In the recent years I started playing and mastering RPGs again. They were my main focus in my youth, before moving to boardgames. Beside the classic Dungeons & Dragons (I’m playing the 5th edition) and Pathfinder, I’m also moving to new systems like SavageWorlds and FATE.
I’m also interested in future releases that could show something new in the genre. Today, something unusual for our reader, I’m going to preview an RPG: Darkmoor RPG (the Kickstarter Campaingn is running in these days) interviewing Luca de Marini, the designer. Nowadays the distinction between RPG, BG, Card Games and Miniature Games seems sometimes artificial, but if opinionatedgamers’ readers are not interested in RPGs I’ll move my future articles on the genre somewhere else.
Darkmoor RPG doesn’t work like the most popular RPGs you may know, there are many substantial differences. First, the setting: Darkmoor lives in a humorous fantasy setting where almost everything is possible. The fighting system is focused on action and inspired by movies like Soul Calibur, Fist of the North Star or Matrix. You have, like in most RPGs, stats, weapons and bonuses but you have also Symbols and Special Moves that demand to be described in a cinematic way.
The game system works a lot different during fight or during narrative scenes, where the Oracle (a six-sided dice) helps the Master (called The Guide in Darkmoon RPG).
The game design tries to maximize the fun and streamlines every other aspect of the game, something close to what Toon: the cartoon RPG proposed years ago.
[Liga] Hi Luca. Are you the designer?
[Luca] Hi everyone! Sure, I’m the one who designed Darkmoor RPG’s system. It all started when I played for the first time Mooff Games‘ mobile game: Blackmoor. At that time I just published Musha Shugyo RPG, a game with a strong core fighting system and I noticed it was just perfect to simulate the fights I played in Blackmoor. After that, I contacted Simon Marriott from Mooff Games and he was really excited by Musha Shugyo. We then agreed on developing an RPG inspired by his mobile games: Darkmoor, that is! And it rocks, it’s not just a Musha Shugyo setting. It’s a totally new and complete Roleplaying Game.
[Liga] Can you tell us your experience in the gaming world ?
[Luca] Well, I play games since ever. Started with tabletop games like Risk, Brivido (in Italy) and the likes, then moved to titles such as Heroquest, Starquest, etc. When I was 12 I started my adventure in roleplaying games and since then I developed my skills as a player and mostly a Game Master. I love playing as a GM. It was not long before I started creating my own tabletop RPG systems. My first game, Dark Destiny, was born when I was only 14. Lots has changed since then, of course. I studied Architecture and design, learned a lot about gaming design and experimented a lot. I’m now a publisher and creator of various games such as Destino Oscuro, Cielo Cremisi, Il Buio di Etherna, Musha Shugyo RPG and now Darkmoor, of course!
But I also created tons (literally) of other games, many of which are inspired by other people’s intellectual properties, therefore I never published them. And I won’t mention them either :D
[Liga] I’ll ask you about these projects when we meet in Modena (PLAY) or Lucca. Please enumerate the 3 strength points of Darkmoor.
[Luca] Briefly? A self-deprecatory setting and gaming style: the mechanics are designed to generate funny situations. It’s not another “funny setting” where Game Masters are left alone with a generic RPG system. It’s not only up to GMs to generate funny situation: the game systems pushes this at the table automatically, believe me. You can learn more by reading our updates on the Kickstarter campaign page!
Second, its fighting system is fast, adrenalinic and you can really describe any incredible action that comes to your mind! You can create your character’s Race, Class, Special Moves and Magics! Everything’s customizable from A to Z, and everything you describe has a mechanical outcome, for real!
So not only will you have fun and freedom of roleplaying your actions in the way you like, everything will push your identification with your PC to the limits. You’ll soon feel like being INTO the fiction, seriously. And the game will alternate hilarious moments with incredibly tense situations.
[Liga] An RPG needs a great translation. Who did take care of the English edition?
[Luca] We have a great translator, that is Annarita Guarnieri! She won a number of international translation prizes and she’s not new to the RPG world. She’s the translator of Ultima Forsan and Enascentia for Savage Worlds, for example. But we’ll also have a professional English editor, Chris Lendrum! Don’t get fooled by my sloppy English, the game’s in good hands :)
[Liga] What was the target did you have in mind while designing Darkmoor? Old-style RPG’s players looking for something new? People interested in making the first steps in the RPGs worlds? Your friends? Aliens?
[Luca] Aliens, mainly! And of course the Hachu Folks. Darkmoor is a rulebraking RPG, it helps old-style players and Game Masters create incredibly fun adventures in no time and it requires the GM to trust his players, and viceversa. Therefore, I designed it to be appealing to everyone in the roleplaying game hobby: in fact, it is the perfect choice for someone who will start learning how to roleplay for the first time too! Expert players will have to trust Darkmoor’s system and try to play in a slightly different way, while new players will of course have absolutely no entry barrier. And since the game’s designed to be extra-fun from your first one-shot to year long campaigns… it really targets any damn roleplaying game addicted. How can it be fun both in single shots and in long term campaigns? It’s hard to explain without writing the book in English right now, but most importantly, you only understand it fully once you play it.
The character progression is interesting, deep and always different. Yet, from the first game your character’s already super fun and strong to play! That’s it in a few words I guess :)
[Liga] Do you think this game could have an appeal on boardgames players, who are the actual core of our readers? Why?
[Luca] It can. It supports two main fighting methods: with or without a grid. If you wanna go strategic, you can draw a grid, create a complex terrain or map, etc. and play it ignoring most of the Character sheet as if it was a wargame. No roleplaying involved in that case, but you’ll miss all of the immersive appeal. In other words, it’s really easy to extrapolate some of the game’s mechanics and turn it in a boardgame a-la Heroquest or in a Wargame. And it’ll work! So, even though the game’s target are roleplayers, it could be a really pleasant surprise for tabletop boardgames addicted too! :D
[Liga] Thank you Luca. I wish you a great kickstarter campaign and I hope to have the chance to see Darkmoor completed for PLAY 2016