Today we thought we’d share the opening overview, since it clearly lays out what the new edition is all about. The following text is from the now-completed second edition, written by Morgan Davie, Malcolm Craig and Gregor Hutton. Art is by Paul Bourne, Jon Hodgson and Scott Purdy.
a|state is a game about a circle of troublemakers drawn together to bring hope to one small corner of The City, a dark and threatening place full of strugglers, gangs, chancers, and powerful warring factions. We play to find out if their alliance will bring a better future to the people on their corner.
a|state is set in The City, an enormous, sprawling urban environment where people live crushed together by fate and circumstance.
Each player creates a character of their own, then works with the other players to create a corner where all their characters belong. The players together bring their characters to life as alliance of interesting, daring troublemakers who take huge risks to protect their home. The players work together with the Game Master to establish the tone and style of the game by making judgment calls about the mechanics, dice, and consequences of actions. The players take responsibility as co-authors of the game with the GM.
The characters attempt to protect and grow their corner of the City by taking control of their corner from rival factions, undertaking missions further into The City, and fending off unwanted intrusions from their enemies and rivals. Players choose from seven types of character:
• Activist, a community stalwart who knows how to make changes happen.
• Dinginsmith, a technical genius who knows how to put dingins to work.
• Ghostfighter, a lethal killer who knows how to get to any target.
• Lostfinder, a local hero who knows how to recover whatever is lost.
• Mapmaker, a careful planner who knows how to resolve problems.
• Stringer, a charming talker who knows how to dig out the real story.
• Sneakthief, a disreputable criminal who knows how to get what is needed.
The characters can be built in different ways, and the types can easily be rebuilt into alternatives, so there is no requirement for every character to be a different type. They can all be the same type if that’s what the players want!
In addition to creating characters, you’ll also create the corner they call home. You’ll start by choosing a map of the corner, then populating it with people and places that matter to your characters. The GM will bring forward threats that harm the corner, and you will play to find out how well you can protect your home.
The Game Master
The GM establishes the dynamic world around the characters. The GM plays all the non-player characters in the world by giving each one a concrete desire and preferred method of action. The GM helps organize the conversation of the game so it’s pointed toward the interesting elements of play. The GM isn’t in charge of the story and doesn’t have to plan events ahead of time. They present interesting opportunities to the players, then follow the chain of action and consequences wherever they lead.