By Anthony “LibrariaNPC” DeMinico, 19 May 2021
As a huge fan of sci-fantasy, I’m disappointed when I don’t find a game that can help scratch that itch. “Give me my space wizards and spaceships!” is a statement I make rather often as I look around and the abundance of sci-fi and beg for some fun shenanigans.
Wanting something to fill that void, I jumped in at backing Veil of the Void Reforged‘s Kickstarter, and thanks to the author being awesome, I got early access to the PDF for this review.
Note: I was asked to help edit the book. This has in no way impacted my review.
Veil of the Void is a d6 powered sci-fantasy RPG with wide-open potential, focusing on narration, storytelling, and character progression.
==What You Get==
While the print copies are still in process, the PDF weighs in at a solid 279 pages. While about a third of it is dedicated to setting and GM notes, the primary focus of the book revolves around the player character options and the core mechanics.
The game functions as a cross of Shadowrun and WEG’s d6 Space meeting Dungeons and Dragons: lots of character options and abilities, piles of d6 being rolled, and some ways to make the basic d6 approach interesting.
Veil of the Void delivers it’s promise of being a sci-fantasy RPG with a focus on characters; that much I will NOT deny. Like D&D 5e, each character class has a collection of sub-classes to choose from to pick up new abilities, and with a nice collection of classes that have various abilities, the issue of redundancy isn’t that big of an issue.
But where this really shines is in the progression. While we see twenty levels for each class, you aren’t sitting and counting XP; instead, characters progress via a milestone mechanic (one of my favorite parts of Fate), and instead of being locked in to your class’s specific list of abilities, you can pick and choose as you go.
Yes, you read that correctly: instead of multi-classing, you can simply pick the ability of another class that fits your character idea and purchase that instead. This opens up many doors for character ideas, as you can have a spell-slinging Field Knight jetting around on their rocket packs, or a Mechromancer that can tinker with tech that’s not just undead. Combine this with the skill progression mechanic (based on Skill Points as well as frequency of usage of the skill), and the sky is no longer a limit for your character!
There are also nice narrative perks as well, such as stating that your “pistol” isn’t really a pistol; it’s a shadow hound that can attack and deal the same damage in the same range as a pistol, or a beam that launches from the tip of your spear. While there’s plenty of mechanical crunch, narrative fluff takes the spotlight.
Finally, there are some useful tools for new GMs in this book. For example, there’s an equation for calculating what is a good balance of HP vs players, tips for dealing with “broken” combinations/characters, and practices to help GMs get into the swing of things that seem out of hand for anyone not used to the madness that comes with that seat.
While reading Veil of the Void, I had a huge problem: the book needed edits. I brought this up to Trever, the author, and was brought aboard to take on the task. These issues have been submitted and hopefully will not be in the final product, but anyone that has received or will be getting the same PDF that I had may see a number of issues including typos and a couple missing rules. Take this concern with a grain of salt until we see the final version.
For me, personally, I felt I was reading a sci-fi version of D&D at times, and I don’t mean StarFinder. Much of the combat mechanics are heavily inspired by tactical RPGs like D&D; if you are familiar with D&D 3E, you’ll find much of the ideas familiar even with the inclusion of Conditions and a different die mechanic, namely: map focused combat, tracking multiple bonuses and status effects, and armor modifying the difficulty to hit you. Those that know me know my general dislike of D&D at this point of my gaming career, so take this complaint as you choose.
One common point of discussion is the concern about balance. While Trever addresses the issue within the book and provides tips for it, Veil of the Void is built on the idea of having over the top shenanigans that break the concept of balance. While over the top games are not necessarily bad, we do have a limited collection of opposition options and balance tips, making this a game that may be a bit much for a brand new GM, especially with some of the more esoteric rules (like tracking pips instead of flat bonuses)
Overall, Veil of the Void Reforged can sail the stars with a comfortable 3.5 buns.
Is it the perfect sci-fantasy game? I don’t think such a thing exists. Even so, it does exactly what it sets out to do: offers a plethora of character options, narrative focus, and plenty of shenanigans in a fantasy universe. If you have been waiting for a sci-fantasy game that is open enough to give you that heroic, space opera feel without the “everyone is bad” feeling, you’ll want to consider it.
Sadly, it is hampered by some of the same problems that hit games like D&D, with a focus on combat systems and wargame-like mechanics. Give it a pass if you’re trying to find something a bit more lightweight (but if you want something better than StarFinder but with similar mechanics, grab this!).
Veil of the Void: Reforged is written by Trever Archuleta and a print run was made thanks to a successful Kickstarter. Pre-order are still ongoing as of this writing, with a print copy running at $55 (in final print tests now) or a PDF for $20.
Anthony, better known as LibrariaNPC, wears many hats: librarian, gamemaster, playtester, NPC, game designer, and our Editor-In-Chief. You can support his work on Patreon, his tip jar, via Ko-Fi, or by buying his games.