Full disclosure, I’ve written a story called “Red Skies” that will be appearing in the Dark Era© roleplaying game, and which might appear on their website, as well – I will let you know more when I know more. That said, I love the concept behind the game and would have promoted it regardless of whether I was in the book or not.
Dark Era is a roleplaying game currently in development by West Legacy Games out of Australia. The players will typically take on the role of agents who are investigating and fighting against alien incursions. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be an agent that works for the government or another law enforcement organization, although that’s a common choice. You could be just about anyone from any walk of life that gets embroiled in alien conspiracies and incursions.
You can think of shows Project Blue Book, Dark Skies, or The X-Files to get an idea of the type of mood that you can evoke with the game, and it skews toward the horrific. I think it has the potential to work very well for evoking horror and paranoia, especially given that the first setting for the game is 1963 with other settings planned (past and future). This is a decade when a lot of conspiracy theories started to take off, particularly after the JFK assassination.
After all, how do you know that your boss at the agency hasn’t been influenced by the greys? Are you sure the civilians you just rescued haven’t been infected by whatever extraterrestrial entity was slithering through the sewers with them? Why does your neighbor keep staring at you out her window whenever you come home? Why are you getting strange calls in the middle of the night with whispering voices on the other end of the line that beg you to go to Mt. Rainier? GMs can have a lot of fun making the characters, and their players, paranoid of just about everything.
I already have a lot of creepy game ideas in my head for this RPG, and I’m sure you will, as well.
Of course, GMs are always free to run the game in whatever setting and with whatever tone they might want. Maybe they want a little more humor rather than horror, as found in the Men in Black films. Of course, if your game group is like most, humor is going to be present no matter what type of game you’re playing.
Easy to Learn System that Continues to Evolve
The core mechanic is a 3d6 + attribute rank + skill rank + modifiers system that is relatively easy to learn. Everything is quick to learn, including character creation and combat. You take actions with Action Points, which can be used for Tactical, Defensive, and Offensive actions. I’d also like to say that the art that’s being used for the game does a great job of evoking the mood and setting. The game is still being created and is developing and improving with each update.
You can learn more about Dark Era, which is still being finished and tested, by visiting their website and signing up to be part of the playtest group and even provide feedback. If this sort of setting intrigues, check it out.