Free League announces Dragonbane, the translation of Swedish RPG classic Drakar och Demoner

Today Free League announced an English version of Drakar och Demoner, the seminal fantasy RPG in Sweden. The original dwarfed D&D in the Scandinavian market during the 80s and remains massively popular still in this day.
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A new edition of Sweden's first RPG Drakar och Demoner, finally in English after 40 years – the Kickstarter begins August 30
We are thrilled to announce the Dragonbane RPG, a brand new edition of Sweden's first and biggest tabletop roleplaying game Drakar och Demoner, now to be published in English for the first time.

Dragonbane / Drakar och Demoner is coming to Kickstarter August 30.
Sign up here to be notified the moment the campaign starts:

Drakar och Demoner was originally launched in Sweden in 1982. Now, we celebrate its 40th anniversary with a brand new and reimagined edition, with one foot firmly planted in the heritage of decades of Swedish gaming and the other in the modern and innovative game design for which Free League is known worldwide.

There has been talk about the "Swedish invasion" in the RPG world in the last few years, with award-winning titles like Mutant: Year Zero, Tales From the Loop, Symbaroum, Forbidden Lands, and MÖRK BORG. Drakar och Demoner is the game that started it all. And now, for the first time, the game will also be available to an international audience, under the English title Dragonbane.

Drakar och Demoner / Dragonbane has art by acclaimed illustrator Johan Egerkrans (Vaesen – Nordic Horror Roleplaying and art books Vaesen, Norse Gods, The Undead, Dragons) and lead game design by Tomas Härenstam (Mutant: Year Zero, Forbidden Lands, ALIEN RPG, Twilight: 2000 4th Edition, and the upcoming Blade Runner RPG). The team of contributing writers include the elite of the Swedish tabletop RPG industry as well as acclaimed historical fiction author Niklas Natt och Dag (1793 The Wolf and the Watchman).

For a glimpse at the fantasy odyssey to come, check out the artwork from the upcoming core boxed set in this newsletter. More details about Drakar och Demoner / Dragonbane will be shared via our social media accounts throughout the weeks leading up to launch.

Drakar och Demoner / Dragonbane is a classic fantasy RPG full of magic, mystery, and adventure. This new edition is designed from the ground up to facilitate fast and furious play, with very little prep time and adventures that are a breeze to run.

Although a toolbox allowing you to tell fantasy stories of all kinds, Drakar och Demoner / Dragonbane is a game with room for laughs at the table and even a pinch of sillyness at times – while at the same time offering brutal challenges for your adventurers.

We call this playstyle "mirth and mayhem roleplaying" – great for long campaigns but also perfect for a one-shot if you just want to have some quick fun at the table for a night. The core set will include at least one complete adventure and we hope to unlock many more as stretch goals, offering a complete campaign to play even in the core game set.
 

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Dragonsbane

Proud Grognard
I'll back it if all the BBEGs are tomte.


C'mon DB. You were due for an upgrade, anyway.
Wow, been a while since someone called me DB, way back to the NWN Talernon days. Are you are former player or DM on the server? My Unreal Engine acct is Dragonsbane2022, I don't know if that counts haha!
 

Staffan

Legend
Is magic skill based, vancian/D&D, or something else?
I don't know to what degree, if any, Free League will change it. Magic has been treated somewhat differently in different editions. This is how it worked in classic Dragonsbane: Each spell is its own skill. Spells have a difficulty level of 1 to 4, which determine either your starting skill in the spell if you start with it, or how costly in time and money learning it is once the game has started. Level 4 spells are off limits at start. Spells can be cast at different power levels, which make the spell more powerful but also more costly and difficult. Casting a spell costs 1 magic point per power level, and casting at a power level above 1 gives a -10% penalty to the skill check (or -2 in a d20-based version). A character has as many magic points as their Power ability score, which is usually rolled on 3d6 for a human.

The Expert rules, as well as the editions released in 1991 and 1994 mostly went with the same setup, except spells were split into multiple schools (originally 6 in the Expert rules, expanded to 13 in various additions, and then collapsed down to 3 with multiple sub-schools in the 1991 rules), and their difficulty level was replaced with a "school value" serving more or less the same role but with more granularity. The school value acted as a prerequisite: you needed to have the appropriate school at at least that high a skill level.

Generally speaking, wizards weren't very good in classic Dragonsbane, because getting anywhere took TONS of XP. With various accessories, there were a ton of theoretical variety, but since each spell was its own fairly expensive skill, and critically failing a spell could have really bad effects, the game really didn't lend itself to strong magic.

In some versions, being a wizard also required passing a test for having the talent for it. You needed to roll (Intelligence + Power)% or lower on d100.

As I recall, Riotminds' first edition had a much different magic system (much like everything else about it was different). I don't recall much of it since I never played it after reading their rule book, but as I recall wizards got hugely inflated Power stats, and casting spells cost a significant chunk of it but was mostly automatically successful. Spell knowledge in this variant was more binary – either you know a spell or you don't.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Free League already has two fantasy RPGs though. Even if there is room for another, it's weird to have a single company competing against itself like that.

(Though I suspect that a good chunk of what they're going for is nostalgia in their home market and curiosity in the US. So I guess it probably won't be really "competing" with Symbaroum or Forbidden Lands in that sense.)
more...
  1. Symbaroum
  2. Forbidden Lands
  3. The One Ring 2E
  4. Mörk Borg,
Vaesen, Tales from the Loop, and Things from the Flood are essentially fantasy as well, but not classic fantasy.
 


Staffan

Legend
more...
  1. Symbaroum
  2. Forbidden Lands
  3. The One Ring 2E
  4. Mörk Borg,
Vaesen, Tales from the Loop, and Things from the Flood are essentially fantasy as well, but not classic fantasy.
Right, I had forgotten about The One Ring. Mörk Borg is a bit more arm's length though – my understanding is that Free League only handles the business aspects of it, not the creative aspects.

I'd classify Tales from the Loop and Things from the Flood as science fiction rather than fantasy, though admittedly rather soft science fiction.

It feels like everyone in Sweden is publishing their own fantasy RPG.
Nah, Free League and Helmgast are publishing them all.
 

aramis erak

Legend
It feels like everyone in Sweden is publishing their own fantasy RPG.
Counting Vaesen, Free League's got 5 clearly fantasy minded games, and two very soft Sci-Fi titles, plus 4 cores in another mutant fantasy...

From here, it looks like FL is the only publisher in Sweden doing English versions...
 

Ulfgeir

Hero
Counting Vaesen, Free League's got 5 clearly fantasy minded games, and two very soft Sci-Fi titles, plus 4 cores in another mutant fantasy...

From here, it looks like FL is the only publisher in Sweden doing English versions...
Helmgast is working on an English version of their cyberpunk game Neotech Edge, and has 2 games written in English. (Kult: Divinity Lost, and The Troubleshooters)
 

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