Relics by Tin Star games made its way onto my radar by way of Twitter recently. A fellow blogger and friend of mine pointed this project out to me when they had commented that they were still looking for another review or two leading up to their project launch on Kickstarter.
After learning in short back and forth with the developer that they were designing an RPG that was drawing inspiration from sources like:
- Wings of Desire
They had drawn further inspiration from Steve Jackson In Nomine I was eager to want to give this RPG a look. Now I will say that I was not able to give this product a full deep dive that others before me might have. I only had the product for a few days and I wanted to get a thoughts review out before or at the Kickstarter Launch for both the Developer and Backers. So lets get down to it.
This right off the rip is a very complete product. In years past with Kickstarter products often reviewers and backers would be told that the writer or developer has a solid outline and rule-set. This product is an example that these days are past. Weighing in at 275 pages of art free content in its current state. I imagine that this project will push well into the 300 page mark depending on if the Kickstarter will add content or not.
Relics is packed to the gills with depth. There is so much content to draw inspiration from that it is shocking that Tin Star was able to jam this much information in just 275 pages.
At the point where I thought i had have seen all that Relics had to offer me I was further surprised. At the back of the book is you are presented with a set of several ENTIRELY different set of setting ideas to run as settings for the Relics as further inspiration. I absolutely love this! Tin Star knowingly created a product that is deep and rich and then thrusts it into the owners hands and says.. MAKE IT YOUR OWN!
Relics takes place in a world where you play Angles that have fallen to earth after god barred anyone from passing again through the gates of heaven. Now a mad race for immensely powerful relics has ensued and you are far from the only ones that are in search of these celestially powered items. This is a world where myth and legends real, but the real story behind their power was told by humans. Who could not possibly understand what it was that they were really witness too.
The tone of the game is a mature one with the understanding that this game takes place in a darker and slightly more gritty world than our own reality. The world is a complicated place the players may have been here for centuries, but they are still strangers in a strange land.
The book also goes into some detail about the following things and how they affect play in the game:
- The Bible got most of it wrong
- Strangers in a strange land
- You can’t go home again
- Fallen angels filled the world with magical items
- An arms race has begun
- Thou shalt steal
- Angels are a product of all they remember
- The path is unclear
- Everyone wants you dead
- You can’t trust anyone
Relics is a narrative RPG that focuses on the players crafting and developing the story of their world at the table. The game encourages you to do much of this outside of the system itself. When the need arises the system that is used to resolve rules and outcomes is the Fugue System. This system was created by James Wallis and first appeared in his game Alas Vegas. It was released under the Creative Commons license.
The Fugue system has two main parts to it: it uses a tarot deck to generate random outcomes, and it is designed for the personas to begin as amnesiacs, who discover who they are through the play of the game. The personas in Relics do not have amnesia, but still use the concept of memories in the same way: flashback scenes triggered by players provide personas with character abilities they can then to use to impact on their environment.
Myself I have never used this system but I have always been intrigued by the idea of a Tarot card system. Something about it adds flavor that goes beyond just rolling dice. But I can not place much opinion of if it is really the case. So I will leave it at that.
I wish I would have had a little more time to dig deeper in this product, There was so much that it offers. But what I am sure of
- I think this RPG offers a ton of Homebrew opportunity.
- It has a creative Tarot Card mechanic to propel its narrative.
- The Product itself offers a exceptionally deep setting to draw inspiration from.
- My review barely scratches the surface of what this RPG offers.
- It is already a completed RPG book short of artwork insertion.
Overall, If you have the money to spare this should be a kickstarter you will want to keep your eye on. Especially if you like narrative based games with alternative resolution mechanics and a ton of depth.