A Guide to Fantastic Folks (2020)

Bodie’s A Guide to Fantastic Folks is probably the most ambitious of his zines I’m looking at this week. Where as the other four inform or inspire material for RPGs, their primary function is as a delivery vector for whimsy and art. This one is explicitly intended as a utility for RPGs, and a novel one at that.

The idea here is to give ideas. Specifically for character creation. Play long enough, the uniqueness of player characters tends to recede and they become collections of attributes more than personalities. This guide is arranged as a sort of brainstorming book, to give the reader lots of new notions or even just slight shifts in perspective in order to inspire players to lean into the character of their characters instead of the numbers on the sheet.

Bodie does this with a combination of thoughtful text and evocative images. I said on Monday that his work naturally creates a world I want to know more about; here you can see that in action while getting some practical use out of it in character creation. I think it helps that his art style is naturally…I don’t want to say at odds with D&D, but it is extremely different from the sort of heroic fantasy the official products visually codify. I love that. Its both cozier and stranger, and consistently makes me want to play a different kind of D&D.

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