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ERA: FORBIDDEN rpg

Created by: Ed Jowett Artwork: Sophia Michailidou

ERA: FORBIDDEN is a stand-alone playable RPG and part of the ERA system which includes: ERA D10, Battlecruiser Alamo, ERA Balam, ERA Hitman, ERA Lyres, ERA Silence, ERA Survival, ERA the Chosen, ERA the Consortium.

This 40-page (cover to cover) A5 (pocket-sized) booklet contains everything required for 1-3 players (plus GM) to create characters and enjoy a world of adventure. The covers are of fairly stiff card and fully covered whilst the pages themselves are high quality heavy paper, mottled with various decorative feint backgrounds on which there is quite dark (not quite bold) text in an easily legible size, perhaps 14 point. The game details, coupled with the colourful illustrations, charts and tables, make learning the game and playing it so much easier than many role-playing games that have been published in books of this size.

The dystopian world left after the last war is in a mess. The fighting still rages on between the Angels and the Demons, between Heaven and Hell, and in the middle of it all is humanity, or at least what is left of it. Some, a few heroic, humans, of which the player-characters are, have embraced the alien technology found in the remnants of the Angelic and Demonic weaponry and armour that can be found laying around on the battle-weary demolished streets, into their very souls, even though it has been outlawed by the governing bodies. This has altered their very beings, creating what is basically a new race who are called the Forbidden.

Taller on average than average Humans, stronger, faster and mutated dynamically, these 'lucky' few super-characters can fight back against both (and more) of the monsters (light and dark) who are ruining what remains of the world you once enjoyed to live in.

Angels have one dedication in life - the destruction of all Demons. Demons reciprocate against Angels, but don't mind deviating towards Humans and others. Angels tend to rule the skies while Demons prefer to use the underground and undergrowth. Angels, being the good folk they are, tell their victims/opponents what is going to happen to them and request surrender to a clean strike, a neat and tidy public execution. Demons like to eat the victims, especially while they are still alive, making it as painful and as much as an embarrassing spectacle as they can. The FORBIDDEN are slap bang in the centre.

Players get to create their FORBIDDEN character by designing a personal background story for them; their lives leading up to the moment they became 'super'. They have flaws and quirks just like the majority of characters found in adventure tales in other role-play systems. They have Attributes such as Strength, Intelligence, Charisma which are found under the Potence sub-heading, Stamina and Willpower, found under Defence, and Dexterity, Wits and Luck that are covered by Reaction. The basic abilities of any role-playing character from any Role-Playing game system. Skills are learned through practice and training and like everything else they gain in stature and use with experience.

Characters can interact with other characters, as well as Technical and Mechanical skills. Again, the basic skills known to man are either known or can be learnt by each character. These include Personal skills such as Brawling, Melee, Stealth, Lock-Picking etc. Technical skills like Construction and Explosives (building things up and blowing them up) Engineering, and Medicine. Interaction; Haggling over prices, Intimidation, Seduction etc. It seemed like a number of these skills are maybe under the wrong heading, Lock-Picking for example in our minds would be a technical skill whereas Haggling and Esteem feel like they are Personal not Interaction. But it doesn't really matter as long as the skills are there.

Players used to RPGs will recognise these Character Attributes:  Strength. Intelligence. Charisma. Stamina. Willpower. Dexterity. Wits. Luck. Then there are the Derived Stats which are also generally used in RPGs, which are conglomerates of more than one of the aforementioned abilities; eg. Encumbrance = Strength + Stamina, Initiative = Willpower + Wits etc.

As this is a Pocket Rulesbooklet there are no pages of padding. Each page that isn't a break between Sections gets straight to the nub of the chapter such as Remnants; Weapons, Armour & Equipment. Remnants are things like the Dagger of Silence (for Demons) or the Sword of the Skies (for Angels); these can be thrown, left behind, lost in battle etc but they always return to their owner even if broken, though this may require some time for it to repair itself. Remnants build in level and power along with their owner until they reach their maximum power. Not all, but several other Weapons, Armour and Equipment can also be of Angelic/Demonic persuasion.

Now we get to the crux of the rules.: The ERA D10 Rule Set. ERA uses a 'Target Number' system. Those of us old enough to remember West End Games will know that they used a D6 system which was basically rolling as many dice as associated with the Skill/Ability/Attribute as required and having a variety of results depending on how many Successes you roll. In ERA the 'Target' is called the 'Threshold' and this is determined by the GM who decides how easy or difficult, by degree, whatever it is you are trying to do, is.

All manner of injury, disease, wounding etc are covered, as are combat styles Melee, Unarmed, Ranged etc. Many, in fact a majority, of combat rolls are opposed, meaning that both players roll dice dependent on the skills, abilities etc, attack versus defence, generally after modifiers have been included, with the added bonus for the defender that they win the battles if the result is a tie (and obviously if they actually 'win' the die roll). The number of successes rolled contribute to the amount of damage taken/prevented.

Generally ERA FORBIDDEN is best with 2 players and one GM. The last section covers general advice for the GM and a Bestiary of both Angels and Demons.

What you don't get if you buy the Pocket Rulebook on its own is any indepth background, no scenario ideas and indeed no adventure to run to get new players into the game. This is a bare-bones book that has been excellently produced and presented with the exception of the wording on the back cover "This Pocket Rulebook contains everything you need to play the game......" As I just pointed out in the previous sentence, it doesn't contain 'everything you need'. 

If you are new, or fairly new to role-playing and want to know the basic mechanics of so many RPGs then ERA FORBIDDEN Pocket Rulebook is for you. It is also a great stepping stone for GMs with vivid imaginations who like to write their own adventures.

Funded on Kickstarter as a digital copy or a paper copy or both. 

Get all of the Era games in Digital Format, plus The Era Zone 1-4, which contain material for every one of the published games - 9 Rulebooks and 4 suppliment books to offer further gameplay options 

Era: Forbidden - digital
Era: Lyres, Era: Silence, Era: Hitman, Era: Balam Digital
Era: The Consortium, Era: The Empowered Digital
Era: The Chosen, Era: Survival Digital
The Era Zone # 1-4 Digital

Get all of our games in Digital Format, and Era: Forbidden sent to your door in Paperback format! 

Era: Forbidden - digital
Era: Forbidden - paperback
Era: Lyres, Era: Silence, Era: Hitman, Era: Balam Digital
Era: The Consortium, Era: The Empowered Digital
Era: The Chosen, Era: Survival Digital

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015