It’s time to fight: Looking at Adversaries

Let’s look at adversaries for a moment. Adversaries come in different types; minions, who automatically perish after an engagement, but trigger a condition if they win. A sentry minion who loses an engagement dies. Sentry minion that wins triggers an alarm. Minions also have a free ‘commanded’ ability.

Standard adversaries are regular foes; high damage, low hp for quick, punishing fights that emphasize tactical play at melee and range. These are the meat of any combat encounter, and generally are the hardest hitters.

Commanders are elite foes that can deal tremendous damage and issue commands to minions once a turn as a free action. There’s an incentive to target Commanders first, otherwise the heroes may find themselves in real trouble. Commanders generally have a power that allows them to spawn new minion reinforcements.

Last, legendary foes need more than damage to beat: e.g. Medusa’s reflection in the bronze shield or the fire that was used to seal the Hydra’s wounds. Heroes must identify and overcome weakness in order to defeat a legendary foe, and identifying the weakness is a quest unto itself. Kicking down the door and assaulting a Legendary adversary will result in a “heroes wanted” shingle going up at the local inn.


Every adversary belongs to a grouping; the Marauder, Knife, Sargent, and Hatchet are all brigands, for example. Grouping isn’t just a label, it has mechanical impact. Every adversary belonging to the same grouping shares a common tactic. In the case of brigands, it’s “Strike and Fade.” Each of them is able to make an additional move after winning an engagement. This makes brigands highly mobile opponents, unlike militia, whose “Form the Line” tactic shuts down forced movement when two are adjacent.  Immediately, the two types play differently in combat; brigands are going to move all over, and militia are going to try and link together.

Adversaries also have strategies. These are effects that apply across groups and are applied based on the most common adversary in the fight. If the players are up against 4 brigands and a criminal, the brigand strategy, “Encirclement” applies. If there were more criminals, it would be “Emboldened.” The strategy applies to all adversaries in play so that lone criminal also has access to Encirclement.
Encirclement means that any adversary may move off one side of the battlefield and reappear at the opposite after a round. If Emboldened was in play, each round more than half the baddies win an engagement, two new criminal minions are added. By combining different tactics and strategies, fights take on a radically different feel even when sharing many of the same adversaries.

A brand new playtest packet is now available

Hey heroes, exciting news! The Adversary, Obstacle, and Hazard document is done and uploaded, marking the completion of the first full playtest package. It’s now possible to run a full introductory adventure using the published materials.


Why you might want to take a look at this if…

  • … you enjoy tactical combat, but dislike having nothing to do in between taking your turns;
  • … you enjoy gradated success in modern games like Fate and Dungeon World, but want a tactical component to your gameplay;
  • … you like the character building in D&D 4e, but dislike the item treadmill and fiddly feat choices; and
  • … you like the elegant dice rolling system of D&D 5e’s advantages, but … 5e


What’s included

On the player side, this release includes everything you need for five races (Echthroi, Ipotane, Fey, Formian, and Insectoid), four backgrounds (Criminal, Noble, Merchant, and Guard), and four classes (Knight, Oracle, Rogue, and Hedge Wizard). All this in addition to the combat and skill equipment, competencies, and influences you need to be the shining hero you know yourself to be.

For GMs, this packet includes a host of helpful advice, three different adversary types (brigands, condemned, and criminals), a number of non-combat challenges (as well as an online generator to dynamically create new challenges on the fly), and three different hazards to incorporate into battlefields.

Looking to the future

The next revision (004) is scheduled to include additional competencies and class options (we’re ultimately aiming for two distinct archetypes per class), additional adversaries, an expansion of the non-combat challenge system to include actions in the foreground and the background, and a change to the combat power system that will link power effects with non-core skills.


GM Content

GM Playtest Packet (236 downloads) Adversaries, Obstacles, and Hazards (188 downloads)

Player Content

Character Playtest Packet (284 downloads) Character sheet (231 downloads)


GM Playtest Document Available

A pile of work later, and the GM Playtest is complete, which includes advice on setting up a game, non-combat and combat structure, and a guide for running a game.  This is the second of three core playtest documents that will allow you and your friends to actually run a game in Let Thrones Beware.


Next up will be a compilation of combat adversaries, non-combat challenges, and hazards for use in your adventures.


Download the GM documentation here

Sneak Peek – Knight to Remember – Enriched Merchant

Next up in our examination of the Knight to Remember adventure is the merchant background. There have been some changes to the skill system; you’ll notice that the skill powers attached to this background have a new descriptor – skill damage, and that this background has a new item included – skill equipment. We’ll get to how this system works in a forthcoming update (and Rogue in the Woods will be updated to describe how it works at the same time), but for now just be aware of the changes.


Merchants are the lifeblood of the Deep Wood, the sole way in which goods vital to the survival of the denizens of the forest circulate between the fortified hamlets. It is a hard life, full of danger and risk, but for those who undertake the perilous journeys every Passage, it is one that surpasses all other professions.

More than just purveyors of goods, traveling Merchants are held in high regard for their knowledge of the goings-on of the Deep Wood. Their travel from settlement to settlement provides them with unique insight into the forest, and can often be found serving as guides and navigators when they are not leading caravans themselves.

Merchants are among the rare few from the forest who have ever visited the Gate of Thorns, a fortified redoubt built upon ancient ruins which guards the solitary mountain pass connecting the Deep Wood to the wide-open plains of the east.


Merchants gain +1 to Presence due to all their wheeling and dealing.


Inventory 3, Knowledge 0, Contact 1


Merchants also have the following combat and non-combat powers:

Trading Fortune

Skill Attack – SFRWP 1

Skill Damage: 1S

For every two Inventory influences spent, you can provide an ally with a +1 modifier in the same contest


A Wise Investment

Skill Counter – SFRWP 3

Skill Damage: 1S

You may trade two Inventory Influence for a use of a Contact influence


Glitter of Gold

Melee Counterattack – SFRWP 3

Damage 1W

You may move one square after attacking. This movement is not subject to Reprisal.


The Merchant begins with the following equipment:

Prodigious Research


Circumstance: The Deep Wood

Skill Damage 1S



Adventurers with this background are often motivated by a desire to find wealth beyond what they were able to obtain as peddlers. Merchants may also be inspired to take up a life of heroics by the banditry and violence that plague the winding trails connecting the refuge villages. A Merchant adventurer may also be driven to take up adventuring to supplement a flagging business.

Why Play a Merchant

The Merchant background is a good choice for players who want to have a character who gave up a lucrative (or not) past to pursue something greater than themselves. When adventuring, Merchants always seem to have just the thing to overcome the obstacle confronting them.