Realm Works

I recently purchased Realm Works, a program for world and campaign management from the makers of Hero Lab, to aid in organizing my continued worldbuilding efforts.

Realm Works logo

So far, RW has a great deal of potential and is extremely useful for keeping locations, events and people organized.  Wolf Lair has not yet released the Player client for RW, or unveiled plans for broader content sharing, but if all goes well there’s a good chance I’ll be providing both Realm Works and Hero Lab support for Proteus down the line.

Overall Human Demographics

Here’s a quick overview of the human population on Ortellum.

Just over 230,000 people left Earth on board the Exodus.  Despite the reliability of stasis technology in 2032, the long journey and sheer number of people in suspended animation meant that close to 4,000 people did not survive to see humanity’s new home.

The first couple of years on Ortellum were challenging, but overall humanity fared well – until the Cataclysm.  The initial devastation and the ensuing aftermath claimed more than 40,000.  Life has been harder since that day, and the population has been slow to recover.

The year is 2160 by the old Earth calendar – 33 years after colonization – the human population of Ortellum numbers just over a quarter of a million people.  More than half of what remains of humanity has never laid eyes on the world that gave rise to their forefathers, and only 25% of the population is over the age of 40.

One of the many themes present throughout human society is that for the first time in history, those humans who are coming to age and stepping into leadership roles have never set foot on their home planet.

Roadmap and Status Page Added

A new Development Roadmap and Project Status page has been added at

This will be updated throughout the development of Proteus and covers development of both the ruleset and setting, as well as steps in the production process. Items are color-coded based on current status:

  • White – Complete/Ready for Next Phase
  • Yellow – Nearing End of Development
  • Orange – Roughly the “Middle” of the Development
  • Purple – Early in Development – Basic principles are completed, but must be further integrated with other systems and filled out.
  • No Color / Black – Not yet entered focused development – Many of the basic concepts are likely planned, but this has not yet gotten a great deal of detailed attention.

Favorite Genre Poll

Proteus, like many games, does not always fit neatly into a single genre.  At first glance, it’s simply science fiction – a combination of post-apocalyptic, hard sci-fi, and perhaps some cyberpunk.  However, given the setting and system, a group of players could quite easily run a game that feels far more like horror or fantasy than it does sci-fi.

I plan to start a few discussions about what really defines a few of these genres in the coming months, but to get things rolling I’ll begin with a simple poll.

Please share it far and wide, as the more people we have involved in the later discussions, the more fruitful they will be.

online poll by Opinion Stage

Human Government and Religion: An Introduction

In response to my original post introducing New Avalon in June of 2013, Nathaniel Hull asked the following question about the humans of Ortellum:

What is their type of government, approximate local tech level, religions, openness to outside contact, research ability, archaeological motivation (discovering about their new home) and population?

Let’s start with some basics on the numbers of humans we’re dealing with, the government and then look at some of the events the could shape human religion on Ortellum.

Less than two years after making planetfall on Ortellum, in approximately 2129 of the Earth calendar, the remaining members of humanity formed a new government. The government is led by the Ruling Council (current name), consisting of 9 councilors elected to lifetime terms.

The bulk of the government consists of 9 ministries: Defense, Justice, Health, Trade, Development & Transit, Agriculture & Mining, Science, Treasury, and Foreign Affairs, each managed by a Minister that reports directly to the Ruling Council. A tenth ministerial position – the Minister of Policy – exists to assist the Ruling Council with issues not covered by one of the ministries. Each city is overseen by an Administrator, similar to a mayor, who periodically reports to the RC via the Minister of Policy.

The total Human population of Ortellum is just over a quarter million spread over three cities and a number of smaller settlements. The population of New Avalon is roughly 76,000 at the time the game takes place, approximately 2160 CE or 10179 OTC.

Human religion is one element of the setting on which I have not yet spent a great deal of time, largely because I want to get it right. The game takes place less than 150 years from now, so I could just say that not much has changed; especially when you consider that during most of that time the Humans of Ortellum where in stasis aboard a spacecraft. However, that’s simply not the case. There are a number of events that would likely have a significant impact on Human religion.

What does the future hold?
What does the future hold?

The first of these is also likely the most significant: the destruction of Earth. This also includes all the various holy sites claimed by various religions, as well as key religious figures like the Pope and Dalai Lama. Any group that believes Earth was created expressly as a home for Humans or believes that specific events are prophesied would have to come to grips with the loss of Earth. Will such events occur, but on Ortellum instead of Earth? If not, there may still be some groups that desire nothing but to return to Earth. Other groups may believe that humanity’s destruction of its original home is unforgivable and that humanity must be punished or destroyed for this transgression.

Continuing the thread on changes to human religions, the next event that can be expected to have a significant impact on a variety of faiths is the actual discovery of and arrival on Ortellum itself. The mere existence of a habitable planet other than Earth has consequences for the belief systems regarding the creation of the universe, Earth and humans. Some religions could view Ortellum as a new promised land, gifted to the survivors of humanity. This could not only influence existing religions, but give rise to new belief systems as well – perhaps something akin to paganism with people basically worshipping the planet itself.

This belief could further develop as people adopt the view that the remaining members of the human race have a duty to learn from their past mistakes in honor of their fallen world, just as others might believe that the destruction of Earth was some form of divine retribution for the sins of mankind. Such individuals might believe that the humans of Ortellum were intentionally spared, or ‘chosen’ by God, because they are inherently more moral than those that were left behind, or they might believe that humanity’s continued survival is in defiance of God’s will – a situation which must be rectified.

Another event likely to alter humanity’s view of its place in the universe is that of contact with other sentient species. Most humans have heard of at least five or six of the other races on Ortellum. Some religious groups may choose to simply integrate this new information into their existing beliefs regarding creation. However, some may view these other races as a threat – as ‘demons’, or even ‘angels’. Perhaps a cult has developed that intends wipe out other races to secure Ortellum for humanity, or a group begins to worship one or more of these native races. Still other humans might seek to learn about the beliefs of these native peoples, perhaps taking one of their belief systems as their own.

An early map showing the claimed portions of the human capital city of New Avalon

New Avalon: The Walled City

Continuing to copy information from the old website, here is some basic information on the layout of New Avalon, the human capital.

I’ve been developing some of the character backgrounds used during character creation in order to provide a basis for further system development and playtesting. I’ve focused on military and law enforcement backgrounds and plan to write a post on some of the different military/law enforcement types in New Avalon. However, that first requires a brief description of New Avalon itself.

An early map showing the claimed portions of the human capital city of New Avalon
An early map showing the claimed portions of the human capital city of New Avalon

When Humans first left Earth, they were headed to a world to establish mankind’s first self-sustaining extrasolar colony. An advance team had already spent several years constructing a colony, with the crew of the Exodus delivering the bulk of the colonists and the last of the needed equipment and supplies. In other words, when the Exodus arrived at Ortellum, they did not have the equipment or resources necessary to build anything close to a modern settlement.

The crew identified what appeared to be a large, abandoned city and chose to make planetfall nearby. Over the course of a few months, this city became home to much of the population and eventually became the capital of the First Planetary Human Republic – New Avalon.

While the original purpose of the city and its inhabitants is unclear, a great deal of planning obviously went into the construction of New Avalon. The most prominent features of the city are its walls – three massive concentric octagons divide the city into outer, middle and central regions, with additional wall breaking up the outer and middle regions like pie slices. The walls and most of the buildings are all constructed of gelstone – a naturally occuring pourable material that hardens into stone.

Humans occupy the city from its southern entrance through the city’s center, as well as a portion of the outermost southeastern section. The walls around the human-controlled areas are manned around the clock (20 hours a day / 8 days a week), and the areas nearest the walls are patrolled (on both sides of the wall). The unclaimed portions of the city are host to all manner of native flora and fauna, some of which periodically wanders (or invades) the Human parts of the city.

This is the environment in which those tasked with maintaining the security of New Avalon find themselves.

Lost But Not Forgotten

RoseTattoo_Earth_LostButNotForgottenI’m always looking for ideas for further developing the game world, particularly in terms of how human society would be different on Ortellum. Given the extremely limited access to electricity by the average person, entertainment would be significantly different for most people living in New Avalon or other human settlements – and that includes music.

When I think of what sort of music would be popular in New Avalon or Elysium, I generally think of music that could plausibly still be played and enjoyed without electricity (so unfortunately not a lot of electric guitar). Obviously, there wouldn’t be much in the way of recording studios either, so live music, or music with a live feel, makes more sense.

Months ago I picked up the latest Dropkick Murphys album and Rose Tattoo immediately struck me as something that could be sung in human bars across Ortellum. In many ways, the song is about remembering the past, which got me thinking about how people would remember all they’ve lost, both with the loss of Earth and during the Cataclysm.

Long story short: I ended up creating a tattoo design that might be worn or displayed by the surviving members of humanity in remembrance of all those that have been lost. So here it is, a tattoo inspired by both Proteus and the Dropkick Murphys.

Character Sheets

Here are the latest versions of the forms players will need to create and keep track of their character.

The basic character sheet is a simple PDF to print out and use for your characters, and the character creation worksheet is used to aid in character creation.

The interactive version of the character sheet is a little different.  More than just a simple form-fillable PDF, it actually aids in character creation. Begin my selecting your character’s lineage and genetic variance using the drop-downs, then click Set Lineage. Your initial attributes will be calculated, and some of the graphics on the character sheet will update based on your character’s lineage. You can then adjust attributes based on your character’s backgrounds. Then simply click Set Characteristics to have many of your character’s other stats calculated for you. Once you have everything filled out, simply print as usual.

P2E_Character Sheet_form_v0.2aP2E_Character Sheet_form_v0.2a


Character Creation Worksheet v0.2aCharacter Creation Worksheet v0.2a

Who you are is but a shadow of what you can become…