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Tales of Xadia Public Playtest Coming Soon

The public playtest for the Dragon Prince-themed tabletop RPG, Tales of Xadia, launches on February 9th. To get access, you'll just need to sign up to their newsletter.

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 PRESS RELEASE



San Francisco, CA (February 4, 2021) – The official public playtest for Tales of Xadia: The Dragon Prince Roleplaying Game is set to debut on February 9, 2021. Fans can enjoy free access to the playtest by simply signing up to the Tales of Xadia newsletter at talesofxadia.com, with those who sign up before February 9th receiving early access. The tabletop roleplaying game – produced by Fandom in partnership with Wonderstorm, the studio behind The Dragon Prince – is set within Xadia, the rich and diverse fantasy world of the Emmy® Award-winning Netflix original series. Fans who access the playtest will be the first to play the game, which is still in development, and have the opportunity to provide feedback that can impact the final game, which will be released later in 2021.

“Our goal with Tales of Xadia is to authentically capture the unique feel, expansive world, and epic stakes of The Dragon Prince,” said Adam Bradford, Executive Producer and Vice President of Tabletop at Fandom. “As we enter the public playtesting phase, we’re excited for fans to see the game in action, experience a thrilling original story, and share their feedback that will help us finalize the game for the full release later this year.”

"We are excited for The Dragon Prince community to explore the world of Xadia in a totally new way as they test out Tales of Xadia with their friends and family," said Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond, co-creators of The Dragon Prince. "This game has the same rich world-building and epic stories that fans of the show have come to know, but it’s all driven by you this time! We can't wait to hear about your own adventures and escapades through Xadia."

Based on the award-winning Cortex rules system, players’ stories come to life around the game table where they can forge alliances, uncover secrets, engage in mighty battles, and protect those they love from peril and prophecy. Players accomplish feats of might, mind, or magic that impact the story by rolling different types of dice depending on level of expertise with specific traits. Players can play as elves connected to the primal sources of magic or as a member of the Human Kingdoms, customize their traits and special abilities, define values that motivate their characters, and track everything with digital support during play.

Wonderstorm and Fandom were brought to the game table by Joe LeFavi at Genuine Entertainment, who manages the tabletop gaming rights for The Dragon Prince and serves as a managing producer on the Tales of Xadia game series.

The Dragon Prince premiered globally on Netflix in September 2018 and immediately topped popularity lists across Rotten Tomatoes, Fandom and Tumblr. It was quickly renewed for second and third seasons, which premiered in February 2019 and November 2019, respectively. Netflix recently renewed the series for four additional seasons. With this multi-season renewal, Netflix committed to fully realize the creators’ vision for the seven-season Saga. The Dragon Prince won the 2020 Emmy® Award for Outstanding Children’s Animated Series and has been a top-ten digital original for all of its season runs. Forbes named it one of the best fantasy shows on TV and all three seasons have a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Fans can sign up for the Tales of Xadia newsletter at talesofxadia.com and receive early access to select playtest materials starting today. On February 9th, all fans can explore the full public playtest materials and preorder the Tales of Xadia Game Handbook, the core rulebook for the upcoming roleplaying game, set to release later this year.


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

NerdyBird

Explorer
Really am excited for this. My daughter and I have cycled through all three seasons twice now, and we're talking about watching again. It's a rich world with great potential for exploration and homebrewing.
 



Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Okay, fine, work was slow, so I read over the rules...

This game looks to be a pretty clean adaptation of the Cortex rules framework (as opposed to a "hack", where the framework is significantly bent or changed to make it do what you want). So, if you are familiar with Cortex, it will be easy to pick up. I won't describe the fullness of the rules, but I can note some relevant things that lead to this fitting the show pretty well....

They've chosen some good statistics to use, to match what's important in the Dragon Prince series.

A character has a die rating (from d4 to d12) in each of six Attributes (Agility, Awareness, Influence, Intellect, Spirit, Strength) - very much like D&D attributes in what they cover.

A character has a die rating in each of six Values (Devotion, Glory, Justice, Liberty, Mastery, Truth) - These indicate how much a character is dedicated to that value, and how much drive the character gets when that value is relevant. There is a balance to these, such that being high in some means being low in others. Rayla, for example, has a high die in Devotion, as she's strongly driven by her devotion to her friends or cause. She has a low die in Glory, as she isn't seeking fame.

A character will have three Distinctions (all rated at a d8, to start with). Typically, one has to do with a character's background, kindred, or ancestry. Another has to do with their training, vocation, or role. The third is a memorable personality quirk or feature. Rayla, from the show, as distinctions "Moonshadow Elf", "Reluctant Assassin", and "Act First, Think Later"

The Cortex system has a few options for how to deal with failure. The standard is Complications - if a Complication gets too hairy, then you can't work around it and it renders you ineffective for the rest of the scene. Other Cortex games take a form of Life Points. Tales of Xadia has instead opted to work with Stress - when you are on the losing side of a conflict, you take a die of Stress. Also, the Narrator can use one of your Stress dice when building a pool to roll against you.

There's a bunch of different types of Stress. You can be Afraid, Angry, Anxious, Corrupted (like, by black magic), Exhausted, or Injured. If any of your Stress dice go over d12, you are Stressed out, and no longer effective in the scene.

Super cool design choice - this is not fully detailed in the playtest rules, but you get credit to use for character advancement by clearing stress. If you always succeed, and don't take a lot of stress, you won't grow. If you try risky things, and sometimes fail and take stress, when you reduce that stress down to nothing, you get points for growth.

Now, here's the real important bit that many D&D players might struggle with....

Let us imagine... Orc and Pie. You walk into a room, there is an orc, and a pie. If you try to just take the pie, the orc is going to resist you.

The typical D&D player response is, "I enter combat, kill the orc, then I can do what I want with the pie." Combat ensues, the orc dies, and the PC can take the pie unopposed.

In Tales of Xadia, the player response is, "I'm going to take that pie. If the orc wants to stop me, he'll have to enter a Contest with me, in which I will beat him about the head and shoulders with my mace." The Contest is joined, the orc loses, takes some stress, and the PC gets the pie.

Unless the actual goal is "I wanna kill that guy!" then that guy is unlikely to actually die. But that's okay, because killing is not necessary to get what you want.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Now, in these rules, there's a difficulty with most people's current situation. Without a cleanly implemented virtual assistant, running this game online is apt to be difficult. You really want the die rolls, current stress dice, and any Assets that may be present in the scene to be visible to everyone. In addition, you need a mechanism to track Plot Points that are spent back and forth.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
There's a very interesting mechanic for certain NPCs (Narrator Characters, or "NCs" in the rules). They are called "Catalyst" NCs, and theya re pivotal characters that help move the action. However, they don't start up as being strictly allies or enemies - that develops during play. Lord Virin, for example, is a Catalyst in the show.

Rather than having the six Attributes that PCs have, Catalyst NCs have a single die - but that die goes up or down as the PCs interact with them.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Oh, and while this playtest doc does not get into character generation, it notes that in the game, you cannot make a human who can use rune magic, much less one like Callum, who seems to have access across multiple sources. Dark magic is available to humans, but it has consequences - see that "Corruption" stress. There are no dark magic pregenerated characters provided in the documents so far.

In the show, the human and elven kingdoms are strongly split. In the playtest materials, they work side-by-side, with perhaps some tension. No explanation of this is given - maybe the RPG takes place after the series, such that the relations have smoothed out some, or something.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The adventure design is interesting. This is no dungeon crawl.

It seems designed to go... rather like an episode of a TV show - it is constructed in two acts, with several scenes going in parallel in each act. If the PCs stick together on a single thread, they are not going to be able to impact events as they develop in other places, which can make things harder for them. This adventure actually begs for the party to split up. Like in a TV show, you'd swap focus from one scene to another as matters move forward. There are then a couple different places where the threads pull back together, and people who have gone off on different paths converge again in he action.
 


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Others will be able to get these rules soon enough, but... anyone have questions I might try to answer?
Sounds pretty clean implementation. I have never seen the show, but I like a couple of things you described (the way dice are used, the stress advancement, the adventure setup). Wonder if that matters...
 

Aldarc

Legend
Oh, and while this playtest doc does not get into character generation, it notes that in the game, you cannot make a human who can use rune magic, much less one like Callum, who seems to have access across multiple sources. Dark magic is available to humans, but it has consequences - see that "Corruption" stress. There are no dark magic pregenerated characters provided in the documents so far.

In the show, the human and elven kingdoms are strongly split. In the playtest materials, they work side-by-side, with perhaps some tension. No explanation of this is given - maybe the RPG takes place after the series, such that the relations have smoothed out some, or something.
The RPG takes place between Season 3 and the time jump that will precede Season 4.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Sounds pretty clean implementation. I have never seen the show, but I like a couple of things you described (the way dice are used, the stress advancement, the adventure setup). Wonder if that matters...

Accepting that these are only playtest rules and adventure, obviously, so there's only so much we can pull out of it with confidence....

The adventure structure it seems to be built on isn't particular to Dragon Prince. It is the general TV show structure - TV shows and movies cut back and forth between different sub-groups of their characters, doing different, but related things.

I expect that if a GM creates adventures for, and the players adhere to, what I'd call traditional "don't split the party" style, it'll play... okay? In general, the system is not designed on the basis of tracking moment by moment tactical action and resource attrition as D&D is, so that'll be a habit of approach D&D GMs may need to break.

There's also a big note here about how this isn't a game about beating things up, look at the Stress types - one is Injury, another is Exhaustion. A third is Corruption. But then the other three, fully half of the ways that characters feel the consequences of failure, are emotional states - Anger, Anxiety, and Fear. The way I am reading it, btw, "Anxiety" may be approximated with "Self-doubt" to differentiate it from outright Fear.

Now, some folks may balk at that, in a "you can't tell me what my character feels!" way. For one thing, I expect appliation of stress can be negotiated some - "This situation seems like it would have been frustrating, so I'm thiking the Stress will manifest as Anger. How does that sound?" For another, as far as is seen in these rules, these Stresses don't change what your character can choose to do. You can be carrying a load of Fear Stress, but still stand up against a dragon like Sturm Brightblade, if you get my meaning. The Stress determines what, narratively, are the character's sore spots of the moment.
 


Stone Dog

Explorer
The Dragon Queen seems happy for everyone to get along. Having her be a driving force for peace even with a dead mate and a kidnapped child might help people get used to the idea.
 

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