You are a shaper. A shaper of Empires, a shaper of Armies
A shaper of Fortunes, or Minds
A Maker of Objects and devices, or maybe you Shaped your own body to perfection.
A shaper of destiny?
But who shaped your soul?The galaxy is a bright, wondrous place, but your dream world is on the verge of the abyss. Every story, every dream has two sides.And now the darker side wants a piece of the pie. The Singing Star has foretold of their coming; They, the Dreamers. They, the Forgotten. The Dead Memes. All the parts of human soul and alien emotions that have been shredded apart and thrown away, hidden behind the veils of Death. Behind the black holes and the Dark Matter.
But they are coming back. As dreams. Nightmares. And someone is helping them. Someone is shining the beacon. Someone is making horrible melds of psychic remnants and battle armour. Someone is killing your dreams.
Why? What can the undead dream of?
You are a Shaper: An Emperor, General, Tekmage, Soul Fixer or DNA thief. You had a destiny. You remember that much.
But who stole your dreams?
In sci-fi gaming, a lot of focus is usally given to units, numbers, acronyms and other geekspeak, whilst the background is generally only a bland report of historic military encounters. When this isn’t the approach taken, the game becomes “just another space opera”, where a carefully crafted background doesn’t matter as much as memorable encounters, heroic scenes and having a really cool-looking weapon.
Those two approaches are fine, if you like either extremes, but isn’t it possible to have a rich, fascinating middle ground? We think so, and reaching this middle ground was our first objective when designing this game.
How do we do it? First, we came up with a reasonably simple, but scalable, game system. With it, we can represent characters from puny and incompetent to supremely competent, almost godlike in their capabilities. The system is open, so that if you don’t find a rule to help you decide how to resolve a situation, you can make one on the spot. The system also lets you represent characters on other levels, such as the Ego & Net level, the Holding level (representing all they own) and the Space level (where starship combat happens). All these level can interact freely!
Then, we came up with the technologies available. We extrapolated new technologies based on recent discoveries, and found a reasonable explanation why not everyone has access to everything. Of course, some of the more classical equipment is available in the game, but we think you’ll like some of our ideas.
The background and metaplot had been there all along, of course. The original idea was that with technology advanced enough, some humans will become almost immortal and ageless, wielding superhuman powers beyond our reach. That simple idea, crossed with the goal to make a storytelling, European-style role-playing game, immediately brings to mind the idea of Vampires… In space! But the real vampires aren’t what they seem on the surface. There are many ways to suck the marrow of the Universe; everyone may be a predator, if they find the right prey. In the far future, when humanity has conquered new frontiers of space, it will have enough technology and gusto to become an intersidereal predator. But it will also become prey to an even stronger sort of predator, on a terrain beyond our ken, a species known as the Beautiful Dreamers. The Dreamers prey on galactic civilization for its own purpose, using the human’s weaknesses and nightmares as a weapon. But the Dreamers’ power is still weak and not yet focused. This opens a lot of opportunity for more traditional far-future adventures, while also leaving room for deeper, more poetic themes like crushed hopes, love and morality in the game.
We hope to have reached these goals in the book. In some ways, what we have done is beyond some of our own expectations! While the game isn’t perfect and the background still has flaws, we feel that there are so many opportunities present in the game that no two character will ever be alike, and that sci-fi games will never be the same. We are still improving the game, adding new areas, new complexities and new twists to surprise the most jaded of gamers. We’re only getting started!
You can purchase the Spectral Eclipse Books (pdf format) right now at RPGNow:
Spectral Eclipse Book 1: Shapers and Holdings
Spectral Eclipse book 2: Ego Trip