The NAGA SystemWhen, after multiple requests, I could not come up with any recommendations for an inexpensive role-playing game that promoted altruistic values, did not glorify combat, was not oriented around the acquisition of wealth and status, and for which the rules were not overly simplistic, I was prompted to dust off a game I had designed in the 80s so that I might rework it to fulfill that need. The result of that reworking is the NAGA System – a game very much in need of playtesting and definitely a work in progress.
NAGA tends to encourage a world-spanning, exploration-and-discovery, service-oriented type of play rather than the dungeon-crawl, hack-n-slash, murder-hobo mindset.
NAGA also encourages an appreciation of the fact that actions have consequences; that conversation, persuasion, and strategy are not only permitted, but promoted, and highly advisable; that injury and duress take time to heal and have negative effects; that combat is best viewed as a last resort: a thing to be assiduously avoided … but not ‘at all costs’.
The core of the game comes in at 94 pages broken down approximately as follows:
- Front and Back cover (2 pgs)
- Glossary (13pgs)
- Trait List (7 pgs)
- Equipment and Encumbrance (5 pgs)
- Setting Material (14 pages)
- Rules (42 pgs)
- other (11 pgs)
The SettingNAGA is designed for play in a tense, dark, Future-Imperfec setting. This term, Future-Imperfect, refers to a verb tense that combines past, present, and future with the idea of action being repeated or continued over time. When used to describe the game setting, this refers to the fact that the post-Rupture world of NAGA is one in which past, present, and future have somehow become jumbled together and actions taken repeatedly may allow for special functions.
Since long before recorded history, the Earth has been the stage for sometimes obvious and dramatic and sometimes hidden and unmarked struggles between forces willfully opposing the Design of Life and those forces willingly supporting it. We have always existed on this razor edge.
When worlds proceed too far in the direction of Corruption they may perish under the apocalyptic weight of their own hubris. Occasionally it happens that there are a certain number of Ennobled and Ennobling beings on such Corrupt worlds sufficient in themselves to outweigh the entirety of the hubris of the rest of the population. These beings are now known as Benefactors (Onjin, 恩人). For the benefit of such beings even Dark worlds may be given respite. So it was, some say, with our own.
Many centuries ago, The Forerunners … our forerunners … tipped those scales radically in an apocalyptic direction.
As all life teetered on the edge of extinction, a many-colored Rupture appeared in the sky. Some say the fabric of space and time was rent asunder. Through this Rupture flowed a Myst that, over the course of a single day and night, remade the world.
After the Rupture some sensitive individuals claimed to see ethereal island realms in the deep places of the world and substantial island realms hovering in the high places. These various realms are said to be the residences of the Naga and their Lords (Dark and Light, respectively). The Fog and Myst which occasionally flow from these realms seem to be the proximate cause for many a strange event (some dreadful, others wonderful) ... not to mention the many and various Powers and Talents which have arisen among the people.
It is now (so we think) many centuries since the Rupture and yet, every so often, the Fog will rise from the Pit-Realms and the Myst will fall again from the Sky-Realms – each re-adjusting the landscape and affecting people caught outside unprotected and unaware.
ThemesNAGA explores themes of community and isolation, harmony and disharmony, integrity and corruption, tradition and progress, nature and mechanization, creation and destruction, desolation and consolation, hope and despair, creative imagination and sterile rationalization, freedom and bondage, and human being and becoming.
I hope you enjoy the system and setting as much as I enjoyed creating them.