Playtest 5: How the Campaign Cycle Pulls Your Game Together

With playtest 4 out the door, it’s time to start discussing new features that will appear in playtest 5. Today, the campaign cycle!


What’s the Campaign Cycle All About?

The campaign cycle is a way to organize your Let Thrones Beware games with a definitive beginning, middle, and end. The cycle is broken up into three distinct chapters (Adventurer, Champion, and Legend), one for each Tier the player-characters reach.



Each chapter focuses on a particular threat which, when resolved, leads into a more ominous threat in the subsequent chapter. In your default setting, the Adventurer chapter is about bandits plaguing the Deep Wood, led by a fearsome bandit queen. This leads into the Champion chapter, focusing on stopping a fanatical death cult that has infiltrated the highest levels of the Baronet’s court. Finally, in the Legend Tier, Heroes confront the otherworldly forces manipulating the cult which threaten to annihilate all of Ceyenus.


Campaign Chapter

Each chapter  is separated into adventures. Three’s normal, but you could do just one if you want to rush, or nine if you’ve got the time. At the end of an adventure, the GM adjusts a villain track depending on their success or failure measuring how well the evil plan progresses. The heroes also get to base-build when they finish an adventure, expanding the town, fortress, or country in which they reside.

Each campaign chapter concludes with a climactic battle between the heroes and their allies and the chapter’s villain the forces that the heroes can marshal against evil depend on the base-building they have accomplished over the course of the chapter. Finally, the heroes engage in a ferocious duel against the villain, and when victorious, transition to bigger and better things.

Playtest 004 Errata

Whoops. These definitions were missing from the playtest packet.

Armour attributes


Heavier armour slows you down, imposing a penalty to your Response score.


Resistance indicates the number of points of damage that your armour can prevent over the course of a combat. Each time you cancel a point of damage, your armour’s resistance is decreased by one. At the end of a fight, your armour’s resistance is reset to its original value.

Playtest 004: Character archetypes, more powers, and more choice!

I’m very pleased to announce that the Playtest 004 documents are complete and published! There are many new and exciting things included in this latest iteration of the Let Thrones Beware playtest, and the changes are sure to be a hit at your gaming table.


Playtest 004 Changes

Character Creation

I’m most excited about the pile of new options for character creation; the game’s approach to building your character has been significantly revised! Under the 003 rules, your character was completely determined by your choice of species, background, and class. Every character with same three choices would be mechanically identical. Under the newly revised system, your character will select between two different class archetypes, providing you with options to make your experience more diverse. The number of starting powers has also been boosted, and rather than being predetermined, they’re now for you to choose. Players now get to choose their starting competency and weaponry, providing even more choice to tailor your character.


Combat Powers

Combat power effects now have an associated secondary attribute, which determines whether the effect triggers or not. This determination is an easy process; simply swap the power’s attribute for the secondary, and if your Force Score still exceeds that of your victim, the effect fires. This change is being implemented in order to make stat diversification a more attractive alternative to focusing entirely on a single stat.


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 of D&D 4e, but dislike the item treadmill and fiddly feat choices; and
  • … you like the simplicity of D&D 5e’s advantages, but want a game with more parity between player characters.

Playtest Downloads

Play by Post – Adventure Online From Anywhere!

The Play by Post format is a great way to combine pen and paper rpgs with the play-anywhere style of the internet. Sadly, playing online by posting to a message board is a bit more complicated than sitting down in person. Regular pdf and printed sheets don’t work. Everyone hacking at their own best guess to share character status makes things confusing and unwieldy. Fortunately, there’s a solution available!

A BBCode-formatted character sheet for play by post forum games

I’ve created a special BBCode-formatted character sheet. This will allow you to bring the adventures of Let Thrones Beware to your favourite online forum. Simply download the form from the link below, plug in your character’s stats and gear, and off to the races you go.


Play by Post character sheet (79 downloads)

Class Powers Revised: More choices for everyone!

Class powers are a central way for a character to define themselves in Let Thrones Beware. Today’s post is look at how I’m revising how players select class powers
for the next playtest.

Old and Busted

A few weeks ago I ran the first playtests for Let Thrones Beware; one of the issues that came up was that players felt constrained. Each class provided two combat powers and one non-combat power, and this combined with a background which gave the opposite. All told, though each character had six powers, in practice, people found that to be too limiting.

(Another tester observation: class/background power assignment meant that every character with the same class and  background combination would possess exactly the same toolkit).

It was very obvious from feedback that a new approach was required. A new approach to ensure that characters are interesting to make and fun to play. Player advancement wasn’t covered in our first playtests, though it had always been the plan that as a character advanced in experience, she or he would gain more power options. What this meant was that there was already a body of unpublished class powers.

Which in retrospect made for a rather obvious solution.

New and Shiny

First, I split classes into two archetypes (for rogue, as an example, there is one archetype that focuses on traps and one on feints). Each of these archetypes automatically provides a character with a default power that highlights the archetype’s intent. Plus, five power additional options that can be selected during character creation and later on as players advance.

Second, I increased the number of combat powers with which a character begins play. Now everyone gets to choose three additional class powers above and beyond the default and the one provided by the background. Players may select from all the optional available powers to their class (including powers from the other archetype, with the exception of the other archetype default power).

Finally, a character receives a special capstone power only available to their archetype when she or he reaches the end of a tier. Presto, classes are immediately more distinct and far more interesting for players to choose between when creating a character. Plus, there’s another benefit: two characters with the same class will now play differently.