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Teatime Adventures is great for all-ages (some reading required)
Teatime Adventures is appropriate for any age with its story and mechanics both focused on nonviolent approaches and seeking out understanding and exploration above all.
The content is perfect for a table of players of mixed ages (kids, teens, and adults) as you’re uncovering secrets, like figuring out who is causing all the drama at the pie competition, or solving mysteries, like why strange purple crystals have started to appear all around town. Adventures are focused on exercising your ingenuity, social skills, and smarts to create an exciting experience for everyone that doesn’t involve combat.
For the mechanics, they follow the basic format of some well-known d20 systems, but with several modifications to make them more friendly to newer players and to shift them into more skill-focused activities. Changes, like having the whole team required for casting a big spell, mean that young players will have support with finding and interpreting those larger moves, and having all the basic mechanics in <10 pages (which includes details for all ancestries and professions) means that it’s easy to explain, remember, and/or look up what you need for your character.
Teatime Adventures is set on the Verdant Isles
Teatime Adventures has its own setting, the Verdant Isles, a series of islands, each with their own unique environments and tied together with rich lore and a promise between the people of the isles to hold life precious.
This setting comes with beautiful locations that have a wide variety of mysteries to solve and has four premade adventures that span across several islands. There are also 12 holidays, one for each month, in this world that celebrate everything from the Swimming of the Snootlings to Evenfall, further completing the setting and creating LOTS of opportunities for seasonal games and new plot hooks.
We particularly liked the Shadow at the Mill adventure that took place during the Feast of the Forge and Flame and involved some fun time shenanigans! We even made the cookies from the recipe for that adventure, and they were VERY tasty (picture at the end near the “overall” section).
While the book has plenty to explore, Snowbright Studio also continues to add more pre-made adventures and history (and also recipes) to the setting through the Cozy Companion magazine if you want to continue with more ready-to-go content on a regular basis.
Creating your character in Teatime Adventures
Your character in Teatime Adventures comes from one of six ancestries: Deerkin, Finfolk, Floradop, Hoptop, Puffwing, or Snootling (which… that last one is my favorite name… I’ve shown everyone I can how cute they are).
Once you’ve picked your ancestry, you’ll choose an occupation (like a mail carrier or gardener), your morale die and how many skill bonuses you’ll get, your astra alignment (the element you have affinity to), and your stats. Your character info is all tracked on a character sheet that looks a bit similar to other d20 systems, but is organized with pictures for easy tracking and includes all your spells listed on the page as well (so you don’t need to flip through other pages).
Overall, creating a unique character took about 10 minutes, and there’s multiple pre-filled character sheets to either use for gameplay or reference as an example to assist during set up.
Mechanics in Teatime Adventures
I was very tempted to go into mechanics during the character section because there’s a lot about the mechanics that tie into the character. Here, I’ll go into some of the reframes for skills and abilities and group spell casting (harmony magic) as my main two discussions, but, as always, there’s more to discover in the actual book and system too.
Skills and abilities focusing on personality and life
In Teatime Adventures, instead of your abilities being DEX, CON, WIS, etc., they are going to be more along the lines of bustle, fidget, personality, and so on. Because this game is focused on RP and exploration as a whole, abilities are aimed at determining how well your character multitasks, figures things out, keeps up their energy, etc. versus how well they can fight or take a hit.
And… when you get to the skills list, it gets even better.
I LOVED the skills list.
Your skills list has attributes like “cooking” and “fauna friendship” that directly relate to obvious day-to-day activities and adventure challenges, like helping someone to make a dish for the next festival or tending to frightened animals, but then, there’s also other skills like “random facts” and “relish” that are just total fun and definitely come in handy just like any other skill, but often in odd and interesting ways. They also add A LOT of flavor to your character.
I particularly thought that “borrowing”(borrowing something from someone, whether they are aware of it or not), “wallflowering” (blending in or disappearing within your surroundings), and “daydreaming” (thinking through alternatives or imagining something better) were GREAT descriptions, and we incorporated bonuses for those skills into our helpfully chaotic little Hoptop (frog) character to immediately give him a very fun personality.
Harmony magic – group spell casting
In Teatime Adventures, you can cast smaller spells on your own, just as your character, which is called kitchen magic. You start out with a couple spells at first (so it is easy to track) and can potentially earn one more whenever you advance your character (so you very gradually learn more as you get used to the game). That covers small, individual, spells, but then there’s also big spells.
Bigger spells require multiple characters to cast in order to pool all your abilities and astra alignment bonuses, so you need some kind of consensus from the whole group when you want to do a very significant move. This makes sure the group is discussing first when it comes to impactful decisions and that everyone is included in some way. If only one person is rolling with the harmony magic mechanics, they probably won’t be able to pull it off.
Group spell casting also means that younger players don’t need to track a big spell list – players with more TTRPG experience or who can read better can be responsible for spell tracking, but then younger players are still going to need to be part of the discussion and rolling process.
It’s a really clever way to make sure that players aren’t getting left out by a dominant decision-maker, to promote collaboration and discussions, and for everyone to really feel like they’re playing a part in all the big decisions and events in the game.
Overall thoughts on Teatime Adventures
I did my initial readthrough of Teatime Adventures while running a booth at U-CON with Jaclyn (who wrote Rolling with the Youth), and… we were geeking out over this book the whole time.
It’s wholesome, it’s fun, it’s incredibly inclusive, it’s exciting, and it’s purposefully unique.
The setting is absolutely beautiful, I loved what they did with the mechanics, and I am blown away, in the best way possible, by the depth of development in the stories and NPCs described in this book. NPCs represent a wide variety of pronoun use, gender, and orientation so that all players can feel seen, and they each have amazing backstories, in addition to any stat information.
I also really enjoyed the addition of recipes with the book – we tried out one recipe from the book and a bonus one that I got from the Snowbright Studio booth at PAX U, and both were amazing. They’re great for making in-person game meet-ups even more of a special event (or for doing with kids who are now excited about trying out the recipe because it was part of the game).
Overall, we had a lot of fun with Teatime Adventures and are very glad that we had the opportunity to check it out!
Find a copy of Teatime Adventures
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