Review for FableDoom, a TTRPG system with epic dice leveling and gaming handbook
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FableDoom is a system made with flexibility for all ages in mind
FableDoom is a tabletop RPG system that allows flexibility in subject matter, setting, and mechanics to fit different skill levels. The full version also comes with an amazing guide to tabletop RPGs that talks about adjusting to fit player interests and sensitivities. From talking with one of the creators, Fable, FableDoom was also made with accessibility to all ages in mind, and it does show.
The dice mechanics ramp up as you level, so this means that players are gradually introduced to more difficult math the more they play, and you can easily cap it when players reach their limit and need more time to adjust to the increasing math. For my kid, I would probably cap the dice and modifiers at d10 + 10 since I know that we’re currently practicing math up to 20, and that’s OK.
Because this is a system, that also means it doesn’t have a premade adventure, so you tailor it to your players and make a story that fits your group and any age, skill, and sensitivity that you need.
FableDoom is setting agnostic
FableDoom is setting agnostic in every sense – you have full control of both the setting AND the player skills. This means there’s no need to reskin magic into a sci-fi world, adjust land-based mechanics to fit into an underwater setting, or have to follow any preconceived notions about what the game’s theme should be from preset skills lists, a map, encounters, etc.
Your character in FableDoom
Your character in FableDoom is whoever you want them to be! Because this TTRPG is setting agnostic and you have freedom to choose your skills, you don’t have a certain class or character type that you need to pick. You can create your character to be exactly who you want (as long as it kind of fits the setting and your table agrees).
If you’re playing a medieval fantasy setting, you can pick skills for fire magic, healing, and fighting to make a smiting paladin. If playing a space school setting, you can also just as easily pick skills for engineering, good memory, and clue finding to make a space cadet detective.
Versatile and ramping mechanics in FableDoom
Setting your skills
When creating a character, you choose skills for your character that are going to represent some areas that they’ll use and develop further. You can pick whatever skills you want (within approval at the table) from your own decisions instead of a premade list.
Of those skills, they all start out with a d4 for their die except for one that is your character’s “talent”, which uses a d20. You can pick as many d4 skills as your table allows, but know that this may make it more difficult to manage leveling up evenly later.
In the game we played, one of our character’s skills lists looked like this:
Character: Clover, a leprechaun looking for their lost gold
Skill #1 (d4): rainbow magic
Skill #2 (d4): dancing
Talent (d20): hiding
Leveling up your skills
In FableDoom, you don’t level up your character, you level up your skills, and you do it based on the type of challenge you faced.
On completing a challenge, the game leader awards experience to the skills that are relevant to the challenge. For example, if you wanted to dash through an obstacle course, that might increase a dancing skill since that experience could improve your dexterity, but you probably wouldn’t level up a skill for doing research using those XP points.
I really liked this since it kind of makes more sense to level up from actually practicing that specific skill versus randomly assigning skill points just because your character leved…. AND it takes some of the pressure off from having to fret about your character build.
When you gain experiences, the XP also directly affects your modifier, and you increase your die by trading in that modifier once it reaches a certain amount. So, you can trade the XP that’s giving you a skill boost to move up to a 1d6 instead and eventually get a higher possible number while taking a short term hit from losing the modifier.
This was cool because it can make skills kind of bounce a little bit and gets you to weigh which ones you focus on using since they can fluctuate. You sometimes take a temporary hit to your max in order to plan for getting better later AND, at least early on, your math doesn’t get too high and can progress depending on your player’s math skills. For our game, we would cap our skill leveling at 1d10 (leveling the die 3 times) + 10 (for 10 unused XP) because that’s my kid’s skill level for math. However, there’s a lot of leveling and trading dice to do before reaching that, and he’ll get gradual practice with math as his skills level.
Tabletop RPG handbook
The last part of the FableDoom full version is an amazing handbook for playing tabletop RPGs in general. It’s a comprehensive guide that covers:
- Player tips on sharing the spotlight, note taking, RP, and more
- Session zero framework and sensitivity
- The pillars of storytelling
- World-building styles
- Roll tables for ideas
And so much more!
This advice goes for all tabletop RPGs, not just for FableDoom, and is a great introduction for first time players and game leaders alike.
What did my kid think about FableDoom?
I asked my kid (4yo) what he thought about FableDoom, and he said (paraphrasing a little for clarity):
Clover won the gold back by dancing! I liked the magic dancing shoes, and he had rainbow magic too… heehee… he had rainbow poots. And we got to use the pointy dice and also the really big one too!
He liked the different powers that he got to pick due to the system’s flexibility (yay magical rainbow poots?) and I think he really liked the different dice too. He was able to do the math and counting on his own, and we had a lot of fun leveling the d4 up for our dancing abilities to show that progress.
Overall thoughts on FableDoom
I really like this system’s freedom with abilities and character creation and the way it handles leveling, since it’s way easier to track and more intuitive than some other games I’ve played while still needing some thought and planning. The guide on what TTRPGs are and how to play them is an awesome and thorough handbook for players and game runners who are either learning how to play tabletop RPGS or are looking to switch things up for the better at their table. I also want to say that the art here is GREAT – lots of cute characters along with some epic creatures too. Overall, I really liked this game both from a system and mechanics standpoint and an advice and guidebook standpoint.
Find a copy of FableDoom
FableDoom is available on DriveThru RPG (full version and quick start) and the FableDoom website!
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