The GRAM Role-Playing Game is a tabletop roleplaying game from The Sword of Odin design studio and freelance game designer Andrew M. “Fish” Popowich, who previously worked with Alderac Entertainment Group and Crafty Games. GRAM, named after Odin’s sword in the Völsunga saga, was created as a flexible system that focuses on the narrative first and approachable gameplay second. Development started in 2009 and the game was run sporadically at games stores around Michigan and at conventions such as Gen Con in 2013 and 2018. In early 2018 The Brotherhood of Cain: Patience of a Sinner became the first official release using the engine here on DriveThruRPG. Several informational releases and scenario modules followed and a Kickstarter is being planned to get a full set of the rules online and available.
The key points are as follows:
- The game mechanics are easy to understand as both a player and as a GM and math has been minimized as much as possible making it ideal for younger audiences and players who are new to the hobby. Players need only a single twenty-sided die, a character sheet, and a one page reference sheet to have everything they need (and never need the rule book), the GM also has a second reference sheet and shares a deck of playing cards with the table. You can read an overview of the rules in Shaping the Sword.
- Characters are built as a personality first, statblock second and are created by selecting from a diverse range of abilities instead of structured classes that highlight teamwork, utility, and alternative problem-solving paths which allows and encourages players to bring their unique concept to life, from sniper-mages to rap gods to sentient barrelfolk.
- Players earn rewards for invoking their character concepts such as quirks and relationships which lends to players staying more in character, interacting with their party, and participating in the story and less time metagaming and rules-lawyering.
- The game engine and the characters are created to be flexible and adapt as play progresses; characters can evolve and their character sheet changed. There are no strict archetypes forming a dedicated path to power or destiny and no one way to ”win.”
- Conflict is resolved through competitions which are fast paced and engaging, using a deck of playing cards. There is no dedicated set of skills, but attribute tests using twenty-sided dice against static numbers or compared to an opponent’s roll when opposed. These options come into play more frequently than combat, which when it does happen takes place on a grid and is quickly but tactically resolved.
- Creativity is encouraged for players and GMs with customization suggested in the form of tips and tricks from the development team on how to make the game your own from renaming and tweaking abilities to borrowing from pop culture, and including anecdotes about real-play experiences.
- Nearly 30 different campaign sagas have been played to date, from classic fantasy to near-modern horror; from contemporary modern day to far-reaching sci-fi. This includes both original campaigns and “fanfiction” mock ups of worlds from popular shows, movies, and books. These have all been detailed to provide options to get started and inspiration for you to build your own worlds! More information about these stories can be found in The Sagas of GRAM.
So, what are you waiting for? Get ready to Forge Your Own Saga! For more information check out gramrpg.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!