Synopsis: “Taking place shortly after the events of Aliens, the first RPG will propel players into the vast possibilities of the Outer Rim Frontier. From the pioneering colonists and scientists to the ever-present Company reps and Colonial Marines, the game promises a diverse range of characters and gameplay experiences far beyond the staple cat-and-mouse suspense and survival horror of the franchise.”
Preview: A few months ago, Free League Publishing announced a 20th Century Fox team-up to produce a tabletop RPG set in the cosmos of the Alien franchise. Billed as a harsh, open-world, the game comes in two modes- cinematic (nasty, brutish and short) and campaign (continuous, charitable and more traditional). It is set just after the third film in the franchise, Alien 3, in the year 2183, and both modes are based on Free League’s d6 dice pool system that runs off of attributes, skills and gear. Characters can ‘push’ attempts that generate stress but these actions can lead to panic. It’s a fairly straightforward system and reviews have been mostly positive since the PDF release of the Cinematic Starter Kit. But if you haven’t ordered the book (the standard rule-book is available on preorder now for 46.74), and thus been granted access to this starter kit, you can watch Angry Joe and pals, prolific and powerhouse Youtubers in the gaming space, sit through their first actual play video and make your own decision.
So, convinced yet? Well then, what are you waiting for? Preorder the Alien RPG now and get access to a gorgeous 168-page Cinematic Starter Kit pdf.
Now…Does it look Horrific?
Fear (Cinematic). Being such a well-known franchise, the RPG draws heavily from canon and relies on player familiarity with the alien monster (from face-huger to full-bodied) to create a palpable and ‘known’ sense of fear. Built into this knowledge is the omnipresent Company, and potential for player’s to have alternative motives, meaning the Fear comes not just from the monsters, but from human and android relationships. The stress mechanic, even given the simple game-play, only adds to the cinematic fear.
Setting (Nostalgic). Tight-quarters and space ships in the vacuum of the cosmos – the definition of Sci-Fi horror. It doesn’t get much more horrific than the Alien setting.
Consequences (Intense). From the setting, which can kill you with a punctured hole in your suit, a lack of ship oxygen, a fall from a loading catwalk to the horrific alien monsters running amok and their iconic variety of finishing moves, to the omnipotent corporation that can imprison you or worse for the slightest mistake, the consequences of this game are in-your-face and unforgiving.
Suspense (Escalating). From the immediacy of the monsters, to the ticking-countdown of various failing space systems, impending corporate directives and the ethics of saving yourself or the race of man, each moment in the RPG has the potential to drip with palpable suspense.
Is it a Horror? Verdict: Sci-Fi Horror at its Finest