It’s been awhile adventurers! But onward! Today I wanted to discuss this awesome supplement that can be tailored to any world building that you might be doing for your games. It is geared for more high fantasy adventures (Pathfinder,D&D, etc) but I see it as a tool that could easily be converted to any genre. I will explain how to use this supplement for your own needs further “afield” (on).
What is this?
Beyond the Wall – Further Afield by Flatland Games is a supplement to the popular One-Shot style role playing game Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures. A single session of Beyond the Wall is supposed to have about an hour of character and world building by both the Game Master and the players collaboratively, and then to complete an adventure together in one session. Characters are built going in turn and each are given certain NPC’s and parts of a village to come up with. For more info on how this works, see my other article “A Great Tool for Creating a Shared Cohesive Party” .
Further Afield takes this to the next level. Now your players also help in creating the world around the outside of the village. These can be Monster Lairs, Human/Non-Human civilizations, Ancient Ruins, etc. Now many of you Game Masters are probably thinking “Great, how boring, now my players all know exactly where everything exists and where to go!” No need to fret, this is where the fun comes in.
Your players get to elaborate as many details as they want about a location, but ultimately the Game Master gets to roll in secret on how much of this information is actually true, and can change the details as they wish to suit them. They do this by asking the player how they know the information (learned through books, heard others talk in taverns, or seen with their own eyes) and rolling the corresponding trait in secret. Missing the mark by more than 10 means the information is completely false. Hitting the mark by more than 10 means there could be even more treasures or exciting rewards in store.
Example: Monster Lair
Let’s say one player gets to place a Monster Lair to the North of the village. They describe this giant cave that is home to a mighty blue dragon named Darlanth the Terrible and has a horde or vast riches aplenty. The player (noting they have a high charisma score) decides that he learned this by overhearing a bard talking about it in the tavern.
The Game Master then rolls (in Secret!) a d20 and adds the character’s bonus from the appropriate skill, and then rolls another d20 to determine what the check would be, then they subtract the two . It turns out that the player’s roll is a 7 and the GM rolls a 17, which is a failure of 10.
“The character is badly mistaken about the location, and probably in a very dangerous way. The GM should modify the player’s description of the location significantly. Examples would include a supposed goblin cave which is actually the home of a deadly, sleeping dragon, or a secluded wizard’s tower which is actually a tomb sealing an ancient and forgotten god.”
For our purposes, we will say that the GM wants to “Troll” their players. Now if they go to this location, they will find that there is no dragon, nor any treasure, and find that particular bard from the tavern and a band of thieves use that location to ambush foolish adventurers.
When can I use this supplement my games?
This supplement is best used BEFORE a campaign even starts. Making it apart of the Session Zero after creating characters is when it is advised to use. This can help you as the Game Master create your world, and learn what types of things your players are actually interested in adventuring for. This can help as I have had many campaigns that I write up what I think is a great hook, and my players are completely not interested and want to go hunt down a monster they heard randomly at a tavern instead when I was just making stuff up. (The above image is a campaign world I built using this supplement with the Inkarnate Map Maker)
What if I already started a campaign?
No problem. You can always have a mini world building session with your current party when they reach the next village. They are sure to hear stories, read lore in the library, or see things scouting around the area anyway, so it would make narrative sense. This is not recommended if you don’t want your party to get completely side tracked from something they are already on their way to complete. Best used if the Game Master is looking for random encounters along the way.
How do I adjust it for D&D5e?
The skills used to determine what they learned can be done by following the below information: Determine How They Learned This Info
Learned (History/Religion/Arcana) – Characters who learned about a location have either heard stories and legends from others in the village, or have read about the location in a book (or on ancient carvings, buried scrolls, or any other means). The roll to determine the accuracy of the information is an Intelligence check, considering any academic skills such as Ancient History or Folklore.
Seen (Perception or Survival Check) – If a character has seen a location, she has wandered from home at some point and encountered the location personally. This usually means seeing the site itself, but could instead involve seeing strong evidence for its existence, such as witnessing a group of bandits heading for hills and following them to their hidden caves. This is a Wisdom check, and skills having to do with travel and exploration give a bonus, such as Survival or Direction Sense.
Heard (Persuasion Check) – Often, characters learn about locations from travelers or other villagers. Unlike the myths and legends implied in the ‘learned’ category above, this category represents gossip, warnings, and hints which are circulating in the village right now, not ancient history. Make a Charisma check, taking into account any skills which involve talking to others, such as Gossip or Charm.
How can I use this for ANY Genre?
Simply tweak the location options to fit your own narrative. In Sci-Fi or Space Opera campaigns, look at the outlying locations as possibly other worlds. In a more modern game where there are no monsters, consider those locations to be the main baddies bases of operations.
Where do I find this?
Beyond the Wall- Further Afield can be found on Sale at Drive Thru RPG. I suggest picking up the PDF for the price if you are solely using this for your own RPG’s. But if you are a hardcover fan, they have that option too for the price. (Prices as of 2/8/2018)
- PDF File $5.99
- Hardcover Color Book (Premium Heavyweight) $27.99