Hello fellow tabletop role play gamers! It’s Slick Dungeon here and I wanted to talk about the new play test material Kobold Press has put out for its upcoming fantasy role playing game.
What is Project Black Flag?
Project Black Flag is the super cool name Kobold Press is using for a new 5th edition compatible tabletop game they are working on. This project was in the works well before the whole OGL debacle with Wizards of the Coast but this project got a lot more attention during that time. It’s still early days but this new game has the potential to take TTRPG’s in new and interesting directions. While Kobold has consistently been posting information, including some artwork, and blog posts on Fridays, and telling us the play test material would release in February, they threw us a curveball by releasing their first packet on Monday the 13th of February. The packet is a quick read at only 12 pages and while there is a lot of good information in it, this packet doesn’t quite give us enough to build a full character. However, it does give us some key insights into what to expect. Read on to find out what it is about and how you can get your hands on a copy.
What’s in the Packet?
The packet is a set of rules Kobold would like TTRPG enthusiasts to play test, and then give feedback on. In the packet we get some basic information about what a TTRPG is, what a fantasy role playing game is, what materials you need and who does what at the table. If you’ve ever played a TTRPG, especially Dungeons & Dragons, you’ll have no trouble understanding this section of the packet.
They do give us a few things to let us know what kind of game we have to look forward to. It’s going to be a fantasy world full of heroes going through unique locations fighting against villains and organizations that oppose them. In other words, it’s a fantasy game for heroes. Some people might think this is unoriginal but it does happen to be the kind of game a lot of folks love playing most so I can’t really complain.
Next they give a step by step guide on character creation. If you’re familiar with 5th edition, a lot of this is going to look extremely familiar. You’re guided through coming up with a character concept, choosing a class, proficiencies, levels, hit points, and the standard array of ability scores. The packet does mention that creating a character using their method makes these characters a bit stronger than a 5th edition character but it’s not so out of range you can’t use them in your 5e games. They also go over a few different ways of getting your character stats including rolling for stats, point buy, and standard array. This is where some of the rules start to differ from 5e and start to build a potentially stronger character.
They then go on to introduce Lineages and Heritages. Lineage essentially replaces what was originally termed as Race in 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. This is a pretty minimal packet for the moment so we only get Humans, Elves, and Dwarves. Heritages are more about the environment where your character grew up or what groups they associate with. Personally, I think this is great because it allows for a lot of customization so you could have an Elf character who grew up with Dwarves or vice versa and any number of combinations. While you could go with the usual fantasy tropes for each Lineage, you don’t have to.
You also choose a background for your character and the packet gives a couple options to choose from including Scholar and Soldier. This is basically a way to help shape the backstory of your character and gives you some increased abilities and what Kobold terms Talents. Talents seem to be similar to Feats in 5e. I love using Feats so I like that Talents are available right off at 1st level for this system.
I’m not going to go over all the specifics of what is listed in the packet because I haven’t used these in a game yet. I’d like to see a little more of what makes a character so I can build something that works for me at this point but it’s worth reading through the packet and if you can build a character with this, go for it. I feel like there is a good amount of stuff for magic characters here but a bit less for martial classes so far.
While I do see a lot of similarities here with D&D, we haven’t seen much of the overall project yet so there is still room for a lot to be different. I love that it’s easy to pick up if you are familiar with 5th edition because that’s going to make starting the game much easier for a ton of folks.
How Can I get in on the Playtest?
If you want the playtest packet you can get it right from Kobold Press here. You may have to sign up to do it but it won’t cost you anything. Once you have the packet, give it a read, make a character and play a game and then fill out their survey.
If you have the packet, what do you think of it? Have you used any of these rules yet and if so how did it go? Let me know in the comments.