Since the boom of the tabletop roleplaying industry and kickstarter, we have been able to enjoy games from all over the world from a diverse amount of people. Unsurprisingly, the country with the most horrific creatures on the planet is producing some of the best tabletop RPGs. Due to distance, a lot of these amazing games aren't being showcased in America. So let's change that! Here are some of the best games being produced by Australian designers right now.
1) Relics: A Game of Angels
The first stop on our road trip through Australia is Steve Darlington, creator of Relics and owner of Tin Star Games. You may have heard of Stever Dee, his moniker, as he has been part of the creation of Shadow of the Demon Lord and Vampire:The Requiem. Now his work is focused on a new creation!
Relics: A Game of Angels is a game where you play (surprise!) angels who have come to earth to wage war against demons without the use of divine powers. The war has raged for centuries with no side gaining ground. The catalyst for this game is the withdrawing of God from the cosmic spotlight and vanishing from our perceived existence. What do these thousand year old angels do now that they no longer have guidance, a deity to fight for, or someone watching their back? These are some of the questions you will struggle with as you explore the world of Relics. It uses the tarot-based Fugue system originally created by James Wallis. Not only do the cards tell you about what happens, but also the card helps guide the scenario by the cues from the card’s meaning.
If you are interested in a game where you can play ancient beings who played a part in creation, look no further. Furthermore, I cannot stress how amazing and helpful the Fugue system with the tarot deck is with pushing the story forward. The tarot deck offers so much storytelling inspiration for each action. Join the fight as you learn your place in this vast universe and make sure to pick up a copy of Relics.
2) Good Society: Jane Austen RPG
Next on our trip through Australia are the wonderful designers from Storybrewers. Vee Hendro and Hayley Gordon have brought to life the vivid and romantic stories of Jane Austen through their game Good Society, which won Best Rules by The Indie Game Development Network in 2019. In Good Society, you adopt the personas of your favorite character types from Jane Austen novels and movies. You can be a wealthy debutante, a poor poet seeking love, write to your friends and family concerning the local gossip, or uncover scandal as you dance under crystal chandeliers. Whatever flights of fancy catch your eye within the pages of an Austen novel, you will find them in Good Society.
The game uses cycles of play where you create scenes with other players, send letters, create rumors, and monologue. The conflict resolution is different than what the typical D&D player may be used to and uses a consent based token exchange. At the start of a cycle of play you have two tokens that allow you to to affect another character or accomplish an unlikely task. It is always a conversation; If you want to spread rumors of another player’s substance addiction, you must first enter negotiation with the other player. Everything is consent based and allows for a wonderful “yes and” and “yes but” style of play.
Good Society was successfully funded via Kickstarter and a new expansion is coming out later this year. If you are looking for a narrative focused game with mechanics that do not get in the way, look no further than Good Society: A Jane Austen RPG.
3) Fragged Empire
Our final destination brings us to Fragged Empire by Wade Dyer of Design Ministries. Fragged Empire is a post apocalyptic sci-fi game where you play one of the genetic creations of humanity. After a genocidal war, all the remaining species are trying to reclaim the society they once had. The base game has 4 non-human species that you can play, each one with its own special genetic purpose for their creation. The Corp, a species created in Humanity's image, were rejected by their creator and have now found their niche in controlling trade and finance. The Legion was a species created as soldiers for the war; now that the war is over, their species desperately tries to encourage their people to raise families and start farming.
The mechanics are easy to understand yet provide a lot of tactical nuances that create exciting combat. You can control combat drones, perform multiple combat actions in one turn, and pilot space ships in epic space battles. The conflict resolution mechanics is a skill based system where you roll three six sided dice and add in your relevant skill bonus. If you describe the scene with a level of intensity and flair as the scene demands, the gamemaster can also award you a bonus. It doesn’t end there though. If you roll a six, you unlock a Strong Hit which allows you to perform special feats such as rerolling a d6. Character creation provides a diverse plethora of options in and out of combat, including unique Strong Hit abilities.
There is so much flexibility and customization in the game, you can run any adventure. The universe is wide and vibrant with many planets that you can explore, as well as space stations where you can lose all your money through gambling. If you ever need a hand understanding the system, there are also helpful video tutorials online made by Dyer to help ease GMs and players into the game.
Now that we have concluded our trip through some of Australia’s best tabletop roleplaying games I feel like I have done my part. Now your part is to seek these games out, spread the word, and go on adventures you can only dream of.
Mitchell Wallace is a writer, professional gamemaster, and twitch director for Penny for a Tale. Mitchell playtests, runs, writes, and plays as many tabletop games as he can, and loves sharing them with the world via twitch, twitter, instagram, facebook, and pennyforatale.com
Picture Reference: https://www.tinstargames.com/#/
All blog materials created and developed by the staff here at High Level Games