Machinations: Style & Substance


This is a universe where everyone has an angle. Almost everyone is out for themselves and to get ahead. It’s a universe of chaos, destruction and struggle punctuated by a few islands of civilisation – and much of that is corrupt, decadent or despotic.

The Urlanth Empire has fallen and chaos has ensued as every prince, princess, duke, duchess, baron and knight who thinks they can take a shot at the title goes for it. Taking advantage of this every rebellion, criminal organisation, pirate gang, mercenary company and independent trader has made a ‘break for it’.

Newly founded colonies? They’re on their own.

It’s a violent, brutal, universe that breeds violent, brutal heroes.


There’s something about a woman that can kick your arse. Men too, strength, capability, that’s something that’s attractive to all kinds of people and – in this universe – things that aren’t really people as well.

This is a heavy metal aesthetic, leather and metal, rubber and plastic, big guns, big blades and probably an amount of big hair as well. This is album-covers, this is euro comics, this is Kirby and Brom, Tim White and Jim Burns, Moebius and Vallejo.

The game won’t be ‘horror porn’, but it will retain adult subject matter and some of the pinup aesthetic.


The universe is a run down, dirty place that has been lived in for a very long time by multiple civilisations that have come and gone and left their mark. Urban decay, desert wastelands, graveyard worlds, fire worlds, ice worlds, leaking asteroids and orbiting junk-stations.

This isn’t a future of gleaming control panels and flashing lights. This is oily, sooty, damp and covered in obscene graffiti in a thousand languages. People will do just about anything to survive and that means crime, vice, drugs, all the usual things that people resort to when they’re down on their luck.


Whether it’s a blaster or a knife, if you’re good with a weapon you deserve respect. Ranged weapons may be great for blasting away primitives but any civilised opponent has personal shielding and armour. Close combat is more effective, within the range of the shield and hey, guns break, run out of ammunition or get lost.

You might start off in a pressurised power suit with a repeating laser blaster and jump jets, but all too soon you may well end up reduced to trying to kill your dinner with a rock, in your pants.


More science-fantasy to be exact. As the old saying goes, any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic. The real ‘magic’ will be through psionics and ancient high-science artefacts but the base-line tech will be graspable, usable, things within the bounds of relative plausibility. That’s just the baseline though and there are exceptions, races will be templates of different kinds that you can mix, match or even double-down on, but most are assumed to be humanoid.


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