Forbidden Lands


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Review: Possibly the best fantasy RPG of all-time

February 26, 2019 by lawpsided

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This might just be the greatest RPG of all-time, and that's saying a lot because I'm a huge fan of dozens of RPG's and have been GMing a diverse array of games since the 90's. It’s so damn good. It pays tribute to traditional, old-school fantasy RPG’s and breaks new ground with stunning innovations and simplifications at the same time. It will sweep the Ennies and Golden Geek - MARK MY WORDS!

The production and value of the Core Boxed Set is unmatched in RPG history. For $45, you get two pho-leather, hardcover, gilded rule books with attached ribbons for bookmarking your pages: The Player's Handbook and the Gamemaster's Guide. You also a third softcover book, a gigantic color hex-map of the Forbidden Lands, and a sticker set to place on the map as your players explore. And this is all contained in the boxed set, which is nice and sturdy with beautiful art on the cover.

The game uses the award-winning and simple "Year Zero" engine from Fria Ligan's other RPG's, which includes Mutant: Year Zero, Coriolis, and Tales from the Loop. I love the mechanics, because it's not just a binary succeed or fail system. There is meaningful decision-making involved in almost every step of the game for the players to mitigate their chance of failure in a fun way (opposed to just rolling a d20 and hoping for the best, at the complete mercy of the dice). Additionally, there are degrees of both failure and success presented in a very straight-forward way that doesn't add unnecessary complexity. If your combat encounters take longer than 20 minutes, you're doing something wrong. As a boardgamer who likes controlling my chance of success with easy to understand strategy and tactics without unnecessary complication, this is the RPG I've been waiting for.

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I am playing a Mutant: Year Zero campaign at the moment, and enjoying it. Is this game going to cover the same ground, albeit in a fantasy setting?