A new Dungeons & Dragons 5E setting inspired by African mythology and tradition, and shared with an upcoming video game, has launched on Kickstarter.
The Wagadu Chronicles is both a tabletop roleplaying setting compatible with D&D 5E and a planned MMO for PC focused on in-character roleplaying in its virtual Afrofantasy world.
According to studio Twin Drums, which is developing both the tabletop RPG and its accompanying video game, Wagadu’s lore was created by asking “What if Tolkien was Black?”, applying the same approach to mythology and tradition taken by the Lord of the Rings author to the African continent. The game’s lore was written in consultation with Africa biologists and elders to ensure it remained authentic.
The game replaces the ‘races’ used in other RPGs such as D&D with seven lineages said to be more nuanced in their depiction, with aspects of each lineage’s culture and identity overlapping. Elements of the lore are also said to be based on the diasporic experiences of Black people in America and Europe.
Lineages include the Ironmaster smiths and elemental Asiman, as well as Swala herders, seafaring Ikaki and forest-dwelling Emere. The world includes elements of magic, notably in the Daa’ima “cursed moth people” and half-lion Lionblood lineages.
Wagadu Chronicles adopts D&D’s class system in its tabletop supplement, featuring the core roles of the fantasy RPG: paladin, bard, cleric, barbarian, druid, fighter, monk, hunter and rogue. The MMO, meanwhile, promises to offer a more flexible progression system that allows players to invest experience points in individual skills such as cartography, archery and animal husbandry to create a character with a unique set of talents.
Twin Drums says that Wagadu Chronicles’ tabletop RPG releases will include lore and detail of the world unavailable in the video game: “If you want to truly experience and understand role-play in Wagadu, you'll have to take a look at the lore that is in the books.”
Wagadu Chronicles’ Kickstarter campaign includes the game’s D&D 5E-compatible setting book, which includes detail on the world’s lore and cultures, as well as class options, character backgrounds, magical items and spells for players to use. Two adventures will feature in the book, complete with maps, locations, monsters and plot hooks.
Also being offered via the crowdfunding campaign is a guide to Afrofantasy roleplaying by Wagadu Chronicles co-creator Allan Cudicio and writer Kike Ayoola, including advice on running RPG sessions in a setting inspired by pre-colonial Africa and diasporic culture.
The Wagadu Chronicles Kickstarter runs until October 30th, with both the MMO and 5E setting book planned for release in December 2022. A 300-page guide to the world of Wagadu can be downloaded for free as part of the campaign, including an appendix of creatures and sample adventure The Child and The Oath.