Nova Praxis: First Take

If you haven’t heard of Nova Praxis, you’ve got lots of company. It’s an indie RPG from the maker of Strands of Fate, itself a Fate 2 add-ons bonanza for those who prefer their aspect-oriented roleplay a little crunchier. The at-a-glance take on the game I had before picking up a copy was “transhumanism, post-scarcity, post-singularity, FATE!”

Fate occupies a special place in my mind these days, as Fate Core, the third and to my naive eyes massively improved version of the game system of narrative driven gameplay (the core mechanic of “aspects” explicitly involves story elements, whether internal character details or external setting detail, more on this in another post) I backed on Kickstarter, along with over 10 thousand others. My only previous exposure to Fate is through Diaspora, which has some great ideas going for its loose setting as well.

The Nova Praxis PDF as it stands now uses the older terminology predating Core. (I assume work began on NP a while before the Core KS began, and the author must oblige the NDAs or whatever we all implicitly signed by taking part in the draft versions of Core) My understanding is this will be updated to reflect newer rules, or at least supplemental material explaining how to port your game over. For my part, I intend to play the setting with its customized skill list and perhaps a few of its extras, like the Rep-Rating economy and weapons/armor, which seem pretty compatible with the extras in Core.

While I’m less than a quarter of the way through the book, it’s been packed to the brim with setting detail. This includes a great 100-year history which touches on the “Consolidation Wars”; the technophage that devastated Earth; the formation of the Dune-like Houses (former corporations that, along with the Coalition, govern most of humanity) and the various/sundry technologies humanity now has at their disposal. Most of the technology is thanks to a hyper-intelligent AI called Mimir which, upon awakening fully sentient, made hundreds of scientific discoveries and invented countless technologies humanity has yet to fully sift through. The post-scarcity bit comes into play via the Rep-Rating, which allows characters to sacrifice some of their reputation to purchase goods and services, and which includes a social networking component that increases the reputation, and hence the wealth, of other characters. This system is unavailable to certain characters known as Apostates, who have chosen to live “off the grid”, away from the omnipresent monitoring and absolute lack of privacy.

The wording and presentation of the Fate rules is good, though I mostly skimmed this section. It seemed both more straightforward and more clearly-worded than Diaspora, for instance. (My take on this may also be due to the fact I read Diaspora in Kindle format, which means all boxes/color choices/fonts and more are lost)

Nothing more to say yet, but will continue to post regarding further awesomeness uncovered and likes/dislikes among the extras presented.

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