Hello! This page is a quick intro to an awesome Science Fiction Role-playing game: Nova Praxis. This setting is a bit more serious than most of the games I run, and is definitely more in-depth and complicated. As such, if you are going to play in this game, it will require a little more investment and effort than my spur-of-the-moment Dungeon World one-shots I run.
There’s a lot more to this incredible setting than what I’ve listed here, but this should be a good introduction and give you some cool things to think about before we meet, make our characters, and start the adventure.
This setting falls under “hard science fiction” and tries to portray a possible future of humanity. It’s less “westerns in space” (like Firefly or Star Wars) and more “How will things humanity and civilization change? (like Star Trek or BattleStar Galactica). As such, there is a LOT of STUFF crammed in here. Advanced technology, trans-humanism, questions about humanity, strange AI devices, and an almost alien society with new rules, ways of thinking, and philosophies.
I am running this game with the hope of exploring this world, questioning what it means to be human, how important is personal privacy, where can technology lead us, and how we will adapt to ever-changing ideas and environments. It should be a really interesting adventure, one that we can all shape, enjoy, and maybe even learn from.
But if that doesn’t interestyou, or you don’t want to read all of this boring crap, and you’re looking for more “kill the bad guy, be a badass” type games, then you should stick around for one of my one-shots.
Table of Contents
- 1 Nova Praxis is…
- 2 The Setting (about 150 years into the future)
- 3 Philosophy and Themes
- 4 What are the rules?
- 5 Who can I play as?
- 6 What do I do?
Nova Praxis is…
- …a tabletop role-playing game featuring the Savage Worlds Role-Playing Game System, tailored specifically for Nova Praxis.
- …a relatively “hard sci-fi” setting that takes place during the aftermath of a short-lived technological singularity.
- …an exploration of the tropes of transhuman sci-fi: mind uploading, resleeving, artificial intelligence, and augmentation.
- …an exploration of the societal impacts of a reputation-based post-scarcity economy.
- …a game in which players play characters who slip between the cracks of civilization and perform jobs their patrons would rather keep off the books.
- …a setting full of conflict. The Houses wage a secret Shadow War against each other, purist and transhuman ideologies clash violently, and apostates rebel against the oppression of the Coalition government.
- …home to railguns, powered armor, starships, security drones, bipedal combat frames, swarms of nanomachines, kill-sats, and the horrors of accelerated evolution gone wrong.
The Setting (about 150 years into the future)
The Singularity and Mimir
In the year 2042, the exponential pace of technological advancement gave way to an AI of unprecedented potential. This AI, called Mimir (pronounced “Me-Mer”), ran for three months before mysteriously shutting down. During its short lifespan it advanced human technology by nearly a millennium.
Humanity now combs through Mimir’s research archives in search of new technology. The Archives are publicly available to all on the Extranet, but it typically requires large teams with tremendous funding to find anything useful. Imagine if the entire internet was put onto a flashdrive and then handed to people in the 1800’s. It would take them forever to learn just a fraction of what was on it!
Earth is Lost
Humanity has left Earth, fleeing destruction in an event called the Exodus. The Technophage was a nanotechnological weapon deployed as a last resort during a terrible global war. Control over the technophage was lost, and soon became a global threat. The war ended as humanity fled, leaving Earth in an event that would come to be called the Exodus. Just under one hundred million people survived. The Earth is now a wasteland teeming with murderbots and weapons of mass destruction. Which is why humanity has now spread throughout the galaxy.
Space and Other Worlds
One of Mimir’s biggest inventions was the jump drive, which allowed spacecraft to travel light years in just a few hours. This technology also made it possible to create a system-spanning jump ring network, which facilitates travel between the six major worlds mankind now inhabits. The largest portion of humans remain in the Sol system, particularly on Luna and Mars. The rest inhabit other planets, moons and space stations in the Sol system.
The Coalition Houses
When humanity fled earth, most of the world’s governments collapsed. Only the corporations, who had been mining the distant planets and gathering resources, had any kind of infrastructure. The biggest companies combined together to create a new kind of government, with each of the 6 Houses sharing the power and weight of humanity’s new society.
Purist, Elegance and Style,
Power Systems and CIST Technology
Purist, Competitive and Expansionist, Small Arms, Starships and Combat Drones
Strongly Purist, Independent and Isolationist, Seeks the destruction of Earth
Transhumanist, Secretive and Devious, Masters of Biotech, Energy Weapons and Warfare
Purist Leaning, Exploitative, Manipulative, Machines of War, Driven to Conflict
Transhumanist, Highly Techno-Progressive, Traditionally Neutral, Masters of Software
Money, and Post-Scarcity
Post-scarcity is a term for the theoretical future when we have basically infinite energy, food, money, and resources. One of the two biggest pieces of tech we got from Mimir was cold-fusion anti-matter reactors, which can generate nigh-infinite energy. The other big tech was Compilers, which are like 3D-printers, but can make ANYTHING; food, weapons, forks, chairs, etc. So in this world, there is no money, and most people don’t really have to work for a living. Instead, a kind of social currency is used.
Everyone who is a part of the Coalition lives a basic middle-class life, and never has to worry about food, shelter, or that basics of life. But if you want to enjoy some of the finer things, then you need to have a high Reputation Rating. Your Rep is generated by how much you contribute to society, and how much people like you. So movie stars, politicians, famous artists, etc; all have a high Rep, while thieves, drunkards, and people who talk at movie theaters all have a low Rep. You can spend your Rep to get fancy things, hand-made items, or rare objects. You can earn Rep by being popular, helping others, doing community service, etc.
However, if you don’t want your life monitored every second of every day by private corporations who will exploit you, then you give up a lot of that comfort and safety in exchange for freedom.
Not everyone is a member of the Coalition. Some choose, or are forced by circumstance, to live outside the Houses. These non-citizens are called apostates. Many apostates survive by avoiding the Coalition’s Protectorate, and scavenging on the outskirts of civilization. Think smugglers and pirates.
Apostates who live apart from the Coalition are certainly more free than Coalition citizens, but do not benefit from the Coalition’s resources. For many apostates, every day is a struggle to get by. Instead of Rep, they rely on Assets: physical goods like food supplies, weapons, and black market items.
Philosophy and Themes
Nova Praxis is a setting about humanity in transition, walking along the razor’s edge. In the wake of unimaginable destruction and loss, mankind has seized the opportunity to start anew. We have the opportunity to become a race of exalted gods, or face extinction kicking and screaming.
The themes represented in Nova Praxis reflect the dangers of extremist philosophies and behavior as they exist in a post-singularity setting, and the struggle to survive in the chaos between those extremes…
- Man vs. Machine
- Tradition vs. Progression
- Comfortable Mortality vs. Uncertain Eternity
- Dystopian Liberty vs. Utopian Oppression
- Capitalism vs. Socialism
- Apostate vs. Citizen
- Popular Lies vs. Hidden Truths
What are the rules?
This game uses the Savage Worlds role-playing rules, which means that it’s a little crunchier than some other games, but it also has lots of neat mechanics to re-enforce the world that you’re living in.
The rules are pretty simple, most of the crunch comes from understanding the world and your own character abilities. Don’t worry, I’ll be here to guide you every step of the way.
Who can I play as?
This will probably be the most complicated part of the game, since character creation requires a good understanding of the world you’re inhabiting a few things to keep in mind and think about:
How Human am I?
People are still born, just like today, but most people have some kind of genetic tinkering. Maybe they are cleared of genetic defects, given better eyesight, strong hearts, a more effective nervous system, etc. Most people are still home-grown humans…just a little better than the average.
Of course you can have some augmented limbs, cybernetic enhancements, prosthesis, and much more. You can have your brain digitized and implanted into any number of grown bodies or “sleeves”. Switch your consciousness from a huge male line-backer to a slim, fluid female dancer. Or put yourself into an artificial body grown for a specific purpose: speed, strength, sex, stealth, etc.
Since your body and mind can be changed into whatever you want, what does your identity mean? What makes you YOU?
Apostate? Coalition Citizen?
Most likely, you’ll be playing as someone living on the edge between apostate and an average citizen. Maybe you grew up in one of the Houses, but do some black market hacking on the side. Maybe your from the outer colonies, and are trying to find a place in the clean, comfortable life away from your fellow apostates. Perhaps you are something else entirely. But whoever you are, you’re not the average person.
What do I do?
Although most people don’t have to work for their food, money, and housing, people still have to do SOMETHING with their lives, talents, and skills. If your abilities are put to the betterment of society, then you can expect a lot of Rep, fame, and comfort. If you’re working on the black market or outside the law, you can expect a lot of danger, high risk, high rewards. Chances are, you’ll be doing a little bit of both.
Most games will revolve around you being hired by one of the houses to perform a special job: Retrieve info from a rival house, take out a competitor, hack into the core of a construction warehouse, etc etc. You’ll be working with the other players to accomplish these goals while furthering your own desires and forging your way in the world.