Monday, January 8, 2018

Currently reading: Infinity RPG Core Book


I realize that one genre I've always shied away from as a GM is sci-fi. It's not because I dislike the genre - if my taste in movies is any indication, I actually love sci-fi. Rather, I seem to run into impostor syndrome when I try to conceptualize possible scientific advances that would have happened in the next 50, 100, or 500 years. How will laser guns work? Why is it even a laser gun?

(It doesn't help that, while I can go bonkers with describing fantasy fighting as a GM, gun fights based on reality are hard for me to describe beyond "you point your weapon at your enemy and DEATH happens.")

As I read Infinity, however, I've come to realize that my desire for sci-fi is centered more around the ideas of problems. Specifically, if some prevailing problems of the present have been solved, what are the new problems that our descendants will face?

For example, in Infinity, a resurrection of a sort is now possible. Essentially, you can have a cube that downloads your personality and memories, which can then be legally transferred to a biosynthetic body in the event of your death. I like chewing on this idea a lot - the actual "you" dies, but the you that your family, your society needs can live on. Will you acquire this service? Will you pay for it? If you are crippled by a non-fatal illness that otherwise makes you unproductive and sad, will you consider this as an alternative? Is the new you a person?

It's these kinds of questions that make me love telling stories, and what are RPGs if not another storytelling medium?

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Another thing I'm intrigued at when it comes to the Infinity universe is the speculative history that it developed. The prevailing and current hyperpower faction of the human spheres is PanOceania, which is (simplistically) an ascended ASEAN. As a Southeast Asian, myself, I find the idea of a future where we found unity in diversity, and we were able to capitalize on our diaspora to colonize planets, to be slightly heartwarming.

There are strange things that I tend to squint at, of course. If the culture comes from ASEAN + others, then why is PanO majority Christian instead of Buddhist/Muslim? 🤔 But eh, details.

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The Infinity RPG Core Book is not yet publicly available. (I borrowed my copy from a guy who helped Kickstart it.) That said, you can find the Infinity Quickstart on drivethrurpg.