I started to feel that I didn’t know roleplaying games well enough so I came up with the plan to read a roleplaying game corebook for every year they have been published. Selection criteria is whatever I find interesting.
Uprising is a Fate-based roleplaying game set in the same world as the card and boardgames The Resistance, Coup and One Night Revolution. It’s set in the cyberpunk future of Paris Nouveau, a city built on the ruins of old Paris.
According to the book: “the French language died off decades ago, and most everyone in Paris Nouveau speaks English.” That’s a pretty brutal setting element! In the dystopian world of Uprising, American cultural imperialism reigns triumphant! The way the characters speak, the NPCs presented, all looks like a bunch of Americans cosplaying as the French, which of course makes sense since this is an American roleplaying game obviously meant to be played by English-speaking Americans.
I’ve read Fate but the system always felt abstract to me, perhaps because Fate is a setting-agnostic generic game. I understood it better from this game because it ties into a concretely detailed setting that provides plenty of examples of how to use the Aspects characteristic of the system.
The relationship between the players and the GM is somewhat antagonistic, with system elements where if players do certain things, the GM gains points that can be used to buy things like more enemies in combat. There’s a boardgamey feel to how this works, resembling games like Imperial Assault where one player controls the antagonists and plays against the others.
The back of the book is dedicated to ready-made scenarios and it’s interesting to look at how efficiently they’re communicated when so many things can be broken down into mechanical elements like Aspects or Zones (areas which characters can inhabit). The scenario description is like a toolbox, a series of elements that the GM will use, with little extraneous material.