No-one remembers before the war. There are stories of two great powers; a society of Mages wielding incredible magical power and a culture of Technologists built around fantastic devices. These two civilisations are no more, their remnants scattered across the population. It has been hundreds of years since the war and no-one even remembers what caused it. Some say they destroyed each other and created Tilt in the process, it now clings to the world and acts as a constant reminder of the dangers of magic and technology. Others say Tilt always existed and that Mages and Technologists fought about whether to control it or destroy it, the reported sides tend to vary depending on the storyteller.
Regardless of how it happened, Tilt is a part of this world. Tilt is a form of energy that, if not dealt with, will accumulate in an area; mutating the local wildlife and twisting the very fabric of reality. People can intuitively sense Tilt and can tell that Tilt comes in two opposing flavours: magical and technological. When neither type is particularly strong the area is said to be balanced, moving away from this in either direction can have unusual effects. Low levels of Technological or Magical Tilt are not dangerous although they may be unpleasant. Spending a significant amount of time exposed to moderate levels will often result in harmful side effects. High levels can warp reality itself; distorting the landscape and mutating those exposed. The Tilt of an area can change quickly from a balanced area moving to extreme Technological Tilt and then to extreme Magical Tilt within the space of a week with no obvious causes.
While most people try to avoid any level of Tilt, for Mages and Technologists moderate levels can be advantageous. The spells cast by Mages produce more potent effects in Magically Tilted areas and the devices constructed by Technologists become more powerful when ambient Tilt is Technological. While Mages and Technologists gain benefits from Tilt the relationship is not purely one-way; casting spells and using technology alters the Tilt of an area, moving it towards the Magical or Technological end of the spectrum respectively. Large numbers of Mages and Technologists in and area leads to intense and erratic Tilt. This, along with residual blame for causing The Tilt, means that most people will shun Mages and Technologists (with some even reacting violently to their presence).
Most of the known world is heavily tilted to the point that everything between the small pockets of civilisation is simply known as “The Tilt”. Walking through The Tilt is a dangerous activity at the best of times with pockets of intense Tilt having strange effects on those who traverse them. Outside of a few domesticated animals the Flora and Fauna of the land has been twisted in ways that can only be described as monstrous. The protruding tentacles of the creatures that have you surrounded can quickly make you forget about the dangers of exposure to high Tilt
The entire world would have devolved into this chaos if not for the miraculous properties of Stallic- a metallic substance found in a few areas of the world which neutralises Tilt in an area. Stallic ore exists naturally but can be refined into a purer form. Stallic is poisonous if consumed and because of this Stallic miners are very well compensated. All permanent settlements are either built on areas with natural deposits of Stallic ore or built around large chunks of refined Stallic. Only in these permanently balanced areas can any form of civilisation exist. Because of its necessity to any who wish to fend off the effects of Tilt, Stallic is incredibly valuable. A good haggler could find comfortable shelter and food for a month in exchange for a pebble sized piece of refined Stallic.
Most people choose to travel through the Tilt with convoys of caravans, these groups of traders know the safest routes and carry large quantities of Stallic to keep passengers safe from sudden changes in Tilt. Caravans can take some time to reach their destinations and will charge a significant fee for travel. They will generally offer a discount to those with combat experience in exchange for help fending off bandits after their merchandise, or the local wildlife. A few brave (or foolish) people dare ride through The Tilt alone, though those who do so can make good money as couriers if they survive.
The largest cities in the world, by far, are Vardell and Reasons Folly. These two cities are built on what are thought to be the two largest veins of Stallic ore in the world resulting in constant balanced Tilt. The people of Vardell are hard working and honest, the items made by Vardellan craftsmen are second to none in the world and traders come in the hundreds every day to trade in the Grand Market. Until recently Vardell was content to trade with those who visited and otherwise remain isolated from the world, but with the rise to power of Commander Verper this has changed. Nearby towns are increasingly being pressured into pledging allegiance to “The Grand Republic of Vardell” in exchange for protection from bandits and supplies from the city. A few dozen villages now fly the Vardellan flag and while the residents seem happy overall the presence of Vardellan “peace” officers acts as a constant reminder of who is in charge.
Reasons Folly is built on the southern coast of the continent, a chaotic collection of buildings which against all indications refers to itself as a city. While there is in theory a government which enforces the city’s few laws, no-one doubts that the true political force within the city is the Church of Folly. The church believes that attempting to decide one’s own fate in such a chaotic world is arrogant, and they place great importance on allowing chance to dictate aspects of their lives. The evangelism of the church has allowed Folly to grow steadily over the last few years and, between its exports of fish and the ever growing casino industry, it has become an economic force to be reckoned with; even if merchants would rather have more consistent trade relations.
The one area in which these two city-states agree is their stance on Mages and Technologists. In Vardell, a Mage who is found to have committed a crime using magic will be immediately executed, while those who are merely discovered to be Mages will be exiled from Vardell, have their left hand branded with the letter M and warned that they will be executed if they return. In Reasons Folly, Mages are sentenced to walk through an extremely tilted area. While, in theory, they would allow a survivor to become a citizen of Reasons Folly, Mages do not tend to return from this ordeal.
Technologists fare little better, with exiles and executions of those deemed dangerous being commonplace, however, both cities see the use of Technologists. In Vardell there are rumoured to be a number of Technologists essentially enslaved to produce weapons for the Vardellan army. In Folly, casino security has occasionally been seen to use technological devices to flush out cheaters.
The path between the two cities is winding and spans most of the continent, Caravans travelling between the two generally complete a round trip in 4 weeks. Charlie Thompson, owner of Thompson’s Caravans, used some of his vast wealth to purchase the largest piece of refined Stallic ever created. This Stallic now rests in the centre of Relief; a growing town founded by Charlie to act as a rest stop and trading centre half way between Reasons Folly and Vardell. The town is growing rapidly, with people looking to start a new life arriving every day. While settlers need to put in some work before they can live comfortably, the Caravans and nearby farmsteads supply the essentials of life to the town. Law enforcement in the town is lax, with the Sheriff predominantly acting as an arbiter for mob justice. While the Sheriff is likely to intervene in cases of assault or murder, other crimes are largely up to the populace to resolve amongst themselves. Although Vardell and Folly have no official influence over the town, both have established a presence for the stated purpose of ensuring the reliability of the trade which passes through Relief.
People of all professions are flocking to Relief: craftsmen, merchants, doctors, politicians, entertainers, journalists, farmers and many more have all found a niche to fill in Relief. With a rapidly growing population many more opportunities will open up as time goes on. Charlie himself penned a leaflet, distributed by his caravans, encouraging people to set up lives in Relief, and the population now sits at 2000. The only requirement for living there is the ability to look after yourself, for those that can’t, a frontier town can be an unforgiving place.
How Mages and Technologists work
IC knowledge of exactly how mages and technologists work is largely restricted to mages and ftechnologists, this guidance is OC information so players know what to expect before submitting a character.
Mages are spellcasters like wizards in dungeons and dragons, they know a certain number of spells and can cast a certain number of spells each day which they must prepare ahead of time. The number of spells you know and can cast will depend on your character but will (initially) be at most 3. Over time mages can learn spells either through learning from other mages or meditating on their concept. Both of these approaches will require at least one downtime and unlike original Tilt this will not increase the number of spells you cast in a session. A mages concept is a common theme in all of their spells which they focus on while preparing spells. This can be something tangible like ‘fire’ or ‘steel’ or something abstract like ‘friendship’ or ‘duty’. All spells a mage has will in some way associate with this concept. In order to become a Mage another spell has to perform a ritual of awakening on you. This process is consensual and it is almost unheard of for anyone under the age of 18 being awoken. Most Mages get to know people before awakening them in order to explain the philosophy behind being a mage and to judge whether they can be trusted with the power of magic.
Technologists make devices which can do whatever the maker wants. While some technologists specialise in certain areas there is nothing to stop a gunsmith attempting to make a lie detector. These devices are built by following blueprints and using technological components. Blueprints are developed by technologists over weeks of research and experimentation, a technologist thinks of what they want a device to do and through trial and error make something that works. Over time blueprints can be refined so the devices they create are more reliable and more effective. Technological components are materials which are needed to make devices, they are sold by some of the traders in the caravans and can be scavenged from the technologist fortresses which are scattered throughout The Tilt. As a simplification there are only three components with increasing value; simple, intermediate and complex. More advanced technological devices will require more components and more complex components, a metal detector may only need a few simple parts whereas a long distance teleporter may require a dozen complex parts or more. The process of building, designing and improving technological devices will usually take place in downtime. Becoming a Technologist simply requires that you experiment with Technological components, after this blueprints begin to make sense and ideas for new devices begin spontaneously occurring to you.
Within the game players will keep track of their personal tilt throughout the session. There will be numerous situations where this will have effects the most apparent of which is using technological devices and casting spells where the higher your tech tilt is the more effective the device or spell is.
Your starting tilt will be written on your character sheet and you will be made aware of any changes that occur before the session starts. Most characters will start at zero (balanced tilt) this can be changed by a the TILT call. If at any time your tilt reaches 5 steps in any direction see a ref. The TILT call has the following grammar:
There is no modifying magnitude-you will only ever need to move one step at a time.
Where the type is either “balanced”, “spell” or “tech”.
if you take a TILT call your personal tilt moves in the direction of the type modifier.
Your personal tilt is Balanced
You take a “TILT spell” call
Your personal tilt becomes one step spell tilted
You are spell tilted by two steps
You take a “TILT tech” call
Your personal tilt becomes spell tilted by one steps
A mage and a technologist hug a large piece of Stallic
They are initially one step spell and tech tilted respectively.
They both take “TILT Balanced” and afterwards they are both balanced
There is no modifying magnitude-you will only ever need to move one step at a time. If at any time your tilt reaches 5 steps in any direction see a ref.
Some calls can be modified by by the words SPELL and TECH. Calls modified this way may affect different characters in different ways. If you are affected differently then this will be stated on your character sheet.
You are a person who has been horribly mutated by magic tilt, you are take all calls modified by SPELL as HEAL 1 but you take all calls modified by TECH as if they also called TWO.
A mage attacks you by calling SPELL THREE on you, you are not fussed and call NOTED and take HEAL 1
A technologist calls TECH HEAL 1 on you after seeing a brutal attack, you call NOTED and take TWO HEAL 1.
You decide to leave this place.
Magic and Technology
The Mages and Technologists; the last remnants of the two great civilisations which existed before The Tilt.
People become Mages when they undertake a ritual known as The Awakening. A mage performs the ritual and the subject becomes able to channel ambient Magical Tilt into spells. A Mage’s spells align with a concept which is personal to them. This can be something tangible like fire or steel, or more abstract such as duty or friendship. A mage can only cast a few spells a day but these spells can be incredibly potent or destructive.
It is far easier to become a technologist- a person must simply experiment with technology. Technological components are available to those who actively seek them and through experimentation a person can learns how to build devices. Some may invent dozens of devices while other prefer to refine one design to the point of perfection. Technologists can trade blueprints and learn how to create new devices but some technologists are weary of openly sharing their inventions.
All people know about Mages and technologists. Some people will have met some personally while others will know them only from stories about the war. There is a great deal of resentment towards Mages and Technologists due to their connection to The Tilt but there are different stereotypes about each group. Mages are thought to to curse towns, killing livestock and controlling minds. They work only to further their own objectives and making deals with them may get you what you want in the short term but in the long term the Mage will always gain the advantage over you. Technologists are thought of as more reckless, meddling with their infernal devices and endangering those around them out of misguided curiosity. While people are more open to getting help from technologists – some own small useful technological items, such as guns – they understand that there is a very real risk of something exploding in the near future if they do.
https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B25Uvgk4R3usbkdGUXhYY3BPVGM – the game’s public documents