Fans of the Xenoblade Chronicles video game series may notice some similarities between the franchise and this indie tabletop roleplaying game, Blades of Ether.
Set on worlds carried by enormous moving creatures called Titans – similar to Xenoblade Chronicles’ Bionis and Mechonis - Blades of Ether is a tabletop RPG that has groups of three to six players embarking on adventures under the guidance of the Architect, otherwise known as the game master. Based in the universe of the Cloud Sea, in which the Titans float upon, Blades of Ether has players discovering that they share bounds with their own special blades - which each contain the power of an etheric soul.
Just like in the Xenoblade Chronicles series, Blades of Ether enable players to wield weapons that have their own personified versions that can help their wielders in their struggles. Created from the crystals of a Titan, Blades in the fantasy TRPG bond themselves to a wielder – who becomes a Bearer – and allow them to perform feats of power otherwise out of their reach. As players continue their journeys through the Cloud Sea, they’ll form stronger bonds with both their Blade and their fellow party members.
Players will be engaging with a d6-driven gameplay system in Blades of Ether, using both the attributes of their own characters and those of their bonded Blade. Characters in Blades of Ether will have access to a set of abilities, including those that allow them to cast elemental magic – another similarity the tabletop roleplaying game shares with Xenoblade Chronicles – as well as have their own customised signature attack moves. As players progress through the game, they’ll be able to learn new talents and skills to help them overcome the various enemies and obstacles they’ll face.
In the TRPG, players will create both their own Bearer and Blade, with the opportunity to flesh out their various ideals and identities by interacting with the story and the other characters around them. Blades of Ether can be played as either a one-shot – meaning that the entire story takes place over the course of a single session – or as a longer-running campaign.
Blades of Ether was written by Alexis Eva, whose previous work includes a one-page TRPG about aspiring entrepreneurs called Nathans for You, video and tabletop game designer Kaylee Maya and Ruby Soleil-Raine, who is currently working on a hack of the dark TRPG Spire that takes place in a sci-fi setting. The key artwork for Blades of Ether was created by Krysta Rondine.
Xenoblade Chronicles is a franchise of Japanese roleplaying video games published by Nintendo. Featuring five released entries - and one yet to be published – Xenoblade Chronicles is a series that follows various characters across several different worlds, with players taking control of a party of characters in a real-time action battle system. The series is known for featuring blades that have personified versions of themselves that can fight alongside the main characters.
The digital PDF version of Blades of Ether can be downloaded from its Itch.io page for a suggested price of $2 (£1) or more.