Defenders of the New Century is a good RPG in development that blends monstrosities and superhero-level powers into a setting the size of Ireland, with eight nations and magic.
Oh yeah, plenty is going on here.
First up, you can download the Defenders of the New Century quickstart as a PDF from Itch.io for free today.
A Kickstarter is planned for January 2021 and there’s a whole website for more info.
The free download is 82-pages long, and that’s 82 pages with a small font but also images by Helen Norcott.
The quickstart begins with an introduction to the World of Soluna, and fortunately, this isn’t a lingering essay, we get straight to the point. Soluna is a mountainous and relatively small island.
The rest of the world is the ocean. My mind went immediately to kaiju battles with that revelation.
Characters in the game are born into an era in which technology is just taking off. There are trains and Tommy guns (based on the illustration on page 2), but there’s also magic.
I sense the opportunity for those two aspects of life to clash. Perhaps they will in the full game but as far as the quickstart goes the arrival of “The Gates” overshadows all other internal tensions.
The Gates are, as you’d expect, portals from somewhere else. These Gates now over a quarter of the landmass of the small island and they’re growing in size. No one can figure out how to close them.
Since the opening of the Gates, people with powers beyond “normal magic” have begun to appear. These superhero-level individuals are known as Contractors.
Just as significantly, giant monsters known as Leviathans have emerged through the Gates when a Gate as opened in the planet’s oceans. Sea travel is now impossible, it’s too dangerous.
Is it the end of the world?
The bulk of the quickstart goes to pre-made characters and an adventure to play.
Defenders of the New Century describes itself as a game best played with a whiteboard as well as dice. Why? Well, the game doesn’t use hexmaps or a grid, but there are enough tactics in combat for a visual representation to be very helpful.
You’ll see the whiteboard influence as you scroll through the adventure, many illustrations are lines and colour to indicate placement.
In the game, characters have Contracts – they are Contractors – the apex of what Soluna has to offer. If there’s a way to avoid the end of the world, they’ll be the people who need to find it.
The RPG uses a hybrid dice system of d6s for skill successes but a d20 for combat.
Soluna’s Gate problem is up to the GM to expand on. That’s to say; there’s no right or wrong answer, no canon that explains what’s behind the Gates. If you want to use Defenders of the New Century as a supers vs kaiju game, you can, or you could put aliens or a future world on the other side of the portals.
Defenders of the New Century uses a classless system but with over 150 character qualities which help shape the Contractors and eight schools of magic.
The game calls out its commitment to inclusivity as characters can have differing abilities, sexes, genders, races or beliefs.
The Defenders of the New Century quickstart is a 9 MB download available for free.
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