Thursday, February 26, 2015

Far Away Land RPG

As with a number of people in the RPG blogging community, Erik Tenkar's recent posts about the Far Away Land rpg by Dirk Stanley convinced me to buy the thing. My hardback copy of the Tome of Awesome came in the mail a week or so ago, and I was finally able to thoroughly absorb it this past weekend during my down-time at BASHcon (and there was a lot of down-time).
"More like RAAARR Away Land, amirite?"

I remember checking out the Far Away Land Kickstarter back when it was funding. I thought the  bright, simple art was charming and evocative and imaginative (it reminded my a lot of my friend +Leighton Connor's art. You should check it out!) I'm not sure why I didn't back it. I might just not have had the money at the time, or I might have been too distracted by Fate Accelerated to think about purchasing another game. I dunno.

But now I have the Tome of Awesome, which combines the Core Rules, Creatures Vol. I, Companion Rules, and Tales of Awesome. It's a whole lotta' book (270+ pages).

The game uses a pretty simple three-stat system with a d6 dice pool mechanic. Roll a few dice, take the highest and compare scores. Pretty simple, nothing too amazing, but functional. There are also simple rules for magic and gear. The Boons, Flaws, and Abilities make sure that each character, while numbers-lite, is distinctive. The game is designed to make characters quickly and get them out into the world, exploring and fighting monsters. I can get behind that.

And I can fit an entire character plus illustration on half a sheet of paper...
For me, though, the Tome really shines when it gets into the actual world of Far Away Land. It's a wonderful mash-up of sci-fi and fantasy in a world where humans are a newly arrived race. Hive-mind Lincoln clones, bear-riding nuns, immortal psychic snails, alien invaders, magical robots. It's all the best parts of Jack Kirby, Tom Scioli, and Adventure Time (so, yeah, Jack Kirby).

There are evil giant robots called Ten-By-Ten-Men. TEN-BY-TEN-MEN!!!

The book details some nifty group world-building mini-game, but also includes a decent gazetteer of many unique places in Far Away Land. There are a lot of hex maps with big unexplored areas and evocatively-named mystery places to tantalize the GM's imagination.

Far Away Land delights me. I think it will work well with some of my Skype games when I want to play some gonzo fantasy but don't want to deal with all the details or "baggage" of D&D.

Also, the game seems nicely hackable. I am fascinated with the idea of using Far Away Land for Carcosa.

Let me tell you what really sold me on this game, though. It's Dirk Stanley's amazing semi-animated shorts for Far Away Land. My favorite, Episode 5, details the Boom War. Check it out!




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