Bag of Tricks: Armchair God

It’s a simple Earth-meet-Aliens story. It’s part Lord of the Rings, part Adam Warren’s Dirty Pair, with a bit of Elfquest thrown in.

It’s my world — and welcome into it!

It all started when I got into role-playing games, maybe a bit before. I had a few ideas about characters moving around a sci-fi world. I eventually put them down on paper and it became The Game.

(Incidentally, “The Game” is not its real name. It’s called Tigres Volants and written in French. But being a rather kind person, I’ll spare you this kind of gritty details.)

The universe is based on two major “what-ifs”: the first is that the Earth was home to a fairly advanced civilisation (ca. early industrial era), who also dabbled in magic and stuff, a couple ten thousands years before our time.

This civilisation left for the stars when the last ice age came (about 12,000 B.C.) and founded a large interstellar empire over the course of a few millenia. One of the two peoples who formed said civilisation are Elf-like creatures, called Eyldar, who have a fairly long life expectancy (think 2000 years and more), the other were more or less Humans; both are genetically compatible with Earth Humans, just to make things raunchy.

The interstellar empire met other civilisations, blew up a few and befriended others. In the end, a particularly bloody interstellar war provoked a civil war and the empire eventually crumpled in 600 B.C.

The second what-if arrives in 1989, when China invades the USA and the USSR procedes to blitz Western Europe. It’s called the Third World War and ends up with a limited nuclear exchange that sends civilisation fifty years back (or, in the case of China’s coastline, one hundred kilometers back).

By the mid-21st century, a political madman/genius takes over Asia, then moves on to Australia, the Islam Empire, Africa and South America. He imposes a fascist / communist state (the Highlander Federation; I know, cheesy name…) over two-thirds of the planet, and then briefly clashes with the moderately United States of North America and the European Confederation.

When the dust settles, only a handful of countries remain on planet Earth, and its inhabitants begin to notice that they have been closely watched for the past century by a few billions aliens, who hesitate between fear, amusement and greed.

At the very beginning of the 22nd century, the remaining Earth nations enter the galactic civilisation. Can you say “culture clash”?

The galaxy has lived for thousands of years on a rhythm which is that of Eyldar, i.e. slow. Eyldar are conservative, cautious (i.e boring) people (but they are very good at sex). Earth is full of crazy notions, such as the internal combustion engine, democracy, bicycles, capitalism, etc.

It’s also quite full of people, many of them (the Highlander Federation) are very eager to settle somewhere else. For example, on planets they don’t own. A couple of wars and chaos ensues, but all in all, things remain civilised.

Now is 2290, two centuries after Earth joined the rest of the galaxy. Things look quiet on the surface, but the culture clash is still going on. The galaxy is a big and dangerous place; Earth is no better: Paris is satanic and decadent, London a small lake, Los Angeles a urban battleground (so what else is new?) and Copacabana one of the most well-known cities of Earth.

The Game is a stage for any kind of adventures; it’s not designed only for space-faring travel, black-opsing around, or blasting space bugs (there are no space bugs, by the way — unless you count US-made software).

For example, I GM a group of true-blue adventurers / mercenaries who are slowly crossing the galaxy on their way back to Earth, while I also played in a series where characters were “normal people” (mine was a stock broker with a knack for Polish junk bonds), and another friend of mine has an ongoing campaign about supercops on a European colony planet.

There are of course, many, many things to be said about a few of the dark secrets and fun trivia I’ve put in the game, but I’ll get back to that later, I hope. I am currently going through a redesign / third edition of The Game, which will hopefully be complete (or at least drafted) by the end of this year.

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