Chatting with Giuseppe Rotondo about Gold & Glory, the missing link between Savage Worlds and the Old School of role-playing game!
The last post of this blog was about Gold & Glory, the new Savage Setting created by my friend Giuseppe Rotondo. Giuseppe is one of the best Italian game designer and one of the few Italian authors able to write directly in English without any effort (sadly, unlike me).
I have already played Gold & Glory before the official release, but a few days ago we met at Lucca Comics & Games (the second greatest C&G Convention in the world) and I got my physical copy of the book. So good!
It would not be fair by my side to write a review of this game, because of our partnership in other RPG projects, so I asked Giuseppe to answer some question I think gamers could be interested in. Call it an “interview”, if you want, but I see it as a friendly chat on the game, just another way to explore Gold & Glory.
Hello Giuseppe, congratulations on the first book of Gold & Glory: Seven Deadly Dungeons! Old School and Savage Worlds are a strange mix. How did you make it work?
I’ve always considered Savage Worlds to be a great rules system to play Old School dungeons. First of all, Savage Worlds has super fast rules, very much like the classic RPGs of dungeon exploration, so combat encounters don’t last hours, even when it’s against a horde of enemies or a “boss fight” (or both!). That leaves you with plenty of time to enjoy role-playing, mystery and exploration which, to me, is a fundamental part of Old School dungeons.
In classic games you have Hit Points that gradually deplete as you delve deeper. In Savage Worlds you have Bennies instead, which are there for you when things get nasty. Of course, that’s not the same thing: that’s actually better! A character at full HP feels “invulnerable”, while Savage Worlds still makes you evaluate risks even if you still have all your Bennies with you.
The one thing that actually makes a game of Gold & Glory feel different from other Savage Worlds games, in my opinion, is that players aren’t in for a linear adventure with a clear beginning, a sequence of orchestrated scenes and an end: they are required to frequently evaluate how the group is faring and consequently decide how much they want to risk and when to retreat from the dungeon, either because they are wounded, out of Bennies, or short on Power Points (or all these things together!).
I think your game is “fast, furious and fun”, even if in a different way from usual SW books. How about the Fantasy Companion and other Fantasy Settings? Can you use them with Gold & Glory?
Gold & Glory can be used with virtually any fantasy setting! The random character creation system uses the traditional fantasy races (humans, dwarves, elves and so on), but those can be easily adapted to other, fancier races if you play a more exotic setting.
The Seven Deadly Dungeons that are the core of the book can be inserted into any fantasy setting with minimal adaptation (or even none): you might want to swap out monsters, but that’s basically it. Dungeons like The Halls of Pain, The Snake Shrines or The Iron Vat have a very distinct Sword & Sorcery feel and can be played in settings like Beasts and Barbarians, or Lankhmar, with no tweaking needed.
I’ve heard you saying “it is the game I always wanted to play”. Tell us more: what are the highlights, the real pillars of the gaming experience?
It’s really easy: I wanted something that allowed me to literally pick up the book, grab the dice, cards and some character sheets and start playing. No preparation, no need to write or even just read a new adventure. Let’s just sit, roll characters and get into the dungeon: fight monsters, solve puzzles and grab treasures!
So this is what the book offers.
The random character creation system is aimed at that, on the players side. On the GM side, I wanted dungeons to be random, for replayability and persistent mystery, but I also wanted them to be meaningful to players. Most randomized dungeon systems often lack depth and flavour in that they just produce a sequence of combat encounters, traps and treasures.
Each of the Seven Deadly Dungeons in the book has its own theme, which is reflected in the monsters, hazards and treasures, but also offers a unique environment made of interactive features, small puzzles and special secrets, to keep players engaged in the exploration which, in my opinion, is the true fun of dungeon delving!
I see G&G good for casual gamers, even for newbies. But what about campaigns? Characters will always be adventurers and dungeon crawlers or they could also be heroes devoted to long, story-driven quests?
Gold & Glory is great for casual games and for introducing friends to RPGs, but also has enough to engage veteran players for longer campaigns, as it introduces “downtime” activities and its own Experience system.
Each dungeon is designed to be played more than once, and it is very unlikely that a group might unfold all of its mysteries in a single expedition. And in the book there are seven dungeons to explore!
What’s in the future of G&G?
A lot! We are currently working on finalizing the Italian version, but we’ve also started designing new contents for a sequel. And there’s even more on the table, but it’s something so big I am not allowed to reveal yet!