Posted on September 20, 2004 by Flames
Written by Mark Bruno and Brett Bernstein, Politically Incorrect Games (PIG UNB0)
Horrors, Secrets, and Legends
Politically Incorrect Games has produced games such as Ghost Stories and Vice Squad. Now, with Unbidden, added to the list, Politically Incorrect Games has shown its forte as a company that strives to publish cutting-edge games with an underlying philosophical dilemma.
Written by Mark Bruno and Brett M. Bernstein, Unbidden interweaves the supernatural with modern-day life. It forces its players to create characters that are as real as your neighbor next door. Your character, whether it be a member of your local clergy or an average executive, is then transformed as their awareness of the world around them increases. Seeing with new eyes, your character will play in a world dominated by the quintessential fight between good and evil. While the war between the forces of light and darkness is not new to gaming, the idea that you, as a gamer, are forced to play an everyday citizen without the trappings of magic, powers, and other items is refreshing. As you play “Unbidden,” you will find that your character will soon become an extension of yourself.
Because the game focuses so much on psychological development, the game has a much greater potential to be paced slower than other games focused on combat. Some may view this as a drawback, others, who enjoy playing out aspects of the human psyche, will not.
As an added benefit to playing “Unbidden,” Politically Incorrect Games has continued its 2xD6 system. Characters are assessed traits and weakness similarly to other games. Unique to “Unbidden,” are the powers a character has. Recognizing the need for a character to become something larger than life, Bruno and Bernstein have written the Lores. The Lores are different character endowments that assist them in fighting against the darkness. This is unlike other gaming systems where time and XP becomes the deciding factor as to how powerful a character will become. Adding to “Unbidden’s” realism, while a character can have multiple Lores, the character can not choose a Lore outside of its specific caste. Bruno and Bernstein have paid special attention to writing Lores that cross-pollinate through different ideologies. Whether you are interested in eastern philosophy or a New Age point-of-view, the Lores hold something for everyone. True to their purposes, the Lores are special traits that assist your character. All combat occurs with real world skill.
Including in your fight against the darkness is a carefully written timeline of history. The darkness is unforgiving and unyielding. Hope comes in the form of your character, as they fight to either save, warn, or guard humanity against impending doom.
The darkness in the world of “Unbidden” is straightforward. The things that bump in the night exist to hurt humanity. There is no possibility for redemption of the evil in “Unbidden.” This falls into line with the focus on character development, and appears to be written purposefully. However, the darkness has one, major difference from the characters struggling to fight against them. Demons and other minions of evil do not go through a developmental process like the other characters do. The evil is what it is, and it does not change. This can be taken as either an advantage or a disadvantage to a character. Once the character knows and identifies what the evil is, they would also know what to expect and learn how to fight it. The disadvantage, is that the darkness gets stronger if the character regresses from enlightenment to dementia.
As an added benefit to the “Unbidden” fan, Bruno and Bernstein offer additional pages to quickly review the “Unbidden” realm. These pages are a great way to review the work as it is concisely written in ten pages. Bruno and Bernstein use their words well, and the pages are, as the longer work, clear and to the point. This is a difficult task to accomplish, because the work is heavily laden with philosophy, religious beliefs, and psychology.
“Unbidden” is written for any level of game play, from beginning to advanced. It is also written with an intent to delve deep into our own psyches, to understand what makes us tick. It challenges our ideas of good and evil, and allows us to play out what it would be like to fight darkness on a daily basis among those who don’t even realize that daemons are as real as a morning cup of coffee.
Reviewer: Monica Valentinelli