Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New RPG Teaser: Gateworld

To begin with, this game is almost certainly not going to be called "Gateworld." That is what we in the biz call a "working title" and it is little more than a placeholder until the proper name strikes the authors. A few thing are certain, though. First, this will be a smallish release of what I anticipate to be 50 pages or so. Second, it will be using the great, cinematic system that is Mini Six by AntiPaladin Games. Finally, if people seem to dig it, it will be followed by 20ish-page supplements that get into things like giant robots, magic, psionics, and specific people and places; the core RPG will be the middle-of-the-road type characters with a general setting. The creative team is kinda up in the air, as one of my colleagues may be too busy to be bothered with this right now, but since the idea of this style of game belongs to Zachary Houghton of RPG Blog II, I suppose I'll have to include him.

Interested? Read this draft of an introduction:

Then and Now: Our History and Future

There’s a lot we don’t know about our world’s history, but we do know one thing: it wasn’t always like this.

A fair amount of information exists in the historical record. Texts, maps, novels, and other depositories of information have been salvaged in solid or electronic form and preserved by those with the means to do so. We understand a great deal of the evolution of our species to become the dominant creatures on the planet, have maintained parts of our cultural and religious identities, and know more than just a little bit about Earth as it existed in the Golden Age before The Fall.

At the apex of its achievements, the world was bursting at the seams with all the prosperity and trappings of the best that life had to offer. The people of that age had worked hard to overcome generations of hatred and fear. Peoples that had once engaged in so-called World Wars learned to work together to promote equality and peace. Hunger and poverty were made things of the past by miracle breakthroughs in the sciences and in the hearts of mankind as a whole. We know that life was good.

We also know that life was soon to get even better. In what was hailed as the greatest breakthrough in an age of breakthroughs, an international team of scientists discovered the secrets of dimensional travel. By utilizing a new technology known as Gateways, small windows in the Space-Time Barrier could be opened between two points. By precisely tuning the dimensional frequency of two of these portals, someone could step into a Gateway in New York and out of the tuned Gateway in London, as easily as stepping over the threshold of his or her own front door. Instantaneous travel was made possible between any two tuned Gateways, anywhere in the world.

Within a year, Gateway Centers existed in every major city in the world. In five years, they overtook air, land, and sea freight as the principle means of transporting goods over long distances. Within a decade, human Gateway Center traffic exceeded airline traffic. Gateway Centers rapidly replaced airports, seaports, and train stations, and were even routinely found in busy industrial and commercial centers, operated by private companies to move people and property more cheaply and conveniently than was ever before possible. 

The collapse of this great and prosperous society is something that we know far less about. Due to the shockingly sudden and violent nature of The Fall, there is precious little written of it in the historical record. Most of what we know is pieced together from what fragments we have from leading up to The Fall, oral tradition, and what we now know about how the Gateways operate.

In a matter of months immediately before The Fall, there was some concern raised over the function of the Gateways. While apparently a tiny minority, these critics pointed to what they perceived as a lack of genuine understanding by the international scientific community about how the Gateways operated. As Gateway use increased, documented variances began to appear in the reliability of the devices. Once instantaneous, a lag began to appear in the passing from one gate to another. This lag, imperceptible to the traveler, varied from a few seconds to a few minutes, and in isolated instances, a matter of hours. This lag did not appear to correlate to any known variable, such as distance traveled, the manufacturer or operator of the Gateways, or the frequency of their use. The 100 percent safety record of Gate travel was also lost when three travelers stepped through a Gateway in Los Angeles bound for Tokyo, but were never seen again.

We know now, in hindsight, that these were the first signs of what we now call Space-Time Fatigue, a phenomenon that would eventually doom the world to its current condition. Sometime in roughly the second decade following the discovery of Gateway travel, critical damage was done to the fabric of Space-Time. The constant and repetitive puncture of this barrier by the establishment of Gates eventually led to the Space-Time Barrier being unable to seal itself, and Gateways began to redirect their destinations to random locations, first to other gates within our own dimension, and then to random, uncontrolled locations across the vastness of all dimensions. These uncontrolled windows through the Space-Time Barrier are what we now commonly know as Breaches. Through these inter-dimensional portals poured alien creatures, other-dimensional beings, and all manner of monsters. Some of these were strange and new to us, while others resembled mythical or historic creatures from our past. Many were as bewildered and helpless as the Earth humans witnessing this flood, while others were clear aggressors with no thought or agenda other than violence. No portion of the planet that we know of was left untouched by The Fall, so widespread were the Gateways and so complete was the loss of their control. Our world was instantly changed, forever.

Now, some unknown centuries later, we stand at another crossroads. In the past hundred years, after ages of anarchy, we have managed to rebuild something of a society from out of the darkness, and carve out small corners of the world where we are relatively safe. Though the natives of this world are still divided, and separated by vast and unrelenting wilderness as well as philosophy and ideology, we are beginning to reestablish ourselves, one day at a time. Even more promising, after generations of study and observation, we finally may have a chance to undo the damage to the Space-Time Barrier done by our forefathers. We now know that it is possible to close these Breaches, these uncontrolled tears in Space-Time, permanently. By repairing and activating a Gateway, we can decipher the frequency of the dimension on the other side. By properly tuning the Gateway, we can regain control of the Breach, and even deactivate it. By this process we can reclaim our dimensional borders, one sealed Breach at a time.

This new hope to tame the savage forces which have controlled our world for untold ages is a very slim hope, but hope nonetheless. We can’t possibly truly know what awaits us in the dangerous zones of inter-dimensional turmoil that surround every Breach. While we have tested our new methods on isolated Breaches found in the ruins of smaller towns and industrial centers, very few of our kind have dared to explore the areas near the ancient Gateway Centers, where Breaches exist by the hundreds, or perhaps thousands, or even the ruins of the cities that surround them. Of those few who have undertaken such a challenge, fewer still have had the courage and strength to survive what they’ve found there. Even those of us who have studied the Gateways and how to use them are less than certain in our abilities. It will be dangerous, but many of us are anxious for the challenge. For the first time in our lives, or even the lives of our great-grandparents and beyond, we can devote ourselves to a purpose other than simply surviving.

I, for one, am ready for the challenge. Are you?

So, what do you think? Seem playable?


Steve Dubya said...

Interesting. I been giving a lot of thought to merging the Mini Six variant with some of the more malleable aspects of D20 Modern (particularly with regard to Talent Tree stuff) for a more "multiversally" capable engine.
Any idea what mechanical direction this might take?

Jason Richards said...

What do you mean by "mechanical direction," Steve? If you mean game/dice mechanics, I believe I'll take directly from Mini Six for that, which includes options for using OpenD6. I'll trim and amend the skill and equipment lists, and provide a bunch of original monsters and tech and advantages and such, but basically I think it will use Mini Six exactly as it's portrayed in the Bare Bones Edition.

NMI said...

I likes it Mr. Richards

A.L. said...

Sounds like fun. Looking forward to more.

Will Hunter said...

Sounds familiar.
Sounds fun.

Steve Dubya said...

I was curious if you had planned on making any tweaks to the system, which it sounds like you don't - not necessarily a bad thing, as it will then be less of a hassle to try to make sure any changes aren't drastically impacting any other parts of the game. Then again, it isn't as if there is a whole lot of Mini Six to really balance against, which I personally see more a feature than a bug, so any changes/additions that are made shouldn't be too hard.

Do you plan on this being a standalone RPG, or will the Mini Six "core rules" (as they are) be needed to run the game?

I'm also curious as to how you plan on working new Perks as the creation of those seems very vague. Oh, and any plans for the Wild Die?

Jason Richards said...

This is all preliminary, of course, so things could change, but this is how I envision it:

1. Mini Six will be used as-is. The good thing is that it's simple and quick enough to allow people to tweak on their own, and the rules will include some options on that front.

2. Everything will be included in the game, so you won't need to get another book. We'll just pull the relevant text from the Mini Six core book through agreements with APG.

3. Any new setting will open up new Perks, I think. The inclusion of such things in Mini Six is certainly not a primary design element, so you just have to feel it out. I don't think we'll have "classes" really, but I do think we'll have some character types that have inherent perks.

4. We'll probably go with the positive-only Wild Die, but I haven't playtested it or anything. I don't dislike WEG's Wild Die but a lot of people REALLY hate it.

Anonymous said...

Nice Job Jason, I'd be interested to see some development for this.

Brooklyn Red Leg said...

Col_Wolfe from Palladium told me about this. Looks interesting.

Anonymous said...

Broken Red Leg is a Liar....
He can't be trusted...

Ray said...

Good luck! Sounds interesting.

Dylan said...

I will be following the developments. Will also keep you linked to my blog. I'm looking forward to future developments.

Anonymous said...

This sounds cool what kind of pc template/archtypes do you have in mind?
Will any have weird abilities?

riftsguild said...

The introduction sounds intriguing and has the interest so far. Best of luck with this project. Hopefully it will see fruition soon

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