Seven years ago, I participated in a 24-hour roleplaying game session which was going to change everything in my life. We created our own world, as was the yearly tradition in that group, and I was asked to help. Within a couple of weeks, I’d provided two alien races and worked with the small group of other Game Masters to create a Sci-Fi campaign which would entertain fifty players for six sessions held during 24 hours.
That was the last roleplaying game I had the chance to play for several years, but when I had another opportunity, I chose to resurrect that universe, tweak it, and run stories within it. Over the next two years, that became Era: The Consortium the first game that I created.
During the creation of that game, however, I met an individual who inspired me, helped me understand that we could do more. He applied as a writer and had been working on superhero comics for major names in the industry for 15 years. Our first convention working together, we spent much of the off-time discussing the potential applications for superheroes under the rules, and designing a superhero universe.
That game became Era: The Empowered, a game which is currently on Kickstarter. It was funded within 18 hours, and has now broken three Stretch Goals. Here are the reasons I think you will find Era: The Empowered remarkable.
1) The Universe
Era: The Empowered doesn’t give you just one type of scenario to play. It offers every sub-genre of superhero story you could want. You can be one of the first Empowered to appear, while the world knows nothing of abilities or how they work, and most refuse to even believe in them. You can play later, where you may train sidekicks or team up with others to face larger threats. You can save your city or even the world. You can face the Old Gods as they wake from millennia of slumber and claim rulership over the entire planet. You can fight the Assassins’ Guild, who seek to eliminate all Empowered. You can stand in defence of our world when extraterrestrial threats arrive, looking to invade, conquer, or consume.
The 300-page rulebook contains 155 pages of setting information which allow you to leap into whichever time period suits the story you’re looking for in this extensive and detailed history.
The way the universe is presented has also been well-received: the events which form the universe are presented in a timeline, which contains short stories to illustrate the events of history and provide them with emotional context. So, instead of just reading fictional historical “facts”, the reader is drawn into the moment and can enjoy a well-told story which explains what it was really like to face down the soldiers of Atlantis, even as an Empowered.
Shades of Vengeance has recently finished a previous Kickstarter which offered the chance to make your own superhero a character in the universe. “Tales of the Empowered” was a great success, bringing many more heroes, from a variety of backgrounds and with some amazing powers, into the Empowered universe. This book is also included as a reward for anyone who wants it!
2) The Era d10 Rule Set
The Era d10 Rule Set is a dice pool system where the number of dice you roll is based on Attribute + Skill and allows a variable Success Threshold based on chances of success. It’s an easy-to-learn system that’s been run by first-timers with great success, as well as giving veterans enough complexity to keep them interested. The addition of Kill Thresholds on damage rolls and opposed rolls to resolve grapples makes combat smooth and streamlined, giving a much more immersive experience than some other rule sets. You can check out the Era: The Consortium Quickstart for free here.
Era: The Empowered takes this basis and applies a new mechanic relating to powers: the Power Tree. This allows you describe any power you like, no matter how incredibly strong it is, and keep it balanced. In order to access the most powerful abilities, a character must spend points in “Lockout Layers”, which ensures that low-level characters could have them… but only with a very limited level of skill. Limited uses are also encouraged within the system, where an ability is especially powerful.
3) An Ever-Expanding Multiverse
All of the Era games are cross-compatible. There are people out there who have added elements of Era: Hitman, Era: The Consortium, and Era: Survival in order to play a Starfinder game, complete with magic.
Shades of Vengeance has produced over 35 products in the last four years and has no plans to slow down. With Era: The Empowered, there’s a new and different way to handle superpowers within the Rule Set, and several more game releases planned for this year will also contribute to that. Era: The Consortium itself has ten expansions already published with two in production, and Era: Survival, our other full-length rulebook, also has three expansions. With that in mind, it seems likely that Era: The Empowered, which has endless possibilities for further rules and story, will also be given expansions. In fact, there’s one already visible in the Stretch Goals list, which will provide for Golden Age superheroes!
4) Awesome Extras
Shades of Vengeance loves universes and loves to expand them. They offer additional material for them, and Era: The Empowered is no exception: two audio stories have already been released, with three more planned for publication during the campaign. You can find them all on the Kickstarter “Campaign” page under the title “What is Era: The Empowered?”.
These audio stories were read by Leo Cosh and give a brief glimpse into the universe during the various events that we’ve described.
Shades of Vengeance funds its games via Kickstarter, so the more support that the campaigns receive, the more books get made. If you check out the Kickstarter, don’t miss the official Era: The Empowered Facebook Group, where new content is added every day to provide more information and answer questions about the various facets of the game.
Thank you very much for reading, and I hope to welcome you into the Empowered!
Ed Jowett is the Managing Director of Shades of Vengeance and has been creating tabletop roleplaying games and card games for 5 years. He runs most of the playtests and the majority of the convention games which take place in the UK, as well as his own campaigns with his private group. He’s a dedicated gamer who loves to play with new people as well as veterans and works to create interesting and immersive universes. You can find more information about Shades of Vengeance at http://www.shadesofvengeance.com.
Picture Reference: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-the-empowered-a-super-powered-rpg?ref=7nj12a
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