A couple of days back I stumbled upon a video by Matthew Colville. He’s your regular white, middle-aged, bearded geek with many years of DMing under his belt. He has worked in the video games industry and he has written fantasy novels. He also comes across as a genuinely nice guy and he has a lot of advice for anyone interested in running D&D – veterans and newbies alike. I’ve watched a couple of his videos so far, and I recommend you to check him out. I embedded one of his videos below.
By the way, if you know of any other YouTubers talking about D&D worth checking out, feel free to post about them in the comments below!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Roleplaying Games blog
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