Warrenguard book cover with a dragon rider atop a red dragon in flight

Investing In: Warrenguard

“Dragons are not pets, they are partners in a battle against the threads that threaten our very existence.”The Skies of Pern, Anne McCaffrey

Who doesn’t love dragons? They bring my fantasy-loving heart joy. And who doesn’t love McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern? The chance to play one in a game is thrilling. Well with Warrenguard

“You are a Dragonrider. You feel the cold wind rush through your hair as you and your dragon fight the bonds of gravity. Your dragon lifts off from the lofty warrens high above the rest of the world where you make your home.”1

a complex scene of many dragon riders in a cozy hold room in the warren with a fire going and a dragon off to the side as the room is big enough for a dragon to stick their head in. And there's a puppy snuggling up to the dragon's head!

Cozy Hold Room: Can you find the puppy?

It sure looks homey, and magical, and filled with dragons and joy! Warrenguard is the latest game taking flight from Luck of the Harbor and the profoundly creative, modest yet brilliant Natalie Pudim. Warrenguard was my hype-building news ahead of PAX Unplugged and then one of my “must plays” of 2024. Well I got to play a one-shot, am soon to finish a two-shot, and I’ll do another one shot just before backerkit launch! And to be clear, like all the things I write about, there’s no paid promotion here. I’ll be eagerly backing this game the moment the funding goes live on Saturdary, February 24th. Do keep reading, but I’m gonna say right now: I highly encourage you to invest in Warrenguard!

So you probably already picked up on the fact that you’re a dragon rider, have a dragon, and live in a warren above the rest of the people. That’s all true! You grew up in some town or city (a hold), were eventually chosen (or won?) the right to train as a dragon rider when you came of age. You trained, met the dragon that would telepathically bond with you, and then got assigned to a new hold to protect it while living in that airborn warren with a group of other dragonriders. That’s the Warrenguard, the team of riders and dragons. The warrens mystically float above, likely connected to the hold by a massive chain. What’s the hold like? What about the warren itself? You determine all that with your cast of players at set up. But first…

Riders are you ready?

You’ve got to build your Rider! There are 5 archetypes to choose from. The Old-Timer has spent years as a dragonrider, has seen ups and downs of the job, and perhaps has a bit to prove to the new generation. You’ve got the brand new Fresh Face, who just finished their training at the Caldera (where riders learn) and is so excited for the new friends and adventures ahead! The Ace is the hot-shot, the popular one who’s become known for their success and skill. The Caretaker (image below) keeps the Warrenguard together, clean, and well-fed. They’re the heart of the Warren but maybe they need help too once in a while. Finally, there’s the Outsider. Think jaded, angry, brooding, but probably also hot, haunted, and dangerous. Maybe the reputation is deserved, but maybe it’s not! Each rider type at character creation has name suggestions (but you can make your own) as well as some attributes and traits to choose from. 

a dark-skinned woman with long white hair holding a staff and a smaller cat like pink creature on her shoulders, this is the Caretaker rider type

The Caretaker: taking care of you lot is a full time job!

There’s some phrases to choose from as well, catered to the type. Like the Ace has to choose something they’ve moved past – like an embarrassing nickname – while the Old-Timer has that one thing this life has never let them have. Natalie provides many examples to help you choose and build quickly. I was quite impressed by how only 5 to 10 minutes gives everyone enough time to frame up their character and make them feel already real. You finish up by asking someone a question of your choosing while the GM tells you whom else you’ll have to ask a stock question of. I do so love the spicy complexities that are added by these questions. As an example the Outsider has question of “How do I scare you?” Now someone might have a great idea for something truly terrifying, or maybe it’s a reminder of a lost fellow rider, or perhaps the answer is that they don’t. Lots of opportunity for collaborative story building, and some really fun characters!

So Many Dragons

But they’re dragonriders Rob! I know, I hear you. Natalie heard you. You don’t want just the rider, you want the dragon! There are 12 dragon types, indicated by color: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Pink, White, and Black. They’ve got your stats for combat – which I’ll get to later – but they’ve got flavorful actions and information as well. Like the White dragons won’t violate their moral code while the Orange dragons are small and sneaky. The Yellow are the fastest in the sky while the Pink are playful, enjoying the fun between protecting their hold. Now I’m not sure if it’s in the rules but I think it is: dragons are determined randomly by drawing lots or rolling a d12. I loved this. Maybe you’ll get a dragon that is very synonymous with your rider’s personality, but maybe you won’t. An Outsider with a Black dragon is reserved, self-centered, tricksy but that same Outsider with a Pink dragon? Well that’s a different story. Does the dragon try to encourage the Outsider to let loose and have fun or maybe the dragon is more a reflection of what the character would be, had that terrible tragic event in the past not happened… If you’ve got a dragon, then it’s time to name them and choose their pronouns just as you did your rider. The GM will typically play those dragons, but you’ll certainly guide the interaction.

an orange dragon, curving its neck in toward its body with a sneaky look upon its face

The troublesome Orange dragon

After you’ve met all the Riders and Dragons, Warrenguard has some questions about your warren and your hold to answer like who is the commander, some details about your Warrenguard (ooo uniforms!), aspects of your warren like does it have a training field or a sitting room, and of course who is the keeper of the facilities. It’s interesting to see the Caretaker and the keeper (an NPC) interact. Designing a Hold is quite fun from what makes it defensible (ancient wall, raging rivers) to how does the Hold support feeding the dragons (fishing? insects?). Your Hold will have some aspects too like fields or mazes of canals, a style of governance, and of course a name. The one-shot I played first with Natalie had a hold called Prism with Game of Thrones style houses based on various jewels. It all felt a mix of Netflix’s She-Ra and How to Train Your Dragon. We had a Hold between raging rivers and there was lots of mist, so most people never saw the terrors our Warrenguard fought. Well, until they did see them.

And that’s it! You’ve got a Hold, a Warren, some NPCs, a bunch of Riders and Dragons all sharing the skies. Again, I was amazed at how quickly a world comes into frame as your group suggests aspects, names, and builds the environment around your PCs and their dragons. I could roleplay all day long, but there are some rules besides character creation. First and foremost: use safety tools like lines and veils. Don’t be afraid to ask for a pause and ask for a change either. And by ask I mean, state you would like that change and the group should support such. It’s not about proving or stating why you need a change, just that you do. I’ll always encourage safety tools because in a collaborative, fantastic game like this there can be elements people don’t want to see included from firearms to spiders to falling great heights. It’s also important to remember the spectrum of characters that should be represented and Natalie has encouraged such with Warrenguard. If you want to play up the glistening abs cis straight dude, go for it. But if you want to be disabled? Trans? Fat? Non-white? Go for it, just do it with respect and be open with your table about your vision.

a gold dragon standing proud

The Gold dragon: leader of the Warrenguard

Rules to Tell Your Story

For playing purposes there’s two sets of rules at play inspired by the Belonging Outside Belonging system created by Avery Alder and Benjamin Rosenbaum. Basically, when in the character driven moments you’ll be working to drive the story or perhaps make change/take action on the world around you. You’ll need Strong Moves to do so, which take a token. How do you get tokens? By choosing to do Weak Moves, which also allow the GM to use GM Moves to influence the story. Every Rider has options listed for both as well as Regular Moves they can do any time. For example, the Fresh Face can get overwhelmed or take action that leaves everyone vulnerable to gain a token. But for a token, they can learn a new skill or win someone over with their positivity. Regular moves tend to exemplify the character type and so the Fresh Face gets to pet their dragon, miss home, or get excited at just about anything. I loved that the Outsider has a Regular Move of “show up unexpectedly.” Use it to come on screen/appear in a scene to get involved and take either a Strong or Weak Move. I definitely enjoyed leveraging it just to make quick remarks like when in a TV shows someone’s walking past an open door with laundry and hears something just at the right time to throw a quick line out. Considering the Outsider gets a token when they scoff at tradition or others, it’s a great opportunity! There’s other ways to use those tokens too, and we’ll get there!

custom fate dice for warrenguard that are red with dragon shield symbols

Oh yes, there’s dice!

Additionally the Fate Core and Fate Accelerated rule systems from Evil Hat are leveraged. Predominantly you’re utilizing the dragon’s stats in battle. They have careful, clever, flashy, forceful, quick, and sneaky. Based upon the approach you state, you’ll roll your fate dice and add the result to the relevant attribute. You might carefully line up a shot, draw the attention with a flashy maneuver, or sneak behind the enemy for example. While you can try to attack or defend, predominantly you want to set up advantages through aspects on the scene or the enemy that you can tag with tokens for a +2 bonus to your roll. Be careful, enemies can set up aspects too. Dragons start with a few aspects already depending on their type like keenest senses for the Blue or the tracking, glowing orbs of the Purple’s breath weapon. Typically the GM is setting a number for you to achieve to create advantages, but with an attack or defend it’s a comparative total.

See it’s important for a Rider to build up those tokens so they can help guide their Dragon to make the best attacks possible! Get attacked for 5 and yet roll 3 for a defend total? Well you’ll take 2 stress out of the 3 your dragon has but you can also take consequences to mitigate part of that damage. You do that with a negative aspect, but be careful because now the GM might leverage them when attacking you next time! Building aspects lets you set the scene and really bring a style, and story, to the combat that’s not purely numbers driven while the attack/defend actions make for quick action resolution and damage tracking. I was impressed to see both game systems woven together for some really entertaining play!

I can’t speak yet to the GM side of the house, other than unlike the traditional Belonging Outside Belonging games, you’ll need one. I’ve gotten a peak at the rules and one of the GM moves is having a dragon get involved in what’s happening, even just to comment like maybe a curt comment from a Red when you do something foolish. I look forward to running a game or two, and hoping I can do so at PAX Unplugged next year if Games On Demand will have me. Of course, if Natalie is running Warreguard at any convention, do try and get in that game. You will not be disappointed!!! I also want to shout out Abbey Kelly, Art Director for Warrenguard. They were great to play with in that one-shot and they’ve been incredibly helpful with getting materials together for this article. You can actually met her, Natalie, AnonymousGob the dragon artist, and the specialty dice maker John at a live Q&A on Monday the 19th at 8 p.m. EST as seen above!

I encourage you to do so, to check out the game, and if you can invest in the backerkit because you and your family, your friends will love this game! I’ll leave you with a bit more art that Abbey shared with me by way of AnonymousGob’s amazing sketches. Can you pick out any of the other dragon colors? What’s your guess? The first mentions gold dragon and I can totally see that in that top head shot with the dragon looking up with the final image above.  A couple in that first one look pretty angry, so maybe Red too, not that Gold can’t get angry? But I guess that’s true for the bottom left in the second, which is giving me Jurassic Park spitting dinosaur flashbacks. Oh! Finally, if you’re looking to see some Warrenguard in action, check out the videos at TotalPartyKiss with the amazing Natalie GMing!

See you on February 24th for the backerkit launch!

sketches of dragons

sketches of dragons

Investing In:

I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!

I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!


Banner – Warrenguard book, Luck of the Harbor

  1. Quote from Warrenguard backerkit, Luck of the Harbor
  2. Cozy Hold Room, Luck of the Harbor, art by Shan Bennion AKA anonbeadraws
  3. Caretaker, Luck of the Harborb, art by AnonymousGob
  4. Orange Dragon, Luck of the Harbor, art by AnonymousGob
  5. Gold Dragon, Luck of the Harbor, art by AnonymousGob
  6. Custom Fate dice for Warrenguard, Luck of the Harbor, crafted by Dice Dungeons
  7. Sketches of dragons, Luck of the Harbor, art by AnonymousGob

Rob Pontious

You may know Rob Pontious from Order of the Amber Die or Gehenna Gaming's first series of Monster Hearts 2. He currently writes Know Direction's Investing In blog as well as a player for the Valiant podcast and Roll for Combat's Three Ring Adventure. He's been a lover of TTRPGs for over three decades, as a gamer, and a GAYMER. You can find him on social media as @silentinfinity.