Kick Off a Fantasy Campaign in Forbidden Lands

Plunder lost tombs, fight terrible monsters, wander wild lands, and if you live long enough, build a stronghold. Make your mark on a cursed world and start a new campaign in the Forbidden Lands.


Forbidden Lands uses the Year Zero rules previously reviewed. New rule options include talents with three tiers, dice up to d12 for powerful magic effects, and monsters with six attack options. Get started with just the Forbidden Lands box set or start with all the options including cards, custom dice, a GM screen, and a hardcover adventure with the Forbidden Lands Raven Bundle. Or simply pick up Raven’s Purge later if desired.

Kin include the standard fantasy folk along with goblins, orcs, and wolfkin. Eight professions include the hunter who is useful for surviving the wilds and the peddler who ensures that hard earned treasures sell high in town and can pull all kinds of needed gear from his pack.

As an example, Chris creates a wolfkin fighter, Tony a halfling rogue, and Beth a Meromannian dwarf sorcerer of the path of stone. Brie, the GM, talks with the players and they decide to place the Hollows, their starting village, in southeast Yendra south of the Shroud (forest) near all of the character’s homelands. Forbidden Lands has a full color hex map (double sided) with stickers for specific locations. Brie removes the sticker for the Hollows and places it on a village symbol at the mouth of the river flowing from Lake Mill.

Beth has a concern that her sorcerer begins with no Willpower points and can’t cast spells immediately. Brie explains that Willpower is generated by pushing the characters (rerolling) and can be quickly earned in game. And holding a stronghold generates Willpower as well. (If you do not like this approach, consider starting each PC with 1 Willpower with the GM getting Willpower for NPCs equal to all the PCs’ Willpower combined.)

Brie decides to place the castle adventure site of Weatherstone 50 kilometers south of the Hollows. She places a sticker for Weatherstone over the castle symbol on her map. Brie knows that the scorpion beast of Weatherstone is deadly with a whipping tail, roar, poison, and more threats. Brie decides that Beth’s dwarf’s spell dust from the deep works in Weatherstone in case a retreat is needed.

Brie decides to start with the adventurers half way to Weatherstone pursuing rumors from a tired treasure hunter and starting with a random encounter perhaps flagellants or the dwarf balloon pilot from the GM’s Guide. She starts planting clues leading to Raven’s Purge in Weatherstone. She also knows that Tony’s halfling is freaked out by goblins, so she decides to drop some clues to the goblin infested ruins to the northwest. She will also generate a village when the PCs are ready to head that way.

That initial work by Brie and her players is all that is needed to kick off a campaign. There are random tables in Forbidden Lands to generate dozens of castles, dungeons, and villages. Brie also has the kickstarter hardcover The Spire of Quetzel with adventure sites by OSR writers like Patrick Stuart and Chris McDowall. When it becomes available it adds four more adventure sites.

For less than $46 ($59 with USA shipping), a GM can kick off a campaign using the Forbidden Lands boxed set. Her players will have several kin and professions to choose from, plenty of gear, monsters to overcome, unique magic items to find, and eventually strongholds to command. Additional adventure and extras support is already available with more on the way. The Blood Mist has lifted, go explore the Forbidden Lands!

This article was contributed by Charles Dunwoody as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. Please note that Charles is a participant in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to DriveThruRPG. If you enjoy the daily news and articles from EN World, please consider contributing to our Patreon!
 
Charles Dunwoody

Comments

Ghost2020

Explorer
D&D guys fight Ultron!!! :p


All kidding aside, they have some nice looking products.
 
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I'm sorry, but I just don't "get" what this is. I've tried reading the reviews, the website, the announcements. Is it an RPG? Is it a boardgame? I'm getting vibes like it's Talisman mixed with Pandemic: Legacy. I like the art and the general description, but what is it?
(I'm not normally this dense, I swear! Haha)
 

Hugh Acton

Visitor
It is an RPG. It hypes hex crawling with a legacy game type mechanic. What that means really, though, is that it designs adventure locations to be plugged into any appropriate hex. They give stickers to make it permanent. The campaign book is designed to be non linear. None of this is exactly unique with hex crawling in the OSR, but these are not OSR rules and has high production values. It is a good value for the price, but not highly original. I do wish the interior art (which is excellent) matched the cover art (which is amazing); the setting matches the interior art more.
 
I'm sorry, but I just don't "get" what this is. I've tried reading the reviews, the website, the announcements. Is it an RPG? Is it a boardgame? I'm getting vibes like it's Talisman mixed with Pandemic: Legacy. I like the art and the general description, but what is it?
(I'm not normally this dense, I swear! Haha)
Forbidden Lands is a roleplaying fantasy game. It uses dice pool mechanics which I linked to. You have a character that goes on adventures, explores the wilds, gets treasures, builds strongholds, and spends XP to improve. So like D&D with a dice pool and unique setting. The GM has plenty of support to run a sandbox RPG campaign. The advantage over D&D is Forbidden Lands is less expensive but has less page overall of course. It is also a change from d20 which or may not be a plus depending on your point of view.
 

Skywalker

Explorer
I'm sorry, but I just don't "get" what this is. I've tried reading the reviews, the website, the announcements. Is it an RPG? Is it a boardgame? I'm getting vibes like it's Talisman mixed with Pandemic: Legacy. I like the art and the general description, but what is it?
(I'm not normally this dense, I swear! Haha)
Its an RPG.

It comes with a hex map which you complete as you play. There is a campaign book which has a bunch of locations that can be set anywhere on the map and a set of stickers for these locations if you prefer to use them rather than handwrite on the map.
 
We are running FL at my house now, and we are very much enjoying it.

It is not a traditional RPG, and shouldn't be approached that way. I would say that none of the Free League Year Zero Engine games, (Coriolis, Mutant Year Zero), are traditional RPGs. Their mechanics lend themselves to being more survival oriented. We're also playing MYZ at my house and there's a lot less time spent on combat than with most other RPGs.

I would say that if you're looking for an RPG that isn't a combat miniatures, pick one of the Free League games. Forbidden Lands is particularly enjoyable and the books are incredible.
 
We are running FL at my house now, and we are very much enjoying it.

It is not a traditional RPG, and shouldn't be approached that way. I would say that none of the Free League Year Zero Engine games, (Coriolis, Mutant Year Zero), are traditional RPGs. Their mechanics lend themselves to being more survival oriented. We're also playing MYZ at my house and there's a lot less time spent on combat than with most other RPGs.

I would say that if you're looking for an RPG that isn't a combat miniatures, pick one of the Free League games. Forbidden Lands is particularly enjoyable and the books are incredible.
I would say MY0 is a traditional RPG just different from D&D. I totally agree it focuses on survival but also politics and settlement building. However, the PCs slowly fall apart which takes some getting used to.

Coriolis is more traditional since the PCs don't decay over the campaign.
 
Unintentional thread resurrection, but I wanted to drop by here and say that I have perused my friend's copy of the Forbidden Lands box this week, and I was so impressed I immediately ordered my own copy. The production values are top notch, and I find the whole system very evocative and a fresh take on fantasy roleplaying. Having spent the better part of two decades in d20-based fantasy roleplaying (3.x, 4e, PF, 13th Age, and 5e), it's really nice to see something different.

While I'm not sure if we'll be playing this immediately (we are getting ready to start a Call of Cthulhu campaign), I am very excited to look through the books and to read them for inspiration.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
As an aside, the creation of this game was sort-of accidental. Free League was doing a kickstarter for an art book featuring the art of Nils Gulliksson, who was the main illustrator for the Swedish RPG Drakar och Demoner in the mid-80s. One of the late stretch goals was a "Gulliksson RPG" and, well, here we are.

So if you think the illustrations in Forbidden Lands look old school, that's because a large number of them were actually done in the 80s.
 
As an aside, the creation of this game was sort-of accidental. Free League was doing a kickstarter for an art book featuring the art of Nils Gulliksson, who was the main illustrator for the Swedish RPG Drakar och Demoner in the mid-80s. One of the late stretch goals was a "Gulliksson RPG" and, well, here we are.

So if you think the illustrations in Forbidden Lands look old school, that's because a large number of them were actually done in the 80s.
That's some amazing art.
 

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