Key Principles of Other Worlds
Other Worlds is an elegant, dynamic new RPG designed for use in any genre. It has 3 main principles: Anything Can Be an Ability, Anything Can Be a Conflict, and The Group Owns the Setting.
Anything Can Be an Ability
Everything worth noting about a character can be articulated as an ability. Abilities can be absolutely anything – skills, attributes, relationships, goals, personality traits, magic spells, high-tech gadgets, even catchphrases and mannerisms. Further, all abilities are equal under the rules. It doesn’t matter whether your ability is an enchanted sword, prior experience in haggling with shadow elementals, or a natural sense of curiosity – if you can describe how it helps you, and what the consequences of failure might be, you can use it in a conflict.
This is important because it enables you to be as creative as you like in describing your character. There are no restrictions other than what you decide is fun – if it’s interesting enough to write down, it’s interesting enough to make into an ability. Just give it a name and an ability rating and you can start using it straight away! This is a crucial advantage for a multi-genre game because it means you can bring in any new stuff you like without having to translate it into a game mechanic – it’s just a Cyclojet 20, or Spitting Snake Technique 25, or whatever. You can immediately understand how to represent and use every possible genre element.
Anything Can Be a Conflict
The corollary to ‘Anything Can Be an Ability’ is ‘Anything Can Be a Conflict’. Whenever two players identify a potential turning point in the story, they make a simple opposed roll to determine what happens. All types of abilities and conflicts use the same rules structure and are treated equally in every respect. There are no special exceptions, rules, or modifiers other than what you decide is relevant to the scene at hand. What’s more, you get to decide what each conflict is really about, and what your character gets if he succeeds… or what he loses if he fails.
This puts the power to build up and reinforce the right atmosphere for your game in your hands. You’re in control. If you want to show the importance of a particular scene, make it a conflict. If you want to show the effects of a particular detail or ability, put a modifier on the dice roll. If you want to show the after-effects of the conflict on a particular character, give him a new ability. Other Worlds lets you tell your stories how you think they should be told.
The Group Owns the Setting
Characters don’t just come from nowhere. Part of the fun of roleplaying is not just telling stories about the protagonists, but exploring their worlds as well. Hence the name of this book: Other Worlds. That’s not to say that the focus of the game shouldn’t be on the characters, of course – just that the setting gets examined through our opportunity to watch the characters go through that world and see how they are individually affected by it.
However, in Other Worlds, you don’t just explore the setting – you own it. Our setting and character generation systems are designed to harness the creativity of the entire group when building a world to tell stories in. Everyone gets a say in designing the setting and everyone gets to add new details to it during play itself. Even if you’re playing within the constraints of a pre-existing setting or time period, the fact that you’re inventing your own templates, abilities, and characters on top of that means that you’re still making that world your own. What happens in play is therefore not dictated solely by the rules or the vision of one person but by the combined imaginations of everyone sat at the table. The players are the writers of the story, the actors of the story, and the audience of the story, all at the same time. It is our experience that this approach helps make the game more rewarding, more dramatic, more surprising, and ultimately more fun for all concerned.