ALIEN RPG – RPGBOT.News S2E34

Show Notes

In this episode of the RPGBOT.News, we discuss the award-winning ALIEN RPG from Free League Publishing. We examine the setting and the mechanics of the game, and discuss Random’s recent playtest of the Chariot of the Gods cinematic scenario.

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Materials Referenced in this Episode

Transcript

Randall  00:20

Welcome to the RPGBOT.news. I’m Randall James and with me is Tyler Kamstra.

Tyler  00:24

Hi everybody!

Randall  00:25

And Random Powell.

Random  00:27

Howdy!

Randall  00:27

Alright, Random what is going on?

Random  00:30

As you’ve been hearing about through some of the other recent episodes, I have recently gotten to read through the Alien RPG core rulebook by Free League and also both read through and run some of the first cinematic play, which I’ll get to in a bit. Its  basically a one shot thing that they released called Chariot of the Gods, which is part of the starter kit. And it’s really good and surprisingly dense. So I wanted to break it down and talk about some of the things and how it relates to both existing Alien stuff and also just is an RPG in general.

Tyler  01:09

For people like me, who basically have only heard of Alien while discussing it with other people. What is Alien? What is it about? And what does one do in this game?

Randall  01:19

Okay, and we have slow down. So you just implicitly made a confession, and I feel like we have to talk about it for a second. The original Alien movie came out in what is it like, 1984?

Random  01:24

1979?

Randall  01:24

Wow, it’s that old. So this movie has been available to us all for 23 years. 43 years.

Random  01:38

Your Millennial is showing.

Randall  01:47

We’re getting… we’re getting real old. I’m getting real old. I don’t know what you’re doing. Okay. Wow, that’s terrifying in its own right. And we haven’t talked about the game yet. Okay, this movie has been available for 43 years. And you have not seen Alien. You haven’t seen Aliens.

Tyler  02:01

Clearly.

Randall  02:02

They’ve been resurrected.

Tyler  02:05

Look…

Random  02:06

We’ve been prequeled twice.

Tyler  02:08

I live in a dungeon, there are no TVs in my dungeon.

Randall  02:13

That’s fair. That’s fair.

Random  02:14

Which explains a lot really.

Randall  02:17

Yeah, I am actually looking over to the, looking forward to the crossover, Aliens versus artificers.

Random  02:23

I’d play it.

Tyler  02:24

Yeah.

Random  02:24

To give you a bit of context. Alien. It is obviously at this point. Five movies. I want to say it’s it’s or no, it might be six. Yeah, I think it’s six. Because there’s four with the Alien. There’s Prometheus, and then there’s…

Tyler  02:42

Does Alien vs. Predator count?

Random  02:46

In the canon of this role playing game? Yes.  Yes. In fact, we’ll talk about one of the things that they brought in from the AVP series later on, which is hilarious and also horrifying as it should be. But basically, so the original movie first real quick context is what if really intense body horror dread being stalked on a ship in space. And just do that for like, two hours. It was completely revolutionary. It was one of the scariest things that has ever been put on film. And it was amazing. Then Aliens happened. And it was “Okay, what if we took that same lore that was fantastic, and instead made a sci-fi action movie, like Starship Troopers.” And that was really good, too. And then there were some other movies, and they were less completely beloved. Not bad movies.

Tyler  02:49

Really?

Randall  02:50

Yeah, I really liked Aliens Three, but I think I was in that prime age where like, I watched Aliens Three on repeat for a while. And a lot of the things that happened to that right. It’s an action movie. A lot of the things that were happening there, right. I think Terminator had already happened. So it was the second impossible to kill thing that we decided to throw in lava. Still really cool. What a twist. Certainly had that.

Random  04:08

Lots of really cool stuff. It is this overall universe. I mean, it has spawned novels, it has spawned comics, it has spawned several video games, the recent one, you may be familiar with Alien Isolation, aka locker simulator 2018. All of that is included in the canon for this role playing game so and there’s a timeline near the beginning of the book that actually calls out like, here’s when this happened. Here’s one this happened. And if you look at it, it’s like, here’s the thing that happened at Sevastopol station. Oh, that’s isolation. Here’s the thing that happened at Hadley’s Hope. Oh, that’s Alien Three, you know, and so on and so on. Let’s dig a little bit more into this core rulebook. It’s really interesting the way they decided to take this. It’s functionally like two games stapled together, that share a lot of the mechanics, but are intended to play very differently. They have cinematic play, which is basically trying to recreate the feel of an Alien movie. It’s, you know, like one shots do. But instead of being a power fantasy, I mean, you’re basically trying to deal with the fact that you’re being stalked by an Alien, probably, or some other horrific thing. And if any one survives, that’s neat. If everyone survives, something has probably gone wrong for the GM. They always include a little thing at the end of the cinematic play scenarios. The last sign off, where basically, whoever is left alive, reads off this message, like as a closing story beat to the camera and like to the one shot, and it’s really cool. And then there’s also campaign play and campaign play is is interesting. So for it being an Alien RPG, campaign play, is not really intended to feature aliens. It’s honestly mostly intended to be about your human characters, just dealing with the environment. And in this case, the environment, I mean, both like the literal environment of a planet, if that’s the particular flavor you’re playing, or just like, the socio-political climate of what space looks like, in most of 200 years. If you do go for campaign play, I mean, there’s the like, it actually explicitly breaks it out. You can play a space trucker flavored campaign, you can play a Colonial Marines can play campaign, you can play a colonist campaign. It actually, like down in the “for GM” section says like, when you’re going to run a campaign, pick one. Like have your payer- have your players pick one, and then build from there, because they’re very different. I mean, so like, Space Truckers is very much like, and I’ve talked about this a bit, you know. If you’ve seen Firefly, it’s very much like, “What if we were going to do that sort of, you know, edge of the empire, Firefly, scraping by trying to make stuff happen. But you know, flavor with retro futurism instead of being a Western.”

Randall  07:01

Yeah, so you say, Space Truckers. Space Truckers was an essentially, Alien. That’s what they were, you know, the Sigourney Weaver’s character. They’re essentially Space Truckers. They’re trying to get from point A to point B, and they get a message to say like, “Hey, the corporation that you work for wants you to go do this.” And the pecking order comes in like the hierarchy of like, “Well, I’m in charge. And I have to say that we have to do this. And well, I don’t want to. Well, if you don’t do it, then you’re not going to get paid when we land.” And so it’s this, it’s this very real… I don’t like the situation I’m going into, I have enough intelligence to recognize that this isn’t great, things probably aren’t going to work out. But also the very real, when we get back home, I still have to eat. And so I’m going to make this decision. And I will face the consequences of it very quickly.

Random  07:51

And it’s actually really interesting. All of what you just talked about, is present in both of the mechanics of the game. And also in the like the story beats of the cinematic play scenario included in the starter kit, which I’ll get to.

Randall  08:07

It’s almost a little bit like, “Hey, I’ve got this idea for Job Simulator, except for it’s in space, and therefore it’s terrible. And also Xenomorphs will eat you.”

Tyler  08:13

Yeah, I could see like the cinematic play. It sounds like it’s more for short stories, like one shots, the expectation is most people are going to die. How does that work with the colonist version of the game. Because I feel like, we’re going to have a space colony kind of game, you’d want to play out longer does that still work with cinematic play.

Random  08:32

The three flavors are intended to be for campaign play, cinematic play is intended to just be cinematic play. And it’s I mean, it’s literally like based around a movie. Like it explicitly calls out you have Acts One, Two, and Three. in the different acts, your characters have different motivations, this is one important thing that I should actually go back to. So in cinematic play, you do not make characters. The characters are pre- generated for you. That’s important, because it’s going to control how certain events trigger throughout the course of it. It’s going to control what your GM is looking for when you’re role playing. Because a part of what goes on in cinematic play is that every character has a hidden agenda; and, you are mechanically encouraged to play to that hidden agenda, sometimes to the detriment of the other player characters.

Randall  09:11

And my hidden agenda, I would just like my ship to survive with no holes in it. That’s all. That’s all I’m going for. So I want to call back what I’m hearing from you. And I want to maybe make a comparison to like 5e or Pathfinder. So in these games, a lot of times what we do in proper role playing in exploration, interacting with folks in town and stuff like this, that feels like a different play structure very much so then combat. Because when we drop into combat, now we have turn based order I get to use a lot of skills, things become very mechanical. What you’re saying is this isn’t that. This is literally you buy one core rulebook in the core rulebook, there’s a description for literally playing two different types of games within the universe.

Random  10:01

Yeah, exactly right. And like I said that the crunch for both of them is very similar and very robust, honestly, which I’ll get to, is they are entirely meant to be like two very different play scenarios. Whereas the cinematic should really recreate that sense of rising tension, build to dread, find something horrific, deal with it, try and escape with your life. Campaign play is going to be much more like a campaign in something like fifth edition, something like Pathfinder. Although, obviously less fantasy and more, you know, what if shadow run mixed with Spaceballs, but…

Randall  10:40

That’s less funny, decidedly less fun.

Random  10:42

You know, well, that’s going to be largely based on the group of people playing it unfortunately.

Randall  10:47

I want to play a comedy Xenomorph game. I think that’s Tyler’s speed, too, right? You’d be into that?

Tyler  10:51

Very much. I’m, I’m starting to wonder if, I’m starting to wonder if I’m either the best player for horror games or the worst player for horror games because I get spooked very easily and don’t take things seriously.

Randall  11:03

You’re a good partner if other people get spooked as well. Yeah, was it Spaceballs? Where at the end is even more comes out of the guy and starts doing the Warner Brothers. Hello, my baby. Hello? My darlin? Hello… was Yeah.

Random  11:13

Did you catch who that was at the end of Spaceballs?

Randall  11:16

Ah, is it the same guy?

Random  11:18

John Hurt! It’s literally John Hurt.

Randall  11:21

Who is that the fellow who has…

Random  11:23

Who gets chest bursted in Alien? Yes.

Randall  11:26

Brilliant.

Random  11:27

Legendary British actor. Yes. Anyway,

Randall  11:29

I literally had never put that together. So folks at home. You’re welcome.

Random  11:35

All right, so…

Randall  11:36

So there’s one more question I have on this right quick. Like cinematic play, campaign play… Does the core rulebook recommend stitching these things together? And I had this idea in my head based on what you’ve described, so far. Think of something like foundation, where it’s kind of episodic, but it spans a long time, you know, so you might have, go ahead. Are you talking Asimov’s foundation? Yes.

Random  11:55

Okay,

Randall  11:56

Or like, you could have a situation where, like, acutely, there’s a Xenomorph in the colony, and half the people have died. And so let’s have a cinematic play. Let’s survive the night. Let’s get rid of the Xenomorphs. And now let’s go back to play campaign play. And let’s generally advance the state of the world, right? Let’s actually like level things up, let’s get characters going, and then we might drop again into. Or is the idea that you as a GM, would you ever build a cinematic play game?

Random  12:25

You absolutely could build a cinematic play game, You wouldn’t really want to try and mix and match because there’s metacurrency between them. Basically, like, the way that you would get XP in campaign play is kind of the primary way you get a metacurrency in cinematic play, and they don’t communicate. Now with campaign play, of course, so there’s tables in the back of the core rulebook for generating jobs. Roll on this table to figure out who gives it. Role on this table to figure out what it is. Roll on this table for what makes it interesting, and then role on this table for complications. And there’s a set of those four tables for each of the three flavors of play. One of the complications that can happen is Xenomorph, you can get those horrifying moments, even in your, your long form campaign. You can just have things where like, yeah somebody’s gonna die. The campaign play is intended to be more about exploring the universe, there’s just the chance that you could encounter something super extra horrifying.

Randall  13:30

Hurray…

Random  13:32

Getting into some of that crunch that I’ve been talking about. So I called out Edge of the Empire, which is one of the Final F,– nope? Every time. One of the Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars systems, it’s the this the first one. And if you are familiar with any of those systems, this is going to feel really familiar. I say this lovingly, it’s very much that system with an alien coat of paint slapped on the top and a bunch of lore. That system is great, I had a great time playing it. So I am not unhappy about that at all. You have four attributes, which each map to three different skills. You’ve got strength, agility, wits, and empathy, which kind of maps to strength, dex, intelligence, wisdom and charisma from fifth edition. And then you got skills based off those like operating heavy machinery, Comtech, which is a very important one, which is basically, do the computer. And so that’s really critical because it’s, you know, how you do things like get sensor readings, repair things, very important. Character advancement, like I was talking about is based almost entirely on roleplay. So in campaign play, at the end of each session, there is an eight question checklist. For each of those questions that you answer yes, you get an XP. Only one of those questions is, did you deal with a dangerous situation either by fighting it or by some other resolution, the rest are all roleplay. One of the things in character creation that comes into play here is you should have a buddy. And you should have a rival among the other PCs, and; standing up to your rival is a way to generate XP; risking your life for your buddy is a way to generate XP. It’s really cool. Those things when you take them into cinematic play, you instead just have the one agenda that you focus on. And that one agenda should be dealing with, that should be the primary driver for your actions. So as I said, it’s broken into three acts. When you get to the end of each act, your DM will basically say, without discussing what your hidden agenda was, will say, “you get a story point, you get a story point, you not so much, you get a story point,” and then hand out new ones. Once again…

Tyler  15:53

Oh, so the agenda changes between acts?

Random  15:56

It does! Because you’ve gotten new information.

Tyler  15:59

Ahhhhhh!

Random  15:59

Back to touching on FFG. So combat will feel very familiar. It is in range bands. So engaged, meaning like I am literally touching the thing, close range, medium range, long range extreme range, one of the neat things this means is that it plays very well with theater of the mind. You don’t have to map stuff out because you just move into like I moved from one band to the next. And it doesn’t really matter where in that band you are. Then there is also… they call it a slow action and a fast action much like actions and maneuvers from Final- Nope. *sighs heavily* I give up its Final Fantasy Flight, you can deal with it. And the last thing that will be that will feel very familiar. It’s a dice pool game. So, we’ve talked about how one of the first things you need to teach anyone to walk them into a role playing game is what is the primary conflict resolution mechanic. And we’ve talked about how the main other one apart from d20 plus number, does it match target, is dice pool. So, we talked about earlier how there’s four attributes, twelve skills. For basically anything, you’re going to take your number in the attribute that’s relevant. Add any extra from any ranks in that skill you have. Pick up that many d6’s, roll it, if any of them are a six, you succeeded. If none of them are a six, you fail.

Tyler  17:22

Oh, so. Okay, so yeah, that seems like a super low probability of success on any given role.

Randall  17:28

So what’s a typical dice pool?

Random  17:30

So that’s gonna depend on what you’re doing, right? So at character creation, you have 14 points to assign to your attributes.

Randall  17:38

To four attributes?

Random  17:39

To four, right.

Randall  17:40

Okay.

Random  17:40

None of them can be higher than four, except for the one that is critical to your class that can go up to five, five is the cap. And then you can put one or maybe two, maybe three points into skills. There’s like a separate pool of points that you get for your skills. If it’s something that you have heavily spec’d into, you will get 8d6. In the Chariot of the Gods cinematic play that comes with the starter kit, your pilot character–there’s a pilot–and the pilot starts with five agility and three in piloting. She is a fantastic pilot. She’s been doing this for her whole life. She’s great at it, she has pretty good odds. One interesting thing to answer your question. There’s actually a table at the front of the book. Not, well not at the front, but at the front of the part talking about this, describing for one-to-ten dice, what is your probability chance of success? And then what is your probability of success, probability chance of success if you push the roll? We’ll get to that in a minute. But the short answer is it’s basically just roll again. And there’s some additional mechanics.

Tyler  18:43

Okay, so… that table will save you the trouble of running to any dice and trying to trying to calculate it yourself. Which is kind of neat, because like looking at it. “I have this pile of d6s. What are my odds of success?” It’s kind of hard math to do in your head. So it’s neat that there’s a table there. You’ve compared the dice system to Fantasy Flight Star Wars several times. Fantasy Flight Star Wars has the like boosts setbacks triumphs…

Randall  19:13

…chicken entrails…

Tyler  19:14

Chicken entrails. Yes. Is this as much chicken entrails as Fantasy Flight Star Wars.

Random  19:19

Way less. Everything is d6s.

Randall  19:21

Like real d6, not just a six sided die with something on it?

Random  19:24

Largely

Randall  19:25

logical, okay, largely good.

Random  19:27

So you can play it with just standard six sided dice. You’re only going to have to remember a couple things. There’s two separate pools of dice that you’re going to roll on any given check. The ones that I told you about that come from your skills, your attributes, and then stress dice. So this is the main thing that’s different about the dice pool mechanic in Alien.

Randall  19:50

This and the stress dice are in both campaign and cinematic play?

Random  19:53

Yes.

Randall  19:54

Cool.

Random  19:54

Turns out that space is scary, and so when you get scared you gain levels of stress.

Randall  20:02

Yeah.

Random  20:02

Now when you get stress, whenever you make a roll, you roll an additional number of stress dice equal to your stress level.

Randall  20:12

Okay? The player stress level or the player character stress level.

Random  20:15

Yes.

Randall  20:16

Okay.

Random  20:17

Player character, but I mean, you know, you do you boo.

Randall  20:21

I’m coming into this game with a handicap.

Random  20:23

Stress dice, there are also regular d6s. I’m going to talk about the ones in the starter set. They have the success symbol on six, just like the regulars. But unlike the regulars on one, they have a facehugger. Because if you roll a one on a stress di as part of a check, you panic.

Tyler  20:41

Can you still succeed on the check?

Random  20:42

You can! And in fact, you can still succeed from stress dice. Being stressed makes you more focused. It amps up your adrenaline. It gets you more likely to succeed in what you’re doing. But you might also have catastrophic consequences. So rolling a one on a stress di, if you’re shooting a weapon, you also run out of ammunition and have to reload. They don’t generally track ammunition, but they basically track like ammunition failures. And if you run out, you can’t use that weapon.

Randall  21:11

So I might roll a six and a one. The six would grant me success that sure you hit whatever you’re going for. But the one would also in this case, demand, and you have to reload.

Random  21:20

Only if the one is on a stress di.

Randall  21:22

Understand, understood.

Random  21:23

More importantly, it makes you panic and panic is how terrible things happen. Panic is how you lose control of your character, you know, like, get the shakes and take minuses to everything. Or you know, in some really extreme cases, you can like, get permanent mental trauma. Or you can decide, “no, it’s time for everything on this ship to die.” And you can be told to go run and start a reactor overload. It’s that bad.

Randall  21:52

And is this on a random table? Is this GMs discretion? How does…

Random  21:56

Random table.

Randall  21:57

Okay.

Random  21:58

Not exactly random. It’s like, you roll a d-, if you panic, you roll d6, you add your current stress level, compare that to a chart. The higher it is the worse it gets.

Tyler  22:07

Okay, so the more stress will get you worse and worse results.

Random  22:11

Right

Randall  22:12

So like, one plus one, like rolling a two is like… Maybe you eat like a Snickers bar or six.

Random  22:19

Exactly.

Randall  22:19

We start to get to nine or ten, and then it’s like, and we know we’re gonna melt the whole thing.

Random  22:24

Exactly. And one of the main ways that you accumulate stress is pushing rolls. So if you roll your dice pool, and you come up with no successes, or even if you just want more successes, because there’s like additional bonuses you can get from more successes, the main one, obviously, for weapon attacks, you can just do more damage. But if you like “naw dog, I need this piloting check to succeed or else I’m going to have to sacrifice myself to steer the ship into oblivion.” You can say I’m going to push it. I pick up all of the dice, I add one stress level, meaning I immediately add one stress die to my pool, I roll them again. So, that’s the main way you accumulate stress. Also, horrifying things happen. Your GM can just give you stress. So that’s a lot. And while we’re still talking a bit about character creation, you can instead of being a human, you can be an android. You should not generally be. This is a thing that maybe there was one android on a ship. This is something that you will talk about with your GM.

Randall  22:30

Yeah.

Random  22:32

Androids… I feel like every time an Android met another Android in the series, terrible things happen to one of them.  Correct.

Randall  23:26

So, that feels right to me. Fassbender is a jerk!

Random  23:30

Yes. Androids get to do things like after they’re done with their character creation, they add plus three to two different stats.  They can’t get stressed. Which amusingly also means they never run out of ammo, and it calls that out.

Tyler  23:37

That’s a lot.  Does it say how to handle that?

Random  23:45

Well, so they they have other drawbacks. As an Android, you don’t heal naturally. You have to be repaired.

Randall  23:51

Got it.

Random  23:52

It also means that you, because you can’t get stressed you can’t push rolls. So like if you mess up a roll, you messed it up.

Tyler  24:01

Okay, but, but you could have like, like impossibly high stats and just hope for the best. And that’s, like that offsets the ability to reroll, hopefully?

Random  24:11

Exactly. One last thing while we’re still sort of nearby to the FFG Star Wars. I was talking about fast action and slow action. There’s a big part of melee combat in the game, which is super important hen you run into say a Xenomorph. Your fast action can be effectively held and just has to be used at some point during the round. And that’s important because you can block with it. And that’s like a big mechanic. You can be like alright, I’ve got this monkey wrench. I would like to block the Xenomorph face. Please don’t ask questions.

Randall  24:49

I’m gonna stick it into the little mouth inside the big mouth, and just kind of push it back in the skull.

Random  24:55

Very tiny wrench for the little mouth, bigger wrench for the big mouth.

Randall  24:59

Yeah, it’s like a reverse Pez dispenser. So like you take that back, I don’t want this in my face right now.

Random  25:04

Exactly right. And then initiative is super cool. We talked about this a bit on the initiative episode. But basically you you draw ten cards. At the beginning of the fight or at the beginning of each round, the players can determine if they want to just trade initiatives. They can just be like, “Okay, that’s cool that you’re going first, but I have this big gun. So how about I go first and try and shoot it to death?” The additional successes that I talked about in your checks, you can do things like steal your targets initiative and force them to have your worst one for instance.

Tyler  25:35

Interesting.

Random  25:36

Last couple of things I want to go into in the core rulebook, Xenomorphs and Neomorphs (spoilers), get several dozen pages of mechanics and lore to themselves.

Randall  25:46

As they should.

Random  25:47

As they should.

Randall  25:48

They didn’t call it Space Truckers or It’s Cold in Space, they called it alien.

Random  25:52

They called it Alien. There’s a bunch of like, how the- how they progress over time. You know how it goes from being a juvenile, to an abomination, to a stage five, to a queen. All this jazz.

Randall  26:04

Yeah.

Tyler  26:04

That’s not five stages?!!?!?

Random  26:06

Don’t worry about it.

Randall  26:06

Yeah, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it at all. So my understanding of this–and this is all like internet reading more than it is ever actually, like having read into novels or anything–is that the mechanism for the Xenomorph is that they’re they’re kind of insectoid like. Like, they do have a queen, the queen lays eggs, the eggs hatch. Those things attached to your face, and then put something else, a living thing. And then what bursts out will have like a lot of the cool traits of a Xenomorph. Like the sulfuric acid and being really strong and hating everything. But then also have some of the cool traits of the thing it popped out of. So it could be like, human-like walking on two feet, or it could be dog-like running on four feet. It could be, probably we need a big beetle to make that work. That’s actually that’s a saving grace. A face crawler could never attack like an insect from Earth. Starship Troopers, whole ‘nother ballgame. There’s the crossover that no one needed. Yeah. Yeah, no ideas. Everybody. No. Producer Dan, delete this. So yeah, like I wanted to kind of lay it out first of all, that’s right. Right. Like that. The my understanding of the lore is correct. They kind of steal…

Random  27:16

Yeah. And in fact, it’s interesting. I mean, there’s actually basically some like, fluff scientific banter in there.

Randall  27:23

I love that.

Random  27:23

Like, as people debate this. One thing that is not debated is…hey so you remember, like one of our very first episodes we talked about, like the Tarrasque. And we talked about the planet Falx? And how it’s the planet of Tarrasques?

Randall  27:36

Yes.

Random  27:37

Don’t go to Achilleas 2.4. It’s where the Xenomorphs are from. That’s from one of the AVP movies, and/or video games. But it’s canon. It exists in this world. It’s terrible.

Tyler  27:49

So they know it exists, and they haven’t just nuked it from orbit?

Random  27:53

No, no, it’s there, like for the GM to know about. It’s not there, like the you know, the humans of the universe know.

Randall  28:02

If you say this is from AVP, so like canonically, at least one of the AVP movies and I think both of them. The premise was that predators have long… like as a rite of passage, they hunt an alien.

Random  28:15

Yep.

Randall  28:16

So they bring an alien to Earth. They take humans and they use humans to… Do you remember the Predator movie? You know they’re hunting Arnold. You know, Arnold’s like “get back to tha choppah.” Like this whole thing is happening, right? Because the Predators are hunting humans because right you know, level one, can you kill a human? We’re squishy. It’s really easy. Level like 20 was can you kill an Alien? And so they would bring the egg here, or like the face hugger, They’d get it into a human to get an alien out. And then you had to go like mano a mano against the alien as a predator. Which says, probably the predators knew what planet to go to, to harvest the alien to do the hunting.

Random  28:55

Yep.

Randall  28:55

So it’s like the most dangerous game except for it’s actually the most dangerous game.

Random  29:00

Yeah, it’s the most dangerous game but instead of you know, hunting humans, you don’t give any weapons or real clothing. You’re hunting something that can kill you, by standing near you.

Randall  29:10

It’s a bad time. So yeah. Cool that somebody in the universe knows where that planet is. Let’s not go there. It’s a silly place.

Random  29:18

Although if you want it to go there, space travel, space travel and explicitly space combat has a lot of crunch in this game. Like a surprising amount.

Randall  29:27

Like ship to ship?

Random  29:27

Yes.

Randall  29:28

Oh, that’s fun.

Tyler  29:29

Does that happened in any of the movies?

Random  29:31

No.

Randall  29:32

Not that I can remember but I’m not…

Random  29:34

There’s there’s a whole five page section on how ship to ship combat works. The like reminder tokens for it and stuff are actually a decent part of the stuff that you get in the starter kit box. Where there’s like charts full of stats for ships and they’ve got ship-like hull points. There’s stealth ratings based on the reactor. There’s FTL speed, there’s sublight maneuverability. There’s like number and types of hardpoints for modifying your ships. And interestingly, cost. Because one of the things that you get in this, you’re expected to get literal money, and so you could just buy a ship if you had enough of it.

Randall  30:12

At some point we’re playing EVE Online instead is that…?

Random  30:16

One quick thing before I get out of here, there are separate turn mechanics for ship combat. The captain figures out secretly, what orders they’re going to give both, like both captains do that for the two ships. And then it goes like, Captain give those orders. Pilot with the order, are you going to follow it or not? And if you are, take your action, or you know, take your action regardless. Gunners, are you going to follow the order take your action, and like, it’s, it’s intense.

Randall  30:48

Do they have to do it blind of what the opposing is going to do?

Random  30:52

Yes.

Randall  30:53

Awesome. That’s fantastic.

Random  30:54

It’s so cool.

Randall  30:55

Cause like, one side is wielding, wielding dear God. One side is yielding, with a Y, and the other side’s like, “Nah, blow it up.” Like that could, that could be the thing that would happen.

Random  31:05

Confusing W’s and Y’s and the Alien Universe. I wonder why that might happen.

Randall  31:09

I don’t know, no.

Random  31:11

The last thing in the core rulebook is a sort of cinematic play scenario. It’s basically just act three of one, it’s meant to function as a retelling of the story of alien three. Where it’s just like the last third of the movie, so everything’s already terrible, everyone’s gonna die, survive for a bit while you can. So then yeah, just to cover a few other things that they have out. So there are more cinematic play adventures, there’s more destroyer of worlds. And then soon we’re going to get one that like, completes that three story arc, which again, you’re probably not going to have characters that survive between all three of them. Maybe one but that’s not really the point. There’s a Marines campaign setting book. So like Space Marines book. So if you want to run a I want to play the Starcraft Terran campaign, complete with let’s mostly fight humans, and then oh, God, aliens at the end, you can do that. And then there’s the starter set. It has a much shorter rulebook, it’s only about 100 pages. So most of the like, lore for running campaign play is gone. It’s mostly just the crunch. And it has a bunch of stuff that I was talking about. So like it has the two separate piles of d6s, regulars and stress. It also has like the range band trackers, because it turns out that two ships flying at each other in space will go past each other very quickly. And that’s included in the space combat part. So you like, nyoom. And you maybe only get like two turns to interact with each other. People familiar with the second movie will be very familiar with the the handheld motion tracker. You can get tokens in the starter set to place on your map for like “something pinged over there.”

Tyler  32:50

Terrifying.

Randall  32:50

Good. Good. “It’s, it’s right there, it’s right there. I don’t see anything!”

Random  32:57

And then it also has the first one shot the starter kit does, has Chariots of the Gods. So it’s fantastic. I have run some people through about the first half of it. As is the case with any play test, it has gone horribly wrong. They say they’re four to five hours of play. We’re four hours in and we’ve done about half of it. But you know, part of that is because we’re running with less people than usual. And part of that is because none of us have ever played before. So take that with a grain of salt.

Randall  33:24

And also, I mean, if you’re having a good time, if you’re exploring it, I feel like that goes, that’ll go a long way too. Way back when we talked about Moerk Borg, one of the things that we talked about as like how awesome the online tools were. So there was a character generator that you could go to, there was a dungeon generator you could go to, there was a monster puller that you could go to. There was a lot of really good tools to make it easy for both players and GMs to hop into the game. Given it’s a Free League product, have you found similar tool level support? Or do you even think that kind of tool support is needed? Based on the way the core rulebook is structured?

Random  33:57

I don’t think it’s needed, I also kind of don’t think it’s possible. There are tables and stuff in the core rulebook. So I mean, if someone wanted to make a roller that just, you know, rolls on each of them, you could, but realistically, you can just do that with a set of d6s and the book. Envelope piece of paper, you can do that too.  Exactly. One of one thing I will say though, is in Free League’s site, you can purchase not just all of the stuff, but you can purchase it straight into Foundry. If you already have Foundry, you can buy the core rulebook for $45, or buy the core rulebook and PDF and Foundry for $55. And…

Tyler  34:35

That’s a good deal.

Random  34:36

Yeah, exactly. And don’t be confused like I was. Because when you first go to their website and look at their store, it’s in Swedish Kroener, which is not helpful. But…

Randall  34:47

Very big numbers…

Random  34:48

Right? If you look up at the top right, there’s a little thing to convert it into USD, or Euros, or British pounds. So, there you go. While, I don’t think there’s going to be ever that kind of necessity or proliferation of online tools, it’s honestly because apart from their licensed stuff into Foundry, you don’t really need it.

Randall  35:09

And it’d be just super awesome to have a hook into Foundry to play. So that’s great news. Good on you, Alien folks. All right, I think we did it right. Good show. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please rate and review us on Apple podcast and rate us on Spotify or your favorite podcast app. It’s a quick, free way to support the podcast and helps us to reach new listeners. You can find links in the show notes. You’ll find affiliate links for source books and other materials linked in the show notes as well as on RPGBOT.net following these links helps us to make this show happen every week. Producer Dan I need a favor. I looked it up. It’s Ripley.

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