We recently connected with Pegasus Spiele U.S. Studio Editor Tim Huckelbery for an email interview to get more information on the upcoming release of the Talisman Adventures Fantasy Roleplaying Game (see "Pegasus Spiele Unveils ‘Talisman Adventures Fantasy Roleplaying Game"), and the follow-on products planned for 2021.

ICv2:  We had reported back around this time in 2019 that the launch of the Talisman Adventures RPG was going to happen at Gen Con that year.  Instead, a playtest guide was released (see "Playtest Guide’ for ‘Talisman Adventures: Fantasy Roleplaying Game’").  Was that the original plan or a change in plans?
Tim Huckelbery:  It was indeed a change in plans.  As development was going on that year, there was still a lot both we and lead designer Ian Lemke wanted in the game.  It became clear that it wasn’t going to be possible to have what we felt the game demanded in time for Gen Con.  So we decided to do a Playtest Guide, which not only gave us a way to introduce the game and the new 3D6 system to players but also a way for them to contribute to the final system.

We think the extra time worked out great, and I really love how 3D6 came out.  Its player-facing mechanics using regular d6 dice allow players to feel more in control (insert GM laughter here) and gives GMs more time on to concentrate story elements.  The simultaneous resolution for most results also makes game rounds move faster as well, again while putting the energy with the players.

Was the playtest phase done when Covid hit?  Did the playtest change the game?
Playtesting was still ongoing when Covid happened but became curtailed to a large degree as groups couldn’t gather in person to play.  We also had a lot of in-store playtest sessions planned that didn’t happen.  The core rulebook was getting into its final shape at that time as well.

And yes, the additional playtesting did indeed have some great contributions to the game.  Even though the Playtest Guide mostly covered the Player’s Guide portion of the core rulebook, we got a lot of good feedback and ideas that went into the Game Master’s Guide portion of the book too.

The release of the core rulebook has slid from Q4 2020 to Q1 2021 or beyond – was that delay Covid-related?
As you can imagine, yes it was. Not that everything was Covid-related, of course, but it certainly didn’t help.  Often there were small things that all contributed together to form big impacts that changed the release plans rather than single big things.  Such is how it goes when creating a new core rulebook with a new game system.

Did anything in the core book change between when it was announced last summer and now?
Probably the biggest change is that it got bigger!  We originally planned 244 pages, and the final core book is clocking in at 300.  Structurally it’s now really two books in one.  As mentioned above, there is a Player’s Guide section and a Game Master’s section, each with its own graphic design style so you can tell where you are at a glance.

The extra pages allowed us to really complete what we wanted in the core rulebook, especially in the GM section.  One of our major goals in the line is lots of solid GM support (especially for new GMs), so we have lots of guidance and tips for running games, creating campaigns, and ensuring everyone has fun playing.  We included a brand-new adventure in the book to go along with the one that was included in the Playtest Guide.  The online adventure "Toads and Diamonds" that we used for testing has been updated and will return as a free download shortly as well, so GMs will have plenty of material to start running games.

What is planned for follow-on products this year?
We’ve got quite a lot of products this year, and in a variety of types.  The core rulebook and our limited-edition version of the same will be the basis for them all.  Both of these come with a foldout map of the Realm, the main setting for the game and one that players of the Talisman board game are undoubtably very familiar with.  Each also includes a sheet of punchboard Fate tokens, which players and the GM can use to activate special PC and NPC abilities in the 3D6 system.

The main expansion products are the supplement books covering different areas of the Talisman Adventures RPG setting and containing both player and GM content.  Tales of the Dungeon is the first in this line, and includes new gear, magic items, spells, NPC, and PC creation options, like all of the supplements of this style.  Characters in Talisman Adventures are made by combining Ancestries (such as elf, ghoul, human, and troll) and Classes (like assassin, priest, thief, and wizard).  This book adds Vampire and Minotaur ancestries plus Tomb Robber and Necromancer classes to the seven ancestries and ten classes in the core rulebook.  GMs not only get support on running games in the book’s featured setting but also guidance on creating their own locations of this type.  There’s also a complete adventure set in the Realm’s most infamous dungeon, plus GM guidance for creating their own dungeons.  Following this will be Tales of the City, covering our iconic and largest population center in the game.

Our other main release products are larger books delving into broader topics not tied to a single location type.  The first is Talisman Adventures: A Guide to Myths and Monsters, and as you might assume is chock full of all manner of legendary beasties!  Our big book of creatures also has support materials for GMs to devising more monsters of their own.  GMs also get special, named creatures that can act as recurring nemeses for players adventuring across the Realm.

As mentioned earlier, we want to support GMs as much as possible in this game line, so we’re also doing lots of pdf adventures.  Each is self-contained but grows in recommended PC level so that a group can move from one to the next as the PCs grow in experience, and thus form a campaign.  We’ll be releasing these throughout the year, starting with "The Briar Rose" soon after the core rulebook.

And more, of course.  There is a GM Kit coming out complete with GM Screen and a booklet filled with new GM support tools plus new locations and encounters to enrich adventures.  We’ll also have an Accessory Pack filled with specially made dice and Fate tokens perfect for the 3D6 system.  It’s going to be a very busy year!