It has been suggested that some of those who have visited the QT Games forums, or blog or who stopped by to take a peek at my various Cosmothea Play-by-Post games over the years, might have walked away with somewhat different pictures in their heads about what Cosmothea really is. Why is that? Let’s dive in and see what we come up with, and along the way, I’ll try to paint a clearer picture of Cosmothea. Sound good? Ok, let’s get started!
In my second blog post, I provided an extended summary of the setting, but at the heart of Cosmothea, things do get simpler and clearer, and as you play the game for an adventure or two, they become clearer still. So here’s another summary, far shorter than the one I gave earlier and from a different angle:
Cosmothea is about high adventure and mystery; it’s about epic, blended-genre stories full of exploration and conspiracies.
There you go. Nice and short! (Admit it, you didn’t think I had it in me, did ya?)
Now then, if you will be so kind to stay with me a bit longer, let me back up and dig into why I made Cosmothea the way I did and provide a bit more on what it’s all about…
Just as Star Wars is not just about Jedi and Sith, nor Avatar just about running around in a genetically engineered Na’vi body or simply about upset natives, Cosmothea is a rich, complex setting. When I began developing Cosmothea back in 1979, my inspirations were largely drawn from mythology, anime and comic books. The first Star Wars movie was still a fresh memory. My favorite stories were epic in scope with gods and magic, and blended-genre, and so I began a long journey to create a lush, blended-genre universe with cinematic action and epic stories full of gods and magic. I’ve written dozens of short stories over the years and worked on three novels. Neither my inspirations, nor my vision for Cosmothea has diminished over the years.
As I proceeded to breath life into the setting, I had very specific goals in mind: The universe must provide for both multiple, distinct (isolated) genres and also blended-genres, the gods were active, uber high technology exists, both have invaded most corners of reality, though neither should be obvious in most cases. I wanted the universe to be story-driven, with ongoing, epic stories playing in the background, and a sense that there was always a lot more going on than the players realized, but to allow some secrets to be uncovered through exploration and adventure.
Because there’s so much you can do in Cosmothea, some might mistaken it for a generic setting, but I assure you that couldn’t be further from the truth. The setting and system designed to support it, cover a great deal of options and genre possibilities, but they focus on distinct concepts. To be clearer still, when it comes to mythology, classic fantasy and popular movies, while they have inspired my work, upon closer inspection, one would find that I went down my own path. I have broken with some traditional takes on classical concepts and so while there are some familiar trappings, you’ll note some nice spins on them.
In other areas, such as the nature of magic, I’ve largely ignored existing approaches, bent on imbuing as much personality and color into concepts as I can. There’s much work to do still, but it will only get easier and easier to understand just what Cosmothea is as times rolls on, and as I add more and more artwork to the setting.
If I were to expand the super brief summary I wrote above – not remotely as long as Blog #2, but longer than the sentence summary I provided here, it might read something like this:
There’s always more going on than you think, because the universe is in serious trouble; literally the universe is falling apart and some star systems have become isolated, others have simply vanished, and some planets have endured multiple apocalypses.
Such calamity is not the case on every world and some thrive, but even the gods of Cosmothea are nervous; in fact, since the gods know more about what’s going on than the mortals do, they are more than a little nervous, and their past and present actions affect the world of mortals.
On another front, the ancient Architects, god-level A.I.’s, seem peaceful, but have agendas all their own, and their actions have had a profound impact on many worlds and will likely continue to do so.
There is still hope, however, and if one digs deep enough, they just might uncover a secret that could change everything. For some, life in Cosmothea is at times emotional, gritty, with life-threatening events happening at all times, for others, it is a time of self discovery, and opportunity, enabling them to capitalize on opportunities for salvage or smuggling, running guilds or megacorporations, becoming an inventor, hero or superhero, negotiating peace between two galactic cultures or whatever their hearts desire.
Such is the backdrop of the Cosmothea Campaign Setting, upon which a very wide array of storylines and adventures may be had. While individual stories may differ greatly, no matter what planet you’re on, nor whether the story is light-hearted or cinematic, gritty and serious, at some point, they will likely be impacted by the overarching storylines. So, while the tapestry is very colorful and almost anything is possible, the individual threads holding it all together all point back to clear vision of providing blended-genre high action and mystery within a distinct universe.
Does that make more sense? I’ll endeavor to further unpack and clearly present the setting in the days to come, hopefully with more pictures as I can afford them. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks in advance!