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  • Writer's pictureJohn Dodd

UKGE Best RPG: ERA: Lyres

We’d be lying if we said this one hadn’t been in for the awards before, but that’s entirely appropriate because this is ERA: Lyres, Definitive Edition, from Shades of Vengeance.

We do have rules for the awards, and one of them is that you can’t submit the exact same product twice. As a result, this one is perfectly valid because while it’s the same game, it’s an expanded and revised version of the pocket game that was submitted a few years ago.

Era: Lyres is a game where the players take the role of characters who themselves are pretending to be the Heroes of the piece. This effectively makes it a game where you roleplay, roleplayers, and many might ask why not cut out the middle link and go straight to doing the heroic things for real?

Most of the Judges have been in long term campaigns before, and while you occasionally get to do the things that you tell stories about for years later, these times are very few and far between, and you’re far more likely to have several years of dungeon crawling and scrabbling through the wilderness for those fleeting moments of Awesome that all adventurers crave.

Not so with this game.

In this game, you’re playing grifters trying to score a free meal or bed for the night by telling stories of their daring. This is done with the players telling the tale and the GM deciding which bits are too far fetched for the audience. When something is called out, the character makes a test against a relevant skill to convince the audience that they did actually do what they said they did. If the audience still doesn’t believe them, mayhem may ensue.

As a result, the nearest thing the players will get to come to harm with is not the creatures they’re making up, but the bar patrons that they’re trying to grift. It’s a fun idea, very reminiscent of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen but with a lot more mechanics to the resolution of the game, and as with many this year, it makes for a perfectly excellent break from regular campaign play, but the judges couldn’t see it developing into a full campaign, even though there are rules to allow you to do so if you wanted. Sometimes you really want to go out and do the heroic thing itself, rather than saying that you did.

There’s a lot of background given for the creatures and areas, but because you never have to fight any of the creatures in question, there’s no stats for any of them, only hints of what you should do to defeat them, perfectly in keeping with the game. There isn’t much artwork, and the front cover doesn’t tell you anything about the game at all, which, if you’re trying to keep everything secret because nothing’s true, is also perfectly in keeping with the game. Good production values though, and it would be worth a look in for something different.

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