Dags för Expert Partisan

»Om Sverige blir angripet av ett annat land kommer vi aldrig att ge upp. Alla uppgifter om att motståndet ska upphöra är falska.«
— Sveriges linje alltsedan Kalla krigets start 1946

Summary in English: I outline Eloso’s plans for the Swedish RPG Expert Partisan.

Efter 35 år i limbo ska det sägenomspunna rollspelet Partisan bli verklighet inom Elosos produktlinje Eloso by Blixt.

I påskas genomfördes det virtuella spelkonventet Gothcon XLIV där Eloso-gänget fixade flera evenemang kring våra spel. På skärtorsdagen körde vi ett öppet kvällshäng där vi redogjorde för Elosos pågående och kommande projekt. Där berättade jag att Fria Ligan, som äger varumärket Partisan, och Eloso har kommit överens om att jag ska utveckla rollspelet Expert Partisan för Elosos produktlinje Eloso by Blixt.

Min kalender är fullbokad hela 2021 med Chock-settingen Basker Blå och Elosos version av Runequest. Så arbetet med skriva Expert Partisan börjar först 2022 med publicering planerad till 2023. Det gäller att ha framförhållning.

Expert Partisan ska få indie-look med svartvita illustrationer och sparsmakad design. Sidformat G5 (dvs som Hjältarnas tid), ca 200 sidor tjock. Min främste medkreatör är Johan Okker, rutinerad gamer och kunnig om Kalla krigets verklighet. Stämningen blir »bister TV-serie«: hunger, stridsångest, svåra beslut. Expert Partisan är inte en heroisk Hollywood-film, utan här kan vem som helst kan dö.

A. Setting: STORMAKT RÖD* 1982

File:Soldat m59 Revinge 2015.jpg
Tidstypisk svensk soldat i fältuniform m/59. Källa: Wikipedia

Warszawapakten invaderade Sverige i november 1981 som en följd av turbulensen kring U-137:s grundstötning utanför Karlskrona. Man slog till hårt och vann inledningsvis stora segrar på marken i Sydsverige. Men svenska krigsmakten är seg och tränad för fria kriget, dvs gerillakrig med uniformerad personal under korrekt militär ledning.

Nu har det gått sex månader: grundkampanjen inleds i maj 1982. Warszawapakten ockuperar Götaland och Mälardalen. På ytan är dessa områden »pacificerade«. Kreml har installerat en quislingregering i Stockholm. Men striderna rasar vidare i Norrlands barrskogar. Ledarna i Kreml trodde inledningsvis att svenskarna skulle ge upp så snart pansarbrigaderna i Skåne slagits ut, men de börjar inse att så inte är fallet.

USA och Storbritannien spelar under täcket med den svenska exilregeringen i London genom att smuggla vapen, förnödenheter och agenter över den svårövervakade norsk-svenska gränsen; där går Warszawapakten varsamt fram eftersom Kreml inte vill provocera fram ett krig med Nato.

Det här är ett upplägg svenska gamers känner till, eftersom den porträtterats i många böcker, till exempel trilogin om Operation Garbo från 1980-talet.

B. System: EXPERT NOVA
Eloso by Blixt är Elosos produktlinje med spel som jag konstruerar. Samtliga använder specialanpassade varianter av mitt regelverk Expert Nova (länk >>>), vilket är en finslipad variant av BRP 1T20: du spelar med grundegenskaper och färdigheter, och ska slå lågt med en tjugosidig tärning att lyckas. Expert Partisan kommer att innehålla kompletta spelregler.

C. Scenarion: »All business is local«
Jag gillar att gå in på en region i detalj plus några äventyr för att ge spelledaren en startklar kampanjplats. Därför fokuserar Expert Partisan inledningsvis på fria kriget och motståndsrörelsen i Småland**. DDR:s armé ockuperar den landsändan och därför sköts förtrycket av Stasi, en organisation med goda kunskaper om svensk mentalitet. Östtyskarna är dock noga med att visa att de inte är som Tredje Riket, utan att de följer Genève-konventionen och krigets lagar.

Skjutandet av befäl - Luckan -Allmänt militärt forum ...
»Skjut chefen först!« Välbekant maxim för alla svenskar som
gjorde värnplikt under Kalla kriget. Källa: Soldat i fält, 1972

D. ÄVENTYRARNA: dU OCH JAG MITT I ELÄNDET
Äventyrarna kan till exempel vara:
soldater, dvs plutoner improviserade ur spillrorna av brigaderna IB 11 (Växjö), IB 12 (Eksjö), IB 41 (Växjö) och IB 42 (Eksjö), av regementet Ing 2 (Eksjö) och av hemvärnet. De svenska soldaterna bedriver fria kriget i de småländska skogarna med attacker mot östtyska mål eller svenska quislingar.
spioner, huvudsakligen baserade i Växjö eller Kalmar, inom Stay Behind (länk >>>), en väl förberedd svensk organisation som bedriver motstånds- och underrättelseverksamhet på ockuperad mark. (Spelets version av organisationen blir helt fiktiv.)
civilister, dvs »vanligt folk« som strävar att klara vardagens vedermödor och ducka undan Stasis iskalla blick (jämför med den tyska teveserien Weissensee länk >>>).


*Jag valde bort Stormakt Brun, eftersom jag vet så mycket om Tredje Riket att det skulle ta emot att skriva om en fiktiv ockupation av Sverige 1941-45. Det var en måttlöst vidrig tid. Om du läsa om ett sådant scenario, rekommenderar jag Hans Alfredsons roman Attentatet i Pålsjö skog.
** Min fars släkt härstammar från trakten av Eksjö, min mors från trakten av Oskarshamn. Som barn vistades jag några sommarlov »på landet« hos släktingar nära Tingsryd. Därtill har jag under de senaste tjugo åren tillbringat många semestrar i närheten av Nybro. Småland är sålunda ett landskap nära mitt hjärta.

January 2021 Update

  • Mio, min Mio: In late spring, Eloso will launch a cooperative family boardgame based on Astrid Lindgren’s classic fantasy tale Mio, min Mio (Mio, my Mio). I fell in love with that book when I was seven or eight. The game is produced in four Scandinavian languages. However, I am involved merely as an occasional play-tester; my Eloso efforts are dedicated to our role-playing games. 
  • Swedish Call of Cthulhu (SCoC): I have completed Vårvindar friska (Cool Springs Winds), the third episode of my trio of mini-adventures (pamflettäventyr) dedicated to the seasons. They take place in the Gothenburg region in 1926-27 and relate to Hultsby village where I grew up in the 1960s. 
  • Basker Blå: An African campaign setting for the Swedish horror RPG Chock: Åter från graven. In January, I was busy making background research and setting “the stage”, that is, jotting down notes on what I am going to write about and why. I use a mix of tropes from American horror movies and weird/semi-horror Swedish television series. The player adventurers are supposed to be UN peacekeepers, journalists, relief workers, or scholars that work in the fictitious African country Atlântida in the aftermath of civil strife and economic collapse. My intention is to finish writing this setting during Q1.
  • Swedish Runequest (SRQ): Jeff at Chaosium and I have agreed that SRQ will be a different product from the English-language game. The region of Talastar is assigned to us and we will create a setting that resonates with Nordic gamers: deep forests with ruins and dangers, chaos monsters from Dorastor, tricky relations between the barbarian Orlanthi and the overbearing Lunar Empire (inspired by the interaction between the Germanic tribes and the Roman empire in the I-III centuries AD). SRQ is a uniquely Swedish adaptation of the game, that is, I will rewrite its rules according to Swedish traditions and compile Talastar-specific material from many sourcebooks while adding new stuff. The setting’s focal point is the town of Oxhuve (Oxhead). My intention is to write SRQ during 2021 and Eloso will do an SRQ Kickstarter in the autumn.   
  • Outreach: On hold because of my many other commitments.
  • The Expert Series – a teaser: Yes, I am doing some preparatory work for another game in my Expert series. I will publish pertinent details later in 2021. Stay tuned.

Looking forward to 2021

In early January, we in the Eloso team coordinated with Chaosium and set our 2021 production schedule. I have two major tasks on my hand:

  • In January and February, I’ll write the Basker Blå (Blue Beret) campaign module for our Swedish horror RPG Chock. It’s late 1980s. Swedish and Finnish UN peacekeepers are stationed in the fictitious West African country Atlantida, monitoring the truce between the parties of a recent civil war. In the shadows, cruel creatures are feeding on the misery caused by the fighting. 
  • I’ll spend the rest of 2021 developing Swedish Runequest. We’ll make a unique version, putting our piece of the action in a Gloranthan region eminently suited for Swedish RPG traditions at some distance from Dragon Pass and Prax. Therefore, I’ll select, translate, revise and create backstory, cults, cultures, and new character backgrounds to fit our needs. I’d guess that Swedish RQ will comprise two books, 250-300 pages together, that is, sleeker than the Chaosium edition.
  • Eloso’s revised priorities made me put Outreach in the backburner for Q1 and Q2. But rest assured: we have brainstormed how we will develop that game. 
  • Also, I’m busy preparing a new Swedish title in my Expert RPG series for production in 2022.  

Expert Outreach: the Elevator Pitch

Here is my elevator pitch for the Expert Outreach setting. The game will use an adapted version of the Expert Nova rules.


The Zakharr, alien invaders, crushed and chained humanity, and exploited and wrecked Terra for almost a century. But suddenly their empire crumbled as a strange plague killed them all. Who arranged this fortunate calamity and why? Nobody knows.


It’s now AD 2203. Forty years have passed since Terra’s liberation. We humans are busy building a new future in the ruins of the past, surrounded by the remnants of an advanced alien society.

Your mission – if you choose to accept it – is to participate in the rebuilding of our civilization by exploring interstellar space, by unravelling the mysteries of the Zakharr, by liberating fellow humans enslaved on distant worlds, and by thwarting the hostile schemes of alien species. You will be a small actor in a huge arena. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something to save our species from extinction.


But keep in mind, the galaxy is a dangerous place.


Link: https://www.patreon.com/posts/44253004

Kicking off for the Autumn

My career as an RPG writer has taken a wonderful turn. In August, Eloso’s owners held a kick-off weekend during which we made plans for the near future (that is, for 2020/21). We also agreed on how we are to pursue our many projects. 

In short: 

We have currently three major RPG lines to which we all contribute: Chock: Åter från graven; Swedish Call of Cthulhu; and Swedish Runequest. As you can see, Eloso is the Swedish partner of the legendary American RPG company Chaosium. I will be the spider at the center of the  Runequest web — l’araignée universelle — when we re-start translating it in 2021; we had to put the project in the backburner six months ago when covid-19 started wrecking our plans for 2020. 

In addition, I will produce indie-style games under the Eloso by Blixt moniker, some in Swedish, some in English, some in both. I handle most of their production by myself, while Eloso takes care of printing and distribution. The Expert series, powered by the Expert Nova rules, belong here. Currently, I am writing Expert Outreach, a post-apocalyptic space opera game (in English only) and I strive for a 2021 release, though reliable forecasts are currently impossible. There are more titles in the pipeline, but it’s too early to divulge any details about them.

Expert Outreach: My Next Game

During the spring, I pondered a lot on what would become the next installment in my Expert series of games, nowadays produced by Swedish game publisher Eloso where I recently became a minority partner. After a while, I made up my mind: Expert Outreach, post-apocalyptic space opera in which mankind has to survive in a dark cosmos. It is an extensive development of grim visions for the future that I previously have written about in Swedish (link >>>). Expert Outreach will only be published in English.

I have always had a fondness for science fiction RPGs, ever since I entered the universes of Traveller in 1978 (English link >>>); that game turned me into a professional game designer seven years later. I have experimented with plenty of futuristic settings over the years and acquired a taste for gritty ones, that is, The Expanse rather than Star Trek; Rogue One rather than The Phantom Menace. I give Expert Outreach the label “post-apocalyptic space opera”; its theme is “mankind facing a dangerous future” in which our survival as a species is at stake.

Despite my temporary assignment (ends August 31) as an information analyst at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, June has been a surprisingly productive month. So far I have outlined two-thirds of Expert Outreach and written perhaps one-third of the background. I see no significant obstacles when it comes to content, because I know what the game needs and how to make it work.

Expert Outreach uses an adapted version of the Expert Nova rules (that is, my variant of Basic Role-playing 1D20). Elin Blixt does the interior artwork, whereas Clarence Redd and Andreas Sölvebring contribute text. Hopefully some other Swedish game writers will join my creative team.

Expert Nova’s Fundamental Precepts

When you buy a car, you look for a model whose performance suits your needs. The generic car, equally good at all tasks, doesn’t exist. This observation also applies to RPG rules: their designer has, hopefully, a clear notion for what purposes his game is intended.

So, when I start working on a new set of RPG rules, I first visualize a key issue: “What do the adventurers do here?” In other words, what kinds of story/movie/TV-series do you wish to emulate? Your decision takes you to the next question: “What important features does your choice require?” (Dogfighting spacecraft? Sneaky espionage gadgets? Clever heists?) Hence, you must establish a set of precepts to serve as the foundation of your project.

My favorite example is West End Games’s Star Wars D6 from 1987, designed by Greg Costikyan. When I read that game for the first time 33 years ago, it was like seeing an intricate piece of machinery put together by a master craftsman. Greg knew exactly what the Star Wars setting required and he designed the game accordingly, scoring a Gold+ medal for his efforts.

One year ago, I decided (at the spur of a moment) to write Expert Nova. From hour one, I knew for what types of campaigns its rules were intended. My intentions are summarized in the following precepts (central ideas are underlined):

  1. Milieu: Expert Nova is intended for action and adventures in contemporary settings (circa 1880-2050) with technological underpinnings, that is, near-future science fiction, steampunk, dieselpunk, solarpunk, spy thrillers, pulp adventures, alternate history, etc. I also apply two Classical maxims to the game: pántōn chrēmáton ánthrōpon métron eínai* (“man is the measure of all things”, Protagoras) and homo homini lupus est** (“man is man’s wolf”, Plautus), that is, Expert Nova deals with our species facing the universe while simultaneously presupposing that we are our own worst enemy. Hence, moderate “weird technology” lies within Expert Nova’s scope, whereas horror and supernatural entities don’t.
  2. Mood: The players’ adventurers are supposed to be competent people with agency, free will, and a desire to make sensible decisions. That is, a campaign may introduce powerful NPCs with malicious intentions, but there are always ways of opposing them; a setting may be grim, but the adventurers still get the choice to “do the right thing”. For those reasons, railroading adventures, moral nihilism, and “let’s embrace the darkness” attitudes are out of bounds.
  3. Mindset: Adventurers are supposed to think outside the box when facing challenges. Therefore, I encourage clever schemes, cool stunts, and witty repartee.

A Swedish game designer recently asked me whether he could use my rules for a new game project. When he explained its setting to me. I saw that it lay within Expert Nova’s scope, so I granted him permission. I’m looking forward to see what he will accomplish with the Expert Nova “toolbox”.

Expert Nova is available in Swedish and English …
… as paperbacks — link >>>
… as PDFs — link >>> 


* Människan är alltings mått.
** Människan är människans varg.

Writing Despite Covid-19

The covid-19 pandemic is currently setting the rules for everyone. I am a reserve officer of the civil defense service, and some weeks ago, I was called to duty as an information analyst at the Civil Contingencies Agency here in Stockholm. It is a regular  office job: I relieve my career colleagues of routine matters, such as summarizing committee protocols and producing daily updates on activities in other national and regional public agencies. Coordination is the keyword.
Therefore, I had little time for RPG writing in March, but I made the following creative moves:
  • I published Expert Nova, Swedish Edition as a PDF (price: 88 kr, appr. €8) at DriveThruRPG — link >>>
  • I wrote an article for the Fenix RPG magazine about a creepy science fiction creature for Expert Nova.
  • I joined the Eloso team to develop new products the Swedish Chock horror RPG after my “demobilization” from my civil defense duties (hopefully in late May). I cannot go into details at this stage, but I will write on a subject that has been close to my heart for many years.

Creativity Meets Corona

In January I published Expert Nova, English Edition, an English version of my RPG for contemporary adventurous campaigns. It is a straight translation with an additional  chapter on campaign design the Swedish way, with They Came From the Sea!, a “1950s monster movie” setting in a cinematic Australia, as a hands-on instruction.  The game is illustrated by my adult daughter Elin, who is an art & design student. You can buy the game at as a softcover book (64 pages) at Lulu (link>>>) and as a PDF at DriveThruRPG (link >>>). Expert Nova, English Edition got top marks in a review at the Swedish RPG forum WRNU (link >>>); the text is in Swedish, but if you copy-paste it into Google Translate, you’ll get a readable translation.

That being done, January and February proved extremely busy for me. I joined the Eloso team for the final production stages of the Keeper’s and Investigator’s  Books of the Swedish edition of Call of Cthulhu. Their launch is scheduled for Gothcon (Sweden’s premier game con) at Easter. So I spent my days writing, tweaking, editing, and translating. We have written several new chapters dealing with Sweden in the 1920s: society, customs, careers, creepy events, and so on. (For example, why did a Swedish mining company abandon the Pyramiden settlement in Spitzbergen?)

I write regularly for the Swedish gaming magazine Fenix. In February, I put together an article for issue #2/2020: a creepy SF monster for Expert Nova, useful for many contemporary Earth-based campaigns.

I have also outlined several projects for Expert Nova and the Swedish horror RPG Chock.

However, the corona pandemic is a spanner in the works. No, I’m not ill, but last year I signed on as a civilian reserve officer in the Civil Defence Service. Last week, I was called into service at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. It’s an office assignment, nothing out of the ordinary, but I feel proud that I can put my wits and skills to work for the sake of life and health of others. I will be very busy for most of March, therefore having little time to write games.  But I’ll have a small private notebook at hand all the time and every once in a while I’ll jot down new ideas. There will be game stuff later this year, rest assured of that.