Three brand new tabletop RPGs from Osprey Games will make their way to bookshelves and tables over the course of 2022. One reimagines a Venice where Leonardo da Vinci’s machines became the dominant tech, while two more deliver very different takes on noir detective stories.
Osprey might be best known as the makers of Joseph McCullough's miniature-agnostic wargame Frostgrave (one of Dicebreaker's best non-Warhammer games in that genre), along with its science fiction sibling Stargrave, but the company also handles a fair catalogue of realistic wargames and board games such as Cryptid and the Undaunted series. This latest announcement looks to expand their tabletop offerings in fascinating directions that still cleave close to the company’s preference for the historical.
Gran Meccanismo situates players in Venice, Italy circa 1510, but this is not the Renaissance hotbed from history books. The alternate world of this upcoming RPG gave Leonardo da Vinci the opportunity to make good on his voluminous feats of imagined engineering, reshaping society around water clock-powered computers, spring-motion vehicles of war and clockwork soldiers executing the will of the state.
Designed by Mark Galeotti, Gran Meccanismo focuses on adventure stories where player characters take positions as spies, nobles, mercenaries or fellow inventors aiding - or impeding - the will of the European world’s greatest minds. This clockpunk world places high value on both intellect and the willpower to enact great change, but it has also bred a dangerous environment of competing powers and resource wars. Gran Meccanismo is currently planned to release on Sept. 18th of this year.
The first of Osprey’s two iterations on noir worlds throws the grimy genre into a neon-lit 2092. Crescendo of Violence, designed by Alan Bahr, focuses on pitched battles between beleaguered individuals and the systemic forces pushing them against the rain-soaked asphalt. The setting of Neo York sounds like a typical cyberpunk setting mixed with a heavy pinch of 1920s American gangster culture - cybernetic mods and prosthetics accompany Tommy guns and smoke-filled jazz lounges. Gene-modified musicians rub elbows with CEOs of companies selling vat-grown clone technology.
Expect action scenes and bloodshed to take centre stage in Crescendo of Violence in lieu of the perhaps expected clue-searching and mystery solving. Neo York only recognises the strong, or those willing to punch far above their weight class. Osprey claims these fights will be cinematic and stylised, and the results will change or indelibly mark those characters lucky enough to make it out alive. Crescendo of Violence will hit retail on September 29th.
Those who would rather their gumshoes and gangsters stay in the appropriate time period might better appreciate Hard City, Nathan Russell’s upcoming game of granular investigation set in a sandbox city defined through play. The RPG boasts whip-quick character creation that produces competent yet flawed” individuals who are all one bad day away from becoming the monsters they hunt.
Campaigns in Hard City follow a series of interconnected mysteries that players can choose to unravel or take advantage of as gangsters, crooked cops and corrupt politicians lord over Hard City’s seething underbelly. As in any good hardboiled detective novel, a recurring cast of characters will emerge and help shape that table’s unique early 20th century sprawl, complete with recurring faces who will remember a good deed - or a knife in the back. Expect to see Hard City on October 20th of this year.
Each of the three announced RPGs will likely come as at least one core rulebook, but details on that remain slim as Osprey’s announcement only covered broad themes and setting. The company did not mention any crowdfunding plans for the three games, nor the accompanying Jackals supplement.