12 April 2013

Flipping through FolkLore

F'olkLore appeared on my radar late last week and since it bills itself as a simple fantasy RPG with only a $1 price tag I knew that I would have to take a look.

What Is It?

FolkLore is an ultralight fantasy RPG from Seth Zaloudek. It weighs in at four half pages in total. I say half pages because the author's intent is for the game to be folded into brochures and handed to each player at the table. The game features a whimsical black and white art style which is sadly limited to only the cover panel. Still, the graceful cover design carries over into the rest of the product and places it a cut above most other ultralight RPGs.

How Does It Work?

Simplicity shines in FolkLore with an easy to use dice pool mechanic acting as the backbone of the game. Players designate points into the governing attributes Body, Mind and Social and these make up the basis of every character. Whenever a conflict/challenge/test/check occurs players roll a number of d6 equal to the relevant attribute, add additional dice for player-defined character traits and equipment and then count successes. It all reminds me of Marvel Heroic Role Playing, albeit on a much smaller scale.

There are a few other neat mechanics crammed into this little game and the one I found most interesting was the gamble feature. Instead of fumbles working the way we all know and love, in FolkLore anytime a player fails a check they have the option of gambling. If they lose the gamble roll they suffer a fumble, but if they win they succeed at a challenge they would have otherwise failed. Each time a player wins a gamble subsequent gambles become more difficult. I can't say I have ever seen fumbles handled like this before and I think it is nice, elegant take.

FolkLore also makes use of a simple relationship mechanic that ties player characters together. It isn't nearly as robust as Fate's starring aspects or Apocalypse World's Hx, but they get the job done.

Final Thoughts

FolkLore may just become my favourite ultralight RPG. I don't often use ultralight RPG systems, being content with merely light games such as Dungeon World or Technoir; however, FolkLore is a nice little package. It is attractive and easy to hand out to players. I could see myself using it with RPG beginners or at conventions. If you are in the market for a very light RPG then you could do far worse than FolkLore. Other ultralight games might be free, but FolkLore's layout alone is worth shelling out a dollar for.

FolkLore is available from DriveThruRPG for $1 and it already has an equally light adventure to go with it.


  1. This is my absolute favorite review of Folklore (don't tell the other reviewers that I said that). I'm glad you enjoy the game!




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