Or maybe they know something we don't.

Either way, rock on indeed.
 

foolcat

Explorer
Nuns with guns, yay! :)

Wow, this cover is a blast. Ahem. Action! Excitement! Danger! Looks like an old-fashioned Italian movie poster to me, which I guess was the general idea. Evocative.

You already had my curiosity, now you have my attention.
 


MidnightBlue

Explorer
The cover sold me!

I don't have anything against BRP, but it isn't my go-to system...though I absolutely love the quality of Chaosium's books and products. Can't wait to add this one to my shelves!
 

Michael O'Brien

Adventurer
Publisher
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Saturday evening roleplaying: Jason Durall ran another Lords of the Middle Sea playtest! Jason reports, "Tonight's session featured betrayal and a running battle in a hurricane over the Nebraska Sea between four ships: the Bella Dama, a Mexican Empire cargo airship and a gunship, and a zeppelin air-carrier out of the New Republic of California. Action packed white-knuckle suspense!"
 

foolcat

Explorer
Saturday evening roleplaying: Jason Durall ran another Lords of the Middle Sea playtest!
Dammit, now I'm jealous. I feel like I need to get my hands on this, the sooner the better. :love:

If/when you're ready to broaden the circle of play testers, I've got a great group of six at hand (we're based in western Germany), with both BRP/CoC/RQ veterans, and system-agnostic (i.e. casual) folks on board. You can also find me over at BRPcentral with the same handle.
 

Blue Orange

Adventurer
I imagine owning the IP is one of the major hurdles when you want to produce a product these days, so it makes sense Chaosium would want to get the maximum mileage out of their back catalog. Kind of like the way Marvel occasionally digs out obscure superheroes from 40 years ago. Looks like they're doing a good job with it--maybe we'll see White Bear and Red Moon remade for the modern boardgame era?

You wonder how many fun old things are sitting around in the metaphorical IP warehouse of various companies these days. Maybe we'll see the Snits and the Bolotomi?
 

Michael O'Brien

Adventurer
Publisher
I imagine owning the IP is one of the major hurdles when you want to produce a product these days, so it makes sense Chaosium would want to get the maximum mileage out of their back catalog. Kind of like the way Marvel occasionally digs out obscure superheroes from 40 years ago. Looks like they're doing a good job with it--maybe we'll see White Bear and Red Moon remade for the modern boardgame era?
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(This was the precise moment in playtest game #4 when Andrew's grand strategy, built around the phrase "release the Bat", suddenly fell apart...)
 

I imagine owning the IP is one of the major hurdles when you want to produce a product these days, so it makes sense Chaosium would want to get the maximum mileage out of their back catalog. Kind of like the way Marvel occasionally digs out obscure superheroes from 40 years ago. Looks like they're doing a good job with it--maybe we'll see White Bear and Red Moon remade for the modern boardgame era?

You wonder how many fun old things are sitting around in the metaphorical IP warehouse of various companies these days. Maybe we'll see the Snits and the Bolotomi?
White Bear and Red Moon would be amazing, as well as all of the various Snit board games from Dragon.
 

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