“Drawing upon my years of medical training, my suggestion is that we all sit down and have a cup of tea.” – Dr Frederick Littledown, commenting on a standoff between three werewolves and a Fae.
Last night I took on the role of Dr Frederick Littledown, parabiologist and one member of Misfits Investigations.
This was my first time playing Liminal, a tabletop RPG that describes itself as ‘a roleplaying game for those caught between the ordinary and the extraordinary’.
Set in the modern day United Kingdom, the game I played last night took on the form of a paranormal investigation. The team were looking into a boy who went missing after a goth rock concert and we found our story spiralling into a larger plot involving Vampires, Werewolves and Fae creatures. Clues were found. Monsters were hunted. Tea was drunk.
We also stopped for a roast dinner in a pub at one point.
Liminal is a 2D6 system. Any skill checks in the game are made by simply rolling two dice and adding the appropriate modifier. Each class comes with Traits and Weaknesses. Mine, for example, was the Eldritch Scholar. My ‘Traits’ were that I was adept at healing, I was rich and I was always prepared. My weakness? Well, if it came to a fight, I was about as useful as a chocolate teapot. I spent most of my time hanging around at the back of the group with the Weathermonger (a mage who controls the weather), making pointed comments about how much money I have.
The system reminds me of a boiled down World of Darkness, the skill list on the character sheet looking very similar. Liminal is quicker to pick up, there are less dice to roll and it is lighter on the lore front. There are, of course, up and downs to that. World of Darkness is dripping with stories and creatures and years of experience. Liminal feels more like the new kid on the block.
World of Darkness tells much… well… darker stories. Liminal, although still having the potential to go dark, wants to explore stories about finding those in similar situations and helping them out. Both however, have the emphasis on the story. In our four-hour game we didn’t have one combat encounter (although it came very close!) and it didn’t need one. We were roleplaying, hunting for clues and… you know… the roast dinner thing.
After the game, our game master told us she really liked Liminal because, although it contained vampires, werewolves and other traditional fantasy monsters, it left a lot of the rules up to the person telling the story. Do the vampires sparkle or catch fire in the sunlight? In Liminal, it’s up to you!
After four hours of playing the game, I am still looking for more. I can’t wait to play as Dr Littledown again, explore more of his world and the world of Liminal.