Dresden Files, Tales of New Crobuzon

Before I start raving about two of my favourite novel series being turned into RPGs, I must take a moment to correct some slightly erroneous information about me that I found on a forum (along with a lot of other stuff that was beyond my meagre German skills). I’m not a regional admin for any RPGA campaign, nor have I ever been. I was in line to become a Triad for the Principality of Naerie and wrote adventures for Living Greyhawk, but when the end of the campaign was announced, we never bothered to go through with giving me an official position.

Now, on to the meat of this post. Neither of them are actually news at this point, but both look promising, so I will now proceed to geekgasm.

The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game

The Dresden Files is a series of modern urban fantasy novels by Jim Butcher. They tell about Harry Dresden, a wizard and private investigator working in Chicago, and his tangling with vampires, werewolves, dark wizards and demons. The world resembles that of the old World of Darkness, except the lights are on. There’s comedy, and adventure, and excitement, and awesome things. I’ve been reading them for two years now. When I started, the series was seven novels in (now there are ten) and I caught up in a week. The series starts with Storm Front. There was also a short-lived TV series, which wasn’t entirely bad, but never really clicked with me.

For pure entertainment, there are few current writers I consider better.

Now, Evil Hat Productions is making a roleplaying game out of it. They’ve publicised it a lot on RPG.net and have been working on it for a while now. The game is currently in the alpha playtest stage. It uses the FATE system we know and love from Spirit of the Century, which is not a system I am intimately familiar with, but which looks very interesting. Also, a friend of mine has been raving about it for months.

No release date given, but were I to give it a guess, I’d say Gen Con Indy 2009.

Tales of New Crobuzon Roleplaying Game

Another fantasy author whose work I’ve been devouring is China Miéville, master of the new weird. His novels Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council are a sort of a steampunk fantasy, set in the industrialised world of Bas-Lag. His Lankhmar is the city of New Crobuzon.

Miéville has a gift for the weird, the grotesque, and the horrific, and he loves his monsters. His use of the English language is exquisite, and the setting is compelling. The stories are filled with shades of grey and political struggle, and there are no happy endings. They’re also standalone stories, but probably still best read in the order above.

Adamant Entertainment has announced that their Tales of New Crobuzon RPG is coming out in autumn 2009. There’s no word yet on the system that I’ve been able to find.

It’s not actually the first RPG adaptation of Bas-Lag. That honour goes to a series of articles in Dragon Magazine issue #352, which featured a number of races and monsters from the novels in D&D 3.5 rules, as well as a short gazetteer on the city. It was a good issue, though I’m not entirely convinced that D&D is the right fit for Bas-Lag, despite the amount of inspiration Miéville has taken from the game.

It should be noted that both Butcher and Miéville have a strong gaming background, though I’m not sure if either one is an active roleplayer at the moment.

Now, there’s something beyond Pathfinder RPG to wait for, next year. Ooh, and Miéville’s The City & the City and Butcher’s Turn Coat are coming out, too!

2 thoughts on “Dresden Files, Tales of New Crobuzon

  1. I think I would like New Crobuzon RPG like madman loves porridge. The Dragon articles seemed good.
    One test session (Standard serial killer mystery with pseudo-Miéville’esque elements ofclass warfare.) I cooked up on the fly did okay but I really don’t know would would whole run well on D&D as whole campaign and rules didn’t really come to play in one short session.

  2. Pingback: Looking Back at 2008 « Worlds in a Handful of Dice

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