Posted May 8, 2013 by Colin O'Boyle in Games

Five Fun RPGs from Evil Hat Productions

RPG fun for everyone!

Hail, fellow RPG fans, and well met. I know it’s been a while since International TableTop Day, but in hearing about all the cool games people were playing, I’ve been itching to get back into the RPG swing of things. I was a big Dungeons and Dragons man back in the day, but I haven’t played any other RPGs besides that one, so I’ve been doing some research. My favorite part of the game has always been the story-telling (I am a writer, after all), and D&D offered me the chance to tell fun stories with my friends. The thing is, there are a lot of rules to Dungeons and Dragons. I mean a lot


WAAAAY more than this.

A bunch of them fit in your brain after a while (natural 20 good; natural 1 bad) but others are so arcane and esoteric that announcing “I attempt to grapple” is the easiest way to derail a gaming session short of lighting somebody’s miniature on fire. In the hopes of finding a system that’d be fun (and flexible, as I have lots of worlds I’d like to tell stories in now), I stumbled upon Evil Hat Productions‘ FATE system. The FATE system has no established setting or genre; it’s just an engine. You can use it to power your own story or use an already established one. Since it’s pretty easy to use, I started reading through the games Evil Hat has on their website, and even bought a few rule books.

Here are five of their RPGs I’m really interested in playing (though not all of them use the FATE system).


1) “Diaspora


Are you a fan of “Firefly“? (On second though, who’s not a fan of “Firefly”?) I know I am, and there’s been many a time when I wished I could gather a crew of rapscallions and misfits and roam the ‘verse in my very own starship. With “Diaspora,” you can do just that. Set in a universe where humanity has been in space for so long, where our societies have risen and fallen so many times, nobody even remembers where we came from. Einstein still holds sway in “Diaspora”: you can’t go faster than light. (Which is a shame, because I’ve always wanted to say “Warp speed!”) Luckily, there are the slipstreams.

Ancient relics or natural quirks of the universe, slipstreams function like space highways, allowing faster-than-light travel along certain specified routes. The thing is, humanity isn’t the only thing capable of using the slipstreams. There’s a culture out there, post-Singularity, and we have something they want. Our moons offer them resources they desperately need, and they don’t mind raiding our systems for them whether we like it or not.

If you like hard science-fiction, if you’ve ever dreamt of exploring the universe and encountering alien races (and maybe shooting them in the face/tentacles), then “Diaspora” is the RPG for you.


2) “Don’t Rest Your Head


Have you ever had a night where you just couldn’t sleep? Doesn’t matter what caused it–could have been a dog barking across the hall, could have been too much caffeine at dinner, could have been nothing more than the over-charged motor of your thoughts. But what it if you couldn’t get back to sleep? What if you kept awake? And what if, in doing so, something clicked?

As Evil Hat puts it, “That was when you took a long walk down the streets of the Mad City, stopped being a Sleeper, and started being Awake. But that click you heard wasn’t from the secret world snapping into place. It was the sound of the Nightmares flicking off the safety and pointing a gun at your head.” Now you have one simple rule: Stay awake. Don’t rest your head.

“Don’t Rest Your Head” is a horror RPG with its own system where your insomniac self has access to all sorts superhuman abilities. But you can’t sleep: madness and exhaustion not only power your character, they keep him/her alive. Set in a version of reality gone wrong called “Mad City,” you and your friends must stay awake one more night to stay alive. (Because the Paper Boys are coming. And they can smell you.)

The game sounds pretty creepy (in a good way) and if you couldn’t sleep before playing it, I don’t imagine it’ll be any easier afterwards.

Colin O'Boyle

Colin wears many hats (only some of which are trilbies). He's a writer of strange and sundry things, from novellas about smugglers on a flying ship to short stories about the perfect prison of the future. He's also a student, currently pursuing a master's degree in creative writing. In his free time he likes to read (especially anthologies of the Year's Best speculative fiction), play video games (Borderlands 2 and Skyrim are practically an addiction), and he's been making board/card games like a MADMAN! (So heads up, game publishers.)