Saturday, June 16th is Free RPG Day ‘12
and with it comes a slew of new and interesting little releases. They can usually be divided between tasters for new games that will be released at Gen Con this forthcoming August and support for existing RPGs or pieces of gaming ephemera. In general, the tasters for the new, “hot” games are highly anticipated and on the day itself, in high demand, but come the day, it would be remiss of us to ignore the less-in-demand titles. Many of these it should be made clear, are worth your time and effort to make it to your friendly, local gaming store to get hold of a copy. One such title is the Conspiracy X Introductory Game Kit
, provided by Eden Studios, Inc.
It wastes no time in opening with an explanation of the Conspiracy X background, a classic mix of American conspiracy theory and ufology. It describes how with the arrival of the aliens at Roswell in New Mexico in 1947, the approach to what appeared to be a possible alien invasion divided into two opposing secret conspiracies. AEGIS is dedicated to investigating extra-terrestrial and paranormal threats, and responding where necessary, whereas the National Defense Directorate took a more militant and controlling approach. AEGIS recruits its members from various agencies and arms of the military, organising them into cells, whilst the National Defense Directorate works from within the Defence Department.
The Conspiracy X Introductory Game Kit is written to introduce Conspiracy X 2.0, the second edition of the game that uses Eden Studio’s UniSystem rules which has been used in a number of different games over the years. The rules in the Conspiracy X Introductory Game Kit are covered in three short pages and include everything necessary to run its adventure, “Convoy,” including skill use, combat and the effects of injury, ESP, and vehicles.
Also included in the Conspiracy X Introductory Game Kit is a set of six ready-to-play pre-generated characters. Led by a CDC Scientist, they make up an Aegis Cell comprised of an FBI Agent, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, an MKULTRA Psychic, a US Army Technician, and a DEA Field Agent. Together they are more of an Operations Team rather than a Science & Research Team. The characters are a good mix, though if there is an issue with the six, it is that no rules are given for the MKULTRA Psychic’s Clairvoyance ability.
The adventure included in the Conspiracy X Introductory Game Kit is titled “Convoy.” For its first mission, the player characters’ newly formed Aegis Cell must go to the aid of another that barely survived its successful capture of a crashed alien craft. Now the survivors need help to get the wreckage of the craft across country to the Aegis base at the Groom Dry Lake facility. The player characters can choose to deliver it by road – it is already on the back of a flatbed truck covered up when they take charge of it, by sea, or by air. As written and as its title suggests, the player characters are meant to take the truck across the USA, though “Convoy” does include advice and notes if they decide to try another method. Whatever means they decide to use, the National Defense Directorate wants it back, and it will use means official and unofficial to get it back! This leads to a race across country, with the player characters having to dodge or bluff the authorities as best they can.
Physically, the Conspiracy X Introductory Game Kit is done in black and white throughout, with plenty of line art that evokes the setting’s grim feel. It is also well written, with nary a word wasted. Overall, the Conspiracy X Introductory Game Kit is an engaging introduction to the rules and setting of Conspiracy X 2.0.