Forbidden Lands

I'm a big fan of Forbidden Lands - probably my favourite RPG for plain fantasy so far (DCC is great too, but scratches another itch). Like @Aldarc, the fact that it's relatively low on magic is a plus to me, and I very much enjoy the way it incorporates dice-driven, emergent storytelling into its campaign (I'm not sure how much of that is our GM, but so far it's going great). An additional plus is that it doesn't use a d20 (I'm a bit burnt out on d20 games and D&D in particular).
For the setting, though, I have to agree - there's too much hostility between the different peoples there. For our campaign, we just toned it down (in the typical "our Orc is different" fashion). I also find it to have maybe a few talents too much, but it's still in a range that I find bearable.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Staffan

Legend
Looks at the Cortex Prime, Cypher System, Savage Worlds, and Fate books on the shelf

Looks at Yora


You sound awful sure of that.

I don't know how to tell you this, but...

those are old!

Cypher is the only one that isn't getting close to 20 yet.
Cortex Prime was released in 2020. Sure, it has roots that go back farther (though the oldest generic version was from 2008, so not quite 20 yet), but it's been refined and tinkered with a lot in its latest version. Fate Core is from 2013, even if the engine was used for earlier games. Same with Genesys (the engine in the Star Wars RPG) which was released in standalone form in 2019.

But the main point is true: generic RPGs are rare. Probably because they don't sell all that well, because they require a lot of extra work by the GM to turn it from a game construction kit into an actual game. What seems to be working better is the "house system", where a game company make several different games that use similar rules but adapted to the setting/genre. For example, Free League uses a version of the Mutant Year Zero rules for both MYZ itself, Tales from the Loop, Coriolis, Forbidden Lands, and Alien. If you know one of these games, the others will be familiar to you.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Cortex Prime was released in 2020. Sure, it has roots that go back farther (though the oldest generic version was from 2008, so not quite 20 yet), but it's been refined and tinkered with a lot in its latest version. Fate Core is from 2013, even if the engine was used for earlier games. Same with Genesys (the engine in the Star Wars RPG) which was released in standalone form in 2019.

But the main point is true: generic RPGs are rare. Probably because they don't sell all that well, because they require a lot of extra work by the GM to turn it from a game construction kit into an actual game. What seems to be working better is the "house system", where a game company make several different games that use similar rules but adapted to the setting/genre. For example, Free League uses a version of the Mutant Year Zero rules for both MYZ itself, Tales from the Loop, Coriolis, Forbidden Lands, and Alien. If you know one of these games, the others will be familiar to you.
All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health,...
 

Yora

Legend
I'm a big fan of Forbidden Lands - probably my favourite RPG for plain fantasy so far (DCC is great too, but scratches another itch). Like @Aldarc, the fact that it's relatively low on magic is a plus to me, and I very much enjoy the way it incorporates dice-driven, emergent storytelling into its campaign (I'm not sure how much of that is our GM, but so far it's going great). An additional plus is that it doesn't use a d20 (I'm a bit burnt out on d20 games and D&D in particular).
Coming mostly from B/X D&D (that makes me sound much older than I am), I am still trying to work out how much structure and procedure there really is in Forbidden Lands.
The wilderness movement and resource management rules look solid enough, and there's even clear effects for running out of food, water, and sleep or suffering hypothermia. I also like that movement is just in number of hexes per quaryer of day travel without bothering with any miles per day speeds. And decent rules for foraging. This all looks way more thought out and playtested than the vague suggestions in B/X. There's also a stronghold battle system that doesn't require slugging it out between 50 or 100 NPCs.
It seems that all the Mishaps tables are where a lot of randomized stuff will come from. There's mishap tables for navigation, foraging, hunting, water travel, and even setting up camp. While the mishaps themselves are not that big of a deal each, they do look like they will make wilderness travel a lot more interactive than only ticking off rations and doing random encounter checks.

The random encounter system that is presented looks like an interesting idea. But I guess you would have to keep restocking it with your own new encounters since they are really single-use scenes. And only 42 of them, which are mostly pretty specific to a certain campaign style. I think this is something where the old B/X D&D encounter system with randomized creature types, creature numbers, and disposition towards the PCs could be a great thing to adapt.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I don't know how to tell you this, but...

those are old!
Cypher is the only one that isn't getting close to 20 yet.

Cortex Prime came out in 2020
Fate Condensed came out in 2020
Savage Words Adventure Edition came out in 2018.
Cypher System came out in 2015.

And, on each of these core lines, there are recently released games, and more in active development. These are games that are actively developed and supported. They are still being made.

And that was the point - you said nobody makes generic games any more. You were simply incorrect.
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
I'm just trying to figure out your argument/statement. I'm not trying to be condescending or fighting with you.

You said this:
Since nobody makes generic systems anymore
To which he said:
Looks at the Cortex Prime, Cypher System, Savage Worlds, and Fate books on the shelf

Looks at Yora


You sound awful sure of that.
And your answer is this?
I don't know how to tell you this, but...

those are old!

Cypher is the only one that isn't getting close to 20 yet.
I'm guessing that your argument is not that people don't make generic systems anymore but that people tend not to make new untried generic systems anymore. That I agree with. But as there are awesome generic systems out there (and some are fairly popular as RPGs go once you leave the d20 sphere [Savage Worlds] for example).

I absolutely agree that generic take way more work than rpgs with built in environments, but not more work than ripping the environments out of those RPGs.
 


The random encounter system that is presented looks like an interesting idea. But I guess you would have to keep restocking it with your own new encounters since they are really single-use scenes. And only 42 of them, which are mostly pretty specific to a certain campaign style. I think this is something where the old B/X D&D encounter system with randomized creature types, creature numbers, and disposition towards the PCs could be a great thing to adapt.
Yes, the tables are a bit of a problem. Among others, there seems to be an awful lot of skeletons on them ;). This definitely requires some mental stretching from the GM to avoid being bland/repetitive.
The other thing that could be improved that (if I remember correctly) there are no villages or other structures of civilization, be they populated or deserted, on the random tables. So the GM has to deliberately place such stuff, otherwise the world feels a bit empty. This is less of a problem IMO when you want to run the Raven's Purge campaign, but even there a bit more variety wouldn't hurt.
So adapting things from B/X is probably a good idea, especially if you want to run your own campaigns with FL.
The other thing I have on my list (for this game as well as for other OSRish stuff) is too spend a bit more time thinking about path crawls (the Playful Void blog has a nice article on them) since hex crawls slow down gameplay considerably (can be great with a creative GM who has a lot of time at their hands, but for our GM it's also the reason he felt a bit too much pressure to come up with new stuff after 1.5 years of play).
 

Staffan

Legend
Has it really been that long?! Where are the years running off to? Why is life speeding up the closer I get to the end?!?!?
Because each successive year is a smaller portion of your whole life. When you were ten, a year was 10% of your life, but when you're fifty it's only 2%.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Cortex Prime came out in 2020
Fate Condensed came out in 2020
Savage Words Adventure Edition came out in 2018.
Cypher System came out in 2015.

And, on each of these core lines, there are recently released games, and more in active development. These are games that are actively developed and supported. They are still being made.

And that was the point - you said nobody makes generic games any more. You were simply incorrect.
This is also not to mention that there are a number of non-setting specific fantasy RPGs meant to cover generic fantasy adventure games: Mythras, Fantasy AGE, Index Card RPG, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Black Hack, Torchbearer 2e, etc.
 

Yora

Legend
The other thing I have on my list (for this game as well as for other OSRish stuff) is too spend a bit more time thinking about path crawls (the Playful Void blog has a nice article on them) since hex crawls slow down gameplay considerably (can be great with a creative GM who has a lot of time at their hands, but for our GM it's also the reason he felt a bit too much pressure to come up with new stuff after 1.5 years of play).
I never found the idea convincing that you walk from hex to hex and find any cave, ruin, or village just by being in the same general 80 km² area. With only a few exceptions, you have to know where to look for something when sites of interest are 6 or 12 miles apart from each other.
Following rivers and old paths to get anywhere seems much more plausible, especially when you're in a forest with no visibility past 50 meters at most. I came up with these ideas how exploring characters could discover new sites to check out closely.
 

The Weather Outside Is Frightful!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top