Everybody likes dragons, but have you ever played one in an RPG? No? Epyllion by Marissa Kelly, is for you.
The land of Dragonia is one ruled by dragons. Young drakes and old wyrms alike plow its skies and stride through its halls. The dragons have ruled the land ever since the War of the Shadow beat back the Darkness. But there are rumors that the Darkness is rising again, as was foretold in prophecy. What young dragons will step forward to meet this new challenge?
The dragons have divided themselves into great houses, with the responsibilities of “caring for the land and maintaining the strongholds that have been built in honor of older, influential dragonkin. They also protect Dragonia from the Darkness, even though many now believe” the prophecy of the Darkness’s return to be false. There is a great house devoted to tradition, one devoted to building, another which keeps ancient lore, and of course, one which helped the Darkness during the war and is now viewed with suspicion in all dealings.
If you’re hearing echoes and rhymes from popular young adult fiction from the past 20 years, you’re not wrong. Game designer Marissa Kelly describes Epyllion as “Young Adult fiction like the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson series, making it fun for adults and ideal for families.”
The core idea of the game, however, came from the fantasy fiction canon. Kelly states, “The concept was born from my love of dragons and epic fantasy stories like The Hobbit. I always wanted to know more about the dragons in those tales and where they came from. Eventually, I embraced the idea that Epyllion could be a family friendly game, and that drove me to design a game that could inspire a new generation of roleplayers as well.”
Making the game an even better entry point for new gamers is the fact that it is Powered by the Apocalypse. It uses Vincent Baker’s brilliant and easy-as-pie system to run its dragon adventures. If you’re new to the system, you simply roll two six-sided dice. If you roll a 10 or better, you succeed. If you roll a 7,8, or 9, you succeed, but at a cost. Roll 6 or less, and the Game Master will tell you what happens. Most powers and skills modify that roll, which means that even though the core of the game is simple, it can have a wealth of powers and abilities for characters to use.
Kelly says, “I try to stay well versed with Powered by the Apocalypse games, so I looked to Monsterhearts, Dungeon World, and Sagas of the Icelanders as well. Video games like Spyro the Dragon also helped spark my imagination to come up with cool moves!” She also mentions that the game was written concurrently with another hit, the ENnie Award-nominated Urban Shadows.
So the next time you have the urge to plunge through the skies like Smaug out over Dale, Epyllion should be the game you plunk down and play.
What Powered by the Apocalypse games do you play? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature image courtesy Magpie Games
Images courtesy Magpie Games & Marissa Kelly