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.
 
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Charles Dunwoody

Charles Dunwoody


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aramis erak

Legend
Chariot of the Gods is cinematic only with enough rules to run that adventure.
The release/physical version doesn't include the preview rules; it's JUST the adventure, and you'll need the core t
I’m totally going to knock up a predator 👍
I hope you get its consent first...
(For those with limited American English proficiency, in much of the US and at some of Canada, "knock up" is an idiomatic expression for "impregnate".)
 


lyle.spade

Adventurer
Are there good rules/mechanics to allow the crew to pilot the ship in detail? What about shipbuilding?, etc.

The space combat section is under 20 pages, and is in keeping with the story over mechanics vibe of the game. It's comparable to how the new Star Wars or Star Trek RPG handle space combat, with actions for each player and, in Alien, the expectation that you'll use some kind of representation of a map and markers for ships. It's not super crunchy, but I think lends itself to the game well. There are additional rules for handling a ship as a crew, regarding maintenance and the like.

I do not see rules for shipbuilding; however, there are tables of components, systems, and weapons, and several different types of typical ship classes, leaving me with the sense that you could swap things out and modify what's provided and through that, 'build' a ship. The rules also state explicitly that ship ownership is essentially out of reach for individuals or small groups, barring some tremendous windfall.
 

DeanP

Explorer
This game is great. I pre-ordered it as well. I ran my session last week and the players loved it. One said "it was like experiencing an Alien movie--a couple times I felt like 'don't do that, run!' and its my own character." It's fast, simple and the experience was intense. I suggest though, for cinematic play, have an extra character on hand ( which takes all of 5 minutes to make). Beautiful, well bound book too. My one "wish" is for character sheets and handouts that are not on a background of inky black space- just for preserving ink for the printouts.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
The release/physical version doesn't include the preview rules; it's JUST the adventure, and you'll need the core to run it.
I've read mentions of a "Cinematic Starter Kit". Was that something that was previously available but has now been pulled since the full rules are out?
 



I've read mentions of a "Cinematic Starter Kit". Was that something that was previously available but has now been pulled since the full rules are out?

The starter kit was available with the first preorder months ago. The adventure is still available as Chariot of the Gods but not the rule preview. I didn't know that the PDF wasn't available anymore.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I've read mentions of a "Cinematic Starter Kit". Was that something that was previously available but has now been pulled since the full rules are out?
If you got in on the preorder, you got the CSK PDF, which was the Chariots of the Gods adventure and enough of the rules to run it. AFAIK, it was unavailable any other way (not counting criminal methods).

Supposedly, the original plan was to include Chariots in the core, but the core got too long, so a shorter adventure is in-book, and Chariots was stripped down to just the adventure, printed and bound as a separate book. CHariots is a model cinematic for space truckers; the in book is for colonials.
 

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