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Free League is reincarnating Sweden’s first TRPG as “mirth and mayhem roleplaying” game Dragonbane

The Swedish tabletop invasion goes back to its roots.

Art from Free League's upcoming tabletop RPG Dragonbane. A red-robed mage casts a screaming raptor made of fire from her jagged staff.
Image: Johan Egerkrans/ Free League

Free League Publishing announced a new tabletop RPG at Gen Con that harkens back to the beginning of the hobby in Sweden. Dragonbane, a reimagining of the influential Drakar och Demoner, will launch a crowdfunding campaign at the end of August.

The Swedish publisher dropped the news as part of its Gen Con Indy 2022 appearance. This will be the first time the tabletop RPG, which was created in 1982 and thus celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, will be printed in English, and Free League says the team wants to show a broader audience why Drakar och Demoner was so influential.

Dragonbane will be a “classic fantasy RPG full of magic, mystery, and adventure”, according to Free League, with rules that facilitate groups who want to hit the table running and not feel bogged down by copious prep work. The game easily tells classic fantasy stories - adventurous, daring and a healthy dose of grim danger, but this new edition will embrace what the publisher called a “mirth and mayhem roleplaying” style that can also work for breezy one-shot delves that leave plenty of room for goofiness and fun moments.

Not yet familiar with Swedish roleplaying? It draws plenty of inspiration from the OSR scene, which Maddie explains in this introduction to old school dice rolling.aption>

The Kickstarter campaign, which will go live on August 30th, will be raising funds for the core game, a boxed starter set and at least one full adventure to accompany it - Free League states that additional adventures will be tied to stretch goals.

Tomas Härenstam takes the lead design reins for Dragonbane - the Free League veteran has previously steered the creation of Alien RPG, Mutant: Year Zero and the upcoming Blade Runner RPG. Johan Egerkrans will provide plenty of artwork for the game, including the cover of the boxed set. Tabletop players will recognise the Swedish illustrator for his work on Vaeson: Nordic Horror, which is inspired by Egerkrans own book of the same name.

Acclaimed Swedish author Niklas Natt och Dag, who specialises in historical fiction, is joining the writing team to help bring the pivotal TRPG into a contemporary scene that has been enjoying a “Swedish invasion” for several years at this point. Given the surge in popularity for OSR-inspired games and Free League’s burgeoning reputation as a curator of in-house hits and indie darlings, Dragonbane could find a large audience ready and willing to embrace tradition.

About the Author
Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter


Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.

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