Retroscape - Jazzy Cyberpunk in the Post-Apocolypse [Update - 5-7-18 1707]


On the second day of Chupracabra-Con as the Savage World's ESU Pool Party was winding down and I was seriously beginning to worry about my daughter's insistence that she could play real beer pong (not the water variant they were playing) I got an e-mail that the Tiny-6 game I was supposed to be playing in was canceled.  Part of my was going to shrug it off grab one of my purchases and chill out in the lounge while my daughter played in a Savage Jem and the Holograms game.  In the end I decided not to do this and started to look for a game.

What I found was this:


Retroscape is the Third entry into the RPG space by Parlor Games LLC after their Steampunk title Tephra and their Fantasy title (and showcase piece for their original system the Volcano System) Volcanic Legends.  While the system is currently in playtest (and a few new rulings and ideas for the book happened at the table I played at with co-writer Jake Paul) it is a fairly complete system with nary a hiccup to be found mechanically - at least on the player's side.  

From the website:

The third World War destroyed civilization as we know it, but from the carnage a bastion of science and civilization arose: Delphi, a city founded by the seemingly omniscient Oracle. 80 years later, the world is still filled with chaos and monstrosities, but you are ready to fight for it: you, members of highly-guarded labs of super-science. Armed with the ability to change basic laws of physics, twist time, alter your anatomy, and graft advanced tech into your skin, you’re ready to take on the worst that the world has to offer.

In our game I played an AnatomiX (think healer class) named Jennah Night (with an "n"), a whiskey loving, Russian accented woman obsessed with medical waivers, and dolling out lollipops.  The team were sent by the last bastion of civilian the city of Delphi - located in former Nova Scotia - to a small community that held the last known Whiskey Distillery in the world (so VERY important) to solve a mysterious group of crop circles that were killing the crops.  When the team arrived- a fire happy crazed lunatic who was just a dude who was a guy, an old man who considered trucks as weapons and could bend time to his will, a techie who could run fast, and the Professor and Mary Ann - we discovered a mutated plant/insect creature was not only responsible but had moved on to attacking humans as well ...

... This is the introductory adventure in the book so going further would be spoiler range.  Needless to say the four hours passed in the blink of an eye, as everyone found ways to make the pre-gens their own.

The System

Retroscape uses the Volcano system (same used in Volcanic Legends) which is a d12-based Success/Failure system.  You roll the number of d12 linked to an attribute (say Intelligence) and every roll that exceeds the TN is a success, enough successes and you win the roll.  Skills, upgrade the linked attribute to a d20 giving you a better chance at success.  

So let's say Dr. Night wants to examine the body of one of the creatures she would roll her Intelligence and Knowledge (Medical). She has a 4 in Intelligence and a 2 in Knowledge so she would roll 2d12 & 2d20 as her Knowledge upgraded two of her Intelligence dice to d20s.

The system is fairly easily to pick-up and after a sample combat round I had the gist of the system down.

I wish I could have explored character creation but there wasn't much time and given that the game ended at midnight, I didn't want to hold up the Parlor Games staff.

Needless to say this is a game I would want to play again, and I really hope that Parlor Games has a OGL style license for this when it's released because I'd love to play with it on a more professional basis.

Tomorrow (or Friday) will be a report on the second unknown of the convention:  Auras Beyond!

[Update - 5-7-18 1707]

Parlor  Games appears to have a presence on DrivethruRPG and includes a pdf version of Retroscape.  Sorry for missing that.


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