Free League have turned their Year Zero Engine to the business of making an Alien roleplaying game.
Now, I love the Alien series of movies. Well, OK… I love the first three. Which is good, because the timeline of the RPG encompasses that period.
On the other hand, I have an uneasy relationship with the mechanics. I don’t know what it is about the Year Zero Engine that fails me every time. Yes, there are ways to get around a failed roll, but I would love it if there was more success. Any, really.
When I throw a dozen dice, it would be satisfying to know that the outcome could be something staggering. The first adventure I ran for Tales from the Loop, the kids ended up facing down a big bad and a coordinated effort somehow summoned a bucket of dice—every single one of which DIDN’T roll a six. A six is a success.
For my first session running the Alien Quickstart, the same thing (sort of) happened. In a fight between a player and one of their antagonists, I rolled a dozen dice and not one of them came up a six. Not one.
Tonight, another session—we will see whether the sixes prevail or remain frustrating in their absence.
On the plus side, as you can see in the Featured Images for this article, Alien has cried Havoc let slip the Dogs of Bling. Four A3 waterproof / tearproof poster maps—created from the images in the PDF—with print-friendly lamintated character sheets, custom-made dice, and motion tracker branded dry wipe counter blips for tracking the characters.
What a glorious table! (Hampered in the first session by a veritable feast of snacks that consumed 80% of the table space)
I got the maps from A1 Posters, the counters from All Rolled Up, and the dice from Blank Dice. I figured that I would run the Quickstart more than a couple of times and that no home printer would thank me for producing those maps at A3. Yes, some members of the community have created cleaned up printer-friendly versions—which I use for personal reference during the game—but there’s something essentially right about space being black. The atmosphere is everything.
Well, until you fudge all the rolls on your oxygen checks…
You can pick up the huge Quickstart PDF for the Alien RPG by pre-ordering the game on the Fria Ligan web site.