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Joined: Sat 12 Jan 2019, 14:23

Review after first Forbidden Lands session

Sat 12 Jan 2019, 15:18

My spontaneous notes after our test session of Forbidden Lands. The group in question was very experienced of all kinds of RPGs, including Mutant Year Zero.
Pros (Good stuff):
Simple combat: Although it has some problems (see below), combat is simple. I have a feeling one would make it work really slick after some more playing.
Initiative cards: Drawing these and having them laying in front of each player is super neat. Very clear and the Feint action (Fint in Swedish) makes it very dynamic (although I wonder if Feint might be too good, as it requires no skill check.)
Randomness: For this first test session, I decided to try to involve as much randomness as possible. It was hilarious! We started out in the wilderness to try out the Journey-mechanics, which seemed great. Then one especially good randomness thing was when the players overhead a legend generated on the fly with the Legend Generator. Very funny, AND it worked for creating a scenario background. I only fudged one of the 11 dice rolls.
GM don´t know everything: This pro is linked to the randomness, but I want to mention it separately. I think it´s a great feature that the GM can be with the players experiencing something at the table which he/she really doesn’t planned ahead of the session. It brings a sense of unity to the group and forces the GM to be creative on the fly. (Note: I understand this is not for everybody – and that is not a problem! Because you can instead choose to do much of the randomness before the session, in preparation, fudging all you want and making the adventure a bit more coherent.) Another aspect of this is the nature of the game – it´s (even the “Raven´s Purge” campaign) very open to be run differently for each play group, so in theory you can GM the campaign several times with very different layouts and outcomes, and you can GM it and then play it as a player without it being spoiled for you beforehand. I guess one could call this “good replayability”, to borrow a board game term.
Nils Gulliksson: Is a god.
Erik Granström: Although the campaign setting is rather optional, it is rich and well-written. I haven´t read “Raven´s Purge” yet, but it seem rather fantastic.
Cons (Bad stuff):
The d6-system: I really don´t like the d6-system that Free League seem to force on all their games regardless of how it fits. Most of the other players agree. I really prefer a single d20 or d100 dice roll (with or without a following damage roll). I can´t really put my finger on it, but I´ll try. I think the core problem is that you often (especially during combat) must roll 8+ d6s in four different colors. It takes too long time to sort out what dice you should roll. Especially if you don’t have the special dice (Yeah, I understand we are supposed to buy those, but that will not happen, sorry). Also, rather often you roll all those dice without getting a single success! That is weird and anticlimactic.
Combat zones: I understand we are not supposed to use miniatures, or even tokens or dry-erase-sketching, for the combats, but our group got really confused with the zones and the ranged combat. Especially when there was a chase scene.

All in all, Forbidden Lands is a great game that I hope I get to GM again soon!