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Savage Planet – Design Log: Welcome to Fantos

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Hello from behind-the-scenes of the Imp House, where the mischief and magic begins!

For the past year or so we’ve been quietly developing a new game. Or, more to the point, we’ve been creating a new world and then decided to make a game out of it. Let me preface the following introduction to our new world by proclaiming our love of 80s Saturday morning cartoons, particularly the weird fantasy ones. Such as: Bravestarr, Thundarr, and, of course, He-Man.

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Last year, after watching the final episode of Game of Thrones Season 5, we started joking about what it would be like if Westeros was swapped out for Eternia; changing Jaimie Lanister to Prince Adam, Jon Snow to Skeletor, The Hound to Man-At-Arms…you get the idea. Then it hit us; this could make an awesome game!

got_meets_hemanDarth has been playing with a game mechanic idea for some time in which players can’t directly play the cards from their hand, but can instead hire characters in the game to do their bidding for them. I guess you could call it a “Game of Middle Managers”—which sounds terribly unappealing when described that way.

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So, with a ludicrous Saturday Morning cartoon concept and a weird game mechanic, we set off on an adventure to a fantasy world, searching for a new game along the way. What we discovered was Fantos. A festering melting pot of a planet, brimming with diversity and corruption. A planet where it’s normal for humanoids to interact with monkey-like aliens from another world and start a war with lizard zealots from a different dimension. Where android elves search for their creator in hopes of learning a life purpose. This is a universe populated by treacherous space vampires made only of gas and enormous monolithic flying heads with god-like powers. This was our Savage Planet.

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After finding Fantos, we had so many questions we wanted to answer. The planet itself is sick. It is polluted and dying; how did it get that way? The humanoid natives of the planet—The Feral—are horribly mutated; how did that happen? The creatures from other planets and dimensions—The Marked, The Hollow, and The Cult—how and why did they come to Fantos? The android elves known as The Enlightened; what is their purpose? Who made them? The giant god-like flying stone heads known as The Overseers; what the @#%! are they all about?

The answers we discovered on our journey go something like this…

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Once upon a time, Fantos was a happy, healthy planet rich with a substance called Iridium. This is a desirable star mineral used for many things throughout the universe in which Fantos exists. It’s used as a currency, as a fuel, and as a building resource; some races consume it and others worship it. The natives of Fantos—the ones now called The Feral—and The Enlightened elvish androids who lived among them, responsibly used only the Iridium that they needed and no more.

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Then one day, new lizard-type creatures appeared from the swamp lands through a giant river whirlpool known as The Tempest. These lizard beings worshiped The Tempest and the now dormant ancient being that created it, and quickly they set out to convince the natives to join in their devotion. They were very convincing. Soon, they had the natives mining Iridium shards in mass quantities, in order to erect temples and pay tribute to their God. As word spread about the wealth of Fantos, more and more lizard zealots came through The Tempest and demanded even more shards for their God. This race became known as The Cult.

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Fantos had never been mined like this, and what came next was disastrous. The planet began to leak a toxic gas from the Iridium fields. The Feral natives, being the closest to the operation, were hit hardest. Generations of Feral families were wiped out and others were horribly mutated. Because of this, the natives revolted and began fighting their Cult oppressors, thus beginning the Iridium Wars.

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With a fight on their hands and few left to harvest the shards for them, The Cult leaders began searching the universe for someone else to enslave to their cause. It was about this time that the gas vampires known as The Hollow were attracted by the heavy toxins leaking from Fantos.

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These parasitic space vampires made their way to the ice mazes of the north and quickly became acquainted with The Cult. After hearing of their need for new workers, The Hollow suggested the strong ape-like creatures they had observed on a nearby planet.

The Cult set out in an interplanetary ship built from resources they had harvested. The ape-like beast men never saw them coming. They were ambushed overnight, branded with a mark of ownership, shackled, and stowed on the vessel. By morning, they realized they had been stolen from their planet, destined for a life of slavery. But, The Cult under-estimated them. Before the ship made land-fall on Fantos, The Marked broke from their chains and took over the ship. Unfortunately, they did not know how to pilot the ship, and they crashed into the forests of the west. But, they were free, and they were angry.

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Generations pass. The planet is sick, political alliances have been made and broken, mercenaries from all races have arisen, skirmishes are constant—when, finally The Enlightened decide enough is enough and call out to the universe for help. This is when god-like beings known as The Overseers show up on Fantos. They are minions of Zodraz, The Cosmic Warden. When a planet is ill and all hope seems lost, Zodraz and The Overseers arrive to help usher it back to health, as they have done for Fantos in the past.

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Zodraz has decided that Fantos needs a cleansing. The Overseers will join the battle to help expose those who are unworthy of the planet, and Zodraz will award the most capable and responsible Citadel with the fate of leading Fantos into a healthier and more peaceful era.

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Okay, I know what you may be thinking: this all sounds pretty epic and amazing! We feel the exact same way. So, let me tell you a little about the game we brainstormed to accompany this cosmic mouthful of awesome…

Each player in Savage Planet: The Fate of Fantos plays as a Citadel. Citadels are the main strongholds where inhabitants of Fantos gather for trade and protection. Each was founded by a particular race during the early days of the Iridium Wars, but are now populated by beings from all races doing whatever they can to stay alive. Each Citadel has its own Iridium supply, which is used to hire workers and mercenaries to help run the affairs of the stronghold. These hired individuals are known as Legacies. They harvest shards for their Citadel, go to war for it, defend it, and represent it in political matters. Legacies are also the only ones able to play cards from your hand and take actions for the Citadel. They do this by using their own stock of Iridium shards, which they have built up by being hired. These shards also represent their health…

…and…I’m pretty sure this is where I lost all of you reading this. So, I’m going to take a step back and explain the Legacy characters in more detail for my next Design Log.

Until then: gather your friends, play some games, and make some mischief!

-Travis Watkins, Leader of The Imps

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Savage Planet: The Fate of Fantos is now in the playtesting phase. If you would like to join our growing group of playtesters, please contact us on Facebook or send us an Email with answers to the following questions.

  1. Your experience as a playtester.
  2. The average size of your gaming group on any given game night.
  3. What types of games you typically tend to enjoy the most.
  4. Your physical location.
  5. The days with blocks of time that you are usually free to play.

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September 29, 2016