Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fabled Lands Role-Playing Game (Part 3)

Returning to our heroes Shagar and Jarna, we find them on a mission to slay the ratmen of the sewers of Yellowport. They stand before an abandoned well in West Port, the poor quarter of the city. Apparently, the well is a gateway to the sewers below, but there is no ladder or other means of descent. Shagar ties his rope to a crossbeam and tests it for strength and secureness. It seems sound, so, with him leading the way, they clamber down the rope and into the depths...

[Climbing down into the sewers requires a Thievery roll at Difficulty 9, plus 2 for using rope. Shagar rolls 7 plus 1 for Thievery and 2 for the rope equals 10, which beats the Difficulty of 9. He makes it to the bottom of the well unscathed. Jarna rolls 7, plus 7 for Thievery and 2 for the rope for a total of 16. She clambers down the rope a good deal quicker and more dextrously than her comrade]

'Show off!' says Shagar, on seeing her rapid descent. They find themselves in a square chamber almost knee-deep in indescribable refuse that gives off an appalling stench. There are four exits, though only the northern one looks big enough for them to venture into. Jarna lights her lantern, and also pulls out a parchment and a stick of charcoal. Shagar readies his sword and shield, and they head north, into a maze of passageways, stopping often to map the various corridors that peel off and away into the darkness. There is the steady drip of water from above and the occasional skittering of rats, but little else in the way of noise...

Sometime later they are advancing cautiously down a damp tunnel festooned with cobwebs. Jarna has stashed her map in her belt and carries her wand in her other hand. The cobwebs begin to get thicker and thicker, and they bump into the husk-like corpse of a ratman, shrouded in webs and hanging suspended from the ceiling. 'I don't like this one bit,' mutters Shagar as they both hear the sound of something moving towards them through the webs. 'Get ready!' Suddenly the biggest spider either of them had ever seen skitters towards them, envenomed fans gleaming in the lanternlight!

By Russ Nicholson (from Cities of Gold and Glory)
 [Combat begins! Strike orders are rolled: Shagar 8, Jarna 10, and the Giant Spider 7. Jarna goes first. She has 2 Action Points and uses 1 to Cast Pacify. This has a Difficulty of 11. Jarna rolls 9 plus Magic 7 and 1 for her wand, for a total of 17. The spider immediately stops attacking and remains quiet. Shagar decides to squeeze past it and check its lair. He spends 1 Action Point moving into the spider's lair and another searching through the remains of its victims. The spider does nothing for its turn, and will continue to do nothing for five more turns or unless attacked. The first Combat Round has ended.

Jarna continues watching over the spider while Shagar searches. The Difficulty of the search is set to 10. Shagar rolls 7 plus 4 for his Scouting, and succeeds! He finds a bag with eighty Shards, and a shortsword and shield of excellent manufacture and untarnished by being in the sewers. For the third Combat Round he gathers up the loot, and goes back to Jarna. There is a brief debate about whether they should kill the spider, but in the end they decide to leave this part of the sewers. The Giant Spider, still Pacified, watches them go with glittering eyes...]

From this brief example of play we can see that the Fabled Lands Roleplaying Game is a fast and action-packed experience. Things happen quickly, thanks largely to the simplicity of the core Difficulty test mechanic, as taken from the gamebooks themselves. At the same time, there are plenty of customizable options for character generations, as with Jarna above, who can get immediately involved in the action. I may be biased, but I think it's a great game in its own right, as well as a much-needed addition to the Fabled Lands world!

This finishes this short series of reviews, though I'll likely be returning to talk about the Fabled Lands RPG from time to time, and possibly continuing the further adventures of Shagar and Jarna...

You can purchase the Fabled Lands RPG here, and find out more here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

    I've recently put out an ebook of my writing, called 'The New Death and others'. It's mostly short stories, with some obvious gamer-interest material. For example I have a story inspired by OD&D elves, as well as poems which retell Robert E Howard's King Kull story 'The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune' and HP Lovecraft's 'Under the Pyramids'.

    I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog.

    If so, please let me know your email, and what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy. You can email me ( or reply to this thread.

    You can download a sample from the ebook's page on Smashwords:

    I'll also link to your review from my blog.