22 September 2018
Free tabletop spin-off set in universe of Fallen London, Sunless Sea and Sunless Skies
Sunless Skies is bringing its world from PC to the tabletop in a new pen-and-paper roleplaying game called Skyfarer – and you can download the free RPG exclusively through Tabletop Gaming now.
Skyfarer is set in the same universe as the space-set Sunless Skies, its nautical predecessor Sunless Sea and browser adventure Fallen London, all of which share a darkly twisted blend of Victorian steampunk and cosmic horror, and are described by developer Failbetter Games as ‘literary RPGs’.
Failbetter’s narrative director Chris Gardiner said that a tabletop RPG set in the universe had been requested by fans for almost a decade, following Fallen London’s original release in 2009.
Behind Skyfarer’s gameplay are tabletop roleplaying designers Grant Howitt and Chris Taylor of British indie studio Rowan, Rook and Decard, whose past games include the politically-charged elven adventure Spire and Honey Heist, a compact RPG where players are bears lured into a life of crime.
In Skyfarer, players take on the roles of crewmembers of Sunless Skies’ steam-powered flying locomotives, from gunners and engineers to the pest-catching ship mascot, with the GM controlling the captain of the vessel. The catch is that the captain – for whatever reason the GM decides, from drunkenness to being nothing more than a hallucination – is unable to perform their normal duties, leaving the running of the ship up to the remaining crew.
One of Skyfarer’s core gameplay elements is tenacity, which is earned by characters acting according to their defining personal integrities and can lead to further inconvenience for the crew and story diversions on the whim of a die roll.
Skill checks using Skyfarer’s four character ability scores – ‘iron’, ‘mirrors’, ‘veils’ and ‘hearts’ – are performed with a d10 and the relevant modifier. Failure during particularly dangerous tasks can increase a character’s ‘peril’ – an overall measure of health, mental stability, luck and more that can ultimately result in a character landing themselves ‘in danger’ and ending up out of the story if another character is unable to save them. Spending tenacity can stop characters risking their lives – among other things.
As with Howitt and Taylor’s other games, Skyfarer is said to be focused on shorter, faster sessions and a relatively light set of systems, with the universe of Sunless Skies serving as a background to more atmospheric, story-focused playthroughs.
Sunless Skies is currently in Early Access on PC, with a full release set for January 31st 2019.
To celebrate the launch of Skyfarer, Tabletop Gaming is giving away a prize bundle including a printed copy of the RPG along with a set of dice, exclusive game tokens and all of Failbetter Games' PC games to date. Enter the competition here.