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Introduction To TORG


TORG is a generic role-playing game system where the various genre campaign settings are all located in one place (Earth!) instead of being seperate and unrelated. How did this happen? Simply put, the various genre universes (called 'cosms' in Torgnology) have invaded Earth and imposed their versions of reality over certain areas of the globe!


Why have all these cosms invaded our poor planet? They are after something that Earth possesses in great quantity: a unique form of energy known as Possibility Energy. Each cosm brings its own reality with it to Earth, where things may not work the same as they do on Earth. Magic, spiritual miracles, and high-tech devices abound in the alien realities.


The Cosms

The leaders of the invading cosms (the High Lords) have been brought here by their Darkness Devices, powerful artifacts that give their High Lords great power in exchange for continual conquest and destruction of other cosms. The High Lord of Orrorsh invited the other High Lords to help him invade Earth's cosm (there is so much Possibility Energy on Earth that no one cosm could survive an attempt to invade it). The Darkness Devices drop maelstrom bridges into the cosm they are invading and the forces of the invaders come down them, spreading their reality over that of the native cosm. In the process, they absorb the Possibility Energy of the native cosm, strenthening the Darkness Device (and the High Lord).


Each cosm possesses axiom levels (ranging from 0 to 33) representing the level of Technology, Magic, Spiritual energy, and Social advancement. In addition, each cosm possesses World Laws that make it unique from any other cosm, even one with the same axiom levels.




If the invaders are able to impose their version of reality over an area, what chance is there of defeating them? Fortunately, the great amounts of Possibility Energy that exists on Earth has led to the creation of a large number of stormers (or Storm Knights as the heroes in the source material call themselves). Storm Knights are able to maintain their own reality when they enter an alien realm, something normal people (called Ords) cannot do.


This isn't an easy task though; if the stormer attempts to do something that the cosm he is in doesn't allow (like using high tech in the Living Land) there is a chance he will 'disconnect' and be forced to operate under the laws of the reality he's currently in. But fortunately, a stormer can attempt to 'reconnect' should this happen (but it isn't easy in some cases).


A stormer can also avoid disconnecting by using a Reality Bubble, which enables him to operate under his own reality for up to fifteen minutes without worrying about disconnection. Reality Bubbles are also useful in some areas where the local reality is so strong that it doesn't allow any contradictions at all. However, Reality bubbles are costly to the character and are usually used only when absolutely necessary.



The Torg system is very 'cinematic' in feel and design. The opponents and situations are bigger than life and geared more for high adventure than 'dungeon crawls' or realism. The heroes are able to pull off things that normal people wouldn't even consider possible, due to Possibility Points and cards from the Drama Deck. Adventures are even divided up into Acts and Scenes, with some scenes being easier on the heroes than others; a Standard scene gives most of the advantages to the heroes and most tasks aren't difficult. Dramatic scenes shift things the other way, giving the advantages to the villains and making tasks more difficult for the heroes.


A good example of a movie that is very 'Torgian' in feel is _Raiders of the Lost Ark_. (Its also a good example of the Nile Empire's pulp genre.) The basket chase scene in the Cairo marketplace is a good example of a Standard scene; despite the odds being in the favor of the villains, Our Hero is able to deal with them all relatively easily. The fight with the big bald Nazi at the flying wing is a good example of a Dramatic scene; the gasoline is inching towards the fire, more Nazi's are closing in, Marion is trapped in the plane, and Indy is not having any luck in fighting with the bald Nazi (but things work out in the end of course). Marion could be the focus of a Romance Subplot or Belloq (the frenchman) could be the focus of a Nemesis subplot.


The Subplot cards and extensive rules for character interactions also place more of an emphasis on role-playing than many other systems do. Combat is also covered quite well and is usually simple and fast-paced. The magic system is quite balanced and beginning characters are capable of casting powerful magics while being limited at the same time. It is even possible for players to begin designing spells of their own for their characters after a few playing sessions. (Spell creation, while possible, is complicated and does require a good grasp of the Torg magic system, which is explained at great length in the Aysle sourcebook.)


--Originally written by Kansas Jim

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