The Alien tabletop RPG will see its lore and storyline tied into a trio of upcoming novels set in the sci-fi universe, which will also feature playable scenarios for the game.
Released in late 2019 by Free League Publishing, Alien: The Roleplaying Game draws from the atmosphere and lore of Ridley Scott’s seminal 1979 movie and to a lesser extent James Cameron’s more action-driven sequel. Players take on the roles of Ripley-like ship engineers, corporate stooges, bug-hunting colonial marines and other humans looking to survive their journeys across the galaxy.
The game’s use of a stress gameplay mechanic and panic rolls represent the rising fear and tension among the humans as they encounter facehuggers, xenomorphs, rogue synthetics and more besides, affecting their performance under pressure - for both better and worse. In our Alien RPG review, Rich called the game “a terrific blast of sci-fi horror that stands apart from the movie”, describing the use of stress as a “great system that does an impressive job of cranking up the tension as the game builds towards its finale”.
The original game featured the ability to play in longer campaigns and a dedicated ‘cinematic mode’, designed for shorter one-shot sessions closer to the structure of the films - and with less of guarantee that players’ characters would make it out alive. The RPG’s first standalone cinematic scenario, Destroyer of Worlds, was penned by novelist Andrew E.C. Gaska and released last summer.
Starting later this year, Alien: The RPG will expand its lore via a trio of novels set in the wider Alien-verse. While each of the novels will be a standalone story, the books will be written as part of a wider “cohesive narrative” shared across the novels and tabletop RPG.
The events will build on the Frontier War campaign introduced in the RPG’s Colonial Marines Operations Manual sourcebook and the political crisis on Earth in last year’s novel Alien: Into Charybdis.
The crossover will continue next month in David Barnett’s Alien: Colony War, followed by Phillipa Ballantine and Clara Carija’s Alien: Inferno's Fall in July, and Alien: Enemy of My Enemy by Mary SanGiovanni, planned for release in February 2023.
Each of the three novels will include a scenario written by Gaska that can be played using the Alien RPG. The first will be Fallout, which will appear in Colony War.
Free League indicated that future novels and releases for the RPG could similarly tie together in terms of lore and storyline, saying: “The results [of this initial crossover] will set the stage for further developments within the Alien Universe, as depicted in the roleplaying game and original fiction.”