Introduction To Victoriana
Every year, I make it a point to go to Columbus, Ohio's Origins Game Fair, an event filled with everything you can think of in the tabletop gaming world! This fair is so massive with so much going on that I plan on attending multiple days next year!
While at Origins, I made a lot of great contacts in the industry and met a lot of wonderful people! It's incredible to see how excited other's are when they roam the floors of the Greater Columbus Convention Center for this event!
I remember I was heading over to where a lot of the Magic: the Gathering vendors were located when a book caught my attention. It was like it was glowing with a magical aura and speaking out to me with how it pulled my attention from my current goal. The game was Victoriana, which was located at its company's booth: Cubicle 7.
I picked the book up from its resting place like a child picking out a toy in a grand toy store. Some of the gentleman at the booth filled me in on what the game was about; Steampunk and Magic. Anyone that knows me is well aware of my fondness of that genre. It's borderline obsession.
When I told them who I was and what I do, they asked for my email to receive a free .PDF copy of the game, to which I replied, "oh, I am buying the hard copy of this!" I think it surprised them. Here a company was offering something free and I was going to pay for it.
I wanted the hardcover book for my collection. It was going to sit proudly among other wonderful systems. And when I had guests over that would ask, "what's a cool tabletop game that we should try?" I would refer them to Victoriana.
Getting into the Game
Okay, so now you are ready to play Victoriana, but what exactly do you need? First, you will need a copy of the game, which can be found at
Once you've acquired your copy of the game, you'll need d6s, because this is a dice pool style tabletop roleplaying game (you can find that here).
After you've got your hands on the book and a good amount of d6s, print yourself off a character sheet (available through Cubicle 7's website or being scanned from the back of the Victoriana book), grab a pencil, and get ready to delve into a new world!
The World of Victoriana
This world is new, yet familiar. It's a world of arcana and steam, of mysteries and science. A world where humans coexist alongside dwarves, elves, ogres, and other beastial humanoids.
The setting takes place in the 1850s, when the industrial revolution was in full effect. And although technology is reigning, people can still tap into an energy source called Aether to fuel their spells and incantations.
Since the setting takes place on an alternate version of Earth which follows very similar time lines, it's possible to play through major historical events, meet historical figures, and even change the course of history from our own time line!
Creating an Adventurer in Victoriana
The system for creating an adventurer in Victoriana is built around creating your character from the ground up! The book outlines character creation in nine steps, in which each adds another level of depth to your adventurer! This system is built around social interaction in the setting and because of that, your character's background is going to seamlessly fit into the world.
While traditional tabletop roleplaying games have you start with choosing a race followed by class, Victoriana begins the creation process by choosing your adventurer's Association. By starting a character with this concept, you'll begin to hone your overall idea of what you want to play by having some easy guidelines laid before you. The Associations in Victoriana are very much like Guilds for those familiar with those in other settings.
Next, you'll move onto Background, or what your adventurer has skills and experience in based on his or her past. What's interesting is because a Background involves your adventurer's past, you don't necessarily have to continue on that path; your character could be working toward changing their actions. And this layer of depth allows your to move onto the next step of the creation process with a better grasp of what your adventurer will be.
And now, the third step is where you are able to not only choose your Race, but your Social Class. And at this point, your character is being truly fleshed out, which makes it easier to role play.
Interestingly, I have often been asked to give advice on how to better role play a character, a concept that seems to be a common topic among the tabletop roleplaying community. And I think this game offers an optimal approach for those having this issue. Because you are creating your character from the ground up with a lot more depth, you'll have a lot more information and insight on how to successfully play him or her.
Steps four through nine are assigning Attributes, Skills, Build Points, Extra Details (such as name and appearance), and your Resources. Once you've reached the ninth step, I recommend you go back and read everything associated with your adventurer to enrich your take on his or her's place in the world of Victoriana.
As I mentioned in the Getting in the Gamesection, Victorianais a game that uses a dice pool, which means your character's attributes, skills, gear, etc., determines how many dice are added to a collective pool of dice. Different circumstances can also determine the outcome to the dice pool by adding more dice to the pool, or by adding Black Dice, which can negatively impact the result.
If you are unfamiliar with this style of tabletop gaming, let me tell you how epic it feels to add a handful of dice to an action then adding more and more dice to the pool. There are times when you are roleplaying when an action can be very intense; if you succeed, you and your party will be the stuff of legend. If you fail, you will be the laughing stocks of the town.
Because the setting for Victorianatakes place on Earth, players can use real world maps (which would be based around 1850's maps) and locations. This adds a familiar touch to the world.
You'll be adventuring next to engineers creating marvels of technology, necromancers conjuring forth the powers of undeath, powerful ogres whose melee attacks can tear a man from his armor, and gunslingers who are able to shoot with ridiculous precision. Imagine unlocking the secrets of Stonehenge, which leads to another realm where an ancient society has taken refuge from a force working behind the tapestries of reality.
And because Victorianahas aspects of science fiction, fantasy, and real history, the Game Master is able to mold the setting to how he or she sees fit. There are so many possibilities to be had!
Conclusion Of Victoriana
If you are looking for an epic setting and an incredible and unique rule system that put the player into their character's body, then you have found it! I find myself looking through this book constantly, imagining where our own world would be if we could do the things that can be done in Victoriana. And with this mindset, I challenge you all to come up with an alternate world version of yourself in the setting Victoriana!
Happy gaming! Thanks for taking the time to read this! Do you have an idea for a game you'd like me to review? Contact me through my social media and let me know!
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Thanks for checking out this review of Victoriana!