As a big fan of the setting and the Crimson Skies videogames, I’ve always wondered why a tabletop RPG of this genre didn’t exist.
Then Warbirds came along.
Warbirds is the new Roleplaying Game from Outrider Studios, the people who brought us Remnants, the post-apocalypitic game featuring warring tribes and advanced armored combat robots, which I reviewed very favorably HERE. Given this, I expect that Warbirds will be equally amusing, if not more so.
Warbirds takes place in an alternate world of Azure a strange setting composed of floating islands above an endless Murk, an ocean of dark roiling clouds which is almost impossible to explore as it is devoid of oxygen.
The floating islands are Caribbean islands of our own world, plucked up by a massive hurricane in 1804 and came to exist in Azure. There’s a bit of crossover of real history with the fantasy setting of Azure, but it certainly counts for being unique.
These islands form the nations of the setting, and each one is given thorough coverage, with a discussion of the setting’s history, their politics and the various factions that control these islands.
Of all these factions, the Guild is arguably one of the biggest. Officially known as “The Esteemed Guild of Combat Aviators” this is the organization that the player characters come from. The Guild is interesting as it’s pilots are both heroes and celebrities, and in a setting like Azure, it’s not difficult to see why these daring pilots are treated like movie stars.
The Rapidfire Rules:
Warbirds uses the same Rapidfire Rules from Remnants, which boils down to a simple resolution system:
1d6 + Skill + Stat + Modifiers versus Difficulty
Stats range from values of -2 to +2 with 0 representing the average. The Stats are broken down into Body, Mind and Spirit.
Skills range from values of 0 (untrained) to 6 (grand mastery) and have a rather extensive list to choose from.
Difficulties in the ruleset range from 2 (routine) to 14 (epic) with the default difficulty of anywhere from 6 for moderate difficulties and 8 for tasks that have a good chance of failure even for pros.
Characters also have a pool of action points called Reserve. Characters may spend reserve to add a bonus to their d6 roll, and can help pull a character out of harms way in a truly crucial roll.
Reserve is also used to fuel advanced stunts and other actions while piloting an aircraft, a neat way to expand the usefulness of action points from the usual modifier.
Dogfights is the main reason to get Warbirds, and outrider Studios doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. The rules are easy, imaginative and cover a wide variety of situations in a dogfight, including a subsystem to simulate the unique nature of strafing.
It’s brilliantly done and very accessible even to players and GMs.
Character creation in Warbirds is very straightforward and clear. Advantages and Disadvantages are always fun to choose from, and there’s enough customization to go around to make sure that characters don’t seem alike.
Warbird Creation is also tackled, which allows players to create custom planes that they can take to the skies to fight off pirates and other opponents. Again, this is straightforward while still being very fun.
One of the neat options in the game is to go gonzo, which allows GMs to turn on options to make the game just that much weirder. Magic in particular is tackled here, letting GMs implement various magics into the setting, as well as Mad Science.
The book rounds off with GM resources, from tips on how to run a Warbirds campaign, and a hefty selection of villains and stats for various warbirds of the setting.
Warbirds is a splendid piece of work. Outrider Studios comes up with an RPG that does more than emulate Crimson Skies, but stands alongside it with an interesting setting of it’s own. The rules are simple, but very functional, delivering the most fun without the pain of slowing down.
With an imaginative setting, fun mechanics, excellent layout and neat artwork, Warbirds is definitely a must by for me.