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At the end of a narrow, cobbled alleyway off the Via Sagitarii stands a single, solitary pylon of twisted and rusted metal, slick with rain from a wine-dark sky. On the ground beneath lies a discarded and bent brass plaque, green with age, that speaks across the epochs: 

...dicated to Ms. Basilton Wilfredeet, who brought the City of Tomorrow for Today, a true patriot of the Vrändor Metroplex...   

Above the ancient, engraved script is a caked-on smear of dried tar crudely spelling out but a single word:

Thanks.

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Beneath the static storms and the choking haze and the weight of an all-encompassing gloom, the city exists only in moments salvaged from the diminished glory of many pasts.

Once it was a city of splendor, of might, of stellar horizons, that stretched back countless aeons and epochs–the Eternal City. But at both the height of its glory and its darkest hour, cataclysm struck. The city was sundered from time and causality; the multiverse around it stretched and shattered. And the city fell into shadow.

Now it is the Veiled City, a teeming expanse ruined and pocked and ruled by courtly warlords hoarding the last remnants of ancient technologies they no longer comprehend. 

It is a fractured city where its many past epochs exist concurrently, layered atop each other, the boundaries thinning between them every day. 

It is a city beset by pockets of aetheric gloom where multiversal forces seep through cracks in reality to distort, twist, and degrade everything...and nothing.   

This is Alteris.

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ALTERITY is a Forged in the Dark game about the delvers of an Aetheric Order, a radical guild or cell whose members scour glooms across the ruins of Alteris in search of the multiversal aether they need to fuel their power, prestige, and protection.

There are dangerous delves into glooms; battles against gloomspawn and rival orders; gloom hunts and ruin rangings; secret conspiracies and hidden ceremonies; archaeological digs and searches for ancient technological artifacts, and aether-fueled multiversal shifts to prior historical epochs.

We play to find out if the order can thrive in a ruined city beset by hardscrabble living, scheming factions, the threat of further multiversal collapse, the horrors of gloomfall, the overwhelming thirst for wealth and renown, and the inexorable degradation of cosmic paradox and quantum decay. 

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ALTERITY is a tabletop role-playing game set in the wreckage of a gloom-infested city during its weird ruinpunk renaissance after a multiversal apocalypse. 

There are two main touchstones in terms of influences. The first and most important is the Viriconium stories and novels of M. John Harrison. In the Pastel City of Viriconium, you have a declining pseudo-medieval civilization surrounded by the remains of past technological glories they can somewhat use but no longer make. This distance from its past is made more manifest by how unsure and impermanent Viriconium’s landscape, topography, and history appears to be, as Harrison presents it, to the point that there is not even one definitive name for the city itself. 

This concept of a shifting and mutable city past its prime is at the heart of what I wanted to do with ALTERITY. Also, Harrison’s Viriconium work was itself inspired by the fiction of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth novels and shares connective strands with the multiversal writings of Michael Moorcock, so I would be remiss in not mentioning those as well. 

The second key influence is The City and the City by China Miéville, which has as its central conceit the existence of the dual city-states of Besźel and Ul Qoma which share the same geographic space but choosing not to perceive the existence of the other. The dual cities are even separated by a patchwork of liminal, interconnected, and fully othered spaces where citizens must see or unsee the appropriate city. The concept of shifting between epochs of Alteris’s existence in ALTERITY is largely inspired by Miéville’s set up in The City and the City, albeit in a much more multiversal manner.

Other less prominent influences include the White Wolf role-playing game Mage: The Ascension, Bethesda’s Fallout and Bungie’s Destiny video game series, and Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles comic series. These are by no means truly representative of what ALTERITY aims to be, but if you look closely you can see bits that have made it in from them.  And, finally, ALTERITY is built on the game system that powers John Harper’s Blades in the Dark. You do not need a copy of Blades to play ALTERITY, but having a copy on hand could be helpful for developing a deeper understanding of the game mechanics underpinning ALTERITY.

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ALTERITY is in active development with Superhero Necromancer Press. You can access the barebones Beta version for free through this page (donations are also welcome, and will be fed back into the project as we build toward the official release and a future physical version). 

Credits

Game Design and Development: Andrew D. Devenney
Additional Design: Bill Spytma
Cover Art: Alec Sorenson 
Interior Line Art: Alec Sorenson, Bill Spytma

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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Alterity_Beta_001_RPG_v0.2.0623.pdf 892 kB
Alterity_Beta_002_PlaybookSheets_v0.2.0623.pdf 1 MB
Alterity_Beta_003_OrderSheets_v0.2.0623.pdf 865 kB
Alterity_Beta_004_FactionSheet_v0.2.0623.pdf 714 kB
Alterity_Beta_005_GloomSheets_v0.2.0623.pdf 4 MB
Alterity_Beta_006_ReferencePlaysheets_v0.2.0623.pdf 796 kB
Alterity_Beta_007_Map_v0.2.0623.pdf 3 MB

Development log

Comments

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This sounds truly spectacular. Can’t wait!

(+1)

Thanks! The beta is now up if you want to take a deeper look. 

Just grabbed my copy!

Is it april already?

Haha, don't remind us. Things have been a bit delayed (day jobs and all that), but we hope to start releasing parts of the beta in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed. :-) 

Cheering with fingers totally crossed. I know how things can be difficult, but sorry, anxiety, haha.

Ok, June, but we got there. :-) 

Its ooooooooout!!! Thx!!!!