ReviewsGaming NewsRPGsTabletop GamingTabletop Gaming Reviews

Revel in Being the Monstrous Villain: Wicked Ones Reviewed

Robert tackles the villainous RPG Wicked Ones

Wicked Ones (Bandit Camp)Title: Wicked Ones

Publisher: Bandit Camp

Authors: Ben Nielson and Victor Costa

Artist: Victor Costa

Year: 2021 (V1.2)

Genre: Forged in the Dark based fantasy roleplaying game

Pages: 325 (free) or 360 for the Deluxe edition

MSRP: $66.99 for premium hardcover or $38.99 for standard hardcover; $19.99 for the PDF or also an absolutely free edition PDF at DriveThruRPG

The Wicked Ones is a Kickstarter backed roleplaying game that was launched in 2019 and first became available to the public in late 2020. Its premise was that the players will be monsters (kobolds, demons, dragons, orcs, etc) who raid the surrounding area while building up their lair. The mechanics follow the Forged in the Dark System created by John Harper.

The artwork is reminiscent of the something you would see in King of Tokyo, but this belies the darker nature of being a wicked one. The game does not shy away from topics such as slavery, gore and bloodshed, or torture. This is not a game where you have moral conundrums or angst driven characters. You are evil and it expects you to play this to the hilt as if you are the Kurgan from Highlander. Combine this with the crazy contraptions and spells that you would find from Warhammer Fantasy Orks and you have the proper mindset. The book does give some advice on discussing with the participants of how dark the game goes, and it recommends using an X card to allow everyone to know when things have gone too far.

The first chapter of the book goes over the basic rule system for Forged in the Dark. It is a narrative driven system where the rules do not give fixed/predefined results. Players roll one to four D6 dice with the highest roll Wicked Ones Interior # 1 (Bandit Camp)determining the degree of success. They can either get failures (1-3), mixed success (4 or 5), a success (6) or a critical success (two 6s on the roll). The effect is determined by the position and strength of the effect. The gamemaster will narrate the impact with players having the ability to interject or modifying the results using stress.

Clocks track progress towards goals, bad events, or even health. Flashbacks allow players to immediately move forward with the game instead of spending hours in planning paralysis. Dark bargains cause a negative impact regardless of die results but give a player an additional die for their roll to succeed. Compulsions are a vice that give dark hearts by following the character’s darker nature to the detriment of the mission. They include vengeful, cruel, deranged, etc. A dark heart can be used to increase resistance rolls or actions by 1 die.

Races are mostly narrative rather than having a mechanical effect. Calling is what the character’s role in the game is and can be thought of as a character class in 5e D&D. There are 9 callings with 4 special types called primal monsters in the deluxe edition in their own additional chapter. The callings vary from brawler, warlock, shaman and zealot. Each calling has a unique ability and then have ancillary abilities that one can choose to further refine them.

The primal monsters are intended for experienced players and have their own special rules. They encompass the faceless (doppelgangers), brain eaters (mind flayers), doomseekers (beholders), and goldmongers (dragons).

Wicked Ones Interior #2 (Bandit Camp)The dark arts chapter goes over spells, contraptions, items, concoctions, potions and rituals. The higher the tier the more impact it has on the game. The system is flexible enough to allow for ritual curses to cover the land, the players to get a steam punk robot and use explosions from magical concoctions. There are some example gods and powers they can confer to their wicked followers at the end of the chapter.

What separates Wicked Ones from other games is creating your dungeon (home base). The players will work with the GM to determine the type of dungeon and start with a fairly small lair that they will expand throughout play. They can populate it with minions, creatures, traps, tricks, hazards and doors to ward off any meddling adventurers. The game’s difficulty will be decided by the dungeon level and as players expand the dungeon the raids into the dungeon will become harder as well.

The gameplay phases are lurking, calamity, raiding and finally blowback. Lurking is downtime where the players will heal, craft items, improve the dungeon, etc. Calamity represents what happens when one of those activities goes awry and can vary from explosions in the dungeon to raiding by outside parties. Raiding is where players will sally forth from their lair to accomplish some task with a fair amount of risk to gain loot or an further their plans. Finally, blowback is determined by how successful the raid was and the surface faction’s reactions to it. Several examples are given throughout the book for each phase, which helps the GM.

The adventures occur within a small area (10-30 miles) called a sandbox. Players and gamemaster can create Wicked Ones Interior #3 (Bandit Camp)their own or use one of the 4 provided. The sandbox will be populated with different factions each with their own bent and goals. The sandbox factions will work toward their own goals and represent threats or opportunities for the players throughout the game.

The last main chapter includes gamemaster advice. It gives guidelines for how to run a game, interact with players, and make it a more enjoyable experience. That said, the book is chalked full of examples of play and ideas throughout the book. This chapter also provides a sample list of adventurers and mechanics on how to play these adversaries. It is a strong but brief chapter that focuses a new gamemaster on how to run their first few games.

Wicked ones is a strong first roleplaying game by Bandit Camp. They captured the feel of the 1990s Dungeon Keeper computer games in a roleplaying format. Its strengths lie in its flexibility, theme and encouraging narrative driven play style. It requires a flexible thinking gamemaster and players who are open to large amounts of uncertainty for die results. This is not a game that would be enjoyed by those who prefer a tight rule set with well defined effects. It is not a game intended to be taken seriously and where failures should be as enjoyable as the successes.

Review 0
9.5 TGG SCORE
0 VISITORS' SCORE (0 votes)
Summary
A Dungeon Keeperesque, dark, satirical roleplaying game where you play the ridiculous boss monsters found in classical fantasy dungeons.
REVIEW SCORE
What people say... Leave your rating
Sort by:

Be the first to leave a review.

User Avatar
Verified

Show more
{{ pageNumber+1 }}
Leave your rating

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button