Arcane Documents Discovered Within

How to Play

This post is out of date and some portions of it may have been removed, or may no longer apply to the current version of RPGWanderer. Please check out this announcement for context.

First things first - we advise you play on Desktop for the best experience possible. The narrative portions are fine on mobile, but combat probably won't work at all.

Do I need to know the 5th edition rules to play this game?

Combat might take some getting used to if you’re completely new. Otherwise, medium familiarity is more than enough. If needed, you can find the basic rules all over the internet, notably on the official sites, on Roll20, and on various wikis. Generally, though, don't stress about the rules. The game will tell you what you need to know.

Assembling a Party and Creating Characters

RPGW modules are made for two to four characters. Here's how you can build out your party:

Option 1: RPGW Premade characters
We’ve created twelve 1st-level characters (one for each class) for you to pick from. These premades are great “quick play” options with their own unique artwork. Although their starting ability scores, proficiencies and equipment are… well, premade, they are partially customizable once added to your RPGW roster. Note that they use our homebrew backgrounds, which means some unique in-game flavor text and lore bits. Take good care of our babies.

Option 2: Import from D&D Beyond
Note that you do NOT need a paid subscription in order to create characters. You can export your character(s) into a PDF format (under the 'Manage' menu), which you can then import into RPGW. From that point on, you’ll be managing your character sheets directly on RPGW. Note: if you encounter errors when exporting from D&D Beyond, try a different browser. Chrome performs all Export checks with Disadvantage.

Notes Regarding Character Creation

5th edition encounter balance can be fragile, especially at low levels. Here are the parameters that our encounters are calibrated around:

Level: Our modules begin at 1st level.
Hit Point Type : Fixed.
Advancement Type: Milestone. Our combat encounters will not reward experience. Instead, you will gain levels after reaching specific story milestones.
Ability Score Generation: Point Buy or Standard Array.
Backgrounds: We suggest you use one of our homebrew backgrounds! Find them here.
Starting Equipment: Pick from the options provided by your Class & Background. If you opt to start with Gold rather than Equipment, rest assured that stores are available early on and furnished with everything you need.

If you have any questions about other character creation parameters, or how to interpret specific rules that are not discussed here (for example Encumbrance or Rations), visit our FAQ.

Playing the Game

You will navigate narrative passages by making choices and performing skill checks. Combat encounters will take place on dynamic battle maps, spruced up by tokens and smart (when appropriate!) NPC AI. Your session autosaves on every passage, and can be resumed if suspended. However, you can't roll back a save! You might call this "ironman mode". This isn't a value statement against save scumming on our part; we might allow it in the future. It was just simpler because [add reasons here later]. You can always start an entirely new playthrough with different characters without losing your existing save files, though.

Note that any changes you make to your RPGW character sheets while playing (HP values, inventory, or even modifiers) will be immediately synchronized, but only visually reflected on the NEXT passage.

Finally, your in-game decisions are logged, and will persist into future chapters, where their implications and impact will continue to drive the story’s development. “Choices matter”, as they say.

Self-GM’d Combat

Our combat encounters follow the standard rules of initiative. You could describe our system as "semi-automated", or "semi-sandbox", depending whether you're a potion-half-full or potion-half-empty kind of adventurer.

That means creatures will perform automated actions. However, you will be expected to administer your OWN turns autonomously, with the help of an in-game dice tray and other VTT-style resources. Inherent to this game is an honor system - nothing technically stops you from fudging rolls or otherwise cheating. To create those guardrails would represent a big lift for our humble game for now, and we'd rather invest those efforts on other parts of the experience and leave it up to the players to play by the rules. Or not! It's your show.

Check out this tutorial to help visualize how combat works.

Everything Else

This should be enough to get started, but when in doubt, check out our FAQ, or roll Persuasion in Discord to beg for help.

Arcane Documents Discovered Within