RPPR Episode 173: Alien RPG Breakdown

News: Birk and I are working on a new podcast called Night Clerk Radio. We have a Twitter account set up to make future announcements. We plan to launch it early next year. Stay tuned!

Synopsis: Alien the Role Playing Game is out, based on the long-standing franchise. So how does it stack up? Birk and I have read through the rules and I’ve run a scenario (Chariot of the Gods, soon to be on RPPR Actual Play) so we have some thoughts on it. Find out what we have to say about it and whether its’ worth playing.

Music: Selections from the Music d20 Patreon.

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  1. Great breakdown of the core mechanics and what distinguishes this from other sci-fi and horror RPGs.

    I also have opinions on Prometheus, so I am a little disappointed that it includes the Prometheus material instead of being just focused on original Alien stuff.

    It seems like this could work really well for other settings such as the Thing.

  2. About the discussion of colonial marine campaigns that don’t involve Aliens: There was an “Aliens: Colonial Marines Technical Manual”* published in the mid-90s which had flavour text about the USCM, and apparently those missions that weren’t “bug hunts” were punitive expeditions to put down workers’ rebellions against the company.

    *It’s listed in RPGG as a supplement for the Aliens Adventure Game**, but it isn’t. Different publisher, no game stats, just a tie-in fiction book.

    **From Leading Edge Games, publishers of Phoenix Command. I think it used the same rules.

  3. Oh, and –nitpick– Earth isn’t destroyed at the end of Alien: Resurrection.

    The Auriga explodes in the atmosphere above Africa, but the Earth is clearly still there afterwards.

    Resurrection does take place long after Alien 3 and there were big changes in the setting (e.g. Wayland-Yutani no longer exists), which is probably reason enough not to include it in the new rpg.

    While there were decades between the events of the first three movies, their milieu are still more closely related than Resurrection.

  4. Also, Ross was talking about the “iconography” used in Alien, and wanting some GMing resources for that.

    That “Semiotic Standard” was designed by Ron Cobb, and his sketches have been reproduced in at least a couple of books.

    ‘Colorvision’ from ’81, which would be hard to get a hold of now: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2343704.Colorvision?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=Fc6ETNDyEQ&rank=1

    ‘The Book of Alien’ from ’79, which has been reprinted more recently: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/840226.The_Book_of_Alien?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=7oDTbk15e9&rank=1

    There’s also scans of Cobb’s sketches on his own site: http://roncobb.net/05-Alien.html

    And of course, there’s been a bunch of recreations/reimaginings of Cobb’s Semiotic Standard posted to various blogs & art sites. I think I like Jaxon Polland’s best, he faithfully recreates Cobb’s designs and tries to analize the design process behind the symbols: https://www.behance.net/gallery/26265553/pixel-semiotic-standard

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