Review: Solar Studios – Redsky (Dungeons & Dragons)

Redsky is a standalone science fantasy role-playing game compatible with 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, written by Tyler Gamba and Alex Ioakimidis and published by Solar Studios.
By Aaron T. Huss

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Redsky is a science fantasy role-playing built upon the rules of Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, and is thus compatible with 5th Edition products. It is an original setting with original species and no magic; all special abilities are powered by scientific artifacts. But there’s a catch… the world of Redsky sits inside a continent-sized ship traveling at less than light speed through outer space. To make things ever more interesting, the species within the game know nothing about the people on the spaceship who constantly monitor how the species of Redsky grow and develop. Kind of like a weird alien experiment. Oh, one other thing, the alien overlords treat the development of these species like a weird cycle of life… and it takes place in the Redsky era which is akin to a pre-apocalyptic event. After the event, manipulated by the master aliens, the surviving species is plucked out and used to start life anew on an inhabitable planet the spaceship just arrived at.

Did I say too much? That’s a lot of meta…

I am not a fan of vanilla fantasy. It’s generally boring and redundant and the stories told don’t really change that much. When I see a game like Redsky, I get excited because it breaks far from the norms and creates a fresh approach to fantasy gaming. But you still need cool things so instead of magic, you get technology (alien technology). But that’s really only a small slice of what’s inside this book as it also takes the entire lands within the setting, parses them out into each important locale, and provides a substantial amount of detail to flesh out your games for years to come. Including NPCs! For GMs, there is a lengthy set of original adversaries to throw at your intrepid heroes as they travel these fantastic lands.

The book is 5E-compatible; it is not a D&D setting guide. It includes all the rules you need including a different selection of skills to match the themes of the setting. Basically, it’s a rule book, setting guide, and bestiary in one book. This is great for GMs but players will find an overwhelming amount information that they probably shouldn’t be privy to. GMs should step cautiously with what you try to keep secret and what you let the players know. The gaming experience could get spoiled quickly if the players have too much knowledge about what makes the setting tick.

I really like this setting and the unique species players can choose from. The artwork is awesome, especially the illustrations depicting the different settings and the overview map. But really, I love this approach to fantasy gaming and how it completely steps away from magic while still making your characters cool. Kind of like Lord of the Rings and some fantasy video games where magic is extremely rare (for Redsky, it’s alien technology).

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