UKGE Best RPG Category: The Storymasters Tales, Weirding Woods
First up for the Best Roleplaying Game category is The Storymasters Tales: Weirding Woods, from World of Legend.
A small box set, this one caused a lot of discussion between the judges because we were trying to decide if it was in fact a roleplaying game and not a series of adventure prompts. What you get in the set is a pack of cards with encounters and equipment, a book to describe what each one of them does, several pencils, character sheets, and the D4’s required to play the game.
All that you’d need to use the product straight out of the box, so where’s the question?
The Storymasters Tales works on the premise of drawing cards to form the ongoing narrative for the quest that you’re going on, and each of the cards drawn has a fixed set of options that the players may do to interact with that card. At the beginning of the book, it’s stressed that players MUST keep to the options on the card, but the GM can expand upon the actions after they’ve been chosen.
This was the quandary, roleplaying games are usually unlimited in their choice of options, which is what leads to the adventures that most enjoy. By changing that premise and only allowing players to choose one of four options to deal with the encounter, you’re removing that freedom to do as you wish with the scenario.
Does this make it a board game with roleplaying connections, or a roleplaying game with limited options. Parallels were drawn to Tales of the Arabian Nights, a board game where there is a strong narrative element to it, and it’s easy to see why. The introduction in the front of the book speaks of the creators love for Fighting Fantasy and Talisman and the way in which the game plays shows that this is a love letter to those two games.
There isn’t a way to progress the characters in experience, and there’s no game world to work with. At the beginning of the book, it’s made clear that this is a tool to get people into the playing of games and adventuring, and it was agreed by the Judges that this would do that very well. For beginners and those still finding their feet in roleplaying games, this presents an excellent resource without having to outlay a lot of money or having to learn entire books of rules.
This is not to say that other starters sets don’t do the same thing, but this differs from being a starter set in that it can be set up in minutes, be played within an hour, and doesn’t require that the GM spend much time learning the rules either.
This cannot be compared with games that will allow players to progress and adventure in a new and strange land, but it is an excellent starting point for those new to roleplaying in its entirety and we’re interested to see what comes through next from World of Legend.