Thursday, April 21, 2005

RPG:s in Sweden

During GothCon me and Jonas talked about the publishing of traditional rpg:s in Sweden. Everyone who was interested in these games in the early '90s know that quite an amount of games and supplement books were published in that time. This was later followed by a grave decline, even if the quality of what was actually published increased. During the end of that decade I guess that the only big game in Sweden at that was Eon from NeoGames.

During this decade the output has started to increase and counted by pages todays output is enormous compared to the one twelwe years ago. When counted by quality, both in text and layout there isn't even need to compare. The difference is so huge that it's painful to even think of a comparison. What we noted at GothCon was that now the output even in number of books must be beyond anything reached before.

More books, while every book has five times the amount of text, most of them in hard cover (this is a quite sudden trend, visible also on the American market) and finally - after all these years - a nice layout is to be expected in rpg books!

Two games are definitely ahead of the competition at the Swedish market at the moment. Firstly, Riotminds Drakar och Demoner 6 is at least very beautiful and has made an interesting turn of the old Drakar och Demoner name towards Nordic mythology, although I haven't read it.

SecondlyMutant is just brilliant in all relevant aspects. I can't understand how these guys can produce so much and with this high standard. This weekend we went to Göteborg again to attend a lajv we dropped by the science fiction bookstore. I couldn't resist buying Zonernas Zoologi, not one of the newest Mutant releases. I'm not planning to play Mutant anytime soon, but the very special form of comedy, the wordplay and the imaginative world descriptions are definitely enough. Here are the ingrediences in a lovely recipe form the world of Mutant (for those who know Swedish).

4-6 normalstora BUKAR

1 duktig klump ärghanesvål
1/2 knasaröv
1 normalstor kraftpära
Ister av valfri sort
Några nypor havssalt
1 krus jolmsmör
1/2 krus hummelhåning
2 svarta pantzerlökar
1 hel spirlöksklyfta
10 torkade giftgröneblad
1 limpa torrt vitt gumsebröd

But aside of these two games there are a lot of new things that seem to be happening. Two years ago at GothCon Krister Sundelin sold his, then brand new, print of Västmark 3. A good game, as I have noted before, but the book as an artifact was quite disappointing, I remember. Bleak looking, with a boring soft cover. This year he sold Andra imperiet, which was hard cover with nice layout and manga all over! I was so close to buying it, only because of the looks. I probably wonät ever play it...but when I get a salary... He said because of EU he could now print it in one Abltic country, for the same price as before but with this much higher quality. Isn't globalization wonderful? (it is actually)

There is more. All what I have been writing about above are standard games, all owing everything to the American game industry. But it seems like other parts of the Nordic role pålaying tradition is slowly finding it's way out to the book market. In Finland we first had Mike Pohjola publishing Myrskyn Aika. It seemed a bit traditional I must say, but still, he is a strong voice from the more hardcore part of the larp-scene. There have also been a lot of talk about Draug (which Krister Sundelin actually was selling at GothCon). Both these were released not by a rpg company, but by a traditional book company. We still wait for the same thing to happen in Sweden. The young angry man of the Nordic Larp scene, Juhana Petterson is a bit less angry and writes much better these days. He seems to be getting a book published (read that column, it's very good). I really hope they get it translated to Swedish or English.

Recently, though, ASF published their book about Swedish friform (a genre sometimes called Finnish freeform, for stupid reasons). They printed this in only 1000 copies and have so far sold a few hundred. This is a nice and beautiful book, but most of all the first role playing book I have so far seen that is not about children's games. It really deserves a greater audience. Rpg with dice will never reach a large audience among adults, this kind of scenarios is so much easier (and more rewarding to play, I must say) to start with. I will write more about this in a later post.

The golden age of role playing is now. Promise.


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