Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Review: Talisman Adventures Fantasy RPG Playtest Guide



I've always enjoyed the Talisman board game and I was excited to discover that Pegasus Spiele had licensed it from Games Workshop to create the playtest guide for their upcoming Talisman Adventures Fantasy Role Playing Game.

Full disclosure: I received a free PDF for the playtest guide for review purposes.

Talisman Adventures playtest guide is 82 pages and full color. It opens with a history of the Realm and a glossary to ease you into the setting.

Creating a Character follows and starts with the six Ancestries of the Realm. They are Human, Dwarf, Elf, Ghoul, Sprite, and Troll. I was really glad to see three uncommon starting Ancestries. The Ghoul can create an undead, the Sprite can speak to plants and trees, and the Troll can hear the voices of the stones and things, yes things, that dwell below them. Each Ancestry gives a choice of three backgrounds (that are rolled on 1d6), a cap to Aspects (they are Strength and Craft and each has three Abilities they encompass), a bonus Skill, certain Restrictions, and Special Abilities unique to each one. 

Creating a Character continues with Classes. They are Assassin, Druid, Minstrel, Priest, Prophet, Sorcerer, Warrior, and Wizard. Each Class sets a character's Strength and Craft (which is then modified by Ancestry), the Life total (Hit Points), Spell Points if applicable, Skills pertinent to it, Special Abilities, and finally a choice of one or more Advancements.  For instance, all Minstrels start with Strength 3 and Craft 3, Life of 12 + Mettle or Resolve, Spell Points equal to Craft, four skills and a choice between tow other skills, and a choice of a Skill Focus (which grants a +2 bonus). Prophets are spellcasters that can see the future, Sorcerers have a familiar and are spellcasters, and Wizards are either a Student of the Cauldron (think alchemy) or the Staff (allows the possibility of attacking a second target when using Psychic Assault.

The next step is to choose Alignment and the options are Good, Neutral, and Evil (with a sidebar about playing them).

At this point you add 1 point to either Strength or Craft and then assign Strength x2 to Brawn, Agility, and Mettle and assign Craft x2 to Insight, Wits, and Resolve.

The final steps are adding 2 additional Skills or Focuses, figuring your Max Load (Strength x3), determining Speed (10+Agility), and your Physical Damage Modifier (Strength) and Psychic Damage Modifier (Craft). There are also lists of equipment to pick from.

The system is 3d6 + Skill + Bonus if Applicable against a Difficulty that ranges from 8 to 23+. However, one of the 3 dice needs to be a different color and is called the Kismet Die. Beating the Difficulty is a Standard Success, Beating it with 2 dice that match is a Great Success, Beating with 3 dice that match is an Extraordinary Success (I really like the way this works). Additionally, if a 6 is rolled on the Kismet Die you gain Light Fate, but if a 1 is rolled you gain Dark Fate. Light Fate is used on the Player side, while Dark Fate is used on the Game Master side. Interestingly, there are times a Player cannot spend Fate on a roll (if it fails) and when a GM cannot spend it either (Player gets a Great or Extraordinary Success). Fate is used to activate special abilities, add a Bonus die (roll 4d6 take the best 3), increase the level of a Success, activate an item, and to pass a death test.

A few notable features: Amour in this game reduces damage, when an NPC attacks the Player makes a defense roll (the game is player facing), when you use a shield that you have equipped it will negate all damage but you must roll a d6 and a result of 1-4 means it is destroyed, one of the actions you can take is Recover action if it is successful you regain 1 or 2d6 Life, and when you are reduced to 0 Life you check the Wound Box, which imposes a -2 penalty to all actions and you can have multiple Wounds with a cumulative penalty (you can take Wounds equal to Mettle or Resolve--which is higher before you pass out). If you are unconscious you make a Mettle or Resolve roll each round against a Difficulty of 8 and if you succeed on the roll and the Kismet die is a 6, you awaken with 1 Life point.

The book also includes an adventure the Corpse Watchers, which I am eager to run and it includes 7 pregenerated characters.

The book ends with questions to be answered about your Playtest experience and a section of Designer Notes that explains the team's goal in Talsiman Adventures.

I thoroughly enjoyed this game. It feels like Talisman and is an excellent game for new players and veterans alike. I heartily recommend it and am happy to use the Playtest until the full game is released, which I will purchase immediately.

2 comments:

Scott Anderson said...

Character generation sounds like it can be a long process. Have you determined how long it takes to make up the guy you want?

Cross Planes said...

I made a character here:

http://www.crossplanes.com/2019/08/review-talisman-adventures-fantasy-rpg.html

It took me less than 30 minutes and that included writing everything up.

It is a sweet game.

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