Category Archives: News & Reviews

A first look at the Unity RPG–Part One

imageUnity is a roleplaying game by Zensara Studios distributed by Modiphius which was crowdfunded on Kickstarter back in 2016. I really haven’t had it on my radar until Panny from Modiphius asked me if I was interested in doing a review. At first I was hesitant, because I feared it might be another overly complex fantasy heartbreaker. Oh boy, was I wrong!

In a way it is a heartbreaker. From the setting to the mechanics Unity shows that the authors love fantasy roleplaying in all its forms. The setting is reminiscent of fantasy MMOs like World of Warcraft, and JRPGs like the Final Fantasy series. The rules have elements from fan favorites like D&D 5th Edition or Monte Cook’s Cypher System. But what really sets it apart is that everything works perfectly together. This could have easily turned out like a weird mishmash of ideas, but fortunately it’s a really impressive game with a lot of potential. Unity is a class-based fantasy roleplaying game where magic and technology coexist. It has also elements of a post-apocalyptic game with a world slowly recuperating from a huge cataclysm.

image

Artwork and Layout
The first thing you notice when you leaf through the 371-paged PDF (there’s also a hardcover version) is the gorgeous artwork. The book just looks awesome. The production values are definitely top notch comparable to what you’d expect from Free League Publishing or Paizo. The book is also laid out in a very clear and readable manner. It uses a standard two column layout with sidebars which often contain helpful information.

Continue reading A first look at the Unity RPG–Part One

Kickstarter: “Making History: Three One-Session RPGs”

Back in 2010, about a month after I finished writing WR&M I visited GenCon in Indianapolis. There a fellow RPG fan called Tristan Zimmerman did an interview with me for his RPG podcast. Now, almost 9 years later he’s running a Kickstarter campaign for his own roleplaying games!

ab59e1b7ea25fe1c741214566e9e85ad_original

If you ever wanted to run a game in a historical setting but didn’t have the time for all the prep and research involved, Tristan has you covered. “Making History: Three One-Session RPGs” contains three complete games including pregenerated characters and adventures set into three eras of play. There’s “Norse Ivory”, a game in which you play Normans in 994 A.D. on a quest to the lands of their Viking ancestors. In “A Killing in Cahokia”  you take on the roles of Native Americans investigating a murder and conspiracy in a Native American metropolis long before white men came to American shores. Last but not least there’s “Darken Ship”, a modern day game in which you play low-ranking US Navy sailors alone in a ship which should carry a crew of thousands.

The Kickstarter started today and has a goal of $1500. The game is already finished in digital form, but he needs help to finance a print run. Tristan has graciously provided me with a copy of the game and it looks very cool. All three games sound very intriguing (I am especially excited about the one set in Cahokia), the rules are fairly easy  and I’m sure you could use all three games to introduce your friends to the hobby, or run it as a convention or similar event. Each game also comes with reading recommendations in case you want to learn more about the adventures’ subjects.

If you are into historical RPGs and/or a game which you can use to introduce the hobby to new people, you definitely should check out Tristan’s Kickstarter!

Alien RPG coming from Free League

It’s no secret that I love everything Free League Publishing (aka Fria Ligan) has released so far. Mutant: Year Zero (see my review here) is definitely my favorite game at the monent (including its spin-offs GenLab Alpha, Mechatron, and Elysium). So it’s no surprise that I am very excited about their upcoming official Alien RPG. Yes, you read that correctly. We’re talking about a tabletop roleplaying game based on the Alien franchise first created by Ridley Scott and Dan O’Bannon back in the late ‘70s.

xenomorph2-1

Roleplaying Where No One Can Hear You Scream
Their official website already showcases some of the artwork from the upcoming book (which will come out this year!) and gives a few details on the setting and rules. The artwork is – as expected from a Free League game utterly gorgeous. I’ve included a few pieces into this article.

Spacewalk2

The Alien RPG will be using Free League’s proven Mutant engine. It’s a quite simple pool-based system, which tends to be quite deadly in most of its incarnations. I think it’s a perfect fit for the Alien RPG.

The setting of the Alien RPG will be the 2183, three years after the destruction of Hadley’s Hope on LV-426 and the closing of the prison on Fiorina 161. So it’s set after the events of Alien, Aliens, and Alien 3.  I don’t know if the “prequels” Prometheus and Alien: Covenant will be considered canon, or if the events depicted in those movies will affect the game universe in any way.

Climb

In my opinion Free League is perfectly suited to pull this off. They have great production values, which is key especially with expensive licenses. Don’t get me started on some of the stuff Mongoose produced during the d20 craze. Their Mutant engine is easy to learn, has enough moving parts to keep you interested for quite a while, and supports the style of gameplay an Alien RPG needs. Life in space is cheap, and no one will hear you scream – especially when all dies come up as 1s. Last but not least they have experience with pseudo-historic setting (like Tales from the Loop). Sure, Alien is not set in the 1980s, but it has a certain late ‘70s/early ‘80s feel, you just have to get right. I am confident they’ll release the Alien RPG we always wanted.