Heavy Gear has a tremendous catalog of books that detail the setting. In particular, dozens of books were published about Terra Nova, the primary setting of the RPG, which let game masters and players enjoy adventures in a rich environment.
Unlike most science fiction settings, Heavy Gear initially concentrated on a single planet and eschewed the need for space travel as a common conveyance. Space travel is described as a difficult undertaking and is restricted to elite military forces such as Black Talon teams. The lack of easy interplanetary travel meant that the original run of books focused heavily on their primary setting, Terra Nova.
The primary book that attracted me to the setting of Heavy Gear over any other roleplaying game at the time was Life on Terra Nova, essentially a concise guide to the history, culture, and geography of the planet. I remember thumbing through the book and being sucked into the setting’s attention to detail and the diversity of the cultures on the planet. The follow up book, Technical Manual, only added to the smartly constructed setting by introducing realistic technology developed around the setting’s limitation. The seven leaguebooks built on the solid foundations laid out by Life on Terra Nova and the Technical Manual.
So how does Arkrite Press plan on building on this amazing legacy of books? Our initial core book will include all of the elements that made Life on Terra Nova and the Technical Manual so invaluable for the setting. The material will be updated to include timeline updates up to TN1950. The new material will condense the events in the five storyline books and take it five cycles beyond the last point. This gives a Gamemaster, new to the setting, a solid block of major events to plug their players into. We plan on our core rulebook to provide the new Gamemaster the foundation they need to jump into Terra Nova.
Beyond the initial core rulebook, we’re planning on adding expansions in a number of ways. We will have specific era books, which will let players engage in the universe at different points in history, by having a bundled Life during/Techmanual style book for each period and supporting books such as regional guides, army sourcebooks, and a variety of other sourcebooks. Fight in the wreckage of Greater Samarkand as a Prime Knight, or be a part of the Marabou Marauders during the rise of the Southern Republic. We will be releasing RPG material in the following specific eras:
Ice Age Crusades (2835 CE – 4318 CE)
Set three thousand years before the core setting, Earth is wrapped in the last great ice age. Humanity struggles to survive in the narrow habitable band free from the crushing walls of ice. Groups embracing apocalyptic visionaries seek to overthrow the old religions and the remnants of civilization that still cling to normalcy. From these great crusades, a vibrant new force, Kir Arya, emerges. Will they bring salvation or destruction? Play as Prime Knights, Kirian Scientists, or even the crusading forces of the marauding Compact of Revelation Forces or Templars, Sicari, and Hassassins of the Council of True Faiths, the stalwart defenders of the pre-ice age civilization.
Concordat Exploration (5102 CE – 5491 CE)
Hundreds of years after the Last Crusades, Earth is unified under the banner of the Human Concordat. The discovery of the Tannhauser Anomalies has opened up the galaxy to exploration. Harsh new worlds need to be explored and colonized. Terra Nova is in its infancy and the wild jungles, deserts, and treacherous swamps need to be tamed by rugged individuals, but are there dark secrets in the heart of the wilds that threatens the new colony? Play as explorers and colonists as they struggle to survive and build a new home. Discover hidden secrets of Terra Nova or explore other colonies during their early years.
Rise of the Leagues (TN 1455 – TN 1632)
The Human Concordat has collapsed and the colonies are isolated. Out of the chaos, Terra Novans band together and form infant city-states for protection and commerce. These fortified oases
of civilization eventually will grow into leagues. Some of the leagues are born from idealism and mutual benefits, others emerge out of bloody wars of conquest. A new religion called Revisionism is born in the deserts and transforms the northern hemisphere. Covering the post-Concordat era to the birth of the leagues, the players can participate in the formation of the leagues, survive the period right after the Concordat withdrawal, or fight in the numerous wars as a patriot or as a mercenary.
Birth of the Gear (TN 1678 – TN 1750)
Covering the period of the Southern Unification Wars and violent warfare between the UMF and its northern neighbors, to St. Vincent’s War, the world of Terra Nova sees the emergence of a new fighting machine, the Gear, as it storms onto the scene during the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Witness the birth of the superpowers of Terra Nova and participate in a new type of warfare utilizing cutting edge walkers such as Gears and striders. Wield political power in the halls of Port Oasis as a member of the elusive Order of the Falcon, or crush your business rivals as corporate leaders in NorthCo to reign supreme in Lyonesse. The Badlands offer freedom from these emerging threats, and players can found and lead new communities or be a part of the founding of new city-states in the harsh deserts.
Judas Cycles (TN 1799 – TN 1919)
The 19th century to the early 20th century was a time of cold war operations. Espionage and counter-espionage operatives battled in shadow wars, and people were willing to sell their loyalty for the right price. Two key conflicts are covered during this period in addition to the covert war: The Sandstorm Strikes and the globally devastating War of the Alliance. Detailing the both military and intelligence wars, this period is perfect for players wanting a mix of both styles of play. In addition to Terra Novan forces, this book will introduce the full assets and operations of Earth’s Colonial Expeditionary Force. Players can take on the roles of either Terra Novan defenders or Earther conquerors as they fight one of the deadliest wars Terra Nova has ever witnessed.
Blood on the Wind (TN 1919 – TN 1939)
Old alliances are cast aside as the Northern and Southern leagues resume the long delayed fight. The period leading up the Inter-Polar War and to the destruction of Peace River is covered in the core rulebook as the default setting. Additional gaming resources will be created during this era such as city-state guides, force guides that were not covered in the original publication, and regional guides, exploring the vast wilderness and the communities that inhabit them.
Distant Shores (TN 1939 – TN 1950)
The Black Talon is formed to combat the increasingly belligerent Earth. Vengeance for Peace River and protecting Terra Nova force former enemies to unite and fight their common enemy. Terra Nova embarks into the stars once again and find allies and enemies in the other colonial worlds. Will the Black Talons be able to stem the rising tide of aggression from Earth, or will they be swept away by the massive fleets. Every colony will be treated to a Life on/Technology book. Older colony material will be updated, revised, or entirely reimagined, and unexplored colonies such as New Jerusalem, Jotunheim, and Home will be explored in depth for the first time.
War for Terra Nova (TN 1950 – TN 1975)
Earth’s final push to reconquer their former colonies erupts in conflict of an epic scale. Covering the period between TN 1950 to TN 1975, this period is the conclusive ending to the the first storyline arc. Earth unleashes an ancient threat in a desperate gamble to hold onto power, but will the New Earth Commonwealth sustain their control of their new allies. This period will include an in depth look at the cradle of humanity, Earth. Explore the post-Concordat collapse to the disastrous World War III that cost so many lives. Behind it all, what dark secrets does the planet hold, and who are the allies of the New Earth Commonwealth?
So that’s a glimpse of where we’d like to take the Heavy Gear Universe over the course of the next few years. We will start with the core setting material and branch out into the other periods based on feedback and interest from the fans. Let us know what you want to see in the role playing game in the comments section below!