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Wandering Souls is a sword-and-sorcery tabletop RPG of enveloping shadows, dangerous and fast combat, and an impending doom in The Shrouded Realm.


Inside Wandering Souls you will find a game designed for solo or cooperative play, with options to add a GM/guide to the mix. Each player will take on the role of a Wanderer, a traveler of sorts, from all walks of life.  From there, you can start exploring the area known as The Shrouded Realm. This is a large region of a greater world that has slowly been encroached by a thick grey fog, bringing with it beasts, corruption,  and beings of evil servitude. 

Players will use this zine, a deck of standard playing cards, and a couple of 6-sided dice (d6) to explore, quest, and combat the shadows of the world as they are revealed. World status, character progress, and all other important details are tracked on the character sheet and can easily be stored between sessions. 

Wandering Souls' core rules and conception come from my previous title, Wandering Dreams, which focused on eldritch horrors and a dream world, and borrowed heavily from the Soulsborne series, specifically Bloodborne. This time around I am focusing on the fantasy tropes of light-vs-dark, a looming shadow, and travelling heroics in a time of peril. Think of Lord of the RingsRangers of Shadowdeep, or Dragon Age: Origins.


Before setting out into the world, you can choose to take on a quest from a local in your starting location. Quest's can be multiple levels of length, offering a reward upon completion and reputation. You will collect Lore/Tracks from each location you visit in wild, all while encountering other beings and dealing with events. Once you reach enough Lore/Tracks for the quest, you can return to the starting location and collect some well earned downtime for your character, and allow for reflection on the story you've just created.

Traveling is handled by drawing and revealing cards from the deck for events and locations. There are no hex grids, maps, or other cartography upkeep required in Wandering Souls.

You can choose how your character will spend their time in the world: working to fight the Shadow, aiding others in the world with their problems, or traveling into the unknown with a fellow companion or two. Wandering Souls isn't a race against time, it is a look at the time you have left to spend in the world and the good you can do with it.


Moving from location to location is how Lore/Tracks are found and each step forward will reveal a new discovery. Exploration will provide events between locations, testing your character's abilities to overcome challenges in the world. These could be: moving through an extreme weather event, surviving a landslide, navigating a toxic miasma, or traversing badly damaged bridges.

Once you make it through the test, a destination will be revealed. These are separated into locations in the wild and locations that are populated. Wild locations have the potential to be dangerous, and leave you open to attack, while populated regions offer respite and time to seek help from companions.

Each companion will provide a bonus to stats, abilities, and opportunities to do more with your time on the road. Some companions are temporary, and must move on after a quest is completed, with others sticking with you until the end, or when you choose to disband the party.


Combat is tense in the world of Wandering Souls. Using 2d6, the player rolls and adds their relevant stats for the attack to the die result. They then compare the result to the enemy DS (difficulty score), trying to beat that number. Going above the number deals damage, below means you take damage. Players will engage in melee, at range, or even wield magic against their foes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Players can choose to avoid combat, try to get in the first attack, or even be ambushed by enemies. If you are unable to topple a combat, the player can choose to attempt a retreat and live to fight another day.

If a player is defeated in combat, they must roll for a new Wound on their character. Wounds serve as reminders of you past and act as you overall ability to keep moving forward. After a set number of wounds the player is considered defeated, permanently, and must be retired.

The Shadow looms over every Wanderer, slowly eating away at their resolve. Eventually you will reveal a wild/Joker from the deck of cards. When that happens, the Shadow level of your character is increased by 1. When the amount of shadow reaches the maximum for your character, they are consumed and lost to the forces of evil.

There are ways to combat the sneaking shadow during gameplay. Quest rewards, events, and beings you meet in the world have opportunities to decrease your level and keep you adventuring for longer. There are even rare items in the world that can be used to soothe your soul and cleanse the shadow.

When a character is consumed by shadow, they are immediately retired and will leave a corrupted legacy on the world. This legacy could be: an item that causes it's wielder to miss on a specific die roll, a location housing more enemies that are stronger, or the character now being a possible encounter in the world and spreading shadow where they travel. The choice will be yours to make from a list of options.

Wandering Souls provides simple rules for character creation with jumping into a game is as easy as having a character ready or creating a new one, which takes only a few minutes!

At it's heart, Wandering Souls is designed as a pen and paper RPG experience for you. You can play on your terms, creating a story unique to your time with it. Play it between diversions of your everyday, or use it as a meditative practice. You can even use Wandering Souls as a writing tool or world building exercise!

Wandering Souls will be easily 'hackable' from the start. Templates for creating new characters, locations, events, encounters, and beings will be ready to go. Players may even find adding more rules to be to their liking, and Wandering Souls welcomes it!

Interested in Wandering Souls but not the price? A permanent 50% off coupon is available for those who need it: https://sleepysasquatch.itch.io/pebx98s7rw

Wandering Souls © 2023 by Sleepy Sasquatch Games is licensed under CC BY 4.0 Created and Published By Sleepy Sasquatch Games

Purchase

Buy Now$9.99 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $9.99 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Wandering Souls - 1.2.zip 75 MB

Download demo

Download
Wandering Souls - Character Sheet.pdf 412 kB
Download
Wandering Souls - FAQ 1.0.pdf 67 kB

Development log

Comments

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(2 edits) (+1)

Excellent game.  The charts are really helpful in prompting a narrative and descriptions for world building. Three questions: 1) looking at the Things charts, what is SH (for example the halfling pipe herbs)?  2) if a ranged weapon increases your CS do you still use that increase when fighting in melee?  3) Do items that increase resources increase the current amount or the maximum (for example the rain caller horn (+1 S)? Thanks!

1 - SH is Shadow. Using the halfling pipe herbs reduces your Shadow level by the given amount. Relaxation... and such! 🌿

2 - Ranged weapons only give bonuses when doing ranged attacks. Same goes for melee weapons.

3 - Items that increase Spirit, Fate, Hit Points, or Wounds would both increase the character's maximum and provide a bonus to you current amount as soon as you equip them. Also; if your character unequips an item that provides a max bonus and your current resource for the stat is above your new max, you would adjust your current to be your new max.

Great game, really enjoying it! I have one question though, how does magic combat work? I assume the intention is to first roll against the spell DS to see if the spell activates, then to roll your magic stat against the enemy CS to see if the spell actually hits, like melee or ranged combat? If it doesn't work this way then there is no danger to you in casting in combat? Is that right?

Great question! Magic is just a TN using 2d6 and your Magic stat. You roll to meet or beat it, and if you do then the spell activates. If you don't meet or beat the TN, the spell fizzles (nothing happens). Magic uses the same Combat rules as Ranged, which are both found on page 31. There is danger to using spells and missing just like ranged attacks.

Let me know if you need further clarification.
 

Thanks for the speedy response! This is how I was playing it, so all good. One other question though, you say to play it the same as ranged combat. Does that mean that activated spells still hit on a tie, but you cannot cast another in the same combat?

Spells will hit on a tie and you can keep casting throughout the combat. Magic uses the same Ranged rules, you risk giving a free attack to the enemy on a miss in addition to their regular turn. This helps to balance ranged attacks and magic attacks as they can be deadly.

Hope that helps!

Brilliant, thank you!

Hi. I just got the game and it says May 2023 V1.0. I notice in this thread you mention a version 4.1. Is my file up to date? Thanks.

The version you have is the most up-to-date. Version 0.4.1 was in reference to my in-progress work on the project and can safely be ignored. Sorry for the confusion!

(10 edits)

After taking a wound, does HP goes back to starting value according to background or does it reset to half value?

How is this determined? I couldn't find an answer in the manual.

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After completing the first quest, I decided to retire my character early. His only companion, Durwood a human pathfinder, died in battle against four mercenaries near a human outpost. Thassian (PC) left his most valued sword with a blacksmith so that he could pass it on to a future adventurer worthy of its power. Its name was, "Pathfinder wrath".  XP

I enjoyed my time playing it. The mechanics are simple enough once you get the loop down. However the actual manual needs some polishing to correct typos and maybe make it a little easier to read (maybe add a glossary to find terms quickly?).

Good game overall.

Good catch! HP would return to the full value as you are considered to have found a place to recover. This isn't stated in the rules.

Appreciate you taking the time to provide a quick story. I will take into consideration the glossary for future projects.

(5 edits)

Reporting some typos/mistakes:

1-Typo on page 19. Line reads "Shuffle the deck and draw a new card is a Joker/Wild is revealed for the Quest" It should say "... a new card IF..."

2- Also page 21: " Shuffle the deck and draw a new card is (IF) a Joker/Wild is revealed for the Epilogue."
3- Spell tables use "Fight/reflex" instead of Combat Skill.

4- Things tables (armors) refer to -1R. Not sure what that is!?

Appreciate the feedback!

Fight (F) and Reflex (R) are combined into Combat Skill now, for simplicity sake, but I missed some reference to the old system.. For the -1R on the armors, apply -1CS instead.

(1 edit) (+1)

Thanks

I saw this on Dungeon Dive and immediately thought this to be up my alley! Both to play, and for research as a budding game designer myself!

Finances are rather tight at present though. Any chance for Community Copies in the near future?

I'll add some more after the itch Summer Sale. Should be a fair amount added to the pool by that time.

Solid! I'll keep my eyes open! Thank you!

I've added some more community copies as of today. Enjoy!

Question: The words Fight and Reflex are mentioned a few times, but I cannot find where they are defined. Is that something from a previous version?

Hi Marc,

Correct! I likely missed some of those in revision. Fight and Reflex as now part of Combat Skill. I made the cut to the total stats a while back, consolidating things.

perfect! Thanks!

(+1)

Purchased and read through. Very nice! My first thought was this would work great with a Grail Quest storyline... can't wait to try the game out! Great job!

(+1)

Just grabbed myself a printed copy of drivethrurpg - looking forward to reading and playing the final product!

(+2)

Sorry this has been a long time coming.  I'm fighting a stubborn infection.  Some things I picked up from 5.1:-

P.15  "If 1 Companion: Lose the only" an incomplete sentence even tho' its obvious.

P.23 "Events are things that obstacles or by-chances that happen to you between locations" .  I believe swapping out the first "that" with "like" makes the sentence scan properly.

P.24 "If you have enough lore/tracks to complete you quest".  Clearly swap "you" for "your".

P.25 "The result will provide you how hard it is to get through the current challenge facing you." Just insert a missing "with" between "you" and "how".

P.33 "For a free attacks".  Should be "For a free attack"

As for game play I think sydbarrettlives had it right, broadly speaking.  I see you have made changes in this direction.  I'd say its looking good!

Thanks for the feedback and I hope you are feeling better.

I strongly prefer version 3 over 4 and will continue to play that. I like the shadow events and combat rewards, but... Fatigue and camping bog down the game big time. I would suggest a mandatory camping event once per quest to overcome general fatigue.  Rolling for Journey length seems unnecessary. The folk/races lost some individuality by getting only a single bonus, with Halflings being obviously superior. The companions got a little confusing.. The game is now much harder but starting Spirit and bonuses are greatly reduced so it feels unbalanced. My first game I immediately lost my event, then got "killed" at the location, then got killed again at my next event. The dice mitigation of previous versions, using Spirit and Fate, seem gone. I thought those were clever. The game was a not so difficult almost relaxing journey before, with a good level of simplicity. The only real anxiety came from fear of drawing a shadow card. I've been enjoying this game a lot since you first posted it. Thank you.

Thank you for the strong feedback! 

I agree with you on multiple points. The new systems do feel un-baked, and not up to what I want them to be, and each will be changed or removed by the end of development. The nerfing of starting stats can be seen as a lot, so I will be revisiting this in the next version. I'm also not happy with the potential to lose, like you did in your example, from the gate. The intention was not to create events like that.

Fate and the old Spirit will be returning. I am currently revamping Fate to be recoverable by completing difficult tasks successfully. Spirit will be changing to a resource pool stat, and not used for tests. I'm playing with the idea of combining Fight and Reflex into Combat Skill, and removing Magic in place of natural abilities for the folk type you are. This would remove stat tracking and give more freedom of character storytelling for players through the use of unique abilities developed over gameplay.

Journey length is undergoing some changes right now, and all the rules concerning journeys need a couple more passes. My goal was to design a system that felt fun to 'take some time off' but honestly turned into more table reading and unnecessary page flipping.

I've got lots more coming, including the clarification on rules systems that are very much needed in a few places.

- Cody

(+1)

Pretty awesome concept. Boils down solo adventuring into one bite-sized package. Can easily see how it can be modified. Already have a Mandalorian style sci-fi epic in my head.  

(+1)

Glad you are enjoying it! My goal was really to do just as you stated; boil down a solo adventure for easy pick up and play.

I'll have a template, after release of the finished game, for people to create their own adventures with. The aim will easy modifiable rules, so you could throw together a sci-fi fantasy game, including space travel!

(2 edits) (+1)

Did my first session with Version 3 last night. Really enjoying it. I had a few questions so I came here to ask/check the comments and I see you've released a new update. :)    Guess I need to do another session now. Excellent.

Edit:  Did a quick read of v4.1. Couple of notes:

Page 10 - Last sentence missing text

Page 23 - Challenges - missing text

I'm liking the addition of the Fatigue and Camping. Can't wait to try out this version. 

Page 10 - Should read "...can be increased in value from items, quest bonuses, etc."

Page 23 - Looks all messed up there. Should read "You will then resolve the new card following the same rules for Events."

Happy to hear you are enjoying V3. Hope V4 is just as fun for you!

(+1)

At page 23 there is more missing text in the previous phrase too.

(+1)

You can safely ignore that sentence as it is no longer valid and should have been removed!

(+1)

Review posted to the Dungeon Dive

Really awesome! I appreciate the feedback from the video and am super happy to hear you are enjoying the game in it's wild current state. Your short story with the wizard was really fun and everything I had hoped would be possible using these rules. Crazy that you encountered the worst enemy possible, the Shadowed Rider! You actually could have taken it down a few HP with your mercenary companion!

On the topic of the Spirit stat - you always start with available HP and Spirit equal to the max value in the stat for your character. So, for your character in the video it would be 5 Spirit and 6 HP. The max slot on the character sheet is to track the limit for your character as you can recover Spirit and HP on your adventure with things/items. I've made a note to clear that rule up for future versions. 

I've shared your video on my Twitter in the hope to bring more viewers to the Dungeon Dive channel that would enjoy the bountiful backlog of amazing content as much as I have!

All the best,

- Cody

(+1)

I think the rules concerning injuries are missing. Page 22 states that when reaching 0 HP we should proceed to the rules concerning injuries, but I don't see those.

(+1)

You're correct. I completely missed that part of the rules! 

I'll include this in an update today as it is an important piece for everyone to have.

Don't know if you'll see this in time, but can you maybe post them in a response here ASAP? I'm about to record a video on the game for this Friday's episode of Solo RPG Friday.

(+1)

Thanks! Just grabbed the update.

(+1)

Thank you. I'm enjoying the game a lot, I really hoped it would be funded! My only question is about Spirit. Do characters start with 5 or zero base Spirit before background/species bonuses? Thanks again!

(+1)

All characters start with 5 base Spirit and then you add the bonuses from species choice or any background bonuses. I'll re-word the base stat section to clear up the rules there.

Glad you are enjoying the game!

(+1)

This looks cool! Any way we can get it in a single-page formatted PDF so we can print as a zine?

I've made some changes to the game, including adding most of the missing rules from the first preview. There is a new pages option to download, ready for print. I've also included a quick character sheet for people to print and use, or copy the components to their own design. 

Let me know if anything is funky on your end!

(+1)

Thank you!