Ancient ruins and magical songs
Fellipe da Silva, from Brazil, talks about Forgotten Ballad
Hey everyone! Welcome to this week's edition of Global South Shoutout, where we shine the spotlight on tabletop RPGs and their creators from the global south.
Today, we're excited to introduce you to a new adventure game that's looking for funding right now! This minimalist game, inspired by the Legend of Zelda series and NSR RPGs, has been created by none other than Brazilian designer and author, Fellipe da Silva.
Forgotten Ballad is a game that emphasizes problem-solving and exploration, using only a dice pool of d6s and creativity to help players navigate through ancient ruins and recover magical songs, powerful relics, and face wondrous guardians. The game's focus on managing inventory and solving problems, as well as its references to Mausritter and Knave, is certain to catch the attention of many tabletop RPG enthusiasts.
So buckle up, grab a drink, and let's dive into the world of Forgotten Ballad!
How does Forgotten Ballad pay homage to classic adventure games like The Legend of Zelda series and NSR RPGs?
For me, those games already have a big focus on inventory and items. While playing, you will see yourself thinking how you can solve a problem or situation with your items. And they generally are built around dungeon exploration and journeying.
Forgotten Ballad was born during a jam to adapt video games to TTRPG. When I looked at Zelda, I saw the same structure: lots of puzzles, dungeons, wilderness to explore and magic items.
While designing, my first approach was to think what kind of skills and attributes the game needed. But eventually I looked back and realized: they were not needed to give the game the vibe I was looking for. Everything was about the items you carry.
What kind of experience do you hope players will have while playing it?
I hope they feel curious. And that might create a sense of discovery, exploration and creativity. Modern RPGs are sometimes very specific on how some things work. When I offer just items, I hope it gives them a tool. A thing that offers multiple possibilities.
Can you explain the minimalist approach to character creation in Forgotten Ballad?
Characters have no stats, attributes or skills. They are just:
Three hearts - the amount of damage they can take
A background - a broader sense of the kind of things they know
A weapon - a rare thing in the world, it might give them a sense of power and importance
An instrument - how they want to express themselves
Sometimes during playtest, I asked them to choose another item. And it always gave the exact sense of what I expect: all those things are subtle choices that build their character and the kind of hero they want to be.
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How does the game's inventory management system play into problem-solving and exploration?
The inventory is slot based, giving the players a clear sense of how much they can carry. I believe that games are a series of interesting questions. So, when they are planning to explore a new place, they might ask: "What kind of place is that?" and then "What kind of item will I need?" and "How much space will I need to get the thing back".
And in face of the challenges they might ask themselves, "How can I use what I have?". And even when they need to make checks, items give an extra advantage to it.
Can you talk about the role that music and magic play in Forgotten Ballad?
In the first pamphlet, music was just a tool for worldbuilding and mechanically a way to access magic. But with more room to write, I wanted it to give more personality to the party and make it another tool for them to use.
What kind of players do you think will enjoy "Forgotten Ballad"?
Players who enjoy fiction-heavy roleplay, lots of good challenges to dive into, and things and places to explore. Which might describe exactly the kind of player I am.
Can you share some of the most memorable moments or experiences you've had while playtesting "Forgotten Ballad"?
There was a play session where I asked each player to choose a bottle with something in it. It was a "That's it" moment! They made so many funny choices, lots of drinkable goodies. The must memorable one for me was the guy who came up with a glue bottle. Genius.
Can you talk about the new NPC, side quest, and landmark generators included in the funded version of the game?
When I was first writing the game, I came to the conclusion that the most interest things to learn from Zelda (besides the super focus on inventory) are the design of dungeons, items, world etc. So I wrote some tables and procedures to generate those things. But I couldn't finish them, and the ones I did wouldn't fit the pamphlet. So I'm doing it right now in hope to make the GM life easier.
How can our readers follow you and your work, and find out more about "Forgotten Ballad" and your other creations?
And that's a wrap for today's Global South Shoutout! We hope you enjoyed getting to know more about Forgotten Ballad and its creator, Fellipe da Silva, from Brazil. If you're a fan of the genre, we highly recommend giving Forgotten Ballad a try!
As always, thank you for tuning in, and we hope you'll keep following along for more exciting shoutouts from the Global South. If you loved this newsletter, don't hesitate to share it with your friends who also love RPGs. We can't wait to bring you more games and creators of this diverse world in the future!