Design Diary for 18XX Ragnarok

18XX Ragnarok is a game about a lineage of Nordic superheros fighting against eldritch gods.

In here I've disclaimed my current game design process. I'll use that as a frame work to keep things organized here


After 18XX Dreams, I thought I've written everything I wanted for the setting (naive me strikes again!). Looking for other arts I've come to the one above. I've added a purple hue to it because somebody had already released a game with the cover in original format. It's probably an octopus but the focs on the 'face' is so strong that I instinctily associate it to Chtulhu and lovecraftian pantheon. Vikings vs Lovecraft seemed pretty rad.

When vikings existed? I'm pretty sure is WAY earlier than 19th century. How could I have vikings at the 1800s?  What if they are descendants? Why would they look viking at the time? Maybe a costume for honoring the gods?


Googling confirmed that viking era were some centuries prior, so heritage would make sense. Also it made realize I would need much detail regarding viking society and should focus on the scandinavian region and nordic gods and magic. I already had some references regarding gods (American Gods, Norse Mythology, besides being a fan of mythologies in general). Nevertheless, I read more regarding details from the gods and also better understanding the runes. Discovering their were runestones spread across scandinavian region and other places was useful too.

Focusing on the lovecraftian side, the author was born in the 1800s  but only have written about it in the following century. No problem. Gods could have influenced him from childhood up. I've already read much about it in games (Elder Sign, Akrham Horror, Cthulhu Mythos...) 


 First thing was to decide which gods should I select.  Here I went for the classics and main ones. Clearly this is the one I most enjoyed using quotes besides the options. Made them less woody and convey the style of a god follower.

Skipped having a regular items section ( I doubt a regular pistol would be useful for an avatar or against an elder god), Instead, transporting all across everywhere and not be a wanderer made connect the runestones to teletransport. pretty handy for heroes staying there. Initially I thought about having the runestones only help you perform, like those out of nowhere number pads and shafts from Cybercops

Main runes were ripped of from some tables and are 'official' translations. I've added exclusive runes to the gods because we don't know but they surely would.

At this moment, for the first time, I wondered: what if this is a family? All previous games the characters would be comrades of some wort, but I've never explored relationships before in 18XX. Adding now fels right somehow. Making the ties related to the patron felt like everything was feedbacking on itself.

GM tables were centered on place, problem and ritual. Here came the idea of the player choosing to let the ritual finish and defeat the god or prevent it altogether. Instead of adding the original names (which most people cant remember anyway ), I summarized them in titles, main describing feature, and powers.


More than one session wanted a megazord. Not sure I'll add that when writing 18XX almanac. beside that people like the freeform way of applying runes to things. I definitely would like more patrons and bonds questions in the family.

Combining with other 18XX games

Teletransporting runestones can allow heroes to be anywhere and elder gods can , in practice, be summoned from anywhere..

  • Muramasa a blade is evolving to become and elder god avatar
  • Outlaw a whole town is being used for the ritual, all residents are fakes
  • Locker davy jones was captured in your last meeting to get an escapee back, he will be sacrificed or changed.
  • Night a Night Lord kidnapped acolytes and want to alter the ritual so the god obey them
  • Victorian studies of mxiing tech and rune magic have acolytes patrons
  • Dreams other gods seems to missing from the dreaming, what happened to them?
  • Solomon dungeons is fjord, heroes think they are demons
  • Richelieu a Royal Garden have a grudge against the acolytes
  • Rail Way conspiracy has been trying to recreate the teletransporting runestones to speed up the plan

Get 18XX Ragnarok

Buy Now$3.00 USD or more

Leave a comment

Log in with to leave a comment.