Why I'm So Excited About the Dusk City Outlaws RPG

Why I’m So Excited About the Dusk City Outlaws RPG

In Dusk City Outlaws, players form a team of smooth criminals or outlaw vigilantes and pull off impossible capers in a complex fantasy city known as New Dunhaven. That sounds cool, but the real reason I’m so excited? Creator Rodney Thompson namedrops The Lies of Locke Lamora, Leverage, and Ocean’s Eleven in the first paragraph of the game’s description.

I haven’t been following recent RPG releases since I don’t write about them any more and haven’t played any RPGs in months — there are quite a few unplayed RPGs that I backed on Kickstarter sitting on my shelf. But I couldn’t resist Dusk City Outlaws. First of all, Leverage and The Lies of Locke Lamora are two of my favorite things in the world. If you haven’t watched the former and read the latter, you owe it to yourself to do so ASAP. And of course everyone loves the Ocean’s movies. Who doesn’t want to feel like a cool con artist pulling off the perfect scam or a master thief orchestrating a brilliant heist?

From looking over the quick start rules, it looks like DCO has borrowed elements from a range of other RPGs. That is by no means a knock against it. There’s a little bit of the Leverage RPG in here, a little bit of Pelgrane’s GUMSHOE system, some ideas from Apocalypse World, a dash of Shadowrun, and of course a good dose of D&D. Take what works, combine in new and awesome ways, and you get something potentially amazing. The result appears to be a fast-playing, streamlined RPG that makes character interaction and drama flow naturally, allows the gamemaster to run games in a large open world setting without having to do much (if any) prep, and gives players all the fun of planning and pulling off grand heists.

On top of that, the stretch goals have unlocked some excellent people to work on the game, including the guy who created Leverage, John Rodgers. Plus outstanding author and editor Susan Morris and renowned game designer Steve Kenson. The preliminary art already looks wonderful, and they just hit a stretch goal adding to the art budget, so the final product (with layout by game layout/design legend Daniel Solis) should look extraordinary. Plus there’s already a nice Google+ community, accessible to backers, with people running the game and offering advice and suggestions. I may have to bump up by pledge from the PDF-only tier to the I Must have All of It tier, despite mjy ongoing Kickstarter moratorium (hey, I’m trying to be frugal these days).