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Monster Hunter World board game maker to publish D&D alternative Tales of the Valiant’s starter set

New RPG rules, same ol’ fantasy.

Announcement artwork used by Kobold Press for its Project Black Flag tabletop RPG initiative
Image credit: William O’Brien

Tales of the Valiant has announced a starter set for its Dungeons & Dragons 5E alternative, which will be produced by British tabletop company Steamforged Games. Better known for their miniature-heavy board games and that one disastrous Dark Souls RPG, the partnership makes for a bit of an odd pairing.

Kobold Press’ efforts to step away from D&D in the wake of 2023’s OGL fiasco led to the creation of the Black Flag Roleplaying rules under Pathfinder maker Paizo’s third-party ORC License. Tales of the Valiant, announced in mid-2023 and funded via Kickstarter, makes some important changes to the classic D&D formula - namely making spellcasting “cooler” and relieving the planning burden on facilitators.

Steamforged and Kobold Press are staying mum on the details ahead of a full release in the coming months, but a starter set is a solid mood if you’re looking to pull new or less enfranchised D&D players away from the industry monolith. Tales of the Valiant’s rules are fully compatible with any existing 5E books and adventures, which not coincidentally describes most of Kobold Press’ existing catalogue.

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Tales of the Valiant’s intro set wants to “redefine the beginner’s experience and be a true gateway for new players,” according to a press release. Starter boxes are popular tabletop products for those intimidated by massive hardcover tomes full of rules and tables. Pregenerated character sheets, a forgiving opening adventure and other included tools often relieve the massive cognitive load put on players learning to play a new system - or even their first ever tabletop RPG.

"Our goal is to teach fundamental roleplaying skills in a way that feels intuitive and enjoyable for beginners," said Mat Hart, Steamforged Games’ co-founder and creative director. “We’re creating an incremental experience that will scaffold players through the levels until they’re competent, confident, and having an excellent time in the process. As long-time fans of Kobold, and particularly of the Black Flag system, we’re over the moon to be working with them on such an exciting release.”

One explanation might be that Kobold wants to take advantage of Steamforged’s established production connections and closer proximity to UK and European distribution networks. D&D dominates the Western (read: mostly US) market, and Kobold’s business model is built around physical and digital books.

“Kobold Press is extremely excited to team up with Steamforged Games on the upcoming Starter Set for Tales of the Valiant,” said Wolfgang Baur, founder and CEO of Kobold Press. “This set is the perfect opportunity for new players to take their first steps into the hobby in a way that is easily accessible and fun. The Kobold team have always been fans of the beautiful products Steamforged Games has released and can’t wait to see the Starter Set that will help players begin their roleplaying journey.”

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Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter

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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.
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