Wednesday, September 07, 2022

Chaos World Explainer


Cover mockup featuring stockart by Claudio Casini
Chaos World is my Fate-based fantasy role-playing game, currently in development. You can find drafts of Chaos World by backing my Patreon.

I have always said that I am not a big fan of fantasy fiction. That doesn't mean that I don't like it, but that my tastes in it are fairly limited. I am a big fan of the fantasy, and science fantasy, of British author Michael Moorcock, and to a lesser degree the works of Robert E. Howard (particularly Conan). 

Most of my interest in Howard came from the Marvel Comics adaptations of his works and characters when I was a kid. I love a good fantasy comic, and books like DC's Warlord also inspired me.

All of these inspirations flowed into my writing and developing Chaos World. The game itself has gone through a number of incarnations and systems over the years. Some people who have followed my blog or social media throughout the years may remember my early playtests of a game I called Demon Codex back in the G+ days. That was an earlier version of the game that I wanted to make. There have been a lot of inspiration from an old school Swords & Sorcery RPG that I am a fan of threading through the various incarnations of the game as well.

But, I think with the Fate-based Chaos World I have found the system that I want to use as my game's bones.

Chaos World is the first of two or three books that I see making up the line for it. The second book would go into some setting material, and the third book would be made of up bestiary materials and probably some more character options. When I pitched these books to a publisher they called my pitch "ambitious and conceptual," and then passed on my pitch. I think that role-playing games should be ambitious and conceptual, and personal as well. Part of why I made Chaos World was because the types of fantasy that I enjoy wasn't being served by the current crop of fantasy games, so I made the game that I wanted to play. I think that others would like it as well.

The game is set against the backdrop of a cosmic war between the forces of Chaos and Law, a war that is being waged across all of the planes of reality. But, at the same time, because this war is being waged on individual worlds, it is a personal battle for the people who are caught in the middle of the confrontations. Worlds are ravaged and conquered as each of the two opposing forces work to eradicate the other. The problem is that they cannot destroy each other, so the war rages on and on.

Magic is based less on spell casting and more on summoning extradimensional creatures, and the raw stuff of Chaos, and using it for personal power. Magic in this universe corrupts those who use it, because it is yet another of the weapons in the eternal war, and those who think that they control the forces of magic never really do. More traditional fantasy RPG spell-casting can be done in the game, but it is not the main type of magic available in the game.

There are a near infinite variety of worlds and planes of existence. Many of these are touched by Chaos, and many others are shaped by Law. Some are, as yet, untouched by the two cosmic forces, and are idyllic places in contrast to the worlds that have become battlegrounds.

Character creation shapes a character based on their past, and how the cosmic conflict had entered into their life. But, it leaves things open enough for the future stories and explorations and battles that the character faces can mold them into new things. There are also rules for dealing with "echoes" that certain characters can make across the various planes of existence, world where your character can also be a hero but where they can face dramatically different challenges than the "main" character they are playing in a Chaos World game.

But, for me, all of these things end up making a fantasy game that is different from a lot of what is on the market currently. Not just because of the system used, but because of the source material that inspired the game and how it shaped the mechanics of the game. There are a lot of games out there inspired by more "epic" types of fantasy, and yes there have even been a couple of Conan-inspired and Moorcock-inspired games out there. There are inspirations drawn from some of those games in Chaos World.

Are you a publisher, and does this sound like an interesting game to you? You can reach me via the contact box in the upper left-hand corner of this blog, if you don't already know how to get in touch with me. We can talk about the ideas that I have for this game, and maybe come to some sort of arrangement. I would love to hear your thoughts.