Grab a pair of skates and your favourite dry erase marker to do battle against cosmic invaders in Summon Skate, a tabletop RPG with a fairly unique twist on combat.
Created by Japanese designer Yasuda Lin and published by Silver Vine, Summon Skate puts a group of players in the bladed shoes of Figure Skaters, individuals with the ability to carve magical sigils that summon powerful figures from myths and legend. Those powers are put to task against Chaos Figures invading cities across the world and make up the bulk of combat in Summon Skate’s system.
The arrival of a Chaos Figures is precluded by strange happenings, which prompts a team of Figure Skaters to launch an investigation. During this initial phase, players use a roll-under system using 2d6 dice to uncover the clues necessary to pinpoint where the threat will emerge. The city maps lay out a system of connected nodes representing stores, landmarks and other important locations that all might come under threat.
Once engaged, the Chaos Figure transports the team to a 12x12-inch gridded stage where Summon Skate really shows off its intriguing design. Each player uses their movement stat to begin tracing out complex designs on the grid - represented with a dry erase marker - in an attempt to call forth a being powerful enough to fend off the chaos. The foe doesn’t watch idle, though, and can crumble the grid to cut off diagrams in progress and otherwise harry players’ attempts.
The art style and tone of Summon Skate unabashedly draws from magical realism anime and video games such as the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series. The villains are larger-than-life embodiments of evil, the stakes are impossibly high and failure always seems imminent - until the protagonists save the day. It’s a tried and true formula with considerable appeal. Pairing it with an inventive take on combat could produce a memorable experience around the table.
Summon Skate’s Kickstarter campaign runs until February 10th, and backers can secure a digital copy of its 150-page sourcebook for $13 (£10) - softcover and hardcover editions are also available. Shipping is expected to begin next month.