Review – Wayfarers Game Master’s Reference Book
As I promised last week, now I continue my Wayfarers review the Wayfarers Game Master’s Reference Book. You may check out the first part of the review here. This book supposedly contains all information to run an extensive fantasy campaign with the system, and maintaining the game world.
To reach this goal the guide contains two parts. The first is an actual reference section, divided into seven chapters, containing game rules and GM resources. The other part is an almost 80 page long Catalog of Creatures, including everything from common animals to archdemons.
As the player’s book, this release also maintains the old-school feel and the freshness in the same time. Also, now it’s clearer than ever that they really don’t want to overburden players with rules.
The reference section
As I mentioned the actual game rules and GM resources are divided into seven chapters. The first chapter is dealing with skills, which include character advancement and the mechanics for proficiencies. I think the later, which includes sample target numbers, costs and time requirement for craft skills and so on is a really helpful part of the book.
The second chapter deals with general game mechanics and rules, like strength checks, spell books, environmental effects and so on. It’s also contains a big section about combat, including a four-page example.
No fantasy campaign is complete without magical items, so the third part contains a list of magical treasures and the rules to create such items. The rules are easy to understand, but due to it’s high time and cost requirements I guess most player characters won’t create anything above scrolls and potions.
The remaining chapters are dealing with various things from optional rules (like critical hits, firearms and optional character options) to useful GM resources like names and some help to create NPC-s. While these are useful things to have, they are not essential to play.
The last thing I should mention that at the end of the book there are four useful appendix for a Game Master, which could be very valuable during a gaming session. These include quick reference charts and tables, as well as random creature encounters among others.
The ‘Catalog of Creatures’
The second half of the book contains the Catalog of Creatures, a big collection for anything the players could meet during a campaign. From mythological monsters to oozes and common animals, and even some unique creatures you may find anything you may ask for. Having named creatures here and there (like archdemons) is also a nice touch.
My only problem with the catalog, that the entries don’t include attributes for the creatures. So could a druid perform a feat of strength in a bear form ? Does the centaur gain an attribute bonus for his proficiency check ? You won’t get any clue, and as a GM it’s a problem for me.
After reading both core Wayfarers book I feel that this game has some potential. I could really recommend it as an entry RPG for newbies, thanks to it’s easy to grasp rules, or for those veterans who don’t want to deal with complicated rules anymore, and favor storytelling instead. On the other hand, I’m not sure it has enough going for it if you already have a fantasy RPG system of choice, bud definitely worth a try !
Zoltán “Cain” Mészáros