Show Off Your Valor Character!

Valor is all about the characters. It’s about you being able to play who you want how you want, and being rewarded for doing that. We know there are some amazing characters out there that you’ve already been bringing to life at the table. This year for International Tabletop Day, we want to share your amazing characters with the community!

If you want to enter, all you need to do is submit a description and backstory for an original character you have played (or want to play) in a Valor game! We’ll pick our 3 favorites and give them a full-body color interpretation by the Valor art team and share them with the community after the contest! Please send all submissions to [email protected].

We will also be accepting submissions at both our gaming table and our Sales booth at Sakura-Con this year! If you’re going to be at Sakura-Con, stop by and see us, we’ll be happy to accept your submission! The gaming table in Room 613 will be holding workshops throughout the day to help with submissions and will have supplies to write them out. We’ll also be at Booth 409 in the Exhibitor’s Hall. All submissions must be received by the end of Monday, April 17th.

 

Please read below for full rules:

-Submissions via email must be in .doc, .txt, .pdf, or .jpeg format

-Submissions must include a physical description of the character and the character’s general backstory, including in-game accomplishments if applicable. The more detailed the better!

-If desired, you can include additional documents such as their character sheet, a picture you’ve drawn of them, a description of their personality and goals, or anything else you think will help the character stand out.

-Please make sure they’re original! We appreciate characters that draw inspiration from all the fantastic media that’s out there, but we can’t accept characters that use terminology and names from existing properties.

-Submission deadline is 11:59 PM Monday, April 17th. Any submissions received after that will not be counted.

Valor Interview: Jenna MacKenzie, Lead Writer

For our third interview, we sat down with Jenna MacKenzie, the Lead Everything Writer for Valorous Games and asked her about the process of writing for Valorous Foes, as well as the Valor events she runs.

Staff: So, tell me a bit about yourself and what you do with Valor

MacKenzie: I actually wear quite a few hats here. Most recently, I’m the Lead Writer for the new expansion, but I’ve also done a wide variety of other things both for the game as well as getting the name out there. Before VCF, most of what I was involved with was getting Valor to events, so more often than not I was the person that people would see either at convention booths or at local gaming events. If you’ve seen us around, you’ve probably seen me!

Staff: What are you most excited about in the writing for this book?

MacKenzie: The lore for our Foes. While we aren’t drawing from any one particular setting, getting to write the flavor for each one has been a blast. I was a huge mythology nerd as a kid (I think I lot of us were, honestly), so I feel like I’m making my nine-year old self really happy. While most of the Foes that we have in this book are based on things that people might recognize—urban legends, myths, things like that—we also have a few originals, and I get to really go wild with those. Being able to take a base stat line and breathe life into it has been an amazing experience, and I’m having a lot of fun.

Staff: What are some of the challenges for writing for a book like this?

MacKenzie: This thing is enormous. Initially, we had 200 Foes slotted, and that got to be too much, but even 160 makes it a huge challenge. But I think the most challenging part comes with translating the rules in such a way that will be approachable both to GMs who are veterans of the system, as well as those who are coming to us fresh. Valor really lets players and GMs come up with just about anything, but there is a learning curve. I hope I don’t end up writing over anyone’s heads!

Staff: You mention Valor lets players do whatever they want, how do you plan to express that with VCF?

MacKenzie: With VCF, we’ve added a bunch of different Skills and Abilities to give both GMs and players more options. Obviously a large majority of them are Foe specific, but I like to think that there’s enough in there that the players can really sink their teeth into. And who knows, maybe this book might be a sign of more to come on the players-side.

But you didn’t hear that from me.

Staff: Duly noted! Are there any new skills or abilities that really stand out in making interesting lore?

MacKenzie: Too many! Going into this project, we expected to create a few different Skills and Abilities to be able to properly depict some of the Foes, but we ended up with a lot! Did I say this book was going to be enormous?

I think the most fun new toys that we’ve had to play with are the ones that expand upon Malevolent Entity. It’s something that we thought was a really fun mechanic, but really felt needed to be fleshed out. It might have seemed like a simple Flaw in the core rulebook, but in VCF it’s potentially really dangerous. I kind of feel bad for the players who have to deal with it!

But no I don’t. Sorry. This may have also been indirectly my fault. And I’m still not sorry.

Staff: Let’s talk about some of the other hats you wear, what has it been like being the face of Valor, and running all these events?

MacKenzie: One of the faces at least. Running events is probably the most exhilarating, exciting, stressful and chaotic things ever. You have to be crazy to want to do them. And yet it’s one of the most fun things for me, since I get to meet with our players face-to-face. It’s really gratifying. Tiring, but gratifying. Our fans are awesome, we get a lot of people who come back and see us event after event, either to tell us stories about their games or even just to give us some love.

Most of the time I’m in the trenches selling the game, but being able to run demos as well has been a blast. I’m still a bit shaky as a GM myself, so I feel sorry for anyone who has to be at a table with me! But honestly, the feedback and support we get from the fans is almost addictive. I love it.

Staff: What are some of the best or most memorable moments from events you’ve been a part of?

MacKenzie: That’s really not fair. Can I say all of them?

Staff: Try to narrow it down to two or three

MacKenzie: That’s still really tough. We’ve been running demos and events for seven years now, even well before Valor was first released, and we’ve had so many wonderful memories and experiences. But I think my favorite ones come from when the players really get into the game. Valor naturally lends itself to loud, dynamic games, and there have been times where I’ll laugh so hard that I start crying. But I think the moments that stand out the most to me were when people really went outside of themselves to role-play their character.

We’ve had people rap at the table before, which was fantastic, by the way. We’ve had epic monologues at bitter rivals, and puns. So many puns. It’s terrible, the dad jokes flow freely apparently. But really asking me to narrow it down to two or three concrete memories is nearly impossible.

I’ve been with Valor since our first demo, and in the seven years, I’ve gotten a chance to be a play tester, a con gofer, booth staff, marketing staff, so many different things. So not only are my favorite memories tied to the things that our players have done at the table, but also to being able to see players get excited while playing our game. We’ve had people who come to see us every year, who have been around about as long as I have. And when asked what I remember most about the events, I would have to say that look of joy and excitement when they come out to play our game.

Staff: It definitely sounds like you’ve done a lot with Valor. Is there anything else you wanted to mention, either about the events or the writing you’re doing now?

MacKenzie: I’m just that person behind the curtain, don’t mind me.

But in all seriousness, I know my opinion is probably extremely biased, but having played tabletop roleplaying games for half my life, and playing a number of different systems this one really does feel like home for me. And I don’t just mean in the way that Valor plays, which, yes, it is a lot of fun and I highly recommend it. But with the people who have created and contributed to it, with our fans, and the people who we’ve been able to meet along the way.

As far as writing is concerned, I always wanted to write books, but I never imagined that my first would be a rulebook! It’s strange to think about, but at the same way, it’s been a fun challenge, and I love being able to construct this lore for players and GMs to do with as they please. I want to hear about what stories everyone ends up telling with the Foes in this book. In a way, they’re all like my kids. My sometimes ugly, awkward, terrifying kids.

Valor: Villains, Creatures and Foes can be found on Kickstarter through October 15.

Valor Interview: Kylee Henke, Lead Artist

For our second developer interview, we sat down with Kylee Henke, the Lead Artist for Valorous Games and asked her a bit about the art process with Valor.

Staff: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do with Valor?

Henke: Hi! I’m Kylee Henke, and I’m an artist based out of Seattle, WA. I like to blog, play games, and embarrass myself on the internet. I’m the lead artist for Valor!

Staff: So, how did you get involved with doing art for Valor?

Henke: I was actually selling my artwork at Sakura-Con a couple years ago when Austin and Jenna came by my booth and flipped through my portfolio. They said they loved my work, and grabbed my business card. After the convention, they messaged me and asked if I’d be interested in an interview for an art position at their company. By some miracle I managed not to screw it up, and soon I was brought on board the art team!

Staff: What kind of work did you do with the first book?

Henke: For the first book, I mainly worked on splash pages. I got to push myself in ways I’d never really had to before, and some really cool pieces came out of it! My favorite one to work on would definitely have to be the picture of the heroes facing off against a zombie horde.

Staff: That’s actually one of my favorites as well! So with Villains, Creatures and Foes coming out, I imagine you’ll be providing art for that as well. Is there anything you’re working on right now?

Henke: Right now I’m actually designing the book cover art! I’m working on nailing down the composition first before I render and color it. I’ve already gone through several different versions [laughs]. Gotta get it perfect if the cover is gonna be the first thing people see!

Staff: What is the process for putting together the composition for a cover like this?

Henke: A whole lot of stuff goes into consideration. The directional flow of the  art, where to bring the viewer’s the focus, the angle and perspective, the proportions and poses–all this stuff has to be nailed down before I tighten the linework and start coloring. The cover depicts an action scene so it’s a challenge in itself to cram it all into specific dimensions for cover art. I’m gonna make sure the final product looks super cool.

Staff: Given how awesome the splash pages are for the last book, I bet the cover is going to look amazing. : So what is the cover for the new book going to look like? What kind of Foe are we going to see on it?

Henke: On this new cover, our heroes (both old and new!) will be facing off against both sides of an entity called the Mother of Life and Death. She has two different faces that control, well, life and death [laughs]. The front and back covers will each depict the heroes battling one of the faces.

Staff: So the five heroes that we know from the first book?

Henke: Yep! The original squad will be making a return, but they will be joined by some brand new faces.

Staff: New faces?

Henke: In addition to the cover art, I designed a whole new squad of heroes for this new book. They will be making their debut in Valorous Foes, and I’m excited for everybody to meet them!

Staff: That’s exciting! Can you talk a bit about what went into designing the new squad of heroes?

Henke: I was given some descriptions of the characters’ personalities and general looks, and from there I was given the artistic liberty to flesh them all out. Personality and cultural background were both big factors in how I approached the designs! Some of the heroes even turned out a little different than they were originally intended to, but it was for the better! Sometimes characters create themselves, and the artist just gives them form. It’s really fun.

Staff: It sounds like it! I imagine you’ve gotten a chance to play the game before. What was that like?

Henke: Every single time I’ve played Valor I’ve had a blast. We of course had an excellent GM, which is half the battle, but the game itself allows for boundless creativity – and potential for hilarious disaster the likes of which I’ve never experienced before, and I recall laughing to the point of actual tears many times. No matter how ridiculous the characters I played, Valor integrated them into the system with no problem. I mean, let me give you an example of the things I have accomplished while playing Valor:

-I once used a designer glitter cannon to Fabulous my foes to death

-I have been the victim of a grotesque barbecue sauce massacre and have been forced to ruminate on my poor life choices while occupying the insides of a large gelatin dessert that ate me alive

-I delivered the killing blow to a giant boss dragon by ejecting out of a speeding escape vehicle and punching it in the throat

…Just to name a few.

Valor: Villains, Creatures and Foes can be found on Kickstarter through October 15.

Valor Interview: Austin MacKenzie, Lead Designer

With Valor: Villains, Creatures and Foes in development and the Kickstarter in full-swing, we wanted to take the time to get an inside look at what goes into creating Valor. Over the next few weeks, we will be sitting down with a number of people who made this game happen, from the designers, to the artists and to writers, to hear what goes into making a tabletop roleplaying system from start to finish.

Our first interview is with Austin MacKenzie, the Lead Designer for Valorous Games, and co-creator of Valor, the Heroic Roleplaying game. We asked him what went into his design for the original game, and what fans can look forward to in Villains, Creatures and Foes.

Staff: So tell me a bit about your design background. What made you want to design games?

MacKenzie: It’s something I sort of fell into naturally. When I was a kid, I always thought I was going to be some kind of great novelist. I’d always start trying to write a novel and lose steam after about 1 chapter. At the same time, I was playing a lot of video games and started designing my own tabletop roleplaying games on the side. While I never came close to completing one novel, I finished maybe thirty different games when I was a kid and was always eager to start on the next one. That got me thinking that maybe I might want to work in design. From there, I started doing some modifications and homebrew rules for the D20 system, most notably for the anime Bleach. From there, making my own system seemed only natural.

Staff: Basically you got bit by the design bug as a kid

MacKenzie: Yeah you could definitely say that. Or I spent too much time being grounded from playing video games because I never turned in my homework! Designing games wasn’t barred while I was grounded, thankfully.

Staff: Didn’t we all?

Staff: So did you always know you were going to design something that was more video game or anime focused, or was that something that just happened over time?

MacKenzie: Oh, Alan and I definitely knew it was going to be anime focused. One of the things I discovered working on Bleach d20 was that d20 wasn’t especially suited to anime. While there’s a lot of tactical crunch that I really enjoyed, the system is very specifically about this big epic fantasy and the inspirations are very obvious, Tolkien, Vance, it’s a very core part of the identity and anime works under entirely different rules.

When we launched Valor, our working title was “Shounen”, because we wanted to capture the feel of the shounen anime genre – big, loud, epic battles, screaming attack names, the very theatric, sometimes over-exaggerated pathos, that was definitely what we wanted from the beginning.

Staff: Would you say your work with Bleach d20 influenced Valor in any way?

MacKenzie: Definitely. When I made Bleach d20 I crafted this enormously elaborate system for the Zanpakutou – the magic sword each Soul Reaper carries that personifies their soul and personality. In the original system, I created a huge host of special abilities that you could give it in order to customize it and make it unique, this would provide some basis for the eventual Technique system you see in Valor.

Additionally, while d20 is very much a character class system, I used the stripped down generic 3 classes from Unearthed Arcana to create the baseline for the Soul Reaper, so you had the Warrior, the Rogue, and the Spellcaster. That contributed into our decision to do away with character classes entirely in Valor.

Staff: So in a lot of ways Bleach d20 was a test bed for what would eventually become Valor.

MacKenzie: You could definitely say that, although we did a lot of different things with the final result. We wanted Valor to be able to achieve far more than just Bleach, after all.

Staff: Were there any other things that you took inspiration from when creating Valor?

MacKenzie: When we were first plotting it out, we looked at the other existing major anime system, Big Eyes Small Mouth tri-stat (although there was a d20 variant we chose not to focus on that one) to determine what they did to capture the anime feel. We liked that they offered a wide variety of abilities that could be used to capture the feel of a more anime-based concept, but felt the different mechanics for each different ability made it a bit too confusing.

D&D 4th Edition hit early in the production of Valor and they did a lot of things we liked with regards to action economy and tactical gameplay, the system was very balanced and had all characters operating under the same basic ruleset – that would be one of our major guiding principles as we designed Valor’s core ability suite – we wanted everyone to know how their own character operated, and have a good idea of how other characters could operate.

Beyond that, we also took a lot of inspiration from the Super Robot Wars video game series, a grid-based game that is typically Japan-only due to it featuring a huge crossover between a bunch of different mecha series such as Gundam, Getter Robo, Mazinger, Evangelion, and even Gurren-Lagann in the more recent iterations. In Super Robot Wars, you have a stat called “Will” that rises naturally over the course of the battle and gives you access to more powerful attacks and abilities, as well as increasing your overall capabilities.

This idea perfectly encapsulated the idea of how things operate in shounen anime, in the big, important fights as the stakes get higher the heroes become more engaged and hot-blooded, which in turn makes them perform better or even breaking the “rules” of the setting. This concept was eventually adapted into the Valor stat, and remains one of the most important mechanics in Valor.

Staff: The Valor stat?

MacKenzie: The Valor stat is, I think, the biggest part about what makes Valor unique. In the start of any scene, combat or challenge, you start with 0 Valor and it slowly builds over the course of the scene. You gain bonuses if you do cool things like shouting attack names at the table or giving an epic speech, basically, the more like a shounen anime hero you act, the more Valor you get. You can then use it to do a lot of different things such as add +5 to your roll, even after the dice have already been rolled. It’s a great way to turn aside a powerful attack, turn a hit into a critical hit, and do all sorts of cool things, and it really encourages players to think and act in a certain mindset where they want to be valorous, be daring, and be bold.

Staff: So Valor encourages players to go ham.

MacKenzie: Absolutely. Valor players are big on pork, as it turns out.

Staff: I imagine it gets pretty crazy at the game table then. What is one of your favorite things that a player has done to get Valor?

MacKenzie: We’ve had some pretty epic table dynamics. We once did a Battle of the Bands demo and we had a guy rapping at our table, it was pretty awesome. In the same game, Free Bird often came up, and I found that it’s pretty much impossible for anybody to sing it and not sound drunk. Must be something about that song.

We’ve gotten some pretty incredible rival speeches as well, once in one of our earlier tests, one of the characters went up against the assassin who murdered her clan in a big season finale. She was getting pummeled and she kept spending Valor to get up and keep fighting, and was delivering fantastic speeches to keep her Valor up the entire time. At the end of the scene, because she was using Valor to heal herself, she lost all of the health she had regained which brought her so low she succumbed to her wounds and died, basically after putting everything into one final attack she defeated the assassin and just dropped dead right after the battle. I can’t think of a more perfect example of what Valor is and meant to do than that one scene.

Staff: What went into developing the book for Villains, Creatures and Foes?

MacKenzie: We’d already established with the core Valor book what the system was and what you could do with it, so for VCF, the goal was to create a lot of interesting enemies that a GM could throw at their party. What it also let us do was start adding new abilities that would be way too powerful for a regular Player Character but in the hands of a Foe could make for an interesting, unique and memorable scene. In all, we’ve completed 160 Foes for the book, I myself did about 110 of them and worked with some other fantastic writers for the rest. Making and testing the new mechanics has been a challenge, but the fact that we were able to create so much content in such a small amount of time – 9 months of serious work, in fact, was really heartening.

Staff: Where did you take your inspiration for the various Foes in this book?

MacKenzie: A lot of the Foes were based on popular mythology. It’s interesting when going into a book like this, you know generally that people expect certain things to be there. Dragons, for example, are an absolute must. Greek mythology always get a high amount of representation, there are just some Foes I feel like you have to have. We still wanted to do some interesting things though, and since we’re an anime system that meant one of the major focuses was on bringing in more Asian and especially Japanese mythology into the foes. Creatures like the Tengu and the Kitsune, for example, as well as some other creatures like the Rakshasa from Indian mythology and the Pennangalan from Southeast Asia.

We also grabbed some cryptids and urban legends, we actually have both Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Some of this is due to some of the settings we’re working on developing that will need that, but in other cases we wanted to bring in some awesome creatures that you don’t see in other roleplaying games.

Staff: So which one is your favorite?

MacKenzie: That’s a mean question, I’ve made so many of these how can I pick just one? Probably my absolute favorite is actually a Valor original, the Mother of Life and Death who is the strongest endgame boss intended to challenge very powerful parties. She’s level 22 so she really breaks the rules since you can only go up to level 20, and she has the power to shift between two different forms, the Life form, which is a big control-focused spellcaster, and the Death form, which is a powerful high-damage assassin.

Some of the other fun mythology-based monsters are the Leviathan, which is on its own the largest Foe in the game taking up 15 x 21 spaces on a grid, as well as the Kitsune who have a really cool, varied skillset. I also really enjoyed making the high-ranking angels, the Cherubim and Seraphim especially, I had a lot of fun naming their techniques and flavoring them based on what they are in the Judeo-Christian lore.

Staff: Valor original?

MacKenzie: Yes, we have several original creatures that are designed specifically for Valor. The Mother of Life and Death is one, as well as the Malevolent Entity, intended to be a big endgame boss based on the “Malevolent Entity” flaw you can take as a character who has a literal demon living inside of them. Currently all our originals are big, high-level end-game Foes but I’d like to introduce a few more with the bonus content if we can.

Staff: Well hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to do so!

Staff: I imagine VCF has let you flesh out some of the rules for creating Foes. What tools will you be giving GMs to make their own Foes?

MacKenzie: We’ve included some tables to make it easier for a GM to plan their Foes, a lot of the different classes of Foes have different TP, Health, and SP totals and now they’re all together in one place. Beyond that, we’re clarifying how some skills interact with the different classes of NPC so that there’s no uncertainty. Some of the new skills and abilities are specifically for Foes, since Foes can have more specialized strengths and weaknesses it gives the GMs a lot more freedom to do really interesting things with them.

Beyond that, we’re also including easy rules for advancing enemies so if you really like a Foe but it’s not the right level, you can make them stronger and use them anyway. Our ultimate goal is making Valor as easy as possible for a prospective GM to run, since running any kind of roleplaying game is hard enough as it is!

Staff: So basically this book is a GM’s best friend and a player’s worst enemy.

MacKenzie: Pretty much! Although hopefully players will appreciate staring at all the cool abilities they can never have. From a distance. As they are used against them.

Staff: Now that you’re done with developing this book, what’s next?

MacKenzie: After this book it’ll be back to giving the players some love, we’ve already begun outlining and compiling a host of new abilities that will be included in Valor: Tools of the Trade. We had a bunch of ideas that were cut from the original Valor book due to time and space, so we want to bring these back around in a new book to greatly expand the options available to players. Maybe that will keep them from wanting to dig their hands into the Foe abilities.

The GMs will still get some love too as we’ll be introducing or expanding a host of optional rules. With Valor, we strive for modularity and customizability so you can really just grab whatever is appropriate for what you’re trying to accomplish and go. Tools should have a lot of great new options for players and GMs alike.

Staff: So is there anything else that you want to tell anyone looking at the Kickstarter?

MacKenzie: I’m just really excited to get this book released. Our goal with Valor is to create a great new system that’s flexible enough for Game Masters to really do whatever they want with it, and I think Foes is a fantastic step in this direction. I’m excited to release all this new content, and even more excited to see what people do with it!

Valor: Villains, Creatures and Foes can be found on Kickstarter through October 15.

Valorous Foes

We are excited to announce our second Valor book, Valorous Foes, will be Kickstarting soon! Valorous Foes will be the first expansion book to Valor: the Heroic Roleplay System and will focus on providing a healthy selection of monsters and enemies for heroes to face on their journey. We are in the process of finishing the rest of the builds for the Foes, and are targeting an early September date to begin the Kickstarter. Keep your eyes on the site, as well as our Social Media for more information!

Additionally, with Valor having been released for a little over a year now, we’re also preparing to release our first official errata. While not necessary to play and enjoy the game, the errata will update some balance issues we’ve discovered as a broader group has played the game, as well as correct some minor errors that were found in the book. The errata will be freely available for download online, and our intent is to send an updated book to all digital customers as soon as we figure out the best way to do so. Any future printings of the Valor core book will be updated to the errata changes, and the free online errata will be formatted in a way that can be easily printed and slipped into the book.

We’re excited to be bringing this new book to you! We hope it will make your Valor games that much better. We will be releasing more art and information during the Kickstarter, but for now please enjoy this sample – the artwork for the largest Foe in the game, the mighty Leviathan! The Leviathan is a high-level Master Foe that can make short work of entire fleets of ships. With its great girth and seemingly never-ending supply of health, the Leviathan is just one of the many Foes your party will have to work hard to best if they want to be successful!

Things are busy here at Valorous Games as we work hard to finish up the book. We hope you will share our excitement and enjoy this new installment of the Valor Tabletop System!

Welcome to Valorous Games

Welcome to Valorous Games! We are a tabletop game design company based out of Federal Way, Washington. Our mission is to create a tabletop experience where players are able to create any character they can imagine. Here, you will be able to purchase the Valor Tabletop rulebook, as well as other products related to the game. We will also be posting articles, setting information, and other resources to make running and playing Valor easier and more enjoyable. Please enjoy your stay!