log in or register to remove this ad

 

The Terminator RPG: An Interview With Nightfall Games

Thanks to Nightfall Games, The Terminator franchise is coming to tabletop RPG for the first time ever. Mark Rapson, Managing Director of Nightfall Games was kind enough to answer my questions about the game, what system it will use, what’s next for Nightfall Games, and why this project covers first Terminator movie and the Dark Horse comics.

The Terminator RPG 01.jpg

EGG EMBRY (EGG): This is exciting! I’m sure everyone knows what you’re creating, but tell us about The Terminator RPG?
MARK RAPSON (MARK)
: So, yes, The Terminator RPG, we can’t quite believe it, it’s a real honor to get the license and be the first company ever to make an RPG with this IP. We are very keen to make sure that this is a real love letter to the franchise, we will be using all new artwork and have pulled in Andrew E. C. Gaska as lead writer. Many will know him as the lead for the recently released ALIEN RPG. But that’s not all, we have a number of other stalwarts of the industry too, including Richard August, Benn Graybeaton, Matt John, and new writers as well, including Jude Reid and Bart Wynants.

EGG: What will the book include (rules, adventures, campaign ideas, etc.)? Are you playing as Skynet or as the resistance?
MARK
: You will be playing as the Resistance and humans specifically. The book will include an in-depth narrative of the setting and its history (or should that be future), as well as the rules for the game and chapters for character creation, hardware and how to direct (GM) the game. Players will also get adventures, one focused on the story arc of the movie and a second where they play as resistance fighters in the Future War. The book will include detailed overview of all the Terminators seen in the movie and graphic novels, as well as some newer that have never been seen in the franchise before.

EGG: You’ve called out that this RPG is specific to the original movie and Dark Horse comics. Can you share anything about why those items are what your license is for? And how this license came about?
MARK
: Normally IPs are all in one place, for example you want the license for ALIEN, you go see the people within Disney that look after Fox licensing. In the case of the Terminator license, it is not that clear cut and each movie is considered its own IP with some with one licensing house and the others elsewhere. We knew we wanted the The Terminator IP, that’s where it started after all, so that’s what we went for. We have options on the other movies [if] we want too, but as we delved into the expanded world of the graphic novels it became very clear that most of what we would need to make this were covered within the IP we have access to. Assuming this goes well though…we will be back with more.

EGG: Since it’s based on the first movie and graphic novels, does that mean this takes place in the 1980s and 90s (as well as the post-apocalypse)?
MARK
: Yes, all the above, as well as the 1960s, 1970s, 2000s, 2010s, and even 2021. And if the GM wanted to any other period of history.

EGG: What system does this RPG use? Would you describe it as crunchy or rules light?
MARK
: Nightfall Games commissioned the S5S system for our first game, SLA Industries. It was planned that it would be the engine for many of our future products, the first of which is The Terminator RPG. Each player has a small pool of d10s, 1 Success and 5 Skill dice. When completing any test, a player always rolls their Success die and then the number of Skill dice their skills dictate. All are rolled against a target number with skill and situational based modification. If the Success die is successful the player passes the test and the number of successful Skill dice determine how well they pass. The S5S system is comparable to D&D 5e in its complexity in my view. I’m not sure whether that makes it crunchy or light in people’s eyes?

EGG: The S5S system is used in SLA Industries: 2nd Edition, correct? What will you customize about it for The Terminator RPG?
MARK
: Yes it is! At its core the S5S system is the dice mechanics, and both the games share that. SLA has rules for Ebb (Magic) use and different species, neither of these things are needed for The Terminator RPG so they are not present, but in The Terminator RPG we will see a number of differences, most obvious of which are the inclusion of vehicular combat rules and rules for computer system hacking. The Quickstart for both games are freely available on DriveThruRPG if people want to check them out.

The Terminator RPG 05.jpg

EGG: Switching gears, what can you share about your recent SLA Industries: 2nd Edition Kickstarter? How was it received?
MARK
: The answer to this question could be very long so I will try and temper myself and my excitement! It went bloody well! Beyond our expectations by a long way. Considering it was for one book, one could argue that it was one of the most successful Kickstarters in many years, especially as it isn’t linked to a big IP. Our team had worked really hard previously, to turn around a failed KS based on SLA, but being run by another company. This miniature-based KS had hit the skids and was looking like pulling SLA Industries reputation down with it. When Nightfall took over, we worked really hard to complete it and complete it we did. The fans recognized our work and sacrifices in the main, and when we brought out SLA Industries 2nd Edition, something that had been wanted for near on twenty years, they backed us well and beyond expectation. It also pulled in a lot of new people. We ended up starting fulfilling in December 2020 and the last of it will be done by mid-March. Given we have had a global pandemic, we lost our fourth man and have had Brexit to contend with, we are very happy with what we did. And we have had a lot of positive feedback regarding the quality of the products, especially the book itself, the GM Pack, and the metal dice set.

EGG: Congratulations on that! Beyond The Terminator RPG and SLA Industries, what else are you working on?
MARK
: After The Terminator RPG we will be launching our second SLA Industries KS which will see at least two sourcebooks. We are also looking into a number of IPs, and have an exciting project scheduled into the end of the year. I cannot say too much about it, but it should be awesome considering the minds behind it…watch this space.

EGG: For fans interested in learning more, where can they follow you?
MARK
: We have a Nightfall Games page on Facebook and Twitter, as well as pages on both for The Terminator RPG and SLA Industries. Our webpage is [here]. There is also a fan-based FB group and Discord channel.

The Terminator RPG Kickstarter will launch on 11th March 2021 [from Nightfall Games].
“The official tabletop roleplaying game based on the 1984 movie, 'The Terminator' & all associated Dark Horse Comic graphic novels.”



Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG and Amazon.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Egg Embry

Egg Embry

Interesting re: it being based on the original movie and the graphic novels, that's not really a combination I expected, and it's curious that it excludes the second movie, which is a pretty true sequel to the first. I can definitely see excluding everything after that, though for me, The Sarah Connor Chronicles is kind of peak Terminator, and also feels like it might be most like what a past/present-set Terminator RPG campaign might most be like.

I have SLA 2E and I have to admit that this is using the same system makes me more cautious of it. If it was using a lighter system, I'd be basically wishlisting this now, but that system is fairly complex/heavy. Comparing it to 5E is probably fair, but 5E is either right at the heavy end of rules-medium, or the light end of rules-heavy, depending on how you look at it. Plus the SLA 2E system didn't seem super-compelling, but I've only read it, not played it. Oddly it feels like Terminator might have benefited from a more narrative approach, though perhaps rules-heavy RPGs are making a bit of a comeback.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Interesting re: it being based on the original movie and the graphic novels, that's not really a combination I expected, and it's curious that it excludes the second movie, which is a pretty true sequel to the first.
I guess really it's just a real-world setting plus a Terminator or two. You already have Arnie from T1. The only thing in T2 that you'd need is the T1000 itself. The rest of T2 is just America in the 1990s. (I suppose unless you wanted Miles Dyson to pop up).

I don't know what's in the comics.
 

I guess really it's just a real-world setting plus a Terminator or two. You already have Arnie from T1. The only thing in T2 that you'd need is the T1000 itself. The rest of T2 is just America in the 1990s. (I suppose unless you wanted Miles Dyson to pop up).

I don't know what's in the comics.
Good point. I'm just surprised given the same director, studio, etc. - presumably they wanted an unreasonable amount extra for what is, yes, not a lot more in terms of IP as relevant to a TT RPG.

Never come across the comics except for some "Terminator vs X" so that may be interesting.
 

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
Supporter
"Thanks to Nightfall Games, The Terminator franchise is coming to tabletop RPG for the first time ever. " -Egg

Well, in an officially licensed sort of way. Many of us through the decades tossed terminators in our games and Skynet. ;) Just as much as many of our Traveller games became Aliens/Outland. hehe. Now back to reading the interview.

Edit now that I've finished the read: Decent interview, short but some info. I always want Egg to get in more questions on these but I know that's often beyond his control. IPs are often a mess it seems, from Marvel and DC to Terminator and Middle Earth, the fragmentation is real. Anyhow thanks for doing the interview Egg! :)
 
Last edited:

Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
Supporter
Interesting re: it being based on the original movie and the graphic novels, that's not really a combination I expected, and it's curious that it excludes the second movie, which is a pretty true sequel to the first. I can definitely see excluding everything after that, though for me, The Sarah Connor Chronicles is kind of peak Terminator, and also feels like it might be most like what a past/present-set Terminator RPG campaign might most be like.

I have SLA 2E and I have to admit that this is using the same system makes me more cautious of it. If it was using a lighter system, I'd be basically wishlisting this now, but that system is fairly complex/heavy. Comparing it to 5E is probably fair, but 5E is either right at the heavy end of rules-medium, or the light end of rules-heavy, depending on how you look at it. Plus the SLA 2E system didn't seem super-compelling, but I've only read it, not played it. Oddly it feels like Terminator might have benefited from a more narrative approach, though perhaps rules-heavy RPGs are making a bit of a comeback.

Though I'm not a huge fan of narrative focused mechanics systems over all, I think you might be onto something with that. A rules light system really might be the better fit for what they want to do.
 

talien

Community Supporter
Good point. I'm just surprised given the same director, studio, etc. - presumably they wanted an unreasonable amount extra for what is, yes, not a lot more in terms of IP as relevant to a TT RPG.

Never come across the comics except for some "Terminator vs X" so that may be interesting.
At one point I set out to collect all the Terminator comics (I also did this with the official "The Thing" comics from the movie franchise, harder than it sounds). The Terminator plots gets weirder as time (heh) goes on. This is a great summary of the various comics (there are a LOT from no less than seven different publishers!): The Strange History of Terminator Comics | Den of Geek
 


Paragon Lost

Terminally Lost
Supporter
At one point I set out to collect all the Terminator comics (I also did this with the official "The Thing" comics from the movie franchise, harder than it sounds). The Terminator plots gets weirder as time (heh) goes on. This is a great summary of the various comics (there are a LOT from no less than seven different publishers!): The Strange History of Terminator Comics | Den of Geek
Wow, I knew things were a mess, but damn. Thanks for sharing this.
 





No matter what system, it wouldn't be bad to pick up Reign of Steel from GURPS that does a good job of making organic life difficult.
Reign of Steel presents what seems like a vastly more "game-able" setting for resistance in the post-apocalypse than any official Terminator setting I can think of (largely by getting rid of Skynet in favour of over a dozen AIs), but I suspect the main play-mode for a Terminator RPG would be in the present/past.
 

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top