Ruin World Iosterra is a high fantasy, dungeonpunk, post-post apocalypse setting. I’ve also made an effort to break from as many D&D based tropes and narratives as possible. A lot of the inspiration for this world comes from Japanese interpretations of Western fantasy, where things aren’t always as cut and dried and where our normal assumptions aren’t as accurate as we like. The world is unapologetically POC and LGBTQ+ friendly, and the opening region, the Southern Continent, has African themed/inspired cultures as the dominant ones. Fantasy staples like Orcs and Elves are present, but are definitely not the Tolkien and D&D types found elsewhere.
The overarching themes of the game is exploration and rebuilding. A century has passed since the Lost Era ended, and the place is a mess. Ruins dot the landscape, monsters prowl the wilds, and the world needs to be rebuilt and in many cases, reclaimed or fought for.
This was a hard call. Initially, I was leaning towards Dungeon World. This was because part of the world, Lost Saqah, comes from an aborted project for that game, but in the end, its character design system didn’t give the flexibility that I was looking for. 5e D&D was right out, as it has too much baggage and I didn’t want to have to build classes/subclasses and unique monsters in that system. Basic Fantasy nearly clinched it, but I realized I was looking for a system less dependent on level/class. So I branched out and tried something new, Open Legend.
Open Legend hit the sweetspot I was looking for in a system. Levels are still a thing, but don’t directly reflect character “power”. Development and advancement are player and story driven and unique to each character. And as a bonus, it’s pretty easy to build stuff like items and monsters in. The other big attractant was that Open Legend has a community licence, making it free and safe to use if I want to take this project commercial.
I have shamelessly mined two decades worth of notes, ideas, and concepts that I’ve written and typed that had, through some miracle, managed to follow me through multiple moves, deployments, and technological platforms (I had to access 3.5” floppies!). This doesn’t mean it’s a patchwork nightmare though. Going through it all, I took concepts and ideas, as opposed to whole creations, and then looked at how the fit or could be fitted into Ruin World Iosterra’s frameworks and conceptualization. Now, I’m writing like crazy to get it all out of my head.
Ruin World Iosterra is a broken world. Magics unleashed there rearranged the face of the planet during the Magister War, and then unlinked the world from time in the Lost Era, tearing its peoples, past and present, backwards and forwards through time. The game begins 100 years after time stabilized, with the surviving civilizations and peoples tentatively or aggressively exploring their world again. Ruins and strange monsters dot the landscape, and the new competes with the old.
Play begins on one of the four main continents. The first one detailed is the Southern Continent, home to the Iumbu Empire, Dakan Confederacy, Republic of Tasmrao, Volcano Kingdom, and the hostile Teminna Kingdoms of the Great Northern Jungle. The obsidian filled plains of the Northern Savannah stretch endlessly, the river in Lost Saqah flows sluggishly as the last Saqans cling to its banks against the arid wastes around them, and the winds blow through the marshes and mangroves of the North Coast while Dakan and Teminna patrols hunt each other in a deadly conflict of close encounters and merciless ambushes. Players are free agents, members of adventurers’ guilds, or on the official business of their faiths or governments, sent out into the world on business only they know.
Ruin World Iosterra has already exceeded the ten thousand word goal of the World Ember 2018 event, and is 173.9% at the time of this writing. It’s far from complete, but what is done will be public until January 2nd, 2019, per the rules of the event. At that point, I’ll have a more comprehensive plan of how I’ll be moving forwards with this endeavour. Options at this point include subscription via Patreon, turning it all into a pdf to put up on DriveThruRPG, or a few other options. I love being creative, but I’m not at a point of independent wealth where I can ignore the time sunk into it. But that’s a January problem! Until then, please enjoy watching Ruin World Iosterra come to life!