Tags: cairn

Cairn Pregens

For Adventure Squad, I am planning on running Cairn. It is a woodland creatures RPG much like Redwall or Mouseguard, with a hint of D&D.

I have been working on the pregen PCs sheets. It applies a few simplifications I made to the rules, but it is mostly intact.

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I really like how the player can look to apply any of the words in the top part of the sheet to get a +1 to a roll. I also really like the choice across the centre that the player gets when they roll a 12. Finally, the use of HP and Harmony should be great too.

Best RPGs of 2014

This is cross-posted in NZRAG.

So each year I put up a post to get a feel from Wellingtonians what RPGs published that year have been their favourite. Though this thread is aimed at RPGs published in 2014 only, please feel free to mention supplements or any other RPG you encountered this year that stood out.

Last year's thread is here: http://grandexperiment.livejournal.com/243831.html.

2013 was a simply amazing year with two new RPGs entering my Top 5. This year was almost as good and continues the trend since 2010. In addition to new RPGs, there was also a new edition of the hobby's granddaddy, D&D, which looks to achieve an excellent balance between broad appeal and focussed design. While KS continues to fuel new RPGs of high quality, this year also seemed to see the first wave of Kick Failures. Combined with backers growing more discerning, the KS surge seems to be ebbing to some extent.

My main success this year was actually running my top 2 RPGs from 2013. Atlantis is the first game since much venerated Exalted (and my having two daughters) that saw me return to running ran a long term campaign of my own creation; also replacing the long running Exalted game that I was playing at the same time. This culminated with Atlantis' 3rd and final KS that took place earlier this year. I took advantage of the opportunity to show appreciation by spending the most money I have ever spent in one go on an RPG. It felt good and justified to me why KS can be such a positive process.

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Cairn and Anthromorphic Woodland Animal RPGs

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:

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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.