Wield: A Not So Final Fantasy

wieldWield is a fantasy RPG where each player character is a powerful magic item with suitably awesome magical powers and epic destiny. Unfortunately, they are still items and need to be wielded by an adventurer of some sort in order to actually do anything. After picking this game up at Gen Con last year, we decided to give it a shot. Everyone made suitably epic magic items and went to town in a not-at-all Final Fantasy knock-off setting. This is a shorter one shot, but it should give you an idea of how the system works.

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  1. more like Weirld

    these Shadowguiding games are old news now–I’m pry missing lots of the history, but for me what started with Wraith was improved with Better Angels, and I’m not sure the world needed another go at it just yet. but maybe Wield’s from before BA? idk I don’t really get it, particularly in light of the criticisms the group itself levels on the game at the end here. fun to listen to, though, of course, as always.

  2. Sounds really fun to me, though I feel like it’s designed to have the adventurers be a lot more disposable then they were in this one-shot. Maybe these ones had too much personality and charm, which made them more interesting than the game expects them to be. Best Character goes to Tom’s psychopathic baker.

    I wasn’t quite picking up on the gestures-for-simultaneous-action-declaration mechanic. It sounds pretty fun, but I couldn’t quite work out what the purpose of it was within the mechanics of the system. I imagine it was probably clearer in person.

  3. It’s interesting you guys seemed to enjoy Wield as much as you did. I bought a copy because you mentioned it on the main podcast and it sounded like a very interesting concept that could include some very detailed mechanics. I was pretty disappointed in the final product to tell you the truth. The gestures for indicating actions and the real life countdown for choosing them just seem to be different for the sake of difference without any significant improvement to play. Honestly I figure whatever Wield can do, it would be better to run the core conceit in a hack of Better Angels, or even- God forbid- GURPS.

    All that complaining aside, it was a fantastic and very funny game. Tom’s cannibalistic baker was maybe the highlight for me. I think my dream team for an AP of Wield would be Caleb, David, and Tom playing with Ross running.

  4. Brilliant idea. Flawed execution (mostly on the part of the system writers).

    I think there’s a real case of system dissonance going on with this game, and it’s in the reverse of the usual directions. Lots of systems sell themselves as portrayals of epic adventures or thrilling heists, but give you mechanics that focus on things like encumbrance modifiers or gear stats. This is the reverse – it’s a rules-light system that clearly emphasizes the pull between different fates and destinies. It doesn’t make the items feel like items – you could just call them “demons” instead and play Better Angels. Systems like Eclipse Phase or Shadowrun do a much better job of (intentionally or not) focusing on equipment, with dozens to hundreds of pages of special rules for a variety of different types of weapons, gear, and ways to mod them.

    I think this premise would actually work better with a much crunchier, more complicated system. Something where players can start as newly-forged items, then gain enchantments, modifications, prestige, and cultural significance, as they are passed between wielders and present at various historic events.

    I actually think Caleb would be best for running a vanilla version of this game, since it really could tie into a lot of the ideas he’s been talking about with Red Markets. If nothing else, it could be as much a commentary on commodity fetishism or gunfondling in the real world as it is about item geekery in RPGs.

    I could also see Ross running a really awesome one-shot where everyone plays as different architectural features in a haunted house, trying to get a huge party of visiting NPCs to turn on each other or achieve more individual (and probably conflicting) goals.

    I’m really tempted to just take this basic premise and write my own system for it.

  5. It definitely was Weirld. Funny, but a little strange and disjointed game system.

  6. I’m with the others, the game system is weird and confusing. The countdown/gesture concept seems completely unnecessary, and would work better like BA.

    That said, Aaron channelling Autobot Jazz for his harp was most amusing! 😀

  7. I agree with the others; this game is strange overall, at least from a listen. The arm movement gesture system seems similar to Burning Wheel or Mouse Guard’s scripted conflict systems, but I couldn’t really see what the point of adding all the hand signals was.

    The characters and “series numbers filed off setting” was neat but I have to agree; if I was going to run this sort of game, Better Angels seems like a much more interesting fit.

    Making the mortal wielders more disposable seems like it would lead to an even more slapstick or ridiculous tone – like the Cthulhu Dark games when people are on the 4th and 5th character.

    Also, is the geas tied to the wielder rather than the weapon? It seems like a player could agree to a geas to pass a check, then get their character killed to get out of it. (Or the mystical weapon could do their best to get the wielder killed to escape the geas and get back to their own agenda.) It seemed like a really weird mechanic in what’s already a pretty light system.

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