Popular fantasy novel series The Stormlight Archive will be translated into a tabletop RPG courtesy of the design team behind Call to Adventure and Unearth and tentatively scheduled for a 2024 release.
Author Brandon Sanderson announced the plans alongside Brotherwise Games’ Johnny O’Neal and Sanderon’s art director Isaac Stewart during a September 20th livestream on YouTube. While there was plenty of discussion surrounding the line of miniatures Brotherwise is already producing, details on this new project were comparatively slim.
O’neal posed the announcement as a question before throwing to a short teaser video: “Are you working on a game that could incorporate these [miniatures]? The answer to that is yes.” The video itself is little more than digital models of Brotherwise’s miniatures with some dice clacking down onto the table next to them, along with an ostensibly codenamed title - Stormlight Role Playing Game.
This announcement will likely not surprise anyone who has been paying attention to the tabletop industry over the last two years. Fantasy licences have been turning to TRPGs as a way to franchise their fictional worlds - especially fantasy ones - and satisfy an oddly widespread fanbase demand. Sanderson explicitly noted that his readers “really want a pen & paper Stormlight RPG” (something Alex Meehan agrees with), but the author has decided not to return to Crafty Games, who published the Mistborn RPG based off another book series set in his encompassing and interconnected Cosmere universe.
O’Neal mentions that Call to Adventure’s Stormlight Archive version already uses a widely familiar array of character stats found in Dungeons & Dragons 5E and other D20 games (though everyone in the video carefully avoided mentioning D&D or Wizards of the Coast). Instead, he and Sanderson claim the team still has not decided whether to develop a bespoke mechanical engine or adopt one of the popular systems that already exists.
“We’ve been in discussion with some big names and also some great new voices in the RPG space,” O’Neal said. Striking a balance between customisation that will fit Sanderson’s unique and rules-bounded magic systems, and the familiarity of an extant RPG system - not to mention the purchasing power of its playerbase - remains “at the heart of discussions” among the design team.
Like the miniatures series, which includes some of the most comprehensive official renditions of protagonists produced to date, artwork will play a big role in the resulting book(s) - hence Stewart’s inclusion on the livestream. His inclusion on the project will likely provide more peeks into the landscapes and cultures of Roshar through illustrations, something fans gobble up like free candy.
It’s difficult not to take this news with some hesitation. This will be the first tabletop RPG project for Brotherwise, who has previously cleaved largely to board games and more bounded experiences. The closest and most direct peer is Steamforged Game’s Dark Souls RPG, and the disappointing launch of that licensed book does them no favour in comparison. Dicebreaker has reached out for more information about the design team and their direction but did not hear back before publication
Expect Brotherwise and Sanderson’s publishing company Dragonsteel to bring the project to Kickstarter sometime in 2023, as O’Neal mentions crowdfunding during the stream. The fifth book in the Stormlight Archive was previously delayed until 2024, so a paired launch is not out of the question.