Posted 16 Apr 2021 to Urban Fantasy

Play as supernatural people in our real world, touching with fey realms and ghost lands.


XP Card

Sessions GM'd: 14
Sessions as Player: 0

I Used

260 page physical book, A5 size. About 100 pages contain the game system. About 90 pages the game world, including regions and factions, which is solidly British. About 60 pages are GM info and antagonist stats. The last 10 pages are 2 cases.


I ran a one-shot for friends to get a feel for the game, using one of the cases in the back of the book. Then, a short while later, I ran a longer campaign set in homebrew Victorian London. I enjoyed the feel of the game and the ease with which you can create characters. I enjoyed it so much I hacked it to write my own RPG.


The Good

  • The physical book is great. It is well bound and can open flat on a table. I like the slightly-larger-than A5 size. Paper is good, images look great.
  • Buffet style character abilities. Character creation is fast and flexible. Abilities are selected from a list, and you have the freedom to reskin what that ability looks like in your character. Our party consisted of a dhampyre adventurer, a gentlemanly negotiator with spirit sight, and a Native American skin-shifter and shaman.
  • Mixed supernatural party. Liminal shares a lot with World of Darkness, but I believe it is superior. The game system lends itself to a party with mixed abilities. At last it is possible, and encouraged, to play a party with a wizard, a vampire and a werewolf together. The setting is also freed from all that baggage of WoD lore that I do not care about.
  • Liminal includes 2 cases. Cases are great because they provide something for the group to *do*. They are the right length, about 3-4 pages. You can usually finish one in a single session. I used Cases at the start of the campaign to help establish the characters and paint the world, and later the campaign became more freeform as the players pursued their own goals. You could easily slot in any Call of Cthulhu adventure to run as cases.
  • The system is simple and does not intrude onto game play, which is the way I like it. The whole game system can be summarized into a single page.
  • The default tone is more optimistic than most other Urban Fantasy RPGs (e.g. World of Darkness, Urban Shadows). I appreciated this, and it makes the game more enjoyable to a teen audience or people who just find those other games too depressing and dark. We visited wondrous locations like secret fey gateways in London, and a haunted lighthouse.
  • Modern day Britain is the default setting. This is a welcome change from what we usually see, and you can tell it is written with a love for layered history. Personally, I switched it to Victorian London for my campaign, but that was because I'm not British and I was just in the mood for some Penny Dreadful vibes.
  • New powers can be easily homebrewed. I would use this system to run a lot of urban fantasy stories, and if I needed to invent a whole new school of magic I reckon it would be easy to do.

The Not-So-Good

  • The antagonists stat blocks leave out basic stats like Initiative and Defence. The GM is required to calculate these on the fly during play. Defense = 8 + (Higher of Athletics or Melee) + (modifiers for Abilities). It is total bullshit to require a GM to do this calculation themselves and not include it in your stat block. And the stat blocks do not explain what any of the abilities do, so I guess the GM is expected to just know every ability in the book.
  • Some game balance issues. One player created a combat munchkin out the gate that could one-shot anything, and go first every turn. At the same time, most PCs were glass cannons. After several sessions of advancement, a skill check of 2d6+7 when you're going for target number 8 normally, or 11 if challenging, is too easy. Presenting situations that were a challenge to overcome in the late campaign required a bit of fudging.
  • The Willpower mechanic made success easy. If you fail your dice roll, you can spend Willpower to boost the result on a one-to-one basis. So I'd tell players the task is Target Number 10, and they rolled and got 8. No brainer, they just spend 2 Willpower and succeed. I found that mechanic dissatisfying. I found players auto-succeeding on killing the big baddie, just by hoarding their Willpower to the climax of the adventure. I resorted to making them roll a lot of checks early in the session, to try tempt them to deplete their Willpower. I house-ruled the Willpower mechanic and it was much better.
  • (The House Rule was: Declare you are spending 2 Willpower before you roll, and add +1d6 to your dice roll. If you declare AFTER you have rolled, then it costs 3 Willpower. You cannot do both.).



I'd definitely play this again. The base system is very adaptable and I could use it to run a variety of campaign ideas. It also seems quite easy to homebrew your own new kinds of magic, and to bolt on your own subsystems (maybe the Stress system from Mothership?).



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