"Oh cool... So you're STILL working on this?" -- A guy at GenCon

"If I see Drah-koo-lah, I will. kick. him. in. the eye!!!" -- My 4 (almost 5) year old daughter. She GETS it!

"Meatpie Forever!" -- A playtester at GenCon 2013

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What is TA/TG exactly?

Could you post a short description of what TA/TG is exactly? I know it's set in transylvania and has guns, but what is the tone of the setting? Is there Christianity? Are the adventures as "over the top" as the standard DCC senarios? What is the setting and the campaign going to be like?
Mark Brantingham posted this on the blog and I think it warrants some answers.

Could you post a short description of what TA/TG is exactly?
TA/TG is two books: Transylvanian Adventures and The Transylvanian GrimoireTransylvanian Adventures contains character classes, charts, rules addenda, a hexmap, a sample adventure, monsters, adversaries and advice for playing in a Hammer Horror style campaign using the DCC ruleset. The Transylvanian Grimoire, at this time, features more adversaries, monsters, a couple more charts, a few more classes as well as an entirely new spellcasting system and collection of spells for use with Transylvanian Adventures.

I know it's set in transylvania and has guns, but what is the tone of the setting?
I find it easier to describe the tone in terms of movies or video games that a group could emulate with TA/TG's ruleset. TA/TG lends itself to a roleplaying tone similar to movies such as Sleepy Hollow, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows  and Hammer Horror classics such as Brides of Dracula. A group could also emulate video games such as Castlevania and Fables 3. As far as tone goes, the default tone is late 19th century Gothic Horror with an Action-Adventure twist. Investigation and research is mechanically important in gameplay -- moreso than even in a game like Call of Cthulhu. Whereas most investigative roleplaying games rely on the Judge or GM to "script" the investigation. In TA/TG, it's part of the game -- like Initiative or Combat. This gives TA/TG games a different arc from the usual fantasy roleplaying games.

Is there Christianity?
Yes. Very much so. TA/TG doesn't make distinctions among denominations. There's just "The Church" but its trappings are very much Christian. TA/TG uses this as a default. But groups can do whatever they want. There's a good deal of word count in the book on how TA/TG treats religion -- both explaining why I went with a nominally Christian church as well as how to change things up in a way that suits one's own religious preferences. TA/TG assumes a default but doesn't prescribe it. It's an element of flavor, but not a requirement.

Are the adventures as "over the top" as the standard DCC scenarios?
In play, not really. TA/TG tones down the gonzo-ness of standard DCC. The magic in The Transylvanian Grimoire draws more from books like Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and traditional, fictional depictions of magic and spellcasting. There's alot more unseen forces and goat's blood and a lot less prismatic spray and chicken heads.

In publication, the 0-Level adventures are slightly different in tone but play similarly. There's nothing slated for release beyond TA/TG. TA/TG would have to do really well for me to convince my wife that I need to write more adventures to support it. Or I'd have to get enough interest to warrant hiring a writer to put adventures together.

What is the setting and the campaign going to be like?
The setting is like those movies I mentioned. A gray, misty land with vampires, werewolves and worse lurking in the dark forests and remote castles. I have a whole chapter describing what a campaign would be like. Mostly it's a series of arcs incorporating research, investigation, exploration and adventure. 

In terms of the usual fantasy roleplaying adventure, take the standard "dungeon" and cut it in half. So adventuring in crypts, dungeons and caverns might take one evening in a three-session adventure. Or an evening and a half. The rest of the adventure would be spent researching, investigating and finding clues that would help the characters once they finally discover where the monster's lair is located.

Following each adventure, there is a brief "mini-game" that depicts what happens to characters between adventures. This could include anything from falling in love to getting married to discovering a new spell or a litany of tragic results. This mini-game helps to give the Judge/GM inspiration to use for a follow-up adventure as well help to answer the question of what a party should do next.

I hope that answers some questions. I'll try to post more in the future.


  1. I've had a chance to see the materials so far, and I have to say that this seems to me to be a cross between Hammer Horror and DCC, with some really cool mechanics to back up the Hammer-style Gothic Horror conventions.

    Also, the beginning adventure is truly a nice piece of work.

  2. Thanks very much. It really sounds interesting. Can't wait to get my copies. (G)