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Those Who Wander

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Those Who Wander is a dynamic 5e-alternate fantasy tabletop game system distinct for its exponentially growing character paths, diverse and versatile parentages, enigmatic and awakening heirlooms, mechanically defining character backgrounds, and more.

The game’s name comes from the popular line, “Not all those who wander are lost,” originally penned by J.R.R. Tolkien. In more ways than one, Those Who Wander epitomizes the journey made of numberless steps. Each step is a decision—left or right. And each decision leaves its mark on you. No matter where you wander, we hope you feel at home all along the way.

Character Creation and Progression


"I know you fear becoming what your parents were. But we are more than blood. A hero charts their own course."

Chapter 2: Parentages

In Those Who Wander, you first choose your character's two birth parents. Any pairing is fine, with storyteller permission. Maybe your parents were both simple human peasants. Then again, maybe one was a fiend and the other was an orc. You decide.

Everything you inherit from your parents is innate. The learned traits come later.

Parentages include draconic, dwarven, elven, gnomish, halfling, human, infernal, orc, and more!


"I'm a child of nobles. But my nurse raised me, the alleyways were my playground, and now that I'm grown, gambling's my trade."

Next, you choose a background, which represents your life experiences, upbringing, and choices made leading up to your adventuring career. Each background has plenty of mechanical weight to it, since it includes what you know, what you're good at, and most of what you carry with you. Speaking of which....


"This dusty old book? Found it in a trash heap. You might say it spoke to me.  because it literally did." 

Chapter 4: Heirlooms

Some families pass down a weapon, a suit of armor, a ring, or some other heirloom from parent to child for generations. Some characters simply pick up a bauble that seems significant to them, even if it's worthless to others. These are heirlooms, seemingly mundane objects that grow in power over time. They even have a personality buried deep within that slowly reveals itself to the right person who takes the time to forge a connection with it.


"Right or left. It's a simple decision, seemingly insignificant at the time. But a series of lefts or rights leads to vastly different destinations."

Step Progression

In Those Who Wander, your character progresses by taking steps. Think of it like coming to a fork in the road. Every time you grow more powerful, you have a choice to make between two step features. Always no more than two. At first, the characters in your party are much like each other. But by journey's end, the differences among you will be vast and varied! 

Chapter 5: Steps

Free the Storyteller

One of the design goals for Those Who Wander is to free up the storyteller's time by having them roll less often. Storytellers begin battles by choosing one from among four combat orders, depending on how the encounter begins. Turns proceed accordingly. No longer do you narrate your way up to a climactic battle only to pause, roll, and record the results before the action begins.

Another way we've freed the storyteller's focus is by having players roll defense checks instead of the storyteller rolling creatures' attacks. The spotlight brightly shines on characters, and the storyteller is free to narrate. We think these changes will make for exciting, seamless combat.

Diverse and Inclusive Storytelling

We've taken care to avoid both bioessentialism and ableism. Creature lore has been updated. The book offers both prosthetics and wheelchairs. And the book will showcase human diversity in color, gender, and sexual orientation in its illustrated fantasy characters. We've striven to make sure that whoever you are, if you want to, you can see yourself in this game.

Backward Compatible

Those Who Wander is backward compatible with the fifth edition of the world's most played fantasy tabletop roleplaying game. So hold onto your 5e adventures because you can still run them with almost no conversions.

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Reviews (2)
Discussions (7)
Customer avatar
Wes F January 31, 2023 4:15 am UTC
I was a little thrown by the health pool / health dice terminology.

Is the spot on the character sheets to track which hit dice are taken at which levels, purely to keep track of how many hit dice one has accumulated? (And thus the total hit die spot on the char sheet?)

When does that total come up in play?
Customer avatar
Adam H April 04, 2023 9:34 pm UTC
Yes, there are sections for both Health Dice and your health pool on the character sheet. You can record your maximum drops of health where it says "Pool Depth." And you can tick off the Hit Dice you accumulate as take steps in the other section.
Customer avatar
Francis G May 11, 2022 8:50 am UTC

A bit late but did not have time to get the book earlier.

I really like it! The options are very interesting.

What i don’t get is how combat works?

If a player attacks, you roll against the enemy’s defense.

If your player gets attacked you roll a defense check with armor bonuses.

But what is the difficulty ?

I don’t get this part (maybe because english is not my native language)

Customer avatar
Adam H January 03, 2023 5:38 pm UTC
If a non-player creature attacks a player's character, the player rolls a defense check. Each non-player creature attack has a listed DS (Defense Score) that the player rolls against. I hope that helps!
Customer avatar
Audrey P January 20, 2022 7:02 pm UTC
I couldn't find the amount of XP needed for each step listed anywhere. I generally use milestone leveling anyway, so it's not much of a problem, but am I missing the information, or is it not there?
Customer avatar
Adam H January 27, 2022 7:48 pm UTC
You're right, that table was left out by mistake. We'll include it in our next update.

If it helps, it follows the XP for leveling in D&D 5e.
Customer avatar
Tucker A September 01, 2021 5:19 pm UTC
Are all changes/erratas being integrated in to the hard cover version of the book?
Customer avatar
Adam H September 01, 2021 6:35 pm UTC
It's a time-intensive and costly process, but yes, once we have enough errata to justify a revision. Thanks!
Customer avatar
Christopher E W August 29, 2021 5:54 pm UTC
I assume the errata will be integrated into the PDF at some point, so we don't have to look between the two files?
Customer avatar
Adam H August 30, 2021 10:54 pm UTC
Yes, exactly. Once we have enough errata to justify a revision. Thanks!
Customer avatar
thomas G August 26, 2021 10:16 pm UTC
Does this have the PHB 5E rules or will you need the D&D 5E PHB as well (self contained rule system vs. campaign type with rules specific only to its campaign world)?
Customer avatar
Adam H August 26, 2021 11:18 pm UTC
Thanks for the question! It's self-contained and not specific to any one campaign setting. Everything you need to play it is included.

There's a 50-page free preview if you'd like to take a look.
Customer avatar
thomas G August 27, 2021 11:52 am UTC
Thank you.
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File Last Updated:
August 10, 2023
This title was added to our catalog on August 26, 2021.
Gnome Made Games
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