The tabletop RPG translation of Druid City Game’s competitive board game Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef will be coming by way of Monte Cook Games, using its proprietary Cypher System.
The update was announced in a March 5th post to Tidal Blades’ 2018 Kickstarter campaign briefly detailing its partnership with the publisher best known for the science-fantasy Numenera and the creepy, surreal Invisible Sun settings.
Tidal Blades RPG, as it is tentatively called, will be built upon Monte Cook’s Cypher System, a genre-agnostic framework that takes some of the GM’s duties and spreads them to players. Beyond its roll-above, d20-based challenge resolution, Cyphers stick out as obvious hallmarks - these one-time-use abilities can be gained from items, experiences or more esoteric means and provide characters a range of customisation and strategic options not hard-coded on the sheet.
Experience in Cypher can be earned through exploration and discovery, but also whenever the GM complicates the situation with direct intervention. Players can award each other experience during certain points in the session for a number of reasons, using it as a resource to affect the fiction or reroll dice.
Given Tidal Blades’ focus on exploring the world introduced in its 2019 board game, the Cypher System makes sense - the design team stated in the Kickstarter FAQ that every game in the series would explore new corners of Naviri, along with its people and cultures. Heroes of the Reef covered the tribulations young Tidal Blades endure to earn their introduction into a force tasked with protecting the ocean-faring society from monstrous creatures that constantly emerge from the Rift on the edge of the horizon.
The RPG sourcebook is being written by Shanna Germain, a veteran game designer and writer with credits on three of Monte Cook’s biggest titles, along with her own fairy tale-inspired RPG, We are All Mad Here. David Forest and Lina Cossette of Mr. Cuddington will provide illustrations in the same style as the artwork for the board game.
Druid City Games is a Los Angeles-based design studio known for creating The Grimm Forest, a hidden-action game based on the historical children’s stories, and the deck-and-pool-building Sorcerer City.
The team didn’t offer much in the way of concrete details or release dates for the Tidal Blades RPG. A Kickstarter campaign for a sequel board game is currently planned for September or October of this year, and it would make sense for further information to be announced then.