Gamebook store

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Fabled Lands role-playing is here

This is a difficult post to write because my fingers don't really want to be on the keyboard. They keep twitching towards the beautiful object at the side of my desk - to wit, the core rulebook and first volume in Greywood Publishing's epic Fabled Lands Role-Playing Game series.

I remember getting starting in role-playing. Dungeons & Dragons came as three little booklets in a white box. You didn't need any more than that. It was a Narnia wardrobe, a Tardis, a Cavorite sphere to convey you into endless worlds of the imagination.

For many, though, rules quickly got in the way, spreading like traffic signs and one-way streets through the landscape of fantasy. I remember one Sunday afternoon at Jesus. (Yes, that was our church.) I was playing D&D or EPT with Mark Smith and Oliver Johnson. We went into the next room, where another group were playing Chivalry & Sorcery, to borrow the kettle. "As you enter the tomb, the sarcophagus lid starts to slide back," their umpire was telling them. Fifteen minutes later, tea brewed, I took the kettle back. "So, two of you are now adjacent to the sarcophagus, you others have readied arrows, and the wight is now standing up in the sarcophagus..."

The Fabled Lands RPG cuts away all the unncessary stuff. You want adventure. You want to create a character without having to use Excel, and you want to get stuck into a fun story without the need for calculus to resolve every situation. Shane Garvey and Jamie Wallis have delivered exactly the balance of ease-of-use and detail that the freewheeling, fast-paced, limitless vista of the Fabled Lands demands.

Of course, nobody in their right minds wants to turn the role-playing clock back to 1975. These days players rightly demand more than hack and slay. You might be creeping through the shadows of your enemy's castle, walking in disguise under the noses of temple guards, struggling to keep your ship afloat in a storm, trying to charm your way out of a fight, desperately weaving spells, or gambling with faerie folk for your very soul. And the Fabled Lands RPG has nicely streamlined rules to cover all of that and combat too.

You start by creating a character with all the familiar FL characteristics and a bit extra in the background. The best characters are "this but that", so you get to choose both positive and negative personality traits. You could be brave but selfish, for instance, or supportive yet an inveterate liar. It's up to you how to play those, and how to use the detailed background rules too. They're there to give players something to get to grips with right away.

The core system is based off the FL abilities (Charisma, Sanctity, etc) and you need to roll two dice, add your ability score, and beat the difficulty of the task. But with a few deft additions, Shane and Jay give a lot more scope to that basic mechanic. Skills modify your abilities for specific tasks. So if you have Navigate 2, for example, you can add +2 to Scouting rolls when plotting a course.

On top of that are the powers. These are unique to each profession: Primal Rage for barbarians, Cure and Bless for priests, and so on. Each profession has four special powers and as you rise in rank they can be taken multiple times for extra benefit.

The rest of this beautifully produced and laid-out book has sections on the gods, equipment, magic, monsters, world background (Yellowport is covered in detail, including maps and personalties with stats) and a very useful long section to guide the umpire (or GM if you must) in running adventures. And Greywood has marshalled a first rate art team, led by the undisputed master of fantasy Martin McKenna, to help evoke the Fabled Lands visually.

Further books are planned - in fact twelve sourcebooks, each zooming in on one part of the Fabled Lands and providing quests, treasures, characters, cities, lore and everything else you need for a long-running FL campaign. And yes, that does mean you will get to visit Chrysoprais and Atticala and the Forbidden Realm.

I am sure some of you will be saying, "That's all very well, but I like gamebooks. I'm not a roleplayer." But actually, you are. Just as most gamebooks were multiple-choice forms of a novel, the original six Fabled Lands books are a multiple-choice form of role-playing campaign. What Greywood have done is take all that material and rework it so that the world can be opened up for groups of friends to adventure together. And you don't need weeks to prepare a game nor a law degree to understand the rules. If you have read any of the Fabled Lands gamebooks, you'll be able to pick up the RPG, gather some friends together and get started.

Now, if you'll pardon me, my fingers are reaching for the rule book and they will not be denied. I'm going to be running an FL game in the near future, and I hope you will too! Oh – you want to know where you can get it? From Cubicle 7 right here and shortly (we hope) from Amazon.

43 comments:

  1. Heh. My mum phoned me not two hours ago asking if I could give her any ideas about what to get me for my birthday - to the tune of about twenty pounds' worth, or so.

    Now I just need to teach her how to buy things online...

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  2. Result! Mind you, PW, if she's anything like my mum I wouldn't leave anything to chance. Get her to send the 20 quid and order it yourself :)

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  3. This is great news. I've just ordered my copy. Nice work, Dave.

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  4. I can't take any credit for this one, other than inspiring it, I guess. The real hard work is down to Shane and Jay.

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  5. As an RPGer and a gamebooker for almost 30 years, I am impresssed by the Fabled Lands RPG. It has an excellent balance of flexibility and detail. Though the rulebook feels complete, I am looking forward to the sourcebooks too. I love that Sokara Cover.

    I just started a Fabled Lands RPG game by play by post on RPGnet (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?581244-Fabled-Lands-Interest-and-recruitment) and the system has done a great job of encouraging a variety of PC concepts that are connected to the world, whilst giving the right mechanical support where needed.

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  6. Excellent news!
    I hope we see the rest of the FL books before the source books.
    BTW, it is only a print edition?

    Ikaros

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  7. PDF of the RPG is due in about a month's time accoding to Jamie Wallis.

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  8. And thanks to a very generous offer of help from Megara's Mikael Louys, who has made his art team available free of charge for coloring duties, I believe that either the PDF or a special collector's edition will feature some color versions of the internal b&w art.

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  9. "I believe that either the PDF or a special collector's edition will feature some color versions of the internal b&w art."
    Hmmmm... a collector’s edition sounds interesting! Thanks for the answer!

    Ikaros

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  10. This is awesome. I was already playing it multiplayer lol. I was using some things from my Swords and Wizardry Rules and changed a few of the Monster encounters with random groups fitting to the region of game play.

    I am glad you all did this and will most likely be picking up the Core Rules soon. I have a few questions.

    1. Will you be coming out with the rest of the Twelve book series or just one through six.(I have one through three now and will be getting number four soon. I do not think five and six are out in the states.)

    2. I greatly prefer Hard Backs if there is any way in the future to do the rules in hard back that would be great.

    3. Can your rules accommodate a 9 player group, because that is what I have now.

    Thank you for your time.

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  11. Hi Tatem, immediate plans are for the RPG sourcebooks to come first - all 12 of them. The rest of the FL gamebook series will come if sales are high enough. At the moment, that means digital sales, though it's possible that a print edition of those books might be viable too.

    I suspect Greywood's collector's edition will have hard covers.

    The rules allow for any number of players. It's a lot of work running a role-playing campaign with 9 players but I have done it. You'll need to figure out who are the stars, who need and respond to the focus of the adventure being on them. Most groups are about 75% "secondary" characters who won't need so much of the umpire's attention.

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  12. I am not affiliated with Greywood but the answers are:

    1. They mention wanted to do all 12 sourcebooks. Also, the RPG will rise and fall on it's own merits.

    2. I would love a hardcover too, at least for the rulebook. Perhaps the special edition may be hardcover.

    3. I am running a game with 7 players. The system is very flexible and has 8 Professions. Plus you can easily have 2 PCs of the same Profession that are vastly different. I would say if you can handle 9 players at the moment, it should be as easy, if not easier, than that :)

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  13. Thank you. I am very excited. I love this series and to see it as a RPG, excites me in ways a game should not. lol.

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  14. Someone has it for sale on Amazon already..... Priced £32.74 (exc P&P).

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  15. I noticed that, Andre. I'm hoping that it will eventually get listed there at RRP.

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  16. FWIW Cubicle 7 have a good internet store, with cheap and quick shipping, even for international buyers.

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  17. Absolutely - and anyone who wants the RPG, I recommend signing up to Cubicle 7's store so you can buy it right now. But I know from long experience that if a book isn't listed on Amazon then you lose 90% of potential sales because people can't be bothered to enter details elsewhere. That's been the case with the Mirabilis hardback, unfortunately - a beautiful production, much nicer than the trade paperback edition, but you just can't get it anywhere :-(

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  18. My game of Fabled Lands just started: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?581902-Fabled-Lands-Quest-1-Belly-of-the-Beast

    PCs here: http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?581738-Fabled-Lands-Quest-1-Belly-of-the-Beast

    :)

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  19. The RPG book is listed on amazon in the states as well. It is priced on sale at like 19.00 dollars. Which is awesome. Plus you get free shipping with another purchase!

    The link they posted here is for the EU Amazon, so if you click it it takes you there. You will have to go to amazon yourself to get to the American one.

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  20. Hi Tatem can you share the us amazon link pls? And do you know what is the international shipping cost?

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  21. Its ok Tatem. I found the answers. Wow. How come it's so much cheaper getting from US compared to UK sellers? Hah

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  22. It's not in stock with big chain UK sellers, so the UK prices are higher as smaller stockists try and exploit the situation. It will even out when the books hit distribution on both sides of the Atlantic. This is pretty common.

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  23. Hey you guys, can anybody share the Amazon US link? A price of $19 sounds like an amazing deal!

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  24. Dave, are you serious? Type amazon.com into the address bar and search 'fabled lands' in books! Not that challenging. I thought you had a degree from Oxford or something.

    Its how I got here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Fabled-Lands-Core-Rule-Book/dp/0857440748/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1309374184&sr=1-7

    [not having a degree from Oxford, thats not how I got here, which is nowhere. Fast.]

    Anyway, even with the P&P to the UK (cheapest option, could take a while) your still looking at only £18. Which aint too bad.

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  25. Just lack of time, Andre, but thanks for the link. Def seems best price for UK customers.

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  26. You must be busy!

    I was only trying to be funny by the way.

    Emphasise trying.

    The link is not clickable, how do you do clickable?

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  27. Sorry, should've added a :-) as I did get the joke. Yep, they only do SEO at Cambridge :-) As to links... Hmm, I don't think they can be clickable in comments, but tomorrow I'll put it up as a sidebar link.

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  28. Okay, link to Amazon now there on the sidebar. (I used Greywood's FL shield logo as the cover image borrowed from Megara coukd confuse.)

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. Yep posting a link here in comments does not work lol.

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  31. I would like to know when the source books will become available?

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  32. Hi Tatem - soon, I hope. If Jay or Shane at Greywood Pub is reading this, let us know the schedule.

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  33. Due to time constraints and a promotion at work I've taken a back seat in the writing, but I believe Sokara is due in September.

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  34. Here is a review: http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/15/15335.phtml

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  35. Cool ty. I just purchased the forth book and the RPG Rules today. Will be looking forward to September.

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  36. Roll on Sept. Meanwhile, I think I'm right in saying that you could use the RPg along with any of the FL gamebooks to run a pretty good roleplaying game for players unfamiliar with that book.

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  37. You are right. I have at least 4 FL newbies and, with the random PC creation system in particular, they all have taken to Harkuna like ducks to water :)

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  38. As mentioned in the above review, the starting wealth of new characters appears to be ommitted from the rulebook. Does anyone have a clue what the proper value should be?

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  39. Hmm, that's an oversight. I expect Greywood will put up an errata list on their website, but as a rule of thumb I'd say characters should have 50% of the value of their basic starting equipment in cash. Individual referees may prefer to start them clad in rags with 10 Shards in an open boat, just to give things an edge.

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  40. 1000 Shards was meant to be the default, according to Shane Garvey, the author. It seems accidentally edited out of the manuscript.

    However, as Dave says, whatever suits the narrative seems the best answer to most Fabled Lands question :)

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  41. Yeah for whatever reason it seemed to get left out during editing.

    It is 1000 Shards for starting characters.

    An FAQ / Errata document is being put together.

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  42. Cool interesting! Huh, looking forward for September, guess gaming and blissful reading time might work well. wow accounts for sale

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