Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Contagion Is a New Role Playing Game With Some Really Fun Twists

"The world of Contagion is a dark and terrifying place. On the surface it is no different than the world you and I live in. Most people go on about their lives never realizing the terrors that walk among them.
Despite humanity’s vast ignorance, the horrors are there. Angels demons, gods and Hellspawn make war in the shadows. Clergy and Slayers rise from the human flock to protect their brethren and work God's will. Magi and Witches wield powerful magics in their pursuit of enlightenment.

There's a war in the shadows. Choose a side." 

As a writer who suffers from a personality disorder that keeps me from being as social as I'd sometimes like to be, one of my great joys in life is when I'm asked to collaborate with other artists and writers I respect. So, when I got the invite from human dynamo Travis Legge to do some writing for his role playing game, Contagion, I jumped right in. 

At the first writer's meeting it was clear this was going to be a lot of fun. Because in the world of Contagion, it's all going down at the same time. The set up is this, and these are my own words: when the god Yahweh wanted to become the One God, he created a prison, Oblitus, where he managed to imprison all the old gods. In the world of Contagion, Oblitus has been opened, and all those gods are spilling out into this world to cause havoc, seek vengeance, and re-establish their ancient glory. It's a battle royale where Thoth battles Hiawatha, where Ishtar seduces, then betrays Apollo, where any hero, god, or myth one can imagine from any culture or religion exists. In short, it's awesome. 

At the writer's meeting I realized I was in for a wild trip when I'd throw out my most outrageous ideas, and Travis would say "Go for it." So I did. I wrote about demons and Tricksters, shamans and doomsday preppers, using every allusion and reference from Jung's collective unconscious to Sun Tzu's The Art of War. 

Not only did I get to research and write about mystical topics that fascinated me, like Eastern conceptions of the demonic, and the role of the Trickster in various cultures, but the second aspect of Contagion I really like is that it's all happening here, now. Not only are the ancient gods battling for influence along with all the angels and demons, but all of humanity is involved. Every existing human being has power because they have the precious essence that empowers the gods. As such players can choose from several fun and fascinating races, callings, and occupations, and join in the battle, not as bit players, but major actors in the maelstrom.

I think those who appreciate a well-constructed and fun role playing game will have as much playing Contagion as I did writing for it.

Contagion Second Edition was developed and written by Travis Legge with additional material by Kyle Hoskins, Darius McCaskey, Sarah Scharnweber, Jason ssg, Cathleen Stark, Tim Stotz, Thomas L. Vaultonburg and Adam Williams. You can buy it here Pin It
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