Eden: the Deceit
|Designer(s)||Gabriele Baldassarre, Massimo Basso, Mario Raiola|
|Publisher(s)||9th Circle Games|
|Publication date||May, 2010|
|Genre(s)||Mysticism, science fantasy, science fiction|
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Eden: the Deceit is an award-winning Italian science fantasy role playing game by Gabriele Baldassarre and Massimo Basso with rule system written by Mario Raiola. It was first published by the indie publisher 9th Circle Games, after two pre-releases during the 2006 and 2008. In the year 2010 Eden: the Deceit won the Side Award for the Best Game Mechanics in the Best of Show of Lucca Comics and Games.
Eden is an artificial world, created by the last vestiges of an alien race and shaped, through nanotechnology, in image and likeness of their original planet. Long ago, though, the angel, artificial race created for the sole purpose of serving the project, rebelled against their masters, bringing the war on Eden. At the end of the fearful War of Gods, the Creators disappeared, leaving the great experiment unfulfilled and leaving Eden in the care of Angels, that, secretly, kept on manipulating it for their own purposes. The planet has, then, developed toward unexpected directions, departing from the original model.
The Playing Characters are residents of Eden, unaware of the real nature of the world that seems to them very similar to the Earth, in an era similar to the Middle Ages, but full of scary and fantastic apparitions. There are many historical, filosofic, scientific and religious references to human history, but, following such similitudes, the players could find out that the quotations of the setting becomes the core of the setting, around which the most unspeakable secrets of Eden.
Pilasters of the setting, that mixes dark fantasy features with science fiction, philosophy and mysticism, can be seen in the absolute monotheism of every religion followed in the world, which has brought to live in a dogmatic world, misleading and obscurantist, in the presence, at least apparently, of a single sentient race, the humans, and overall of the concept of Revelations, which represents the three grades of consciousness of the real nature of the world and the Universe, and of an endless series of intrigues aimed at its control. The Revelations, tightly braided to the Jewish mysticism, symbolizes the rise of the character across the Tree of Life, that is the enhancement, highly expensive, of his knowledge about the mysteries of the Cosmos.
- Assiah – The First Revelation, where the Playing Characters act mainly in the realm that form the Sacred Empire ruled by the theocracy of the Church of Presence, among heretical movements and infernal legions. The setting, in this level, presents strong dark fantasy features, with situations and storic contents similar to the European middle ages, but soaked of fantastic and supernatural elements. Many adventures will orbit around the Church, that, through its Orders (in which figures the Inquisition and the templar Order), influences heavily the society. Above all the situations experienced by the characters, though, hovers the shadow of doubt, that drives them to seek the truth about the unexplainable events that involves them.
- Yetsirah – The Second Revelation, where the Playing Characters, once discovered the artificial nature of the planet and the science that supports it, will take part in the matter involving Angels. Those ones, because of the technology and the skill at their service, in the First Revelation were seen as supernatural beings, while now are revealed as earthly creatures with an enormous influence, fighting each other for the control of the planet. Again, the PC will be able to oppose or support complex and subtle dynamics involving the various angelic generations, or concur for personal goals using the acquired knowledge, that collocates them above the ignoring people of Eden. The Second Revelation presents heavy hints of no gender science fiction.
- Asilut – The Third Revelation, which influence impends creepingly, in which the PC will reach the consciousness that the angelic war was part of a bigger and more complex intrigue, which involves the whole Universe. The characters, entering in this new game scheme, will understand that the adventures and the goals of the previous Revelations are completely futile. The Third Revelation presents, then, strong roots in the speculative science fiction and in metaphysics and often trespasses in purely mystical fields as Kabbalah and Hermeticism, introducing in the game a new component of investigation.
The setting is based, for the gameplay, on the Genesis System, where each action is tested by a throw of percentile die, which is then compared with one of the skills reported on the character sheet, and to which the Dungeon Master (called Megistus) may give bonus or malus depending on the circumstances.
The rule is strongly integrated into the setting due to a clear and recognizable aesthetic, linked to the Jewish Kabbalah. In particular, the structure of the character sheet and some of the game terminology are freely inspired by the Sephiroth Tree. It is indeed used also as the basis of the character sheet and stands, in game terms, for the path taken by them to access the higher Revelations: increasing of individual characteristics, called Sefirah and placed at the intersection of the branches of the Tree, corresponds to the acquisition of bonuses and special abilities, which distinguish the PC from the common Edenites.
In Genesis there is no predetermined classes, but each player can build their character by distributing a certain number of points between the basic characteristics, from which is determined the principal values of the PG, and some additional score, to be distributed between skills and virtues.
A highly distinctive element is the Archetype, a kind of keyword that indicates what system of values does the character have, and what is his way of relating to the world. This element of characterization is closely related to the characteristics of play, through some simple rules that govern the relationship between numerical values and interpretative aspects. Even in this case, the manual provides guidelines but allows players a high level of customization.
The Will is one of the other distinctive elements of the rule system, as it helps bringing in the gameplay some factors generally relegated to the narrative sphere, such as fatigue and motivation, without recurring to complex equipment of simulation rules. It represents the level of psycho-physical fatigue of the character, and decreases as a result of losses or traumatic events, to be then recovered with rest and through personal achievements. In game terms, it can be used to get bonuses on the tests or to use the mystical powers; it also determines the responsiveness of the character. Players will therefore be compelled to take account of fatigue of their characters, creating realistic situations and providing more pathos in the circumstances of strong stress.
Another characterizing element of the rules, with a direct impact on the character sheet, is the characteristic called Malkuth, which has a particular role, as it stands for the level of comprehension of the secrets of Eden. Malkuth grows as the character learns the reality of the world he acts in and comprehends its mechanics, and such a growth brings different changes in the game, as:
- Unlocking the chanche to increase the characteristics to higher values, obtaining particular bonuses as the repetition of tests or automatic successes;
- Increasing the value of the capacity of Doubt, which allows the player to guess the nature of science or science fiction elements that lie behind many mystical events.
Through Malkuth is possible to progressively pass from a fantasy vision to a vision of the setting which is at first science fiction, and then metaphysical, following on the side of the game mechanics, the same path that, in terms of setting, is drawn from the Revelations.
In this context, all creatures, arcane objects and mystical powers have a double description: a mystical or fantastic one, to reflect the common beliefs about Eden, and a materialistic one, to describe the science fiction foundation that can be understood by people who access to the higher Revelations.
- 2006 Eden: Suggestioni - preliminar sketchbook (w/b and colours, free sheets, 16 pg., Italian)
- 2008 Eden: l'Inganno - quick start book (w/b, spillato, 16 pag., Italian)
- 2010 Eden: l'Inganno - core book (w/b and colours, hardback and ebook, 194 pag., Italian)
- 2010 Eden: l'Inganno - megistus' screen (colours, Italian)
- 2011 Eden: all'ombra degli Antichi Dei - modulo di espansione (w/b and colours, hardback and ebook, 98 pg., Italian)
- 2012 Angelica - modulo avventura (w/b e colours, ebook, 30 pg., Italian)
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