It’s surprisingly rare to see one of the larger tabletop RPG publishers throw their creative and advertising weight behind an entirely new concept, but that’s just what Modiphius is doing with Dreams and Machines. The post-apocalyptic sci-fi RPG with a hopeful bent is betting on a starter set to lower the barrier of entry for curious players.
The publisher behind official tabletop RPG for Dune, Fallout and Star Trek, along with both Achtung! And Cohors Cthulhu, announced Dreams and Machines earlier this year, promising a chance to play the new title at Gen Con 2023. Pre-orders are now open on Modiphius’ official website for everyone who can’t make it out to Indianapolis at the beginning of August.
The world of upcoming TRPG Dreams and Machines takes place on a planet fully cut off from Earth by the events of a robotic uprising that nearly decimated our space-faring society. The remnants are just now restoring society, which lives in fear - or at least deep superstition - of abandoned mecha called Wakers and the destruction they might deliver if ever they awaken.
The system behind the rules is Modiphius’ in-house 2D20 system, which uses two 20-sided dice and a nifty exchange of resources between players and a GM to determine narrative fiat during encounters and challenges. Dreams and Machines shakes up the familiar by eschewing character sheets in favour of a set of cards. Each character will use four that portray their origin, archetype, talent and temperament - different ones are also used for equipment and special items in their possession.
These choices will determine how that character interacts with the world and, perhaps more importantly in this RPG, with each other. A new system will adjudicate the cooperative relationships between player-controlled characters with its own unique resource, which encourages teamwork and cultivating those interpersonal connections.
Other systems include use something called “weave” to essentially 3D print equipment on the go or interface with the systems and UI of the ancient world. In doing so, player groups will amass knowledge fragments, resources and ancient records that can be sold for money or used to deepen their understanding of whatever came before that devastating war.
The starter set, which is currently accepting pre-orders for roughly $39, comes with a tutorial booklet that quickly teaches the game's fundamentals before tossing players directly into the adventure booklet. It also comes with five d20 dice, heaps of tokens for the different resources and all the cards that cover the base character building components. Also included are cards for equipment, NPCs and locations. Rather than relying on traditional maps with a top-down view, Dreams and Machines springs for a more abstracted location-based approach to encounters.
The first wave of starter boxes are currently expected to ship out in August, following on the heels of its Gen Con reveal. More information about the full game and Modiphius’ plans for supporting their new universe post-launch are yet to be revealed. Dicebreaker has reached out for more information.