Sometime during mid-2018 me and my partner Peku began working on an RPG we called Insidious Echoes.
The plot revolved around a planet used as a research and science colony that one day was inexplicably cut off from the rest of humanity and it’s former space network. The sudden cessation of supplies wiped out most of the scientist-colonists. Electricity ceased to function and with it most of the security keeping the hostile and virulent planet out of the compounds. It also severed connections between the different compounds and outpost labs, each one now an island in the dark of a dangerous planet.
As years pass the idea of rescue or help or information of any kind is slowly abandoned. Rations run low, most machines are inoperable due to neglect, rust, dust and pathological spores. It’s your job to survive, any way you can.
As the months went on we started getting worn down not only world building but also coming up with an equally thematic RPG system to explore that world with. We wanted to mix a randomized point-crawl with tile based combat, heavy on strategy, light on the narrative side. We hoped to keep the adventure interesting through random events and a novel leveling system revolving around mutations. But in truth it was a lot to balance and we didn’t really know what we were doing. We came up with complex card systems to fuel that system instead of focusing on what made the world unique and fun and working around that. We ended up with a premise that was too vast for us to complete.
But now I've discovered the OSR and the idea of standalone systemless campaign settings, I’m beginning to look at it system agnostically. Laying out the biomes, the creatures, the flora, the events that’d occur with each. The dangers and feel of the world, what to expect and plan for, but not rewriting a combat system or leveling curve or anything like that.
Hot Springs Island is a huge inspiration for sure.
I plan to post some writing and roll table excerpts soon. For now though I've attached some lorum ipsum-addled page designs i’m playing with in PS as well as the first cover design idea. Trying to capture that moody feeling of verdancy and the unknowable.