The video game world have games that offer a structured fairly linear approach, while others offer more of an open world approach. There is a sizeable following for each. Most tabletop RPG’s opt for the more structured, relatively linear method. There is a reason for that. It makes it simpler for the DM/GM to manage, and allows the players to feel like they are part of a story and that they are progressing to a thrilling conclusion. On the other hand though, there is a large segment of gamers that would prefer to have the freedom, as they would in the real world (albeit fantasy), to interact with that world in the way they see fit. The world is their oyster – as the saying goes.

Forbidden Lands caters perfectly to that segment of gamers. It provides you with a detailed land. rich in history, with an evil underbelly waiting to be explored. There is no master quest that requires certain actions by the adventurers. The adventurers decide where they go, what they do, and why – and they don’t even have to be heroes. Forbidden Lands even provides the ability/opportunity to use the game’s framework in other fantasy settings/lands with some minor tweaks.

Character creation is fairly standard for tabletop RPG’s, although different terms are used to describe the various aspects. You choose from 8 different “Kins” and 8 “Professions”. All of these are recognizable choices that allow diverse options and play styles.

Once those are chosen you select a “Pride” – something you are proud of about yourself, and a “Dark Secret” – something you have experienced that left a mark on you, and you decide what your “Relationship” is to each other adventurer. These are all important to aid your GM in customizing your adventures.

As usual, you will choose “Skills” that define what your character can do. There is an interesting dynamic to skill rolls where you determine if an action was successful using three sets of dice representing attributes, skill, and/or gear. You also have the ability to “push your roll” which is a risk/reward decision with real consequences for success and failure.

In addition, you choose “Talents” which provide unique abilities that can enhance skills, recover from damage, or do things others could not. You can add talents throughout the course of the game, as well.

Forbidden Lands is a great game for those who like to write their own story. Just remember that your fellow adventurers will want to write their own story as well, and you will need to interact with them to determine how, and in what way, that will all play out.

Choosing a good GM is important, also. You will want one who can get immersed in the world and the mechanics of the game, while being able to react seamlessly to the whims of the group, and one who can take your choices and character specifics and weave a great experience combining all of that. Pay them well with lots of food and drink!

If you like the open world concept, get a group together and give it a go!

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