This mornings thoughts on Folded Steel are more on tone and inspiration for each Fold (as well as looking for any…

This mornings thoughts on Folded Steel are more on tone and inspiration for each Fold (as well as looking for any…

This mornings thoughts on Folded Steel are more on tone and inspiration for each Fold (as well as looking for any recommendations for more inspiration).

So I have already mentioned that the First Fold is pre-invasion, but I haven’t really explained what that should feel like. The world is filled with the rise of new technology, but it is still in its early stages (mechs will cap out at Tier 2). This is currently the least refined Fold, but it is meant to let you explore what it means to have this sort of power in a modern urban setting. The government is aware that something is about to happen, but no one is sure the nature of it. The world is getting weirder and the Empire already has secret operatives paving the way for their invasion, so if you know you want to progress through multiple folds you have premade hooks.

Genre-wise this Fold is meant to touch on cyberpunk, detective stories, and corporate espionage. An Enclave might be a corporate PR firm, a police squad who specialize in Mech related crime, a special ops military team, a corporate R&D division, criminals with stolen tech, vanguard operatives of the empire, a racing team, or even a gladiatorial team.

The inspiration for this fold so far is primarily Guyver and Patlobar, but it is also informed by the early episodes of Robotech/Macross.

3 thoughts on “This mornings thoughts on Folded Steel are more on tone and inspiration for each Fold (as well as looking for any…”

  1. I love it, but then I love cyberpunk. I can see pre-invasion themes focusing on transhumanism, capitalism, and various governmental regulations, maybe like Iron Man’s tech in MCU Civil War. Without a big, unifying wartime need to justify dangerous mechs, there’s probably massive regulation about what they can be used for, where, and how they can be equipped. Heavy-handed regulation, of course, encourages a lucrative black market, corruption, organized crime, and probably unrest and militias in less regulated areas, not to mention competition between global nations having a cold war arms race over innovation and production of the tools that will deter and dominate future warfare. This could be a military build-up like prior to WWI, or instead there could be a global hegemony (more regulation, standardization, and order at the cost of freedoms and privacy). In this environment, disparities heighten: those with means get the best medical care, security, quality of life improvements, mech suits, etc.; those without get relative squalor.

    Likewise, as tech advances to allow cybernetics, AR/VR, and web-linked minds or offloaded memory banks, it becomes fair to ask “Why transpose human identity only onto human-scale prostheses? Why not boost suits, why not scale it up? What is ‘humanness’ really?” Piloted suits probably compete with massive fleets of drones (highly regulated of course), and maybe androids, bots, etc. This fold could be massively variable depending on if pre-invasion is cast more like 80s, 2000s, or like 2050.

    Have you seen Ironsworn or Fellowship? Both those games give players a good amount of flavorful choices about what their world is like on various different aspects. Similarly, you could make a series of choices for each fold, like the look choices in AW games, about which of the possibilities players want to be true in their world: How unified are the world’s people: unified world government, cold war arms race, or heavy classism? Who’s dominant: Authoritarian regulation, capitalist megacorps, populace, or ideology/philosophy/religion? Who has access to mechs: The mega-rich, the government, everyone second rate? How is unrest/crime: Massive crackdown, thriving underground (i.e. black market or resistance movements), secure conspicuous organized crime? And so forth.

    Enclaves can then fit more generically into any arrangement of world states the players choose.

  2. So the general flavor of Fold 1 is currently our world but a few years in the future (which already kinda feels like a cyberpunk dystopia at times.)

    The base Mech technology is actually more ubiquitous than would seem possible due to the way it relies on the new mysterious energy field (still trying to come up with a good technobable name for that thing).which can be tapped into with a special drive. The fact that the field is also making some people manifest weird powers regardless of socio-economics is also helping the spread of mech tech. The difference will be one of refinement. Corporate and government R&D budgets are going to make some fairly nice designs, but nothing is stopping a brilliant lone guy from scrapping together his own. (This is also a call back to the cyberpunk themes of group vs individual, with many hackers having custom built gear that can hang with the corporate security systems)

    I do like the idea of some group based world building baked into the enclave sheets. It helps foster ownership of the world and increases investment in everything. That being said, I have not checked out those game but will definitely be doing so now.

  3. Very cool. I like that take on the underlying landscape and individual/collective theme.

    Maybe technobabble for the field like “magnetropic dispersion field” or “telemetric inversion loci” or “energic gravitron wave” or something more colloquial like “the Infraction,” “the Screen,” “mesh,” etc.

    Ironsworn is freely available and its World Workbook is the one I mentioned and it’s available individually at the bottom of the page here:

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