Onward: Quests Of Yore

Onward: Quests of Yore serves as an instruction manual for an in-world role-playing game from the Pixar movie Onward. Readers are introduced to a panoply of mythical creatures that function as enemies or allies in the RPG, including dragons, gnomes, goblins, griffins, unicorns, sprites, trolls, centaurs, hydras, merfolk, and the mighty manticore.


This manual includes more magical spells than a wizard can shake their wand at. There are incantations that empower the spellcaster to control fire, water, or wind. Others amplify one’s voice, increase one’s running speed exponentially, or even enable the spellcaster to levitate. And then there are legendary relics like Bozark’s Hammer, which was used to topple the Neverending Wall, and the Shield of Zadar, which saved Desolation Island from the Torrential Tide.

Wizard with staff

But the heart and soul of Onward: Quests of Yore is the quest undertaken by brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot. Their tale is told through comments and annotations that the brothers add into the margins of the Quests of Yore instruction manual. Big brother Barley is a big believer in magic and myth. He uses the Quests of Yore rulebook as an instruction manual for life. Younger brother Ian is initially more skeptical of the idea that magic ever existed in their world, and he challenges his older brother with his incredulity.

Two brothers

That all changes when Ian discovers and reads an incantation that brings their dearly departed father back from the afterlife for just one day. Well, it brings part of him back. He’s just a pair of legs, and the boys embark on an epic journey to complete the spell and retrieve the rest of their dad before the sun sets on their one day together, using the Quests of Yore instruction manual as their guide.

And speaking of instructions, here’s a video explaining how to play the real, live game based on the movie and the book!

And you can even listen to the music from the movie while you read the book or play the game.

When Disney approached Rob about doing another book, his fourth for them, Rob was excited. When he found out it would be a tie-in with an upcoming Pixar movie, he was doubly excited. But when he was told that the book would be in the form of an instruction manual for a role-playing game, Rob got a little nervous. Rob is a board game fanatic. He and his wife play games almost every night, and sometimes spend whole weekends collecting cards and moving meeples around their dining room tabletop. Their hall closet is burgeoning with their board game collection: everything from light-hearted ten-minute dice games to complicated brain-burners. But despite Rob’s penchant for game playing, he has yet to play an RPG.

He wanted so badly to work with the people from Pixar. He’s been a huge fan of their movies since the first Toy Story film. But could he really write about a kind of game that he knew so little about?

Turns out that he could. Rob discovered that, although he’s never played a role-playing game, he is familiar with the sort of fantasy creatures that often populate RPG worlds. And he lives with one of the most fantastical creatures he’s ever met — his rabbit, Digby Flopwell.

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