I played Freebooters 2e last night! We played through “Hot Springs Island” using my reference sheet for stats.

I played Freebooters 2e last night! We played through “Hot Springs Island” using my reference sheet for stats.

I played Freebooters 2e last night! We played through “Hot Springs Island” using my reference sheet for stats.


There were two new players who had never played an RPG before. This was the first time I had ever played Freebooters, but I have extensive experience with DW.

I have many thoughts!

EDIT: Just saw you updated the sheets, haha. Definitely take this with a grain of salt, we used the old ones.

Things that went well:

– Tracking resources and supplies. The marketplace sheets were super useful, and it was very easy to see how much things weighed, how many uses they had, and managing inventory. The players enjoyed the weight system. Also the penalty for carrying too much was great, and seemed like something players COULD deal with, but didn’t want to.

– Duration blended well with Hot Springs. Hot Springs has its own solid time-tracking system, and freebooters slotted extremely well into it.

– The magic system was fun as hell! We had two mages, and they both LOVED generating their spells and allocating the power costs. Very cool!

– Character creation was also fun; the vices and virtues added a lot to each character. Stats made sense, I like how the game includes the capacity for stat damage.

– The Make Camp and Keep Company moves were a big hit. Players enjoyed having the spotlight to talk to one other person and developer specific relationships.

– XP for gold seemed to flip switches in their brains. They were extremely engaged and dedicated to exploring and finding treasure, more so than I’ve seen from any other game. The character sheet especially makes this really easy to track, which is nice.

– LOVE spending luck. One of my favorite mechanics from DCC, and I’m glad to see it here.

– Alignment goals were really solid, and the players were able to embrace it in an active way.

– Really happy to see a “Retreat” move. Perfect for weak characters.

– Threads are really interesting, and remind me a bit of “Clocks” from blades in the dark. A great and simple way to handle Fronts. Love it!


Feel free to ignore these, or take them with a grain of salt

– Perceive vs Saving Throw. I never really found a good opportunity to use the Perceive move. Players would ask specific questions already: “Can I see what color the creature is from this distance?” “Do they seem poisonous?” So I just used saving throws to check for success/failure.

– Characters were extremely weak. 3/5 of the party started with 1 hp. In our first encounter with a crazy old man: a mage blasted herself when the spell failed, the old man cut down the cleric, and the thief poisoned herself. Maybe give players a little more HP to start? The luck helped a little bit, but they ran out pretty quick.

– Character Creation Slow. Maybe it was because of all the new players, but the random rolling was really fun, but slowed down the game. It took us about an hour before all the characters were done. This might just need a simple online generate to fix the issue, but it was way slower than DW character creation, which mostly just involves making simple choices. Having the inventory be checkboxes might help a lot.

– The human heritage move makes no sense if you have a “Good” character.

– Establish also never saw much play. Perhaps it was because we were playing a game with a concrete world and rules, but players never got the opportunity to make stuff up.

– We didn’t use the travel moves because Hot Springs has it’s own rules, but without the rest of the book it would be hard to come up with “Discoveries”.

– Do players still get the benefit of a camp rest if something attacks them?

– Camping did NOT recover much HP (only 1 for the majority of the group). They really enjoyed camping, but were super bummed that it didn’t have much of an impact. Maybe let them roll HD twice and use worst result or something? I dunno.


9 thoughts on “I played Freebooters 2e last night! We played through “Hot Springs Island” using my reference sheet for stats.”

  1. oh! Also having lines in the gear section would help too. OOH OOH even better have faint grey dots so players can draw boxes for slots, OR use lines.

    My new journal has dots and it’s REALLY nice.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, David! I really appreciate you taking the time and I am noting all of your comments.

    The only thing I’ll say right now is that the human heritage move is purposely unbalanced, both as cynical commentary on humanity and as a pseudo-joke on that idea that “being good is its own reward.” I personally like the friction this creates between Good and non-Good human players, but I’ll consider strong objections.

  3. Makes sense to me. I allowed two of my players to add an additional vice to their characters just so they could benefit. They didn’t like JUST having virtues.

  4. Shane Liebling:


    When you ask or say what you might know about a given subject, give it your best guess. If the Judge thinks it’s plausible, roll +INT: on a 10+, your best guess is true; on a 7-9, it’s true to a point—the Judge will add a caveat or drawback to your explanation; on a 6-, mark Intelligence, and the Judge makes a move.If the Judge thinks your best guess is implausible, it turns out you don’t know much about the subject after all.

    “If the Judge thinks it’s plausible” is the key clause here. I personally would nix anything that went too astray of the setting, but allow my players some room to invent and add to it. Before you nix anything outright though, I would just discuss what the player wants, how it might fit into the setting, and work with them to help it jibe.

    Alternatively, you could just reskin Perceive to act as a lore/knowledge roll:


    When you consult your knowledge on a given subject, say how you came to know about the subject. If the Judge buys your explanation, roll +INT: on a 10+, the Judge will answer any questions you have about the subject, within reason; on a 7-9, the Judge will tell you something useful about the subject; on a 6-, mark Intelligence, and the Judge makes a move.

    Establish does not work as smoothly as I would like and has caused enough issues in other peoples’ playtest experiences that I am thinking about cutting it in favor of something like the above.

  5. Jason Lutes I definitely prefer the alternative you posted. It gives players a chance to flesh out their characters. “My paladin studied as a scribe for a while. It’s a long story….”

    Although I love many of the tools you’ve provided for Freebooters to be more free-form, I almost always run existing settings or modules. Just less work for me.

  6. Jason Lutes You could give the play group the options: say it’s for them to choose which one they want to use at the table and suggest one for more free form and the other for known settings.

Comments are closed.