Setting The Stage

I’ve had the last year to reflect on my experiences with PITCH. Although the few tests I had were ill-attended, they were very informative. What I think stands out the most about the playtests is that I had a really hard time convincing others to join the playtest.

I didn’t think much of this at first. I figured it was a new system that people were unfamiliar with and so they might feel intimidated. But over time I’ve come to realize that it was a much more fundamental problem: there was no story.

PITCH was created as a system; an independant system that could be used for any setting; a generic system. Problem is that if that’s your elevator pitch to someone, it isn’t that interesting. This came to light during my first playtest. I was trying to convince a friend of mine to join the playtest and his first question was, “what’s it about?” My response? “Oh, I just decided it would be easiest to test it with a generic fantasy setting.” Gee. Sounds… fun?

So earlier this year I set out to find a setting that I could develop in tandem with the PITCH system. I threw several ideas at friends of mine as well as to total strangers on various forums. The winning pitch was the following:

Time Travel Concept

“14th century? Sure. Take the New York subway backshoot to 1st century Roman-occupied England, follow the Stonehenge bypass to the 9th century Mayan Yucatan, grab the Cancun tunnel to the 16th century Germanic Protestant Reformation and from there it’s a hop, skip and a jump to the 14th century feudal Japan.

“Well, there’s a reason they call it ‘time travel,’ you know. There’s no man-made contraption powerful enough to rip a hole in the fabric of time, so instead you’ll have to find the holes that already exist… And they aren’t close together.

“Now the TTA (temporal transit authority) has tried to make navigating the tubes a bit easier by publishing a mostly accurate map of time portals. That’s helpful, but if you ask me it’s probably still a good idea to keep your tried and true dowsing stones on hand to point the way.

“So have a safe journey, fellow traveller. Don’t rile any villagers, try to stay in our reality and may you find your way home without killing your ancestors.”

I got a few bites on the other ideas I pitched, but this one was the overwhelming favorite. So for the last few months I’ve slowly been working on this setting. I still have a way to go before it’s ready for a playtest, but I have quite a bit developed and I’ve gotten pretty excited about it.

The working title for the project: Chronoplex. 😀

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