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Desolation's Edge


Trifletraxor

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I am working on something like this myself (a setting Monograph, not this sort of specific setting concept). I'd like to be a bit closer to being done before I extend market research feelers as you have here. I like your Not-quite-Earth notion, which is similar to my own. I'm going with a very close to Earth in history (up to a point) and geography for similarity yet plenty of room. Your setting history/geography seems to be a bit further from Earth's than mine. I think there is plenty of room there for either certainly...

So... Is it BRP? What is it called? What kind of setting? What more can you tell us? :D

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well yes, it is for the moment. I was a long-ago Runequest player and I have always loved the rules-set. But I wasn;t very clear before: I have not yet contacted Chaosium just yet about the project, so that part is still flexible. If Chaosium wants it, I think this setting fits better in BPR than most other systems. If they are not interested in it, I might have to shop around, maybe even publish it 3rd party for one of the OGLs (ugh). I'm just in the planning stages at the moment. Although I have a lot of material that I have generated I'm still in the process of putting it together for presentation. Thank you for asking though, and you can be sure that as soon as I contact Chaosium about details and determine their interest I'll be here talking about it much further. I'm not trying to be cagey, I just don't want to mung things up on my end and promise a lot of stuff that then fizzles out.

Shh it's post-apocalyptic.

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I got a provisional "yes" so here it goes...

The setting will be called Desolation's Edge

The setting world is an alternate Earth, where the geography and history dimly mirror our own until diverging sharply at the end of what would be our 19th century AD. A massive conventional conflict known as the Great Conflict raged across the world (with periodic breaks) for just over a century, culminating in an all-but ruined postwar civilization that finds itself on Desolation's Edge.

Twenty years ago, as the Great Conflict rattled into higher gear, a mysterious plague began to devastate large segments of the population. The plague continues to appear in the survivor communities, but has lessened in strength over time. While many victims of the Plague died outright (about 50%), some (15%) rise up and wander about ("shamblers") before dying, becoming a vector of the Plague itself. Another large segment of Plague victims (10%) survived but became maniacs ('Ferals') who now roam in packs. Among the 'healthy' survivors (the remaining 25%) A small number (roughly 5% of Survivors, 1.25% of Plague Victims overall if I've done the math properly) emerged with superior psychic abilities. These have become known as the Kin.

The Kin stand at 'Desolation's Edge' with a considerable advantage; what will these Kin do with their talents?

The setting will have a Noir-ish element, or at least as much as one can capture that style in a role-playing game with optional mechanics and setting (hey, players may run as if they are in a Disney flick, you can only do so much with setting and mechanics).

The cities, although bombed out in places, have survived the Great Conflict, without all the messiness that comes with an Atomic War style P-A. While many urban areas were abandoned during the height of the Plague, they have recently become re-populated as the Great Conflict itself has ground to a halt and the plague dies down (though not altogether). War stragglers, some from the native population, some from the 'enemy' left behind, provide raw potential for experienced starting PCs and NPCs as well as a treasure trove of background material. These are people living in desperation, survivors hardened by War and disease, in a place where the rules of society are loosened but not altogether gone.

Deals are made and broken as the powers of the old society -- Industrial Barons (think of an America where the Gilded Age blended in with the Great Conflict, no organized labor or progressive era to restrain the rapacity of the Great Trusts) vie for control with the new disorganized powers: raiders, wreckers (anti-technology) cults and warlords. Betrayal is always a possibility both between and within any of these groups. The Great Trusts are also fragmenting from within, disintegrating even as they fight for control. The possibilities for such conspiracies also exist with the other Kin, who are slowly forming themselves into a rough sort of social order with "Fellowships" and cliches of mentor-students instructing one another in new psychic abilities they have discovered.

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The setting will be called Desolation's Edge

Sounds interesting, did you ever read the living steel RPG? Really over complicated system (based off Phoenix Command modern skirmish rules) but there was a similar plague dropped on the human population by invading aliens called Kvisr which basically made everyone infected into psychopaths, the aliens then proceeded to dump a shed load of low calibre smgs that could kill humans but were ineffective against their warriors.

EDIT: What the hell is "simira"? :D

Edited by AikiGhost
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Sounds interesting, did you ever read the living steel RPG? Really over complicated system (based off Phoenix Command modern skirmish rules) but there was a simira plague dropped on the human population by invading aliens called Kvisr which basically made everyone infected into psychopaths, the aliens then proceeded to dump a shed load of low caliber smgs that could kill humans but were ineffective aginst their warriors.

KVISR Rocks! (Not the supplement, the radio station…)

Yup, I have fond memories of that game. And of course who can forget the great pullquotes: esp. the Visser Doctor and the Screwup Trooper. Good times... good times...

Of course there isn't anything totally new under the sun. Taking elements which are familiar and tweaking them is all a part of the design process. But even if they fill a familiar-looking niche, they should be both different and make sense for some purpose. Take Shamblers for instance: a lot of people might say they look like zombies, but Shamblers aren't zombies even though they have lurching movements, vacant stares and moan. Nor are they the more dangerous zombie-like "infected" in the 28-Days Later/Planet Terror mold. For the NPCs who have not survived the Plague themselves (unlike the Visser virus there are some who escape the worst ravages altogether), they are a constant danger because of the infection they can carry. For the players, Shamblers really aren't even that dangerous since the Kin (like other survivors) are immune to the Plague. They are at worst an annoyance, but...

What Shamblers do offer however is the kind of moral ambiguity that is found in Noir. These were once human beings, Plague victims like the players themselves once were. "There but for the grace…" and all that. The simplest expedient is to shoot Shamblers down, but they were someone's child once, someone's loved one, someone's friend… maybe even a Player's. And yet there again, these are not people strictly speaking anymore. These are automatons… and vectors of the Plague. Every time that the PCs shoot some little ragamuffin in the head, they should be reminded of the humanity of the whole thing. So the Shamblers weren't added because they were "kewl" they were added because they were useful to further the style and tone of the game. (Not that you were implying that at all AikiGhost, I'm just following the line of reasoning and showing my theory on game design). For those of you interested, the Shamblers are much closer to the Victims of the Walking Sickness from first screen adaptation of Things to Come, which was my inspiration for the setting...

Likewise, there are some major differences between Ferals and Vissers, or Ferals and Serenity's Reavers, or Ferals and whatever. Although they fill the same sort of game niche, there are important differences: These are not for example psychopaths, they are humans who have had their reasoning power reduced (not entirely eliminated however -- Ferals can still use simple tools) and the Ferals have another (hidden thus far) purposes as well. In some ways, this makes them more dangerous, in others it makes them less. It also makes them very different from the Reavers of Serenity in the series (not the movie) which were an unseen menace, palpable and scary because everyone feared them and we never saw enough of them to know better. Reavers work best as an unseen menace, distant and threatening, or an occasional spice (in a lot of ways, the movie wrecked them because they were'nt as bad-@$$ as their rep). Ferals will not play that role that here, so they are different in tone and substance. In fact, you are quite right in that the game-design niche Ferals fill is somewhat like that of the Vissers in Living Steel, although unlike Vissers, Ferals will not be the primary opponent of the players.

…Then again, I may leave the Feral element out altogether. It really depends on how other things shape up at the moment. As of now, Ferals are primarily part of the design in order to create a fantastical threat (there are others as well I haven't mentioned), but if I determine in the fullness of time (and before the deadline) that the Ferals don’t add to the environment, I'll toss 'em.

Edited by Publius
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News blurb added to the front page. Keep the feral, I like them! :thumb:

PM me if you want the blurb changed in any way, or have another image you would like to use.

Do you have any estimated time for when you think you will be ready to submit it to Chaosium?

SGL.

Edited by Trifletraxor

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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You like them? that is good. So far the Ferals look like they are safely "in" when I look over the way other material has developed (i.e. they both fit the feel of the setting and have a function). One thing I didn't want was for the "Monster of the Month Club" effect. Some of the worst, most terrifying villains should be human beings in a game like this with monsters just for spice. Of course, I may lean to the other end on this one as I go along. Depends on how the powers thing goes frankly.

The blurb is good, in fact that is almost exactly the portion of what I posted that was intended as the blurb for the back of the book. Good eye. I gave an ETA of early October, but that is when it goes to them, who knows how long it will take from there. I picked that time-frame because I have some other projects in the pipe and I will be working like a dog on those when the hammer drops. Thus far however I am a bit behind schedule, but I do have some time to make up.

I like the pic you selected btw. Very Feral-ly. The Book will feature some of my (I really shouldn't say poor, others like what I do far better than I) artwork and my maps.

The only thing to add to the Blurb, and then only if you feel like it, is that the game will feature a system for Psychic Powers that is unique to Desolation Edge and specifically designed to fit into the basic roleplaying system.

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I'm particularly interested in how technology and political geography would have diverged, and how much of it would still be around "today".
Well, I make a distinction between having an Alternate Timeline and this being an Alternate History. Alternate histories are mental exercises which begin from a certain premise and then proceed logically from there; and the AH crowd gets tough on what they call "Alternate Fantasies" (which this would fit by their definition). I make no pretense to have taken the time and discipline to factor in the myriad elements that make up a "real" Alternate History.

That being said, I do think that there are some very interesting variations which may not add up to the rigor of the true AH but are logical nonetheless. I kept the United States similar but far from the same (although it is known as "New Columbia" in this world). The Cartels dominate in a "Gilded Age run wild" syndrome which relates back to the Great Conflict. Our Northern and Southern borders had to change in order to accommodate the proximate danger necessary for the War to threaten mainland "New Columbia" for instance. But the changes, while logical, are not the precise calculations of the AH folks: these nations serve a purpose in the overall scheme.

Technologically, I wanted everything to be very simple. Because there is a noir-ish feel, I wanted to avoid the simple and pat stuff like computers, cellphones and that sort of thing. Just a simple example: Messages have to be delivered or said to someone else in person, creating the possibility of being betrayed. Also, while Computers of a sort do exist, there is no Internet, and they are more UNIVAC than Powerbook. While War often spurs on technological development, there must be some stability for that to happen. The Technology level is thus very 1950s in a lot of respects, with Steam-powered Cars as well as Internal Combustion autos and a few other retrotech concepts.

I also purposefully avoided the obvious Badguys-as-Nazis (although it's very tempting, Nazi's make excellent bad guys since you never feel bad about them) and went with the Third Empire, which is basically the surviving element of the French Revolution (which like our own morphed into the Napoleonic Empire). The Thirdies however were never truly "evil" (despite the propaganda spewed by both sides) just different; propelled, like the New Columbians, by elements within the power structure to continue a wasteful war and pursue some pretty nasty tactics. In keeping with the Noir-like style, there are no good guys, no bad guys, but a whole bunch of grey.

In any case the War is over, it's the aftermath that the Players will have to deal with. If Desolation's Edge proves successful, I very well may supplement it with the Trials of Ægeia (Europe).

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I like the pic you selected btw. Very Feral-ly.

Yes, I thought it would make a good feral! :)

The only thing to add to the Blurb, and then only if you feel like it, is that the game will feature a system for Psychic Powers that is unique to Desolation Edge and specifically designed to fit into the basic roleplaying system.

Updated.

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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  • 3 months later...
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I found this topic by looking for Living Steel, which I've just picked up and enjoyed reading through. A very detailed immediately post-apocalyptic setting on an Earth-like planet. This Desolation's Edge sounds interesting too. Obviously a lot has changed in the publishing landscape since 2008. I wonder if it could be adapted for Rubble and Ruin, which is also set only a decade or so after the apocalypse.

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