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Undying [softcover+pdf]

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(1 customer review)

$19.99

Undying is a diceless tabletop roleplaying game about vampirism. Game play revolves around brief periods of intense conflict in which old rivalries and new slights spark a dramatic inferno and long stretches of intrigue in which intricate plots are set in motion by immortal conspirators.

Description

You are a predator: a vampire who stalks human prey in the night, feasting on their blood.

Undying is a diceless tabletop roleplaying game about vampirism. Game play revolves around brief periods of intense conflict in which old rivalries and new slights spark a dramatic inferno and long stretches of intrigue in which intricate plots are set in motion by immortal conspirators.

Each player takes on the role of a vampire who stalks human prey in the night. Blood is your all-consuming passion, the object of your deepest desires and most primal needs. Your free will—your very self-determination—is a thin façade, a skin-deep veneer of civility gilding the parasite you truly are. Can you retain your humanity in the face of such desires?

Undying features…

  • A two-phase narrative system that balances nightly drama against the sweep of centuries
  • A collection of playbooks that enables archetypal and memorable character creation
  • A fast-paced blood token system that pushes players to bluff and bet against their opponents
  • A Byzantine political structure that draws characters into bitter conflicts with their fellow vampires
  • A lore system that allows groups to customize their game to fit any vampire genre

This is what it means to be a predator.

Undying makes use of the same rules-light engine as Apocalypse World, Monsterhearts, and Urban Shadows to create a narrative that is simultaneously tense and dynamic, pushing each predator to the brink through an intricate web of debts and intrigue.

Additional information

Weight 1.1 lbs
Dimensions 6 x 9 x 1 in

1 review for Undying [softcover+pdf]

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Rooster Castille

    I began playing Undying during the Kickstarter campaign, a long while back. At first, I was deeply intrigued by the concept of mechanizing political actions rather than physical actions. Crunchy games tend to handwave the narrative moves in favor of the GM deciding what happens as a result of any given event. That still happens in Undying, the GM is not exactly nerfed, but the players have hard moves that allow them to directly change the plot and interpersonal relationships, and their station in society, regardless of the motivations of the GM’s NPCs.
    I’ve played with several groups of people of varying experience with chewy (not crunchy) games, and I’ve enjoyed all of them. Some people need a little longer to learn to take actions in a game where taking a 5-foot step and swinging a stick aren’t their only options, but the game provides every character a few starting relationships that the GM can manipulate to provoke a player into having deep motives, and giving the player motives inevitably inspires them to roleplay without having a board game to manage.
    To be fair, the more ambitious Undying players all see it as a board game. Where some see a 5-foot step, I see harassment of my neighbor’s territory by kidnapping prey. Where you have a roll to-hit, I have a Blackmail move, backed by narrative I have built by sapping the foundation of your political reach.
    Playing on Roll20, I take the liberty of writing in extra fields on character sheets for logging narrative material that can be mechanized, listed in categories. “Blackmail material,” “Secrets known,” “Relationship weakness [of rival vampires and their allies]”, “Lair characteristics,” “Typical hunting methods.” These are all merely hooks, but as I make moves on the chess board of vampire politics, these hooks allow the ammunition for my hard moves.
    A common game hack among all groups, in my experience, seems to be mechanization of time. If I build a narrative that I am frighteningly fast, I could argue all night about how I could feed on a dozen prey an hour and spill my well-fueled wrath across a city like burst dam, but GMs all see the necessity of giving soft guidance on time consumption of actions and travel during the Nightly Play phases. My preference is to measure a city in hours, and to place points of interest widely. If a player’s home is Proximity 3 and they need to sneak around a graveyard in a rival’s territory, which is also Proximity 3, they may be close together and I apply a reasonable fraction to the width of the city, in hours. Spend some blood and this goes much quicker and quieter than walking down main street at midnight.

    The philosophies presented in the game provide ample stimulation for other politically-based games. I have heard of people trying to write steampunk hacks, adding mechanics that reflect the additional themes. If more game designers recognize the power of narrative moves and GM moves, rather than “rule zero” and Diplomacy checks, I’ll be pleased.

    I highly recommend this game.
    It is important, though, that you are open with your other players about what lines you don’t want to cross in the narrative. The themes are villainous and pushing extremes can be useful, so be self-aware and transparent about where you don’t want the game to go. This takes a certain amount of maturity and, probably, experience with similar fiction. A couple people with neither have wandered into my games and managed to not melt into puddles, but your mileage will certainly vary. I strongly caution you against picking up a spontaneous game with random strangers, unless you are all particularly transparent. Something I have demanded in games is a planning session where we meet and discuss the themes, details, and limits, so we are all on the same page before we even have characters.

    Go forward, with caution, and find rewarding game experiences.

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