Riverbend: A mini-review, sample setting, and character sheet for a fantasy fishing RPG

Riverbend RPG Cover

Just finished up a one-shot of Riverbend (Itch | Exalted Funeral), a fantasy fishing RPG from Gustavo Tertoleone and Victor Amorim. It’s a charming, rules-light little fantasy setting. Highly recommended.

Players are “Villagers”, who travel down a river basin, exploring, battling abominations, and most importantly – fishing.

It’s basically a pointcrawl set on a randomly generated river.

The System

The basic system is an adaptation of Nate Treme’s Tunnel Goons. Characters have three Ability scores – Brawn, Cunning, & Concentration. They are given three points to add to any of the scores.

To carry out an action, players roll 2d6 and add the appropriate ability score. If they beat the Difficulty number assigned by the GM, they succeed.

If the roll is combat related, they’ll inflict an amount of damage equal to the amount they beat he difficulty number by. i.e. if they need to beat an 8, and roll a 10, they do 2 points of damage.

If they fail a combat roll, the attacker takes the damage equal to the difficulty number minus the roll.

When the players decide to fish, they roll a number of dice onto a Die Drop table. The number rolled is the number of fish caught, and the type of fish is determined by where the dice land on the table. The number of dice rolled is based on the fishing equipment they use.

Riverbend Fishing Die Drop table

Players then make an ability roll to successfully catch the fish. Note that in this setting, fish are the only currency.

Starting players are given a boat, one piece of fishing equipment, two weapons, and a magical cat that has one amazing power.

The Setting

The setting generation is perhaps my favorite part of the book.

The river is randomly generated before play, using a variety of dice rolled onto a blank sheet of paper. There are separate die types for villages, fishing spots, artifacts, landmarks, and aberrations (monsters). The GM marks the spot on the paper where the die landed and records the value rolled. The GM looks up what each value means on a series of tables, and fills out the details of each location.

The difference between the values of each roll also determine how treacherous the river is between the two locations.

The GM draws a line between all of the locations, and this is the new river for the players to explore.

For my game I used this system to throw together a quick river setting – The Ramble Flow River. I cleaned up my notes and map, and made a little PDF.

Favorite Bits

  • All currency is in “pips” of fish. The player’s boat can only hold a certain amount of pips. The fish can be traded for equipment in settlements.
  • If a character dies, they can be reincarnated as a kitten.
  • The Goody Goosey are humanoid geese who sing so badly, they can damage boats.
  • The artifact Bronze Sword of Fishery will summon fish from the wounds of every person it kills.
  • One of the possible creatures in the bestiary is a band of kung-fu snake-men called Cobra Kaiee.

Character Sheet

There’s no official character sheet for Riverbend, so I’ve made my own custom version. There’s a single sheet in Half-Letter and A5 size, and a double sheet in A4 and US letter sizes. They’re all fillable and you can import an image in the upper right hand corner.

I’ve added this post to my meandering, disordered list of character sheets.

Sample Riverbend Character Sheet

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