Free League announces official Alien RPG

Malleustein

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I was impressed with what I read on this thread and put down the cash for pre-order last night.

The .pdf is 400 pages! Mostly due to the layout choices. It could be half that if not for the graphic design. It does look good though.

Amusing highlights for me are that it draws a lot from the excellent Alien: Isolation video game, making Seegson a rival to Weyland-Yutani and the inclusion of the "wooden planet" space station inhabited by monks from the early pitches of Alien3.
 

Séadna

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I was impressed with what I read on this thread and put down the cash for pre-order last night.

The .pdf is 400 pages! Mostly due to the layout choices. It could be half that if not for the graphic design. It does look good though.

Amusing highlights for me are that it draws a lot from the excellent Alien: Isolation video game, making Seegson a rival to Weyland-Yutani and the inclusion of the "wooden planet" space station inhabited by monks from the early pitches of Alien3.
Yeah I'd love a supplement with a map of Sevastopol at some point. They used a lot from the 2001 AvP2 game as well.

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 might be what you are referring to, but in the Director's Cut of Alien the Drone performs ovamorphing on Dallas and the rest of the crew turning them into eggs.

Pretty gross just to warn anybody:
 
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CRKrueger

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The thing to keep in mind is that this game uses the Year Zero system, which, like Cortex+ and 2d20 is a house system that is tweaked differently in every version depending on the game genre and setting. Some hallmarks of the system...
  • 4 attributes
  • 12-16 skills
  • Dice pool system (usually 2 or 3 different types of pools, only 1's and 6's matter, but not every pool functions the same, so can be a little fiddly)
  • Combat and damage are very basic, but there are critical hits
  • Inventory and consumables are abstracted with a reducing die mechanism
  • There are Feats (called Talents)
  • There are Classes but not Class Levels only Skill and Talent levels. Classes give Class-unique Talents.
  • Many games have something the characters build up and invest in. A settlement, stronghold, spaceship, etc.
  • Traditional, yet light and abstracted using modern design ethos. The Pushing mechanic is tied into the game setting as much as possible.
It's lighter than I usually like (very little wiggle room for modifications, etc), and less-detailed than I usually like (small equipment lists, etc), but there's something about the small to medium length campaign arcs they have that appeals to me.

The one major downside to the system is expressing range and movement in variable size abstract Zones. In a game where you might be in a huge hangar, a long central hallway, or even outside on a planet, movement zones are a poor choice (but then again, they always are).

I sure hope there will be an expansion book with Year Zero type building things. Colonies, mining camps, spaceships, etc.
 

CRKrueger

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Yeah I'd love a supplement with a map of Sevastopol at some point. The used a lot from the 2001 AvP2 game as well.


This might be what you are referring to, but in the Director's Cut of Alien the Drone performs ovamorphing on Dallas and the rest of the crew turning them into eggs.

Pretty gross just to warn anybody:
Wow, never saw that before. Dissolving them, turning them into eggs. Must be a bacteria or virus, part of the DNA rewriting process?
 

Séadna

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Wow, never saw that before. Dissolving them, turning them into eggs. Must be a bacteria or virus, part of the DNA rewriting process?
In the RPG it's taken as a combination of DNA rewriting and hormone treatment:
When isolated from a hive, a Drone will begin collecting hosts, typically incapacitating them by partially crushing their skulls. It will then cocoon its victims in a secreted saliva resin, introducing a series of enzymes and growth hormones to the hosts in order to transform them into alien eggs. This process is called ovomorphing. Using the developing barb on its bladed tail, the Drone inserts genetic material from M. noxhydria into the host’s eggmorphing body, allowing the newly formed egg to incubate a new Facehugger and thus continuing the alien’s life cycle. If conditions are right, a new Queen will be along in short order. The ovomorphing process typically takes 24–36 hours (four to six Shifts) to complete.
Manumala noxhydria is the scientific name in setting for a Facehugger. One interesting bit is that the game leaves it up to the Referee as to whether the Facehugger is actually a Xenomorph stage or rather a separate species that has a symbiotic relationship with them.
 

CRKrueger

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In the RPG it's taken as a combination of DNA rewriting and hormone treatment:

Manumala noxhydria is the scientific name in setting for a Facehugger. One interesting bit is that the game leaves it up to the Referee as to whether the Facehugger is actually a Xenomorph stage or rather a separate species that has a symbiotic relationship with them.
It's too bad the third entry in Scott's trilogy hasn't dropped yet. When they finally fill in how the Covenant Species turns into the classic Xenomorph Species, it may contradict the game. Not a big deal, but would be nice if it isn't actually at odds.
 

Malleustein

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Given that the RPG presents a better interpretation of what's in those movies than the movies do themselves, I am comfortable to go with what's in the book :grin:
Just finished watching the Chaos Edit of Prometheus. It makes you wonder how Damon Lindelof keeps getting work... When you put back in everything he tore out because "it explains what's going on", you actually get a fairly good (if not great) movie.

Tomorrow night I'll watch the Chaos Edit of Covenant.

I'm a Ridley Scott fan, though his track record is spotty, his great movies are absolute classics! I will be sad if the third prequel never happens.
 

Toadmaster

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Yeah I'd love a supplement with a map of Sevastopol at some point. They used a lot from the 2001 AvP2 game as well.


This might be what you are referring to, but in the Director's Cut of Alien the Drone performs ovamorphing on Dallas and the rest of the crew turning them into eggs.

Pretty gross just to warn anybody:
I haven't seen that before although have heard it existed and was cut. I read the book years ago (like shortly after the movie came out) and it has a similar scene where Ripley finds the rest of the crew. I remembered that they had been implanted by face huggers rather than made into eggs, but it has been so long that I can't say, also possible I misunderstood, being that I was probably around 12 or 13 at the time.

Either way it is an effective way to allow the xenos to spread from just one exposure.
 

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I'm... ambivalent.

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). The only thing I'd be interested in is the fluff. But even then, most of that is readily available. So I'm wait and see at best... they'd have to do something particularly special with the system to make me buy it. I seriously doubt Fox is going to let them extemporaneously build out the world more...

But if they did... then that would *certainly* pique my curiosity.
True. but there may be a issue of player goodwill at play. Different groups may react differently but I suspect I'd notice an uptick in player enthusiam and buy-in where I too pitch new shiny game, official Alien game rather than my own homebrew alien hack. And this kind of matters becasue that initial player buy-in really lift a game and make mediocre system seem great. System matters, entusiasm matters more.

That's said this arrives too late for me. The alien franchise has lost shine and the bad sequels outnumber the good ones.
 

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Given that the RPG presents a better interpretation of what's in those movies than the movies do themselves, I am comfortable to go with what's in the book :grin:
Yeah, I'm happy to see they seem to be looking at everything and then adapting in a way that makes sense and / or more interesting.

I'd still love to see them slip something into the synthetics write up to suggest a tie in to Blade Runner and its replicants.
 

Endless Flight

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The thing to keep in mind is that this game uses the Year Zero system, which, like Cortex+ and 2d20 is a house system that is tweaked differently in every version depending on the game genre and setting. Some hallmarks of the system...
Thank the Maker this game doesn't use the 2d20 system. I've had to use the Darth Vader meme too many times already!
 

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In the end, whether I buy it or not will depend on how well it functions as a resource for the setting. I don't really have any interest in the system itself. That's one reason I ended up selling the Conan 2d20 books. I really disliked the system, but was hoping that they would be a good reference source for Conan's world. They weren't, unfortunately.
 

Endless Flight

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Do licensed RPGs really give you more setting info than you can find on the internet these days? For example, no Star Wars RPG can come close to what you will find on Wookieepedia for setting info.
 

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Do licensed RPGs really give you more setting info than you can find on the internet these days? For example, no Star Wars RPG can come close to what you will find on Wookieepedia for setting info.
I suppose it partly depends on whether the game designers have any freedom to create anything. Would Wookiepedia even need to exist if the D6 Star Wars RPG hadn't given birth to the extended universe? If an RPG is being carefully scrutinized by the licensor to stay within the walls of canon, there probably isn't going to be any content that a fan isn't already familiar with.
 

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Leaving aside what setting material it contains , the Alien RPG also does a really good job of knitting together so many disparate and inconsistent pieces of setting detail. For example, it has smoothed over the most glaring issues with the Prometheus prequels, incorporated seemingly inconsistent deleted scene material such as ovomorphing, and adding material from obscure sources like the Leading Edge Aliens RPG and Kenner toys comics. As such, though you may be able to find much of the material out there on the internet with some work, it would need much more work to bring it together into the same cohesive whole, especially if you want to do so with art and visuals as well.
 
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Toadmaster

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Do licensed RPGs really give you more setting info than you can find on the internet these days? For example, no Star Wars RPG can come close to what you will find on Wookieepedia for setting info.
If well done I find they can be more useful in the context of an RPG. Something like a readers guide to middle earth is full of setting info, but a game like The One Ring will often focus on the stuff that is most helpful in a game, Also their interpretations into their system can be helpful even if you don't ultimately use their system, or even agree with all of their interpretations.
 

tenbones

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True. but there may be a issue of player goodwill at play. Different groups may react differently but I suspect I'd notice an uptick in player enthusiam and buy-in where I too pitch new shiny game, official Alien game rather than my own homebrew alien hack. And this kind of matters becasue that initial player buy-in really lift a game and make mediocre system seem great. System matters, entusiasm matters more.

That's said this arrives too late for me. The alien franchise has lost shine and the bad sequels outnumber the good ones.
That loss of shine is precisely why I'm more interested in the fluff. I can easily ignore what I don't like - I do it now with Star Wars. I largely ignore *all* of the modern movies including most of the OT.

But give me some gear, some planet-fluff, some other possible aliens, ships, general command structure. Corporations. etc. And I'll play with the "Lego pieces" all day long. I've run CP2020 with Weyland-Yutani in the game and statted up Aliens and Predators and it worked *byoo-tiffully*... the system (Interlock) is perfect for the Alien aesthetic of kinetic combat with consequences. Predators coming to Night City? The big-game hunting potential is off the charts! Corporations wanting alien tech? DELICIOUS!

The plothooks write themselves. I'll get around to checking it out. But if it's just a system with a strict "Aliens" set of parameters, I'll be less inclined. We'll see.
 

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An interesting thing is that the game ignores the older setting detail of Synthetics not being truly sentient. You'll see this for example in the Colonial Marines Technical Manual. For obvious reasons of playability of course.
 

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Just finished watching the Chaos Edit of Prometheus. It makes you wonder how Damon Lindelof keeps getting work... When you put back in everything he tore out because "it explains what's going on", you actually get a fairly good (if not great) movie.
Where I can find it? Wanna watch it too.
 

Malleustein

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Where I can find it? Wanna watch it too.
yutani.studio

Prometheus really benefits from fan edits, I had previously watched the Giftbearer edit, but this is better.

Alien: Covenant doesn't fair so well. It is still, ultimately, just a very expensive and attractively made b-movie (which, I know, means it isn't technically a b-movie anymore...). Character development is better but acts 2 and 3 are still a mess.
 

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Thanks, I'll take a look.

I actually found Prometheus pretty decent, surely not on par with 1st and 2nd installments, but firmly above Alien 3, 4 and Covenant. So you see why I'm excited by a "improved" version of it. :grin:
 

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I would highly recommend watching the Assembly Cut of Alien 3, if you have not done so. It is available commercially and not just as a fan edit. It does a lot to redeem that movie, given how much it was shredded by the various competing factions.


In contrast, I struggle to see how adding in more footage will redeem Prometheus. It was Ridley's singular vision. I will take a look though and see for myself.
 

Séadna

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I loved Alien 3. The only bits I like more in the Theatrical Cut are the end and one part early on.

I like the death scene with the Queen actually emerging from her. I know there is a trade off here though, you get Ripley being motherly to and kind of acknowledging the connection with the creature. However in the Theatrical Cut since she's doomed regardless, due to the imminent emergence of the Queen, she doesn't get to be heroic like in the Assembly cut where Wayland-Yutani would have had time to cut the Queen out.

Also I prefer the Alien bursting from the dog overlayed with Dillon's speech

Covenant could have been good as it picks up some themes from the franchise, such as those about motherhood, sexuality and patriarchy. It doesn't come together well however. Still I like David too much to dislike it :smile:
 
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Séadna

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What would make someone choose this official system over, say Mothership for Alien or go real lite with Stay Frosty! for Aliens?
Well it takes a good looking GM and even better looking players to handle those rulesets. The required level of sustained perfection from both sides of the table is just not possible for most groups.

I think flatout it won't replicate Stay Frosty. Stay Frosty is Aliens as a level pack for Id Software's Doom. If that's the vibe intended the Alien RPG won't offer it and can't really be house-ruled to give it either.

As a system, ignoring the well crafted fluff, I currently don't think it offers much over Mothership. When I get a better understanding of how combat plays out in Alien I'll say more.

Down the line I do want to write a massive Sci-Fi horror ruleset comparison thread.
 

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I haven't read seen the Alien RPG, but a possible place where it could have an advantage over Mothership is in advancement. I played it for three sessions, and it was easy to go from novice to master in a field in a few sessions. As written, I can't see it working well for a campaign. If I were to attempt one, I'd probably have no advancement, but not every group would be cool with that.

As written, it really only seems viable for one-shots, although that's not a fatal flaw for a horror game.
 

Séadna

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As written, I can't see it working well for a campaign
How the ships are treated in both games ties in with this, with Alien having Traveller-esque system generators and ship rules. Advancement is basically upping a skill by a dice every five sessions. In a precentile based system like Mothership this would be like gaining a +10%, however each time you up a skill the advancement goes down by a percentage. So next advancement is +9%.

Again I'd need to play Alien more for a proper comparison.
 

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I loved Alien 3. The only bits I like more in the Theatrical Cut are the end and one part early on.
I thought 3 was weaker than 1 or 2, but it has its moments and I like it. Same can be said of 4, although it has a lot more problems. 1 and 2 are tough acts to follow, as far as I'm concerned Alien and Aliens are among the best sci-fi films of all time, 3 and 4 are more general fare.


What would make someone choose this official system over, say Mothership for Alien or go real lite with Stay Frosty! for Aliens?
I haven't played either of those, so can't make an educated comparison, but I can say the Alien Stress mechanic should be very helpful in providing a real sense of the stress and fear of the PCs at the table. The overall system isn't my ordinary preference but I think it will work for me in this particular setting. I get the feeling it will enhance the death is in every shadow appropriate to the setting, and if properly pushed by the GM may result in the players feeling jumpy and making rash decisions in a way that many other rules wouldn't. Not that there aren't others capable of doing the same.

Also as mentioned up thread, a licensed property does have a home field advantage in drawing players into the setting and getting their buy in. Kind of like Alien vs actually Alien is a thing for some.
 

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If I were to run an Alien game, I would most likely use OpenD6 and tweak it to fit the things that are specific to that sort of setting. That would include adding things to take certain aspects of alien, synthetic, and replicant biology. I tend to default to OpenD6 when I want to get specific about certain things.
 

Malleustein

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I would highly recommend watching the Assembly Cut of Alien 3, if you have not done so. It is available commercially and not just as a fan edit. It does a lot to redeem that movie, given how much it was shredded by the various competing factions.


In contrast, I struggle to see how adding in more footage will redeem Prometheus. It was Ridley's singular vision. I will take a look though and see for myself.
Alien 3 is badly maligned and I like it a lot. After Alien, it is my favourite film in the series.

As for Prometheus, it is not just adding footage. Most edits re-structure it to some degree too. But as a general rule, any edit that fixes Damon Lindelof's "tell them nothing, show them nothing" approach to storytelling can only be an improvement.
 

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In the vein of space horror, here's a new thing for DCC. At $2.99 (or $1.99 if you got the discount offer), I don't think I am capable of not buying this.
 
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