Review: Forbidden Lands

Today there are so many RPG systems out there so that it’s hard to know where to begin. Everybody has a default and it seems that most default towards Dungeons and Dragons because of it’s longevity and popularity, but the modern iteration is not without its flaws and shortcomings. A lot of the pressure to give the players a good experience is put upon the dungeon master and his creativity, so much so that book upon book next to the Core books (Dungeon Master Manual, Monster Manual and Player handbook) are just supplementary books full of extra roll tables, adventures and adventure seeds, so that a busy DM dealing with everyday life can create a game rapidly and fluidly, but each book comes with a hefty price mark and owning the complete collection to keep your gamegroup going can cost a small fortune.

Then along comes a nice and neat system, that gives you everything you need in a box at the price of one of those pricy books of Dungeons and Dragons. Neatly packaged in a nice sturdy box, with everything you need to run a sandbox adventure for 4 people. Easily.

What you get in the core set box of Forbidden Lands is awesome, even for those that like Solo adventuring, as if it was made for solo adventuring. You get a map, so you can guide your travellers throughout the country, and you get a set of stickers, which you don’t need to use, but it’s a nice extra they put in the box, so that you can create your own unique map, or to mark occassions where you had to bury an old character. The map is also double-faced, so that you still have a nice and crisp map, even when you use up the stickers.

You get the player handbook, that is full of all the information a player might need and a Game master book (both in beautiful faux leather, with gold-leaf lettering), so both of the groups can easily navigate the game, although some rules that a game master might use, are in the player handbook and vice versa, so it’s best in my opinion, to use the books for character creation and then to leave them in the dm’s capable hands when disputes at the table occur.

What this set creates is an overarching narrative or campaign, minimalistic in material, but hours of fun out of that box, as the Game master handbook is full of roll tables so they can create a fun adventure over and over again, and no 2 encounters will feel the same. They can even create big sites, but you can also buy extra sites, still at a very minimal price that give you extra fleshed out stuff, even another map, but these are optional as with the material provided, you can do as much as a Dungeon Master can do with all of the books in the Dungeons and Dragons range.

This is by far no trashing of Dungeons and Dragons, but it has to be said that there are too many books, while a good book with rolling tables would have sufficed, to get the creative juices of a good DM flowing, and this is what the Old School Revival that sits neatly packaged in one box does. It gives you, like in the olden days of Tabletop Roleplaying, everything you need in one box, and although the GM will need to improvise a lot, there is still a lot of material for when the GM is stuck or wants to flesh out the story at random, which also makes it a nice system for those of us that like to play solo, without having to thumb through several tomes to get the rules we need to play solo.

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