Free League announces official Alien RPG

Dan Davenport

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Really hope it builds out the setting. There's cool stuff implied but never quite detailed like how Earth's colonies are spread out, the fact that it's the US colonial marines implies that colonies are under jurisdiction of nation states still present on Earth. Not to mention the fact that the marines seem to have met other "bugs" before.
To me, the most interesting thing about the Leading Edge Games version of Aliens was their elaboration on the Alien life cycle.
I skimmed the Leading Edge version back in the day, and what intrigued me the most was the inclusion of different varieties of alien fauna.
 

raniE

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Yeah, for this to be really useful there needs to be more stuff than just the xenomorphs. Running into the same stuff over and over again, especially since they're supposed to be generally unknown, would get old fast.
 

Skywalker

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They said in the podcast that the threats would be expanded beyond xenomorphs and noted the quote in Aliens of “bug hunts” as support for that.
 

Mankcam

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I have Forbidden Lands and the production quality is great, and the flavour is excellent.
I have no doubt that Fria Ligan will do Aliens just as well.

The system itself is okay, but nothing to jump ship from the rpg engines I usually use.
I am another one of those who has a few toolkit systems that I can easily use to run something like this. Some version of BRP comes to mind (BGB, a re-trapped Call of Cthulhu, Mythras etc). Also Fate Core can do it well if you get the Aspects and such right for the setting. The Fate Horror Toolkit would be useful to emulate the flavour of the first Aliens movie.
When in doubt, I still have Traveler, which can run this out of the box just as long as you alter the setting or set it in an isolated region, the rest is up to the GM to structure it as a horror game or a bughunt, rather than the usual Traveler stories.

So whilst I love the Aliens franchise, I can't see myself buying a game for it when I can easily use one of my own systems and refer to the internet wiki on the Aliens setting. If Fria Ligan releases any system-free sourcebooks for it, then I might take a look.
 

Rob Necronomicon

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On paper, I should be really excited about this... But I'm just not all that hyped for it because it was kinda' done already and really quite well too.

Cthulhu Rising (using brp): Definitely, Aliens RPG with the serial numbers filed off. But with added mythos! :smile: Just make sure you get all the supplements too (which were free).

Hostile (Cepheus engine) another Aliens hommage. And the setting is excellent! And it totally captures the Alien Movie vibe and more.

One other thing I really love about these particular games, they are not limited by the Alien cosmology per se. Sure, they do it but there are plenty of other threats to bother your players as well - Especially with C.R. :smile:
 

Moracai

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It's a shame that it'll use Mutant Year Zero system. I wanted to like the system as much as I love that setting, but in practice it was quite bland. I'll echo a previous sentiment that to play Aliens, you don't need a new system. Hell, I played in an Aliens game some 25 years ago that used Warhammer 1st edition rules!
 

Vile

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Same here, I didn't want to be one of the "Why do I need this?" crowd, but I don't really need anything other than Cthulhu Rising or Hostile, plus the two films and a bunch of books (like the Colonial Marines Technical Manual).
 

finarvyn

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I thought the first Alien movie was okay, but never really got into the later ones. I guess that I WANT to like Alien, but somehow it just doesn't grab me. I'm not sure why this RPG would be coming out now. Looks like the window for this was in the 1980's, but maybe I'm missing something.
 

Baulderstone

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They said in the podcast that the threats would be expanded beyond xenomorphs and noted the quote in Aliens of “bug hunts” as support for that.
That's kind of funny to me as I always interpreted the dismissive delivery of the line to meant that a "bug hunt" was like a "snipe hunt" or a "wild goose chase", that this was just going to be a waste of time, not that fighting hostile alien threats was something that they did all the time. On top of that, the complete dismissal everyone has for Ripley's story ("She's some kind of consultant. Apparently, she saw an alien once."), it seems strange for it to be a normal thing.

That aside, is it really all that interesting an interpretation to suggest what happened in the movies is commonplace?

In any case, I'm not that excited about the game. RPGs have been riffing on Aliens without a license since the movie came out. A license simply means that it is a game with tight restrictions on developing the setting, a development cycle that will be slowed while every product undergoes corporate review, and one that will completely disappear from legal existence as soon as the license dries up.

Like any game, if it is well-designed, it can bring me around. I'm just generally not a fan of licensed games, especially when I already own multiple games that can tackle the subject matter of the license with ease.
 

Toadmaster

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That's kind of funny to me as I always interpreted the dismissive delivery of the line to meant that a "bug hunt" was like a "snipe hunt" or a "wild goose chase", that this was just going to be a waste of time, not that fighting hostile alien threats was something that they did all the time. On top of that, the complete dismissal everyone has for Ripley's story ("She's some kind of consultant. Apparently, she saw an alien once."), it seems strange for it to be a normal thing.

Agree, not a snipe hunt necessarily, but I took the bug hunt comment to be similar to say US Marines invading a small Caribbean island (Grenada for the 1980s challenged). More of a nuisance mission than a real challenge.

This is also fairly clear from the relatively routine nature of the initial landing. Professional soldiers only going through the numbers to counter complacency. It wasn't until they found the colony empty and the growing weirdness that they started to show real concern. The aliens were clearly much more dangerous than any life forms they may have previously encountered. Doubtful even a green commander would have ordered the restriction on weapons if they expected anything like the aliens they found.
 

Dumarest

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It seems to me that if you want to create any kind of surprise or suspense, the only way to run an Alien- or Aliens-type game would be to run a few "normal" missions with your usual sci fi RPG (Traveller, for instance) and then drop your Alien scenario on the unsuspecting players, otherwise from the moment they see you whip out Alien: The Roleplaying Game and they start rolling up Colonial marines, mercenary teamsters, and arrogant androids , they're all just anticipating when the xenomorph(s) show up.
 

Simon Hogwood

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I'm not sure if I'll pick this one up either, but I think if given a free enough hand there might be an interesting setting to be teased out of the background, even without putting a Xenomorph under every other rock.

I wonder, does the license include the Alien Vs Predator movies? Probably not, but I'm sure if the Predators aren't at least alluded to in the game itself, some enterprising fan will have a homebrewed version ready within hours of the release. :grin:

I'm not sure why this RPG would be coming out now. Looks like the window for this was in the 1980's, but maybe I'm missing something.
It's the 40th anniversary of the original movie this year. The very day this game was announced, if I'm not mistaken.
 

raniE

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I thought the first Alien movie was okay, but never really got into the later ones. I guess that I WANT to like Alien, but somehow it just doesn't grab me. I'm not sure why this RPG would be coming out now. Looks like the window for this was in the 1980's, but maybe I'm missing something.
Fria Ligan's bread and butter is 80s stuff.

Mutant: Year Zero? Based on the old Swedish Mutant rpg that was a BRP game that came out in the mid 80s, then had a bunch of sequels and spinoffs (including the original Mutant Chronicles) until Järnringen (yes, the one that recently merged with Free League, although the company went through a lot of changes over time) put out a new version of Mutant in 2003.

Forbidden Lands? A hexcrawl-based fantasy game heavily influenced by the old Swedish Drakar och Demoner (the first Swedish rpg, at first just a translation of Magic World from Chaosium's Worlds of Wonder, later expanded in may different ways) going so far as to get the same artist for interior illustrations as DoD had back in the 80s.

Tales from the Loop? Based on Simon Stålenhag's illustrations of a fantastical 80s, plus a bunch of 80s kids movies and Stranger Things.

Coriolis is the only one that doesn't really fit in to the 80s thing. Instead it was inherited from Järnringen, as it was that companies second rpg after Mutant: Undergångens Arvtagare.

Basically, if it is 80s stuff (and I'd say most of the interest in alien stuff comes from Aliens rather than Alien) it is in their wheelhouse.
 

Shipyard Locked

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Mostly because I can "do" Aliens with a number of established systems and do it quite well. (Interlock, Savage Worlds are both systems I'd use for entirely different reasons).
A bit of a random question, but do you think Savage Worlds could do a good job with something like Resident Evil / Parasite Eve? What do you think of the new edition of Savage Worlds?
 

Skywalker

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It’s the 40th anniversary of Alien as well. Plus there are movies still being released for the franchise, even we never talk about those ones :smile:

Hostile (Cepheus engine) another Aliens hommage. And the setting is excellent! And it totally captures the Alien Movie vibe and more.
The designer of this RPG is working on the Alien RPG. Should be good to see what he does with the official setting and FL’s art and rules design assets.

A summary from the podcast stolen from RPGnet:

-There will be an official star chart that will lay out the galactic map of colonies and such.
-Cinematic mode will have some PCs probably not surviving, which we knew, but there will be player Agendas that will change during a Cinematic scenario’s three structured Acts.
-PvP may, but not always, be an element in Cinematic scenarios but typically will only climax in the third and final Act. Agendas change every Act, and other players won’t know another player’s Agenda.
-Cinematic scenarios will be published throughout the game’s run and be semi-connected - like a film sequel with a related plot but probably different characters.
-Core will have three Campaign frames: space truckers, probably marines, and something else? Later toolbox-style supplements will expand these.
-A set of rules for stealth gameplayer oriented around avoiding monsters. This will be sort of map-based, and inspired by Ripley and Newt crawling around and Alien Isolation.
-You can Push to gain stress dice which will increase your abilities but if you become too stressed you panic, and if other PCs witness you panicking they will gain stress dice, too. Obviously seeing a monster will give you stress dice, etc.
-Eight character Archetypes, based on like Ripley, Burke, Bishop, and Newt.
-Will contain and introduce other threats than just Xenomorphs, but no Predators.
-Three major geopolitical blocs, like Weyland-Yutani, but also a socialist bloc from William Gibson’s unused Alien 3 draft.
-Release probably in November. The preorder will net you a 160 page starter pdf.
 

Skywalker

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That's kind of funny to me as I always interpreted the dismissive delivery of the line to meant that a "bug hunt" was like a "snipe hunt" or a "wild goose chase", that this was just going to be a waste of time, not that fighting hostile alien threats was something that they did all the time. On top of that, the complete dismissal everyone has for Ripley's story ("She's some kind of consultant. Apparently, she saw an alien once."), it seems strange for it to be a normal thing.
Cool. They have a person who looks to be setting expert involved, so I guess they are going with the setting canon on this, and pushing that to help fill it out and make it more playable. I don’t think there was a suggestion that it would be a normal thing.
 

Dumarest

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It’s the 40th anniversary of Alien as well. Plus there are movies still being released for the franchise, even we never talk about those ones :smile:



The designer of this RPG is working on the Alien RPG. Should be good to see what he does with the official setting and FL’s art and rules design assets.

A summary from the podcast stolen from RPGnet:

-There will be an official star chart that will lay out the galactic map of colonies and such.
-Cinematic mode will have some PCs probably not surviving, which we knew, but there will be player Agendas that will change during a Cinematic scenario’s three structured Acts.
-PvP may, but not always, be an element in Cinematic scenarios but typically will only climax in the third and final Act. Agendas change every Act, and other players won’t know another player’s Agenda.
-Cinematic scenarios will be published throughout the game’s run and be semi-connected - like a film sequel with a related plot but probably different characters.
-Core will have three Campaign frames: space truckers, probably marines, and something else? Later toolbox-style supplements will expand these.
-A set of rules for stealth gameplayer oriented around avoiding monsters. This will be sort of map-based, and inspired by Ripley and Newt crawling around and Alien Isolation.
-You can Push to gain stress dice which will increase your abilities but if you become too stressed you panic, and if other PCs witness you panicking they will gain stress dice, too. Obviously seeing a monster will give you stress dice, etc.
-Eight character Archetypes, based on like Ripley, Burke, Bishop, and Newt.
-Will contain and introduce other threats than just Xenomorphs, but no Predators.
-Three major geopolitical blocs, like Weyland-Yutani, but also a socialist bloc from William Gibson’s unused Alien 3 draft.
-Release probably in November. The preorder will net you a 160 page starter pdf.
LMM-Cover-Images-42.jpg
 

Séadna

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That's kind of funny to me as I always interpreted the dismissive delivery of the line to meant that a "bug hunt" was like a "snipe hunt" or a "wild goose chase", that this was just going to be a waste of time, not that fighting hostile alien threats was something that they did all the time. On top of that, the complete dismissal everyone has for Ripley's story ("She's some kind of consultant. Apparently, she saw an alien once."), it seems strange for it to be a normal thing.
Apparently that scene has another bit that inspired fan stuff that eventually became official. When the Lieutenant says it's a "xenomorph" it was apparently supposed to demonstrate that he's a highfalutin educated military man with no experience using a fancy technical term. However it was taken on by the fans and then comics as the name of the species.
 

Skywalker

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Any word as to if they will be including the Prometheus films in the game's continuity?
Nothing specifically on Prometheus but the licence does seems to extend to all Alien related material out there. There are focussing on the classic era of the first three movies but they reference Alien comics and computer games in the podcast.
 

Dumarest

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I’d be more interested in a Predator RPG, to be honest. Dutch is one of my favorite movie characters. “GET TO DA CHOPPA!!!”
Arnold vs. xenomorph, how can that not have happened yet?
giphy-14.gif
 

Dumarest

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Just occurred to me that inserting a xenomorph-inspired creature into you Star Wars or Star Trek campaigns would be a fun one-off surprise. Imagine a scenario your Star Wars players think is a riff on the abominable snowmen attacking Hoth base or your Star Trek players think is a rerun of "The Devil in the Dark," but instead of wampas or hortas they're dealing with xenomorphs.
sttos_star_trek_babe_vs__alien_xenomorph_by_gonzo88-d7qy52w.jpg
 

Toadmaster

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It's the 40th anniversary of the original movie this year. The very day this game was announced, if I'm not mistaken.

20th Century Fox has apparently approved some short films for the anniversary.


Alien short films


Predator is also under 20th Century Fox so even if lacking Predators they could potentially mine the Alien related content from the AvP products.

There is a boatload of material beyond Alien, and Aliens out there. Years worth of official and fan fiction, derivatives, spin offs and clones they can mine for ideas.


This is just the official Alien novels (excluding AVP reference), 23 of them. I've read 2 or 3 in the 90s. They weren't terrible, although not particularly memorable either as I don't remember much about them.

List of Alien novels
 
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Tulpa Girl

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There is a boatload of material beyond Alien, and Aliens out there. Years worth of official and fan fiction, derivatives, spin offs and clones they can mine for ideas.
Unfortunately, some of the best non-filmed material, such as the early Dark Horse comics, were contradicted by the later movies.
 

Toadmaster

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Unfortunately, some of the best non-filmed material, such as the early Dark Horse comics, were contradicted by the later movies.
Since when has that mattered, Star Wars, and Star Trek canon is full of holes. Hopefully they will have the latitude to pick and choose the best of what is out there.
 

Giganotosaurus

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Just occurred to me that inserting a xenomorph-inspired creature into you Star Wars or Star Trek campaigns would be a fun one-off surprise. Imagine a scenario your Star Wars players think is a riff on the abominable snowmen attacking Hoth base or your Star Trek players think is a rerun of "The Devil in the Dark," but instead of wampas or hortas they're dealing with xenomorphs.
I've been thinking of writing up a Spelljammer "Aliens" one-off adventure. The PC's come across a large derelict galleon floating in the void and would have to fight off a Red Slaad that killed the previous crew.
 

Toadmaster

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I've been thinking of writing up a Spelljammer "Aliens" one-off adventure. The PC's come across a large derelict galleon floating in the void and would have to fight off a Red Slaad that killed the previous crew.
There was an X-men vs "not the Alien" issue. One of the younger X-men (female, maybe Rogue) all alone in the X-mansion with said "not the alien".
 

Baulderstone

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Apparently that scene has another bit that inspired fan stuff that eventually became official. When the Lieutenant says it's a "xenomorph" it was apparently supposed to demonstrate that he's a highfalutin educated military man with no experience using a fancy technical term. However it was taken on by the fans and then comics as the name of the species.
Yeah. Hearing xenomorph used as the name of the species always makes me grind my teeth for that reason.
 

tenbones

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A bit of a random question, but do you think Savage Worlds could do a good job with something like Resident Evil / Parasite Eve? What do you think of the new edition of Savage Worlds?
I think Savage Worlds would do Resident Evil/Parasite Eve *better* than Aliens. Heck - so much of Savage Worlds content is centered around that kind of content. You could *easily* lift the Sanity rules, Weird Science, Rippertech, etc. from their various horror settings and go to town.

That said - the current edition I like very much. BUT... I've been experimenting with it, and it's perfectly fine at its core, but they're emphasizing that the Genre Splat books will give you a lot more options with genre-specific rules for you to fine-tune your setting or individual game to your tastes. I'm pretty confident that anyone that possesses the Explorer edition splats could easily parse those rules into the new edition with virtually no effort.
 

Voros

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There's also the Brood, which are pretty plain Alien rip offs. I'm partial to the start of the Brood storyline which ran in the late 80s. It had a very dark beginning.
Yeah I love the Brood comics.
 
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