Wendy’s New Tabletop RPG – Feast of Legends
In a surprise announcement that I’m pretty sure took everyone off guard, the fast-food chain Wendy’s released a full tabletop RPG as part of a joint promotion with Critical Role. Yes, I will give you a second to re-read that last sentence. Now, I recognized that this is a marketing strategy, and it says a lot about the growth of the tabletop community that we are even seen as a demographic to be marketed toward. I had a laughed when reading the announcement, and thought it was a cute idea, and sure to grab headlines, however, upon seeing tweets from the RPG community, and a Forbes article praising the game, well curiosity got the better of me. I downloaded the free PDF at Feastoflengends.com, and I was greeted with an image of Wendy clad in armor and holding a sword. This should be good, I thought. Figuring the marketing team put together a new class filled with fast-food puns, and some evil fry monster for Wendy to battle, it should be a fun little read. However, when I downloaded the PDF, my computer said 95 pages. Not believing my eyes, or considering this was the beginning of the computer uprising, I began to scroll through the PDF… and kept scrolling. Wendy’s had actually done it. This is an honest to god RPG system with 24 pages of rules, classes, equipment, and a 5 part adventure. Again, I am fully aware this is a marketing strategy, but Wendy’s did the work. With this realization, I immediately started to read. So, as crazy as this is to type, let us review Wendy’s: Feast of Legends – Rise from the Deep Freeze.
Queen Wendy “The Clapback Queen” has been the ruler of Freshtovia since 1969, and protects the realm from the treacherous evils of those who practice the dark art of frozen beef. – Intro to the Feast of Legends Player’s Guide
Rules and Setting
The setting of Feast of Legends takes place in the realm of Beef’s Keep in the nation of Freshtovia. If those puns made you sigh heavily… then strap in. But honestly, Wendy’s knows what this book is, and leans into the funny puns without going extremely overboard. Cheesy yes, but if you view this with the lighthearted nature in which it was intended, it’s a pretty fun read. From the Lake of John Silver to the United Clown Nation, you are an adventurer beset on a quest by Queen Wendy to save Freshtovia. First we need to take a peek at the rules and create our brave adventurer.
Looking over the rules, I was struck with one thought. This is a brilliant introduction to tabletop RPGs; especially for kids. Using a modified version of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition d20 system, and the advantage/disadvantage rules, (which we covered in an mechanics article this week!) Feast of Legends boils everything down to the basics while still keeping the core of the tabletop RPG. You can see this simplification in the core stats in which the game is built. Using Strength, Intelligence, Charm, Arcana, and Grace. To a new player, it may not be intuitive if a Wizard should put more points in Wisdom or Intelligence, but here it is pretty clear that Arcana will be used for all magic casting. Similarly, Charm cuts to the heart of what Charisma is at its core. I don’t know why they went with Grace as oppose to Dexterity? But, it does have a certain flavor to it, so I’ll give them that. Now, when rolling for these stats, you will use four d4 dice and total them up. This version of rolling for stats is called the “4 for $4” rule, and has to be the most clever play on words in the whole book. Obviously, using d4 lowers the numbers a bit, so the modifiers chart that veteran players are accustom is still present, but just shifted down a bit with 7-8 being the base of “0”. The reason for this numerical shift is twofold. The first being that the game only goes to level 5. Again, everyone knows this is a funny marketing strategy, and through the team at Wendy’s put a lot of work and care into this book, no one is expecting a full on campaign in the land of Freshtovia. The second goes back to the idea that this is a great starting point for young players. The math stays in the realm of 1-20 with modifiers ranging from -2 to may be a +5. All well within the grasp of pretty young kids. The only other rule that I would like to point out, because I may even steal it for my home games it’s that good, is the critical strike system: Feast Mode. When you roll a 20 on an attack, you enter Feast Mode, instantly doing maximum damage, plus you roll the normal damage dice, but this is additional damage. This removes the multiplication, again think of the children, but also makes the critical damage a little less swing-y. Nothing sucks more than rolling a crit and then following the excitement up with rolling a 1 on damage. In addition, when you are in Feast Mode, your next attack gains advantage. This opens up combat to the possibility of players chaining crits! We are not going to dive into all of the rules, but they all follow this idea of boiling the rules down for new players trying their first RPG with their friends over a frosty.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the Buff/Debuff mechanic. Now, this can obviously be ignored, but the game rewards you if you eat Wendy’s while playing. For example: Any Cheeseburger Item grants you an additional +1 Strength for the day. I don’t take this to seriously, and it’s more funny than anything else, but I would have left the last sentence out that reads “These Buffs Do Stack”. Full disclosure, I am a very health conscious person, and though there is nothing wrong with having a treat or fast-food on occlusion, it does make me a little sad that this may encourage kids to eat larger quantities of fast-food in order to gain a bonus in a game. Again, health and nutrition is a sensitive subject for me, and the inclusion of that last sentence flirts with a line that I am personally uneasy with. I am certain this is all meant in good fun, just keep this in mind if your child all of a sudden wants to order ten cheeseburgers to take down the big bad. (Though I admire his/her dedication to defeating evil)
Classes and Equipment
The classes are broken up into three main Orders: Order of the Chicken, Order of the Beef, and Order of the Sides. In this section in particular, you can tell the author is an RPG fan and just had a good time trying to make this little game as fun as possible. Once you pick your order, you have a choice of dedications, all of which are themed on the Wendy’s menu. For example: If you choose the Order of Chicken, then you must choose between the following:
- Order of the Spicy Chicken Sandwich
- Order of the Home-style Chicken Sandwich
- Order of the Grilled Chicken Sandwich
- Order of the Asiago Ranch Chicken Club
- Order of the Chicken Nuggets
With similar options for the Order of Beef and Sides, Feast of Legends has a total of 14 classes in which to choose from. So don’t let anyone tell you this is a joke game. It may be marketing, but there is some real value-menu-here (I had to, I’m sorry). As you would expect, each Order provides you with additional stats, items you are skilled with, and abilities ranging in level from 1-5. All thematic like the 4-piece Assault, which allows you to make four quick attacks for those of you that joined the Order of the Chicken Nuggets. Of course, what adventures would you be if you did not have equipment or magic items? The book includes a full section on weapons and armor, such as the Great Spoon and the Bag of Combo Carrying. The puns are thick, but I can’t imagine there is a D&D player alive that doesn’t crack a smile at the “Bag of Combo Carrying”. We got a setting, we got rules, we got a fully decked out warrior that belongs to the Order of the Double Stack wielding a Great Spoon. All we need now is an adventure!
The Adventure – Rise from the Deep Freeze
In addition to everything we already discussed, this book includes a 5 part adventure. It even includes maps for the realm, the nation of Freshtovia, and the capital city… you know, so you can visit the Snack-Smith. It’s a thing. I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but we are not going to spoil the Wendy’s RPG adventure. However, I will say that it’s beautifully designed from an adventure book standpoint. You go to a variety of locations like the French Fry Forest and battle monsters such as the Frysta. Honestly, if you have never run a pre-written adventure before, this is a good place to start. Covering 5 levels, there is a solid 3-4 sessions worth of material here. You could even take some of the dungeon layouts and use them for your home games; they are that high quality. Ending this section is a list of magical items that you encounter along your adventure and section called “Things that Might Attack” which includes 17 monster stat blocks. There was a significant amount of work put in here, and bravo to the team that put Feast of Legends together, because I have a feeling they went above and beyond what Wendy’s originally had in mind.
As silly as this may all sound, and as crazy as the words feel in my mouth. I recommend reading the Wendy’s RPG: Feast of Legend. It’s funny, and a lot of love went into making this little RPG game. More importantly, it’s the best introduction to tabletop RPGs I have ever seen. All the beginners boxes for a many different systems have failed to do what this game just did. Boil the tabletop RPG down to its core in order to make the game accessible to a younger audience. If you are a parent and wanted to teach your kids to play an RPG, put away your copy of Dungeons and Dragons, and check out the Feast of Legends.