Designer’s Journal: Doom Realm

At my core I simply love to create things and I am always up for a challenge that will get those creative juices stirred up. Recently I saw a roll and write game designed by Mark Jindra entitled Pencils & Powers. It was actually an entry into a design contest that both of us had entered. I was intrigued to say the least at a game that played via one 8.5×11″ piece of paper and four standard dice. Oh, and a pencil of course.

21766597_10159499181065691_7508298356610889614_nSo I printed out a copy of Pencils & Powers (Which is free to do and I highest suggest), sharpened a pencil, grabbed some dice, brewed a cup of hot Joe, and sat down and began my first quest. I was immediately hooked and knew right than that I too had to make one of these types of games.

Heavily influenced by P&P, I started at it. I wanted a more dark fantasy theme with zero magic, but that still pulled at the heartstrings of those nostalgic for the original D&D. Lucky for me that my own personal art style reflects that sort of look, though a bit crudely. But that is fine by me. The non-professional look of my art actually brings me back to the early days of xeroxing little adventures back in the 1980s. Not that my art is bad, it just is not exactly top shelf, but in a way I think it makes it perfect for this.

So what is Doom Realm?

Doom Realm will hopefully be a series of free print and play roll and write games. You will need to print out the rules, which I am still working on, and an adventure. The first such adventure is Rise of the Troll King. Each adventure will have you take a new set of heroes on a quest of some sort where you will have to explore a map/dungeon and unlock locations. These locations will have both an encounter/enemy and a treasure associated with them. The goal being to defeat all the enemies and of course take out the boss.

0-Rise of the Troll King v2

How does it work?

Game play is quite simple on the surface. You roll 4 standard 6-sided dice. You then must allocate one dice to each of the four places on the sheet. Repeat this until you unlock and defeat all locations and score as many points as you can along the way. Let’s take a quick look at each of the four places you can allocate a die.

MAP – One die must be used to explore the map. Each side of the die allows the player to shade in a certain shape of hexes on the map. When a number is shaded in in front of location, the player may attempt to battle the enemy there and secure the treasure that resides there.

ENEMY – One die is also used to increase the power of an enemy. You must choose to either make the enemy have more health or deal more damage. So as the game progresses your foes will gain in power, so you need to balance how powerful you want them to get with how big the treasure horde is there.

TREASURE – Another die is used to increase the size of a treasure horde by shading in the next square in the corresponding treasure. All sorts of helpful items can be had including swords, shields, and potions, but sometimes moving down the treasure track will add obstacles like traps or locks.

LOCATION- The fourth and final die is used to increase the power level of a location. This both increases the amount of gold there and the power of the enemy. Whenever a star is shaded in on the location tracker you must shade in a box on the enemy residing there. Scary!

DLAxURtXkAUs7e2That is about it. Testing is ongoing but I am pretty close to releasing the first adventure. My long term plan, though perhaps a bit challenging, is to create a system where you can build your own quests by mixing and matching locations and enemies and allowing you to pick which heroes are used in each quest. This will require cards and perhaps even tokens. But that is down the road. For now the goal is to have a tight and rewarding experience for players that is both enjoyable and challenging.

More to come, so stay tuned….

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2 Responses to Designer’s Journal: Doom Realm

  1. jasongreeno says:

    I hadn’t heard of Roll & Writes until your Twitter post — thanks for the heads up. I’m in the midst of playing 1576 and pondering what genre I would make my own R&W within. If you ever want collaborate on these, let me know. There’s definitely an appeal for games that can ‘pause’ while I go take care of my son or other Life Stuff.

  2. Pete says:

    Don’t be so hard on yourself with regard to art. Your art is totally fitting for the game design, and honestly, I like the look, personally. So does my wife. The game rocks, looks good (and quite authentic for throwback D&D), and didn’t cost anyone a dime to own. Total win all the way around.

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