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A Look At The Bright Colors and Weird Fantasy RPG World of OVERLIGHT
Overlight: Fractured ParadoxOverlight: Fractured Paradox

A Look At The Bright Colors and Weird Fantasy RPG World of OVERLIGHT

Most Dungeons & Dragons games seek the middle ground when it comes to fantasy. Sure, there are spells, potions, and elves, but the worlds are usually very identifiable in medieval trappings. Some game settings turn the dial down to low fantasy to emulate the spooky magics of Conan stories or play up the rarity of healing and spells. Overlight, Kickstarted earlier this year by Renegade Game Studios, turns the dial in the other direction and breaks off the knob. We got to take a look at the finished book and came away with some impressions of this game’s bright future.

Long ago, divine beings considered giving the world access to keys of creation, thinking the people in the world were enlightened enough to use them wisely. They decided against it at the last minute, but a rogue faction decided to do it anyway. They presented the mortals with these keys of unimaginable power with one simple instruction: Never Use The Black Key. Guess which key got used?

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This caused the world to shatter into several different shards. Most of the shards are bathed in the Overlight, though some exist in the shadow of larger shards floating above. The shards hover over a vast, infinite sparkling sea. Each shard is home to one of the unique people of Overlight. Something resembling humans exist on in the massive city-shard of Haark who call themselves Haarkeen. Players looking for elves and dwarves to play won’t find them in Overlight.

There are other races in the world of Overlight. There’s the Teryxians: flying serpents who are desperately trying to discover and preserve the history of the shards in the hops of one day restoring them to a single whole. Or the Banyan who are small, intelligent woodland creatures that bond to plant life on their shard and end up walking around in magically bolstered tree armor like adorable combinations of Iron Man and Groot. Don’t forget the Arumel of Veile, the rich and powerful beings who tie their identities to masks that they hand down through generations in a form of immortality. It’s hard to be “just a fighter” in Overlight.

Ultimately, player characters are Skyborn. Each one of the Folk is connected to one of the colors and virtues of the Overlight. But the Skyborn have been granted access to a second virtue to go out and change the world. These virtues manifest as chroma. Chroma combines the two colors into a power that few Folk have, such as The Mirror of Selves which allow the character to split into dozens of mirror images to confuse an opponent. Perhaps Baleful Flight sounds like more fun allowing a dive bomb flight attack that gets the jump in a battle. These powers all use spirit and the cost is determined by the roll of the spirit die when activated. Skyborn must beware, however. If the cost is too great, the Chroma shatters and causes them some sort of strange mark or price to pay to use the power in the future.

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Overlight stands out from other fantasy RPGs because it encourages players and GMs to get weird at every turn. The bestiary eschews typical things like trolls or orcs in favor of panthers that can pounce through shadows or wasps that eat iron. Players start at a high level of power with Chroma that go beyond cantrips and first level spells. The games we played made us felt less like wizards and warriors and more like superheroes as everyone came together to use their magic to do good. The big dice pools rolled for combat and other effects make every roll feel important. The spirit die also came to be our best friend and worst enemy by throwing our plans for loops and nailing the bad guys when things look darkest.

If you’re excited to jump into this world, be sure to check out our newest RPG show, Overlight: Fractured Paradox Fridays at 4 PM PST on https://twitch.tv/geekandsundry and https://www.projectalpha.com. New Alpha members receive a 30-day free trial.

What’s your favorite wild fantasy? Let us know in the comments!

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Images Credits: Renegade Game Studios

Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He’s worked on dozens of different tabletop games ranging from Star Wars and Firefly to his own creations like CAMELOT Trigger. His Twitter is here. You can watch him livestream RPGs with the Theatre of the Mind Players here. His meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.

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