You may think that stories featuring anthromorphic woodland animals barely constitute a genre, but they are actually common enough. American Tail, Secret of Nimh, Redwall, and Mouse Guard. Even My Little Pony would be close.
My interest in the genre was recently revived by Mouse Guard and then with the superb board game Mice and Mystics by Plaid Hat Games. Both of these follow Redwall by setting the stories in a western medieval setting.
I have been looking for an RPG in the genre for a while, especially as my two daughters are becoming interested in RPGs and always seem to chose anthromorphic woodland animals for PCs if given the freedom to do so. The Mouse Guard RPG was well done, but it is a difficult game and not well suited to young players. It was limited to mice, which though fine for the source material felt unecessarily limited next to Redwall.
I had also looked at Harvesters and Woodland Warriors, both using an old school D&D base, but neither did much to explore the genre and simply made the woodland animal types into race options. Michtim was another recent option but it was limited to a single animal type (a hamster) and had some odd narrative rules that required an experienced RPGer.
I recently came across Book of Cairn and it looks promising. I had heard about it a while back and the Kickstarter seemed to have fallen over. But another company picked it up and saved the RPG, even of they jettisoned the rest of the KS. Cairn is well presented. Its a simple ruleset with depth behind it if desired (much like Far Away Land). It has 20 animal types, 20 professions and different magic types, so there is also the breadth there.
However, Cairn shines in my eyes most due to three aspects:( Collapse )
I am considering running Cairn at Adventure Squad for the reasons above. There are very few RPGs that I actually think work well for young players, even amongst those that are meant to be aimed at them. But Cairn is the first since Far Away Land that really has my attention for the purpose.