Earthdawn stellt die Vorgeschichte für Shadowrun und mehr als einen Fan ist schon mal auf die Idee gekommen, „was wäre, wenn die Horrors aus Earthdawn und der ganze andere Kram wieder auftauchen würden?“. Meistens hat sich diese Idee schnell als großer Humbug herausgestellt, aber einigen Leuten scheint die Idee weiterhin gefallen zu haben, denn RedBrick Ulimited bringt demnächst den chronologischen Nachfolger zu Earthdawn und Shadowrun heraus.
Equinox: Long Shadows of Earth wird Ende des Jahres/Anfang 2009 erscheinen.
Welcome to Equinox!
“In the dark night of a distant future, the shattered remains of Earth drift through the cold void of space. The shadows of the past have been driven away, and the dark clouds at the horizon appear to be man-made. After the Great War, which resulted in the destruction of Earth, mankind is restless, scattered across the void, bereft of its home.
The Sol system became the last, safe hideout for the Vagrants, now rebels to the oppressive might of the Consortium—a government they deem to be fascistic and corrupted from deep within. True freedom can only be found among the stars, the voices of the galactic underground say. To them, the Great War isn’t over. It has only just begun.“
What is Equinox?
Enough teasing. What can you expect from this game? In a nutshell: Equinox is a future fantasy space opera game. If your jaw dropped while watching Star Wars and you enjoyed the grittiness of Serenity, and the pulp of The Ice Pirates, then this is your game … on steroids. The characters in this game are larger than life, outcasts wielding mystic powers and nethertech artifacts, perfect Hollywood action heroes playing parts in a fantastic saga set in space in a faraway future.
The setting of Equinox focuses on the war-ravaged and lawless Sol system and the shattered remains of Earth, now known as the Earth Belt. The characters are restless outcasts and misfits living on the fringe of galactic society. They use their own ship (which tends to be a large vessel with a crew of dozens or even hundreds of people; and often a living entity in and of itself) as a base for their adventures into the former warzones and possibly even the great unknown beyond the Veil.
The basic setting considers them being rebels and pirates, encouraging stories with an emphasis on space battles, fighting the forces of evil, and carving out a living on the edge of the universe. For you and your friends, Equinox will be a hell of a ride.
Despite us steering in a pirate-focused direction initially, the vast Equinox universe combines a wide range of classic science fiction styles and ideas, and despite its inclusion of the fantastic and mystical, provides rationales for many tropes of the genre. Many of the ideas we have incorporated in Equinox are quite common in science fiction, and draw from such famous movies and shows as FarScape, Firefly/Serenity, Aliens, Babylon 5, Deep Space 9, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Dune, Pitch Black/Chronicles of Riddick, and others. While the introduction of mystical energies takes the world into the fantastic, these obey rules and fit in a ’scientific‘ way shared with other FASA games. All this and more combines to make Equinox a world that is vibrant and tangible, a unique blend setting it apart from other games out there.
A Brief History of the Equinox Universe
In the dark night of a distant future, the shattered remains of Earth drift through the cold void of space. The shadows of the past have been driven away, and the dark clouds at the horizon appear to be man-made. After the Great War, which resulted in the destruction of Earth, mankind is restless, scattered across the void, bereft of its home.
The universe looks vastly different from the one those early pioneers saw when they took to the stars. Thousands of years ago, in the golden age of ancient Earth, mankind managed to tame the mystic cycles that brought magic to their homeworld and colonies. Mankind prospered and excelled at developing their control over the mystical forces, technology, and eventually even a fusion of both.
While it appeared that mankind had outwitted its enemy, their clever manipulations didn’t go unnoticed. Billions died when the demons—horrible creatures from beyond hungering after mankind’s souls—attacked, raining corrupted death down on the planets, turning every one of them into a living hell, giving way to the overwhelming forces of the demonic armies.
The unexpected attack left Earth and its colonies without a chance. Humanity fled to outer space, and the Sol system was lost entirely, leaving each colony isolated and alone. The mystics were left behind, and mankind watched their greatest achievements fall and their interstellar realm crumble to dust. Their new homes on starships and space stations were the only places safe from the mystical threat.
When the demons and their Shanrazi pawns finally found a way to overcome the void and reached for the stars, the human Consortium mounted a coordinated attack, something thought impossible by the demons and their servants. In this final battle for the cradle of humanity, the incredible energies released also resulted in the destruction of the very reason mankind came back—Earth itself. The Great War was over, humanity had won, but Earth lay shattered to pieces, pieces left strung along its former orbital path.
Now, just over a hundred years later, and twenty years after a civil war of sorts, mankind once again feels in control of its own destiny. Tensions over the legacy of the demons had turned the Sol system into a lawless no-man’s-land. Gateway Station, a giant ring structure allowing Earth’s remains to pass through it, acts as a shield and portal between the remaining Consortium worlds, a natural and neutral nexus.
The rest of the Sol system became a hive of misfits and lowlifes, drawing in all those people unwanted in other parts of the galaxy. However, it also became the last, safe hideout for the Vagrants, rebels to the oppressive might of the Consortium—a government they deem to be fascistic and corrupted from deep within. True freedom can only be found among the stars, the voices of the galactic underground say.
To them, the Great War isn’t over. It has only just begun.
Okay, so the last entry gave you an overview on the setting and background of the Equinox game. But what about the rules? The mechanics in Equinox are based on the groundbreaking Step system some might remember from Earthdawn, now developed into a more rules-light version that brings it up to date with leaner and streamlined mechanics for blistering fast play! Our intention was to keep true to the clever design of the system, but to make it much easier to use.
We incorporated a number of features closely linked to the setting. For example, the strength of surrounding mystical forces and degrees of corrupted influences affect the characters‘ abilities in a concrete, yet flexible manner. Spells are illustrated to be more advanced in this futuristic setting, and are more adaptable and customizable on the fly.
Also, dramatic social interactions can readily be handled as a form of social combat, complete with „damage“ and „combat options.“ Space combat, central to most futuristic settings, is handled easily, analogous to personal combat but maintaining a few key distinctions. From tense dogfights to lightning raids on capital ships, the system handles issues of scale smoothly and simply with only a few modifiers.
Equinox: Long Shadows of Earth is our first product coming out for the Equinox game line. It serves both as an introduction to Equinox as well as a full game, featuring the setting background, game mechanics, a complete set of ready-to-play sample characters, and a full-length adventure. Web enhancements and free downloads will help add new features, allowing you and your friends to customize this product to your liking.
The adventure itself throws the characters into a desperate, and seemingly hopeless situation aboard a prison ship headed to a hard labor camp in the Asteroid Belt. As the story unfolds, flashbacks are used to give insight into the details of what got them into this mess—and how to get out again. While there is hope in the strange and mysterious occurences aboard, the characters are faced with a rival with a personal vendetta against them and a horrific creature from Earth’s past. Can they escape, do they have a chance to begin their lives anew, setting out into the Sol system as independent agents?
The Long Shadows of Earth adventure weaves a number of different situations and styles in a coherent and compelling story. It’s an ideal introduction to get involved in the Equinox universe, with a step-by-step build-up of the game’s features. Initially, the characters will be have to rely on their wits when their mystic powers and equipment are unavailable, find a way to fight their heavily-armed opponents, call on the aid of a number of disparate and unlikely allies, and finally turn the tide to come out victorious and settle their scores.