How many times as Game Masters have we heard,
“Sorry bro, can’t make the game tonight, gotta do this thing, with this person, you know.”
“Um dude, you are kinda the main show tonight, you asked me to run your character through this thing, with the thing, for this person…”
“I know bro, but sorry dude… gotta bounce on tonight” Well it sounded like that in the early 90s, but it still happens today, just in new lingo.
So all that careful planning on the game is put on hold until the next time that game can be played. Sometimes though, the person bouncing on the session lets the group know 10 minutes late, where the rest of you are around the table with snacks and drinks. Sometimes you just need a quick and easy game with minimal rules, 2 minute character creation, and not an overarching grand plot to have a fun night of RPG fun. Enter 9 Lives to Valhalla.
9 Lives to Valhalla is produced by Gem Room Games which I backed on Kickstarter for 15 bucks. At that backer level I got the main rule booklet, and a pre generated one shot, The Wreck of the Murderous, also in a booklet form. They are good quality, and the paper has a nice thick waxy feel so I wouldn’t worry too much about spilling my honey mead on them if I wipe them down quickly. It has cute art work of the Cats about to go a-viking in…
Did I say cats…yes, yes I did.
In this game you play as Viking Cats, each wanting to get vengeance on their sworn enemy that kept them from Valhalla’s eternal mead…milk? hall from before. So they have 9 cat lives to reclaim their rightful place by Odin’s side. Oh and one person, plays Death. As Death, your job is to let them kill, maim, and slash their way to glorious death. Unless of course, they want your job instead.
That’s right, the kitty warriors may decide that they want to take over the Game Master’s job, and become Death incarnate themselves. If this happens, the former Death, creates a cat warrior, so they too can fight for the chance at Valhalla.
And that is the premise of the game, and it requires little in the way of starting. d4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 are the dice used, scratch paper to jot down information, character sheet, and everything a ttrpger knows they need to game. So I won’t bore you with all the deets.
The character creation is simple, 4 attributes (Brutality, Viciousness, Cunning, and Ferocity) And to create a kitty warrior, you have a name, a hated nemesis, a favored God of the Pantheon, a weapon mastered, and a blessing of Valhalla. You can add details like fur color and a description of your furry character. Get your stats from your favored god, pick your weapon, gain an enemy and a powerful boon, and boom you’re done and ready to play. The main game booklet is 29 pages long. So not a long lists of weapons, boons, etc to go through, and most people have a preferred playing style, so at most maybe 10 minutes to put together a character.
The pre-written one shot booklet is 13 pages long, and is pretty straightforward, so not a lot of time is needed for whoever is playing Death to read through and tweak. Can honestly be done while players are making their characters.
9 Lives to Valhalla is a fun game for when you need a night of cat mayhem when the regularly scheduled game is a no go for whatever reason. I guess you could make a regular campaign of it, but since glorious death is a main focus of the game, it will have a high PC turn over rate. Good thing new characters are so easy to make.
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