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Role-Playing Game Review: ‘The Void’

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Long before there was Pacific Rim, there was the CthulhuTech role playing game’s world of a near-future Earth battling the Lovecraftian Mythos with cutting-edge technology. The guys over at Wildfire kicked the idea into overdrive with their latest creation, The Void. Some might refer to The Void as “Cthulhu in Space!” and they would be correct: awesomely correct.

void

The game is set in AD 2159, a universe similar enough to our own to be approachable and recognizable while still being filled with wondrous new tech and entire worlds to explore. The Earth still has its major players in an Alliance of American States, the European Federation, and the Sino-China Union, but they are all overseen by the Unified World Council, a toughened police-forum built to ensure international peace. UWC Wardens act as detectives and soldiers alike to protect humanity.

Driven by the human need to explore and profit, humans have colonized the whole of the Solar System. Mercury has its mining outposts, Venus is controlled by corporate barons, Earth has overcome its pollution problems, Mars its dust storms, and mankind has spread through the moons of the gas giants into the edges of the Kuiper Belt, except for Pluto. There seems to be something wrong with Pluto, something unknowable, that keeps turning potential colonies into modern Roanokes.

The hint of the dark supernatural on Pluto becomes expanded as the game picks up with the appearance of the Chthonian Star shooting toward the Solar System.  While rumors of its existence flow from ancient cultic texts, few know its true impact. The “star” of unknown origin is bathing the Solar System in a strange radiation that is waking the Elder things and causing the supernatural to slither into the mundane. The Wardens have been charged with defeating the evil, but they are simply stomping out sparks in a growing fire as the Chthonian Star rapidly comes closer, its radiation increasing daily.

The gameplay system is solid, and suits the world of science fiction well. Players receive different bonuses depending upon their home-world, and the list of technologies and weapons make for a creative world to play in. Several adventures have already been published, alongside fiction that adds flavor to the ever-increasing world.

The Void is a role-playing game for lovers of sci-fi and horror alike. Lists for inspiration include movie classics such as Alien, Event Horizon, and Pandorum. With a lighter touch to the Lovecraftian horror, there are still great adventures to be explored through the issues of corporate totalitarianism ala Heinlein and the puzzles of ancient cultures perhaps being in touch with extraterrestrial life. Void asks, what if those aliens came back?

Five out of Five Stars

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.