WRITERS NOTE – I have been informed that this is only Test Wave 1. There are actually MORE Classes, monsters, ect for the Retroverse and this is only a sampling. So if you like what you see here, there is even MORE to come!
Greetings gentle readers! Today, I bring to you a preview of the upcoming Dungeons and Dragons 5E Campaign Setting / System variant, the Retroverse. Thank you very much to Chris, aka “Snickelsox” on twitter for giving me first access to this bad boy.
Now what we are looking at today specifically is the Test Wave 1 document. It’s basically a complete book, but will be tested so things that I discuss may change from here to release. Further, the Kickstarter for the book will be happening come April so if you are interested you will want to follow either Snickelsox (The Writer), Lluis the Artbarian (The Artist), or their official site “Lasers and Liches”. I will also not be discussing mechanics OR going in depth. This is a preview, after all.
First let’s start with the general theme. This is the 80’s in Dungeons and Dragons form. It’s insane, its hilarious, its over the top, and it’s amazing. The potential is here for all sorts of shenanigans. Its not going to be for everyone. The setting details, monsters, and classes all lend themselves very much towards silly gaming rather then serious. I mean, there are PIZZA CUBES for god sakes!
The best thing I could point you to, to get an idea of what the inspiration of this setting seems to be would either be KUNG FURY or really any cartoon from the 80’s like Dinosaucers. Yes this is a real thing that exists. And its as amazing as it sounds. Hell there is even some Power Rangers inspiration in here with a class.
And let’s talk about the races and classes for a minute. First we have all the standard DND Races and Classes available with one modification, to the Dragonborn. That modification by the way is what colors you have available. Rather then going with the standard Metallic or Chromatic colors (Red, Bronze, ect), you have four unique options: Neon, Laser, Xenon, and Tesla. And they are as hilariously epic as they sound.
Additionally, we have two unique races: The Cerans and the Wo’nari. The Wo’nari are best described as beast people, similar to furred bipedal dogs. They have a couple of subraces and are fairly interesting. To me the most interesting part is they are a short lived race, only living to about 60 and generally dying younger, so they have adapted a lifestyle of very laser focused driven personalities.
The Cerans are Dinosaucers. No, really. They are bipedal dinosaurs. This is a picture straight from the book of one. You look at that pretty dino and tell me thats not a Dinosaucer. Well an asian styled Dinosaucer, even a Geisha maybe. But I digress.
Again, the Ceran’s have a few subrace options and are generally described as highly intelligent long lived creatures that many of the other races assume to be dumb, and because of their size tend to fear and hate them.
They also tend to live as outcasts, which is interesting.
Next up lets discuss the classes. Again, all the standard Dungeons and Dragons classes are implicitly allowed, and in addition you have four new class options to choose from.
These classes are the Synthweaver, the Holo-Knight, the De-Fragger, and the Goreangyr. I will discuss the Synthweaver last.
The Holo Knight is a almost fighter/mage styled character. Their signature ability is being able to manifest holographic weapons and eventually armor from nothing. Essentially you can never disarm a Holo Knight. Further, they have some spellcasting ability. If you want to play a mage knight this is the class for you.
The De-Fragger is almost like a Retroverse specific Paladin or Cleric, and to explain why I need to bring up a unique thing to the Retroverse: Corruption. Apparently, the very nature of the world and its Synth 80’s vibes can corrupt things, giving them actual digital like corruption effects. There is a huge table of effects and rules for how you can be corrupted which I will not go over here. The De-Fragger is basically a tank who specializes in fighting Corruption, and also has 2 extra arms they can manifest temporarily. They again, have spells thematic to their role and are pretty awesome. Who doesn’t want 2 extra arms?
Next we have the Goreangyr. Its a Power Ranger. No, really. The Goreangyr is literally a power ranger. You start with an item that you use to morph into your Goreangyr form, you have Xord, the whole nine yards. You can enter your Xord and wear it like a mech suit, ect. I adore this class and would play it in a freaking heartbeat. Also, as a side note? Putties are in the bestiary in this book. Because if you got Power Rangers, you gotta have Putties.
Finally we have the Synthweaver, which was the class I was most interested in thematically. And sadly the most disappointed by. Reading over this class made me thing of one thing: Its a variant bard. Its first ability is a direct lift almost of Bardic Inspiration, the spell list feels like a bard spell list, ect.
I honestly could have seen this class be made into a Bard College and it would have been fine. There are some unique bits to it but overall it just felt like a Bard. I mean, yes, you get roller blades and play Keytars but it’s still just a Bard variant to me. I do like the art though. So Metal.
After classes there are a few backgrounds, pretty decent stuff. Mercenary, Rebel, Prodigy, and the most unique one of all, the Player.
The Player background is literally the “guy sucked into another world” background and its hilarious.
From there we go into rules about Corruption, as well as Shiny Variants (yes he added Shiny Variants from Pokemon), and some custom Critical Fail and Success rules, which I am personally not a fan of. I always use my own rules for crits anyway. It’s nice to have for those who want something concrete but its not really needed in my eyes.
Next up is spells and spell lists, which are organized so that it uses both a mix of custom new spells plus old ones from the PHB and so forth. The spells are clearly marked as well. In fact, throughout the book anything highlighted in RED is something from the Open Gaming License and is not reprinted in this book. The spell lists have at least 1 unique spell for each level. One of my favorites is Wub Blast, a synth weaver cantrip. It reminds me of the Dupstep gun from Saints Row 4.
Chapter 6 of the book is a secret. I will not speak of it. It’s a surprise, and it’s pretty damn cool. And fits the entire theme of hilarious 80’s nonsense. Actually I will tell you one thing: Its a starter adventure and it involves Cheese. Both actual and metaphysical.
Finally we have Monsters, Items and Gods. The monsters and items again are thematically appropriate. My favorite monster is the Karma Chameleon. Red gold and greeeeeen. Red gold and greeeeeeeen!
The gods are fascinating as well. I am always a fan of interesting theologies and this one has got some wild stuff in it like Cy-Net the LE Voice of the Machines (of course its Cy-Net). Or the Innumerable, gotta serve em all. Its symbol is a red and white ball. I wonder why….
Overall I am really excited to see where this goes and how people playtest it. The classes, other than the Synthweaver for me, all feel interesting and unique and I love the races. The monsters are “cheesy” in just the right way and the gods are fairly unique and fun nods to various pop culture icons.
It’s not going to be a game for everyone. Far from it. You need to have a serious sense of humor and nostalgia to enjoy this insane world that Snickel and Lluis are creating. But for those of us who are waiting for this? Well…
THE POWER IS YOURS! (Soon)
Thanks for reading and remember: Stay Nerdy!