For a while, Brian and I have been talking about Codename: Vault Hunters, a game inspired by video games like Borderlands and Destiny. We tinkered with mechanics, setting, etc., and we hit on a set of ideas that we’re happy to announce as our next project in development:
The Lucerne Empire is falling, faster in some places than others. When the Vör abandoned them, they pulled back, withdrew from the places they once claimed. They left so much devastation behind. Planets, entire systems that relied on Lucerne infrastructure were left to fend for themselves. The Lucerne classified them as dead, uninhabited. They were written off as if the Empire had never occupied, settled, or experimented on them.
The Vör work with us now, and we work for those abandoned by the Lucerne. We’re the sword against the Empire. We are the Valkyries, and we fight for the dead.
— Commander Marisa, Sentinel
Project Brief: Valkyries is a tabletop RPG about a group of all-women/trans/non-binary/agender mercenaries who take jobs raiding planets left for dead by the Lucerne Empire.
System: Hack of the Demon Hunters RPG, with heavy card-based elements for easy swapping of weapons, shields, class mods, etc. Stunts will be baked into the weapons and gear, making each item unique.
Inspirations: Borderlands, Destiny, Warhammer 40k.
Necessities of Presentation: No white dudes in the art, strong cultural representation.
Practical Concerns: Representation vs appropriation.
Feel During Play: Quick decision-making, weapons/items as abilities to add to die pool, dark humor + hope, badass PCs, feelings of capability, even in the face of incredible odds, large-scale enemies (quantity and size), over-arching theme of fuck the establishment/patriarchy/colonialism.
Why We Made These Choices
There are many games out there where a white, male perspective is the default. We want Valkyries to not be that. To that end, all of Archetypes will be represented by women/agender/genderqueer/non-binary characters. Also, all of the archetypes and everyone represented in the art for the game will be non-white.
There’s no reason to not do this, so we’re going to do it.
For the system, Demon Hunters is a hack of Fate by Cam Banks, Amanda Valentine, et al., that uses traditional dice and target numbers rather than Fate/Fudge dice. I think it matches the gritty tone of Valkyries better than Fate does, while still keeping everything I love about Fate.
The book will be all-inclusive, so it’ll be all you need to play. Each Archetype will have a particular set of focuses in and out of combat. You’ll be able to play them straight up, using the normal advancement rules, or you’ll be able to get crunchier and use skill trees for each Archetype.
The development will be open, and I’ll be documenting its progress here on the Exploding Rogue website. As well, we’ll be getting a lot of input and feedback from people of the racial and gender spectra that we will be featuring. We want to represent, not appropriate.
We don’t have a firm timeframe for Kickstarter or production aside from wanting to have this out sometime in 2016. We’re going to have the game done before we launch any crowdfunding.
We’re both very excited about this project, and it’s one of a few different things we’re going to be working moving forward. Keep your eyes here for more info as we develop this game.