A tabletop RPG inspired by the dark fantasy of Castlevania and Berserk plans to put players’ characters through the wringer.
Red Giant is the second release from indie RPG outlet Rookie Jet Studio and designer Cory Burns, who last summer crowdfunded Over Arms, a TRPG heavily influenced by manga/anime JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and video game series Persona.
Taking place in a “cursed world” bathed by the intense light of an ominous crimson sun that has awakened all manner of supernatural nightmare, Red Giant’s setting is described as being bleak and deadly, much like the bloody gothic horror of video game-turned-Netflix animated series Castlevania and the hugely influential manga Berserk by late artist Kentaro Miura. Other key influences cited by the studio include long-running series Vampire Hunter D and dark fantasy manga Claymore.
“Within Red Giant are many existential themes which urge the player to create meaning for their character in a bleak world shrouded by evil, trickery and decay,” Rookie Jet outlined in its announcement. “Just like our waking life, we must hold onto this meaning or risk losing ourselves to the world around us.”
Players are expected to see their characters succumb on a much more frequent basis than other fantasy roleplaying games, with the inhabitants of the world - both worldly and otherworldly - posing a risk to characters’ physical and mental wellbeing. Players’ own characters can cast spells to fend off the threats, with three different types of magic detailed in the core rulebook.
“Death is a large part of every game of Red Giant and players may find themselves creating new characters quite frequently as they traverse the hellscape before them,” the game’s description warns.
Powering the RPG’s rules-light gameplay is a system said to be “unique” yet “very familiar” to players of Over Arms and Japanese designer Atsuhiro Okada’s tabletop RPG Ryuutama. Sessions prioritise narrative moments and combat encounters, with characters’ actions resolved using dice. Despite the low survivability of characters in the world, the game’s creators describe the system itself as “very beginner-friendly”.
Red Giant’s system will also be compatible with various content, such as monsters and items, and books released for OSR - Old School Renaissance - RPGs with a small amount of adaptation required.
The upcoming RPG will include ten different archetypes for use in character creation, along with rules on progressing up to fifth level and more than 40 exchanges to customise characters. Lists of items, weapons, armour and other elements of the world will also be included, along with a bestiary and map generator for creating hex-based maps. Two scenarios - Dryspell and Ice Over Bittersweet Nightshade - provide a starting point for newcomers.
Red Giant is due to hit Kickstarter later today, November 9th, with a planned release date yet to be announced.