Gen Con: Lessons in Compassion and Mischief from The Flying Temple

By George Holochwost

This morning when I woke up, I failed to report to the press room at GenCon as early as I would have liked. The reason? I was obsessively reading Evil Hat's new storytelling game Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. Being a big Wuxia enthusiast, I falsely assumed Do was a game about martial arts and kicking ass. What I soon discovered was something far more inspired than I could have possibly guessed.

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is, as the cover says, “A Cooperative Storytelling Game about Helping People and Getting into Trouble”. Players take on the roles of flying pilgrim-monks that respond to letters sent by people in need throughout the known worlds. The pilgrims then respond to these letters in person, which leads to light-hearted antics and special lessons in how hard growing up can be. These letters are a really clever way to quickly pull characters into the story, with several example letters included.

Pilgrims are defined by two primary things – the quality that gets them into trouble and the method by which they help others. For example, if your character's name is Pilgrim Burning Lotus, the first part of the pilgrim's name lets you know that he gets himself into trouble by way of his terrible temper. However, the second part of his name lets you know that he helps people by lifting them out of the mud and revealing their hidden beauty.

The system for Do is astoundingly elegant. Diceless, Do uses a special stone mechanic consisting of 20 black stones and twenty white stones which are randomized in a small pouch. In addition to the stones, players also choose a small token to act as their trouble token, which is placed at the center of their character sheet whenever the character gets themselves into a mess.

Insofar as the book itself, Do is a lovely 96 page hardback volume in full color. The aesthetic is described as “Windpunk” denoting the flowing robes and capes worn by the flying folk of a setting with questionable gravity. Fans of Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender will feel right at home with what Do has to offer both stylistically and thematically.

Another cool feature of Do is that it is geared toward younger audiences (12+) and can be played in quick sessions of only one to two hours with a player count of three to five. Special notes for parents and teachers explain what is required of younger players and clearly expounds what skills are required from young players.

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is published by Evil Hat Productions (creators of Gamma Award Winner The Dresden Files RPG and pulp fan favorite Spirit of the Century) and is authored by Daniel Solis and illustrated by Liz Radtke. Making its debut at GenCon at only twenty five dollars, gamers should make their way to the Indy Press Revolution booth 413 as quickly as possible to grab a copy of this cool little book while supplies last.

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