If you play D&D, and especially if you’re a DM, there are times in your campaigns when your group of adventurers are at point A but need to get all the way to point X. Time may be of the essence. Then again, it may not. Regardless, how much “travel” does the DM narrate? Does anything interesting happen, or is the “random” encounter just added for a strained sense of a living world?
As a DM myself, I often feel at something of a dead-end when my group sets out on a long journey. It is clearly a gap in the official 5e ruleset that I’ve yet to find an expansion for. Enter Wayfarers of the Farwood. This book introduced the world of Lor’Zun, expands the rules of travel and crafting, and boasts a level 1-10 campaign, all in a single tomb. While Wayfarers of the Farwood is just wrapping up on Kickstarter, I was lucky enough to catch up with the writer and creator Andreas Mikaelsson on Discord, to get the background scoop of how this project came to be.
First, Wayfarers of the Farwood came from a personal desire. When asked, Andreas admitted this project sprang from an apparent lack of traveling rules he felt in his own campaign, “The travel aspect of [5e], especially when you start at the very early levels is usually a bit repetitive. . . if you haven’t written a well, fleshed out journey, which you can only use once, it becomes hard to say, ‘yeah, there are still mountains to the right of you and there’s a big field ahead.'” We both laughed, knowing that feeling. You see, Wayfarers of the Farwood is all about the journey. Not only will the book have mechanics for travel, the world of Lor’Zun is one of shifting landscapes. A comprehensive ruleset for how the world continually shifts under the feat of adventurers is sure to turn heads.
The type of encounters, the Difficulty Challenge rating players must reach, all depend on terrain, their level, and the length of their journey. There is a handy flowchart on the Kickstarter page that will give you the gist. But traveling through the wilderness isn’t all this book offers.
“All the mechanics I have added are always connected to make the journey more interesting for the player,” says Andreas. This includes over 200 encounters, divided into different styles, some narrative and roleplay heavy, others more mechanically dense and battle-centered. But wait, there’s more: “The idea with crafting: while you’re traveling, you can do a lot of different things. One of the things you can do is search for weird materials, everything from minerals or plants that are poisonous. And then these things that you gather are things you can craft with once you reach your destination.”
The lore of the world and the crafting mechanics are dependants on each other. In Lor’Zun there are Stone and Wood Chanters. Chanters like these can use music called the Godsongs to craft items of extraordinary power. Metal is extremely rare in Lor’Zun, and so visiting a Wood or Stone Chanter would be akin to visiting a blacksmith. The whole concept gives it a primordial feeling that is sure to intrigue.
These mechanics fit seamlessly into the realm of Lor’Zun Andreas has created. However, many of the travel mechanics, rollable tables, and crafting concepts in Wayfarers of the Farwood are surely a great addition to any campaign and homebrew world. In the end, it’s clear this project is a real work of passion as Andreas puts it, “I’m a book lover, I really love sitting down with a book. The selfish aspect of all this is just creating a book that I, myself would love to have. That’s why the book is meant to be a bit more expensive than other (5e books) because I’m making it very high-quality in terms of paper and the (hard)cover.” Regardless of the price, it’s sure to be beautiful, as Andreas has compiled a spectacular team of artists to illustrate what looks to be a worthy addition to any D&D lover’s bookshelf.