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Forbidden Lands Solo Book

This supplement at the moment doesn’t have a name, but, it is now a book of sorts. I don’t want to draw too many comparisons with Mutant Year Zero. Both games are hex crawlers and both use the Year Zero engine. Character creation is similar, but then it was always going to be if they were going to run off the same engine.

There the similarities end.

Do you want to know when Forbidden Lands Solo is read? Read to the end!

I cannot help but feel that For-Lands is much more Solo friendly. There is a sweet location generation engine for creation villages and adventure sites. There are enough stock NPCs and bad guys you can use straight off the page to make setting up encounters a breeze and that is excluding the predefined random encounters. As I said, it is much more Solo friendly.

As to writing this book, I decided against modifying Mutant Year Solo in favour of reading the For-Lands rules, creating a character and just playing the game. I then creating solo tools as I needed them. I also made the tools that fitted in with what I was doing. Rather than trying to fit the rules in with the game.

For me, at least, everything I do is about tuning the most common solo tools to work seamlessly with the game. To try and work it the other way just wasn’t going to be the best solution.

Ever since about 1983, when my regular group started playing in Middle Earth, a game run by a die hard Tolkien worshipper, I have had a strong dislike for Elves. Elves have little or no redeeming qualities.

For some strange reason, my For-Lands character is an Elven Minstrel. I have no idea how that happened. It is most unlike me. I am a pure Human, Male Character kind of person.

My Minstril is called Radnar and he is having a tough time of it. Most of my solo characters do not have long life expectancies. Sometimes you just have to push things to see where they break. Radnar is not broken yet, but it is probably just a matter of time.

What it feels like is that For-Lands has a lot of replayability. The different kins are nothing unusual, they are the standard fantasy fayre, as are the professions and the skills. That is not a criticism, if you buy a fantasy RPG you probably want Elves, Dwarves and Halflings and all the usual suspects.

The star of the show is the setting. The random nature of the setting means that every game is going to be unique but the way the map works, it means that you are going to have quite a bit of shared experience with other people who have played For-Lands. Castles end up in the Castle places and villages end up in the village places, and so on.

The legends are another outstanding feature. These add enough lore to the game to make it really rich in flavour, without having to drop an info-bomb and spending days wading through the setting material.

From a solo point of view, the key to working the For-Lands setting is prepping everything for each adventure site before you start to playing. That doesn’t mean maps and stuff, you can grab this as and when you want them, if you want them. I use oracles to create maps on the fly (Are there any exits? What sort of space is this? That sort of thing).

If you push the adventure site creation to the front of your session you gain two things. Firstly, the creation process does not interfere with your roleplaying. You don’t have to stop your story to start making loads of rolls and table lookups. But, the creation process also gave me loads of inspiration when then influenced my oracle answers. The end result was a richer and slicker game.

These rules are not fit to share yet. They first draft, with a few bits that still exist purely on post-it notes. But I downloaded the document template today. For me, that tends to mean that I am thinking I am not far off. These will not be ready next week. That is certain. I am expecting to put this booklet out in mid-July.

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2 thoughts on “Forbidden Lands Solo Book

  1. I tend towards dark and gritty fantasy myself – and I do consider LotR to be rather dark and gritty, at least when compared to a lot of more recent fantasy worlds. I also tend to prefer human centricity in my fantasy. But I don’t mind Elves too much. They usually make good antagonists, or at least aloof and disinterested 3rd parties. My issue is with the shorter races. Dwarves are always depicted as comic relief and Hobbits/Halflings are far too whimsical for me.

    I’ll be looking forward to this one. I’ve been a fan of Forbidden Lands for a while now.

    1. The last time I did anything with the shorter kin, halflings lived on mountain tops and worshipped a phoenix like a god. The dwarves lived in floating house boats and plied the rivers for trade. The whole campaign has an asian feel with wide rivers, stilt villages and thick jungle.

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