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Some thoughts on Rogue Space

First things first: this is not a review. I have bought a copy of this game a couple of days ago and I just wanted to share my thoughts on it. With this out of the way, let’s have a look at Rogue Space.

I faintly remember that I already looked at Rogue Space ages ago, but dismissed it for some reason I can’t remember. Rogue Space is a rules-lite SF roleplaying game written by C.R. Brandon that is available as a free pocketmod edition (which includes the most basic rules) and a 114-paged PDF or softcover book available from Lulu (for about 7€ and 12€ respectively).

War Poster 2What interested me in Rogue Space in the first place was the fact that it had ultra-light rules. The older I get the more I tend towards more rules-lite games and especially SF games are usually a bit more crunchy than its fantasy counterparts. So Rogue Space is a welcome change.

Rogue Space uses a simple task resolution system, where you check against a difficulty number set by the GM with the respective attribute + 2d6. If you roll higher than the difficulty number, you succeed. The five attributes used are Fighting, Acquiring, Science, Empathy, and Repair. The hitpoints of the character (and attribute bonuses) are determined by what character archetype you choose. Rogue Space offers the choice between Soldier, Scoundrel, and Technician which should be pretty self-explanatory. These archetypes form the starting point of the character, but are not classes. How you develop your character over a longer campaign is totally up to you.

What I like a lot is that basically everything else is optional. There are optional Psi rules, alien races, cybernetics, specialist skills, and even magic. The book contains rules for starships (which is a must for a SF game) and even with all the options added the rules are still very light. I haven’t had the chance to run this game yet, but it looks like my perfect game.

From what I’ve seen so far Rogue Space can be used with almost every genre. As far as I know someone already created a Mass Effect conversion (which is always a plus). The artwork and layout of the book are nothing special, but that’s only a minor quibble. Overall Rogue Space looks like a very cool rules-lite SF game.


Review: Okult

A lot of horror stories begin with the protagonists returning to their hometown and end by them confronting the terrible secret lurking there. Think of Stephen King’s IT or the recent movie The World’s End. Wilhelm Person’s storygame Okult uses that very same premise.

Each player in this GM-less storygame plays an adult who has returned to his hometown after many years of being away. Over the course of one game the player characters meet, reminisce about their teenage years (in the form of flashbacks), and slowly uncover the secret of their hometown.

The 36-paged rulebook shines because of Wilhelm Person’s awesome writing and the terrific photos it uses to set the mood of the game. And it’s a joy to read through the extensive game play examples.

What sets Okult apart from most other games I’ve reviewed in the past is that it can be played without a GM, has almost no rules, and uses no dice. It’s a storygame by heart, where the players have full control over the story. The rules give some guidelines how to create your hometown, how to escalate the story towards an exciting and terrifying climax, and how to frame scenes and flashbacks.

Especially if you are new to storygames I recommend giving Okult a look. What I really like about the game is the premise and the great and unpretentious writing. The game is available as Pay-What-You-Want on RPGNow.


The new Obsidian Portal: A first look

A while ago, Obsidian Portal has undergone a massive relaunch. The way the site looks and works has changed tremendously. Earlier this month I have been contacted by the people running Obsidian Portal and was asked if I was interested in reviewing the site. I have played around with Obsidian Portal in the past, but never done anything serious with it, so I decided to use it for releasing my Fallout Fudged rules.

So what does Obsidian Portal offer to its users? On OP you can create a site for your campaigns which features a blog (called Adventure Log), forums, a wiki, a calendar for scheduling game sessions, digital character sheets and many more. Alas the forums and calendar are for paying customers only. And if you don’t pay for OP’s services everything you create is public.

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