The Fumble: World's Most Popular Tabletop RPG Offers Exciting New Player Freedom

Olympia, WA-based game publisher Warlocks of the Shore has announced that effectively immediately, there are no actual rules for Barrows & Bearowls (B&B), their massively popular tabletop RPG game.

barrows and bearowls exciting new player freedom THE FUMBLE.PNG


"That's correct", B&B Lead Designer Rocko "Rocko" Johnson said. "The B&B Team is boldly continuing our almost fifty-year history of tabletop RPG pioneering and innovation. In a dramatic move to improve player freedom, we are dispensing with any and all rules for the game. Heck, there won't even be any guidelines! It's going to revolutionize the hobby like nothing else has since B&B was first published in the 70s and created the hobby itself."

"Think about it," said James Lollard, a chief B&B architect and a player favorite on social media. "For decades we've handed players books and asked them to learn the rules and how everything works. Then during game sessions, they bring the rules up or ask questions about them and it just gums everything up."

"I spend about half of my time on social media answering questions," Lollard continued. "Players have so many questions about the rules, it's like they're engaging with what we've designed and trying to understand how it applies to the game. What Barrow Master or designer wants to have to factor that into a game if we're being honest?"

According to Johnson, the B&B team has tried for several years to find a happy medium by clarifying that the rules are just guidelines, and can be interpreted by players as needed for their maximum personal enjoyment of the game. "We spend years designing and playtesting each new edition of the game, making sure the system is comprehensive and playable and fun for the widest variety of players possible, but dude, you know... play it how you want. And don't even get me started on errata. Oh, man, errata."

"So we're studying the data from a comprehensive survey of our players in a recent meeting, biggest survey ever in the history of the game, actually," Johnson continues. "The goal was to find an engaging new path forward in maximizing player enjoyment. And a theme that kept coming up was a game with rules was a drag. Well, actually there were just some data trends that kept coming up involving rules in general. But we sort of distilled that down to a game with rules is a drag."

"Someone, I can't remember who, half-jokingly suggested we get rid of the rules. There was a silence where you could tell everyone was likely thinking the same thing, and then Lollard jumped up and said let's do it! He seemed kind of manic about it, actually. That enthusiasm was infectious! From there, it's really just a montage scene."

Per Johnson, from this point forward all B&B book products will be just a piece of cardboard (or one-page PDF) with cover art. Retail price will continue to be in existing ranges. Most B&B books currently sell for between $40-$50 US.

Initial response from the tabletop RPG community has been neutral to favorable, with the URLSTRG (Unified Rules Lawyers Society of Tabletop RPG Gaming) promising a swift and strong response to this change in their beloved hobby.

Sarah Hampton, a tabletop RPG player at a local game store, had this to say. "I can see both sides. I mean, rules are a drag if they don't support what I want to do or get in the way of the fun. But if there are no rules, what game are we playing? I guess if people don't like it they can play Trailblazer. I hear their new edition is cool, and I think it still has rules, right?"

Warlocks of the Shore acquired the Barrows & Bearowls tabletop RPG game and related IP in the late 90s from RSR (Roleplay Studies Rules), Inc. when RSR encountered financial difficulties after many years of successfully publishing tabletop RPGs, including the first (and still most popular by far) RPG, B&B.


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The Fumble is a satire/parody tabletop RPG news column. It's not real. Also, careful with those arrows lest you provoke the gazebo.
 
Last edited:
Shane Stacks

Comments

Actually - that is what our gaming group has done - haha. 5E and Pathfinder hurt our heads and gave us brain burn. So several months ago we switched to freeform LARPing set in the D&D Multiverse. (Or tabletop freeform storytelling when the weather is foul.) The 5E stats and character sheets now just serve as loose inspration for telling a story. We've had more fun.
 

sstacks

Shane "Shane Plays" Stacks
Actually - that is what our gaming group has done - haha. 5E and Pathfinder hurt our heads and gave us brain burn. So several months ago we switched to freeform LARPing set in the D&D Multiverse. (Or tabletop freeform storytelling when the weather is foul.) The 5E stats and character sheets now just serve as loose inspration for telling a story. We've had more fun.
When satire and reality become the same, a rift into the Plane of Concordant Opposition tears open and suddenly strange things like AD&D 1E having always had advantage and disadvantage occur. But tacos taste better, so there's that.
 

LuisCarlos17f

Adventurer
Any new about the plans to publish the transphor-zoid tamer class? All children who have played with their transphor-zoid toy now want to play a tamer in the RPG version.

What about the future RPG set in the cartoon "Grayskull High" where the children of Master of the Universe and power princesses go to study?

Warlock of the Shore had promised the cybertronians as PC race, and vehicle+monster pet, for the post-cataclysm game Omega-World in April 1st.

When will be published the sequel of the videogame Inhominids, Nohumanoids, Inhumanoids, what-its-name? That about doom marines with exo suits hunting that monsters what are as the children by a marriage between Japanese kaijus y Lovecraft's myths.

How can I get the heroes of "Hobgoblins must die: Unchained" for my games of "Strongnite: Save the world"?

* When is the next number of the comic crossover between Spelljammer and Rom Spaceknight?

* Can I advice me? I am playing the RTS Birthright: Total Battle set in the world of Cericilia and I don't know about to hire more musketeers or battlemages. The gunpowder is cheaper, but I don't feel confortable to play with clockwork soldiers among my wild elves archers and savage bearskin barbarians.
 

sstacks

Shane "Shane Plays" Stacks
* Can I advice me? I am playing the RTS Birthright: Total Battle set in the world of Cericilia and I don't know about to hire more musketeers or battlemages. The gunpowder is cheaper, but I don't feel confortable to play with clockwork soldiers among my wild elves archers and savage bearskin barbarians.
I can neither confirm nor deny the majority of your post due to legal reasons, I'll just say you must have some really good sources.

Regarding your RTS Birthright question, go with musketeers. Battlemages eat a lot.
 

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