Free League is back at it with the Walking Dead rpg

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Picaroon Jack

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Nobody shoot me…but that kinda paradigm is perfect for Powered by the Apocalypse.

it’s built to end a character’s story after they hit some story benchmark, usually tracked with a meter on the sheet.
Or even Trophy Dark, which is built so that pretty much everyone dies.
 

TJS

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I skipped BR for their handling of the police and I’ll skip this one. I already have zombie rules I authored for T2K and honestly the Walking Dead, as opposed to zombies themselves, as a premise got super tired. Seasons of repeatedly finding sanctuary, losing sanctuary… wore me down.

what I worry about is the longevity.
Tales from the Loop is abandoned. Things from the Flood never got any love. What’s going to happen to Aliens, TOR, with BR and TWD taking up resources. People are already moaning about how long the second supplement for TOR is taking.
Modiphius are similar. I think it's the result of the kickstarter model. You've got to have something new and shiny to kickstart.
 

lategamer

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Modiphius are similar. I think it's the result of the kickstarter model. You've got to have something new and shiny to kickstart.
Exactly.

I wouldn't mind so much if there was a decent creator workshop programme - I use the Free League Workshop on DriveThruRPG and it's made a couple of grand,. I get half, they get a third and the rest goes to DTRPG. I'm motivated to write more as a result.
 

finarvyn

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what I worry about is the longevity.
Tales from the Loop is abandoned. Things from the Flood never got any love. What’s going to happen to Aliens, TOR, with BR and TWD taking up resources. People are already moaning about how long the second supplement for TOR is taking.
I'm not certain that this is entirely true.

Tales from the Loop has a core rules set, a boxed starter set, a GM screen, a board game (with an expansion), a supplement book with more adventures, and one could argue that Things from the Flood is a LftL supplement. While I agree that Free League has pretty much moved on, that's a lot of stuff for a single product line.

Aliens has a core rulebook, a boxed starter set, a supplement rulebook, and two additional boxed modules (that, combined with the module in the starter set, forms a campaign trilogy of modules). A lot of stuff to keep a gaming group for a while. Coriolis is currently advertising for the third module in it's own campaign trilogy. Mutant Year Zero has several supplements. Forbidden Lands has two different campaign books to expand their core rules system. Looking at Free League's webstore page, one sees a lot of games and a lot of products. Admittedly, they are spreading themselves pretty thin and have a lot of different product lines which they are juggling, but overall they seem to be putting out a decent amount of product for each.
 

finarvyn

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As for the Walking Dead zombies, they are probably the most generic, uninteresting zombies I've come across in any franchise, so certainly nothing unique there.
My guess is that the rules set will bring in a Fear mechanic much like Alien's Stress mechanic. As to the zombies, they may have rules for other zombie types -- fast or tough or smart or whatever else the franchise will let them get away with. Walking Dead is all about the survivors and their stories, so the exact type of zombie may not be that important.
 

Mankcam

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Yeah something tells me that this Walking Dead trpg will have one wave of supplements (if any), and that's pretty much it.

(Although one could argue that a setting like has not much scope beyond a core rulebook - maybe an incidental weapon/equipment book, perhaps a factions/communities book, and possibly a meta-campaign book to cap it off. In any case, I think only one wave of product is all that's needed for this kind of game)

So I guess this will be really good if you don't already have zombie apocalypse set of rules, but that's about it.

(Given that BRP/Mythras is my ruleset of choice for gritty games, I'll just stick with the indie Mythras Gateway supplement Seasons of the Dead.
It's not great in terms of artwork, but the game mechanics are pretty solid for recreating any Romeroverse, WWZ, or Walking Dead situation using Mythras)

But if I didn't have that, then I know Free League will put out a high-production quality book for Walking Dead, and it'll be a decent addition even if it is a one-trick pony.
 
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lategamer

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I'm not certain that this is entirely true.

OK, that's a take.

Tales from the Loop has a core rules set, a boxed starter set, a GM screen, a board game (with an expansion), a supplement book with more adventures, and one could argue that Things from the Flood is a LftL supplement. While I agree that Free League has pretty much moved on, that's a lot of stuff for a single product line.

Yup, it has essentially the main book and the only supplement - which came out at the same time. A cut down starter set of the main book. And a GM screen. And a board game. All came out in a bit of a flurry and then nothing.


We could argue about TftF but I don't want to. It's a full rulebook.

Aliens has a core rulebook, a boxed starter set, a supplement rulebook, and two additional boxed modules (that, combined with the module in the starter set, forms a campaign trilogy of modules). A lot of stuff to keep a gaming group for a while.

I'm well aware what's out. They probably have a contract to produce X materials. But it's super slow.

Coriolis is currently advertising for the third module in it's own campaign trilogy. Mutant Year Zero has several supplements. Forbidden Lands has two different campaign books to expand their core rules system. Looking at Free League's webstore page, one sees a lot of games and a lot of products.

Their own IP stuff I'm not commenting on.

Admittedly, they are spreading themselves pretty thin and have a lot of different product lines which they are juggling, but overall they seem to be putting out a decent amount of product for each.

TOR has one book out since publication (Ruins) which is kinda thin. Moria is being worked on. But look at the wealth of material brought out by Cubicle7 - because they had to sell hard - they had to make it make money rather than just the boom of kickstarter.

Twilight 2000 has one boxed supplement which is really thin. Other stuff on the horizon but with a writer sick, no idea when. Thankfully Free league Workshop has produced some amazing materials from really eminent authors.

Add to that Blade Runner which just landed and now TWD. Admittedly TWD won't need more than the main set. It's a really limited setting.

The audience for Kickstarters are impulse buyers, gamers, genre collectors and speculators. I think that drives the total up on KS which is great for the company but long term.... they know the number of people buying supplements won't PAY for the talent needed to make the supplements. I mean, even paying for the art alone.
 

finarvyn

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The audience for Kickstarters are impulse buyers, gamers, genre collectors and speculators. I think that drives the total up on KS which is great for the company but long term.... they know the number of people buying supplements won't PAY for the talent needed to make the supplements. I mean, even paying for the art alone.
You are right on this, of course, and your entire post is well laid-out. My point was simply that there is a decent amount of product for each of the game lines. Not nearly what C-7 did for TOR or AiMe, or what other companies might have done for their individual product lines, but still some decent content.
 

Doctor Wombat

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Cubicle 7's TOR 1e line took a long while to get going. The original core slipcase set came out in 2011. Tales from Wilderland and The Darkening of Mirkwood came out in 2012 and The Heart of the Wild came out in 2013. People were absolutely complaining about the glacial pace of the release schedule in the early years of the line.

Several of the Modiphius lines are pretty well-supported by this point:
  • Star Trek Adventures: Starter set, 17 books, 2 GM screens, 19 PDF-only adventures, 8 PDF-only collection of adventure seeds, tile sets, miniatures, probably more to come.
  • Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of: 20 books, GM screen, 6 or 7 PDF-only adventures, card decks, tile sets. Probably finished at this point, but given that they decided to limit themselves to solely the material created by Howard, I think they've covered just about everything imaginable except for maybe creating some more adventures. Plus, there's a pile of d20 Conan adventures that can easily be converted to the system.
  • John Carter: 5 books, GM screen, tile sets, miniatures. A much smaller line, but one that feels pretty complete in terms of covering its source material.
Similarly, Free League has put out quite a bit of stuff for games like Coriolis, Symbaroum, and Mutant: Year Zero.

Maybe not every game line needs twenty books. Blade Runner is two movies worth of source material. Alien is eight plus some comics and video games, but a lot of that is just retreads of the original two movies. How many books does that require to cover completely?
 

Gringnr

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TFTL has two books of adventures. Out of Time, and Our Friends The Machines and Other Stories. Not to be all, "ACHYUALLY, but, you know. There was also a French-language book, called France in the '80s IIRC. Not a bad bit of support, all things considered. I wonder if they have any further support planned.

I know T2K was supposed to get The Black MAdonna scenario... did that ever materialize?
 

Vile

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Blade Runner is two movies worth of source material. How many books does that require to cover completely?
Well, plus comics and some short films. In addition, there is an unusual amount of background implied but never detailed in the films. What would be nice, though, would be for a license (for FL or 3PPs, whatever) to cover adding new non-canon setting material. Offworld colonies, I'm looking atcha.
 

Skywalker

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I am generally quite happy with FL’s rate and quantity of supplements. Some lines do reach their natural end and wrapping them up makes sense. Tales from the Loop, Mutant Year Zero (once Ad Astra is out), Coriolis and Symbaroum (once book 6 is out) have all reached that point IMO so there is room for FL’s focus to move on to new games.

What will be interesting is how they handle licenced IPs as they tend to favour a quicker release of many supplements to cash on the IP. Then again FL choice of licences tend to be for older IPs which may not require the same approach.
 

sharps54

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Well, plus comics and some short films. In addition, there is an unusual amount of background implied but never detailed in the films. What would be nice, though, would be for a license (for FL or 3PPs, whatever) to cover adding new non-canon setting material. Offworld colonies, I'm looking atcha.
Of course the problem with these big name licensed properties is that there is pretty much zero chance for them to be opened up for 3PPs and even what FL can do is probably severely limited.
 

Toadmaster

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OK, that's a take.



Yup, it has essentially the main book and the only supplement - which came out at the same time. A cut down starter set of the main book. And a GM screen. And a board game. All came out in a bit of a flurry and then nothing.


We could argue about TftF but I don't want to. It's a full rulebook.



I'm well aware what's out. They probably have a contract to produce X materials. But it's super slow.



Their own IP stuff I'm not commenting on.



TOR has one book out since publication (Ruins) which is kinda thin. Moria is being worked on. But look at the wealth of material brought out by Cubicle7 - because they had to sell hard - they had to make it make money rather than just the boom of kickstarter.

Twilight 2000 has one boxed supplement which is really thin. Other stuff on the horizon but with a writer sick, no idea when. Thankfully Free league Workshop has produced some amazing materials from really eminent authors.

Add to that Blade Runner which just landed and now TWD. Admittedly TWD won't need more than the main set. It's a really limited setting.

The audience for Kickstarters are impulse buyers, gamers, genre collectors and speculators. I think that drives the total up on KS which is great for the company but long term.... they know the number of people buying supplements won't PAY for the talent needed to make the supplements. I mean, even paying for the art alone.


As far as Aliens you've got the core rules and Colonial marines which is the size of the Core rules as well as some adventures. I'd like to see something to cover some other options to broaden the options into more of a general sci-fi game set in the Alien universe. Would love to see other (non-military) career options expanded, other life forms to encounter, sanitized tie ins to other fiction closely related (Blade Runner, Outland, Predator). Obviously they have constraints connected to the license which is always a pro and con to official products.

TOR, I don't think you can even count Ruins, as that was one of the stretch goals from the kick starter. In fairness to FL they are working on their version of 5E compatible AiME so they do have stuff going, just not highly visible. I just got an email within the last few days saying "AiME" is close to release.

No mention of Vaesen, but that is another recent game with one major and several smaller supplements so far.

Last keep in mind they are translating everything into two languages which adds to the work load.


So it can't be said that they are sitting idly by, they are putting out material but it is spread across their fairly substantial catalog. I can certainly see where the argument could be made that they should cuts some of the lines and focus on the most popular, but fans of the others I'm sure would have a different opinion. The current plan does seem to be working for them.
 

lategamer

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So it can't be said that they are sitting idly by, they are putting out material but it is spread across their fairly substantial catalog. I can certainly see where the argument could be made that they should cuts some of the lines and focus on the most popular, but fans of the others I'm sure would have a different opinion. The current plan does seem to be working for them.
If that is the new way of things then thats the new way of things.

It means some gorgeous core cook sets - at this point if you don't go deluxe then you're doing yourself a disservice. Their production values are **incredible**.
 

lategamer

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I know T2K was supposed to get The Black MAdonna scenario... did that ever materialize?

Not yet, the author had health issues I believe.

Some of the big IPs will just make heaps of cash in the KS and then a continued heap of cash afterwards because of brand.

It's nota bad business model - goodness knows there are plenty of abandoned lines in the past with big IPs attached. Enough for their own thread.
 

Gringnr

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Blade Runner is two movies worth of source material.
There were 3 Blade Runner "continuation" novels after the movie, by K.W. Jeter. Not sure what the licensing is like on all this stuff, though, or what's considered "canonical" for purposes of this game.
 

Toadmaster

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If that is the new way of things then thats the new way of things.

It means some gorgeous core cook sets - at this point if you don't go deluxe then you're doing yourself a disservice. Their production values are **incredible**.

I think that is just their current model. You look at Hasbro / Wizards and they are all in on one game D&D. Free League and Modifius is at the opposite extreme.

In between you have companies like Chaosium with two major lines (RQ and CoC), with the occasional dabbling with something completely different like Upwind. Mongoose is another in that middle ground with a couple of core games they are supporting.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I suspect Free League's business decisions don't factor in similarly - though not exactly - named freebie adventures from other companies.

Especially games that probably currently have players that can be counted in the 10s now.

(And that's no hate on Eden - they were my favorite RPG company for years - but I don''t even know if you can get print books from them anymore.)
 

The Mad Hatter

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I suspect Free League's business decisions don't factor in similarly - though not exactly - named freebie adventures from other companies.

Especially games that probably currently have players that can be counted in the 10s now.

(And that's no hate on Eden - they were my favorite RPG company for years - but I don''t even know if you can get print books from them anymore.)

I don't think Free League cares about this either. And I know about your love for Eden from your blog. It's just, I really can't see what this Walking Dead game could do for me, that All Flesh Must Be Eaten couldn't already do.

Granted, the only experience I have with the Walking Dead franchise, is the Telltale Games.
 

Fenris-77

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I've been underwhelmed by most of the zombie games I have, I think. I haven't run any of them in ages, and haven't run some of them at all, which may be colouring my recollection. I do think the FL mechanics will make a really good zombie survival game, but if I were going to run that I'd just use some of the existing FL games I own and hack as necessary. I suspect however that a big chunk of FLs sales with these familiar IPs aren't to FL hardcore fans who already own all their other games but rather to fans of the genre or the IP.
 

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I think I prefer boardgames and wargames for that zombie itch. I much prefer seeing the zombie miniatures slowly fill the tabletop - not something you can really do with an RPG.
 

Doctor Wombat

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There were 3 Blade Runner "continuation" novels after the movie, by K.W. Jeter. Not sure what the licensing is like on all this stuff, though, or what's considered "canonical" for purposes of this game.

Less canon than Splinter of the Mind's Eye for Star Wars, I suspect, since the novels directly contradict the events established in Blade Runner: 2049. And I doubt Free League has the license to use that material. I think licenses these days tend to be fairly specific and not "anything that was ever had the property's name slapped on it."

A clever writer might still find a way to to nod to that material.

The Modiphius Dune RPG seems to be getting some decent support considering its (current) narrow focus and the fact that it only came out about a year ago - core book, GM screen, Arrakis sourcebook, a starter boxed set, a few PDF-only adventures, and now a campaign book. Supposedly there's a bunch more stuff in the pipeline too.
 

Skywalker

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I've been underwhelmed by most of the zombie games I have, I think. I haven't run any of them in ages, and haven't run some of them at all, which may be colouring my recollection.
The only one I would run these days is Zombie World by Magpie. It leverages the fact the genre is well known to create a zero prep one off experience with cards for scenario and NPC creation and a great zombie bite deck which handles well the growing threat of zombies as survivors come into conflict with each other.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I don't think Free League cares about this either. And I know about your love for Eden from your blog. It's just, I really can't see what this Walking Dead game could do for me, that All Flesh Must Be Eaten couldn't already do.

Granted, the only experience I have with the Walking Dead franchise, is the Telltale Games.
And I've said as much up thread. The only thing special about The Walking Dead is the characters. From a setting perspective, it does nothing special. So if you're covered, you're covered.

I suspect there's a sizable potential market of people who either have no interest in AFMBE, or have never even heard of it.

The only one I would run these days is Zombie World by Magpie. It leverages the fact the genre is well known to create a zero prep one off experience with cards for scenario and NPC creation and a great zombie bite deck which handles well the growing threat of zombies as survivors come into conflict with each other.

Zombie World is great and I'd love to run it.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I've been underwhelmed by most of the zombie games I have, I think. I haven't run any of them in ages, and haven't run some of them at all, which may be colouring my recollection. I do think the FL mechanics will make a really good zombie survival game, but if I were going to run that I'd just use some of the existing FL games I own and hack as necessary. I suspect however that a big chunk of FLs sales with these familiar IPs aren't to FL hardcore fans who already own all their other games but rather to fans of the genre or the IP.
Outside of some super niche IPs (thinking maybe Pinnacle licensing Fear Agent and The Goon, for instance), I imagine most licensed RPGs are targeted at bringing in fans from outside the fold.
 

The Mad Hatter

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AFMBE is not in print and hasn’t been for years, so I don’t think that should factor into FL’s decision too heavily.

My first post was meant as a joke. That it also covered my opinion on a The Walking Dead game, was just icing on the cake.
But see my answer to Tommy Brownell Tommy Brownell, which spells it out. Sorry Tommy only skimmed the thread, so didn't see your post before I posted in the thread.

Quite frankly, I'm tired of all the current trend in licensed RPGs. It's not that hard, to take something from another medium you like and make some rpg stuff about it. It's just fanboys, who wants to own everything with a certain name on it.
 

EmperorNorton

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I think licensed IP games make sense if the world has something unique about it. Star Wars for instance has the way the Force works and what it can do. Alien is a good choice because Aliens themselves are a pretty unique monster. Making mechanics around those unique things is something that a lot of people will like someone else doing for them.

But Walking Dead doesn't really have anything unique about it. It is just generic zombie schlock. Basically any zombie game already works for it. And while I think that pulling in the stress mechanic from Alien will work really well, they could have just made a generic zombie game and I probably would have been more likely to pick it up.

But I'm also not the target audience cause I wasn't really a fan of the series, tv or comic.
 

Picaroon Jack

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But I'm also not the target audience cause I wasn't really a fan of the series, tv or comic.
The target audience has to be both fans of the shot/comic and are new enough gamers that they've not seen other options for zombies Even though Zombie World is fairly new (I think it came out in 2018), I don't think most new gamers realize there's probably 30+ different zombie games out there. Plus, hard core Free League fans as well. I'm a big fan but I'm not seeing this one.
 

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AFMBE is not in print and hasn’t been for years, so I don’t think that should factor into FL’s decision too heavily.

Which is a shame as it really was the best zombie source book out there, even if you didn't use it to play with their rules. No better collection of how to make zombies that I can think of.
 

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I read the comics first (and so gave up on the show pretty quickly). There are definitely moments in the story that made us put down the comic, take a deep sigh and go for a walk outside. The comics are much more brutal than anything in the tv shows.
 

Skywalker

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Yeah, I am a big fan of the comics but couldn't get past the last episode of the first season as they butchered the ending of the first graphic novel.

It doesnt sound like the RPG will reference the comics or use the art. Its kind of weird as I always saw MY0 as a partial homage to the comics as the art style is similar.
 

Simlasa

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I read the comics first (and so gave up on the show pretty quickly). There are definitely moments in the story that made us put down the comic, take a deep sigh and go for a walk outside. The comics are much more brutal than anything in the tv shows.
Yeah, there's gruesome/horrific/bleak stuff in the comics that was never going to make it into the TV show.
I generally liked the characters in the comic better as well.
 

Voros

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I've been underwhelmed by most of the zombie games I have, I think. I haven't run any of them in ages, and haven't run some of them at all, which may be colouring my recollection. I do think the FL mechanics will make a really good zombie survival game, but if I were going to run that I'd just use some of the existing FL games I own and hack as necessary. I suspect however that a big chunk of FLs sales with these familiar IPs aren't to FL hardcore fans who already own all their other games but rather to fans of the genre or the IP.

This reads well and comes in a cool little mini-box but I haven't played it yet.

pic4265769.jpg
 
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