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Journey Away is a 25 page fantasy adventure narrative ttrpg with gorgeous art, a cool premise, and a tagline that I think is maybe scaring people off.

Journey Away bills itself as a "non-challenge-based rpg", but I'm having a hard time seeing that as true. There's a dice system. The outcomes of rolls matter. Character choices matter. Challenge exists, it's just not about your build or your tactical choices in combat.

I think how I'd describe Journey Away instead is as an extremely "yes but" system. Or, I guess for a more palatable tagline, as a "chill traveling rpg."

Rolls are done by generating large pools of dice based on all the circumstances at play in a situation (helpful traits, hindering traits, environmental factors on either side, etc) and then pairing them off. For each pair, if the die representing the stuff favoring the players was higher, it turns into a boon. If not, it turns into a complication. Then the group decides what each boon and complication means for the situation at hand.

As a result, outcomes are usually mixed---some good things happen, some bad things happen---and everything resolves at once. This creates a nice sense of pacing, where the dice are likely to come out at most once per scene, but when they come out, they matter and a bunch of stuff happens.

Journey Away comes with its own default setting (and it's got some nice notes, like magic being a recent discovery in the setting,) but it's pretty easy to run it in any setting you desire. There's nothing here that's firmly anchored to any specific lore, or that will break if it's taken out of context.

It's also probably a really solid first game, since it comes with good GMing advice, and the mechanics flow naturally to tell a story, rather than requiring you to dig through monster behaviors and weapon damage tables.

I think folks who like Dogs In The Vineyard, Ryuutama, Tokaido, or just chill and cozy games will dig Journey Away. I also think folks who like hacking systems to run stuff that's way out of genre will dig Journey Away as well, because I can see the potential for one heck of a World War I style game in here too.

Overall, if you skimmed by this because the "non-challenge-based" tagline put you off, come back for another look. Journey Away is doing something really cool, and I'd love to see more settings for this engine.

Minor Issues:

-Page 12, When pairing dice, who pairs them? The player who rolled? The players as a group, alternating? The GM? Players and the GM alternating? The relevant section says it's "up to the players", but I wanted to double check the meaning on that, since how dice are paired has a huge effect on the boons to complications ratio.


Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful and thorough comment! Interesting thought on the tagline; my thinking was that since complications don't have to be directly related to what you're doing—for example, maybe you win the armwrestling match but then your ex walks in the door—the game never declares your endeavors to have failed. But you raise a good point that it might give a weird impression and turn people off. Thanks for the tip!

Re: your question, the answer is "the players as a group, in whatever order or arrangement they feel like."