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‘Hearth fantasy’ RPG Stonetop brings adventurers home to protect a simple village

Dice rolls and doormats.

Image credit: penny lantern

Defend a home at the edge of the world in Stonetop, an upcoming RPG system of “hearth fantasy” based on Powered by the Apocalypse’s engine and run through with local lore, small dreams and earnest heroes.

Stonetop comes from the design team of Penny Lantern’s Jason Lutes and Jeremy Strandber, along with artist Lucie Arnoux. It started as a supplement for Dungeon World that would provide players a quiet setting for old heroes who retired to a small hamlet and have now taken up its defense. According to Lutes, the project expanded over the years until they decided to release Stonetop as its own standalone game.

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It still holds on to a fair bit of PbtA design DNA - characters have access both to a pool of shared Basic Moves and special abilities unique to each of the nine class choices, and sessions play out as narrative conversations between the players and the GM using those moves to determine the outcome of violence or conflict.

Character classes eschew common high-fantasy archetypes to instead focus on their role within a community where every individual carries out vital labour. The Lightbearer, for example, embodies someone who illuminates the path forward, warning of potential dangers but also sharing found knowledge. In comparison, the Heavy knows the importance of protecting folks in a world with threats often beyond mortal ken.

The village that has become home to the band of adventurers will flourish and change under their watchful eye, so Penny Lantern included special rules for tracking its stats and amenities. As events unfold through the seasons, the population and condition of the town may fluctuate, and its defences will need to be constantly maintained. Defence requires more than simply roaming the woods and bopping goblins on the head.

Lutes’ previous design work includes The Perilous Wilds, a supplement providing tools for roleplaying the spaces surrounding civilisation. That influence has been woven into Stonetop; the adventurers will sometimes be called to pick up their swords and bows and venture beyond the farm fences of the village to quell threats or discover vital resources. The sourcebook will detail magic items and contain a bestiary that the designers say is more of a guide - homebrew is highly encouraged, they say.

The Kickstarter campaign for Stonetop will run March 31st, and backers can grab a digital copy of the sourcebook and Wider World and Other Wonders guide for $25 (£18). Hardcover physical copies are available for $60 (£43), with shipping expected to begin in October of this year.

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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.