Good news is that finally the RPG is here. Well, almost. It should be available for in a month or so and you can already pre-order it from Evil Hat Productions store. Your preorder will give you a download access to the pdf version. The game goes in two books:
- Volume One: Your Story
- Volume Two: Our World
I am reviewing today the pdf preoder edition (as I don't own the print version yet).
First thing to cross our minds discovering these books is how awesome the design is! It is clearly thought for the fans of Jim Butcher's books as all is presented like if the RPG was the fruit of a collective effort from different characters of the books: mainly from Billy and his Alphas, which are known in the books to be RPG addicts, but also from Bob and; last but not least Harry Dresden himself.
You then see in the books different annotations from Harry and replies from Billy regarding some descriptions or more general stuff like Harry complaining for the special dice (but we'll get back later to that). It is really a great idea as if you've read the books you're at once in Dresden's world and more than once I've surprised myself laughing loudly at some arguments going on between the characters through post-its and annotations. It really is a two thumbs up for the overall design!
But let's see now the content of these book, shall we ?
First volume "Your Story" contains all rules of the RPG properly; from characters creation to action and combat rules, spell casting (yes! spell casting) and so on. Last chapters are fully dedicated to the GM who finds there help to run the game, to build scenarios and finally a ready to play scenario "Nevermore/Baltimore".
This scenario is so complete than even a beginning GM should feel comfortable running it, especially if she reads second volume "Our World" which is, to quote Kurt Wiegel from GameGeeksRPG.com: "the best summary of all Dresden books". The "Who's who ?" really is impressive! Through post-its Harry congratulates Billy for all the work done. Congratulations are for sure in order. As I'm not up-to-date yet regarding Jim Butcher's books I had to prevent myself to read everything and spoil the stories. No need to say that if you don't know the books and want to play the RPG from scratch, you'll have here far enough material (but you should read the books too!! ).
And what about the game itself ? As most role playing games, Dresden Files RPG uses dice. Though these are not usual dice; the game uses Fudge dice. Yay! New special dice in your bag !!
These dice are d6 but without numbers or dots on their faces. Instead they have two faces marked with a "+", two other marked with a "-" and the last two are blank. If you don't want to get these special dice (really ?? ), you can style use classic d6 treating 1 or 2 as "-", 3 or 4 as Blank and 5 or 6 as "+"... but you do want those dice, don't you ?
The creation of your character is pretty classic with skills and traits (which are here called Aspects) which define your character who can be a mortal but also one of the many different supernatural beings going around like werewolves, changelings, vampires, God champions, ... and of course, wizards!
Talking about wizardry and magic, the spell-casting system will allow you to imagine and cast your very own spells.
Other point, the game uses the FATE gaming system and Fate Points are a central element of the game. They measure how much power your player owns. These points will allow him to influence the story in favor of his character.
A fate point can be spent to gain a bonus (add 1 to any roll of the dice) or more interesting: to invoke an Aspect of your character which could fit to the situation, to perform a particularly dangerous stunt, to use some special powers or, and this is really cool, to make a declaration (if the GM accepts it, the Declaration of your character will be true. Understand that you can create elements of the story as well, you're just expected to make it cooler )
Beware though as Fate points are also what keeps your character's will free. May your counter drop below zero or less and you will lose control over you character which will become a monster deprived of free will. Hopefully the GM can declare a "refresh" from time to time, allowing PC to get back to their "refresh level" of FP which you can also win during play.
Finally, there is also in the first book all you need to create your city, defining its aspect, its nature and its theme. So maybe we'll start a game in Paris one day here, what do you think ?
If you don't know the books and look for a nice urban fantasy RPG The Dresden Files RPG offers you a very complete word where to set your games. If you're beginning as a MG, starting with such a coherent environment will certainly help you to run your games with more confidence. If you're not found of RPG but fan of Jim Butcher's books, at least the second volume is a must have complement to your books collection. Especially as, according my preorder edition first blank pages, a Jim Butcher mini-novel shall open the book
I was waiting for this game with most expectations. Usually this is the situation where when you finally have the most desired stuff in your hand, you're already a bit disappointed. Well, this was clearly not what happened here. This game is really awesome and I can't wait to have the hardcover edition in my hands!