Fans of tabletop roleplaying games need a break from generic D&D fantasy every now and then. If you want a science-fantasy RPG, you might look to the myriad Star Wars RPGs out there, or maybe if you want harder sci-fi, you’re looking forward to the upcoming Star Trek RPG. But what if there was a system that could do it all, allowing you to play in any sci-fi setting or even make your own?
From UK-based RPG studio EN Publishing comes an all-new sci-fi roleplaying game called N.E.W.. Designer Russ Morrissey describes N.E.W. as “A gorgeous, toolbox-oriented sci-fi RP[G] with extensive rules and guidelines on creating your own far-future game setting or modelling your [own based on your] favorite TV show or movie. Solid rules, about the same level of crunch as [D&D 5th edition], but a very different system using life-path character generation and dice pools.”
What’s Special About N.E.W.?
Career Paths. If you’ve only ever played Dungeons & Dragons, you might be surprised to see that N.E.W. doesn’t have classes or levels. Instead, your character can take up one of more than sixty different careers, ranging from starship captain to bounty hunter, from smuggler to engineer, from space marine to daredevil pilot.
Reflavorable. N.E.W. is full of weapons, starships, mechs, and combat suits that will remind you of sci-fi series that you love already, but can be reflavored and imported into whatever setting you like. Players looking for Star Wars will find that the energy crossbow and turtle mech seem a lot like Chewie’s bowcaster and an Imperial AT-AT walker. Star Trek fans will recognize devices similar to tricorders and communicators. The Gears of War fans will even find energy chainsaws!
Deadly… or Not? The core rules of N.E.W. assume a harder sci-fi setting, and as such “Combat in [this game system] is a quite deadly affair, especially if you are accustomed to heroic fantasy games. Often an advanced character can be downed by just one or two shots.” That’s perfect for Trek or Alien, where a single phaser blast or bullet will put a regular human down, but if you’re looking for a more Star Wars-y space opera game, N.E.W. also features a “Cinematic Mode,” where characters can use luck to survive situations that would kill a normal person.
Exciting, Customizable Space Travel! N.E.W. prides itself on the thoroughness of its design. There are tables that calculate the exact time it takes to fly certain distances (measured in Astronomical Units “AU”) at certain sub-light speeds, just in case you wanted to make a truly science-y science-fiction universe. But it’s also very clear that, hey, it’s just a game! There are variant rules all over the place to support every different kind of playstyle, so take what you want and leave the rest.
Fully Compatible with “What’s O.L.D. is N.E.W.” The N.E.W. RPG is underpinned by the W.O.I.N. engine, which also powers EN Publishing’s other games, O.L.D. and N.O.W. These RPGs are a fantasy game and a modern game, respectively, giving the you access to rules for playing fantasy, modern, and futuristic games all with one convenient mechanical toolset with about the complexity of 5th edition D&D. This gives me an idea for a Doctor Who RPG campaign…
Where Can I Find this Game?
You probably won’t find N.E.W. at your Friendly Local Game Store if you live in America. The game was funded by a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, and can now be found at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. It’s 50% off right now, meaning that the entire 285 full-color book is being sold for $10 USD, which, compared to the price of a $50 D&D book, is pretty impressive.
Are you interested in indie and non-D&D RPGs? What’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments or tweet to @GeekandSundry!
Image and Featured Image Credit: EN Publishing