Awaken is a tabletop RPG that puts players in the role of Vasalli—superpowered heroes who are destined to battle the monstrous Vargans. Dark times, epic deeds, and a handful of six-sided dice.

The first thing that caught my eye about Awaken is the art (credited to “Kristina, Bojan, Dalibor and Mihael” on the game’s Kickstarter page). These massive giants are the guardians of the cities in Awaken’s world, but they’re dying out just as the Vargans are rising up to destroy everything. More humans need to “Awaken” into Vasalli to help defend the world against the threat.


I like the way the designers have approached the mechanics of the system — task resolution involves rolling a pile of D6s, with 5s and 6s counting as successes. But creativity and storytelling are front and center, with a major mechanic letting the GM offer bonus dice to players who clearly and imaginatively describe the scene and action their character is taking, with an explicit option to forego the roll altogether.

It looks as though they’ve created a nice playground for the characters to run around in. It’s not your basic elves and dragons and wizards—there’s a strong science-fantasy element, with a strong dose of “Slavic and Mediterranean folklore,” as the designers describe it. It has a certain gothic grimness that a lot of European RPGs seem to have lately (which is not in any way a bad thing), but the setting and worldbuilding here feels pretty unique.


While Games Collective is a small, new game studio, the game is finished, so they’re just Kickstarting the print run. And they’ve hired an experienced line editor and publisher to make sure they can deliver. You can get a pretty thorough peek at the game by downloading the quickstart guide, which includes the core rules and a lot of info about the game world.