You are the leaders and directors of the Holt Inquiry, an Australian government foundation (or perhaps conspiracy) that monitors, addresses and covers up strange happenings. You’re tasked with investigating an outbreak of UFO sightings, strange illnesses, and dangerous cryptofauna. But how can you organize a response when your Agents keep dying or going insane, rival governments undermine your operations, and your annual budget is up for review?
Leviathan is a modern-day SF-horror story set in the exotic land of Australia—just in case Heluso and Milonda aren’t weird enough for you. This 54 page PDF is a Company-level ‘campaign in a box’ rather than a general setting or concept. It provides GMs with a specific (but flexible) storyline and set of parameters, and players with a clear, defined purpose: to combat a lethal viral threat to humanity. A game set in a modern world at risk from a deadly virus may seem a little close for comfort. A government’s struggles with an inexplicable disease seemed a lot more safe as a game subject in 2005, when Greg first conceived of it all. But if you think you might want to examine these ideas with a protective layer of fiction, Leviathan gives you an illness you can really attack.
The setting here is the modern world we all live in and love, at least on the surface—maybe it’s got a few more UFOs and cryptids. But what’s really different about Leviathan is the assumption of player position. In most games, the PCs are on the ground getting stabbed and learning clues. In Leviathan, Patrick O’Duffy and Greg Stolze dial Reign’s “you’re in charge” approach to 10 and broke off the knob.
Leviathan shifts the normal gaming experience. Usually, the PCs are on the ground getting stabbed and learning clues. Here players control the bosses of the investigators on the ground, so for once their characters won’t get killed or go crazy… but neither do they get the direct experience of what’s actually going on. They have to save the world at one remove, and it can feel like trying to type in oven mitts. But horror games are always about frustration on some level. In this case, it’s the frustration of the authority, not of the lackey.
Intrigued? Step on in—but pay attention to the warnings.
And dammit, don’t go in the water. This is shark country.
Reign: Realities - Leviathan requires the Reign: Rules book to play.