Kata Kumbas was the first Italian rpg ever developed. In 2015 it was back in a Savage Edition, thanks to Umberto Pignatelli. And now, it’s going to be released in English!
“Kata Kumbas (KK) is probably the oldest Italian RPG, published in 1982 by Massimo Senzacqua and Agostino Carrocci. Its name means, in ancient Greek, “near the caverns” and it is a fantasy game, set in an alternate Medieval Italy, in a country called Laìtia (an anagram of “Italia”).
Kata Kumbas is a setting with a strong old school vibe. In it you’ll play a band of adventurers, often rag-tag, lecherous and greedy scoundrels, who wander across a medieval Italy filled with silver-nosed devils, sly friars and enigmatic Romanlike deities.
Many types of stories and trials await you; will you explore the catacombs of Maro, filled with ancient treasures, but guarded by the Hooded Covenant, a sect of renegade friars notorious for their deadly riddles?
Or perhaps you prefer finding a way to beat all other suitors of Countess Morbidella, an enormously rich widow, and marry her despite the rumors of her incredible appetites?
Or, alternatively, join Friar Ricino in his rag-tag crusade against the Threat from Beyond the Sea, looking for riches, glory and beautiful women?
Be ready, because adventure takes a number of forms in Laìtia, some of them merry and sensual, others simply deadly!”
I was used to play Kata Kumbas as a kid and then later again, after my college years. It was not my first rpg, but for sure is one of the best I ever read and played, if we talk about the setting.
In GG Studio they say Kata Kumbas is a “Mediterranean Fantasy“, but I think a better definition could be a “Italian Fantasy Pastiche Wonderland“: part of Uchronic Medieval Weird, part of Bizarro (even if humorous and soft) and part of a Historical / Fabulous “Merry-Italy”.
The original ruleset was not a great one, to be honest: too simple where it should be complex and too complex where it should be simple, but the mood and the flavour were really great!
This erased forever any problem with the rules and gave us again a marvellous game at its best.
I really hope not-Italian players could appreciate this wonderful game, as we do. I can only advice to check on RPGNow or DriveThruRPG for the Kata Kumbas Primer, that includes a fully playable scenario and four pre-gens heroes.
The whole Setting Book, in printed and digital version, will be released in a few weeks and you can have it in your hands at GenCon 2016, if you are going to attend that Convention.
PS: I’m not part of the main project/team for this game, but I wrote an official adventure for it. I hope it will be translated too, soon or later! 😉