Game: B-
From 103 reviews

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

First Edition

A Game of Helping Others on Distant Worlds, For Ages 12+ (or Lower With Adult Help)

Publisher Description

​Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is a slapstick fantasy storytelling game about helping people and getting into trouble.

You tell the story of young travelers who mean well, but spend most of their time getting into trouble. You use your creativity and strategy to create a humorous coming of age story. It's like a comedic crossover between Avatar: the Last Airbender, the Little Prince and Kino's Journey.

​There's a great development team behind Do, including editors Ryan Macklin and Lillian Cohen-Moore; artists Liz Radtke, Kristin Rakochy, Dale Horstman, Jake Richmond; and Evil Hat Productions, publishers of Spirit of the Century and the Dresden Files Role-Playing Game. The game also includes adventure seeds by Jared Sorensen, John Wick, Sophie Lagacé, and many more!​​


Monk Children Helping Others on Floating Worlds [ edit ]

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is set in a fictional universe with countless floating worlds, similar to The Little Prince, Super Mario Galaxies, and other fictional settings.  Each of these worlds has its own culture, level of technology, etc. and at the center of it all is the "Flying Temple", a bastion of peace and stability.  This temple houses monks who receive letters from all over the universe requesting help, and in response it sends out monks-in-training (the "pilgrims", ie. the PCs) to deal with them.

Essentially these letters serve as the "adventures" of the game, with each one detailing a world with a problem for the PC to solve.  However, as befits a game designed for a younger audience, the focus of the game is just as much on getting into trouble as part of this adventure, as it is on actually solving the letter's problem.

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple, First Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse

Character Creation [ edit ]

As a story-heavy game, character creation in Do is much simpler than (say) Dungeons and Dragons.  In fact, your entire "character" is defined in a single sentence!

You start by choosing an "avatar", which can be any ordinary object (eg. "cat" or "cup").  You then pick your character's "banner": a descriptive word for that avatar, eg. "sleeping" or "empty".

You then have to decide how your banner and avatar then define helps people, and how they "get in trouble" (both are central to the game).  To do this you simply fill out the rest of your character's sentence: Pilgrim *Banner* *Avatar* gets in trouble by _____ and helps people by _____.

For example, Pilgrim Sleeping Cat might get into trouble by falling asleep at inappropriate times, and help people by suddenly freaking out without warning.  By writing that sentence the "character" sheet has started, and the character is ready for play.

Core Mechanics [ edit ]

In Do there is no "Game Master": instead, each player takes a turn (in clockwise order) being the "Storyteller", with all the other players being "Troublemakers" for that turn.

The Storyteller then draws three stones from a bag containing white and black stones (Do doesn't use traditional dice), and the ratio of white to black determines the outcome of the turn.  A character might help someone and/or get into/out of trouble as a result, and the details might be written by the Storyteller or the Troublemakers.

When those details are being written (again, depending on the stones), the player may or may not get to use a "goal word" in the description.  Goal words come from the "letters" which started the entire adventure. For instance, an adventure might begin with an NPC asking for help after their island was swallowed by a whale, and promising cookies as a reward; that letter might have both both "whale" and "cookies" in its goal words.

After all the goal words have been used, or more than 8 stones have been drawn, the adventure ends.  Characters don't exactly level at that point, but they add more story to their sheet, and get to change their banner before the next adventure.

Combat [ edit ]

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is a completely combat-free system, and so it has no rules at all for weapons, hit points, initiative, etc.

An Excellent Structured, Non-Violent, and Story-Driven Children's RPG [ edit ]

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is not a traditional RPG, but it does serve as an excellent introduction to the genre for younger players.  While the box says that the game is for ages 12+, the game is simple enough that even children a few years younger can likely enjoy it, with a little parental guidance.

As far as recommendations go, Do took home not just one, but three Indie RPG Awards when it was released.  The game also has a healthy number of positive reviews online, resulting in an extremely high 4.7/5 score on Drive Thru RPG (from 15 reviews), and a rating of 7.88/10 on RPG Geek (from 46 reviews).

Now, that RPG Geek score might not sound especially high, but it actually put the game at position #181 on the site ... out of all RPGs!  For a small, independently-made, and younger-audience-focused RPG to rank so highly (even when compared against industry titans, like Dungeons and Dragons or Call of Cthulhu) you know that the game must be something special.

Do Also Has a Sequel, With "Real" RPG Rules [ edit ]

After playing Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple for awhile, fans might find themselves interested in a more full-featured RPG ruleset ... at which point they can "graduate" on to the sister game, Do: Fate of the Flying Temple.  The premise of this game is that the party returns to the flying temple, only to discover that it has gone missing, replaced with a dragon's egg ... and now their new adventure is to find out what happened to it (while continuing to help the citizens of other worlds, as before).

Fate of the Flying Temple is based on the Fate Core RPG rule system, although it's a completely standalone game and doesn't require the Fate Core rulebook.  By using Fate the game is able to offer a more detailed and traditional RPG experience ... although (being Fate), that experience will still be much lighter rules-wise than a game like Dungeons and Dragons, with a heavier focus on storytelling than rule details.

Strangely enough Fate of the Flying Temple actually has a much lower recommended age (8+), but I'd suggest that it's actually the more mature of the two games, and Pilgrims is just labeled with an overly cautious age recommendation.  Really, either game can be enjoyed by gamers 8+ (possibly even younger), but the simpler rules and more guided style of Pilgrims will make it a better introduction to the genre for complete RPG newcomers.