Wanderhome is a Tabletop RPG by Jay Dragon, published through Possum Creek Games. It is a pastoral fantasy RPG game built through the No Dice, No Masters engine (more often called Belonging Outside Belonging), a design philosophy related to the Powered by the Apocalypse engine. This is Jay Dragon's major-project follow-up to 2019 BoB game Sleepaway.
Set in the idyllic world of the Hæth, the players of Wanderhome follow a party of traveling animal-folk as they go from village to village, meet other inhabitants of the Hæth, and watch the seasons change. This game is not a Heroic Fantasy, as it instead focuses on the lives of ordinary folk.
On July 2020, the free preview playkit was released, which can still be downloaded from itch.io. The following month, the ''Wanderhome'' funding campaign launched on Kickstarter, and it raised more than $300,000 across 6,600+ backers.
This game provides examples of:
- Alternative Calendar: Campaign play is dictated by "the great arc of the year," which is divided into five seasons of two months each, which a holiday concluding each season. Meanwhile, each year is given its own name, with the starting year being "The Year of the Waterlily," and subsequent year names being up to the players.
- The seasons in order are:
- Leap: Tillsoil, Monsoon, and the holiday of the Sun Parade. Corresponds to late winter and early spring.
- Bright: Bloommeadow, Devildays, and the holiday of the Day of Song. Corresponds to late spring and early summer.
- Breathe: Swarming, Gateling, and the holiday of the Moon Dance. Corresponds to a mix of spring and summer.
- Silt: Firetop, Grasping, and the holiday of the Candle Feast. Corresponds to fall.
- Chill: Snowblanket, Frostbite, and the holiday of New Years. Corresponds to early winter.
- The seasons in order are:
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Bugs serve as the pets, livestock, and wild creatures of the Hæth, so they are accordingly large. Unlike most depiction of giant bugs, they are supposed to be less creepy and more cuddly.
- Carnivore Confusion: Wanderhome resolves the tension between predatory and prey animals by having insects be the Fantastic Fauna Counterpart. Whether herbivore animal-folk partake in eating insects, that is up to the table to decide.
- Censor Box: The digital download comes with a "insectophobe-friendly version," a PDF where all illustrations of insects are either removed or covered up with boxed shapes.
- The Drifter: Every player character is a downplayed example of the Stranger archetype. The party is going from place to place and encountering each location's problems. However, the game warns the players that it is not their characters' place to solve these problems, because they are only travelers in someone else's home, and the home's inhabitants are the ones who must solve those problems.
- Extraordinary World, Ordinary Problems: The Hæth is a world full of spirits and gods, with the aftermath of a war looming over the land. At the same time, the text predisposes players to problems that are interpersonal and local such as "conflict between expectations and demand" in a village workshop. Even if the characters do end up encountering any major gods or conquerers, any epic-level adventures exist outside the game's scope.
- Fantastic Fauna Counterpart: The fauna of the Hæth are insects and other assorted bugs. The playbooks paint this dynamic, as a Moth-Tender can be a pigeon carrying for carrier moths, or a Shepherd could be a ram herding chubby bumblebees.
- Fictional Holiday: In the Alternative Calendar, each season closes out with a holiday, providing local color to places and marking a time for characters to advance. The table figures out how a particular place celebrates a holiday, and some places may even celebrate an "alternative holiday" entirely.
- Funny Animals: The player characters and the NPC kith are animal-folk, who are depicted in the artwork as bipedal, capable of manual manipulation, and of human intelligence.
- Game Master: Wanderhome calls its equivalent of the Game Master "the Guide." But as the name "No Dice, No Masters" suggests, this system is GM-optional, and the group is encouraged to collaborate and trade responsibilities for running the settings and non-player characters.
- Ghibli Hills: Jay Dragon cites Hayao Miyazaki as an influence of the world of the Hæth, and both the setting descriptions and illustrations depict the Hæth's rolling, colorful valleys and bright blue skies.
- Experience Points: Averted. Playbooks do have an advancement system, but players choose advancements during each holiday between the seasons, instead of accumulating XP. Wanderhome does have a token economy, where players get and spend tokens for specific actions.
- Non-Player Character: NPCs in Wanderhome are termed "kith," ordinary people living ordinary lives. Players trade responsibility for playing as the kith.
- Slice of Life: Wanderhome keeps its focus away from the high-concept heroes of other fantasy stories, focusing instead on the day-to-day life of villagers. All of the playbooks revolve around more-grounded vocations; the only significant difference between the player characters and the NPCs is that the PCs are wanderers.
- Solo Tabletop Game: The rulebook has a section on "journeying solo," permitting a player to play with one's imagination and giving some advice for what works for playing by oneself.
- Walking the Earth: The premise of Wanderhome revolves around the player characters going from place to place, without an end destination in mind.
- World of Funny Animals: The Hæth is a fantasy world of animal-folk, with the animal-folk serving as the setting's people.