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Nibiru Corebook
Publisher: Araukana Media
by Johannes E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/27/2020 14:33:44

I discovered this gem while searching for an RPG with an original setting and a heavy focus on storytelling and character involvment, rather than grinding dungeons. And this is exactly what I got. :-)

The setting involves mystery, science fiction, exploration, political maneuvering and - most importantly - existential questions and (a lot of) moral dilemma. Creating memories needs some getting used to at first (players continuously create their own stories...) but is actually a very engaging mechanic and can be both funny and dramatic, surprising and indeed very memorable. We had three sessions so far, characters waking up in Umbra and stumbling right into the midst of various factions in the Archean Sorrows. It's fun to narrate and fun to play, and all the choices have consequences.

E.g. we have a Dreamlander character, who has no past of his own, but "feeds" on other people's memories to fill the holes in his past. First thing he did was bonding with a monstrous Asappu girl they stumbled across (Asappu: think of friendly face-hugger entering into a mysterious symbiotic relationship rather than killing its host), discovering not only "Intuition" and "Using Technical Equipment" as Skills, but also sharing her memories and creating a whole new side quest along the main storyline. It leads to a dilemma when he (and the whole group) has to decide: is this monster actually human? Or just a monster on top of a human body...? And how do you tell her parents? Oh... and what do you do when there are quite a few people after the Asappu girl and you're the one who knows its hiding place?

On the downside, the Corebook and adventures only give the barest outline of the setting. Don't expect too much - all the planning of your campaign you have to do yourself. Nibiru is an idea, a concept, not a fully fleshed out world. Is it bad? Not necessarily. It just doesn't take your hand. Want to know who build the station? You have to come up with the answer yourself (you - the GM!). Want to know what these strange Habitats and Vagabonds are for? It's up to you!

And some parts just don't make sense. A few examples: In some parts of the book it appears as if most of the station is covered in funghi, however Umbra is supposed to be total darkness - no bioluminescence there? But shouldn't it be the agricultural powerhouse? Why would anyone settle there at all (fishes aside). I didn't get the concept of cycles - if the power fluctuates, the fluctuations should travel along the station at near the same time. Of course, a lot of power would be lost on the way, but the fluctuations of the cycle would always have the same length. The concept of the economy - invest enormous sums into colonization, and the most important produce is non-exclusive agrarian? And what exactly do funghi grow on? They would need some organic material to start with, in a station made of steel (?). I also don't get where the Torus leads, supposedly a tunnel of gigantic proportions - is it circling once around the whole disc of the station, or only part of the station? According to the maps, humanity lives only in a small part in the station - colonization should therefore start along the 1G line where living conditions are the best, right? However, colonization appears to be more or less a vertical affair (referring to artificial gravity as "down").

Can I recommend the title?

Yes, IF you are willing to create your own campaign and flesh out the world accordingly and IF you enjoy the stories more than the action. It does not take your hand - neither as GM nor as player.

This is also NOT a tactical game, think rather of an interactive, atmospheric graphic novel: your choices matter, but for the most part it's just fun to watch. And all the rules are explained in a mere 15 min. Chargen takes another 15 min.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Nibiru Corebook
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