What Will You Barter To Resolve The Sins Of The Father From Third Eye Games?
  • What Will You Barter To Resolve The Sins Of The Father From Third Eye Games?


    Sins of the Father is a uniquely dark storytelling role-playing game created by Eloy Lasanta of Third Eye Games. The prime mechanics of this 2017 ENnie Award nominee, utilizes standard decks of playing cards, rather than dice. Player characters will be taking the role as Hellborn, humans born without agency of their soul, and bearers of a dark ancestral secret. After the jump you will find spoilers for Sins of the Father, so be warned.


    Before they were born the Hellborn’s soul was bartered (or sold) by an ancestor for supernatural gifts, to an entity known as a Dark Lord. Hellborn are expected to do the Dark lord’s bidding, but whether they continue the family legacy, perform the Dark Lord’s bidding, and sell the souls of their future bloodline, is entirely up to them. Sins of the Father, doesn’t thrust too much of a setting upon the players, but seems best for a modern Supernatrual theme. While the tone or mood is obviously dark, the types of stories you’ll create with the premise, whether they are in fact dark brooding tales of sorrow and gloom, or tales of redemption, investigative or humor, is entirely up to the player group.

    Creating a Hellborn is outlined in six steps. First player’s will either selecting or let the cards decide, their Hellborn’s Primary Sin. As in one of seven, among the seven deadly sins, and the Hellborn starts with a Sinful Gift tied to their selection, which will award a situational bonus. Next, the player draws cards to determine two Traits (character quirks/personality) and two Attachments. Attachments are qualities that somewhat keep the character in line with the Dark Lord’s agenda. Third, is creating relationships with NPCs and/or fellow player character Hellborn. Next, the player will distribute Ranks among ten skills choose one Skill at Rank 3, two Skills at Rank 2, while the seven remaining Skills start at Rank 1. Ranks for skills directly entail how many cards the player can draw to attempt to be successful (beat the card drawn by the Soul Master). Fifth is determining the Hellborn’s Debt and Sinful Gifts. Players can opt to increase their Debt for the boon of additional Sinful Gifts, Skill bumps or receive an Attachment raise. Last, is using a Deck of Cards to randomly determine the methods madness and end Goal of the Dark Lord! Basically this assigns a sort of character role for the Soul Master to play to. This concept is pretty interesting, and I was immediately thinking how the process of this might impact not only this game, but any RPG of choice.

    Sins of the Father utilizes standard decks of playing cards rather than dice. Each player has their own deck, while the Soul Master has two. When a player wants to perform a task the Soul Master determines the Skill and sets the difficulty at 1 2 or 3, which directly correlates to how many cards the Soul Master pulls from their deck. The card with the highest result, determines the difficulty of the task. The rank of the specific card must be exceeded for the player to succeed. The number of cards the player pulls for a chance to beat the Soul Master’s result is based on the amount of ranks they have in the relevant skill. There are a few story teller type elements specific to certain cards being drawn, rules for shuffling, as well as situational rules which deal (get it, deal?) with the situation when two Hellborn oppose each other, but for the most part the system is relatively easy.

    The PDF on my screen is 79 pages, features black and white illustrations and comes with a printable character sheet. The text is single column format. The Index covers the basic key terms, but the book doesn’t include a Table of Contents. While I often take issue with books without a Table of Contents the simplicity of the game as well as the overall length of material, makes this less of an issue. But still, no Table of Contents!

    As mentioned, Sins of the Father received an ENnie Award nomination this last summer and after giving it a thorough read, I certainly think it deserved the nod. Both the premise and use of playing cards for mechanics makes this RPG really stand out. I imagine the simplicity makes it the perfect RPG for a one shot, but the game also encourages generational (father, son to grandson) play. I like it when an indie press product surprises me and Sins of the Father certainly did.

    Disclosure: This review uses affiliate links. For the month of November, the proceeds of all of my affiliate links on EN World and from my blog (Within the Dungeon) will be donated to Stacy Dellorfano's Cancer Fight Fund (direct link to the Fundly site). Sins of the Father was provided free of charge for the purpose of this review.

    contributed by Jeff Duncan
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