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What Is Torg?

(First appeared at rpgnow.com, edited by Dominick Riesland for clarity)

In the beginning there was Nothing. Out of Nothing came Everything. Nothing was pissed—it started eating everything Everything made. But Everything just kept making more stuff. Finally Everything got a bright idea and blew itself up, creating multiple Everythings. This was the birth of the Cosmverse. Each Cosm is a separate universe with its own laws of reality.

Nothing took a note from Everything's playbook and created a few things. Its creations are called Darkness Devices, and they channel the power of Nothing. Their ultimate goal is to destroy the Cosmverse by draining it of its possibilities.

Once in a while someone finds a Darkness Device and bonds with it, becoming a High Lord. A High Lord has control over his native reality and usually quickly becomes "King of the World," so to speak. Then the Darkness Device teaches the High Lord how to open up a connection (called a Maelstrom Bridge) into a new cosm, opening up new territory for the High Lord to conquer.

When the Bridge lands, the invading cosm's Reality floods out of it and fights with the native Reality, causing massive Reality Storms where people and things are transformed, conforming to the new dominant reality. So when a high-magic cosm invades a low-magic one, suddenly people can cast spells. When a low-tech cosm invades a high-tech one, suddenly computers and cars and guns stop working or are transformed to low-tech equivalents. When people are transformed, possibilities are stripped away from them, feeding the Darkness Device and damaging the invaded cosm.

If a High Lord can invade and destroy enough cosms and amass enough possibility energy, he will become the Torg, a legendary figure of absolute power.

Sometimes, rarely, someone caught in a reality storm will have a "moment of crisis" and transcend the storm, holding onto her native reality and gaining the power to manipulate possibilities consciously. These people can make a car run in a low-tech zone, for example, by extending their own, very strong, personal reality into it. These rare people are called Stormers by the High Lords and tend to be hunted down and killed or recruited.

Core Earth (the "real world" of the game, although it's much more action-movie cinematic than our real world) is exceptionally strong in possibility energy. So much so that any one cosm that attempted to invade it would probably be destroyed by the backlash of Core Earth's extremely strong and flexible reality. So several High Lords orchestrated a simultaneous invasion. One was thwarted, but the others succeeded. Earth could have fought off one invading reality, but the simultaneous attack overwhelmed it. Thus in locations around the world, parts of Core Earth have become "somewhere else", and the High Lords are working on expanding their territories.

However. because of Earth's strong, resilient reality, the Reality Storms are stronger and more frequent than they have been in past invasions, and many more people are transcending, and becoming stormers - or, as they call themselves, Storm Knights. The High Lords have never had to deal with such a large number of possibility-manipulating enemies before, and various "resistance" factions within the HLs' own home cosms are taking advantage of the distraction and making their own attacks against their rulers.

So how has Core Earth changed? The coasts of the United States are a dinosaur-filled misty jungle where tech doesn't work. France is a cyberpunk theocracy. There are dragons over England. Northern Africa is ruled by a pulp supervillain using ancient Egyptian magic. Gothic horrors stalk the night in Indonesia. Japan...there's no invasion in Japan, what are you talking about? By the way, would you like to buy a gun?

You are a Storm Knight. Maybe you're from Core Earth and are trying to repel the invaders. Or maybe you're a native from another cosm - an Ayslish wizard, or a corporate ninja, or a renegade cybernun - who's decided to fight against your own people. The world is a mess. What are you going to do to fix it?

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