No captain, only chaos in the Sunless Skies tabletop roleplaying game

Upcoming space train adventure Sunless Skies now has a tabletop roleplaying game called Skyfarer: A Sunless Skies RPG. Designed by studio Rowan, Rook and Decard, Skyfarer is officially made with the permission of Sunless Skies creators Failbetter Games.

In Skyfarer, players are the crew of a flying, steam-powered locomotive in the world of Sunless Skies. Unlike the video game, where a player is the captain, in Skyfarer the captain is incapacitated for and there’s no one left to save the ship but the crew. It’s a rules light, highly narrative indie roleplaying game that looks cute, quick, and primed for some byzantinely-worded pseudo-steampunk adventures of cosmic wonder. It’s entirely free, and available over at Tabletop Gaming Magazine.

Designed by Grant Howitt and Christopher Taylor, Skyfarer is a quick-playing, 21-page roleplaying game designed after indie tabletop classics like Lady Blackbird—fixed scenario games designed to be picked up and played with very little time spent reading the rules beforehand. It has an emphasis on short-run campaigns, with the expectation being that the game will be played for something between two and twenty hours. In Skyfarer’s case, that means that players are represented by four simple statistics—Iron, Veils, Heart, and Mirrors—alongside some narrative qualities and goals. The game master, meanwhile, is the rest of the world and the poor doomed captain of the vessel.

Failbetter Games is the studio behind Sunless Skies, a whimsically horrific Victorian sky adventure. It’s a followup to their game Sunless Sea, itself a followup to their debut game, Fallen London, all of which are set in the same world. Rowan, Rook, and Decard are a British indie tabletop studio responsible for the recently well-received Spire, a game of dark elves rising up against their oppressors. Howitt recently received some acclaim among the RPG streaming community for Honey Heist, his game of thieving bears.

Sunless Skies releases in 2019. Skyfarer is available now. 

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.