Core Mechanic – The Challenge – Community Questions

Welcome back to the Let Thrones Beware design blog, community questions edition! We continue our look at the core mechanic that powers the system – the challenge. Last week we tore through the who’s, what’s, where’s and so on. This week, we’ll run through community questions about the universal challenge mechanic (and Let Thrones Beware more generally).

Community Questions

How Easy is it to Learn?

The core mechanic of Let Thrones Beware is a bit different than what you’re used to in a typical role-playing game. That said, everything I’ve seen in playtests (both at the table and virtually) suggests that the mechanic is really straightforward to learn. Just about everyone alive has played rock-paper-scissors, and the simple math of power + roll + bonus is very easy to remember too.


How the Mechanic Makes Let Thrones Beware Fun

The challenge mechanic brings an element of resource management and strategic choice to both combat and non-combat encounters. The engagement means that whether your hero is attacking or being attacked, you’re actively participating in the game rather than passively reading out an armour class or difficulty target. The tension between deploying a sure-thing power to win an engagement and holding on to that power for a more-needed exchange is palpable. Cooperation between players is important too – engaging a foe means exhausting its combat powers, ensuring that your allies are able to reliably land their own attacks.

These three aspects of the challenge – constant involvement, strategic tension, and cooperation with your friends combine to create a universal mechanic that’s fun and engaging.


I want to do X, how should I frame that in your mechanic?

In Let Thrones Beware, both combat and non-combat powers are loosely framed – this means that how you want to describe using a power is really up to you.

Non-combat powers are especially abstracted. As I’ve mentioned in the past, one of my primary desires was to create a system in which any hero can accomplish any task. With this in mind, you don’t need “use rope” to do fancy rope tricks. Instead, you declare what you want to do and a challenge is initiated. You can frame your approach to that challenge however you like. Perhaps you’re a powerful warrior who uses ferocious might to power through obstacles. Maybe you’re a cunning sneak who employs stealth and misdirection. The point is, it doesn’t matter how you describe your approach – everyone’s equally capable.  Win on an Act power, and you accomplish your objective on the first try. If the GM counters your first move, you’ve run into a setback, but you can still manage to triumph with an Overcome power.


Why Did You Want to Make Let Thrones Beware?

This is a great question, and it’s one with a simple answer. Having spent a long time away from roleplaying games, I returned to the hobby with D&D 4th edition. When I returned, I spent years playing it with with a bunch of different groups on the tabletop. While I loved the edition, there were a number of things that really bugged me. The classic D&D funnel of stats to race to optimized class was annoying. The slow pace of combat, even with MM3 was frustrating. Hard to track fiddly modifiers everywhere. The list of feats was incomprehensible. The gear treadmill was tedious.

I wanted to write Let Thrones Beware because I wanted a game that matched my sensibilities. Low prep, easy to run, with the players actively engaged throughout. The challenge mechanic, with its straightforward play cycle, streamlined numbers, and easy resolution is my attempt at addressing a lot of the issues I’ve had with RPGs in the past.


Why You Should Try Let Thrones Beware

I’ve spent a lot of time honing Let Thrones Beware into a tightly written, easy to play game. If you like streamlined, tactical combat that keeps players engaged; heroic characters whose actions aren’t limited by a collection of predefined skills; and a resolution system that doesn’t rely on a pile of fiddly modifiers, you should definitely download the beta of Let Thrones Beware and give it a spin at your table.

Next Week

Next week, we’ll take a look at how this base mechanic is modified by a few key concepts: Edge, Advantage, and Desperation.


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.


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