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The Well is a tabletop RPG about underground gravediggers from a former D&D developer

Crypt Keeper.

Uncover riches in abandoned underground crypts by playing The Well, an upcoming roleplaying game from an ex-developer for Dungeons & Dragons, Peter Schaefer.

The Well is a tabletop roleplaying game that sees players becoming a crew of gravediggers who pursue the dangerous profession of searching for wealth amongst the crypts of the dead. Located deep underground, these abandoned burial grounds may contain potential riches for players to collect, but they’re also home to scores of undead creatures and beings that protect their belongings from prying eyes and hands.

The crypts themselves are part of an enormous network of tunnels all connected by a seemingly bottomless shaft called The Well, which is ringed by a never-ending staircase that connects the surface to the world below. Scattered throughout this starway are a series of doors that all open to the passageways containing the remains of the dead, except for the gateway to Bastion - the city in which the gravediggers call home and the last haven from the terrors found in the world above.

The Well RPG artwork 2

Every few hundreds of years, those survivors move further down into The Well to find a new location for Bastion, filling the space left behind with the dead and creating yet another crypt for future generations to find. It’s these places that players will be exploring, with the threat of various skeletal monsters awaiting them - from crypt spiders to bonebats - but the lure of adventure and treasures driving them onwards.

Throughout the horror RPG, players will describe what they want their character to do, before rolling a d6 and attempting to meet or beat the difficulty rating set by the games master. At any point, players can choose to play a gambit - which gives the player additional dice to use on their roll, but results in something terrible happening if they ever roll a one.

Whenever combat takes place, or a particularly intense event occurs, players receive two dice on each turn, thereby enabling them to perform two actions - including reactive actions, such as defending against an incoming blow or dodging away from an attack. Should a player ever suffer an attack, then they take stress which can cause short-term effects - such as losing an item - or long-term consequences, such as an irreversible wound or emotional trauma.

Besides working on D&D, The Well creator Peter Schaefer has also helped to develop roleplaying games in the World of Darkness universe - including Werewolf: The Forsaken and Mage: The Awakening - and romantic fantasy RPG Blue Rose. Schaefer is the creator of Shoeless Pete Games, the publisher behind The Well.

The Kickstarter campaign for The Well is live until December 27th, with a pledge of $30 (£23) getting backers a copy of the physical book set to release in March 2021. Alternatively, backers can get a digital version of the RPG for $15 that arrives next February.

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About the Author
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Alex Meehan

Senior Staff Writer

After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.

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