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Space is Not the Only Thing Trying to Kill You in the Alien RPG

Making a living in space is not easy. Radiation, micro meteors, and no food, air, or water. A mistake can take your life. And mankind is not alone. There are hostile things lurking in the shadows of mankind’s colonies and ships waiting to kill or worse. Things alien.

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Releasing today, Alien the Roleplaying Game (PDF) is a 392 page full color hardcover that explores the universe after the events of the movies Alien and Aliens. Campaigns are either limited Cinematic Play with pre-generated characters or longer running Campaign Play. Characters are blue collar space truckers, colonial marines, or colonists.

The Alien RPG is divided into thirteen chapters covering characters and character creation (including playing synthetics), combat and panic, gear, the dangers of space including ships and ship combat, the Game Mother’s job, governments and corporations, systems and planets, alien species, and campaign play with random adventure generators. Hadley’s Hope is described as an adventure for Cinematic Play with players running doomed colonists in the last chapter. Everything needed to kick off a campaign is included.

The game runs on Year Zero, the d6 dice pool system from Free League. Rolls can be pushed allowing rerolls but also generating stress which can lead to panic. I have run a few games of the Alien RPG and the panic is real. Players, not just their characters, become tense as stress builds.

Slight spoilers for the included adventure. The pregen MacWhirr, Colonial Administration union organizer, has the Talent of Pull Rank. She can give orders using Command and force another PC to obey even if it leads them into harm or danger. However, MacWhirr takes a point of stress every time she bosses someone around. And her commands won’t stop panic. So she gets closer and closer to losing it herself as those colonists she is responsible for panic or get ripped apart by xenos or betray and kill each other. Being in charge in the Alien universe is never easy. Getting ordered to your death is not great either, though.

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Stress is bad but xenos are worse. Many Year Zero games use critical hits. In this game, aliens may be able to inflict critical hits just by connecting with a regular attack. A PC does not have to be reduced to 0 Health to get their throat slit or their skull crushed by the more powerful xenos.

While Cinematic Play is fast, brutal, and full of betrayal, Campaign Play promises to spread out the terror and dying by aliens with the nice gentle dangers of space travel and conflict with other humans. I haven’t gotten to play this style of Alien but the descriptions of corporations, military units and their ships, alien worlds, and the dangers and opportunities of space travel are all supplemented with various tables to generate adventures.

The book itself is beautiful: black with green textboxes, bringing to mind both the depths of space and the computer screens used on board ships in this universe. Full color art depicts the blue collar body count building nature of space exploration. And everything is easy to find with a well put together layout and an index. Maps of space, floor plans, ships, and depictions of xenos bring the world of Alien to extraterrestrial life.

If you are looking for dangerous sci-fi with working stiffs just trying to survive or want to explore the worlds depicted in the Alien movies and extended universe then this RPG is what you are looking for. All the tools needed to play as a player or run a campaign as a GM is included from ships to aliens to worlds to adventures. All packed together with a visual style designed to immerse you in an alien setting. And once you start playing you can feel the weight of command, feel the pressure of being outmanned and outgunned, and face your own mortality in the uncaring blackness of space. Time to embrace the alien and die screaming or face your fears and be one of the few to make it back home alive. This time.
 
Last edited:
Charles Dunwoody

Comments



lyle.spade

Explorer
I bought into the presale and have the book, screen, dice, and map already. I've run the intro scenario, "Chariot of the Gods," twice, and although experienced different outcomes, both groups experienced a lot of death, surprise, and turn-on-a-dime challenges that changed the focus and tempo of the game, giving it a 'zero to 60' feel...that is, things are calm...things are tense...you're being eaten, with little time to adapt. I have no idea how well campaign play will work, but cinematic play has delivered on the horror and tension promised.
 


univoxs

That's my dog, Walter
Supporter
Very excited for this. I would love to hear from anyone who played the Cepheus Engine Hostile by Zozer or the old D20 Modern Game Over by Micheal Tresca.
 

Looks great and can't wait to pick this up. Only thing I am a bit wary of is that just the aliens might be a bit too...samey for longer campaigns after a while. Or are there other enemy types/xenomorphs etc.? Or at least guidelines how to make your own?
 

stadi

Explorer
How many Cinematic Play adventures are included? I can't imagine myself playing an Alien campaign but I am interested in scenario based play. But there needs to be a lot of scenarios for it to make sense
 

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
Supporter
I picked up the core book when it was released at Dragonmeet a couple of weeks ago. Haven’t played it, but I’ve read it. It really captures the genre well. I can’t wait to take it for a spin.
Free Leagues is impressing me and starting to put a dent in my wallet. Actually the Nov/Dec time period has put a dent in my wallet. First their was your Cursed Earth release, then the $225.00 in Cubicle Seven stuff I snagged before that was all gone for Middle Earth 5e and then the Forbidden Lands bundle and the follow up Kickstarter.

My wife is really starting to give me the side eye. lol. And that's not even counting the Kickstarter's from Steve Jackson Games related stuff or the Chaosium orders. Yep, I think I have a problem... one I've had over forty years, darn gaming passion. If it wasn't for gaming and motorcycles I'd have a lot more money saved up, but I'd have lived a much poorer life.
 

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
Supporter
Looks great and can't wait to pick this up. Only thing I am a bit wary of is that just the aliens might be a bit too...samey for longer campaigns after a while. Or are there other enemy types/xenomorphs etc.? Or at least guidelines how to make your own?
I'm hoping that they'll offer other forms of danger. From environmental to life forms. :) Free
League's really impresses me as I said to Rus and I think they'll put the leg work into offering us more.
 



I saw on Amazon that there are special sets of dice available for sale. How necessary are the funky dice? They don't appear to be anything other than themed D6s.
 


Malikai2000

Explorer
I saw on Amazon that there are special sets of dice available for sale. How necessary are the funky dice? They don't appear to be anything other than themed D6s.
There are two types of dice.

Base dice and Stress dice.

The Base dice have a symbol on the 6 side to show it as a success.

The Stress dice have the same symbol on the 6, since you can still get successes with the Stress Dice. It also has a face hugger on the 1 side to denote a panic.

You can use regular dice, you just have to have to different colors to say what type of die you are rolling.

I would say the Base dice are not really needed. Just roll a 6 on a regular die and you get a success. But the Stress dice I think add a little extra to the game. Actually seeing the face hugger, rather than just a 1 brings home the source of the stress.
 

Reynard

Legend
I saw on Amazon that there are special sets of dice available for sale. How necessary are the funky dice? They don't appear to be anything other than themed D6s.
In general, their games use successes and failures (a d6 might have 2 successes, a failure, a crit failure, a crit success and a neutrol face, for example). They usually give you the number map to those (so in the previous example it would say something like "Success on 1 and 4, failure on 3, etc...). You can easily use normal dice, you just have to have a conversion chart handy.
 

Pobman

Explorer
I was going to pick this up at Dragonmeet, but I got sick so I couldn't go. This was by far the biggest reason for my disappointment at not being able to go :(
 

Looks great and can't wait to pick this up. Only thing I am a bit wary of is that just the aliens might be a bit too...samey for longer campaigns after a while. Or are there other enemy types/xenomorphs etc.? Or at least guidelines how to make your own?
There are different types of xenomorphs. And humans from soldiers to corporate types to pirates to claim jumpers to criminals and more. The movie Outland fits perfectly in this universe and that movie has no aliens.
 

lyle.spade

Explorer
I picked up the core book when it was released at Dragonmeet a couple of weeks ago. Haven’t played it, but I’ve read it. It really captures the genre well. I can’t wait to take it for a spin.
Play Chariots of the Gods...either run it or have someone run you through it. Things went sideways at the right moment, and an appropriate amount of stuff hit the fan. NPCs and PCs died horribly, and people got screwed over, and a good time was had by all. Both times I ran it we all came away with a sense of something like having put together a good movie.
 

I'm hoping that they'll offer other forms of danger. From environmental to life forms. :) Free
League's really impresses me as I said to Rus and I think they'll put the leg work into offering us more.
The game has starving, dehydrated, exhausted, vacuum, freezing, falling, explosions, fire, disease, radiation , drowning, suffocation, synthetics, xenomorphs, and three or four other aliens. Lots of horrible ways to get injured or die. Fifteen NPC types are also statted up as well as vehicles and ships. Some ships have nukes. So you can use the explosion and radiation rules I suppose. Just to be sure.
 

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