Free League announces official Alien RPG

finarvyn

Legendary Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2018
Messages
248
Reaction score
406
The full final-version of the Alien RPG was released to pre-order folks the other day. I've downloaded but not had the time to read this. I'm stoked about the game, but am not sure if my players will be interested. (They prefer fantasy to scifi, sadly.) :sad:
 

Nobby-W

Far more clumsy and random than a blaster
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
1,003
Reaction score
1,470
I'm mildly interested in this one. If the writers are allowed to expand the setting a bit this could be an intriguing game. I suspect the universe will feel a bit like 2300AD.
Probably. 2300AD came off as quite derivative of Aliens.
 

Picaroon Jack

And the Brothers Slack
Joined
Jul 6, 2018
Messages
812
Reaction score
1,384
I was emailed the PDF link the other day, I've just started looking through it and it looks great. I've just been reading the GM rules about campaign play versus (the MUCH more fatal) cinematic play. My plan is to open up with a cinematic scenario with either 1. one of the characters who dies (survives?) being a family member of a campaign character or 2. the campaign players being sent to investigate.

But that's just my initial idea. We'll see if it survives after reading the whole thing.
 

Skywalker

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
446
Reaction score
670
Apparently the stress rules are interesting.

TELL ME ALL ABOUT THEM NOW. DO IT NOW. NOW. NOW!
Stress initially adds extra d6s to every roll. These represent the focus gained from adrenaline etc. However, if any of those d6s come up a 1, you roll a d6 and ad your Stress level on a table. The result can be stressing out those around you, fumbling your weapon, freaking out etc.

Stress can be gained from being scared, wounded, firing on full auto, seeing others freak out (making it contagious). Another way is that a player can make a reroll for 1 Stress, improving the chance of success in that roll and subsequent ones, but also increasing the chance of framing out.

There are a number of ways to reduce stress, such as resting, drinking alcohol, and doings drugs.

The system is a little artificial but its great in play. It not only emulates the genre and puts a ticking clock into the session, but also makes the players a part of their PCs losing it rather than something just imposed on them like SAN loss.
 

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
2,199
Reaction score
2,888
Just finished the pdf yesterday, it's really cool how they included everything in the franchise, even the non-biomechanical Aliens from Covenant.
 

CRKrueger

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,051
Reaction score
3,218
Ok, watch the Aliens movie. Read the Stress mechanic. Explain Hicks. :devil:
No, ”He threw 300 dice and never rolled a one” doesn’t explain it.

I haven’t finished my copy yet, so don’t know if there’s a way to better simulate Colonial Marines through special rules, but this seems more like a non-combatants game.
 

Skywalker

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
446
Reaction score
670
Hicks actively manages his Stress levels throughout the movie, calling for controlled burst fire, sleep, reminder others to stay focussed, not being caught in a firefight without a gun etc.

86E176EF-62CD-4525-AB13-6E10873471C3.jpeg

Also low levels of stress may not result in freaking out, even on a 1. It actually a good thing to "stay frosty" with a low level stress.

1573416490778.png

He’s a great contrast to Hudson who rises and falls with Stress as he does little to control it.
 
Last edited:

Toadmaster

Legendary Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
729
Reaction score
1,092
Hicks actively manages his Stress levels throughout the movie, calling for controlled burst fire, sleep, reminder others to stay focussed, not being caught in a firefight without a gun etc.

View attachment 13467

Also low levels of stress may not result in freaking out, even on a 1. It actually a good thing to "stay frosty" with a low level stress.

View attachment 13488

He’s a great contrast to Hudson who rises and falls with Stress as he does little to control it.
Not claiming the rules are highly researched science, but I like the way they work, and they do seem to pay some attention to the real world.

When I went through the fire academy it was highly stressed that you never run on the fire ground (in fact you would be doing push ups if caught running, 5 to stay alive :hehe: ). One it just asks for accidents with the stupid sloppy fit rubber boots everybody used then (and the budget conscious still use), but running vs "walking with a purpose" can also trigger your fight or flight reflex raising stress, impacting fine motor control and clear thinking. Seeing firefighters running also tends to make everybody else nervous (do they know something I don't?).

Similarly when communicating, particularly on the radio a lot of effort is put into controlling your voice. Don't huff and puff into the radio, don't yell into the radio, don't make rushed, poorly thought out statements. Take a moment to center yourself, catch your breath etc, think about what you are going to say, and only then say it. Stress is contagious, somebody clearly freaked out, making a confused statement over the radio will spread to others. A calm, calculated voice tells everybody things are going just fine even if it isn't.

I am still in awe of Chief Joseph Pfeifer, who was the first arriving FDNY Batalion Chief and the initial Incident Commander at 9/11. There were two French film makers with him that day who caught it all on video. Chief Pfeifer literally watched the first plane fly into the World Trade center and then took command of a major incident while making the whole thing look as simple as ordering a pizza.


Hicks and Apone are good examples of this, Gorman and Hudson not so much. I haven't looked at the most recent rules, but looked through the initial draft and liked how the stress rules worked and that it looked like they included ways to mitigate stress in self and others.

Having had a boss who screamed and freaked out all the time, and others who stayed low key when internally they had to be shitting bricks, presence both good and bad is absolutely "a thing".
 

Picaroon Jack

And the Brothers Slack
Joined
Jul 6, 2018
Messages
812
Reaction score
1,384
Hicks actively manages his Stress levels throughout the movie, calling for controlled burst fire, sleep, reminder others to stay focussed, not being caught in a firefight without a gun etc.

View attachment 13467

Also low levels of stress may not result in freaking out, even on a 1. It actually a good thing to "stay frosty" with a low level stress.

View attachment 13488

He’s a great contrast to Hudson who rises and falls with Stress as he does little to control it.
 

Toadmaster

Legendary Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
729
Reaction score
1,092
Speaking of Hudson...

I think it is great that one possible result of a failed stress roll is "come get some" action. Demonstrated here by Hudson who is losing it, but going out with an "ultimate bassass" style that he probably would have approved of. No cowering in a corner for him.

 

Skywalker

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
446
Reaction score
670
No. There are a handful of other creatures listed included some from obscure source material like Tanaka Scorpionids from the comics based on the Alien line of Kenner toys.
 
Last edited:

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
2,199
Reaction score
2,888
Just to say a bit more. There are essentially three Xenomorph-type species given in the core.

The Neomorph from Covenant.
The non-biomechanical version of the Xenomorph made by David the Android from human tissue in Alien: Covenant. Called a Praetomorph. Previously called a Protomorph in official material.
And finally the Xenomorph itself.

The Neomorph:
The life cycle is:
  1. Fungal spore Egg sac
  2. Fungal motes. Mutate host's physiology so that it is fooled into building an additional organ, the infant Neomorph.
  3. Bloodburster
  4. Young Neomorph
  5. Adult

The Praetomorph:
Are non-biomechanical by which I mean they lack the piston and machine like elements common to Geiger's design, having instead a clear skeleton and musculature more like a natural animal. Teeth are made of bone, not metal. It's life cycle is:
  1. Egg
  2. Facehugger. Bigger than the Xenomorph one and slightly less mobile
  3. Imp. Chestburster analogue. Looks like a mini Praetomorph. No armour unlike a Chestburster
  4. Stalker. Adult form. Very dangerous ability where every attack that causes damage gives it a free attack. Essentially goes into a frenzy upon drawing blood.
The Praetomorph is more fire resistant and harder to kill than a Stage 4 Xenomorph (see below), but is significantly less intelligent and more impulsive.

The Xenomorph:
It's left ambiguous as to whether the Engineers (aka Pilots, aka Space Jockies) made the Xenomorph or whether it is a naturally evolved animal that they worship.

Life cycle:
  1. Egg

  2. Facehugger. There is a special version called a Royal Facehugger that implants a Queen. It's more intelligent, with more health and a more corrosive acid for blood. It implants a Queen and then implants a "protector" in another host. Taken from the Assembly cut of Alien 3.

  3. Chestburster, Bambi burster and Queenburster.
    Bambi busters emerge from quadrupedal hosts. They're more mobile than Chestbursters.
    Queenbursters emerge from hosts implanted by a Royal Facehugger. They have more health, armour and more potent acidic blood.
    Note the game doesn't go with fan ideas like their being a different Queen form for different initial hosts. A dog might give a Bambi, a human a Chestburster, but a Queen is a Queen.

  4. Drone and Scout. If the Alien is not part of a hive their development stops here.
    The Scout is the adult form from a quadrupedal host. Drone from a bipedal host. Drone's are incredibly silent and give negative modifiers to observation checks. They have more health and mobility, but are slower than Scouts. The xenomorph in the first film is a Drone. Drones are also capable of converting living victims into eggs in response to the absence of a Queen.

  5. Soldier, Worker and Sentry. All develop in response to the presence of a Queen. They all become more intelligent
    Soldiers and Workers are seen in the second film. Soldiers attack and gather victims. Workers build the hive with their resin. Sentries are the adult form of the quadrupedal xenomorphs.
    Workers are actually smaller than their previous stage as a Drone. They're also quite weak, slow and unarmoured.
    Sentries are just better than Soldiers in every way.

  6. Praetorian, Charger, Queen.

    Praetorians are the Queen's guard. They're given the lore developed for them for the AvP 2 game that came out in 2001. That is they're the result of a Stage V being fed Royal Jelly made by the Queen and they can molt into a Queen if the Queen dies. Twice the height of a stage five.

    Chargers are a rhino like form from the comics. Also a result of eating Royal Jelly, in addition to metals.

    Praetorians and Chargers only appear in hives with >300 individuals.

    Queen everybody knows.

  7. Some theorised forms are given. Empresses, Queen Mothers, Palantines, Kings. No stats or info are given on them, just that further forms are rumoured for massive hives or multiple hives.
Note all stages have randomized attack tables and wounding them releases acid. Stage IVs are basically too much for a non-marine PC. Stage Vs can be TPKs just running the numbers.

I'll give an example with a party facing a Stage V (Soldier) tomorrow to demonstrate.
 

Toadmaster

Legendary Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2018
Messages
729
Reaction score
1,092
Drones are also capable of converting living victims into eggs in response to the absence of a Queen.
Ok, so they got to this. It has been implied that the xeno in Alien was capable of laying eggs, suggesting any xeno could develop into a queen. This interpretation works for me, as this is sort of how bees work (they can turn a regular egg into a queen egg if something happens to the queen) but at a level above appropriate for a super predator like the aliens.


I haven't had the time to download and read the most recent material. Do they get into synthetics or the various factions within the alien universe? Synthetics played a fairly significant role in the AvP computer games.
 

Dan Davenport

Hardboiled GMshoe
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
586
Reaction score
362
Does the game include any information regarding space combat? I always wondered what sort of gun turrets those were on the Sulaco. :smile:
 

Charlie D

Man on the Silver Mountain
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
1,409
Reaction score
2,015
I really thought I had seen the worst game specific name for a GM, but then this game had to come in and top it.

Game Mother. Really.

At least it shortens to GM though I guess?
I like the name. Mother is the computer on a lot of ships.
 

Charlie D

Man on the Silver Mountain
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
1,409
Reaction score
2,015
Does the game include any information regarding space combat? I always wondered what sort of gun turrets those were on the Sulaco. :smile:
Space combat is somewhat like in Coriolis. There are ship positions (captain etc.), a map, space combat starts with sensors, and has tactical options. Each role (engineer, pilot etc.) has a list of options to perfom.

Ships can be built using a variety of hulls and options including weapons. Combat works like on the ground with critical damage tables and the crew able to panic.

Sulaco:
ARMAMENTS:
Long Lance ASAT Missiles (8 missiles)
Heavy Railgun Turret
800MeV Particle Beam Weapon
Orbital Mines (60 mines)
Tactical Nukes (20 missiles)
CIWS Laser Array
Sensor Drones
Sensor Decoys

1573608741964.png
 
Last edited:

Malleustein

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2018
Messages
125
Reaction score
201
I really thought I had seen the worst game specific name for a GM, but then this game had to come in and top it.

Game Mother. Really.

At least it shortens to GM though I guess?
Yeah, that's not good. Though I suppose having the players report to Mother sort of fits.

Regardless, after reading this thread I put money down on the core book and the screen.
 

Dan Davenport

Hardboiled GMshoe
Joined
Aug 23, 2017
Messages
586
Reaction score
362
Space combat is somewhat like in Coriolis. There are ship positions (captain etc.), a map, space combat starts with sensors, and has tactical options.

Sulaco:
ARMAMENTS:
Long Lance ASAT Missiles (8 missiles)
Heavy Railgun Turret
800MeV Particle Beam Weapon
Orbital Mines (60 mines)
Tactical Nukes (20 missiles)
CIWS Laser Array
Sensor Drones
Sensor Decoys

View attachment 13526
Cool!

And who are the enemies ships like the Sulaco were designed to fight?
 

Charlie D

Man on the Silver Mountain
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
1,409
Reaction score
2,015
Cool!

And who are the enemies ships like the Sulaco were designed to fight?
The United Americas and the Union of Progressive
Peoples (UPP) have been in a state
of cold war for decades. While the Colonial
Marines are in place to keep the peace for
the colonies of the American Arm, contracts
and treaties with the Three World Empire (3WE) and the Independent
Core System Colonies mean that they
are also obligated to protect their worlds
as well.

The United Americas has engaged in increased
border conflicts with the UPP over
disputed worlds. Recently, several USCMC
units have gone missing, causing the UA to
launch a full investigation. Colonel Percival’s
recon battalion has found growing evidence
that Weyland-Yutani may be directly responsible
for the loss of Hadley’s Hope on LV-426—a
colony under the joint jurisdiction of Colonial
Administration and the company. If relations
deteriorate further between the UA and W-Y,
the 3WE could be dragged into the conflict,
and that could mean war.


In a conflict, the GM could use UA or W-Y starship as a template for UPP ships. Pirates might have another ship type but modified with weapons. Marines may fight corporations, local fauna, pirates, mutineers, and more.

The book can only cover so much, but with modular design and the ability to modify or build from scratch, GMs will be able to provide plenty of foes.
 
Last edited:

Baulderstone

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
May 13, 2017
Messages
5,100
Reaction score
11,600
Major spacefaring alien life forms (like the Predators) aren’t detailed.
I'm fine with no Predators. I like Alien, and I like Predator, but the the Predators come from a much pulpier universe than the one in Alien. I wouldn't be upset if an AvP supplement came out down the line for people that want it, but I'd rather have the core game not include them.
 

David Johansen

Legendary Member
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
1,308
Reaction score
1,433
I really like the Mutant Chronicles Rebirth Dread rule where your fumble range increases as your Dread level does.,
 

carpocratian

Legendary Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
235
Reaction score
290
How much do they go into the details and/or history of "Weyland-Yutani" and the other corporate stuff?
 

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
2,199
Reaction score
2,888
Rumour Control: Char Gen & The Rules

Just thought this might be handy for anybody interested. It repeats a bit of what @Skywalker mentioned above. Overall the rules are quite simple I think. They're essentially a typical dice pool system with a stress mechanic.

Very briefly, if you are familiar with these two games, I would characterise Alien's rules as a combination of V5 and Mothership but using D6s. Just like V5 the basic rule is essentially:

Dice Pool = Skill + Linked Attribute


Where normal dice can be replaced Stress Dice. This is like Hunger Dice in V5, but instead of Hunger and Frenzy it leads to Stress and Panic with the causes and results of both being very similar to those of Mothership. Gear and Character Classes and the use of tables for Panic, Ship Damage and some other subsystems are quite like Mothership as well.

Char Gen:
Character Generation is very simple.

  1. Pick a character Career:
    Colonial Marine
    Medic
    Colonial Marshall (The law out in space)
    Company Agent
    Officer (What Ripley was, higher ranking company worker)
    Scientist
    Kid
    Pilot
    Roughneck (Dock and Construction workers)


  2. Pick two items from a short list of that class's starting items and roll random starting cash.

  3. Pick a signature item, used to relieve Stress. Examples are Pilot shades, Religious item, a drink, drugs.

  4. Assign 14 points to Attributes:
    Strength, Agility, Wits, Empathy

    All skills must be between 2-4 in value. Your Career has one Key Attribute which can be rated 5.

    Note your Health is equal to your Strength rating.

  5. Assign 10 points to Skills (Linked Attribute given):
    Strength: Heavy Machinery, Stamina, Close Combat
    Agility: Mobility, Ranged Combat, Piloting
    Wits: Observation, Comtech, Survival
    Empathy: Command, Manipulation, Medical Aid

    The skills listed with your Career can have a rating up to 3, others only 1.

  6. Each Career comes with three Talents. Essentially little special abilities. For example a Roughneck has "Resiliant" which allows them to make a roll to cancel received damage.

  7. Pick your characters Agenda. Used to earn XP in Campaign mode, used to earn Story Points in Cinematic Mode. Story Points can be spent for successes on rolls.
Cinematic vs Campaign Mode:
Campaign Mode is basically what you'd expect, so I'll only mentioned Cinematic Mode. Cinematic mode involves playing a closed structured scenario. That is it has a clear beginning, middle and end with Three Acts. Played with Pregens with assigned agendas. These agendas earn you points to use for gaining successes.

Rules:
Basic Rolling:

Rolling in this game is either Skill checks or the GM rolling on tables for critical damage, panic etc.

When making a skill check roll a pool of D6s given by:
Attribute + Skill

A six counts as a success. You only ever need one success. For somebody rolling on a well practiced Career skill (Attribute = 3, Skill = 3) this gives about 2/3 chance of success. For something less well known (Attribute = 2, Skill = 1) it's about 42%.

Each skill gives something you can spend any extra successes on. For example on a Comtech roll to hack into a Computer System 1 success means you succeed, but a second success could be spent on hiding your tracks so the hack cannot be discovered later.

The book gives two fairly direct pieces of advice:
  1. Rolls should be pretty rare, i.e. only when being performed in dramatic or dangerous situations
  2. The GM never really adjusts difficulty for roles, something being difficulty is signalled simply by needing to roll. It does however provide a basic optional system for difficulty in terms of modifiers to the size of the dice pool if you want.
Pushing, Stress, Panic:
I'll be repeating @Skywalker here a bit.

Stress represents mounting tension. For each point it goes up you gain an additional dice. If any of these additional Stress dice come up as 1, you Panic. Stress is caused by Pushing rolls, firing a burst of auto ammo, getting hurt, physical stress (e.g. exhaustion, hunger), kill a person in cold blood and also if a scientist on the team fails when using their Analysis talent. Stress can be relieved by resting or using your signature item.

Panic can occur from a 1 on a Stress dice as above. It also occurs when you see another Panic, being pinned down in a firefight, get critically injured, first see an Alien, something absolutely horrible happens (up to GM). Mechanically you roll on a table with D6 + Stress. The results for 10 or higher are pretty bad in most situations.

Pushing is where you get to reroll any dice that weren't successes. It can only be done once per roll typically, in some cases twice for special class abilities. Pushing adds 1 to your Stress level

Combat:
Very simple again I think.
  1. Draw numbered cards for Initiative. Sneak attack gives a free initial action.

  2. Actions. Choose one Slow, one Fast action or Two Fast actions. I won't go into this as such a division is very common in RPGs. Firing, reloading, First aid are examples of Slow. Shoving something, Aiming, drawing are Fast.

  3. Roll combat skill. Handled like any other check.

  4. Weapon deals base damage on a success. Additional successes can be spent to add damage. They can also be spent on things like Pinning down the enemy, making them drop a weapon, etc These are listed under the Ranged and Close Combat skills.

  5. If you have armour, you get a Soak roll with a pool determined by its rating. Successes cancel damage.

  6. If your health hits 0, you roll on a critical injury table. It's a D66 roll with 44+ being potentially fatal, 63+ instantly so. Potentially fatal means you make a Stamina roll or die.
Why are the Aliens so dangerous?
First because their Armour pool is typically higher than a PC's attack pool. A PC will usually have 4 dice for their attack, a trained marine 6. The typical Aliens (Soldiers) have armour pools of 10. So a party of four with one marine should expect to deal 1 or 2 points of damage per round, with the Alien having 8 health.
Second the Alien will typically kill 1 or 2 PCs per round. Their attacks are decided by rolling on a table with six possible outcomes. Against a typical PC half of the results are lethal. Since they're literally instant death or armour piercing.
Third the alien is very fast and stealthy. It will typically attack with a Sneak attack and get an extra action. It also moves twice per round.
Fourth every time you hurt an Alien it releases acidic blood. It effectively functions as an area attack of incredible strength (typically 12 dice) and eats through armour.

So for the party above you would expect a TPK. I'll do a proper numerical analysis when I get the chance.

To avoid a TPK the PCs need to be heavily pushing rolls and be armed with flamethrowers (Aliens have lower armour against Fire). So in surviving a typical fight the PCs will probably have one death, a few Panic rolls and high Stress at the end.
 
Last edited:

Séadna

Legendary Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2018
Messages
2,199
Reaction score
2,888
Remember, Colonial Marines will be using Armor-Piercing rounds, which reduces that 10 armor to 5.
I'm interested in running the numbers to see how that affects deaths. They'll cause more damage with AP rounds, which means a stronger acid backlash when the Alien bleeds. Say 15-17 dice attack on all present.

The Alien's success rate depends heavily on confining PCs.
 

CRKrueger

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,051
Reaction score
3,218
Btw, there’s a video game called Aliens: Colonial Marines. It was supposed to suck due to monster AI (but is fixable, some guy found a typo in the code), but still may be useful. Why?

They modeled the entire Sulaco, and hired Syd Mead (the guy who designed it for the movie) to design it.

Might be cool for maps/screenshots, etc.
 

CRKrueger

Legendary Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2017
Messages
2,051
Reaction score
3,218
The setting info is interesting...

The United States Colonial Marine Corps is a military force of the United Americas (all of North/Central/South America).

Weyland-Yutani is a corporation in the Three World Empire (Great Britain/Japan/Indonesia and others).

Under treaty and contract, the USCMC provide military protection to the 3WE colonies. All the fuckery W-Y has been up to has been causing diplomatic and legal problems between UA and 3WE.

I’m imagining a 3-way clusterfrag between Colonial Marines, Royal Commandos, and W-Y mercs in a hidden asteroid research base with Xenomorphs running amok.
 

Skywalker

Legendary Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
446
Reaction score
670
I just realised that Hicks is the PC of a power gamer XD

The GM explains you reduce stress by sleeping so Hicks sleeps during the combat drop, whilst other player are trying to introduce their PCs though banter.

The GM takes away the PCs assault rifles so Hicks reveals he has a shotgun written on his character sheet.

No wonder the GM totally incapacitated him for the final fight :grin:
 

Picaroon Jack

And the Brothers Slack
Joined
Jul 6, 2018
Messages
812
Reaction score
1,384
I just realised that Hicks is the PC of a power gamer XD

The GM explains you reduce stress by sleeping so Hicks sleeps during the combat drop, whilst other player are trying to introduce their PCs though banter.

The GM takes away the PCs assault rifles so Hicks reveals he has a shotgun written on his character sheet.

No wonder the GM totally incapacitated him for the final fight :grin:
What's his dump stat? LOL
0984cf3c4fc6df17360dc36e00e722f7.jpg
 
Top