Elite Encounters: The Game

Elite Encounters is an in-development traditional Roleplaying Game (RPG) set in the universe of Ian Bell and David Braben's ELITE and its sequels Frontier: Elite II, Frontier: First Encounters (by David Braben et al and Frontier Developments respectively) and the forthcoming Elite: Dangerous (by Frontier Developments).

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The RPG is being developed alongside Elite: Dangerous, and will be the first officially licensed RPG based on the Elite Franchise. The development of the RPG is the result of a successful Kickstarter Campaign to fund the purchase of a license to write a book based on Elite: Dangerous.

Due to the terms of the license, the RPG will be contained in a single book which will contain details of the universe, some unique fiction and, of course, the gaming system itself.

Overall Concept

Elite Encounters will be what is described as a "pen and paper RPG", a term that is now used to differentiate this style of game from the more common computer-based RPGs like Neverwinter Nights, EVE Online and Everquest.

For those who may not know what a traditional RPG is, it is a game for two or more players where one player takes on the role of a "gamesmaster" and is responsible for creating or telling the story that the other players take part in as characters. If the players want to perform an action, they tell the GM this and it is up to the GM to determine the success of that action. The success or failure of this action can be a result of dice rolls and comparing the results to a table of statistics and skills or it can be a result of the player "acting" out the situation.

Game Mechanics

The game system will be a custom, proprietary one in order for it to tie in as closely as possible to the computer game Elite: Dangerous. The exact details of the system and its mechanic will be developed between March 2013 and approximately November 2014 by a small team of forum-based developers led by Dave Hughes. The core concept of the system consists of a few simple principles:

  • All task rolls will be D6 based - this should open up the game to a wider audience as there will be no specialist equipment required.
  • Attribute based - "actions" will be based on dice rolls added to various attribute combinations.
  • No skills - the plan is to avoid using a set "skill" list (like "starship combat" or "computer use"). This should make the game easier to play whilst being a little more "realistic".

As well as the commonly encountered game system elements, Elite Encounters will include the following expanded features:

  • Starship combat system - a "miniatures" system will be provided. Players will be able to use hexagonal counters or simple card miniatures (supplied with the book) to visualise space battles.
  • Player Character templates - a variety of pre-generated templates will be provided within the rulebook to let players get straight into the game.
  • NPC (Non player character) templates - a wide range of NPC templates will allow the game to be more flowing when people are encountered and will make the narrator's job easier.
  • Sample adventures - three starter stories to get people into the game.

...and much more.

Styles of Play

Elite Encounters is being developed with multiple media in mind. Over the last 20 years traditional roleplaying has evolved and is now possible around a table as well as over email, post and social media.

The system will be developed to make online or remote play as easy as possible while still retaining a degree of realism and decision making.

The basic distribution method for the RPG is by eBook in a variety of electronic formats. This will allow players to carry the rulebook in an easy, convenient format in their tablet, computer or even smartphone. This will make the game accessible and portable.

The game will also be available in a loose-leaf format for those players or gamesmasters who need access to certain parts of the book more often than others. 

Finally, the gamebook will be available in a traditional bound paperback format.