Prowl (W.I.P.)

Prowl (W.I.P.)

Many years ago, as part of my Master of Arts degree, I created a tabletop role-playing game called Prowl. My goal was to create an experience for players that was exciting and addictive, without purely relying on action sequences and the foreshadowing thereof. As a result of a study into the connections and effects of accessibility and possibilities within tabletop role-playing games, I learned from other established games what to do and what not. I used this knowledge to create a game that was focused around exploration and team-play.

Prowl rulebook.

Prowl takes place in a world created by myself, in which anthropomorphic creatures live on top of the backs of gigantic walking islands, known as Gargans. They do so because all of the world’s surface has been taken over by an ever-growing vine cluster. Amongst the many different races, two alliances strive for power; it is a war between the Carrion Eaters and the Petalsons. The players will start of on a single Gargan – one of many, each with its own environments and climates – and will travel and explore different settlements and cultures. They will have to take provisions with them, choose places to camp out, hunt and gather food, and keep watch, as it is the players’ perilous journey that makes up most of this game.

Prowl Characters

Prowl uses five different dice to simulate any challenge that opposes the player’s actions. Blue Action-dice represent the chance of success (more dice rolled, means more chance of success). Green Skill-dice are added when the player is specialised in the action, increasing in the chance of success. Red Defiance-dice indicate the chance of failure or opposition. White Benefit-dice are added to show advantages that apply to the action. Black Detriment-dice indicate disadvantages that may occur.

The dice are collected and rolled for every action – the game master never rolls any dice in opposition. Each die has multiple icons, and these are compared against one-another; Success versus Failure and Advantage versus Hindrance. If there are more Successes than Failures, the actions succeeds. If there are more Advantages then Hindrances, the action gains a bonus. This way there are more than two outcomes; even when the action passes, the player might still gain a disadvantage, or even when the action fails, the player might receive some kind of benefit.

To indicate the physical well-being of the players, they use energy-cubes. These are used as action-points, and may be spend to take another actions. This can be done infinitely, though each new action costs one more energy than the last (cumulatively). This way, the player can perform wondrous feats in a single ‘turn’. However, if the player runs out of energy he falls unconscious. This also means that there is no health-system; when a character is hit he receives the wounded status, and if he is hit again he falls unconscious. This makes combat quick and impactful, having the player rely more on planning than on execution.

Another large part of this game is the travelling system, in which the players each choose a role to perform. These roles include the Leader, Pathfinder, Weather Watcher, Caretaker, and Journal Keeper. Each role has its own custom sheet. In short, the Leader keeps up morale, the Pathfinder draws the map, the Weather Watcher predicts and follows the weather, the Caretaker is in charge of food and water, and the Journal Keeper writes down what the group experiences.

I used cards, dice with icons, and simple sheets to make sure as little penmanship was needed as possible. In theory, besides the initial character creation, no pen is needed for the remainder of the game.

Prowl Gargan

I put a lot of effort into making the world seem authentic – not only because it was my first world-building project of this size, but also because everything about this game had to relate to the study I did into accessibility and possibilities within tabletop role-playing games, which meant that a tiered world to explore had to be included. The history of Choar (the world of Prowl) is expressed in cycles, each of which ending and starting in some world-changing event. There are gods on Choar, though most are falls idols, or forgotten legends. Wildlife is describes, as well as the large diversity of races and the different types of Gargans. Also included is a unique and complete fantasy language known as Elder Tongue. There is even a chapter with 200 things to do on Choar to inspire the players to dive deeper into this world.


Awesome art by Isabella Koelman.