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Elden Ring and Bloodborne inspired this dark fantasy RPG about medieval conquest

Grab your Iron and Incense.

A new dark medieval tabletop roleplaying game takes inspiration from the likes of Elden Ring and Bloodborne.

SYMA is an upcoming tabletop RPG that takes place in a medieval setting that takes cues from popular video games such as this year’s Elden Ring – developed by From Software and published by Bandai Namco – and Bloodborne, another video game created by From Software. Similarly to both Elden Ring and Bloodborne, as well as From Software’s Dark Souls series, SYMA has players exploring a fantastical world that is infected by rot of both a magical and human origins.

The themes of the oppressiveness of the medieval church, alongside its violent history of killing and conquering across Europe, Asia and beyond, are prevalent within the tabletop roleplaying game. Besides the history of the medieval church, SYMA also takes inspiration from the Iberian Peninsula, which is a mountainous region spread across both Spain and Portugal. The Iberian Peninsula is most associated with its history as a conflict ground between Christianity and Islam, with key landmarks being the Alhambra and the Sagrada Familia. There are parts of SYMA’s setting that have been deliberately left unfinished or vague to enable players and the games master to fill in the gaps themselves.

Artwork for SYMA RPG

SYMA’s system is built upon the Breathless gameplay system created by Fari RPGs, with players and GMs having access to magic, experience points and combat. Should players ever wish to venture into the world of SYMA alone, there is also a solo game mode adapted – with permission – from Alex T at Blackoath Entertainment.

The Breathless system sees players using a usage die whenever they wish to use their equipment to overcome any challenge, with a five equaling a complete success, whilst a three or four will result in a mixed success – with some negative consequences – and a one or two resulting in a failure. As players use a piece of equipment, it will gradually deplete, which is represented by the die players rolling getting smaller, with each use becoming less and less effective.

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SYMA was created by Alan Bahr, lead designer at Gallant Knight Games and creator of the ‘80s inspired roleplaying game Magnum Vice and the TinyD6 engine, which powers titles such as Tiny Dungeons: Second Edition. The artwork for SYMA was made by Rick Hershey from Fat Goblin Games.

The Kickstarter campaign for SYMA is live until December 26, with a pledge of $25 (£21) getting backers a print copy of the book in March 2023. Alternatively, a digital PDF version is available for a pledge of $10 (£9).

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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