RPG Review: Dresden Files

I’ve read a few of the Dresden Files books and, while I found them entertaining, I started to get a little bored with the writing style (if I hear Harry Dresden say, “Hell’s Bells!” one more time, I’m going to burn the books) and the plotlines became a little stale. I’m a little tired of the “Mary Sue-ness” of Dresden as well.

However, the setting itself is perfect for an RPG, and Evil Hat’s done a great job with it.

I’ve got a digital review copy of both books, and they’re pretty impressive. I like the notes left by Harry and others in the margins, and the whole book has an “Old Book” style of design to it. There’s even words highlighted throughout.

They really flesh out the world in this book, covering all kinds of information about magic, the Neverever and more. One of the great things about the book, is that if you want to play a Wizard, you can. If you want to play a mere mortal, that’s just as viable.

This is my first exposure to the Fate system, and I think I really like it. I’ve seen Fudge dice in the store before, but haven’t ever picked any up. There are people who are much better experts than me on the rules, so I won’t dwell on them here, but it’s very close to the Spirit of the Century RPG’s FATE system. One of the really cool things about the game is the city creation rules. It’s like character creation, but it’s for the whole group to design the city your group is currently playing in. As I live close to Chicago, I’d probably just run the game in Harry’s home town, but it’s really nifty. In fact, you really could use this for any RPG by changing things slightly to have the players design the city in which they’ll be playing. You’re able to add locations, NPCs, themes and more.

The character creation actually involves planning out your character’s past, something I’ve loved in both Burning Wheel, Traveller and Mechwarrior. There’s some really awesome templates you can put onto a character to give it a theme, such as Pure Mortal, Champion of God, Changeling, Knight of the Faerie Court, Lycanthrope, Red Court Infected (vampire), Sorcerer, Wizard and more.

They’ve really fleshed out Baltimore in one of the last chapters of the first book, covering all aspects of the city, and many major landmarks, adding a hint of magic to each one.
Book two is basically a massive bestiary covering every monster you’d ever end up finding in the Dresdenverse, as well as (what looks like) every person Harry Dresden has ever come in contact with in his adventures. They wrap up the tome with fleshing out Chicago like they did Baltimore in the other book.

These two books are pretty enormous, but are definitely worth picking up if you’re looking for an urban fantasy game to play. They’ve got great art, easy to learn rules, and will really capture your imagination.

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