The game takes place in a parallel universe, very similar to ours, with one important difference: in 1675, Isaac Newton Discovered that the fundamental laws of nature are guided and enforced by an external power that is both measurable and, to some degree, malleable. He named this power "The Pulse".
And then science lost. The Church of England considered Newton's finding the ultimate proof of the existence of God, and by the order of King Charles II, the entire Royal Society was hijacked and turned into a secret lab for studying it and synthesizing a new religion, Catholic and reformed, with a closely knit hierarchy, and dedicated to the proposition that miracles־on־demand is something that should be monopolized.
So successful was this new religion, so virulent, that it quickly took by storm not only England, not only the world, but well beyond. With the ability to defy gravity, space exploration came sooner and developed faster. Humanity has spread all over the solar system, on planets, moons, space stations, and even asteroids (or 'rhoids, as the bitter inhabitants call them) lassoed by brave space cowboys.
Today, most people still live on Earth, under the United Church's thumb and watchful eye; but the Church's control grows weaker with distance from the centralized power of Earth. And although extra terrestrial settlements depend on religious technology for survival, there are more and more people out there who do not believe The Pulse actually has a plan. Or even that it should be capitalized.
Recently, in its investigations of The Pulse, the church discovered a strong anomaly on an asteroid named "Apophis", and have interpreted it, according to ancient prophecies, to indicate that the living avatar of The Pulse, a messianic figure from early Pulsist theology, was finally born. The church, unable to ignore this omen, but unwilling to disturb the status quo over it, sends the most unlikely pilgrim to find it.
Shariputra was born in the City of Westminster, orphaned at an early age, and raised in a temple, as most orphans are. From the very beginning, Shariputra showed great promise and devotion, but he kept asking the wrong questions, and by the age of 13 he was sent to the remote monastery of Saunt Augustine, which is pretty much the sanatorium of the United Church. As the story begins he is 17, a talented acolyte and a devout believer, who is suddenly assigned a dangerous mission which very few wish to see fulfilled. He, naturally, considers this the highest honor.
It is our plan, in the game, to see Shariputra lose his immaculate faith, and find something else instead.
Barnabas is the ascetic Primate of Saunt Augustine, where all the weirdos come to worship The Pulse. He is a devout believer, but Being a Primate he has no illusions as to the purity of the Church. He takes a strong stand against Pulse manipulations, believing that Man should study The Pulse so he can serve it, and not so it can serve him.
It is his decision to send Shariputra, and to give him remote guidance on his pilgrimage.
Recently the duo fell on some hard times, and Didymus decided to take a dangerous job on a remote asteroid – which just happens to be Apophis.
We didn't actually start playing yet, but we do know we want to play the following two scenes:
- Scene I, in which Shariputra packs his shit and gets ready to leave.
- Scene II, in which Didymus and Maimonides find themselves in a fine mess.
The guiding principle of this game is not keeping secrets from the other players. This does not mean that there are no surprises, it only that everyone gets surprised together, at the same time. I try to share my plans for the game as soon as they hatch, and I encourage you to do the same. Release early, release often.
And since we want to keep this site accessible, and even cool, to outsiders, there will be a lot of editing and polishing and playing some scenes more than once. To the tech geeks among us I will add that the site sits in a git repository, so we have an infinite undo stack and the ability to fork the game and explore different possibilities.
Buzzwords: Rules, their manipulation and breakage. Faith, loss of. Sequential and non־linear prose, examination of.
yes yes lets play already