‘Tales Of Xadia’ launches today, bringing ‘The Dragon Prince’ to your table
The Dragon Prince is one of my favorite Netflix Originals. The animated fantasy series brings gorgeous animation, thrilling storytelling, and epic fantasy world-building into one of the most charming and adventurous shows around. He also has a really, really adorable baby dragon.
It’s exactly the kind of show you’d want to get lost in via games, and luckily for the fans, there’s not just a video game in the works at Wonderstorm (the studio behind the show and the game), there’s There’s also a brand new tabletop RPG that just went live today.
Tales of Xadia is built on the Cortex Modular Game System, which places a heavy emphasis on storytelling and story-driven game mechanics rather than just stomping things to death. That’s not to say you won’t be fighting in the game, but the focus is much more on the story.
I had a chance to review the rules of the game and see some of them in action, and am starting my own campaign now that the full version is finally out and will be back with a full review later. So far, from what I’ve seen, I’m impressed with the rules and how the game works.
I’m a sucker for narrative games with light rule systems. Some of my favorite games include dungeon world and burning wheel, both of which emphasize story progression rather than min/maxing your characters.
(burning wheel isn’t lightweight, mind you, but it can certainly be played with just the basics in mind).
How Tales Of Xadia Works
The Cortex system is quite interesting. How it applies to Tales of Xadia is sleek and easy to grasp, though there’s plenty of depth to keep things interesting.
Basically, each trait and piece of gear and special ability is assigned a die from d4 to d12 (there are four-sided dice, six-sided dice, eight-sided dice, ten-sided dice, and twelve-sided dice in play but no d20.)
Higher is better (for the most part), so if you have a d10 for your Agility stat, that’s much better than a d4. Rolls are usually against an Ob (or Obstacle) number, and the higher the number, the more difficult the task. Rolling bigger dice gives you a better chance of success. I won’t go into details, but basically you form dice pools by selecting the applicable attribute (like agility and strength and intellect), value (like devotion or justice) and various other characteristics, skills or equipment, then roll all the dice you come up with to get your result.
For example, your character – let’s say she’s some kind of human fighter – might be trying to kick down a door to save some townspeople from a fire. She will use her Strength die (d6) plus Devotion (d10) and Ax (d8) to break down the door, rolling all three dice and adding up the totals. Rollovers allow the Narrator (the DM basically) to make your life a little harder.
The DM, on the other hand, determines the level of challenge and rolls the appropriate dice to find the Ob. If you roll higher than the Ob, you win, though any (or snags) you roll will open the door to some sort of narrative twist or penalty.
A great digital toolbox
The great thing about Tales of Xadia, is that Fandom has not only assembled an excellent RPG book, but also the entire system included in a very elegant and very functional digital toolbox format. You can create your character and run the entire game through your PC or tablet, choosing the traits and perks you’ll use and rolling the dice right on the screen. If you played D&D Beyond (made by the same company, but not the same team), you will know how useful it is, both in person and online.
Beyond the game mechanics, there’s a ton of artwork, world-building, backstory and lore and more to dig into. Tales of Xadia. fans of The Dragon Prince who aren’t even interested in roleplaying should check it out simply because there’s so much to delve into. And who knows? It’s a great system for newcomers to tabletop RPGs. You might just have fun!
Tales of Xadia was crafted by a team led by veteran tabletop game designer Cam Banks who also wrote the main manual for Cortex Prime. Wonderstorm and Fandom have teamed up in a really cool and collaborative way to bring The Dragon Prince to life, and now players can make these stories their own. I’m excited to start playing myself. Look for my review of the game in the not too distant future here on this blog.
Check Tales of Xadia website here.
Also, here is my conversation with the creators of The Dragon Prince and the fourth season and the upcoming video game here.
You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook and support my work on Patreon. If you wish, you can also subscribe to my diabolical newsletter on Substack and subscribe to my YouTube channel.