This introduction was originally released on my blog diceadventurer.
Wicked Ones is now available to the public. Before that, the supporters of the Kickstarter were allowed to hold the finished game in their hands. I had already written my thoughts on a playtest, but with the release, I want to introduce the full game.
There is no fixed world for Wicked Ones and so the group has complete freedom in which setting they want to play. However, there are a few guidelines. The players are monsters and behave like that. They have enough ambitions that they can stand out from the conventional monsters and lead them. As a group, the players build a dungeon together and try to gradually expand it and increase their power. There are a number of playable origins, such as orcs, demons or goblins, and it is no problem to implement your own ideas with the system. If you want some help, you can choose between four sandboxes in the book, each of which consists of a beautiful map and suggestions for factions and possible raids and operations for the players.
Wicked Ones is a Forged in the Dark game based on Blades in the Dark by John Harper. Basically, the game follows the same principles and once you have understood the concept, you only have to worry about the subtleties of the respective FitD games. The FitD games are very structured and sometimes have a lot of small game elements that I can’t all go into. I go into the main points that make up the game.
Characters are generated via playbooks. Each player chooses a calling (e.g. the brute, the crafter or the hunter) that characterize his monster. Instead of attributes and skills, there are nine actions in Wicked Ones, such as scanning, finesse or threatening, which are divided into three categories (brain, muscles and guts). The points in an action determine the number of d6 for the test (more on this later). In addition, each calling offers different abilities, similar to talents from other games. With the ability fury, for example, the brute gets the opportunity to receive an additional die if it responds with violence after an injury or humiliation. What is also important for the monsters is their dark impulse, which they should follow when the stress that they have received through failure gets out of hand.
However, it doesn’t stop with one character, the group also creates a dungeon together for themselves and the minions who help them. There are different themes for the dungeon and you have plenty options to choose from. During the game, the group draws the dungeon, its rooms and the traps, mechanisms and doors that they use to ward off or distract intruders. There are also very nice drawing instructions in the book.
The focus of the FitD games is clearly on fiction, i.e. the actual conversation of the group. The description of what and how a character does something can have a lot of influence. It is also important to say that everything is transparent at FitD, the game master and the players discuss the situation and the consequences of the action together so that everyone knows exactly what to expect in the event of success or failure. This weighing of position, effect and one’s own situation that makes the FitD games so interesting, because even a good result of the dice does not help me if I do not have the right equipment.
As mentioned above, you use d6s for a roll. A 1-3 is a failure, a 4-5 is a mixed result, i.e. a partial success, a 6 is a success and several 6s are a critical success. Apart from critical success, only the highest die is used to determine the result. In addition to action rolls, there are many other rolls, such as the resistance throw. If a player does not want to suffer a consequence of a test or the circumstances (such as injuries), then he can try to resist it. He can use armor for this (it does not always have to be real armor, properties or other equipment also serve mechanically as armor in the game), which is then consumed. Otherwise, you roll the dice for a suitable action and the result of the dice tells you whether you have partially or completely resisted. By resisting, but also as a consequence or by using different abilities, a monster gets stress. If the bar fills up completely, then you become feral and you fall for your dark impulse.
The game alternates between different phases. In the lurking phase, the monsters regenerate, count their loot and take care of various projects, such as expanding the dungeon, arcane experiments or nasty plans. With raids, you can steal important objects, accumulate wealth or organize followers. The great thing about FitD is that there is no planning. You just determine the starting situation and a die roll decides your own position. Adjustments are made by using flashbacks. After a raid, other factions may want to get you back, then the dungeon has to be defended and this is where the traps, doors and mechanisms come into play. If an intruder reaches your sanctuary, then your monsters must go into battle. It is also possible that your subordinates are not satisfied with you or that unpredictable events affect parts of the dungeon. All of these are elements that dungeon owners have to deal with and the mechanics are very elegant and easy to use.
Wicked Ones has 264 pages and is full color. Both the layout and the typesetting are very pleasant to read and the images are not only consistent, I personally think the style is simply fantastic and it gives a very good feel to the game. My personal highlight is the drawing guide for the dungeons, I never would have thought how easy it is to draw traps and mechanisms in such a minimalist and yet easily recognizable manner.
Who might be interested in Wicked Ones:
- Players and GMs who like to build and manage a dungeon themselves
- People who like to play structured, but narrative-oriented
- Players who like to play evil characters
Who might not be interested in Wicked Ones:
- Players and GMs who want more classic mechanics
- People who cannot do anything with the structure of FitD games
- Players who want classic character generation and development
[5 of 5 Stars!]