I find that post-apocalyptic RPGs too often turn into action games when my group plays them! They also never quite reflect what I would expect a society in that situation to look like. As someone who is a huge fan of this type of game, I decided to bring what I had learned from the creation of other games to this genre.
I started by making sure that just surviving a day in this game would be a challenge. Choosing when to shoot and when to run is a vital choice that makes the genre what it is – limited ammunition and danger all around is vital to maintain the essence of Survival Horror.
The society on Gaia is politically very complicated, which is unusual in Survival Horror games. There are many factions, each of which has its own idea about how the remaining Humans should survive the apocalypse.
Mechanically, I also decided to follow a few paths that are not commonly seen. Firstly, I decided that Karma should exist on Gaia: good things happen to good people, and bad things to bad.
Rather than a “morality” or “alignment” system, this system revolves around the outcomes of the character’s actions, including those that weren’t seen! This means that a player can intend to be evil and be so, but also adds extra possibilities: they could intend to do evil but end up doing good by accident!
Era: Survival is a Survival Horror game, with all the things you would expect from the genre as well. “Zombies” of various types exist, roaming the countryside, in the form of Infected. Weapons are scarce, have a tendency to break and have limited ammunition. Life on Gaia should be, and is, a constant fight for survival.
The rulebook provides a full Bestiary of creatures, a breakdown of the factions, and equipment from improvised knives to helicopters. It brings the crafting skills, survival techniques and willpower of the characters into sharp focus.
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