Players from across the universe log into a high-risk online RPG by “possessing” NPCs, who become their avatars; goals include interacting with other players and NPCs, exploring in a universe carefully crafted by all-powerful Game Masters, and conquering the universe on behalf of your chosen benefactors back in the real universe.
Jumping 200 years into the future introduces aliens and strange worlds to planet Earth. Unfortunately, faster-than-light travel remains impossible, and even the most tech-savvy races are unable to traverse the vast reaches of space without utilizing slow-moving suspended-animation starcrafts. The universe has opened up, but each race remains isolated within a short distance of its home system.
The incredible advances made in internet communication, however, have enabled all sentient beings across the universe to share information between themselves. Instant transmissions across entire galaxies have been made possible by the atomized internet. The universe of the future is characterized by this infinitely powerful and connective new age of internet communication.
The Game Wars were made possible by the universal internet, but they were made important by the governments of all sentient beings in the known universe. Fearing territorial conflict that would devastate the already-scarce resources of the universe, all races who share the internet have agreed to settle their differences within the simulated universe of Game Wars.
An individual can only log into his or her avatar in Game Wars once (ever, like, as long as a person lives). Thereafter, his or her corporeal body is placed in suspended animation while the avatar starts a new life within Game Wars. The avatar’s specifications are chosen by the player, but the avatar is not “created.” Rather, since Game Wars is a modified approximation of the universe, it is infinitely large, and is therefore home to an infinite variety of individuals, at least one of whom must fit any possible variation in character creation.
Thus, a player who logs in overwrites the programmed routines that the created/chosen NPC has run for its entire “life” up until that point. To those who witness a login, the NPC appears to undergo a fugue state, often getting up and abandoning whatever it was doing up until that moment. From that point until the player logs out, he or she is in complete control of the NPC, now called his or her avatar.
This means that the characters within Game Wars are comprised of both their avatars and the players who control them according to their own motives brought into the game from the real universe. Though there are many other differences between the universe of Game Wars and the real universe, player possession is the central mechanic on which Game Wars functions.
One of the first things you’ll do is pick your character’s Nature. This represents the individual possessing an avatar (a user) or an NPC who only exists within Game Wars. NPCs are different races, but they are by no means representative of every race in Game Wars. Feel free to create new races or types of users with the create nature option. Or combine them, so you have an Explorer user who plays as a Wyrcow.
Next you’ll pick your character’s Strength, Weakness, and Goal card. These can all be modified, or you can make entirely new ones to fit with your character idea.
Finally, Game Wars operates on a few major principles. First, a user may only log in once in his or her lifetime. To log out, a user must utilize the one component of the HUD that’s visible: a tiny red “X” in the periphery of your view. If you click it, you will be asked your security question. If you answer correctly, you are logged out and your avatar resumes whatever program it had been following before you logged in.
Second, the game handles death differently for NPCs and users. If an NPC or any other living organism in Game Wars dies, it leaves its earthly remains behind and separates from its programming. If a user dies, he and his avatar are transported to the Underworld, an independent zone within Game Wars that houses players who’ve died, but have not logged out. Once they log out, their avatars are left behind in the Underworld, unable to restore their programming, spending the rest of eternity mindlessly wandering another dimension. Note that avatars age differently when possessed by a user. A given avatar can only support a user’s possession for roughly one hundred in-game years, regardless of the lifespan usually afforded to an NPC of a given race.
Third, anyone in the real universe can view any part of Game Wars through the eyes of any registered user currently playing. But no information can be sent from the real universe to the Game Wars universe, meaning individuals who’ve logged in for several years may return to an entirely different world.
Fourth, users represent a tiny minority of the sentient beings in Game Wars. Most NPC’s are aware of the users, as most have experienced the chilling act of watching a loved one being possessed. Some NPC societies persecute known avatars, while others view possession as an act of ascension to a sort of godhood. Regardless, it can be difficult for both players and NPCs to detect the presence of a user within an avatar. For this reason, the NPC’s of Game Wars generally view possession as a natural occurrence within their world and treat players as such.
Fifth, the player has a degree of input on his or her character’s situation at the time of login by way of choosing background traits and biographical data, but there is still a degree of uncertainty with regard to the circumstances the player logs into.
Sixth, Game Wars takes place primarily on the Infinite Plane and the Heightless Heavens. The plane is the surface world that extends outward in all directions without end, divided by seas and vacuums that descend downward for eternity. Civilizations are scattered across its boundlessness, and their distance keeps most from ever knowing that others exist. Different regions experience widely varying temperatures and climates based on the nearness of suns up above them in the heavens. The Heightless Heavens lie past the borders of the sky await the Celestial Space – a space-like vacuum that uses the divine magic of gravity to render beings and entire planets weightless. Those who can wield the power of gravity are revered as priests and messengers of greater powers, such as Game Masters and Eidolons. As with the plane, civilizations residing on celestial bodies may not realize other planets exist, separated as some are from each other. Visibility of the plane below becomes obscured the further one drifts upward, until it is rendered undetectable by human senses. Game Wars uses the Sphere as its basic unit of planetary measurement, and it refers to a planet about a fourth the diameter and circumference of the Earth. Even on the plane, one might say a location is 1.3 spheres away, indicating it’s about the length of North America and a third.
Seventh, Gen (code, or DNA) is like the Force, as it binds the fabric of the Game Wars universe together. Different cultures have different names for it, but at its core Gen is the energy of generation. It sets planets in motion around their orbits, pushes the mightiest sea currents, ignites volcanoes, and drives the tallest mountains up from the plane. Avatars and NPCs alike can harness the powers of Gen through various means.
Finally, this game takes place in a Sphere known as Hedrian. It is home to a number of regions, cities, races, and mysteries. Use the cards and your own imagination to create a character who would have reason to be in this Sphere. At this time High Hedrian, a nation of Echelonians who worship the low-hanging suns over Hedrian, is at war with Yazza, a melting-pot nation of independent city-states that have rebelled against High Hedrian. Your characters should ideally have some reason to be in Oneo, a small town on the coast of the Worldsea, the Yazzanese edge of the contested zone. Perhaps your user just logged in and wakes up inside an avatar nearby. Maybe you’ve been logged in for a while and your travels took you here, or you’re an NPC who’s programmed to live in this region unless a better opportunity presents itself. It’s your call.
Hosted and narrated by:
C R (chancels)
Scenes played: 10
License: Community License