Tuesday, 9 June 2015

PowerFrame: Multi-Genre Mashups!

I've finally completed PowerFrame's last illustration and submitted the files to DriveThruRPG for review, so the Core Rulebook should be available for sale shortly! Stay tuned for the release announcement, or join the Community on G+!


In a recent discussion, I was surprised when someone mentioned that it was a "unique selling-point" that PowerFrame was designed to support multi-genre mashups. I guess the traditional appeal of generic systems is in allowing a single system to emulate different genres by tailoring the rules to suit each unique world, but in my mind their true strength lies in the cross-genre possibilities.

After all, when you have a single game system that has rules for swords, firearms, and beam weapons; plate-and-mail, flak jackets, and powered armour; cybernetics, spaceships, and magic; the obvious thing to me is to start mixing and matching! In PowerFrame, at least, everything's written and rated against the same set of basic rules. All of the example weapons, armour, and creatures are put together from basic principles, and so you can break them down, modify them, or build your own original stuff using the same guidelines. This fluidity is key to combining the trappings of different genres and having them all work smoothly together.

The first-ever PowerFrame game was a techno-fantasy world. Other campaigns have included post-apocalyptic wild west, gothic sci-fi, and urban fantasy. My current campaign is a post-apocalypse techno-gothic monster mash; after civilisation was destroyed by a Cthulhoid apocalypse, Earth's native monsters rose up and fought back the cosmic horrors. Now, vampires, werewolves and worse dominate the human population while keeping the Mythos aliens at bay in a shattered world.

Of course, you can always use PowerFrame to play a "straight" genre game. It's been used for straight-up fantasy, Warring States ninja, Age of Sail pirates (albeit with magical rocks), Cthulhu investigation, and it can also support straight modern or sci-fi games.

The game does come with its own approach and assumptions (for example, firearms are a bit weak to encourage engaging gunfights rather than paranoid sniping), but it's designed to be flexible and adaptable, so you can often tweak it to your needs with only a few minor changes.

Anyway, it should be out in the next few days, so you'll finally be able to see for yourself!