Candela Obscura, a Steam-Punk-and-Magick game built on the engine of the Illuminated Worlds RPG and made famous by the streamed plays of the Critical Role crew, is finally out. And it’s a lovely book.
The game uses a d6 dice pool system, similar to the one used in the ALIEN RPG. However, in Illuminated Worlds, a roll of 1 to 3 is a failure, a roll of 4 or 5 is a limited success (“Yes, but…”) and a roll of 6 is an unmitigated success. Rolling multiple 6s is a critical success which means you not only succeed, but something else good happens as well (“Yes, and…”).
There are three stats (Nerve, Cunning, and Intuition) each of which is broken into three actions. For instance, the three Nerve actions are Move (run, dodge, navigate), Strike (punch, break, knock down), and Control (drive, shoot, finesse). When you want to perform an action, you’ll roll the number of dice you have associated with that action. In each Stat you also have a limited number of re-rolls.
What other games call a Class, Candela Obscura calls a Role, and each Role has two Specialties. These include the Face Role and it’s two Specialties: Journalist and Magician. The Muscle Role includes the Explorer and Soldier Specialties. The Weird Role has the Medium and Occultist Specialties. Other Roles include Slinks (sneaky types) and Scholars (the educated and erudite).
The book is a lovely thing, printed on high-quality paper, with portions looking like sketchbooks and notepads including in-universe information that, with the art, gives players and Game Masters a strong feel for the setting. The game is fairly rules-lite, with much of the book given over to setting material and example Assignments that can be run right out of the book. These adventures are base around revelations that begin the next section of the adventure and will include a lot of investigation in addition to white-knuckle action and horror.
Character advancement involves performing individual character Keys. In addition to the character Keys, the PC group, called a Circle, has its own Keys that can be used to add new resources and powers to the group as a whole.
For Darrington Press’ first full RPG, Candela Obscura sets the bar high in terms of production values and playability. Fans of Critical Role will, of course, want a copy, but if you’re a fan of the Steam Punk, occultism, and Cosmic Horror, you owe it to yourself to check this game out. Talk to the skilled investigators at your local Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy® about claiming your copy of this book today!
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