Jared Sorensen

Bylina & Bogatyr

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a traditional fantasy game and Bylina & Bogatyr almost qualifies. It’s a fantasy RPG set in medieval Russia where dragons roam the mountains of Kiev and brave warriors draw strength from the earth itself.

The bogatyr is a figure from Russian folklore, a warrior of unsurpassed strength and virtue, literally meaning ?strongman? or ?hero.? Bylinas are poetic songs that relate the deeds of the bogatyr (and their female counterparts, called the bogatyrka or polyanitsa, a word meaning ?field women?). These epic tales of heroes, magic, dragons and witches inspired me to write this game, as did the prospect of entering another 24-hour game competition. The main heroes of the bylina are:

Dobrynya Nikitich, the slayer of the dragon Zmey Gorynych. He?s a noble warrior analogous to the figure of St. George. Dobrynya?s virtue is his incredible bravery and tales of his fearlessness are legendary in the bylinas.

Ilya Muromets, a.k.a. ?The Old Cossack.? A wise and strong warrior made famous in the story ?Nightingale the Robber.? Ilya was born a cripple and remained lame until he turned thirty-three, when he was healed by three wise men. Ilya is regarded as the greatest of the bogatyrs. He gained his superhuman strength as a dying gift from the giant Svyatogor.

Alyosha Popvich., a clever bogatyr and the son of a priest, he defeats his foes through guile and trickery. In early stories Alyosha kills the dragon Tugarin Zmeevich. Later on, the dragon was replaced by a Mongol warlord.

While Nikitich, Muromets and Popvich are the most famous of the bogatyrs, there are other bogatyrs of reknown. The bylinas of Novgorod describe Sadko, a rich merchant, and Vassily Buslaev, a ruffian known for his fierce temper and love of strong drink. Other bogatyr with magical backgrounds include Mikula Selyaninovich, a peasant hero from the steppes; Volkh Vseslavich, a magician with the ability to transform himself into a wolf; and Ilya Muromets? friend Svyatogor, a giant knight from the mountains who was so massive that Russian soil could not bear his weight.


Sunday, October 16th, 2005

SPHEAR: the greatest sci-fi/horror/action roleplaying game of all time.

Characters in this roleplaying game are everyday folks forced to deal with a very unusual situation: invaders from another world (perhaps another dimension altogether) have settled in the town. Their malevolent intent: to steal human corpses and use them as slave labor on the invaders’ home world.

Your job is to fight back and save the town?or at least, get revenge on those alien bastards.


Sunday, September 4th, 2005

We all came up from different places an? sometimes we didn?t get along too good, but there we was. Rascal, Lulu, Stinky and Whitey. We made it to da promised land. Somehow, some way, we got outta the dirty, dangerous city or crawled up from some grain silo in East Dullsville. Untold riches await, they all said back home. An? dey was right! Now we jus? gotta play it cool and get our piece o? da American Dream.

Ratpack is a roleplaying game where the players portray rats living in the crawlspaces and cupboards of your average American suburban home. Each game session is based around a ?mission? (usually involving food, people and household pets). The default play style is a fun, adventure-fi lled romp?like a cross between The Dirty Dozen and Goodfellas (except with rats as the protagonists).

Jared Sorensen

Thursday, September 30th, 2004

Possibly the greatest game designer since the guy who created chess.


  • 24 Hour RPG Project
  • Creator of Memento Mori Theatricks
  • Co-owner of Wicked Dead Brewing Company (with John Wick)
  • Author of several RPG’s.


Thursday, September 2nd, 2004

what makes a hero?

strength, dexterity
constitution and wisdom
nothing else matters