In Fireborn, the PCs are scions, the human reincarnations of dragons. Set about 10 years in the future, the central location is London, where there are quite a bit of strange shenanigans going on. While magic has been around for a while, it only has come out to the public within the past year or so. This boils down to not having to sneak around and be subtle like the WoD, but still having grand displays discouraged by the cops, government, and what have you. While this sounds like “Dragon: The Barbecuing”, there is a twist to the game play. During game, the GM runs flashback sequences to when the PCs were big and scaly back during the mythic age. Dragons are the big kids on the block. The mechanic allows the players to flirt with high-level, experienced characters right off the block.
The modern setting comes off in a different enough way to feel different that the dozens of other ‘World o’Angst’ games in the market. Magic is on the rise like any upstart technology, there are people trying to master it. The PCs are bound together as broodmates, having been a family in the mythic era. The mythic era provides its own challenges, allowing both players and GMs a chance to ratchet up the epic level gaming. Dragon PCs are as powerful as they sound and it can be challenging to come up with opponents and situations that challenge those PCs. The game feels like driving a fast car in city streets during the modern era, but really throwing her into gear during the flashbacks. Players may also get a kick of playing two different characters as their modern character may be a saint and their dragon may be a bloodthirsty savage.
The bottom line You’ve probably noticed a lot of comparisons to Shadowrun in this review. That’s no accident. Fireborn feels like a prequel to Shadowrun in many ways, in world, system, and feel. It is a unique game that continues FFG’s interesting selection of settings. I hope FFG realizes that its RPG division has some legs and gives it the respect that it deserves. The game isn’t without flaws. The first edition is riddled with errors. Some players may be turned off by a game that isn’t able to be picked up on the first read-through. Some players may be frustrated by the divide between the dragon and the modern characters. Those people shouldn’t pick up this book. For the rest, give Fireborn a try.