Wayfarers: 420 Pages of Free (!) Fantasy Nostalgia?!

Ars Mysteriorum

Esoteric Scholar
I chanced upon this thanks to www.homebrew.net.

I downloaded Wayfarers expecting very, very little, as it was free, and was blown away by a system that openly admits it's an homage to classic gaming, yet is injected with high-brow erudition for the older generation of gamers. At no point does the game condescend to readers, it assumes they are pretty familiar with what they're getting into.

As I read this game, It's like retreading grounds I had thought were long-lost. It makes me remember the wonder of being a 12-year-old kid playing AD&D 2e for the first time and building imaginative vistas beyond what any book could ever describe, yet synthesizes the feeling to adulthood amazingly well.

Combat is a d20-ish affair, but with enough differences to not immediately claim this game as using the d20 system (though the OGL is indeed referenced), especially with the lack of a miniatures-based/tactical focus. This game is more akin to Red Box D&D than any recent incarnation, but incorporates new ideas to make the game refreshing and surprisingly simple.

Character creation features a classless system, where characters accrue and spend skill points to gain Disciplines and Proficiencies. The amount of choices is not overly cumbersome, yet allows for a robust variety of character types. A character's Endurance statistic equals hit points, and gone is the concept of AC, replaced with Dodge (equal to the Agility characteristic), where now armor allows the player to roll dice with the result decreasing damage. Spell saves are replaces with Physical and Mental resistance, which are derived by the sum of three of the five characteristics (Strength, Agility, and Endurance for Physical; Endurance, Intellect, and Presence for Mental). The sum is assigned it's own modifier, which is added to a d20 roll to roll over a target number.

Simple, yet with interesting results.

Magic also features tremendous changes and comes in four very interesting types: Hermetic, Hedge, Faith, and Ritual. The spell lists are not simply recreations of the SRD, and feature a great number of original, interesting spells worthy of perusal. Also, the new methods of use and trappings of familiar spells give them a wholly new feel. Magic feels like far more than another way to do damage, just like it used to be in the old days. Also, spells must be researched from scrolls or created, meaning whole quests can be made simply on the acquisition of new spells.

This is a wonderful thing.

Lastly, the setting provided in Wayfarers is the multiverse of Twylos. With wonderful twists on familiar creatures and a whole new cosmology, I found this to be one of the best parts of the book.

I've said enough. Give it a look yourself.

It's free, after all.

It's made available by Ye Olde Gaming Companye. Check it out!
 

Mortalus

Retired User
This seems like it'd be a pretty fun romp down memory lane. Kinda fun to see how much my ideas have changed over the last decade, at least in relation to my RPG characters. There aren't any gnomes in the race list though so I will knock it down a few points for that. :p
 

Ars Mysteriorum

Esoteric Scholar
This seems like it'd be a pretty fun romp down memory lane. Kinda fun to see how much my ideas have changed over the last decade, at least in relation to my RPG characters. There aren't any gnomes in the race list though so I will knock it down a few points for that. :p
Holy crap, you registered just to post that!?

Gnomes as a playable race are listed in the optional rules section, man.

Sheesh, I remember when we thought of creating two classes: Gnome Punter and Gnome Projectile.

I still hates me some gnomes.
 
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Mortalus

Retired User
Sigh. Ever the perfectionist. I guess I can't knock it down any points. Aigh, Gnome Punter was my idea wasn't it? Stupid World of Warcraft making gnomes seem cool! :mad:
 

TheShadow

found the shaved monkeys
Validated User
Wow. Some serious effort has gone into this game. Having just downloaded it, I have no idea whether the mechanics are any good, but the quality of the art and layout, and the clear writing style indicates a professional level. I'm hopeful that this could be the heartbreaker that transcends that unfortunate label.
 

Daztur

Seoulite
Validated User
Wow. Some serious effort has gone into this game. Having just downloaded it, I have no idea whether the mechanics are any good, but the quality of the art and layout, and the clear writing style indicates a professional level. I'm hopeful that this could be the heartbreaker that transcends that unfortunate label.
Well what tends to make Fantasy Heartbreakers heartbreakers is attempting to "build a better D&D" while being blissfully ignornant about non-D&D gaming. For example if you have a new game that's heavily D&D-inspired but claims as innovations things that have been around since the late 70's (classless systems etc.) then it's a real Heartbreaker. It's the re-inventing of wheels and not learning from decades of non-D&D game design that makes them very disappointing.

As far as Wayfarer goes, I think I'll go take a look now :)
 

TheShadow

found the shaved monkeys
Validated User
For example if you have a new game that's heavily D&D-inspired but claims as innovations things that have been around since the late 70's (classless systems etc.) then it's a real Heartbreaker. It's the re-inventing of wheels and not learning from decades of non-D&D game design that makes them very disappointing.
Yep, exactly. The author/s of Wayfarer seem to be quite aware of the last 20 years of gaming design, and to be making an intentionally retro game. So it's not really a fantasy heartbreaker, even though it's still another take on AD&D. A very impressive game it's looking too.
 

markkat

J. T. Swill III
Validated User
So THIS is where all that traffic is coming from...

Thanks for the props Ars Mysteriorum. -It's much appreciated!

Just one little thing: This cat got out of the bag a couple of days sooner than we expected. We are adding 5 more full-page illustrations to Wayfarers over the course of today and tomorrow (Today is 9-29-08).

By Wednesday (10-1-08), the PDF and book will include these illustrations, and Wayfarers will be in its final form.

Thanks,

-Jimmy Swill
 
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