Welcome back to Wilderfeast Restaurant! Our tasting menu offers a series of insights into the lore of the One Land and various aspects of the game mechanisms. In this seventh course, we will serve a special off-menu dish, a triumph of design insights in behind-the-scenes sauce, cooked by an exceptional chef: KC Shi, author of Wilderfeast… here’s the Designer’s Diary!
Wilderfeast began as a world-building exercise: what would the ecosystem look like in a setting where eating something gave you its powers? What about the cultures and cuisines? At this point, wilders and the frenzy didn’t even exist yet. There was only the One Law: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.
From the start, Monster Hunter was the setting’s foremost reference. This only became more pronounced as Wilderfeast started to take shape as a tabletop RPG. After all, TTRPGs rely on consensus building and group creativity, so it’s important to have a popular genre or piece of media as a common touchstone.
For its rules, Wilderfeast looked toward a variety of inspirations, including the lightweight but deeply customizable system of Cubicle 7’s Soulbound, the smoothly flowing phases of Blades in the Dark, and the accessibility features and question-based mechanics of Wanderhome.
Around this time, two main ideas became the foundation for the game’s rules. The first was the difference in die sizes: humans use d8s, and monsters use d20s. (Although it wasn’t always d8s and d20s! We experimented with many different pairings.) And the second was that character progression would tie directly to the monsters you ate. For every attribute on your character sheet, you’d be able to point to it and tell a story about how you got it.
Finally, it was important to look outside of games for inspiration too. Non-fiction, like Cuisine and Empire by Rachel Laudan and Beloved Beasts by Michelle Nijhuis, informed the game’s themes, and nothing beats a hike, a road trip, or a picnic for getting to know nature. The zoo and the local animal shelter both provided ways to learn about animals as individuals (and give back to them, in thanks for all they’ve given us) — and pretty much every monster is partially inspired by the best cat in the world, Maisey Roswell.
The project slowly simmered for a few years, and then “I” turned into “we” with the involvement of Horrible Guild. That’s when the game really started cooking! We playtested it, revised the core mechanics so they’re easier to learn, and polished the rules to make the moment-to-moment gameplay the best it could be. We also optimized the Quickstart for play as a one-shot, and we think the final result is a ton of fun! At the same time, we’re brimming with ideas for long-term play, and we think the One Land really comes alive the more time you spend with it.
The trail stretches onward for Wilderfeast, and there’s a lot left to do. We’ve got dozens of monsters to write, design, and playtest, and we’re shaping Areas and Ingredients around each one so they all have a place in this world’s interconnected ecosystems.
But speaking as KC, the writer for the game, for a moment: this is my dream project, and I’m overjoyed to see it becoming a reality. I can’t thank the team at Horrible Guild enough for everything they’ve done — especially my producer, Federico, without whom this game wouldn’t be possible. I hope to see you all in the One Land!
We hope you savored the taste of this eight course of our Wilderfeast tasting menu. Next time we will serve you the final dessert, a cabaret laden with cakes, chocolates, candies, and other sweet treats. Our next topic is the Kickstarter Reward Tiers!
If you want to share your Wilderfeast experience with other players, don’t hesitate to join our Discord server! We want to hear your thoughts!
If you didn’t play the Wilderfeast™ Quickstart yet, instead… wait no further! Here’s the link, just in case you missed it the first time around.
Remember, Wilderfeast™ is launching on Kickstarter on September 5!
Follow the projecton Kickstarter to be notified when it will go live!
Wilderfeast™ is a game by KC Shi, writer for tabletop RPGs such as Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound, the Uncaged anthology, BEOWULF: Age of Heroes, and One More Quest. Cover art by Xulia Vicente.