The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game is a pen-and-paper role-playing game based on The Wheel of Time series. The game consists of two publications by Wizards of the Coast, a core rulebook published in October 2001 and an expansion, The Prophecies of the Dragon, which followed in April 2002. Wizards of the Coast announced shortly after publication of the latter product that they would not be supporting the line with additional releases, and the RPG rights subsequently reverted to Robert Jordan.
The rulebook is a 317-page, large-format hardcover featuring new and original art throughout. The game is based on the D20 rules system used by the third edition of Dungeons and Dragons, also published by Wizards of the Coast, and follows a similar layout and format to the D&D core rulebooks. A key difference is that the term 'Dungeon Master' from D&D is not used, replaced by the more generic 'Gamemaster'.
The book was written by Charles Ryan, Steven Long, Christian Moore and Owen K.C. Stephens. Robert Jordan provided a foreward in which he revealed that he used to act as Dungeon Master for Dungeons and Dragons games played by his stepson Will and his friends.
Darrell K. Sweet, the artist for the novels, provided the cover artwork, and a large number of Wizards of the Coast artists provided additional illustrations throughout the book. Ellisa Mitchell, who provided cartographic services on the novels, provided several new maps for the rulebook.
Backgrounds and character classes
Since The Wheel of Time world does not feature a substantial number of non-human species, as in D&D, the game instead uses a "background" system, where people from different countries get different starting bonuses or equipment. The backgrounds given are: Aiel, Atha'an Miere, Borderlander, Cairhienin, Domani, Ebou Dari, Illianer, Midlander (a native of Andor, Ghealdan, Murandy, Amadicia or northern Altara), Tar Valoner, Taraboner and Tairen. Additional rules for players wishing to portray Ogier are also given.
The standard D&D character classes have been replaced by new ones: algai'd'siswai (Aiel spear-carrier), Armsman (soldier), Initiate (in the Aes Sedai or Asha'man), Noble, Wanderer, Wilder or Woodsman. It is also possible to multiclass (having different levels in different classes).
The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game also shares D&D 3rd Edition's use of prestige classes, which add additional abilities to the existing classes. The prestige classes used are: Aes Sedai, Asha'man, Blademaster, Commander (military officer), Gleeman, Thief-taker, Warder, Atha'an Miere Windfinder, Aiel Wise One and Wolfbrother.
Feats and skills
The use of Feats and Skills is similar to D&D 3rd Edition. However, specialist feats allowing use of the One Power also exist. There are also special 'Lost Ability' Feats which can be used to replicate abilities in the books, such as talking to wolves (like Perrin Aybara), viewing the future (like Min Farshaw), dreamwalking, foretelling and the ability to 'sniff' out fighting (like Hurin).
There is a chapter discussing equipment and weaponry, a further chapter discussing how to run and play Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game adventures, and notes on using characters from the series as non-player characters. There is also an extensive chapter discussing rules for the use of the One Power (including how to handle male channellers and the threat of madness).
Setting and background information
There is a lengthy section about the setting and history of The Wheel of Time, much of which comes from the novels and The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. However, there is information included which is unique to this product, including the exact circumstances under which countries such as the Borderlands, Cairhien, Illian, Tarabon and Tear were founded during the War of the Hundred Years.
The book features re-drawn, full-color and larger-scaled maps of the cities of Ebou Dar, Caemlyn, Cairhien and Tar Valon. Maps of these cities previously appeared in the novels. The maps of Tanchico and Far Madding from the books are not reprinted. Of greater interest are the never-before-seen maps of the capital cities of Tear and Illian. There is also another map of the main continent, similar to the one found in the hardcovers of the later novels.
There is an adventure called 'What Follows in Shadow', set during the events of The Eye of the World, which features the adventuring party running afoul of Padan Fain during the procession of Logain Ablar through the city. The adventure ends with the adventurers lost in the Ways, ready for the events of The Prophecies of the Dragon adventure book.
A web enhancement for the game, called More of The Wheel of Time!, was released on the Wizards of the Coast website at the same time the book was published. This short downloadable file contains a few new Feats and channelling abilities, information on new NPCs and background information on the countries of Ghealdan, Mayene and Murandy (including new information on their histories not found elsewhere).
Dragon Magazine article
Robert Jordan contributed an original article to the Christmas 2001 annual of Dragon Magazine. Entitled Beasts of the Wheel of Time, Jordan revealed new information about the "normal" animals of the Westlands. The following animals were described: black or brown bear, king bear, bladetusk (lanra), pecara, sand pig (gensa), wild pig, leopards, lions, ridgecat (western), ridgecat (maerid), sandcat (caisid), swamp cat, fox (including red fox, gray fox, snowfox, black fox, and black-tailed Fox), leaphorn (gaellae), longhorn (coema), shellback (gaoerant), soetam, sorda, constrictors, blacklance, mountain king, scarlet puffer, hooded adder, bloodsnake, king viper or sand viper, and two step.
The Prophecies of the Dragon
The Prophecies of the Dragon is the only expansion to The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game that was published. It is a 191-page large-format softcover book. It was written by Aaron Acevedo, Evan Jamieson, Michelle Lyons, James Maliszewski, Charles Ryan and Paul Sudlow for Wizards of the Coast. Again, cartography was handled by Ellisa Mitchell and a new cover was produced by Darrell K. Sweet. Robert Jordan is listed as creative consultant.
The concept behind the book is to provide a massive roleplaying campaign which runs alongside the storyline of the first six Wheel of Time novels. The campaign is broken into a series of five major episodes with a number of smaller 'mini-adventures' leading into the campaign or to serve as diversions between the main adventures.
The mini-adventures are designed to get the players from wherever they ended up at the end of the 'What Follows in Shadow' adventure in the RPG core rulebook to where the longer campaign begins, on Toman Head, or to serve as interludes in the main campaign. The first mini-adventure, 'Howls in the Night', sees the players investigating a series of wolf attacks on a remote village. 'Escort Duty' has them escorting a wealthy merchant to the Murandian capital of Lugard. In 'Hunters for the Horn' reports emerge that the Horn of Valere can be found in the Hills of Kintara and the PCs are drawn into the search for the artifact. 'The Watchtower' sees the PCs taking on a Draghkar which has set up a lair in a watchtower overlooking the road from Tarabon to Arad Doman. 'My Secret Friend', set after the Seanchan invasion, has the PCs investigating the disappearance of a young boy who is trying to nurse a lopar back to health, and getting involved with Shadowspawn sent to spy on the Seanchan advance. 'I Want to Stay Single' has the PCs hired by the son of the mayor of Ostin Falls, a town on the border between Toman Head and Almoth Plain, who is evading an arranged marriage by investigating reports of fighting on Toman Head. This adventure can also act as a springboard into the main campaign.
The main campaign
The main campaign consists of five sequential, serialised adventures.
- "Toman Head" has the adventurers employed by an Aes Sedai to investigate reports of unusual events taking place in the city of Falme. This adventure has the adventurers becoming involved in the climax of the novel The Great Hunt.
- "Winter of Discontent" takes the adventurers from Falme to Arad Doman (where they run afoul of Jaichim Carridin and the Black Ajah) and then to Saldaea where they have to free the false Dragon Mazrim Taim from the Red Ajah, which results in Taim owing them a favor. This adventure takes place during the events of The Dragon Reborn and The Shadow Rising.
- "The Two Rivers" features the adventurers pursuing the Black Ajah sisters south into the Two Rivers, where they become involved in the battle with the Trollocs and Children of the Light as detailed in The Shadow Rising. This is the first time the adventurers have to interact with major characters from the book, namely Loial and Verin Mathwin.
- "The Ancient City" continues the journey, with the adventurers pursuing the Black Ajah sisters into the wilds south of Emond's Field and eventually to the ruined Manetheren city of Jara'copan, where the Black Ajah hopes to find a ter'angreal of enormous power called the Artifice of Brassion, a device which bestows upon an Aes Sedai powers only capable of normally when linking. Thus a single sister using the Artifice can sever or gentle any male channeller by herself. This episode is designed so that the adventurers cannot stop the Black sisters securing the Artifice for use against Rand al'Thor.
- "Dumai's Wells" has the adventurers pursuing the Black Ajah sisters to Cairhien, then becoming involved in the kidnap of Rand al'Thor by the White Tower delegation (as depicted in the novel Lord of Chaos. According to the adventure, it is the players who alert Mazrim Taim and the Asha'man to the threat to Rand and Taim, repaying the favor he owes them from earlier, takes them with him to the Battle of Dumai's Wells. Whilst the rest of the battle is being fought, the adventurers confront and defeat the Black Ajah sisters and capture or destroy the Artifice of Brassion.
The campaign concludes at this point. Given that the players will have likely reached the attention of Rand himself by the end of the campaign, it falls to the gamemaster to decide what adventures follow through the remainder of the novels.
Prophecies of the Dragon features a number of new maps, including the towns of Aturo's Orchard and Tobin's Hollow on Toman Head (all created for this book), plus the city of Falme and a general map of the western coast of the continent, stretching from Tanchico to Bandar Eban. The town of Denhuir in Saldaea is also shown. The map of the Two Rivers from The Eye of the World is reprinted in fall color as well. Finally, there are maps showing the Battle of Emond's Field from The Shadow Rising and the Battle of Dumai's Wells from Lord of Chaos.
Summary of new information
The following is a summary of the new information presented in the book.
- Amadicia: The Whitecloaks took control of the kingdom in the 930s and 940s NE.
- Arafel: Founded by Lady Mahira Svetanya very early during the War of the Hundred Years
- Cairhien: Founded by Lord Matraine Colmcille very early during the war.
- Illian: Founded by Lord Nicoli Merseneos den Ballin towards the end of the war.
- Kandor: Founded by Lord Jarel Soukovni very early during the war.
- Saldaea: Founded by Lord Rylen t'Boriden Rashad very early during the war.
- Shienar: Founded by Lady Merean Tihomar very early during the war.
- Tarabon: Founded in FY 1006 by Queen Tazenia Nerenhald, Panarch Haren Maseed and Lord Boral Amadia.
- Tear: Founded in FY 994 by Lord Istaban Novares and Lady Yseidre Tirado.
The following is a summary of the new information presented in the web enhancement.
- Ghealdan: Founded in FY 1109 by King Kirin Almeyda, Lady Valera Prosnarin, Lord Cynric Talvaen and Lady Iona Ashmar.
- Mayene: Declared independence from Tear in FY 1004 after Tyrn sur Paendrag Mashera, grandson of Artur Hawkwing, declared himself in the city. Tyrn was named First Lord of the city and succeeded by his daughter Miselle in FY 1054.
- Murandy: Founded in FY 1047 by Lady Katrine do Catalan a'Coralle, who was killed a year later. Murandy averaged a new ruler every two years during the rest of the war and did not become more stable until around 200 NE.
Jordan on the RPG
In Robert Jordan's Blog, dated 4th Oct 2006, he had this to say on the RPG:
New Spring · The Eye of the World · The Great Hunt · The Dragon Reborn · The Shadow Rising · The Fires of Heaven · Lord of Chaos · A Crown of Swords · The Path of Daggers · Winter's Heart · Crossroads of Twilight · Knife of Dreams · The Gathering Storm · Towers of Midnight · A Memory of Light
The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time · The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game · Legends · The Strike at Shayol Ghul · New Spring comic · The Eye of the World comic · River of Souls · The Wheel of Time Companion
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