I recently ordered a couple of books at my FLGS and got a copy of The Magical Land of Yeld. I supported the Kickstarter but the delivery costs to Europe were too expensive for me, so I just backed for the PDF-Level. Now I have my book in front of me and would like to introduce it to you.
Yeld is set in the world of the same name and comes from the creators of the webcomic Modest Medusa, where a little Medusa from Yeld landed in our world. The game works the other way around, a number of children enter Yeld through a door (completely in the style of The Chronicles of Narnia). This door closes relatively early and the children are trapped in Yeld. Time is ticking, because every child turns into a monster on their thirteenth birthday and can’t go back home. The world is full of magic, but also full of dangers, because a dark vampire prince rules it. The children take on the role of heroes and try to find the seven keys so that they can open the door again, which, however, are kept by seven loyal servants of the prince.
At the beginning, the friends, as the PCs are called in Yeld, end up as normal children in Yeld. The friends have four attributes (Strong, Brave, Tough and Smart) and a certain type (e.g. the liar, the princess or the big sister). In addition to the core dice (the attributes), there is also special dice, which are rolled in certain situations. The liar starts, for example, with a special Die “Lie” and can use it when he is not telling the truth. There is a whole range of Special Dice with many different effects and possibilities.
When a friend wants to do something, he rolls the Core Dice and (if appropriate) Special Dice. The game master then also takes dice (depending on the challenge or NPC) and rolls against them. Simple D6 are used and everyone adds up the result. Whoever has the higher roll wins the test. It is interesting that the players tell how something turned out, even if it failed. This dice principle is used everywhere, also in combat, for magic, etc.
The fight takes place on the action board, for which you can also use a chessboard. Whoever yells “first” attacks first (no joke) and when it was your turn, then you decide who is next to move. The more friends who are successful in a row, the more bonuses they get. If someone fails or puts his action on the bench (in order to use it later), he breaks the chain. The other side can also try to get the initiative. Everyone has a move action and a fight action. Attacks are made against a defense roll. If this is unsuccessful the opponent loses a core die. If he runs out of these, then he is dead. Friends who go to the ground continue to haunt the board as ghosts and can carry out ghost actions (such as looking for loot, haunt opponents, etc.). They can be brought back to life in the next inn or with the right magic, just like in a video game.
But that’s not all, because very early on, the friends get a heroic job (basically a class). These jobs give them more core dice, special dice and their job skills. The jobs are very interesting and are reminiscent of video games, such as the black magician and the white magician or the Soul Thief. Later the friends can also take on legendary jobs, for which they have to complete a quest beforehand. Whoever reaches the thirteenth year gets access to the monster jobs, such as the werewolf or the Deep Mage with a gigantic squid on his head. When it comes to character development, Yeld reminds me a little of Shadow of the Demon Lord, where you gradually get more and have to do more for it.
Generally, the friends do grow over the adventure. The players decide for themselves how challenging or dangerous an adventure should be. In addition, there is the maximum amount of die for challenge dice. At the end of the adventure there are the reward dice, rolls on the loot tables, etc., which are shared among the friends, so there is not always everything for everyone. This also motivates the friends to approach tasks that are more dangerous.
Depending on the level of danger, the game master gets many things at hand. For example, how strong the monsters can be and on which tables the players can roll the dice as a reward. The GM part is pretty darn good in my eyes. There are construction kits for everything (e.g. to build equipment or monsters). To this date, the way of building monsters in Yeld is the best I’ve seen in a long time.
The goal of the game (yes, it has a goal) is to get the seven keys. To do this, you explore Yeld and receive an empty map made of squares. Only the magic door is drawn. Gradually the map fills up with places that you have discovered and played on, similar to a hexcrawl. However, the game doesn’t leave you alone, because it gives you a lot of help, especially with the guardians of the keys.
It is also important to say that the game master also builds a friend, because the game master should change after every adventure. I do not know if I would do it this way because everyone needs the book (or PDF).
You can find a character sheet for Yeld on Roll20 and even without it it’s really easy to play online. The mechanics are pretty simple and you just need the action board, the world map and tokens. All my previous sessions of Yeld were online and went really smooth.
The book is in English and has an incredible number of illustrations (which is why the book came out much later). The images are all very cute and friendly, although the game is a bit dark in parts. In any case, you get a very good impression of the world. Everything is very legible and understandable, and the arrangement and order make sense. The printed book is softcover and I have the impression that the color of the pictures do not do one hundred percent justice to the pictures in the PDF.
Who might be interested in Yeld:
- GMs and players who want to play something in the style of Zelda and the like
- People who want to have a simple ruleset with increasing complexity
- Players who want to play as children
Who might not be interested in Yeld:
- GMs and players who like extensive rules and mechanics
- People who cannot do anything with a childish fantasy game
- Players who don’t want to switch between the role of player and GM