Chronicle of the trials and triumphs of the Quarterlin(g) clan in Dragon Pass

I started up King of Dragon Pass again. It’s still great, and I found myself unable to stop playing. With all the HoI2 threads going on I figured, what the hell, lets make this a KoDP chronicle.

In case you’re wondering “what the hell is KoDP?”, it’s an odd strategy game where you lead a clan of fantasy vikings who have been driven from their home and settle in the dangerous Dragon pass. There’s cattle raiding, attacks by strange beasts, divine curses, feuds, trading and a ton of events that bring it all to life.

Anyway, lets get started. I opted not to pick my clan background, letting the game randomise it for me. I can’t really complain about the end result.

As a balanced clan we don’t specialise in either raiding or farming so I can go either way when it suits me. Aside from that the biggest impact of the background is the ancestral enemies, in this case Trolls, who can be pretty nasty. On the other hand, so are all the other ancestral enemies. The ancestor’s attitudes towards dragons and strangers are also likely to come up since the clan is expected to follow the ancestor’s example.

It’s important to keep in mind that both ancestor spirits and gods are very tangible in this game and at the very least you don’t want to antagonise them. Honour them and you will be rewarded.

Next up is the first years allocation of magic.

I start with seven points of magic. I can use these to conduct rituals that give me better chances of success at actions that fall in the ten categories here. This year I’ll allocate one point to health to avert diseases and keep the people healthier, one to trade taking the omens about good trade into account I want to maximise my chances of success here, one to war which never hurts since conflict is likely whether I seek it out or not, and two to mysteries which will increase the chances of the gods teaching the tribe rituals or lore when offered sacrifices. I intend to do a lot of this.

Two points in reserve, you never know when they will be needed.

With that out of the way, here’s a look at the mapped areas of Dragon pass.

Names in red are clans we’re feuding with. Names in blue are allies. The redder a name is, the worse relations we have with them, and vice versa with blue. The Wildcat clan to our north are our allies. To the northwest are the Vanstali and to the south the Old Owl clan who we are feuding with. More enemies than allies is a bad thing, we can either appease them or beat them down. I’m opting for the latter course.

For the very first turn I swap out half the clan ring of leaders. Those are the seven portraits at the bottom of the screen. The starting ring did not have a representative from the healing goddess Chalana Arroy, nor a representative of the Trickster god Eurmal. You can’t have all the gods represented on the ring but it’s a good idea to have as many as possible represented. Certain event options are only available if you have a representative from a specific god in your ring and they also serve as advisors on all your decisions so having many different perspectives available is a good thing.

They also have different stats and the original ring was not made up of the best candidates I noticed.

More to follow…

This is awesome. I loved to play Dragon’s Pass. But I always failed spectacularly. I never really grocked the Gods/Rituals part. Maybe I can actually learn how I should have played it!

Fuck YES.

Posting an AAR of this game when it’s virtually impossible to obtain skirts the borders of cruel and unusual punishment. Any chance this is going to end up on Good Old Games?

I just bought this (and just received it in the mail yesterday). Finally, after several years of reading about it, and doing the demo over and over again. This is a thread that I will be watching…


Well, good thing I saved those two points of magic because first thing during planting season I recieved an emissary from the Woodpecker clan who we owed a favour to. He wanted magic and we were obliged to give him ours. Since we only had a measly two points we had to give him that which was less than customary. Being cheap with favours is not a reputation you want but there was little else I could do since he insisted on magic despite my attempts to placate him with cows and goods.

I also recruited four new weaponthanes among the farmers, bringing their number up to 14, with the aim of going on a cattle raid once the planting season was over. I also built a watch tower, to get some warning in case another clan got the same idea and tried to raid us.

During the latter half of Fire season (five seasons, Fire comes after Sea, which is planting) I sent a large group of weaponthanes and footmen to steal some Vanstali cattle. Their scouts spotted them however and battle was joined.

Not good. Losing weaponthanes is expensive, and the clan loses prestige too.

However, it turns out our luck wasn’t all that bad after all. The season after the Vanstali sent an emissary demanding ransom for two of our weaponthanes. turns out they weren’t as dead as we thought. Now normally I’d probably bargain but a feud is a feud and the best way to answer them is with force.

I sent the largest war party I could to the Vanstali lands and stole away three of their men. Hostages were exchanged and I had my valuable fighting men returned to me without the loss of a single cow.

With harvest coming up I gave offerings to Barntar the plowman and he granted the clan knowledge of his Vigor ritual which lets farmers work their fields with more, errm, vigor. To honour him and to properly maintain his rituals the clan built a small shrine out in the farmlands dedicated to him. This way we can be assured of his constant blessings.

As the harvest season makes way for the Dark season of winter I recruit more weaponthanes, increasing their number to 17.

In the middle of the winter storms suddenly sunlight breaks through for a couple of hours and a rainbow touches down on our fields. Now this is a very good omen, the question is how to best exploit it.

Raiding in the middle of winter is not something I’m keen on, and we have no magic left to support a raid either. If I go for trade opportunites that will last me possibly several years which can be very useful, on the other hand peace with an unfriendly clan will be a tangible benefit right now. Thanking the gods isn’t enough of a benefit. They already blessed me, I don’t need discount offerings for the rest of the year.

I’ll settle for making friends. The Osgosi, known for their fine horses, pledge friendship.

It’s Storm season, traditionally the second raiding season of the year when the winter snows melt and the passes become clear again. Even so, I think I’ve had enough raiding for this year. We’ll sacrifice to the gods for the future welfare of the clan

While we’re busy praying the Vanstali sneak up and steal away 22 heads of cattle. The filthy dogs, they’ll pay.

Since the best cure for sickness is prevention we build a shrine to Chalana Arroy now that she has made known the proper rituals that will ward it off.

It has been a decent year. The many sacrifices to the gods have taken their toll on our cattle, as did the cattle raid, but we’ve grown more than enough food . We have two new shrines that should help keep our people healthy and in good harvests, and a watch tower to keep an eye out for raiders. Hopefully the watchmen have learnt not to sleep on the job.

Oh, I almost forgot, a man and a woman came by and offered to trade us a magic item they had “found” for forty heads of cattle. I bargained them down to 30. It’s quite likely stolen from somewhere, but while we have it it increase our crop yields. If someone comes round complaining we might have to give it back.

Nice choice Kalle! I was just thinking about digging this out again myself.

I’m curious to see how you handle the early economy, as that always seems to be the key to whether you do well. I never was able to beat hard, and always wondered if there was some angle I missed.

What sort of stat layout did you get on your Clan Circle?

Oh, and have fun with those Trolls! As I recall they’re substantially nastier than some of the other enemies.

Shoot, it looks like you kicked Hendrick out of your clan ring. Everyone who worked on KoDP appears in the game as a clan leader, and Hendrick was me!

Nice AAR so far.

Damnit. Reading this got me interested in pulling out the game again–except now I realize that it doesn’t work on Intel Macs.

Bah! Bah, I say!

Well, they’re not exactly vikings. :-) They’re followers of the Orlanthi pantheon in the world used by RuneQuest, one of my all time favorite PnP RPG’s. While they’re a bit barbaric, they don’t really resemble vikings all that much. And the Dragon Pass area is far and away the most interesting part of that whole fantasy world, so it’s a great setting for a game. I never did manage to play it when it was released. Wonder how hard it is to find now? Off to google…

Well, they do still sell it at, but I’m surprised to see it’s still $20 and there’s no download option. I may wait a bit, until my current gaming backlog is cleared.

How hard to find? Very.

I have read in a couple of places that some code changes would be required to make it downloadable and, for whatever reason, the developers cannot get that done. Manifesto Games attempted to get it when they were in business.

I have done a little search myself and come up empty, short of having A-Sharp burn me a copy and send it to me at their earliest convenience.

Are there any issues playing this on newer computers with Win XP?

I just got inspired to dig up my CD and install. I started up a game, but unfortunately it seems if I click the war or trade screens the game freezes up. Probably because I’m running vista. I did grab the 1.7 patch. I even tried running under xp, 98, and 95 compatibility modes to no avail.

Edit: After a reinstall and dusting the disc, it seems to work!

Do keep this up, I’ve enjoyed the AAR immensely so far. I love this type of game. 90% of my enjoyment is imagination, but in the best possible way.

I have the game (just recieved from ebay…still wrapped big box with manual). I have Vista…and the game seems to run perfectly fine…

As the year starts I have 14 points (!) of magic to allocate. I wonder why I got twice as many points this year, but I don’t know the game well enough to answer.

The omens predict a bad year for the crops, and possibly a lack of rain too. With our temple to Orlanth we already have the blessing of rain, but to be safe I put two points of magic into crops. If the clan starves we’re in deep shit.

I put two points in mysteries to aid our sacrifices again this year, another two in diplomacy since I’d like to get some more allies, and two more in war since the Vanstali are gonna pay for their raiding. With that we have six points left which should see me through the year.

Now what is this?

The duckmen are one of Dragon Pass’ stranger races. Still, they act like Orlanthi and follow Orlanthi customs more or less so I don’t want to be overly disrespectful. Besides, they might look puny but attacking them on their own ground is risky and we don’t know what magic they have or what other allies they can call upon. Demanding food in tribute seems like the best option.

The Slapfoot Duck tribe pledges to give us enough food to feed 50 men for a year at harvest time.

Huh, looks like not all ducks were pleased with having to pay us tribute.

We demanded 19 bushels of grain in compensation for the barn, in accordance with Orlanthi laws and tradition and well within our rights. The cravenly ducks who call themselves Orlanthi refused however, and the planting season is not the time for punitive raids. We will remember this insult however.

As Fire season comes around the clan prepares to raid the Vanstali. We manage to steal away 32 heads of cattle without them noticing us. Cries to avenge ourselves on the Slapfoot Ducks are being heard but ultimately we cannot afford a feud with the ducks, even if they are puny. As the warriors return, so does our prospective trading caravan from the Osgosi far to the south. We had hoped to set up a trade route but though the caravan turned a small profit the Osgosi were reluctant to commit to steady trade.

Flush from the success of the raid, our weaponthanes must have slacked off on their patrols because the Grey Fox clan managed to sneak by all our scouts with a full raiding party.

The clan hastily prepares sacrifices to Orlanth for luck and our defenders attempt to maneuver into better position to drive off the invaders. Two points of magic are spent to reinforce our defences and blast the damn Foxes from their saddles.

Inganna, a warriorwoman of Vinga, lead the defences and her savage counterattack helped win the short, nasty battle. Three of the enemy weaponthanes lay dead and six more escaped though wounded. A dozen enemy footmen were also slain, and twice that number wounded, and our only loss was one footman and a handful of wounded men. As they hurried to flee the field we seized six fine horses and praised Orlanth for our victory.

One of my favorite games. Since I’m too busy to play myself right now it’s great living vicariously through your posts.