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An Introduction to the Sundered Earth
Fractured Hopes began as a challenge. It began as a thought experiment. I had an advanced reader's copy of the BRP core book, and I thought it would be interesting to write a setting in which everything in the core book had some presence in the world. I saw it as a companion to the BRP rulebook, something that would allow players and gamemasters to get the most use out of the core as possible. The by-line for the project in its early days was, "if it's in the book, you can use it."
The setting is our world, some distance in the future. Humanity was caught in a war between an unbending machine race of our own creation, and a species of alien that used biotechnology and genetic manipulation as their chief weapons of war. People were used as conscripts by both sides. Many of these conscripts survived the cataclysmic Final Weapon, which broke the world into Fragments.
Fragments are an attempt to get around the strange sci-fi trope of having worlds that have only a single climate. You know: the desert planet, the ice planet, and so on. Fragments are isolated from each other to the point that each has its own micro-climate. The book contains a selection of pre-designed Fragments, as well as the tools to create new ones.
The present time of the game is not set in stone. It is some time after the Sundering, when the Earth was destroyed, though it could have been 20 years ago as well as five minutes. There is an introductory scenario that does character creation for a group as an adventure in and of itself rather than a step that occurs before play. Characters come out of the adventure with a ship to sail between the remnants of the world, an enemy, and a reason to stick together.
All of the existing Powers systems are used in the game, and players are free to mix and match to better create the character they want to play from the beginning. While the Powers systems are not necessarily balanced against each other, in practice, they play well together at the table.
While the setting is written with larger-than-life heroics in mind, it can support a variety of play-styles, due to BRP's flexible nature. You can do gritty stories of survival in a devastated world, to cosmic duels with vast alien intelligences, and everything in between. If the BRP rulebook is a toolkit, Fractured Hopes is the shop where you put those tools to work. It is an open-ended sandbox with enough built-in material to get you going, and room to expand and fill as you and your group sees fit.
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