When I write a game or supplement, I usually put a “Special thanks to…” section on the title page, listing people who assisted or inspired me. The list in Expert Nova is unusually short, only four names. Here I explain who they are and how they contributed directly or indirectly to the making of the game. (Link to Expert Nova’s Swedish and English editions >>> )
- Samantha Carter (played by Amanda Tapping) is a protagonist in the Stargate franchise. In February 2012, I fell seriously ill and spent a month at home. The solitary weekdays were boring: our children in school and my wife at her job. Fortunately, a cable channel broadcast two Stargate episodes every morning. Samantha Carter quickly became my favorite hero, so when I wrote Expert Nova’s rules for creating player characters she served as a benchmark for competent adventurers.
- Peter Høeg is a Danish author. In the 1990s, I read his thriller Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow and appreciated its Danish and Arctic settings and its multifaceted protagonist Smilla Jaspersen. When I initially set the parameters for Expert Nova’s purpose and content, I decided that a game master should be able to use the game with no modifications for a campaign based on Smilla’s adventures.
- Marc Miller’s career as a game wizard started at Game Designers’ Workshop in the 1970s. He quickly earned a reputation for quality designs and he’s still going strong today. His science fiction RPG Traveller taught me how to write role-playing games. I launched my first Traveller campaign in 1978. One year later, I sold my first article to GDW’s Journal of Travellers’ Aid Society (read a post about that here — link >>> ). I continued writing for that publication until 1985, when Target Games hired me as its inhouse designer here in Stockholm. (Link to a long interview with Marc >>> )
- Åsa Roos is a leading designer, critic, and theorist in Sweden’s gamerverse. She regularly reviews new games in the bimonthly magazine Fenix. Whenever a new issue reaches my letterbox, I begin by reading Åke Rosenius’s Bernard the Barbarian comic strips (link >>>) and then I proceed to Åsa’s reviews. She skillfully assesses the strong and weak points of every game and occasionally her evaluations strike a spark of creativity in my mind. For example, one of her reviews made me realize that I should revise Expert Nova’s rules for social interactions by giving them more versatility and a wider array of PC actions.
Expert Nova is my new role-playing game for action and mysteries in settings from the late Victorian era to a near future in which man still is the measure of all things. Put your players to the test in London’s seedy alleys, the trackless jungles of the Amazonas, the catacombs under Paris, or the Templars’ hidden headquarter. It is a translation of the Swedish version that I published last year, though with an extra chapter explaining campaign design according to our distinctive Swedish RPG lore.
Expert Nova is a 6″x9″ book of 64 pages. €25 at Lulu.
- Flexible rules that favour playability and encourage clever schemes and social interaction.
- Speedy character generation that produces hardy and versatile adventurers.
- Action is skill-based: roll 1D20 as low as possible.
- Adjust the grittiness and lethality of your adventures by applying optional rules.
- Campaign design guidelines with a 1950s Australian science fiction setting as a hands-on example.
At the New Year holiday, people often look back at the past year and muse on what has happened. In my case, I pulled off a few nice game-related accomplishments.
- Ruby Jubilee as a game writer: In 1979, I made my first professional sale, a Traveller article for GDW’s inhouse magazine Journal of Travellers’ Aid Society. Read the full story here — link >>>.
- Expert Nova, my newest game: My professional situation got a complete overhaul in April for reasons that are of no interest here. What is relevant, though, is that suddenly I had more time for making role-playing games. In May, I decided (snap — just like that) to use my forty years of RPG designer experience to write Expert Nova, a role-playing game for contemporary settings (currently an almost empty niche in the Swedish RPG market) The rules are inspired by Basic Role-playing, the dominant game system in Sweden since the 1980s. I launched Expert Nova via Lulu in October; buy it in my kiosk — link >>>.
Elin Blixt’s illustration of the chapter on equipment, endurance, and health in Expert Nova.
- Family Business: I have recruited my adult daughter Elin, an art & design student, for doing interior artwork in my games. Her first job was Expert Nova and she quickly grasped the ins and outs of illustrating RPG rules. We will proceed with new projects in 2020.
- Expert Nova English Edition: In November I translated Expert Nova into English, an easy task because I am bilingual. Because foreign gamers are unfamiliar with Swedish RPG lore, I added a chapter about our traditional way of designing campaigns. The English text is currently being reviewed and I intend to launch Expert Nova English Edition via Lulu at the end of January. Stay tuned to this blog.
- The Expert setting books: I have started outlining some settings, the Expert Series, for the Expert Nova rules. However, I haven’t yet decided which book to complete first.
- Cthulhu Calling: The Swedish game publisher Eloso is busy developing a Swedish version of Chaosium’s classic RPG Call of Cthulhu, part translation, part new material about Sweden in the 1920s. In late 2019, they hired me to work on some chapters. Great assignment.
Summary in English: The rules for wild animals in Expert Nova will soon be published in the Swedish RPG magazine Fenix.
I den dunkla forntiden, dvs någon gång före 1985, förklarade min vän Lennart att rollspel kan delas in två kategorier: sådana där äventyrarna brukar tampas med monster (t.ex. Dungeons & Dragons) och sådana där de brukar tampas med människor och liknande varelser (t.ex. Traveller). I den första kategorin behöver äventyrarna stridsskicklighet, eldbollsmagi och goda rustningar, medan den andra kategorin betonar list, sociala färdigheter och indirekta tillvägagångssätt.
När jag sommaren 2019 skrev rollspelet Expert Nova (länk >>> ) placerade jag det i kategori två, eftersom jag föredrar den sortens kampanjer. Därför skrev jag inga specifika regler för hur djur används.
Men i december 2019 började jag skissa på två kampanjmiljöer där äventyrarna ger sig ut i vildmarken och då såg jag behovet. Under en kreativ vecka konstruerade jag de här djurreglerna. De omfattar djur och odjur från varg via jaguar och afrikansk buffel till Tyrannosaurus rex. Idag har Tove Gillbring bekräftat att reglerna publiceras i kommande Fenix med illustrationer av min vuxna dotter Elin, som även har illustrerat själva spelet.