I have spent the better part of this afternoon absorbing the Cinematic Starter Kit that Free League Publishing has produced for their upcoming Alien role playing game. It's a gorgeous, 168 page primer for the new game, chock full of lore, game mechanics, and the new cinematic story telling system that Free League will be using to help Game Mothers run a session of Alien.
My initial impressions? This is pretty great stuff. The history section alone is fantastic, with a little bit of narrative and a whole lot of lore. Everything up through Alien 3 is chronicled, including a lot of the events from the Alien video game with Amanda Ripley.
The game has two types of play styles- The Cinematic Play type, which is meant to be played in a single session, but with a very high probability that the player characters are going to die horribly. Then there is a Campaign Play system, which allows for more traditional role playing sessions. Cinematic Play is the emphasis of this publication, with a complete adventure module contained within.
I'll get into more detail about the Alien RPG Cinematic Starter soon, but there's something really cool coming up. Free League will be giving away free digital downloads of the Cinematic Starter with pre-orders of the full rule book, which goes on sale on May 25th. Here's the details:
PRE-ORDERS BEGIN FOR FREE LEAGUE'S ALIEN RPG ON 5/25
WITH A SURPRISE DEBUT OF THEIR FIRST CINEMATIC MODULE
LOS ANGELES, CA (May 22, 2019) – On May 25, 1979, Alien first graced the silver screen. Forty years after the Alien franchise first inspired and shocked the world, Free League Publishing has a xenomorphic surprise of their own in store. Quite literally.
Last month on Alien Day (4/26), Free League and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products announced their upcoming tabletop RPG series set within the Alien universe, which is set to release this holiday season.Yet for fans eager to explore that universe for themselves, they don't need to wait any longer.
In celebration of the official 40th Anniversary this Saturday, Free League will offer a meaty 168-page Cinematic Starter Kit for their highly-anticipated Alien RPG – debuting their first Cinematic module Chariot of the Gods written by Alien RPG setting writer and sci-fi novelist Andrew E.C. Gaska – as a complimentary bonus gift for anyone who pre-orders the Alien RPG Core Rulebook. The Cinematic
Starter Kit will be available for immediate download as soon as the pre-order purchase is confirmed.
Based upon Free League's award-winning Year Zero game engine, the full Alien RPG Core Rulebook contains 300+ pages of mythology, artwork, and custom mechanics for open-world campaigns and deep, diverse space explorations on the Frontier. While Campaign Mode provides the tools for long-term gameplay, Cinematic Mode challenges players to start and complete an accessible, authentic tabletop
RPG experience in one game session with no prior preparation necessary. A streamlined version of the Year Zero engine, Cinematics deliver only the most crucial game rules for each scenario with pregenerated characters, stories, and challenges – capturing the intense drama of an Alien film.
Free League has big plans for Alien and their new Cinematic mode, which is why they're sharing the Starter Kit months ahead of the Core Rulebook. "We're trying something new and we want to know what people think," says Free League co-founder and Alien RPG game director Tomas Härenstam. "In fact, anyone who pre-orders the Core Rulebook will receive exclusive access to our development process with opportunities to provide feedback and earn a play-tester credit in the final publication."
The Starter Kit isn't the last Cinematic module that fans can expect from Free League. "Chariot is the first in a trilogy of Cinematic modules from Andrew E.C. Gaska in the future," shares Härenstam. Each Cinematic in the trilogy will explore a different style of gameplay, introducing a different perspective in the Alien universe and a different source of antagonism. Yet while each Cinematic module is designed as a stand-alone experience with new characters, settings, and challenges, the overarching narrative of the trilogy is connected – telling one complete, canonical story by the end.
"That's what so liberating/challenging about designing and playing in Cinematic mode. You could be space truckers one session. Colonial Marines the next," says Gaska. "The fun is figuring out how to work together, learn on the fly when the stakes are high, and try your best to survive the night. The constraints really make the whole experience feel more thrilling and terrifying. Like you've been dropped into your own Alien movie. And even if your character dies, the night is far from over for you as a player."As all characters aren't likely to survive, Cinematics are engineered with death and replay value in mind, providing an ensemble cast of playable characters and branching narratives with multiple story paths and possible endings. "It's rewarding to play and replay each Cinematic event, as you learn with experience, try new characters and creative solutions, and encounter new challenges over time," shares Gaska.
Starting on May 25, Free League will accept pre-orders for the Alien tabletop RPG Core Rulebook and a variety of limited-edition 40th Anniversary goodies and gear exclusively on www.alien-rpg.com:
- STANDARD EDITION includes the Alien RPG Core Rulebook in a hardcover format with
approximately 300 full-color pages of beautiful artwork and complete game rules for both the
Cinematic and long-term Campaign game modes. A PDF of the book is included. Price: $49.99
- STANDARD BUNDLE includes the standard Alien RPG Core Rulebook, along with a deluxe
gamemaster screen, two sets of custom dice (one set of 10 Base Dice and one set of 10 Stress Dice), a
set of 50 custom cards (for initiative, weapons, and NPCs), and a set of useful maps and markers. A
PDF of the book is included. Price: $99.99 ($50 discount on the total retail price)
- 40th ANNIVERSARY LIMITED-EDITION offers the Alien RPG Core Rulebook with a special
commemorative book cover. Exclusive to this pre-order campaign, the 40th Anniversary LimitedEdition will never be printed again. A PDF of the book is included. Price: $89.99
- 40th ANNIVERSARY BUNDLE includes the Alien RPG 40th Anniversary Limited-Edition Core
Rulebook, along with the deluxe gamemaster screen, two sets of custom dice (one set of 10 Base Dice
and one set of 10 Stress Dice), a set of 50 custom cards (for initiative, weapons, and NPCs), and a set
of useful maps and markers. A PDF of the book is included. Price: $139.99
- THE COMPANY SPECIAL EDITION includes everything from the 40th Anniversary LimitedEdition Bundle, as well as signatures from the Free League team on both the commemorative cover
and a Limited-Edition 27" X 40" poster of the Alien RPG cover art by Martin Grip. Price: $249.99
Fans can also customize their own package with individually priced add-ons:
- RPG Core Rulebook Standard Edition: $49.99
- RPG Core Rulebook – 40th Anniversary Limited-Edition: $89.99
- GM Screen: $24.99
- Base Dice Set: $19.99
- Stress Dice Set: $19.99
- Card Deck: $14.99
- Maps & Markers: $19.99
The 40th Anniversary Edition of the Alien RPG Core Rulebook is exclusive to the Free League store and its 40th Anniversary Pre-Order Event, which begins 5/25/19 at 9am EST and ends 8/4/2019 at 11:59pm EST. Official retail solicitations for the Standard Edition will begin in July, but retailers are encouraged to contact Free League with any questions to welcome them into the 40th Anniversary fun as well.
Pre-order your copy of the Alien RPG today at www.alien-rpg.com. Then follow Free League on Twitter and Facebook, where fans can discover art and gameplay development ahead of the game's release.
I can personally vouch for the quality of Free League's games, so this announcement is pretty much a slam dunk.