Last week I wrote the first section of a two-part examination of the inspirations that led to Let Thrones Beware. Appendix N for this Modern Age. Inspiration Old and New is a great read for everyone who wants to learn about the creation of this crazy role-playing game. This week, I’m interrupting our regularly scheduled blogcast to bring you this breaking news – a new version of the Let Thrones Beware beta has dropped! Playtest 007 has been put to bed, and DriveThruRPG is updated with Beta 008.
Let Thrones Beware is a role-playing game about rediscovering hope in a post-traumatic fantasy world.
Despite its strength, the Eternal Kingdom of Man is no more, accidental victim of the very power it wielded to conquer your world. Bowed but not broken, the indigenous species that survived the brutal thousand-year occupation fled to the far corners of Argohex.
Despite your freedom, there is danger. Horrors stalk the Deep Wood in which you and your kin shelter. Isolated, vulnerable villages quake in the darkness, hoping they are overlooked by what lurks in the trees.
Despite the danger, you must end Age of Despair. The rebirth of Argohex awaits and now is the time for you to step forward and restore what was lost.
Features of Let Thrones Beware include:
- A setting that challenges heroes to restore their world, shattered and broken by an otherworldly invasion
- A universal resolution mechanic that uses attack/counter/interrupt powers
- Gridded tactical combat and abstracted non-combat systems
- A codified adventure cycle where success and failure have meaningful effects on the campaign
- Stronghold and Domain management
- Mass combat
- Character portability between tables
You want to take a look at this if…
- … you enjoy tactical combat, but dislike having nothing to do in between taking your turns
- … you want a mechanically interesting non-combat resolution system
- … you enjoy gradated success in games, but want a tactical component to your gameplay
- … you like character building, but dislike item treadmills and fiddly feat choices
- All players are equally capable of affecting the game narrative, no matter the combination of choices they make
- Choices must be purposeful; a decision must have a significant mechanical impact, otherwise the details should be considered fluff and left to the player to define
- The game should run on a unified mechanic that is simple, but allows for progression as characters develop
- Combat and skill challenges must be crunchy but fast to run – and easy to adjudicate
Playtest Beta 008 is Live!
I’m going to unpack some of the new features in the core book:
Overhaul of adversary combat AI and updated powers
One of the biggest changes you’ll notice is that the adversary AI and combat powers have been significantly overhauled. Each adversary group (Militia, Cultists, Condemned, etc) now have a distinct AI, and there are even differences within each group to ensure that individual adversaries play to their strengths. Combat powers have been adjusted as well, and as a result, each individual adversary is more unique and cohesive than ever before.
Layout and formatting significantly improved
Holy cow, did you know that layout and ease of use is important? Turns out it is, which is why there’s been a layout tune up. You’ll find that the most notable change is the addition of a ‘quick tips’ sidebar, which appears whenever a new concept is introduced that benefits from some additional context. This beta also uses iconography to denote components of the rules that are essential to remember. As you read through the book, you’re much less likely to miss core concepts, thanks to this addition.
A new class feature system
Class features have been a part of Let Thrones Beware. In this revision, they’ve experienced an update. Before now, class features provided an “always-on” ability. In Beta 008, class abilities are split into two different parts. The first is passive; it always applies, no matter what your hero is up to. This is pretty much behaviour as expected. The second, more powerful component is an activated effect. In playtest beta 008, players are able to “spend” their non-combat powers in combat to activate these effects. The non-combat powers from class and background both count, so that means activating up to four times per fight in the Adventurer Tier.
Of course, class features won’t be the only thing to spend your non-combat powers on forever. This is the first step in implementing a stunting system in Let Thrones Beware!
A number of rules clarifications
Since Beta 007 was published back in January of this year, the wonderful people who inhabit the internet have seen a whole pile of insightful feedback . Much of it directed towards the rules (no surprise there, eh?). Beta 008 contains dozens of clarifications, edits, and rules reorganizations designed to make Let Thrones Beware easier to pick up and play.
Bells of War
I’ve also updated Bells of War, the introductory adventure for new players and GMs, to incorporate the latest beta changes. You’ll be happy to discover that I’ve added a surprise for you! Each major inhabitant of Chael Hollow now has a number of different personality options. Not only that, but each personality option has a related reason why that individual is the traitor. This significantly increases the replayability of the adventure.
I hope you enjoy playing this latest release as much as I enjoyed writing it. Should you have any questions, feel free to catch me on twitter @ThronesBeware.
Try Let Thrones Beware for Yourself
As always, you can download the playtest packet and try it for yourself. Visit drivethrurpg to download the beta and introductory adventure for free.