Okay. The Kickstarter will be launching soon (hopefully the beginning of next week) and I thought it would be nice to show some of the rewards to be offered. So, here is the poster, some prints, and the FAL Map. The Poster is 13x19 inches and is on a heavy cover stock paper. The prints are all 8.5x11 inches and are n heavy cover stock as well. The map is 13x19 inches and is on a lighter paper so it can be folded (like a real map).
And here is a photo (sorry about the quality of the photo). There will be a couple changes to the prints, some issues with text visibility. Also, the Zoordrooz print has been redone to incorporate the new Zoordrooz design.
Above: The Zoordrooz. A race of clones who were once the slaves of the Soracan. The Zoordrooz think they are better than everyone else. To prove this, they make constant war.
Below: The Eyezor. Its dead little legs hang creepily below its floating body. The Eyezor is powered by magic and makes for a terrible foe.
Tales of Awesome
I thought I would talk briefly about the FAL Tales of Awesome.
Tales of Awesome is the fourth book in the core set. It is 5.5x8.5 inches, full color and right now, around 50 pages.
Tales of Awesome details the world and history of FAL. It contains stories and setting information from the past and present. It details conflicts, heroes and villains, and major world events.
Hopefully, through the Kickstarter campaign, Tales of Awesome will be expanded to include the following... additional artwork, Heroes and Villains (expanded to inlcude donor heroes and villains), Religions and Cults, Maps of Far Away Land, Pantheon of Gods, FAL Timeline, and more...
So, what makes FAL unique?
When I started the actual process of creating FAL, my goal was to make a fantasy heartbreaker type game. I didn't want something overly serious, but at the same time I wanted an old school kind of feel. I also wanted rules that emulated the way I played games when I was younger, where we used some rules and added some rules of our own and changed some rules and whatever, where only a core set of rules were really set in stone and the rest was up to us to make and use according to how we imagined or interpreted what was written. While I think the FAL has some fantasy heartbreaker elements, I think it also has some fairly interesting aspects that set it apart from other fantasy rpgs. So, I'm going to talk about some of these things...
The game is quirky in its setting characters, and humor. PCs are rewarded for being awesome or funny. I think this separates FAL from a lot of more serious fantasy rpgs. It provides another choice of a more lighthearted, non-serious game with a bit more complexity than games like Risus (which I love). The medium range complexity of FAL deviates from lengthy rulebooks so as to provide a game that falls somewhere in the middle of the crunch spectrum.
FAL also uses both micro and macro levels of game play. I already talked about this when I cover the Companion Rules in a few days. But here is some more...
A lot of the narrative based mini-games allow for players to work together to create their own worlds, settings, histories, and versions of FAL. These mini games are not as competitive as they are acts of creativity, where players don roles and try and add to the world in which they will adventure. So, instead of the GM creating everything, players have an active role, or at least the option to have an active role, in the creation of the game setting. The guidelines provided for these mini-games are fairly open and present the overall nature of the game and the way it can be used along with the core elements and other mini-games.
On top of that, while the setting or history or whatever is being created, players have the option, and are encouraged, to take on more micro level roles as single individuals interacting in the story being created, thus allowing the story to have a more freeform and less of a predestined finality. In less abstract terms, say the players are using Historians of Far Away Land and have come to a point in history where a battle takes place, where heroes and villains are squaring off against one another. The players may wish to take on the roles of the lead characters in this setting and participate in a huge battle (utilizing the FAL Mass Combat rules of course :)). The game play then changes from a world creating exercise into more of an individual, micro level of play. The outcome however is a part of the history of the world created by the players as a whole. This also allows for nonlinear types of play as players can create histories, ancestral lines with reoccurring families, etc..
I think FAL has a unique game history, the way the world of FAL has come about, the devices that led to the world being so full of monsters and creatures. While there is a lot of standard fantasy stuff, there is also a lot of non-standard fantasy themes, elements, and characters. Pop culture easter eggs have been infused in the setting to provide some familiarity and some subtle jokes as well. A design goal of mine was to create a setting that felt unique while also creating something that paid homage to other games, cartoons, pop culture, history, and things that have influenced me as a writer/game designer.
Also, I like to think there are some nuances in the game, such as Battle Scars, Training Montages, and the use of various game play styles to add different levels of play to the game. When I say game play styles I am referring to the levels of crunch that players and GMs would be interested in initiating.
I think the artwork also sets it apart from most fantasy rpgs. I know there are non-serious rpgs or comedic/lighthearted games, and I think FAL adds nicely to that sparse category.
Anyway. As the Kickstarter approaches (not sure the exact launch date yet - hopefully around Feb 1st), I will be showing some of the donor rewards as well as spotlighting unique FAL monsters and maybe even some specific rules. As always, thanks for taking the time to read this.
Hey. I want to talk a bit about the Companion Rules.
The FAL Companion Rules is a series of expansion mini-games that are heavy on world-building. The book is currently around 50 pages (but if Kickstarter stretch goals are met, this could be greatly expanded - I'll talk about this at the end of the post) full color. The physical book size is 5.5x8.5 inches (as are all of the books including the hardback).
Here is what the Companion Rules contain...
Gods of Far Away Land
Players take on the roles of Gods and undertake the creation of a map and their own FAL world. This is largely narrative based and is designed to be a creative exercise. Players are encouraged to create personas and keep track of their world creation so as to offer a historical record of the creation process as well as their created pantheon.
Architects of Far Away Land
Players take on the roles of Architects throughout history. These architects are responsible for the building of the world, cities, dungeons, statues, labyrinths, etc.. Again, players are encouraged to adopt personas to add to the historical record that is created.
Historians of Far Away Land
Players take on the roles of Historians creating a historical record. The idea here is that the historians are determining what happened historically by creating the story. The record is written down as part of the world the players have created.
The End of Far Away Land
The End of Far Away Land sets up rules and guidelines for players who wish to play kingdoms, empires, or other type of macro scale games. There are rules for conflicts, resources, taxes, upkeep, unruly peasants, etc..
The FAL Mass Combat system is simple and easy to use. It is based on ratios and allows for battles that include hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of troops. Like normal combat, mass combat has a core set of rules that can be expanded on with the optional rules which are included.
Rules are offered here on a more micro level as individual PCs wish to increase there skill in an area. The training montage rules allow for the creation of a training montage narration which is performed by the player. It is meant to be a parody of 80s movie montages. The rules encourage the use of inspirational music.
The Companion Rules offer up 26 common adventure scenarios covering everything from Bizarre Occurrences to Work. Each scenario contains a couple of example to get the brain juices flowing.
The mini-scenario builder is a short section which uses Action, Things, Places, and Antagonists to create the framework for adventure building.
The settlement builder provides rules for creating settlements on the fly. Elements of the builder include attitudes, wealth, population, government, etc..
I want to conclude by talking a bit about the way some of the mini game are setup. Gods, Architects, Historians, and the End of Far Away Land are all meant to be interchangeable. They are meant to provide frameworks which allow players and GMs to construct histories. But these histories aren't meant to be static nor are they meant to be preordained. When couple with the micro level of game play (like playing individual characters), players can interact in the history of the world and play out the stories as they unfolded thus creating historical records along the way. The Mass Combat rules allow players to quickly find outcomes to war and conflicts on a massive scale. But on a more micro level, players can use individual characters as they participate in these mass battles as they create historical hero and villain personas.
Okay. Thanks so for taking the time to read. My next post will be about the Tales of Awesome so come back when you get a chance and check it out...
Stretch Goals to Expand the Companion Rules
I would like to see several things added to the Companion Rules. I am hoping, if we reach our stretch goals, to get extra history added, a pantheon of gods and immortals, cults and religions, timelines, and some other things as well...
Okay, so in my next post I will finish up with the book overviews as I talk about the Tales of Awesome and some of the more unique aspects of FAL. Thanks for reading.
Two things in this post.
First, a couple characters a and a look at the character sheets.
Second, the breakdown of Creatures: Vol I.
So, I thought would upload a couple low level characters so people could see the character sheets and the way a character looks. The first is Zebullon, a magic using character who is middle-aged, thinks frogs are awesome, and smells like licorice. The second is Garin Quickhand, a dubious thief of a man who is young and good looking but childish and inept in the art of flirting. I'm imagining the temperamental Zebullon trying to keep tabs on Garin's childish antics with the ladies only to finally lose it and Arcane Missile him into a smoking lump. Both of these PCs were rolled up in around 10 minutes... Oh, also, two different character sheets are shown, one with background and one a bit more printer friendly.
Creatures Vol I is the second of the four FAL core rulebooks. Creatures Vol I is around 50 pages in length, full color, and offers up a plethora of monsters and rules for creating custom monsters. With the stretch goals to be offered in Kickstarter, Creatures Vol I has the possibility of expanding. Right now I'm going to break the book down a bit and talk about what it has to offer.
The biggest section of the book is the Monsters and peoples section which has 68 listings. Each Monster comes with a full stat block, abilities, basic description, and a full color picture. Descriptions are fairly general and provide enough to get an idea of the creature's strong points. Monsters include some typical fantasy fare like Dwarves and Elves and Harpies and Elementals and also some monsters unique to FAL like the Garl Snail and Brian Fish (a giant snail with a psionic fish that lives inside it), Blonins, Poomkin, Ten Times Ten Men, and Soracan (floating head, dubstep speaking constructs who shoot lazers). It's a fairly broad range of denizens inhabiting FAL and a nice cross-section is provided in the book.
Custom Creature Builder
FAL Creatures Vol I offers up some rules for building monsters and races from scratch. Its a fairly simple process and varies only slightly from normal PC creation. In fact, with the rules provided, players can branch out and make any type of PC they want. There are also twelve templates listed to get players and GMs started with fleshing out the type creature they want to make. These templates span everything from animals to undead.
Travel and Treasure
The treasure section provides some basics as to how to handle and generate treasure, how to determine treasure value and rarity and that sort of thing. Again, generating treasure is fairly open and the rules provided are a framework for aiding GMs in the creation process. Emphasis is placed on treasure being of importance not only where wealth is concerned, but as to how it pertains to the advenutre and the world the GM has created as well.
The travel section provides information about travelling and exploring and provides GMs and players with a framework as to how to handle travel situations in game.
I hope to reach our Kickstarter goal. I also hope we can make some of the stretch goals. One of the goals will be the addition of dragons to the Creatures Vol I. We shall see...
Next post I'll talk about the Companion Rules which feature all kinds of mini-games and narrative building stuff. So come back and check it out when you have a chance, and thanks for reading.
Over the next few days I'm going to be breaking down each of the four core books in the Far Away Land RPG to give folks an idea of what is being offered, the type game FAL is, design goals, and that sort of thing. I have been fairly heavy in showing the art of the game and its time to get into the real meat of the project. So here goes...
Far Away Land is a quirky and lighthearted fantasy tabletop role-playing game which uses a simple d6 system. It has elements of micro and macro levels of play (this will be expanded on as the books themselves are described) as well as narrative gaming and dice rolling. It is meant to be a basic and simple introductory rpg while also allowing the use of optional and house rules to make it a bit more complex. The setting of the game is the world of Far Away Land, a unique fantasy world with its own history and cultures , some of which are familiar to fantasy and others which are unique to FAL.
Far Away Land Core Rules
FAL Core Rules is really the centerpiece of the game. It's 60 pages in length, full color, and offers all of the core rules to play FAL on the most basic level (optional rules are also included). FAL keeps things simple. Six-sided dice are used. Dice rolls are rarely double digits. Calculating rolls and opposed rolls is fast which leads to fast conflict resolution. While the rules given are specific, the game presents an openness and flexibility to allow for great deals of crunch, dice rolling, or narrative based game play (this is especially so in the Companion Rules which I'll talk about later) depending on the type of game the players and GM want. So, here is a brief breakdown of what the Core Rules has to offer...
Basic Conflict Resolution Mechanic
The basic mechanic of FAL is a simple d6 system where players roll the specified amount of dice and take the high roll. The high roll is then compared with a target number or an opposed roll. Bonuses and Penalties modify the number of dice rolled. Rolling a six (or multiple sixes) activates a bonus which can stack and give players higher scores (like 7,8,9,10, etc.).
Character creation is fast and easy. Starting PCs can easily fit on an index card. PCs have three base stats. PCs also have boons and flaws which can be modified as the game is played. Character creation is open and characters are defined not only by their stats and descriptors, but by the way they behave in game over a period of time.
FAL Core Rules gives a bunch of options as to how XP is gained for everything from role-playing and reaching goals to general awesomeness and hilarity. Gaining XP allows PCs to purchase specific upgrades such as a raising a Boon or fixing a Flaw.
There are rules for magic along with an extensive list of spells (around 100). Each spell has a one or two sentence to describe it along with some basic information as to the spells effects. Most spells provide only a brief summary of the spell allowing the players and GMs to modify and interpret spell effects to their liking or game play style.
There are the core combat rules as well as optional combat rules which allow players and GMs to create the level of crunch they want in their game. Combat is active for both attackers and defenders. Margins of Success influence damage. Combat is generally fast and brutal. PCs can stave off death by taking a Battle Scar which leaves them with a physical reminder of the time when they were nearly done in.
Gear and Equipment
Armor and weapons are simplified in FAL, broken down into categories to make them easy to use and light on bookkeeping.
FAL offers a short section on crafting items with information on everything from materials, to difficulty, to rush jobs, etc.. Again, everything is simplified and placed into categories to streamline and keep bookkeeping to a minimum. Crafting covers everything from normal items and weapons to potions to magic stuff.
The FAL Core Rules feature an extensive section on NPCs and their use in game as well as their creation (which is just like making a PC). NPC goals, emotions, and strengths are covered. There is also a list of standard fantasy NPC templates.
The Abilities section of the Core Rules breaks down all sorts of abilities from Shape Shifting to Piercing Scream to Rotting Touch. Abilities are set up in a way similar to spells. Abilities were included to allow GMs and players a basis on which to create their own abilities and powers by providing a similar ability as a guide. With the Abilities listed players can make any type of character they want, whether its a super powered type character, a psionic brain melting monster, or an undead, flesh eating abomination.
If you read this far, thank you. Come back and read next time when I talk about the Creatures Vol. I book.
I thought I would put up a couple shots of the books interiors. These are screen grabs from the PDF versions. These are pre-final proof so there may be a couple textual errors. But the format and artwork will not change.
Creatures Volume I
New pics of books and cards to give a better example of what is going on with the printed materials.
Here are three of the paperbacks and the deck of cards with the Ootoom on top. All of these books are full color interiors.
The FAL Tome of Awesome is a compilation of all the core books, including the Tales of Awesome (which is not pictured above). Full color interior. 5.5 x 8.5 inches. The final version, depending on what gets added, will be around 250 pages and will have a boatload of full page art and original sketches as an added bonus.
Interior shot of the Tome of Awesome.
The Monster Cards: Series 1 has 68 cards and features all of the monsters in the Creature Volume I book. The front side of the cards has the monster's image and stats. The back has a full description and any abilities the creature possesses. Yeah!
I'll be posting some page spreads from each of the books in the next couple of days.
Been a while since I have updated here. Most of the updates have been going through the FAL Facebook page.
This is a big update and kind of the start. New updates are going to be forthcoming in the following days leading up to the eventual Kickstarter which I am shooting to start in February. There has been a lot of talk and a lot of other stuff going on and well, doing a project of this magnitude, by myself, the writing, the artwork, the layout, the research, it's time consuming. But, with that being said, the project is nearly done in its core form. My goal for this project was to have everything in a fairly ready form by the time the Kickstarter went live. Here is what is done as of now...
The core rule books have been completed (minus a couple technical glitches in the final format) as well as the 68 Monster Card deck. I have already received proofs of everything and have worked out printing and pricing - so everything is in order there. (I have had nightmares about being unable to fulfill donor rewards. I have seen other projects that have failed to be completed as well and I vowed to myself that I would never let that happen.) The only book that has yet to be printed is Tales of Awesome (although it has been printed in the Tome of Awesome - just not on its own). Tales of Awesome will, hopefully, be expanded as part of the Kickstarter stretch goals. Here is a quick look at the cards. I'll post some more vids and commentary soon.
Blogs I read...