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Ruins of Symbaroum blazes a trail for 5th Edition players to explore its cursed forests

The R in RPG stands for arboreal.

Dark Fantasy RPG Symbaroum plans to release a trio of books translating its popular setting into the 5th Edition rule set, angling the set at players familiar with tabletop roleplaying but new to its specific world.

Ruins of Symbaroum is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production and printing of three sourcebooks - a player’s guide, gamemaster’s guide and bestiary - for Free League Publishing’s RPG of fallen kingdoms and forgotten evils. Along with some new play options, it adapts virtually every system and mechanic in the 2016 game to 5th Edition’s standards, according to its Open Gaming Licence.

Groups play as members of the Ambrian civilisation attempting to reestablish a livelihood on the edges of the forest of Davokar. Driven from their homeland by all-encompassing war twenty years hence, the population has found itself pushed against a foe just as deadly but much harder to understand: the forest, itself. Davokar is full of secrets, ancient magic, and Elven protectors sworn to never let another living soul discover the power lost somewhere in Davokar’s depths. Despite it now occupying the same space as the ubiquitous dragon game, we placed Symbaroum on our list of best non-Dungeons & Dragons RPGs.

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The player’s guide functions just like the one for Dungeons & Dragons, delivering all the tools and tables a player will need to roll an Ambrian adventurer. New class options, feats and changes to certain gameplay rules bring the classic roster of choices in line with life at the edges of Davokar. New rules for dangerous traveling and dealing with the ever-present corruption that seeps in through the use of magic lean into the dark part of dark fantasy that is a trademark of Symbaroum. Further diversification of character origins reflect the varied society present in humanity’s new bastion.

Game Masters will want to pursue their specific guide to learn how to lead a game in Symbaroum’s strange world. Three cities - Thistle Hold, Yndaros and Karvosti - are explained in details as the major centers of commerce and society, but rules for creating homebrewed settings - along with multi-session chronicles can be found in this book. It also details how foundation rules from 5th Edition have made the transition to account for systems unique to Symbaroum’s original books.

Symbaroum dark fantasy tabletop RPG game

Like the Symbaroum Monster Codex it is derived from, the bestiary contains all the information a group will need to encounter and - hopefully - survive the denizens of the deep woods, including everything originally printed in the core rulebook. Stat blocks have of course been adapted, and the nearly 200 creatures will be recategorised for ease of reference by crafty game masters.

The Kickstarter campaign for Ruins of Symbaroum will run until May 6th, having cleared its original ask in less than half an hour and currently sitting at £236,195 ($326,731). A digital and physical edition are available to backers, costing $29/£21 and $40/£30, respectively. Shipping on the set is expected to begin in February 2022.

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Ruins of Symbaroum

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Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter


Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.