Wayfarer's League

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More RP? Simpler Combat? Maybe step away from D&D?

There’s a whole world of TTRPGs out there….

In the circles I run in, more often than not players prefer roleplay to combat. Most of these players have only played D&D. I was once in that position too.

D&D combat has a tendancy to drag in how it was designed, and if you’re DM isn’t keen on description during fights, if dialogue isn’t sprinkled in, if your character is a one-trick-pony when it comes to fights (I hit it again!), it can get really dull. And I get it! If you enjoy tactics and combat mechanics, then this doesn’t really apply to you. If you’re set on D&D 5e, then the only thing I can really recommend is to try to be more creative with your choices in combat. Use the environment, help other players, try something more tactical, attempt diplomacy or capture the enemy….

But I would really encourage you, the one who loves RP, to also try some other systems. We’ve talked about this in previous blog posts, but I don’t think we can talk about it enough!

Scum an Villany

My first real experience of another system’s combat mechanics was when we started a SciFi campaign using Scum and Villany. It’s an offshoot of the Blades in the Dark system, designed for heists. That said, we didn’t really use it for heists, but when we moved into combat, it was much more cinematic. We took turns, as directed by the GM, but it was much quicker, with broad strokes. You described what you wanted to achieve, spent “stress” to push yourself (giving yourself an extra die to roll) or use special abilities included in your character’s playbook, and then rolled! It’s a dicepool system, and you simply read the highest number rolled (two 6s being a critical success). There’s also a limited pool of dice called “Gambits” that anyone can use to add one additional die to your roll. Pushing yourself, taking stress, etc all adds to the narative. Other players can even jump in and take stress themselves to Help, giving that player another die, increasing their chances of a success. Instead of taking an hour for simple combat, instead we spent 15 minutes on an epic scene.


Everything about FATE is narratively driven. Your character sheet is built around traits called “Aspects” which are also used as game mechanics. During the fight, more aspects are made, describing the scene, and you can use those Situational Aspects to add +2 to your rolls. FATE is a system that actively encourages players to think about the environment, other characters, and what’s happening narritively. It is a bit tricky to wrap your head around it if you’re coming from D&D, because it is vastly different. But it’s a worthwhile endevour.

Any of those 1-Page TTRPGs

1-page RPGs tend to be very simple and rules-light. They don’t usually go a great deal into how to do combat, IF combat is even part of the game! Your characters usually only have a few things going on with them and so they HEAVILY rely on player and GM creativity and story telling.

Blades in the Dark, Dread, Psychosis, Thirsty Sword Lesibians, Monsterhearts, Honey Heist… there are many TTRPGs that lean into narritive, combat-light games. I ask that you don’t let something new scare you. There’s a whole world of games out there to try, and we (Wayfarer’s League) are happy to help you learn them!

Please let us know of any combat-light games that you enjoy in the comments! Are there any games that you’re interested in playing but can’t find other people to play them with? Come play with us!

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