What is Tales of the Valiant

Different but the same

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Tales of the Valiant (ToV) is a tabletop roleplaying game developed by Kobold Press, replacing Dungeons & Dragons 5e. The game is fully compatible with 5e, meaning that you can use content from any 5e book in a Tales of the Valiant game. It doesn’t mean everything in ToV is suitable as a one-for-one replacement in 5e, though. In other words, it's moving forward even as it reserves space for what came before. Compatibility can confuse people. It's easy to think that "compatible" means "the same", and anyway if that's not what "compatible" means, then why not just make a completely different game? Here are 3 important reasons why there's value to compatibility for gaming.

1. Extra content

You might find that you can play Sixth Edition content with just a 5e rulebook, but it's still not clear that third-party publishers are invited to participate. The post-Sixth Edition world is likely to be mostly Wizards of the Coast content, and just the few content creators who can afford to pay licensing fees (or who are sponsored by Wizards). Sure, Wizards has historically produced really good content, but then again do you really just want the one choice? If Paizo and Pathfinder have taught us anything, it's that gaming is healthier and more fun when there's diversity and choice.

Tales of the Valiant ensures that the 5e ruleset remains open to everyone. There are no licensing fees. Anybody can create content for it, with no fear of legal repercussion. That not only encourages a diverse pool of contributors, it ensures that there will be gaming content. At the very least, Kobold Press and probably other companies, like Roll for Combat, who don't want to pay licensing fees to Wizards, will publish adventures, new monsters, spells, classes, and so on, for ToV.

A game needs a community. Without fresh ideas and exciting new releases, a game languishes. Wizards of the Coast is closing its doors, locking people out of participation. But Tales of the Valiant is opening up a new space for players and content creators.

2. Minor adjustments

There's a lot about 5e I would change. I'd get rid of passive perception, I'd add a skill explicitly for picking locks and disarming traps, I'd add rules for climbing onto a larger creature during combat, I'd get rid of death saving throws, I'd scale back HP, I'd fix the CR system. That's just off the top of my head. Any longtime player of RPGs probably has even more great ideas.

And Tales of the Valiant isn't going to do any of it.

ToV isn't D&D 5.5. It's not Advanced D&D. It's 5e in maintenance mode, allowing for minor adjustments here and there to make the game better for most modern gamers.

5e is a decade old at this point, and the way we game now is different than it was before. There are little things that require adjustment. Monster stat blocks could be improved so they're easier to reference for the Game Master. We can say "lineage" instead of "race". We don't have to pretend to still care about the Ideal/Bond/Flaw system that nobody uses (not even the Wizards of the Coast adventures, really).

These are quality-of-life adjustments. They don't change the game, for better or for worse, but it makes the game a pleasant place to hang out in.

3. Independence

Tales of the Valiant isn't about fixing 5e. It's about preserving the 5e rules and community. It's creating a space for the community that had formed around 5e.

If you're confident that Wizards of the Coast is going to continue to support 5e along with their digital-first Sixth Edition, then you probably don't feel that your 5e hangout space has been affected. Personally, I don't do business with abusive companies, and Wizards of the Coast can't be trusted. I'm not going to sign up for Sixth Edition's digital tools, and I'm not going to purchase Sixth Edition products. I don't believe I have a place at a gaming table being run by Wizards of the Coast.

ToV is doing a really good job of inviting people to its table, though. The Core Fantasy rules are openly licensed, so they'll be online just like Pathfinder's rules are. The Tales of the Valiant books will fit nicely next to my other Kobold Press books, like Deep Magic and Tome of Beasts. And the company producing it has threatened me with legal action well under zero times (in fact, on the contrary Wolfgang Bauer once responded to a fan email I sent him about a Pathfinder book he wrote).

ToV is the future of 5e-style gaming. Just go to Koboldpress.com and check out any of their amazing Midgard sourcebooks (the Southlands is my personal favourite, but then I've always been a sucker for fantasy Egypt). Kobold Press is serious about fantasy RPG, and the 5e rules couldn't be in better hands.

Support Tales of the Valiant on Kickstarter if you haven't already.

Project Black Flag art by Kobold Press and used in accordance with its community use policy.

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