There are pedigrees and then there are pedigrees. For a steampunk RPG, I cannot think of a much more impressive pedigree than the credits for Abney Park’s Airship Pirates. Based on the songs of ‘Captain’ Robert Brown, some of which predate the band Abney Park, and written by the designers behind Clockwork and Chivalry, only a personal endorsement from Tesla himself could make Airship Pirates more emphatically steampunk. Well, besides shipping it via zeppelin.
The six page preview version we were given is long on fluff and light on crunch, but what glorious fluff it is. The World of Darkness model of artwork, followed by a song lyric, followed by game text, all on top of a gorgeous background is in full effect. The production quality is very much top shelf. The art in the preview is a mix of Photoshopped photographs, CG, and traditional illustration. Combined with a very nice page layout, the aesthetic is quite cool. I look forward to seeing the final product in print.
The included excerpts from the character creation chapter are quite interesting. The emphasis seems to be on creating a party of shipmates on an airship, with a secondary hook or job, like being merchants or a rock band. Everything is written in a nice, clear, conversational tone that I did not expect. The instruction to think of the party as the cast of a long-running TV show is a perfect example. If the whole book is as reader friendly, Abney Park’s Airship Pirates might be able to break out of the steampunk bubble.
While there is not enough material for me to know a Neobedouin from a member of the Skyfolk, the setting is really intriguing. Whether it will be as endearing as a full length release, I won’t know until I get my hands on the finished product. Cubicle 7’s Abney Park’s Airship Pirates is set to be released at GenCon in August, but pre-orders are available on both the Cubicle 7 and Abney Park websites.