- 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.
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.
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.
- Expert Outreach: I have designed a quartet of xenos (alien species) that the adventurers are likely to encounter on faraway worlds. Lennart Larsson is my indispensable sounding board; a straight-forward and sharp-eyed veteran gamer that spots clichés and weaknesses in my texts.
- SCoC: I am working on a trio of interconnected short adventures (pamflettäventyr), tentatively called Tre årstider (Three Seasons), that take place in Gothenburg and the rural district south of the city.
- In September, I completed the autumn episode Charons lur (Charon’s Bugle) that takes place in October 1926.
- In October, I started developing the winter episode En vanartig gosse (A Disobedient Lad). It’s December 1926 and the police investigators return to an old crime scene to check strange goings-on that might be connected to the events of episode 1.
- There will also be a spring episode, tentatively named Vårvindar friska (Chilly Spring Breezes). The story-line skips to March 1927, when the ice breaks along the coastline south of Gothenburg.
- Chock: I have outlined Basker Blå (The Blue Beret)*, a setting located in Atlantida, a fictitious West African country, during the second half of the 1980s. The United Nations has dispatched a multinational peace-keeping force, including a Swedish-Finnish infantry battalion, to monitor a shaky armistice in a civil war. The adventurers can be blue berets, journalists or relief workers; regard of which, they will soon get entangled in the malevolent schemes of foul beings from the Beyond.
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.
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.
My assignment at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency ended in late July; the Swedish corona infection rate has decreased steadily since May and the agency therefore wished to down-size its pandemic emergency organization. I was a civilian reserve officer, not an employee, so I was demobilized with one week’s notice.
As a sunny summer is upon us and schools are closed, I took two daughters on a road & ferry trip to the beautiful island of Gotland and to the port city of Gothenburg. A sorely needed time to wind down after five stressful months in the service of our country. Plenty of long walks in the company of close friends plus a few games of Terraforming Mars.
I also used my time to manage my ongoing projects, two games for Eloso and one short novel:
Expert Outreach: I have written plenty of text for this English post-apocalyptic RPG, describing the broken cosmos into which the intrepid adventurers venture. Mankind’s survival on a war-ravaged Earth is at stake and the remedies are to be found “out there”. But many competing sapient species dislike or hate us, so it’s a tough struggle. During June and July, I have had a few fruitful design discussions by email and F2F with the “usual suspects” Lennart Larsson, Jon Ljunggren, and Clarence Redd. Their critical input is essential to my designs. In earlier creativity updates, I have mentioned that I’m working on rules for exonics (paranormal powers); they are now a part of the Outreach rules. Also, Elin Blixt and I have had several sessions discussing what various xenos (i.e. alien species) should look like.
Swedish Call of Cthulhu: I am busy writing a short adventure taking place in the outskirts of Gothenburg in the 1920s (to be published as a PDF) and an article for the Fenix game magazine on a alternate Swedish setting.
Dusk and Dawn: I have been writing this English science fiction novel for some years. In-story, the protagonists have been struggling to accomplish a major undertaking. At the keyboard, I have struggled with how set up the final showdown. In July, I arrived at a plot finale that makes sense and also matches several fore-shadowing clues that I inserted in the story on day one. At last! Jubilation! However, four chapters remain to to be written — don’t hold your breath.
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.