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Talisman RPG: What Makes It Unique?

Talisman the board game is great but certainly has a beer and pretzels quality that I thought would carry over to the RPG. Instead, Talisman Adventures Fantasy Roleplaying Game is a nuanced dark fairy tale set in a magical world of competing alignments, ancestries, and powers. It impresses me.

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I love Talisman the board game. I’ve bought everything for it since second edition and played it consistently over the decades. I even wrote about how to use it as a D&D Adventure Generator Using Talisman the Board Game. I received a free PDF of the RPG to review.

Talisman Adventures FRPG takes everything wonderful about the board game, puts a fairy tale twist on it, and provides a living, breathing world to experience everything in. PCs can go on challenging adventures in a long-term campaign. The RPG is not about one quest to claim the Crown of Command. It is about hundreds of quests for a variety of different reason driven by the PCs. In addition, the game has a real old school feel while maintaining modern design sensibilities. There is alignment, traps, ten levels of advancement, and more.

Everything in Talisman Adventures FRPG is driven by kismet or fate. Player characters have light fate and Game moderators have dark that drive many game mechanics. PCs often have two choices for character advancement with an either or option. If your scout becomes a guide he cannot also become a brigand. Fate, once chosen, leads along different paths. The game uses 3d6 with a kismet die that can create additional harmful or helpful effects.

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Ancestries

Talisman has dwarves, elves, humans, and even sprites and trolls. More unusual is the ghoul as a playable character. Unique, however, is the leywalker.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I made three others, just to see what would happen.” —Rifran Fristscion Evirseed, Wayfinder
A leywalker manifests the inherent magic of the Realm itself. Known as Children of the Portal, the leywalker is deeply connected to the magical webs of magical power that crisscross their world.

Leywalkers can create portal anchors that allow them to teleport. They also have inherent magic points that they can use to do psychic damage, share with others casters, or use themselves if they are a spellcaster.

Alignment

Good, evil, and neutrality are inherent qualities to the Talisman world. A character’s alignment can dictate what magic items they can use. Different places may be dedicated to good or evil with different effects depending on the character’s alignment.

No Initiative

Combat flows based on what actions the player characters want to take. Initiative is not hard and fast but instead is fluid based on the circumstances. However, each PC gets to take one turn before any other PC takes a second action.

Priests Don’t Use Weapons

Priests can kill using spells. But they take a vow not to use weapons. Some priests lean into this motif and focus on healing. Other priests develop cold hearts and can return the harm others cause them with weapons to a spell they later cast.

Prophets Suffer from Visions

Prophets either receive clear visions but suffer if they talk or write clearly about them, or they receive clouded and confusing visions that they can talk about. Either way, prophets know a lot but their lives are messed up.

Followers

Strangers and even Enemies can become a Follower. A Follower gives the PC they follow special abilities just like those gained from ancestry or class. Followers have Loyalty that must be maintained. If Loyalty ever falls to 0 for 24 hours, the Follower departs.

Random Encounters

Talisman is full of random tables and random encounters to assist the GM in adventure building. Random tables are included for a variety of different circumstances from random benefits a Follower provides to PC aspirations to what monsters are encountered.

Can you use the board game with the RPG? Yes. The Fate counters translate directly. The miniatures will work well and the cards can be used as hand outs of sorts. You will also see magic items, spells, and more make a direct translation from board to RPG. Becoming a slimy, little toad is still a thing.

This RPG is wonderful. It is different enough from both the board game and other fantasy RPGs that I would find new surprises to enjoy. It has its own depth and developed setting. Yet it is also familiar is many ways, with great old school vibes, and in many ways like the board game from which it springs. If anything could bring me back to running a fantasy RPG, Talisman Adventures Fantasy Roleplaying Game would be it. Highly recommended.
 

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Charles Dunwoody

Charles Dunwoody

It is hard to overstate what a good shop Noble Knight is. Everyone who buys games online, or is interested in buying or selling old games, should definitely check them out. I've had nothing but wonderful experiences with them.
I have a strange blindspot in my head, and I always forget about Noble Knight (until after I've already ordered)
 

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pemerton

Legend
What do you two think people who think the game is too long are doing, other than "roll, move, do the thing and see what happens?" Roleplay? Attempting to auction off property? Trying to get a double-word score?

It's a beloved game that goes on longer than modern games, and that sometimes clashes with the expectations of contemporary players.
I haven't played it since Uni days 30 years ago. In 4 to 5 hours of play per game I don't recall that we ever actually finished it. I also remember the Highlander really sucking.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Vaguely remember the game, I think I had fun playing it.

This looks like a fun system, I’ve been looking to do more d6 games and this one leaving it all to the PCs skill roll looks interesting
 
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It is hard to overstate what a good shop Noble Knight is. Everyone who buys games online, or is interested in buying or selling old games, should definitely check them out. I've had nothing but wonderful experiences with them.
My experience is that they're overpriced, but at least they underreport the quality of the items.
I ordered a basic box of Battlestations! by Gorrilla Games. Quality was listed as "Used-good"... it was near-mint. Unpunched. Still in shrink, but shelf-wear. (I honestly think they grabbed the wrong one off the shelf.)
 

You are correct, I typed in haste and was incorrect. Fate is tied to Kismet not success. A 1 on Kismet still shows a dark result (can power GM effects) and a 6 is tied to light (can power PC effects) so to me this still fits the flavor well. But it does not tie to success or failure, which to me actually makes more sense. But YMMV.
There are a number of PC abilities which trigger on 1's... Troll Regeneration, for example. Sure, the GM gets his dark fate, but the troll gets a d3 HP back.
 

Vaguely remember the game, I think I had fun playing it.

This looks like a fun system, I’ve been looking to do more d6 games and this one leaving it all to the PCs skill roll looks interesting
Knowledge of the board games (Talisman, Talisman: Legendary Tales) is not needed, nor even particularly helpful.

My last bought Talisman was 4th, and I got Legendary Tales around Christmastime... Note that T:LT is a family game level, but has a story element to the scenarios. And, unlike the original, plays consistently a scenario in 30 to 120 minutes.

I'm hoping TA and T:LT both get at least one expansion.
 



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