I'm working on a Player Pack that sums up character generation and adds a bunch of extra tables and rules to flesh out your characters and motivate them. Now your animated scarecrow can be all that's left of a Fae knight who loved a maiden who died and her grave is underneath platform 3 at Liefbury Station and once in every Age she returns and waits for the train (or carriage or palfrey, depending on the century) to carry her away and you have to be there before she leaves to tell her you love her and... oh you get it. Lovely complex roleplaying stuff to distract you from shooting crows and battling Lord Isengrim Von Ulf with flintlock pistols over the midnight rooftops of 17th century Thornyford.
Here's a taster of what's going to be in that booklet:
An Age Called Home
PCs in The Hedgerow Hack are mysterious strangers who arrive in an Age to solve a mystery or resolve a crisis. But where do they come from?
Each PC choose an Age that is the one in which they were born. For Ouzel, this must be the Age of Fable. For Wurzels it is the age in which their scarecrow body was built.
In their Home Age, Human PCs can test INT to know about any (non-supernatural) place or object and test CHA to know about any (mortal) person. If the test is successful, this knowledge can be related to the PC’s background.
For example, in the Age of Swords, Guyon is curious about a group of knights. He tests CHA and the GM says he recognises one of the knights as Cuthbert of Combe, because Cuthbert fought alongside his uncle to fend off a Danish raid some years ago.
Fae PCs can test INT or CHA to know about supernatural places, objects or persons.
Ouzel and Wurzels do not know where Legendary Locations are: these must be discovered in play.
NB. The GM has the right to declare any location or object to be ‘mysterious’ or person to be ‘strange’ or ‘unknown’ in which case no Stat test will reveal anything about them.
Although Briar Knights always speak and understand the language of the Age they visit, they don’t always grasp its norms and manners.
At the start of a story, PCs in an Age they are not native to roll 1d4, 1d6 or 1d8 depending on how far removed they are. That is the number of CHA tests with mortals they must make at Disadvantage until they settle in.
For example, Guyon is native to the Age of Swords so if he adventures in the Age of Steel he will be at Disadvantage for 1d6 CHA tests because that is ‘two Ages away’ from his Home Age.
Player Characters as Children
The Hedgerow Hack takes inspiration from some classic children’s literature of the 1960s and ‘70s – like Alan Garner’s The Weirdstone of Brisingamen or Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising (and latterly, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials) – or TV shows like Catweazel and Children of the Stones. If you want to capture this atmosphere, then Heathen Clerks and Tinkers can be children.
If you feature children as PCs, then consider these rules changes:
The advantage of child-PCs in your campaign is that their family life becomes part of the drama. It is important to know what Age the family live in, because children need to slip away from their family to go on adventures with their weird friends.
Families can be placed in danger, especially if a Doom Die exhausts while a child-PC is with her family. The Feral Squires are not above threatening to harm a PC’s family, if only to coerce Briar Knights into not interfering with their schemes.
Families will have their duplicates in other ages, albeit without the PC in them and perhaps living in different circumstances. This can make for interesting roleplaying, if a child-PC wants to save or redeem their similar-family in a different Age.
For example, Guyon’s family in the Age of Swords are contented farmers, but in the Age of Steel the family is being forced into the workhouse after being evicted from their land by Isengrim Von Ulf.
Childhood’s end: All children (but one) grow up. Childhood could end when a PC reaches 10th level or 6th. GMs should decide in advance how long childhood lasts and whether the PC continues to adventure as a now-adult hero or if they forget about their childhood and settle down to a mortal life of love, labour and a family of their own, watched over by the comrades they no longer recognise.
30 Minute Dungeons
Essays on Forge
I'm a teacher and a writer and I love board games and RPGs. I got into D&D back in the '70s with Eric Holmes' 'Blue Book' set and I've adopted Forge Out of Chaos to pursue my nostalgia for old school RPGs.
The shoddy PDF rulebook available at drivethrurpg is missing pp 66-67, 82-83, 86-87, 126-127, 140-141 and 162-5. You can read or download these below: