Amazing group character and setting generation. Magic is nice and subtle-ish. Everything else is a bit too lite for my liking and the odd mix of roll under for everything except combat tends to jar a little - with my group at least.
Overall I still rate it and wouldn't classify it as a beginners only game.
So, I finally got through buying the last book (book three of three) of BtW, and, since, for some reason, I never followed up on my original post, here's my verdict on this particulary variant of D&D:
In short, I think it's pretty glorious, and, in general, I share all your impressions, Mike!
The core book is not necessarily the highlight of the three-book line, though; it's pretty clear that those authors are really mainly ambitious fans who happened to have a good idea, and were friendly enough to put it on paper. To be quite honest, except for the chargen rules, the core book pretty much feels like the usual "alibi" book that many companies put out to later be able to refer to a ruleset that just so happens to be 99% D&D, of whatever edition.
It's with "Further Afield", the second book, that BtW starts to shine - you are presented with what esssentially is a very dynamic campaign outline that is so easy to use, and so "vanilla" and universally applicable that it's basically an involuntary "campaign builder's guidebook" of referential, defining proportions. The system that BtW is famous for - basically having the group randomly rolling out the players' joint backstory and starting point - has its limits, and might not even convince everybody. "Further Afield", though, is an excellent book for both newbies, as well as for more experienced DMs that simply want to run a very basic, sandbox, and "vanilla"-themed campaign. Again, nothing otherworldly, and as an experienced DM there is not much thrill in here, but it's a reusable, yet exciting, and quick-to-prepare sandbox campaign that does serve more than its due purpose within the frame that its developers had set. Before any other introductory/newbie campaign that is currently in print, I would recommend this one.
The third books basically presents more character backgrounds and random tables, something that I find laudable, because it really rounds up the slightly uneven core book. - But again, this is where you're hit or miss with this game: Either you like the joint worldbuilding the way it is presented here, via the "playbook" principle, or you don't. I think it has it's use, but the problem is that, with all three books, you also have about, what, 50 "playbook" options for all character types. So, the initial choice of character class will get way more complicated if you're supposed to use the game to its fullest extend.
Overall, though, the game is the single best introduction into fantasy-themed RPGs I've ever seen... If you take into account that it's really just slightly more story-heavy basic D&D. In its basic simplicity, it embodies all I personally like about the game, and it makes it very easy to highlight what elements and details I personally like. I'm not sure how much of the "playbook" options will stick. ..."Further Afield", though, is becoming a mainstay in my gaming collection, much to my own surprise.
It's probably the right place for this thread. I've heard good things about the game but haven't actually played it.
Marv / Finarvyn DCC playtester (2011) S&W WhiteBox author (2009) C&C playtester (2003) Builder of the TrollBridge for T&T; Amber Diceless player since 1993 OD&D Player since 1975; Metamorphosis Alpha since 1976
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!" - Dave Arneson
My D&D of choice, since 2016/2017. Lovely done. - However, the books are edited terribly, to a point when the great gimmick of the book, the random tables, end up being barely usable. Still so, a milestone of roleplaying literature, IMO - even if you really have to put some work into it to make it playable at a higher speed.
I think that would depend on what your goals is for your game: Do you want to test the system, do you want to introduce a new setting, do you want to create a "shared sandbox", as per the BtW rules and suggestions?
Personally, if it's your first time with BTW, I would do the following:
1. Use a setting that the gaming group already knows. To give the characters even more reference points to play with, styling BTW as a prequel to a past game (or event from a novel etc.) might be interesting, as well.
2. Using the adventure outlines from the core book isn't a bad idea, as BTW heavily relies on an implied setting. It might not feel very original, but it is a rather rewarding adventure arc.
3. Really, really, really check out the layout for the tables before you go at them with your players: The notion that you can get a group campaign-ready within a few minutes is simply wrong, especially if you use the books as they present their content. - So, be prepared to invest some 1e time into some 5e books.
A great game! But I'd only advise it for campaign play, at least mini-campaign. As Rafael said, you'll have to put a little work in organizing the tables. PDFs FTW.
Plus, the beauty of the playbook character creation is that you get a good background story for your character and the village you start in. For a one-shot many of these aspects would be wasted and you'd miss out on an important aspect of the game.
If you play a campaign in a sandbox for the first time, I'd recommend using the implied setting Rafael mentioned above, and build up from there. Lots of input will probably come from your players.
Post by waysoftheearth on Jul 20, 2019 8:06:36 GMT -6
I've read it but not tried to play/use it yet so please forgive me if I am misinformed.
It reads to me more like a scenario/world building toolkit, rather than a "complete" game per se. The core rules don't have, for example, anything about dungeons, wilderness, maps, exploration, or monster/treasure distribution (but do include some nice setting-related magic items). I guess it's assumed you'll bring most of that with you from some other RPG?
The main feature seems to be the "playbooks" which provide neat integration of PCs and setting, and the scenario packs, which comprise a bunch of tables for generating variations around a core scenario which tie the PCs into it. It's a nice approach as it's precisely this detail that is often missing from many D&D-like games.
On the other hand (not being critical; just speculating) there may be a risk of PCs being too important to die (max hp at 1st level, death at -10 hp, fortune points to cheat death, also leans this way), but I'm sure it could all be used maturely too.
I have played on several occasions and I find the rules to be just another d20 clone with the exception of the "lifepath" type system the playbooks offer to help build the town and characters
Yeah, absolutely. It's not particularly unique, which is also the reason why I'm not posting about this all too much: Except for what essentially boils down to a collection of random tables, BTW doesn't go beyond (no pun intended) being a rather simplistic d20 clone, comparable perhaps to projects like Green Ronin's True20. As a system on its own, it has a gazillion flaws. That said, as "Rudimentary D&D", as a "vaguely D&D-ish sandbox game for noobs that you enrich with material from whatever sources you prefer", it does just what it's supposed to do.
- And that's the key for me here: Most of my players know D20, 5e, or PF. BTW allows them to jump right into a new game, without too much ado. So, for them, it's really great. - As a DM, for me, as long as I can work with both the DCC RPG and the Rules Cyclopedia, I have the range of where I want to have things covered.
Also, in a case of "Germans like David Hasselhoff", BTW is super-popular in Germany, right now, thanks to the work of www.system-matters.de who have also put out exclusive material in German for the system, AFAIK.So, the system is not only useful as a stylebender, but well supported and well liked. Couldn't ask for more right now, really. The last time I had such an easy time running low-fi games was perhaps during Warhammer 2e, around fifteen years ago.
The first time we played it vanilla but the second the DM made some custom playbooks for us to start a gamma world campaign showing that it was flexible to accommodate similar rulesets. I'm personally just already a 5' step away from d20. It was great, I played it a ton, but now I'm done.
Post by greentongue on Jul 25, 2019 5:02:32 GMT -6
To me the Bestiary is a little light on creatures. I understand that you can pull them from the vast supply that exist all over but, for ease of use it would be nice to have ones suitable for beginning character to oppose included. I suppose that the several adventures provided are to give that but, in today's world where everything can be looked up, it is hard to surprise players using them.
Also, as the characters are more capable then the more traditional ones, having more creatures already adjusted to match would be handy.
Post by greentongue on Aug 7, 2019 11:48:44 GMT -6
Anyone have experience with "Harn" or "Lion & Dragon"? Seems to me that both of those can provide material for BtW and lighten the GM load. The tone is different for them but the basic location description should be spot on.