Today’s talk, Strain Variants and the addition to variables in the local Strains.
With 3.0 (Dystopia Rising: Evolved) we will be focusing on providing more role-play background options for players without bogging down the system with unnecessary and redundant mechanics. With this includes adding different options to the Strain descriptions, and bringing some of the Strains (mechanically and in flavor text), in line with the ongoing table-top world.
The four Strains that will receive the highest degree of adjustment for narrative will be the Genjian, Iron Slaves, Saltwise, and Solestros.
The first part of this revision is a redesign of the iconography. Both Solestros and Genjian had their Strain iconography created 9 years ago, and the iconography has not received an update since. In the time since the two Strains were originally created the description of both have developed to tell the full story of sun bleached surfer/desert culture and people whose “cargo cult culture” came from corporations based in India, Russia, and Japan. The goal for Solestros was to tap into the culture of the desert wanderer of the south west and earnest farmer culture found in the wastelands. The goal for the Genjian was the last outposts of humanity who have a skewed world view based on existing on the remains of business culture.
9 years later, I feel like both failed. To get that vibe you need to read into the material and it’s not visible in the iconography and artwork. Mechanically both suggest completely different stories from intention, and will need a revision to “tell a story without telling the story”. As a writer it was a hard lesson to learn that the art and the iconography speaks more than language does. So both require a revision to allow the iconography and the mechanics to match the focus and intent of the story.
So, with those two revisions we also will be giving more visual and role-play examples for how people can interpret the Strains in visual costuming and Role-play. What about Iron Slaves born in the wild after their parents escaped? The game has been around long enough now that this is a viable character concept. What about Saltwise that spend more time in the deep then they do on land. Why do Saltwise that live on shores and Saltwise who have almost always lived in the deep have the same visual and social cues?
There isn’t a reason. If we are thinning the mechanics and using less space on basic language, there is no reason to not add a single page for each Strain that gives different variations for play. Mechanically they would all be the same, but for the Saltwise that wants to do more inspiration from underwater life and the one that wants to do more "on the shore" sort there is no reason why we can't have options for both.
This doesn’t mean that all Strain skills, advantages, and disadvantages shouldn’t be reviewed. Without a doubt with the shift in mind and body values, combined with the adjustment of redundant skills, every Strain and Profession should be reviewed. That is part of the reason we are taking 2 years to do the update.