Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures is drivethru’s deal of the day today. Come get it cheap. Tell your friends! Tell your enemies!

16 thoughts on “Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures is drivethru’s deal of the day today. Come get it cheap. Tell your friends!…

  1. I bought this based on this post, Mark Delsing  and it is FANTASTIC! I know you purchased a physical copy. Have you read it yet?

    I played Dungeon World a couple of times, and I didn’t like it. This thing is an OSR version of Dungeon World. It takes all the crunchy goodness of Moldvay/OSR games and adds in the collaborative character creation and setting creation of Indie games. The character creation is a bit LP based, and the group creation is much better than DW’s.

    Has Paul Beakley read this?

    I was so impressed, I went and bought and downloaded everything they had (which, other than the main books, is basically free.) I want to get this to the table sooooo bad. I’m reading the Further Afield book, and it’s brilliant as well.

  2. Yup. Fair enough. Let me unpack that a bit, as I don’t want to give you a false impression.

    Here you go, Paul Beakley ! Remember: this is just a first reading! No AP to back any of this up.

    Mechanically, it’s pretty much OSR. If you’ve played any flavor of DnD, you know what it’s like, though this probably resembles Basic DnD most of all. There are some Fortune points, which resemble Inspiration from 5E and Artha from BW.

    What IS different is character creation and DMing the game. The stated purpose of the game is to have you create characters, and run a full game session in a total of 4 hours, with 0 prep. The inspiration is to produce young heroes, starting out on their careers. Inspired by, according to the authors, by the works of Ursula K. LeGuin, Susan Cooper and Lloyd Alexander. I’d add Ranger’s Apprentice books to that list, maybe the Shannara books.

    To do this, it uses DW-like playbooks. But, there are more choices. You pick a playbook, say The Young Woodsman. You get a set of starting ability scores and then roll on a set of tables, which resemble lifepaths, to modify that. You roll Childhood, and that gives you a narrative background (e.g. Your parents ran the local inn, or You led the sheep out to the the mountain like your father before you, etc) and it also gives you a different set of modifiers to your base abilities (eg. +2 to wis, +2 to Con, +1 Int). You also describe a location and draw it on a blank village map. Second step: Roll on a different table called how did you distinguish yourself as a child, again resulting in a narrative sentence and a set of ability score modifiers.

    There is another table for ‘who else befriended you while growing up?” again with ability score modifiers and now you make up an NPC and add it to the list.

    There are a few more tables describing your hidden talents, and what type of woodsman you are, again providing short narrative inspiration as well as ability score modifiers, and in some cases, Skills (Skills are MUCH simplified. Not a big list, only 2-4 per PC).

    Then comes a section reminiscent of FATE, where you roll on tables which link you to another PC and provide bonuses to you and the other PC, again with narrative and also, more NPC creation.

    This achieves a feel similar to LP driven character creation in BW and also creates a unified party as does FATE character creation.

    While this goes on, the DM has something called a Scenario Pack, which is a ‘playbook’ to develop a story for the actual game. There are 3 or 4 of these that I have seen. Each has a theme and a set of tables to quickly determine the nature of the threat (similar to Fronts in PbtA), with blank spots in some tables to factor in the NPCs and locations generated by the players in their character creation process.

    The tables outline the nature of the threat, their motivation (again, similar to the PbtA agenda), weaknesses, as well as prompting the GM to add NPCs and locations to the map. Some more tables help determine what the threat wants, some obstacles that may lie in the PCs’ way, as well as giving ideas for continued adventures after the players have dealt with the threat, and a list of sample monsters (and stats) that might be encountered.

    It’s very open ended. I need to playtest this, of course, but it does sound very interesting.

    Things that caught my attention:
    1) it produces a tightly knit party, starting from the village. Beats the old “you meet at an inn.” Character creation affects your character and another player’s, much like FATE, giving cohesion. I don’t care much for DW Bonds (though I like AW Hx)
    2) interesting magic system. Cantrips, Rituals and Spells, somewhat similar to 4E. Includes rules for True Names, which is a direct shout out to Ursula K LeGuin’s Earthsea book, which I have a soft spot for….
    3) Creates Front-like opposition, with agendas, also linked to character creation, giving buy in.
    4) Uses Basic D&D simple mechanics for combats. This is a plus to me. To me, PbtA combat feels very GM-fiat and chaotic. GM decides who goes first, who takes damage and who doesn’t… I get it that it’s probably just me, and I actually like how AW works, but DW… just feels really arbitrary.
    5) There are a ton of playbooks, including a Nobility setting, based on a Castle, instead of a village.
    6) The second book, Further Afield, gives a similar fresh approach to hexcrawling.
    7) Promises zero prep and the scenario and characters develop at the table. I like this a lot.
    8) Tables are plentiful, but relatively short. Each result is a short 1 or 2 sentences. Easy to read. More a seed than a fully fleshed out idea, but sparks the imagination.
    9) Few tables to generate short dungeons. I like the idea of setting up and playing an entire session, from character creation, including scenario creation and playing the whole thing in 4 hours…. Need to play this to see if it’s true, though.

    Things that might be Cons:
    1) No fail forward. Though I suppose failing forward is a philosophy one could apply to any game one plays. Still, there is no RAW fail forward.
    2) There is a Scenario involved. The PCs don’t really ‘drive’ as they do with BW, but then again, the character creation and initial setup of the Scenario pack should provide ample motivation to engage with the scenario. There are no personal ‘Beliefs’ to actively pursue.

    Too bad you missed the $3.99 sale…. worth every penny. Feeling sorry I didn’t get the pdf and print book combo.