Wendy’s isn’t afraid to go where its customers are, as it did when it infiltrated the video game Fortnite—and earned a Cannes Lion Grand Prix in the process.
Now the burger chain has gone further down the gaming rabbit hole with an impressively thorough foray into the analog world of tabletop role-playing games (a familiar pastime for many agency folks). “Feast of Legends,” which dropped this week at New York Comic Con, is a fully playable RPG, complete with game rules, setting information and an adventure set in the kingdom of “Freshtovia.”
A 97-page, illustrated, full-color pdf supplies all of the information necessary to play the game, which requires one person to run it—known as the Game Master—and two to four others to play it. Like longtime RPG juggernaut Dungeons & Dragons, the players use paper and pencil to create fantasy adventurers belonging to fast food-inspired societies like the “Order of the Baconator” to protect the land’s never-frozen beef from the depredations of villains like the Ice Jester and the ruler of the Twin Cities of Carl.
The book is full of these tongue-in-cheek references to competitors, like the Lake of John Silvers and the Temple of Panda. A statue of Emperor Dave and his flaming spatula grace the center of town where the adventure begins, and the players are sent on a heroic quest by Queen Wendy, who has ruled the nation for 50 years.
The game was created in-house, though D&D’s fingerprints are all over the final product. The game system itself uses a mix of the well-defined actions of modern D&D and the randomness of old-school tabletop games. Players roll a 20-sided die to determine the outcome of actions they attempt, which are selected from a predetermined list. Rolling a 1 or a 20 on almost any attempt results in serious consequences, which makes the combat unpredictable.
But game balance probably isn’t a big concern for groups that pick up “Feast of Legends.” Instead, they explore the Realm of Beef's Keep, fighting creatures like Hunger, or its smaller version, the Pang. Many of the villains are ice-themed, as Wendy’s valiantly pushes the “Fresh, Never Frozen” line throughout the content.
Proving once more that the brand knows its audience, “Feast of Legends” premiered with a live-streamed “actual play” session of the game played by “Critical Role,” the Webby Award-winning Twitch show hosted by voice actor Matt Mercer that is often credited with bringing RPGs into the mainstream.