Thursday, January 21, 2010

What is Valtyr?

Great question...I'm glad I asked. :)

Valtyr is a world where fantasy is alive. It is my own creation and something I have labored on for over 13 years. Now I know what you're a life! Thirteen years is a little much to create a fantastical world. Hell, we all do it each day a bit as we dream and escape the rigors of our lives from time to time.

Well Valtyr is a little different. It's a lot more fleshed out than a daydream, or even a short story. It's a place filled with diverse nations, teeming with strange cultures. It has a mythical past, complete with all the things history usually has included in it: wars, romance, magic, dragons, kings, betrayal, faith and lost items of power. It has the staple of common fantasy - other races, warriors, sorcerers, magic items - but it has more as well. The strange fog that covers the lands and is visible only to those with the gift of magic, known as the Voss, permeates everything and defies explanation. Towering structures of ancient design, long before mankind set foot on the earth, loom like colossal giants over curious populations. Rifts in the space between time and creation allow dangerous beings to pass in and out of the world.

In short, Valtyr is a place I created to breathe life into one of my biggest hobbies: role playing.

After spending some time constructing a world, I went about creating a game system to go along with it. I loved playing other popular RPGs (that's role playing games for those not in the I am a geek) like D&D and Whitewolf (and still do, when I can) but for me there seemed to be a gap between telling a good story in a world filled with color and opportunity, and playing a good game with balanced rules that helped me feel like I was doing the two things I loved most about RPGs:

1.) growing my character and
2.) getting cool loot

With Valtyr, I created a system that was aimed at the casual RPG player...someone that wanted to game but either never had because they were scared off by the rules, or had gamed a bit but grew tired of always flipping to tables, charts and expansion books. I wanted Valtyr Chronicles (my name for the RPG game) to be accessible to any that wanted it. And I wanted it all in one book.

So I colored within my own lines. I drew up plans, changed them, tested them, found out my "brilliant new mechanic idea" was a flop with the group, changed it, tested it again only to find that some of it worked and other parts didn't.

And I did this over and over and over again, until I had something that most people I gamed with agreed met my criteria: it was approachable, it kept the spirit of RPGs alive with a good setting and story opportunities, it advanced the characters nicely and most of all it was fun.

Now I am certainly not saying Valtyr Chronicles is perfect. Far from it. Each person has their own opinion of what works for them in these kinds of games. But what I am proud to say is that not only did I do it (published in Dec 2009), but that even after all the time playing it and the iterations, it still manages to keep players interested.

Which brings me to this blog. I wanted a place to expand on house rules, tell stories of some of the background for the world, and maybe even add a few creatures of two to my repertoire. To that end, I will go forward labeling each of my posts to help people find topics easier.

The labels will be:

* GROUPS - for any post that details a guild, culture, customs, or a person of note
* LOCATIONS - for any post that details a place of power, nation, or site of interest
* CREATURES - for any post that expands on creatures in the book or adds new ones
* ITEMS - for any post that details powerful magic items or historic artifacts
* SESSIONS - for any post that talks about my gaming sessions that I run
* HOUSE RULES - for any post that I share some of the rule alterations/additions I might come up with from playing

I game 2-3 Sundays a month with a group of friends. We've been playing Valtyr for over 2 years solid with no changes. In fact, I am just starting up a new campaign now. So look forward to the occasional SESSION post starting up soon.

Well, off to work. But hopefully this blog will serve as a good tool to expanding on a passion of mine and perhaps even offer those of you who get the book some extra meat for your own games.

And if you feel like trying out the game, or just reading some good fantasy, or hell...even just supporting a guy who's trying to be a writer, then pick up my book. It's called Valtyr Chronicles and you can find it at

Good games to you all.