This post concludes my first look/review of the fantasy RPG Unity. If you haven’t read Part One yet, you can check it out here.
Before having a closer look at the rules, let’s talk about the setting a bit more. Aside from the detailed history, the Unity core rulebook gives you an overview of the world and its locations, as well as its new gods – or rather demigods. When the mortals slew the Ivory Queen her divine energy wasn’t lost and six new gods formed around certain human ideals and beliefs. The book gives short descriptions on these demigods like Aluvane the Dawnwalker and Mave the Trickster.
Following a certain god has – as far as I know – no mechanical effect, but it helps to immerse yourself more deeply into the setting.
Magic and Technology One aspect of the setting – which I didn’t mention enough – in Part One are the techno-magic artifacts of the Golden Age. Unity is not your standard pseudo-medieval setting, but the technology level is much higher. There are firearms, huge mecha called Titan Rigs, and many other technological and magical marvels from this lost era. This aspect of the Unity setting reminded me a lot of Japanese video games like the Final Fantasy series which might have been one of the inspirations.
A Shattered World
The world’s geography is described in pretty broad strokes which I like a lot. Often GMs and players get quickly overwhelmed with setting information. In Unity you get description of a few major locations like capital cities and the rest can be fleshed out by the GM. One focus of the game is definitely exploration since the world changed a lot since the Cataclysm. The broad strokes approach to the setting also makes it easier to strip it out if you want to use Unity for your homebrew world.
Creating your character is a pretty straightforward process in Unity. The game recommends that you set up a Session Zero for that purpose. So everyone can talk about what they expect from the game and what character they want to play. This definitely helps to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
Earlier today I was made aware of a comment Zak S. posted on the Demon City Kickstarter page. I’ve included a screenshot below.
Personally I find this highly disturbing. What he’s doing here is an attempt to monitor spaces where he’s not welcome anymore. Regardless of whether he is eventually found guilty of anything or not, this is unacceptable behavior. There’s also a badly veiled threat included in this: “I likely won’t weigh in, but I will make a record of it and that record will come in handy soon. There will be accountability on all of this.“
Sigh. I don’t know what he’s trying to accomplish with this. Is he collecting “evidence” for a lawsuit? Is he hoping people will censor themselves out of fear? Is he planning to send in his followers? Whatever his plans are, this is IMHO a bad strategy. This behavior is exactly why people have avoided him in the first place, long before any accusations. Damn, I am so sick and tired of his shenanigans…
Unity 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.
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.
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