Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Heroes of Cerulea

Product-Heroes of Cerulea

System- Heroes of Cerulea

Producer– Bläckfisk Publishing

Price– Kickstarter now! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blackfiskforlag/heroes-of-cerulea-pixelated-dungeon-crawl-tabletop-rpg?ref=user_menu 

TL; DR-Numenera and Zelda! 96%

Basics–  Time for some 8Bit DnD!  Heroes of Cerulea is as old school as you can get with a tabletop RPG that wants to be the 8 bit Zelda you remember.  There is a bad guy who did a bad thing that brok the magic gold thing and he needs to go down in four dungeons.  Yep, that’s the Legend of Zelda I remember!  Let’s break this down.

Dice and Rolls- Characters have exactly three stats: might, bravery, insight.  When you do a thing, you roll a number of four sided dice equal to the stat.  Ones and twos are bad, three is success with a cost like damage, and four is outright success.  If you roll two or more dice on an action, then you take the highest die. If you roll multiple fours, you get better degrees of success.  Might covers physical things like attacks.  Bravery is defense and physical things like climbing.  And insight is mental things like range attacks or talking.

Combat-  Combat is interesting as it’s VERY much like Numenera.  The characters say the things they will do.  I as the GM say the things the monsters do.  And ONLY the players roll dice.  Monster swings at you and you want to attack it back?  Roll bravery for the defense and might for the attack.  Bravery got a three?  You and the monster both take a hit.  Rolled two fours on the attack back and the monster took two hits killing the monster.

Ok, on to my thoughts..

Mechanics or Crunch– This is a very simple system, but that is not bad.  If you need character building that takes 10 hours and endless customization that requires a computer to optimize then maybe this isn’t the game for you.  The quickstart that the writers put out is honestly written on a trifold pamphlet-AND I LOVE IT!  It’s quick, simple, and fun.  Now, I need a bit more explanation to things, as does combat always happen at the same time or is there initiative?  That I hope is explained in the full game, but from what I have seen, I like what’s here.   4.5/5

Theme or Fluff– Mileage will vary with the theme in this one.  I’m getting older, and that’s not getting better.  My cell phone has more processing power then the original space shuttle.  My first games were The Legend of Zelda, so this simple world story of “bad guy did bad thing, get the gold thing from him” coupled with a retro art style and aesthetic makes me happy.  If you need your hero to have more than 8 bits of color and 10 total polygons, then this won’t hit that nostalgia for you.  That said, I love what’s here. 5/5

Execution– I’m going to grade on a curve here.  The publishers put  out a free(ish) pdf for everyone to check out.  You can pay what you want, but I threw them a buck, and honestly, it was VERY worth it.  It included a slick rules pamphlet, a slick GM pamphlet, a dungeon pamphlet, and a nice character sheet.  My players were building people in five minutes, and we played for two hours.  If the real rules are anything like this, I will be absolutely ecstatic.  5/5Summary– Some days you just want to play the classics, whatever that is to you.  Get that hit of nostalgia on graphics that are honestly not amazing and may not have held up, and simple stories that don’t delve crazy-deep into world-building or fleshing out every minor character.  This feels like that game.  It’s a simple game from a simpler time for me, and I love everything here.  You should check this out if you can.  Get some buds and play a fun adventure saving the princess and macguffin while killing the bad guy with a simple-to-master system, fun art direction and story, and solid production.  I’ve backed this thing, and I hope you do too!  96%