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Back to Overview Free-Style Role-Play

Words and images are more meaningful then a list of numbers. Role-play a character, not his equipment list.

Our game refrains from telling you ranks and mechanics by number value. Sure, confusing at first. Numbers are so precise and clean. But in prolonged play, words are more pleasing and less monotonous then rolling still another D20.

There's dice rolls in free-style play; don't think we're total anathemas to chance.

An introduction to Free-Style Sci-Fi

Waive a hand and a thousand years have passed. Easy in concept, but what changes will such an expanse of time bring. Earth has traveled a millennium into the future, yet individuals seek the same things: ambition, glory, security. Era Ten is a role-play game which postulates mankind in that future. From the dawn of space flight (Era One) to the collapse of commerce on the galactic scale (Era Nine), the remaining "Immunes" organize in a fight for the status quo, which often is just another day of living in freedom.

Three Core Rulebooks

Battle Born
Designing Sci-Fi Scenarios
Designing Sci-Fi Encounters

Era Ten, A millennium in the future

Era Ten had two very well received supplements, Guardians of Sol and Independents. Together the five books were as complete as Cutlass, quite an achievement. Actually, the jump from Cutlass was pretty easy. Unlike the fantasy series which needed some way of resolving the non-explainable methods of magic, the Funky Powers in Era Ten could be controlled as skill actions and often relegated to non-player characters.

The mechanics of both pyrate games were basically the same, replacing ships and cannon and pistols and cutlass, with a spacecraft and barrages and power armor and implants. Well, there were some differences. But to be adrift at sea in the 1600's is much the same as being adrift in vacuous space. To search out strange lands is a free-form trip into uncharted space. To travel the worm hole routes is to tread the spice lanes. The games will only play differently because the Era Ten background is so convoluted.

Era Ten was an old campaign, started by myself and Jacob Moser in the late nineteen seventies. A composite of many things we liked in sci-fi, the game tried to explain all the things which were basically wrong with many of the first science fiction role-play titles just starting to appear back then. I've played many sci-fi games and all of them are good, if they are played in Era Ten. Use the campaigns of the originals and they suck the big wind of redundancy. The mechanics evolved into free-style, and much did change from playtest, but the core concepts remain. Era Ten is a campaign concept which happens to fit into the free-style mechanics.

Every so often someone will email me and ask whether we stole such and such from this game or that novel. The answer is inevitably yes and no. The concepts were not plagiarized but consolidated. Think back on the late seventies, if you were even alive, and you might recall Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers and even Quark. (No, not the alien on that B-5 rip-off, but the garbage hauler.) The Era Ten package is its own whole space leviathan, even if many of the beast's tentacles appear similar to other cosmic whales. What does that mean? No one's got the motivating twist of ageless Immunes, but us.

Some have asked why you even need to make the players the one in a million who are still able to break the law, bend the rules, while the rest of society has been pacified into perfect ideal citizens. The game takes on a classic adventure feel, with the players able to romp to deserted planets (all that remain are Taints), fight the one on one wild west duel for control of a system or lead his small group to face the innumerable frenzied Zulu, I mean Kro. Here the players are soldiers by virtue of being Immune, not by impressive skill; a squad of ten is the only instrument left for foreign policy.

As the Battle Born's Major Slaughter would say, "We're all going to live forever, unless we die."

If you want to read more, there are several novels set in Era Ten available on Amazon Prime. Google "Battle Born Jump and Die" or the authors' page for Red and Catherine Rahm.

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