“How incredible that it is the beginning of the new century! Scarcely one year ago I, like many of you, was a citizen of the largest Empire humanity has ever built; a fact that prior to the events of that darkly metamorphic June, had flitted in and out of my mind as thoughtlessly as the state of the weather. Like you, I now stand in the ruin of that collapsed Empire, remembering the days during which I lived in flight and terror; remembering what it was to count life by the second.
For all the unspeakable death and horror the Martians wrought in those 20 short days, perhaps we should be grateful for the harsh lesson in humanity; the seemingly miraculous chance to see the cruel nature of our ways, and the opportunity to mend them. Once those dread invaders fell, it is inconceivable that one could look upon a crowd and not feel gratitude for each individual person in it; to not think ‘How wonderful it is, the breadth of experience in human life!’ Where once we may have looked for weakness and profit, we must now see the inherent value of life itself, in all its forms; we must uplift and protect one another. And in doing so, we shall better the whole of humankind."
A selection from a pamphlet published July 1900, entitled “The New Century - A Year of Relief from Martian Terror.” - Author Unknown
England, 1899. This is a game about interpersonal conflict and survival. A group of ordinary Victorian people try to survive the chaos of the British Empire, as it collapses under the overwhelming weight of an invasion from Mars. The Martians are advanced, eldritch and terrifying. They will win this. The end is all but certain and the day cannot be saved. You’ll live your every day life until everything falls apart, then struggle to survive the unfolding war until you escape, or it ends, leaving nothing behind.
Search for supplies, or a boat out of Britain? Trek across the country to rescue a loved one, or build and furnish a makeshift shelter to keep you safe? Do you sacrifice your energy for your group, or is self preservation all that matters?
We play to find out if the group can work together to survive the conflict, save what’s dear to them, and stay true to themselves.
I’ve been working on this hack since the start of this year, and I figured it was time to put something up here about it. It’s largely complete, and pretty much playable from the rules as written - though I wouldn’t reccomend it yet (wait for the playtest).
Currently the full rules document is about 130 pages, and I’d expect about 150 by the time it’s fully complete (the preview below is just over 100).
I’m trying to merge BITD’s intuitive approach to roleplaying with the tension that comes from survival mechanics in games such as Dead of Winter, Frostpunk and This War of Mine.
This is my first time writing an RPG, and I’d really love to hear your opinions and criticisms.
Alpha 2.0 (Work-in-progress preview)
Rules Document - This is missing a few bits - most prominently the Introduction, the Setting, Safety in Play and the quick reference for what’s different between AtSFS and BITD. Again, some mechanics are partially complete, and the whole thing needs an edit for clarity and brevity.
Player and Group Sheets - These are mostly done (only missing the GM Cheat Sheets), apart from proofing.
Map Sheet - Done, apart from proofing.
What I’m working on - Alpha 2.0
- Finishing the rules document.
- An editing pass for brevity and clarity.
- GM Cheat Sheets.
- Creating missing bits of artwork, and having a visual tidy-up.
- I’m hoping to have Alpha 2.0 ready as a playable document ready for a wider playtest in a few weeks.
Future Versions - What’s next
- Commissioned Artwork.
- An abbreviated quick start guide.
- Creating a version of the map with a more user-friendly digital experience (utilising Roll20, or some PDF magic)
- Public Playtest on Itch.
Thanks for taking the time to read this! Here’s some sheets in JPG form: