RogerBW's Blog

Alternative Invaders in Torg (part 2) 13 January 2014

OK, we've taken out American and European industry. We still need to deal with China, which the original game completely neglected, and Japan. I'm wondering here about a blend: wuxia action with conspiracy thriller in the style of some modern Asian action films. Wandering heroes with guns and ki powers go up against versus faceless bureaucracy which turns out to be headed by ki-boosted bosses. (Here come all the betrayal and corruption memes from cyberpunk and Nippon Tech. Not to mention a shout-out to Feng Shui.) The Dragon Kingdom may well be our new Nile Empire in the sense of the pulpy number two power headed by a cackling madman, as well as taking the untrustworthiness angle of Nippon Tech. (All right, we'll have to be careful not to go too far in the direction of the Yellow Peril.)

Phil Masters kindly pointed out steampunk, which I'd forgotten about, so I'll pinch his idea: that one's not an invading realm per se, but the unstable interaction of Aysle and Eternals, largely in northern France and centred on Paris, but sending tendrils further into both realms.

I think that's the main genres covered, really, so I can go a bit crazy with the last couple of worlds. Israel and Russia are both non-trivial industrial powers, so let's take a leaf from the Real, True Christians and hit them (and anyone who gets in the way, starting with Turkey) with a Rapture. This is the Cyberpapacy without the Cyber: a true realm of spirit and miracle, a nominally-Christian (the Turks and Israelis will be really happy about that) "Heaven on Earth" where angels really are watching you at night to see if you abuse yourself. (And where demons really are tempting you...)

One thing where Torg fell down was in the relative importance of the axioms. I think I'll probably drop Social, which never really seemed all that sensible, in favour of making Ki (or Qi or Chi if you prefer) a distinct axiom. Eternals does Tech; Aysle (still) does Magic; Rapture does Spirit. Tentacles doesn't excel in any single axiom, but does horror. The sixth invader has to find its own flavour, something in which it can excel.


Psi? A new axiom?

Let's run with that. Aquarius is a realm where psi powers were discovered in the 1960s and became the predominant area of research. They're not as showy as magic or ki or miracles, but potentially anyone can learn them. Their tech is mostly still at 1970s levels (Solid State! Neat!) because it's been neglected in favour of psi powers.

So we have a quinquilateral power system: Ki, Magic, Psi, Spirit and Tech. We have a realm that excels in each power, plus one that's just strange. I've left out supers because I don't find them interesting, but any of these realms could potentially support them (though they'd take on very different flavours); a GM who wanted a supers-styled game would probably see extraordinary individuals from the various realms coming together to defend Core Earth, much like Torg's own default campaign.

The axiom levels look like this. (This is just a ranking scale, where 7 is the highest and 1 is the lowest.) I like Core Earth being somewhere near the middle of each scale, where all the weird powers work a little but none of them works well.

Ki Magic Psi Spirit Tech
Core Earth 4 4 3 3 5
Aysle 6 7 4 6 1
Tentacles 2 6 1 4 2
Eternals 1 1 6 1 7
Dragon Kingdom 7 5 5 5 6
Rapture 5 2 2 7 4
Aquarius 3 3 7 2 3

Not that I'm likely to run any of this. But it seems like fun.

Tags: rpgs torg

See also:
Alternative Invaders in Torg (part 1)

  1. Posted by Phil Masters at 08:59am on 15 January 2014

    Where is Aquarius located?

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 09:19am on 15 January 2014

    Good point. That might be one to squeeze into Japan, leaving the Dragon Kingdom to mainland China; or one of the neglected southern continents. I'm strangely tempted to put it in Brazil.

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