19 July 2015

Torg returns? Hints point in that direction

Today on Facebook, Pinnacle Entertain Group's Shane Hensley (creator of Savage Worlds) made an announcement on his Facebook page today, and I find it very exciting:

He mentions a "Storm." I know a game where the heroes were called Storm Knights. Also, those dice are the ones that came with that game. It was from West End Games and called Torg.

The core rules. Yep, it was 1990 fer sure.
Torg was a game released in 1990 about an invasion of Earth from other realities. Each reality had a theme, from Indiana Jones kind of pulp, to horror, cyberpunk, Land of the Lost and more, some really twisted such as the "Cyber-Papacy."

What set it apart was the idea that as groups play adventures the results would be reported and used to advance the storyline. As the game was about "the possibility wars" each group was a bit of that possibility, with the most reported outcomes becoming the winner, and then the timeline was moved forwards. Great idea, did not work well, because it was ahead of its time.

This was 1990. Almost nobody was on the Internet or had even heard of it. Reporting was done by mailing in response forms and waiting for an update to be released. It was slow going. I mentioned Torg to Shane Hensley when I played in his East Texas University demo at Rincon 2014 in Tucson, Arizona, that Torg was made for the Internet. Reporting would be sped up, as would the responses of the world changes. Torg died and is just a good memory to its fans.

Twenty-five years later all the technology is there to make a game like Torg work in all it meta-plot glory, and no one has done it yet. Why not bring it back. I know the rights owners would love to make some money on the good idea they own. Having Shane Hensley on board a new edition would bode well as not only is he a great writer, his first published RPG product was an adventure for Torg titled The Temple of Rec Stalek, which should mean a nice emotional connection for him to the product.

Shane Hensley wrote this. 
Also, he has been at the forefront of making games more playable, as attested to in the Savage Worlds motto "fast, furious and fun." Torg needs that in spades. The original game was built before the push of "story first" gaming that would really catch fire with Vampire the Masquerade. Torg had a late-80s level of complexity yet wanted to be a cinematic game mimicking several disparate genres. Many times the two ideas were at odds in play, with a kind of unwieldy mechanic, way to many skills, and the need to slow down the game to deal with reality crossover effects. A new version really needs to make the game system lighter to concentrate more on story and feel.

It would be nice for  new version to be a reboot in the New Battlestar Galactica sense, so that while it has the comfort of the old game, it can have new ideas and plots to keep it fresh today.


But... a little later Hensley posted an update about the previous post:

Nothing to do with the dice? No! So it looks like we are back at the guessing stage until 21 July (this coming Tuesday). Shane Hensley likes that. I can almost here him echo Doctor Frankenfurter's famous line, "I see you shiver with antici...         pation."

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