Hello beautiful gamers!
Welcome to my review of Veil of the Void – A Storytellers Sci-Fantasy TTRPG. This is an epic game set in an alien universe with a host of weird and wonderful worlds and creatures for you to explore!
Designer Trever Archuleta has created a game which is both rich and deep with lore and also flexible enough to adapt to the wildest imaginations of the GM (Galaxy Master) and players – Let’s get stuck in!
Veil of the Void: Reforged
Designer: Trever Archuleta
Co-author: Noble Grant
Artwork: Peter Balogh, Trever Archuleta, Jesse Doré,
Publisher: SDG Creatives
Buy it here: https://www.sdgcreatives.com/
Veil of the Void (VotV) is a multi-realm, fantasy universe centered around a star system called ‘Riachtan’. It is a world ruled by powerful god-like forces, both good and evil, and the balance is always shifting. The universe was created by ‘Eloah’ who also formed the ‘Primes’ which are near-imortal beings of immense power. These angel-like entities are split into two main camps: The ‘Aspects’ rule over things such as Life, Death and Change, whilst the darker ‘Faces’, led by Samael, reign over the destructive sides of nature such as Want, Greed and Envy.
Devout followers of the Aspects may be granted certain blessings which take the form of attribute enhancements or special abilities such as the ‘Timeless Blessing’ from Omniah, the Aspect of Time, which allows a character to rewind time by 10 seconds once per day. Meanwhile, those who have fallen to the dark side also gain special abilities. These powerful forces seem to be doing battle-by-proxy through the mortal races while they bide their time before the armies of Samael are ready to rise up against the light once more.
Holding the balance between good and evil are the ‘Primordial Dragons’, guardians of the realms. These are creatures of indeterminable hugeness with eyes the size of planets who, whilst mostly laying dormant, maintain the status quo, working through their powerful warrior ‘Avatars’.
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Each realm of existence has its own guardian dragon and unique physical properties which cause problems for the mortals who enter. The realms are separated by the ‘Veil’ which also protects them from the ‘Void’, a broken realm filled with monstrous creatures.
There are other broken realms which host unspeakable horrors and there are smaller ‘planes’ called ‘Domains’ within and between these. All of this offers endless plot hooks and adventure arcs to keep even the most intrepid party of explorers happily entertained for a long time!
The Central Realm is the home of mortal creatures who come in many different shapes and sizes, each with its own ‘Homeworld’ and politics. The current galactic center of power resides with the ‘Council of Stars’ to which all races send their delegates. But the Council of Stars is rivaled by other political forces such as the powerful technology class represented by ‘NanoCorp’, the shadowy political organization ‘Harmonious Coefficient’ and the influential merchants group ‘Sildia Merchantis’. Alongside these official axes of power there are various crime syndicates working in the shadows working towards their own agendas.
Coursing through the universe there is also a strong arcane current which allows those who are able to tap this great power-source to cast spells. Spell-casters use runes to turn the raw power into specific spells for good or ill.
Veil of the Void has a fantastic selection of both races and classes for you to chose from when it comes to character creation. There are nine races and ten classes which straight off the bat gives 90 combinations and that doesn’t include all the other options in terms of starting attributes, skills, expertise, equipment and magical paths!
The races range from the familiar to the exotic. Humans are blessed by Eloah allowing them to instantly pass one check per day, but there are many more interesting characters to play. The Ellan are the equivalent of space elves who live up to 3000 years, and the Korrian are 4-armed ‘Dwarfs’ who have a natural affinity for forging and can grow up to 8 feet tall! But the creatures become even more alien from here on in. Other playable races include the Celestia who are outer-dimensional beings who, ordinarily, have no form but who take on humanoid forms in the Central Realm, the Dal’Kindrith who are vampires from the frozen lands and the Exiled which are the re-incarnated embodiment of the memories of the dead. Protatypes are an android race, the Reapers are inter-realm beings and the Topikin are a sentient plant species.
Each race is outlined just enough to give the reader a flavor of the creature, but plenty is left up to the imagination of the player. One thing I love about Veil of the Void is that it actively encourages the player to use their creativity and as long as your ideas don’t break the mechanics, you can have your character look like and feel like anything you want!
All classes are open to all species, so again, you have many options here to customize your character just way you see fit. The classes are: Architect, Combat Medic, Field Knight, Mechromancer, Mimic, Naturalist, Negotiator, Smuggler, Soldier and Thaumatech. Some of these are self-explanatory, although they each have unique abilities at each level, so I will just expand on a few of the more unusual classes.
Mechromancers are the VotV’s equivalent to necromancers, feeding on the life essence of fallen adversaries and summoning undead mechanical minions. Mimics are not like DnD mimics which can change their form, but rather, they use their uncanny ability to copy others to borrow their style of attack. They are masters at evasion and misdirection and at higher levels can even bend time to rewind an enemy’s attack.
Naturalists are masters of nature magic whilst Negotiators use the power of their words, much like DnD Bards, to hinder their foes and aid their allies and Thuamatech’s are the true wizard class of the realms. Each class has detailed special abilities and spells which advance all the way up to level 20 with specializations available to further bespoke your character. And multi-classing is encouraged so you can pick and choose at each level which abilities you gain. All of this leads to a rich tapestry of options for your character and not just at creation, your character can develop in just the way you see fit according to your preferences and the story.
In Veil of the Void, the attributes are called ‘Virtues’ and consist of Power, Finesse, Vitality, Mentality, Judgment and Charm which pretty much correspond to the traditional attributes found in other systems. You begin with a base score of 3 in each Virtue and have 5 to spend as you like but you are not allowed to put more than two extra points in any one Virtue at this stage. Each class has a ‘Primary Virtue’ but there is no obligation to spend your points in any particular Virtue, these are offered as suggestions only.
There are over 20 base skills available and at character creation you get 5 points to spend on any that you like and again, there is a two point initial spend limit per skill. All the classic fantasy and sci-fi skills are represented including ‘Arcanting’ which is spellcasting and is open to anyone who wants it. This is a neat mechanic as it opens up a number of basic spells to everyone from the start. If you then go on to choose a specific spell-casting class moving forward then you will clearly have higher abilities in this area, but I like that everyone gets a chance to gain at least some spells if they want. ‘Flight’ is also available to anyone who picks it and allows one to use magical means of flight or wings and gives ‘Proficiency’ in jet packs which just sounds cool!
As your character progresses and gains experience you will be able to put more ‘Skill Points’ into your skills and each skill comes with certain benefits for those characters who have higher level abilities. Really interestingly, however, you also gain Skill Points in skills which you use often. Keep track of your roles as if you find yourself trying to fly a ship, you may be able to gain Skill Points through just sheer persistence!
To gain one Skill Point (SP) in a skill you have no points in you just need to test that skill 10 times – successful or not! It’s 15 for two SP and after that it increases in increments of 5 but they must be successful tests. I really like this mechanic. It involves slightly more admin than you might be used to, but the benefits are worth the few seconds it takes to take note and there is a dedicated space on your character sheet to record your rolls.
Really interestingly, you can use XP to boost your skills up to 6 SP, but the highest level, 7, must be earned through rolls. And at SP 7 you begin to get really cool benefits like additional reactions or bonus die. This really rewards seasoned characters who have spent time mastering their skills.
In addition to the base skills, the game allows for characters to invent their own skills with the agreement of the GM. In fact at every stage the game is open to home brewing, which is great.
Whereas your skills represent your active abilities, Expertise represents your passive potential and understanding. At character creation you again receive 5 points to spend here on any Expertise you like. You cannot level up Expertise, you either have the ability or don’t and some cost 2 points rather than 1. Some Expertises give you auto hit die, some special abilities and some allow you to add a ‘Pip’ to a die in certain situations.
Examples of Expertise include ‘Ace Pilot’ which gives you an auto hit dice on piloting checks, ‘Eyes of Shadow’ which allows you to see in the dark and ‘Fisticuffs’ which allows you to deal max damage when fighting barehanded.
Magic in the Veil of the Void is called ‘Arcane’ and, although open to all players from character creation, only those who specialize in the Arcane will gain the most powerful spells. Each spell has a difficulty level, range, duration and ‘Cooldown’ period. The Cooldown is the recharge time. Some spells have no Cooldown whereas others can have Cooldowns ranging from minutes to hours.
There are many spells available. Some are generally available to all and some are available only to specific classes and all spells are open to manipulation. Not just home brewing, but in-game, a spell caster may attempt, at a higher difficulty level determined by the GM, to bend the Arcane energy to turn their spell into something a bit different from its listing. This is a really cool mechanic and represents the ability of the mage to manipulate the surrounding energy using their connection to the Arcane. For example, one could turn a fireball into a lightening bolt. This manipulation is left completely open to the player and the GM to use their ingenuity and creativity and is just one more mechanic I love about Veil of the Void!
Instead of ‘Spell Slots’, each Arcanter has 12 ‘Charge State’ points in each spell realm which represent their magical force. As they cast spells, Arcanters gain points for the Charge State associated with the realm of the spell. When you have gained 6 points in a particular Charge State, you become ‘Overcharged’ and spells become harder to cast. At 12 points spells automatically fail becoming dangerous.
Veil of the Void uses a d6 dice pool for all rolls. The base number of dice you get is your Virtue score, so if the check involves Finesse, for example, and your Finesse is 4, you will roll 4d6. Skills affect your dice by giving you additional ‘Pips’ which means adding 1 to a die roll, or extra die. The difficulty level of the check is how many ‘Successes’ you need to pass. A roll of a 1 or 2 is a fail, 3 or 4 is neutral and a 5 or 6 is a success. You can also gain auto-hit or auto-miss die to your pool depending on a skill or ability or the circumstances.
For example, you are making a check against Finesse with your 4 in Finesse. The difficulty level is ‘Average’ or 3 hits. You have a skill which allows you to +1 Pip and add an auto hit die. The GM decides that, as you are on the roof of a train careering through a tunnel at high-speed, you must add 2 auto-miss die to the pool. This gives you 5d6 to roll, with an additional 2 die set aside placed on a 1. You need 3 hits to succeed. You roll 6, 5, 4, 1, 1 with two extra 1s put aside. This would not be a pass, but you can +1 to a die, so you +1 to your 4, making it a 5 and you now have the required number of hits to pass the check.
Each Character also has a number of ‘Determination’ points which they can use between rests to affect the outcome of a roll. Determination is a function of your Judgment Virtue and allows you to +1 Pip, or at higher levels, re-roll a check entirely.
Rolling 5 successes (or one more success than the difficulty level) is a ‘Critical Success’, whilst 5 misses is a ‘Critical Fail’. At higher difficulty levels and with larger dice pools this becomes a bit spicy as it is technically possible to Critically Miss and succeed, leading to an ‘Unfortunate Success’, or Critically Hit and fail the check leading to an Advantageous Failure. All of these outcomes are to be played at the GM’s discretion and can lead to some fun roleplaying moments.
Initiative is decided by all parties rolling 1d6 and adding their Finesse. Characters have a Movement phase and an Action/Extra Action phase during which they can attack, cast spells and so forth. Certain skills also afford a character a Reaction outside their turn, such as Dodge or Deflecting. I won’t go into lots of detail here, suffice to say, if you are used to combat-orientated RPGs then this will feel relatively familiar.
I can’t finish before I talk briefly about the artwork which is stunning! The core rule book is peppered with amazing full-page colour art which captures the sci-fantasy blend perfectly and showcases the epic scale of adventuring in a galactic universe of infinite potential. There are giant dragons fighting space mages, hideous beasts from unearthly realms, careering asteroids and gorgeous character art throughout!
Having read the rules thoroughly, I can say I am very excited about this game! there are so many things I love about it. The races and classes are all completely unique. None of it feels like it has been stolen from another system and shoe-horned into a new one. Each race and class feels carefully considered and they all have completely different sets of abilities which I know will make for some awesome game-play!
Trever, the designer, has agreed to run a one-shot for my RPG group very soon and I can’t wait – I will be adding an update after that, but I wanted to get this initial review out as soon as I could as I can’t contain myself!
As a player, I want to spend a long time in this world! I want to build lots of different characters and see how they turn out. And I am looking forward to seeing both the characters that my friends come up with and the world that Trever will introduce us to.
Looking at the class progressions, I know there are many gems waiting to be discovered at higher levels and this makes me want to play a campaign in order to level up a character through the class levels and gain all the cool abilities that comes with that.
I love how explicitly open to home brewing Trever has made the rule set. It seems like he really wants you to come and explore this world and shape it in any way that you like. I know that he is open to community suggestions and enjoys seeing the ideas that others bring to the table.
Whether you are a Sci-fi buff or more into your fantasy, I think this game will appeal. Trever has done a great job blending both in Veil of the Void in a unique and interesting way which is making me want to come back for more!
Veil of the Void is still in development and there are already expansion materials being released.
And as always, thanks for reading!
Let me know in the comments if you like the sound of Veil of the Void or have played it. Or recommend some similar TTRPGs that we should try out!