I’ve had this website for a while, with every intention of posting about Tabletop Roleplaying design, but I’ve never gotten around to using it.  Now that the new Forbidden Lands Kickstarter is live and doing very well, I’ve been inspired to start this blog as I go through the design process of my roleplaying system, Nordsaga.

So what is Nordsaga, you are probably wondering?

For starters, it started life as GFRP, with the acronym standing for “Grimdark Fantasy Roleplay”.  This (unsurprisingly) means it is a grimdark fantasy game, and is inspired by the king of all grimdark fantasy games – Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WFRP).

Mechanically, I have decided to ditch WFRP’s d100 system for a heavily modified “Year Zero” ruleset. This ruleset uses pools of dice, the size of which is determined by Attribute plus Skill (plus any other relevant modifiers). You want the highest face on the dice to turn up for a success.

Where I initially diverge from the Year Zero ruleset is that I use d8 as the main dice, rather than the standard d6. I have found that skill tests in other Year Zero games succeed too often, and while this can be managed by reducing the size of the pools, I can control this even further by changing the dice. As a minor side benefit, the d8 also rolls a bit better than the d6.

For those of you interested, here’s a table showing the probability of getting a single success in different dice pool sizes, comparing the d6 to the d8.

Odds of Success with Different Dice
# of dice d6 prob. d8 prob.
1 17% 13%
2 31% 23%
3 42% 33%
4 52% 41%
5 60% 49%
6 67% 55%
7 72% 61%
8 77% 66%
9 81% 70%
10 84% 74%

I really like those d8 probabilities!

The final thing to mention here is that I am still debating how to “push the roll”. This is where you can decide to reroll the entire dice pool, normally at a cost.  This is a feature of all the games which use the Year Zero ruleset, though they each handle that cost differently.

Future posts will talk about the default setting I will be including, as well as a look at Attributes and Skills, the Career system and Magic.


  1. Who plays in your games? Am I light years behind if I wanted to try participating? Or do they only work if you play in person?

    1. I have two groups. One is a local, face-to-face group here in Germany (we play every 3 weeks), the other is my old group in England (we play once a week). In England, they all sit together and I dial in by Skype. But we aren’t playing this game, as it’s not ready yet.

      Nathan also wants to help playtest this game, so if you’re really interested, maybe we can arrange something online.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *