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Free League Publishing Announces Acquisition of Coriolis RPG

Free League Publishing announced today that they have obtained the full rights to the Coriolis roleplaying game from Paradox Interactive. Free League previously published the ENnie Award winning RPG under a license from the video game publisher two years ago following a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised over SEK 1.2 million (about US$130,000).​


From the press release:​

Free League Publishing, designers of the Tales From the Loop and ALIEN roleplaying games, today announced the acquisition of the Coriolis game property from Paradox Interactive. The Coriolis roleplaying game, with a unique mix of hard science fiction and mysticism, was released by Free League in 2017. This move signals the start of a new wave of Coriolis projects in the years to come.

Coriolis is a science fiction setting set in a remote cluster of star systems called The Third Horizon. It is a place ravaged by conflicts and war, but also home to proud civilizations, both new and old. Here, the First Come colonists of old worship the Icons, while the newly arrived Zenithians pursue an aggressive imperialistic agenda through trade and military power.

The Coriolis – The Third Horizon roleplaying game, published by Free League under license from Paradox Interactive, was awarded the ENnies Judges’ Spotlight 2017. It is designed by creators of roleplaying games such as Mutant: Year Zero, Symbaroum, Tales From the Loop, Forbidden Lands and ALIEN.

"Coriolis now joins fantasy franchises Symbaroum and Forbidden Lands in the family of game propertys fully owned by Free League Publishing. This move opens up a wide field of possibilities in the science fiction field for many years to come. We want to thank Paradox Interactive for their stewardship of Coriolis, and our close partnership with them continues for the Crusader Kings boad game," says Tomas Härenstam, CEO of Free League Publishing.

The Coriolis setting was originally conceived by game designers Mattias Johnsson Haake, Mattias Lilja and Martin Grip, who today are part of Free League Publishing.
"Coriolis was the first ever brand we created from scratch, and it feels fantastic to have the it return to base," Coriolis Game Director Mattias Johnsson Haake says.


Free League Publishing is a Swedish publisher dedicated to speculative fiction. We have published a range of award-winning tabletop role-playing games and critically acclaimed art books set in strange and wondrous worlds.

Our game range include the alternate '80s Tales from the Loop (winner of five ENnie Awards 2017, including Best Game), sandbox retro fantasy Forbidden Lands (winner of four ENnie Awards 2019), postapocalyptic Mutant: Year Zero (Silver ENnie for Best Rules 2015), space opera Coriolis - The Third Horizon (Judge's Spotlight Award 2017), dark fantasy Symbaroum, and the official ALIEN RPG.

We have also published the art books Tales from the Loop and Things from the Flood by visual artist Simon Stålenhag, as well as the illustrated edition of the Lovecraft classic The Call of Cthulhu by French artist François Baranger.

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Darryl Mott

Darryl Mott

Haven't run it, but a read of it screams "Chonicles of Riddick"... it's got a good mix of tropes.

Detail-seekers may find themselves sorely disappointed by the short skill list.

GMs used to d20, 2d20, or other frequent-roll systems have to tone it back, because the default roll is pretty much, "Maybe you don't fail after all"- Starting PC has 2 to 8 dice for any skill roll, 2-5 from att, 0-3 from skill, and they're all d6's rolling for 6's. Need 1 to succeed. If you fail, you can push, but then bad things happen with 1's...

And there's a cthulhoid "darkness" that builds up for the GM to just F* with players with.


Yeah it's the Year Zero game engine. Most people like it, but for some it rubs them the wrong way. I like the looks of it but I can foresee certain players of mine not liking some of the mechanics.


That is good news. I LOVE this system. The setting reads very well too, but I have adapted the YearZeroEngine for our Star Wars game as well :)


GMs used to d20, 2d20, or other frequent-roll systems have to tone it back, because the default roll is pretty much, "Maybe you don't fail after all"- Starting PC has 2 to 8 dice for any skill roll, 2-5 from att, 0-3 from skill, and they're all d6's rolling for 6's. Need 1 to succeed. If you fail, you can push, but then bad things happen with 1's...
The Coriolis engine is slightly different from the Year Zero engine. In Year Zero, 1s rolled on a push may have bad side effects (damage to yourself or your gear, depending on which dice show 1s), but in Coriolis you instead allow the GM to take a darkness point for praying. The GM can then spend these darkness points to screw with the PCs (some prefer the term "introduce complication") and to activate various opposition abilities.

In other words, pushing in Year Zero is a gamble, while praying has a fixed cost in Coriolis.

I and my friends tried Coriolis out twice (once with a published intro adventure, the other at a con), and our experience was that the darkness point "economy" didn't work very well. Your success chances are generally pretty low, so you often have to pray. The GM then gets a bigger pool of darkness points which they can use to trigger more events that require more rolling which will generate more darkness points. This may have been the fault of the adventure we were playing, which had plenty of events you could trigger by paying darkness points, and said events were fairly low-cost. On the other hand, it seems they matched the rulebook guidelines for things triggered by Darkness.


I've been GM-ing half a dozen sessions in Coriolis the last couple of months. In my opinion, the darkness point system works extremely well.

Players will want their re-rolls, but this gradually builds up a sense of doom among players, because of the amount of trouble the GM can cause. Everything from a pistol clip sliding loose under combat, costing precious time to handle - to that pesky lawyer showing up exactly at the wrong time - to rats infesting their ship. I think it's a very well done karma mechanic: You can have something now, but it will cost you later. Makes the whole game feel more real and alive, somehow. Both me and the players love it, and it's a mechanic I'll want to adopt when playing other systems down the line.

As for the Coriolis system in a broader sense, I agree it's not super technical. Min-maxers will probably shy away from the lack of a million options to choose from while building the "best" character. For me, this is another reason I like the system. I want to spend more time on immersion, story and interactions, and less time on adding up bonuses.


The press release doesn't make it clear a company called Järnringen created the game (the first edition is long defunct).

Free League's game is a second edition with different rules entirely.

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