There will be two books to the game, the Games Master’s Book (202 pages) and the Player’s Book (170 pages) with art by Raven Morrison.
Each will sell for $9.99 USD as a PDF and around £15.00 UK print-on-demand via Lulu.
As an introduction to the Camelot Cosmos here’s an introduction by the writer and designer himself. There’ll be more about this game all this week up to and including launch day.
Camelot Cosmos is coming!
After gaming for nearly thirty years, and giving lots of other people in the industry my hard-earned cash on an embarrassingly regular basis, I decided to have a go at writing my own RPG setting. Like most GMs I had played with lots of different systems and invented worlds by the score, but I had never settled down to produce an entire setting from scratch that would be interesting enough to demand money from other people just for the privilege of owning a copy! Well now I have and, thanks to James Desborough at Postmortem Studios, it is very shortly going to be available for purchase as a PDF download or a print-on-demand ‘dead tree’ copy.
What is the point of the Camelot Cosmos?
I’ve always been fascinated by novels or games that break genre barriers. Most of the people who read fantasy also read science-fiction, and many more read horror and crime as well. Genre barriers are artificially set up to make life easier for marketing departments, but really exciting and interesting things happen when writers refuse to be put in separate little boxes. I wanted to write a setting that could include anything found in fantasy or science-fiction, but that didn’t just repeat the same tired old clichés of graceful elves, grumpy dwarves and square-jawed space captains. Like the creators of Talislanta I wanted new races and new monsters to describe, ones unique to my setting, but I also wanted to be able to throw in anything from myth, legend, cinema or any other influence as and when I chose. I love settings like the Rifts Megaverse that mix technology and magic and I wanted to do that too. I wanted to be greedy, to subvert clichés or use them, depending only on which choice would be the most fun. And I wanted to create not just one setting but hundreds or even thousands of settings, each tied to a core story that explained why they all existed. So the central point of the setting was about trying to find an idea that would allow me to do this.
Yes, like all GMs, I’m a megalomaniac.
What is the Main Idea?
The Camelot Cosmos is the first child of my megalomania. The core idea that allows me to throw anything into the mix is that in the future we will be living on crowded, polluted worlds crammed full of bored people suffering in dull and pointless occupations working for vast bureaucratic corporations. Not an original idea, I’ll admit. But these corporations want their workers to be happy, to keep producing and consuming goods without rioting, looting or striking, and they are smart enough to offer bread and circuses to the masses rather than riot sticks and tear gas. So they build leisure planets themed around particularly exciting periods of history or myths and legends, and allow their workers to play out their greatest fantasies during short holidays to these ‘theme planets’. Anyone who has seen or read Westworld will be familiar with that idea too. Then they built hugely advanced artificial intelligences to administer and run these planets, as human administrators proved inadequate to the logistical demands posed by ferrying billions of people to planets designed to fulfil their every fantasy. Unfortunately the AI’s began to believe the myths they were built to enact and saw themselves as Gods reborn. When the corporations grew concerned by this and tried to turn them off, the AIs reacted by launching biological and nuclear attacks that wiped out more than ninety percent of human life. Hundreds of years later new human societies based on distorted memories of the theme planets still worship the AI’s as saints, gods, angels, demons and devils. Scraps and fragments of old technology are viewed as magical items or holy relics, and the AI’s deliberately distort history to gain more worshippers.
The main idea, then, is that the setting (the Cosmos) will eventually describe lots of different themed future worlds, many of which include old legends. The first of these settings centres on cultures influenced by Arthurian myths.
What is the Camelot Cosmos Like?
The Camelot Cosmos is a region of space filled with theme planets rooted in the legends of King Arthur and his knights. A new Camelot floats in the sky, and King Gawain XXIII wages war on the witches and heretics of Queen Morgan le Fay. Ancient robots hide in ice-bound caves and a secretive order of monks guard the cryogenically frozen bodies of sleeping corporate executives. The ruins of shopping centres are swathed in jungle foliage, and mermaids paint pictures of the past on the walls of undersea caverns. The faithful flock to hear the words of the Arch-Bishop of Camelot, who offers a digital heaven to the true believer. Dark knights hone their skills battling giant worms in a desert, while proud nobles keep cars and computers they cannot use locked in the vaults of their huge castles. Nanite ghosts try to possess the unwary, and holographic Senators debate in marble halls. Centaurs are enslaved as beasts of burden, and spaceships are mistaken for fire-breathing dragons. In the Camelot Cosmos you can be a lord playing a game of thrones, or a lady learning the lore of the druids. You can be a knight on a quest, but your prize might be a broken television. Technology is mistaken for magic, and magic is studied as a science. In the Camelot Cosmos you can be whatever you want to be, but you will always be more than you know.
What are the Influences?
If you liked the idea of a malfunctioning robot gunslinger in Westworld, you should like the way theme planets are used as a pivotal part of the history of the Camelot Cosmos. Westworld and the Red Dwarf episode ‘Wax World’ were big influences.
The Terminator films were a big influence on the idea of the Days of Gedd and the slaughter of billions by the AI’s in the war that destroyed the corporations.
The Arthurian myths and the sense they give of an embattled chivalry doomed to ultimate failure strongly influenced the religion of the Camelot Cosmos and the rivalry between King Gawain and Queen Morgan.
‘A Canticle for Liebowitz’ and its sequel were very important in giving a sense of how ancient science would be viewed by a more primitive inheritor culture, and of how societies of the future might resemble the past.
What is in the Book?
The Camelot Cosmos has been divided into two books, the Players Guide and the GMs Guide. Both are around 200 pages long.
The Players Guide includes:
- A new, stream-lined version of the FATE rules. Characters start out slightly weaker than usual for FATE, but have more opportunity to progress and develop. Rules for character creation, advancement, combat and injury are all included.
- 100 fully described skills, closely tied to Aspects.
- Over 200 fully described Aspects
- 23 playable races
- Equipment lists
- A Players Gazetteer and History of the setting
- 20 Organisations for PCs to join or fight against
- Players descriptions of major NPCs in the setting
The GMs Guide includes:
- The Secret History of the setting
- Full descriptions of 20 Organisations including benefits of membership and suggested quests
- 15 fully described Realms with key locations noted
- 51 fully described Artefacts and Relics
- Relic Generation Tables
- A Quest Generation System including Name, Location, Villain and Patron Tables
- A Bestiary of monsters and opponents
- 39 fully described NPCs including plot hook secrets
The intention with both books has been to provide tons of material for lasting campaigns, but even more supporting material is also planned.
Daniel Jupp is a silly name. He is also a scholar, wit, poet, dashing blade and bit of a prat. He is thirty eight but has retained his youthful looks, despite the power of prayer. He is five foot eleven inches tall but considerably taller in Cuban heels. He is kind to animals, left-handed, and fond of anachronisms and tweed suits, although he doesn’t own any (tweed, that is, not anachronisms). He is a firm believer in the British Empire and would be astonished to hear that it no longer exists, and he infinitely prefers made-up realities to real realities. But first and foremost, he is a roleplayer, and always will be. He is currently considering having a tattoo of a twenty sided dice or the face of Gary Gygax on his left arm, but is revolted by the idea of his own physical pain.