Winds of the North Preview 4: Exploring the North

Grotto by Nils Bergslien, exhibited in Hotel Vøringfoss in Eidfjord, Norway.

Winds of the North is an upcoming solo Viking gamebook. It features sandbox gameplay with a mix of adventure and farm management. Each week, until open playtesting begins, I’ll be sharing a preview of the mechanics and features.

Catch up on past articles:
Announcement
Preview 1: Core Mechanism
Preview 2: Time and Seasons
Preview 3: Life on the Farm

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Though there are many things to do at the farm and other helpful activities for gathering resources, the wild is always calling. Medieval Scandinavians were accomplished explorers, after all, settling Iceland, Greenland, landing in North America (before that other guy), and even creating the foundations of Russia. But expeditions always start at home in nearby places.

Encounters

An activity available year-round is Exploring. But it breaks down into three options: Land, Coast, and Sea. At first, land expeditions are all you’ll have, and horses can improve your odds of finding better encounters. As you get access to ships, exploring far up and down the coast becomes available, and larger sea-faring vessels, of course, allow for overseas exploration.

Most encounters, assuming you’ve avoided a mishap, have chances at lucrative rewards, but some will also open up Discoveries (more on that in a moment). Each level of encounter increases the rewards from minor resources, up to large hordes, Companions, unique items, and at the high end, chances of Fame. Each of the three main exploration tables has 6 levels of encounters, and each level has 8 possible results. That’s a lot of exploring!

Events

Exploring isn’t the only way to see encounters (but is the only way you’ll get the best of them). Some encounters can also turn up as events during travel such as during Trade or Raid activities. But each Month, there is also a chance of having special Farm events. Unlike encounters, events aren’t guaranteed, and you might go a while without triggering one.

Farm Event Table

The Map & Discoveries

So you’ve gone exploring and happen upon a Discovery. What do you do with that? What else but add it to your map. You begin with a blank map that has 20 spaces split between land, coast, and sea. Discoveries allow you to bookmark special locations that you can return to later with the Explore activity. Some might be locations to gather resources more efficiently, while others might be unique encounters that continue an ongoing story.

Prototype Map

Next Preview

Next week, in the final preview, we’ll take some time to look at the history, mythology, and folklore of medieval Scandinavia and what to expect from Winds of the North. See you then!

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