Freebooters (in)Complete playtesting package

Freebooters (in)Complete playtesting package

Freebooters (in)Complete playtesting package

This is pretty raw, and things are missing (you will need FotF 1e and The Perilous Wilds to fill in the gaps), but I’m making it available here for anyone who wants to give it a spin. Especially John Marron, since he is planning to run a game imminently.

Note that the creature creation guidelines need a lot of massaging, and the treasure procedure is largely incomplete. I’m going to try to get the latter into workable shape before the end of the week.

32 thoughts on “Freebooters (in)Complete playtesting package”

  1. I’m not in the playtest as I’m already running two games, which is about all I can manage alongside family and work. But I just had a question about FotF 2e. Will it include more classes? Such as seen in the original dungeon world? Barbarian, bard, druid, paladin, ranger?

  2. Krynos Pentegarn, the basic rules just cover Fighter/Thief/Cleric/Magic-User, but one of the booklets — which I’m calling “Freebooters Advanced” for now — will include other class options.

  3. John Marron, sorry I didn’t see your post about playbook changes until now. I know I’m too late because you were planning your first session for last night — how did it go?

  4. Jason Lutes It went great!  I ended up with 5 players, all but one of whom had a little RPG experience, but none had a lot of experience, and none had any experience with PbtA games.  We did character generation, which took a bit longer than I had expected due to having to cover a lot basic ground (dice, moves, etc.).  We then did setting generation, which was fun as usual, and ended up with some promising spots to explore (an ancient civilization destroyed by the anger of their god, an island full of giant rats that sometimes swim to the shore in droves,  The Dead Jungle, the Crater of the God, the City of Gates, etc.)  The closest ruin was an old keep, which some other Freebooters had been driven out of by a giant slug, but not before finding the “Eye of the Lion” diamond.  The players took their randomly rolled personality traits to heart, and really got into roleplaying them, including the Lewd Halfling Cleric…

    Unfortunately, we had our fist casualty on the way to the first dungeon…  The Scout, through a truly awful series of die rolls, ran across an angry sleeping ape and failed to dodge the coconut it threw at her, taking her down to 0 HP.  The party found her, and the cleric failed his Lay on Hands roll (I allowed him to try even though she was technically dead), after which she failed her Bite the Dust roll.  The player seemed to take it in stride, and one of the other players said that she was glad to see that I wasn’t afraid to kill their characters 🙂   You may notice a lot of “she”‘s in those sentences.  That’s because 4 of the 5 players were women, which, as someone who actually ran for an all female group in high school back in the early 1980’s, was great! 

    While the party had been doing their last minute shopping before setting out, I rolled up some random dungeon elements and grabbed a map.  I’m always amused when random results support existing fictional stuff.  The themes I rolled for the dungeon were Growth and Mutation – possibly explaining the giant slug 🙂  From the PW tables I got a spear trap, a  well, an entrance to another dungeon, and a wizard’s involvement. I also used the treasure die drop table that +piotr chichy here posted yesterday to generate some quick treasure,and it worked great.  We had to stop mid dungeon, but everyone (including the player with the dead character) was excited to play again next week.

    I’ll post a more detailed recap or answer any questions when I get some more time.

  5. Jason Lutes One small thing i noticed on the Fighter playbook. Its missing the boxed to track max and current Mettle, similar to the Cleric’s Favor and Thief’s Cunning. Is it possible that similar boxes could be added to the Fighter’s book?

  6. My primary qualm with the original Freebooters book was that I had to figure out how to balance enemies and loot on my own. Your new numbers for monster health and damage are very similar to what I settled in to using: damage has to be lowered significantly from base Dungeon World values because players don’t start out with 20+ HP, and even then they are deadly. I particularly like your Veteran and Legendary tags; they remind me of “Badass” monsters from Borderlands.

    When we were playing Freebooters, one of my players rolled up a Fighter with 18 DEX, and he was the ultimate glass cannon. His accuracy combined with +4 damage on every Shoot was just silly. Removing the extra 1 damage from what is now Revel in Battle and changing the DEX bonus to Piercing is much more believable and balanced. Preventing STR from being overshadowed by DEX always seems to be a concern in these games…

    WIS for Cleric Moves and Lay on Hands base? Thank you. It really felt strange before. It SEEMS like you can’t heal yourself with Lay on Hands, but it isn’t explicit. I’ll assume that one can’t, because it would make a handy loop with Sacrifice if one could. Now Invoke is interesting, it seems that you’re always rolling at a maximum of -1, and miraculous invocations are impossible without something like +1 forward or Help from an ally. I guess this Move is intended to be the main Favor spender? I actually think this is a great idea. Statistically, clerics are almost fighters, yet the clerics that I had usually played as if they were full casters. All of these changes together will make the Cleric much more familiar, and when players decide to Invoke it will be especially exciting.

    Oh, check the end of the Pray Move. It looks like the end of the description got cut off. Thanks for your hard work! Finish this thing and give me an excuse to throw money at you, Jason. This is shaping up to be my favorite RPG.

    Edit: Remembered my other beef with the original game. Where is the Defend Move!?

  7. I’ve updated the “basic rules,” which at this point include character creation, the marketplace, moves, and threads. – Playtesting

    In the end I’ve decided against separate character creation sections for each class, since the game is easier to run when the Judge can lead everyone through the process at the same time. So now it’s all one integrated process like it was before. Noodled with starting gear a bit, added a table for random starting items sort of like the trinket table from D&D 5e. Setting creation and the spell name table are still missing, so you’ll need to use the original FotF versions.

    Added and tweaked a few things to the marketplace. It takes up 2 spreads now instead of 1, which is too bad, but I wanted the extra clarity.

    I also fiddled a bit with some of the moves. Added “Work” to Downtime Moves, to codify the ability of characters to earn a few silvers while they Pass Time; and tried to tighten the Venture Forth/Scout/Navigate sequence.

  8. Why does the Throwing knife have the “reach” tag?

    The only advantage that Chainmail has over a Breastplate is that it’s cheaper, but only by 20sp. Personally, I would increase that spread by making Chainmail cheaper, Breastplates pricier, or both.

    If 1 Wt is 2-3 pounds, then 1 Wt of rope would be closer to 50′, not 20′. I’m primarily concerned about this because 20′ of rope is worthless for climbing.

    Similarly, 2 Wt for a Book seems like too much, especially because it’s usually Magic-Users that would be interested in using one.

    A “Common murder” is… incredibly cheap. If a murderer can’t even afford to get a knife with which to execute the act, then I can only assume that there’s a crazy surplus of murderers, or an utter lack of law enforcement.

    Adventuring Gear, Book, and Spell component all have ‘*’ next to them, but no clarification.

    The Random Item list is pretty great, but why is it placed alongside character generation rules? If it’s meant to be incorporated in that process (or any process), then there doesn’t seem to be any indication of that.

  9. Thanks for the close read, Kyle Strong! Some of those errors I meant to fix, others are due to lack of analysis on my part. I will make another pass soon.

    A throwing knife having reach as a range tag is meant to reflect that you can throw it at someone a spear’s length away. My understanding of DW range tags is that each represents a different range “band” and that they don’t overlap. So that, for instance, a bow works against any target beyond reach, but you can’t fire it at anyone who’s at reach or close.

    The random item table is mentioned in step 13: Take Inventory. Everybody starts with 1.

  10. Updated:

    + Clarified when to roll random items during character creation.

    + Added punch/kick to weapon list

    + Swapped breastplate and chainmail in cost/utility order, adding note that breastplate only protects limbs

    + Changed rope to 50′ length

    + Added explanatory notes for adventuring gear, books, spell components

    + Corrected book wieght, raised book uses from 3 to 5

    + Added camping/squatting to lodging list

    + Added notes to lodging that meals are included – Playtesting

  11. Awesome. The random item thing is going to be fun on a bun. Now just check item 80 one more time. 😛

    I really like the limitation you’ve placed on the Adventuring Gear. Though it’s more versatile, it’s less efficient; good thinking. My players always had trouble getting through all 5 uses anyway.

    I never saw the range tags as being a continuous spectrum. In my mind, the melee and projectile tags are separate. The Near tag doesn’t exclude ranges down to point-blank. What makes shooting a bow difficult at close range is not the short distance, it’s the axe chopping through your bow, or your neck…

    As for the breastplate thing, is region specific armor really something you want to get into? My initial thought when I saw the alteration was that I should wear the breastplate over a suit of leather armor so I have at least some protection if the Judge decides to punish me for not getting chainmail. And what about protecting my head? There aren’t any helmets! IMO, better to leave armor in the abstract unless you want to discuss whether an aventail is necessary when you are wearing a coif.

    When the breastplate works out, the guy in chainmail feels like a sucker for carrying extra weight. When the breastplate doesn’t work out, that player feels it was arbitrary; the Judge is out to get her. Obviously it could work out just fine if there’s good rapport/fictional cohesion at the table, but it’s just something I’d rather not worry about.

    Personally, I would use Chainmail as the cheaper but heavier (3 Wt) option for 2 armor, and use a Breastplate, Brigandine, Splint mail, or whatever as a lighter but significantly more expensive option. That way the trade-off is in concrete silver pieces, and not in the arbitrary choice of the Judge deciding that your armor doesn’t actually count for some hits.

  12. Oh curse ye foul 19th century historians! I’ve fallen for the trap of using “mail” as a synonym for “metal armor” once again. If we don’t want to perpetuate that misconception that Gary Gygax and his buddies so widely proliferated, then we should write “splint armor”, “scale armor”, etc. And leave “mail” to be armor fashioned from interlocking rings.

    Also, I definitely like the modifications to the travel Moves. I think they now do a much better job of guiding that aspect of play toward interesting choices.

  13. It’s all under “Cast a Spell:” each roll result from 9 down to 3 has a specific result. It’s a bit different from the usual 10+/7-9/6- setup, in that each result has a specific effect (but is still somewhat open to interpretation by the Judge).

  14. Updated these just now. – Playtesting


    + Changed choice of domains from 1 to 2 domains

    + Moved Convert from advanced to starting moves

    + Folded Sacrifice into Invoke results

    + Reworded Invoke to be more open to interpretation

    + Holy symbol in hand now grants +1 to Invoke


    + Now gains +1 to Cast a Spell per point of unspent power (note that there’s a +3 roll modifier cap across the board)


    + Rewrote Venture Forth to reduce rolling and clarify procedure

    + Added “danger on doubles” mechanic to Venture Forth and Make Camp


    + Tweaked some wording to bring NPC HP levels more in line with PCs when using the creature creation rules to stat out NPCs

    + Tweaked booty die base value further (thanks Kyle Strong)

    Errin Larsen, John Marron, Maezar Kyle Strong

  15. That Magic-User change is pretty clever. Though I haven’t encountered it myself, it seems that higher level characters would be constantly considering how to maximize their spell effects if there’s no reason not to. And being able to cast more reliably is certainly a nice option to have when even a partial success can lose you a spell or some Intelligence.

    Two domains for clerics is a wise choice as well. Trying to tie every effect to one domain can feel claustrophobic and frustrating, at least according to someone I played with; he basically made his Nature cleric commit suicide. And what sort of puny god only rules one domain? I was looking for the random domain table but it isn’t there! The Aspect and Element tables have some of the usual suspects already though.

    I don’t think I agree with the changes to Convert and Sacrifice. With Pray being a once per day deal (and likely for just 1 Favor), and Convert being more abstract and generally less accessible than Sacrifice, I feel like Favor is too precious a resource to spend on Invoke. The current setup makes me feel that I should play a cleric like a slightly weaker fighter who has Lay on Hands.

    Making hard choices/sacrifices is a core element of PbtA games, so I find Moves like Thaumaturge and Sacrifice compelling, and would hate to see them go. Sacrifice also just seems more appropriate for an adventurer than Convert. Certainly one of the duties of clerics is to evangelize, but if that were the calling of the player’s cleric, then why would they journey into the perilous wilds and crawl into dungeons? Better as an option in Advanced Moves, IMO.

    Oh, and Missionary grants +1 to Convert, which has no roll.

    Changes in Basic Rules and B&B are good stuff, especially the Danger on Doubles. Obviously travel will be safer with higher roll modifiers, but not TOO much safer because more double rolls become successes (double 3s at +1, and double 2s at +3). I’ll be trying to think up some suggestions for Cleric Advanced Moves. Clerics could probably use a few more options.

    Keep it up! Glad you found my number crunching helpful. I really should grab one of those shirts; are they comfy?

  16. I feel like such a stickler, lol.

    I’m putting together a gear/economy system for use with Dungeon Crawl Classics, and FotF 2e is one of several references I’m using for the task. While looking over the tables again, I noticed that the Armor table in the Booty section still lists “Breastplate” where it should probably be “Splint Armor”.

    When I noticed this and referenced the Marketplace to see if breastplates were still officially in the rules, I realized that Chainmail, Splint armor, and Scale armor are actually out of order, at least according to my understanding of historical armor. Scale armor was inferior to mail, being utilized earlier in history and pretty much falling off of the map once mail came on the scene. It would be heavier as well, considering that it consisted of overlapping plates covering an entire surface instead of little rings that don’t actually cover everything; you could turn someone into a pincushion full of needles even if they were wearing mail. The strength of the mail is the cohesive force of the rings (weapon points can’t wedge the rings open) instead of the thickness of the metal, so it can be lighter than scales, but stronger.

    Splint armor actually has many names and incarnations, but the type pertinent to a D&D setting is really just mail with metal plates or bands interwoven into it in areas that wouldn’t hinder movement. Thus, I propose a bit of swapping: Scale armor- 60sp-3wt-2armor. Chainmail-90sp-2wt-2armor. Splint armor-120sp-4wt-3 armor. Essentially, just rearrange the Type column in Armor & Shields to read: Leather armor>Scale armor>Chainmail>Splint armor>Plate armor.

    I am so, so sorry for bothering you with this. If Joseph Goodman had bothered to make a functional/believable set of rules for treasure and economy in his game, this wouldn’t have happened, I swear! 😛

Comments are closed.