Sean's Picks of the Week (1002-1006) - Blessed Are the Healers Week
  • Sean's Picks of the Week (1002-1006) - Blessed Are the Healers Week

    Every day of the year on this planet has its share of death and tragedy, but I think most can agree there's been a rather intense and poignant spate of reminders lately of just how dark and painful things can be. To that end, I wanted to shine the spotlight on gaming things that celebrate healers, diplomats, and adventuring that celebrates other means of conflict resolution. I am pretty thrilled at how many beautiful and uplifting things I found. (PS - I rearranged the order from the actual week's chronology due to the small image Evil Hat used for Do.)


    Today’s Pick for Blessed Are the Healers Week is this gorgeous fantasy RPG that focuses not on wizards and warriors, but artisans, craftspeople, and those who work hard to make their world a better place. This line from the product description really says it all –

    "Some people colloquially call it “Hayao Miyazaki’s Oregon Trail“, because of its heartwarming (in Japanese 'honobono') feel of family anime, and its focus on traveling and wonder over combat and treasure."

    Ryuutama is an RPG developed in Japan by designer Atsuhiro Okada. It is set in a world where the “NPCs” of the village–the bakers, farmers, shopkeepers and healers–set off on a wonderful adventure exploring a fantasy world together. Some people colloquially call it “Hayao Miyazaki’s Oregon Trail“, because of its heartwarming (in Japanese “honobono“) feel of family anime, and its focus on traveling and wonder over combat and treasure.

    The characters are travelers in a world without classical fantasy wizards and warriors. Instead, the characters are minstrels, merchants, healers, hunters, artisans, farmers and nobles who decide (or were fated) to leave their towns and explore the world. Using a light rules system based on polyhedral dice where the randomness in results leads to more story development, Ryuutama provides a framework for travel-focused stories fun for adults and enjoyable for all ages.

    The game master also creates a special character with its own unique character sheet, called the “Ryuujin“. The half-dragon Ryuujin remains “offscreen” most of the time, but watches over the other characters, and can provide limited spells and abilies to support them. The GM provides advertisy that the players have to overcome, but at the same time they protect and nurture the characters.

    • Experience is gained in Ryuutama primarily by making difficult journeys to new places, far more than monster slaying.
    • Magic is based on seasonal essenses, and focuses on the classic creative use of magic to overcome problems, over combat-themed spells.
    • Combat is simple and fun, featuring a classic console style “Front/Back Line Battle Mat”
    • The players at the table have a hand in creating the towns that their characters visit together, so that everyone has an interest in the next leg of the journel!
    • Critical fumbles (rolling 1s on both dice) hurt, but all the characters at the table get a bonus to a future roll in return.

    The game was produced as a flagship project in Japan to easily get people into playing and GMing RPGs; to that end there’s a lot of advice for brand new GMs, including scenario creation. There are lots of sheets and templates to help brand new or novice GMs develop great Ryuutama-worthy scenarios.

    The game has been out in Japan for years, and is widely loved by the people who play it. Even today long campaigns and short stories are being played in homes and cafes around the country. It has finally arrived in English to a new audience, and remade in full color by layout artist and game designer Daniel Solis!


    Conflict and action-driven as gaming tends to be, I may have set a difficult challenge for myself this week. However, with the death and destruction of many hurricanes and earthquakes in recent days, and the unmitigated horror of the news out of Las Vegas, NV this morning, I am declaring this Blessed Are the Healers Week. I dedicate this week’s SPOD entries to healers, peacemakers, and those who help rather than harm.

    The most important heroes of all, really.

    We open with Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple, a game focused on young, kind, enthusiastic young monks and travelers who simply seek to help people in need and have a bit of adventure. The linked version is for the iteration based on its own original system. There’s also a FATE-driven version.

    Per creator Daniel Solis – “You tell the story of young travelers who mean well, but spend most of their time getting into trouble. You use your creativity and strategy to create a humorous coming of age story. It’s like a comedic crossover between Avatar: the Last Airbender, the Little Prince and Kino’s Journey.”

    The Universe is full of big troubles. When people need a hand, they write letters to the Temple asking for help from the pilgrims — young travelers with good intentions, the ability to fly, and not much else! The pilgrims come to help, but they get into a lot of trouble along the way. Growing up is crazy!

    Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is a slapstick fantasy storytelling game. This book contains the complete rules for play. Together with a notebook, pencils, a small pouch, two handfuls of stones, and your friends, you’ll be ready to answer letters, help people, and make trouble.


    “Hyperoptimistic Postapocalyptic?” Well, OK then…

    Filamena Young crafted this very interesting gem that takes the post-apoc genre and flips it cheerily on its head with a game about rebuilding the future to be brighter and better than the disasters that came before. Seems like a perfect addition to Blessed Are the Healers Week.

    Have you heard anyone say that the future’s not so bright, and thought, “But I have lightbulbs?” If so, Flatpack is the game for you! Until someone tells us otherwise, we’re saying that Flatpack: Fix the Future is the first game in the smash Hyperoptimistic Postapocalyptic genre of gaming. Flatpack is a game about building a new society using pre-apocalypse technology that you don’t always trust or understand, and solving terrible problems creatively.

    *Flatpack uses simple resolution mechanics made to be playable for anyone that can read.

    *Think IKEA, meets Civilization, meets Actraiser, meets Earthbound, in pen and paper game form!

    *Cooperative and tongue-in-cheek gameplay focused on puzzles, brainteasers, and play achievements.


    It would be hard to do a Blessed Are the Healers Week and not do at least one Pick centered on the classic healers of gaming – the clerics. This particularly keen selection from Rogue Genius takes the Pathfinder cleric in all kinds of new and interesting directions, and there are definitely options for those for whom the task of healing and comfort in the face of tragedy and danger are the chosen paths.

    Some other products in this vein that caught my attention are:

    Know That I am a Servant of the Gods!

    Clerics are an iconic part of fantasy roleplaying games and, as agents of the divine, serve an important role in telling interesting stories and creating interesting worlds. Unfortunately, despite the many and varied different gods in most campaigns, clerics end up being disappointingly similar. Each selects two domains, but otherwise has access to the same spells, weapons, armor, and abilities as every other cleric. For characters devoted to divine beings that are spectacularly diverse, clerics have very little flexibility. But now with The Genius Guide to the Talented Cleric, it’s possible to build any kind of cleric. Warrior priests and crusaders can focus on divine domains and blessings, choosing to forgo the power to channel energy, or even reducing their dependence on spells. Clerics of gods focusing on animals can gain trusted mounts or improved familiars. Clerics of gods of knowledge can focus on secret lore and esoteric studies. Maintaining the core concept of a supernaturally-empowered agent of the gods, the Talented Cleric can now be as customized and unique as the god she worships.


    “Talkers, Runners, Doers, Fighters“. That’s the initiative system for this final Pick for Blessed Are the Healers Week, and it’s what makes this action adventure RPG based on a popular media property stand out. The initiative system reflects the aesthetic and ethics of the series, where those willing to talk things out are given precedence, and those who choose to do something other than punch or shoot to resolve a conflict are greatly valued. Sure, there are times when there simply is no other choice… but how nice to see that a game can be fun and exciting with all the other options given such value.

    The Doctor is in.

    Imagine you could go anywhere. This world or countless others, encountering strange alien races, new cultures or hostile environments. Now imagine you could travel to any time. Meet Robin Hood (and duel him with a spoon!), discover what terrible monster lives under your bed, journey inside a Dalek or travel to the end of time itself. Where would you go?

    With Cubicle 7’s Doctor Who Roleplaying Game, the power is in your hands! You can go anywhere or anywhen in the universe. It’s not going to be easy. It’ll probably be dangerous. The universe is a hostile place, full of Daleks, Zygons, Sontarans, the Boneless, Cybermen, Clockwork Robots, Silurians and worse. There will be fear, heartbreak and excitement, but above all, it’ll be the trip of a lifetime.

    The Doctor Who Roleplaying Game is a set in the universe of the world’s longest running science fiction show on TV – the BBC’s Doctor Who. This new edition of the rulebook, fully updated with imagery from the Twelfth Doctor’s adventures, presents all the rules and background you need to have your own adventures in time and space in a single volume, including:

    • A complete set of rules for playing the game.
    • Rules for creating your own characters, gadgets and more.
    • A guide to creating your own adventures, as well as two new adventures.
    • Ready-made character sheets for the Twelfth Doctor and his companions, including Clara Oswald, Danny Pink, Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax.
    • Rules and background for some of the Doctor’s most infamous enemies – including Missy!
    • All-new imagery from the Twelfth Doctor’s adventures.
    • And much more besides!
    • The Doctor Who Roleplaying Game has been written to appeal to both the experienced and first-time gamer. The game is suitable for 2 or more players aged 10 to 2000.

    The Doctor Who Roleplaying Game is the new name for Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space.

    Don't get me wrong - I still love guns, explosions, swords, grand battles, and all that... in my games. However, I think it's always a good idea to take a step back and remember that such things in the real world are terrible and sad and devastating, and it's always a good idea to explore ways we can express ourselves in RPGs to promote healing and peace. I greatly honor writers and designers like Daniel Solis for showing us other ways to have fun, and other games that promote these noble ideals.

    I hope the days and weeks to come for all of you are full of peace and joy in your real lives, and tons of excitement and fun at the game table.

    The Adventure Continues!

    Note that I use affiliate links in all my posts as a way to generate additional revenue for my efforts; I make my Picks and other article choices, however, based on the desire to share a wide variety of things with you. Thank you for your support.

    Sean Patrick Fannon
    Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
    Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!
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