Destination Terra Nova and Beyond

Jason Heavy Gear Universe, RPG 44 Comments

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)

Era-Logos-Web-01-Ice-AgeSet 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)

Era-Logos-Web-02-ConcordatHundreds 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)

Era-Logos-Web-03-Rise-of-the-LeaguesThe 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)

Era-Logos-Web-04-Birth-of-the-GearCovering 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)

Era-Logos-Web-05-Judas-CyclesThe 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)

Era-Logos-Web-06-Blood-on-the-WindOld 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)

Era-Logos-Web-07-Distant-ShoresThe 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)

Era-Logos-Web-08-The-War-for-Terra-NovaEarth’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!

JasonDestination Terra Nova and Beyond

Comments 44

  1. Jeremy

    This is ambitious! I am interested in hearing more about life in all these eras. I also like that the corebook will provide storyline updates to 1950, so even old fans will get some new setting material. It is intriguing that TN 1975 is the conclusion of the first storyline arc. It seems like you guys are more ambitious than even this long list of eras.

    While I am a fan of established canon, I could imagine small changes to proper nouns that lead to massive improvements in fun. The name World War III for a war the occurs in the year 6007 strikes me as ridiculous. There were no world wars between 1945 and 6007? LoTN1 gives an alternate name, the Reunification War. Likewise, the Compact of Revelation Forces and the Council of True Faiths are not names that draw me in.

  2. Paolo Robino

    Great news about Ice Age Crusades! I always wanted to know more about that period – plus, post-apoc is one of my favorite genre in RPGs.

  3. Albertorius

    I like what I see, but right now it looks a bit overly ambitious. It feels like the plans from a much, much bigger company.

    That said… very interesting 🙂

  4. Rhoderic

    This sounds really, REALLY ambitious. If I’m reading you right, you’re planning at least 13-15 sourcebooks in addition to the material in the core rulebook. One sourcebook for each of the five eras before Blood on the Wind, and one for each of the other colonies in the Distant Shores era makes 13 already. And that’s not counting a “base” sourcebook for Blood on the Wind, a sourcebook for the WfTN, or the “regional guides” and “army sourcebooks” you’ve also mentioned. And the novellas and fiction anthologies on top of that.

    I sincerely hope you’ll still manage to keep things fairly light and airy, in line with the “quality over quantity” mentality that (judging by my limited experience) seems to prevail in the RPG scene today, in contrast to the “sourcebooks, sourcebooks, sourcebooks!” mentality of 15-20 years ago. Some sort of middle ground to comfortably stand on.

    How “heavy” will a typical sourcebook be, in terms of the information contained within it (or, simply, page count)?

    1. Jeremy

      I will disagree, Rhoderic about “light and airy”. If other game lines are going for light and airy, then maybe Heavy Gear should go for super detailed in order to distinguish itself and fill a different customer niche? Jovian Chronicles was a lighter (compared to Heavy Gear) setting, with detailed information on life in space and mecha but mediocre geographic sourcebooks that most people probably ignored. Heavy Gear was always detailed, even in the first edition rulebook and Life on Terra Nova 1st edition.

      Some companies are returning to business models of years past. We will see exact product announcements soon, but I think Wizards of the Coast realizes that the minimalist D&D 4E Forgotten Realms (and to a lesser degree, the 3E Realms) was a big mistake compared to the setting’s sourcebook heyday in the late 80’s and 90’s. The minimalist approach does not build loyal fans. Pathfinder has become the industry leader by pumping out sourcebooks. I also suspect Exalted 3E will launch a product line with many sourcebooks. Hopefully both Forgotten Realms and Exalted will keep sourcebook quality high while producing in volume. The business models may differ (D&D and Pathfinder target brick and mortar stores while everyone else focuses on PDFs and print on demand), but I feel the sourcebook model for RPGs is growing, not shrinking.

      One distinction is that Forgotten Realms and Exalted will probably not try the “multiple era” approach Jason outlined in the blog post. However, multiple eras might work in a wargame setting, as Battletech is producing books for multiple eras.

      On an older thread on another site, former Blitz line developer John Buckmaster said that supervision of freelancers was a big factor in the low quality of later Heavy Gear RPG releases. Hopefully Greg and Jason have the time to ensure quality work by freelancers.

      I am especially looking forward to Army List RPG books for the core Blood on the Wind era, as I love those.

      1. Rhoderic

        “Super detailed” sounds to me personally like it might be going a bit too far in the opposite direction (especially given that, in a fundamentally unrealistic setting like Heavy Gear, details can lead to inconsistencies, contradictions and general incredulity – IMO, anyway), and perhaps “light and airy” did not quite capture what I was going for (a kind of sublimeness, inviting and unintimidating, free of chaff – something that does not bog one down with too much copy or make one trip over details that “don’t feel right”, but rather puts a new smile on one’s face every time one turns a leaf, for every page is like discovering a new “Pavane” by Fauré or “Clair de lune” by Debussy (waxing lyrical today, aren’t we? 🙂 )). But some sort of middle ground, a sweet spot, between those extremes would be lovely. I suppose the imperative thing here is quality, perhaps not “over” quantity, but regardless of quantity at least. Finely polished craftsmanship, to put it another way.

        At any rate, publishing at least five (maybe more) era sourcebooks and eight colony sourcebooks, plus some army & region sourcebooks and whatnot, in the next few years sounds like an undertaking and a half. I wish them godspeed and will be expecting good things.

      2. Post

        The Southern Republic Army book from the 1st edition Heavy Gear is one of my all time favorite sourcebooks. If the demand is there it would be great to be able to finish up the major armies of Terra Nova (HAPF, UMFA, WFPA, NAF, PRDF, and MDP). The Emirate forces are a bit of a mess, but could be done based off of the Patriarch or Free Emirate forces during the Blood on the Wind era to Distant Shores Era.

        The Heavy Gear rpg setting has always been about details, and we don’t plan on changing that. We definitely plan on giving fans an expansive universe to explore. Its one of the reasons we went with Heavy Gear Universe instead of just Heavy Gear.

        I have a very healthy respect for Paizo and the work they do with Pathfinder. I think they’ve done a superb job keeping the roleplaying market alive, and their supplements are top notch. Onyx Path has also done a great job with their product launches and I’ve enjoyed the gaming materials they’ve released lately. I’m eagerly awaiting for the new edition of Exalted, and I suspect you’re right about them having multiple titles launching to support their core book. Every project they’ve released so far has had bonus pdf supplements that have been unlocked and produced.

    2. Post

      The plan is to concentrate on the core setting first. That would cover Blood on the Wind to Distant Shores. That being said, there’s a ton of material still in print out there covering that period. We do have some ideas about game resources for the core period that we’d like to do, and the never published colony books are at the top of that list. There’s one particular colony book that will be completely overhauled and re imagined, while the others will be updated, tweaked, and expanded. As far as the other eras, we will be testing the waters with the fans on what Era they want to see next, and all of the eras will see fiction in either novella or anthology format with supporting gaming material included.

      Greg and I want to hear from the fans on what eras or supplements they would like to see. Please leave your comments and feel free to ask questions.

      1. Rhoderic

        Sounds like you’re already prioritizing the supplements I’d like to see first (the other colonies for Distant Shores) so I’m content on that point.

        As for the pre-Blood on the Wind eras, I like them all but have no favourites. Generally speaking, I hope they won’t be all too massive a project. The timeline from the War of the Alliance onward is what I like most.

  5. Jacob Yarce

    I want this project to go well. I love the Heavy Gear universe, and though a few aspects gripe at me (4000+ years of relatively slow technological advancement (somewhat understandable because of the ice age, but later on almost 40k levels of tech-denial)) space development being one of the most glaring ones. I want to see this awesome universe expanded.

    In particular I will be looking forward for more detailed space based sourcebooks, that give more in depth into units, technologies, tactics and people in space, primarily I am looking for more info on the Northern and Southern space navies, but I would also like to see some more development on the CEF, Caprice, Eden and Utopia (Atlantis has no space capability whatsoever so I do not include them).

    Beyond that I want to see information on the two missing factions of the Heavy Gear Universe, Jottunheim and New Jerusalem. We know that after the collapse of the Concordiat, both factions greatly advanced and became unique, furthermore Jottunheim was able to defeat the CEF force with relatively little difficulty (something that Terranova was very hard pressed to accomplish) and the New Jerusalem gave them such an insane beating that an entire fleet was declared lost with all hands in the aftermath.

    More information on how this was accomplished, their military, technology, society and of course more expansion to the current Universe would be amazing.

    Beyond that I would love to know how the second invasion of the CEF ends and of course what happens in the aftermath and who knows maybe the future will bring plenty of more changes to the Heavy Gear Universe

    1. Riker

      Can we get please the Distant Shore book first, I’ve been waiting for years about what happened on New Jerusalem and Jottunheim? Someone can dream!

      1. Post

        Both of those colony books are pretty much at the top of the list for RPG supplements after the core gaming book release. I would also add Home to that list.

        1. Jeremy

          Cool on books for Home, Jotenheim, and New Jerusalem. I’d prefer the army books but these will do. My preference is that the people on Home are mostly collaborating with the NEC, as we presumably have enough anti-NEC groups on Jotenheim and New Jerusalem. I don’t like it when the CEF becomes the incompetent villains who always lose.

          One, perhaps obvious, thing to keep in mind is that the NEC/CEF is the main antagonist in the other colonies and so NEC details will presumably need to be in the corebook. Since you are answering questions, are you going with the version of the CEF in the Port Arthur writeup in the 1998 Life on Terra Nova 2nd edition, the one in the 2001 CEF Sourcebook, or the ideas in 2003 Earth Companion? The CEF Sourcebook approach is probably safest, dropping most neo-Sovietisms.

          While we are on the Distant Shores timeline, it would be cool if the Black Talon technology is not only reserved for the Black Talons. League governments are paying for all the fancy toys and it would make sense for the technology to also be in use in league armies.

          As I cannot help but list my pet issues, one more thing to get straight in the corebook is the languages spoken in the South. Different books (and even the same book in multiple locations) make contradictory claims about the extent to which Universal French and Anglic are spoken in the Humanist Alliance, Mekong Dominion, and Eastern Sun Alliance and the extent to which languages other than Anglic and Universal French are spoken. My own preference would be to use page 136 of Life on Terra Nova 2 as canon and ignore all other conventions. This would reserve French as a unique trait of the Southern Republic and make Anglic the dominant language in the AST leagues other than the SR. This would involve dropping the discussion of higher education in the MD on page 86 of LoTN2, the invention of Larabic as the dominant language of the ESE in its book, the idea that French is the dominant language of the Humanist Alliance in that book, and the invention of Atsi-Go as the dominant language of the Mekong Dominion in its book (with everyone being bilingual in French and no one apparently knowing Anglic). On the positive side, you could keep the claim in the Southern Republic book that higher education in that league is in Anglic because of international students and that international students cannot recall much French five cycles after graduation. 🙂 Using page 136 of LoTN2 would also raise the profile of Mandanese a little.

          1. Jacob Yarce

            The one piece of technology that will have the greatest impact on the Heavy Gear setting (and I am a big advocate of this) will be the micro jump drive. Small enough to be fitted in a Fury class shuttle and still leave more than plenty of room for gear and equipment without jeopardizing capabilities.

            Prior to this the smallest Jump Drive was a monster that could only be placed in small automated drones, but when I say small I am talking about a small ship, just larger than a Fury class transport and the smaller second generation jump drive used used up most of the internal space, leaving nearly nothing for crew or equipment.

            Going forward I hope this device is emphasized as it would mostly liberate the universe from the Gate ships. These ships will always have a place, but with any ship the size of a Fury at least being able to independently jump to other systems using the smallest known gates is a huge game changer.

            That and going forward into the setting, I see that Terra Nova will have to expand more heavily into space and probably operations on other planets in order to secure support against the CEF. The first invasion was a wake up call for Terra Nova, but it did not truly awaken them from their complacency, now they have an even bigger and more dangerous invasion on their hands and they must realize that for them to become independent they will have to fight the Juggernaut that is the CEF beyond their own borders, take the fight to them and that will only happen if they can create a space force that can rival the CEF.

            In this sense the Black Talons will be even more important as their post-second invasion role will be to actively work in destabilizing the CEF influence on the colonies to buy Terra Nova time to rebuild, rearm and form a coalition with the rest of the colonies that can truly stand against the CEF.

            It is a great time to be part of the Heavy Gear universe right now

          2. Jeremy

            Building a space fleet and perhaps miniature gatedrives requires a lot of resources. In the Blitz timeline and namely the book Black Talon: Return to Cat’s Eye, in TN 1950 the CEF still invaded the Helios system using old fashioned gateships and the two commonly known gates (CP-04 and Caprice Prime). This is despite mini-gatedrives being available to the CEF.

            In Black Talon: Return to Cat’s Eye, the term “destroyer” is used for both Terra Novan and CEF forces. The book does not explain that CEF destroyers (IO Class) are 3700 tons with a crew of 300 and that Terra Novan destroyers (Valeria and Richelieu classes) are 1800 tons with a crew of 8. It will require a lot of Terra Nova fleet expansion to defeat the CEF in direct space naval battles.

            I conjecture Terra Novan shipbuilding capability will expand according to the plot needs. In the Spaceship Compendium, Terra Nova did not have the budget for much new construction, but every league other than the UMF can raise taxes!

          3. Jacob Yarce

            I was not aware that the CEF had micro-jump drives like the ones Terra Nova developed for the Fury transport, I guess I will have to go back and read that very carefully to determine if that is true or not.

            To my knowledge, other than the micro-jump drives derived from early jump drones from the early days of jump network exploration, the CEF has not significantly advanced on this area, relying on their ability to produce the juggernauts that are the Tortoise Class gate ships.

            From my understanding, the micro-drive created by Terra Nova is revolutionary, because it is small enough to be fitted on a Fury class transport, without sacrificing payload or capabilities, something that was previously impossible to do.

            As for Terra Nova space assets, we will have to wait for the end of the second CEF invasion to determine how long and how much they will have to develop said assets, but considering the size and damage this second invasion has already delivered, it will take a significant time for Terra Nova to rebuild, much less expand on their space capabilities, but this I know will have to be a priority for them.

            The first CEF invasion was a wake up call for the Terra Novans that the galaxy had changed and drastically so, but while a terrible event the reconstruction phase was relatively short (5 years) and their response was more a matter of farsighted individuals than a determined effort on their part, the Black Talon program, including the Fury transports and eventually the micro-jump drive.

            Now the second CEF invasion will be a completely different matter, it is already a significantly costlier war, that has basically ravaged the south and has the north on the brink of collapse and the New Coalition has basically survived by the skin of their teeth, the southern capital has been ravaged and we have little idea how devastating the damage on the north is so far. Happen what may and while Terra Nova and the factions that we know will survive, the rebuilding will be long and difficult this time.

            This however means that eventually they will have to take the offensive against the CEF, lest they suffer from a third invasion which will be even more savage than the already brutal second invasion and if they want to do that a significant investment into developing the space assets for this counter-offensive will be mandatory.

            For this the micro-jump drive developed for the black talons will be essential in significantly lowering the logistics of such a force as they don’t have to build new gate ships and their fleets can leave a system at their discretion without said necessary gate ships.

  6. Jeremy

    Hi Jacob, can you explain what books you are reading from? My copy of the 2000 RPG book Black Talon Field Guide states, on page 52, that “The ship [Fury] does not have its own Tannhauser Gate generator and must rely on a Gateship to initiate the sequence.”

    I thought you were talking about the mini-gates the CEF used to insert spies to Terra Nova, such as the CEF agent getting the briefing at the beginning of the second edition rulebook or the pictures of the CEF agent getting out of a capsule in the 1997 Crisis of Faith: Storyline Book One. I speculate that those mini-gates probably require a gateship to operate, although I am not sure. There is one short paragraph covering mini-gates on page 66 of Technical Manual, second edition. It is possible mini-gates were discussed more in Blitz.

    By the way, Greg and Jason, have you contacted any DP9 employees to figure out the meaning of the “conspiracy” text on the covers of the Storyline books?

    1. Jacob Yarce

      Hello Jeremy.

      The Micro-jump drive I am referring to is the one used by the black talons after TN 1947, as stated in the Heavy Gear Return to Cats Eye, the new book for the miniature game. Specifically in page 93, in the paragraph of 37 Autumn 1947 and I quote “Terra Nova engineers, working with information and
      scientists recovered from other colonies by the Black Talons, successfully develop a jump drive small enough to be mounted on a Fury shuttle. The drive is capable of opening microgates and can store enough charge for 2-3 jumps, but is highly unstable. With this, Black Talon forces can reach farther afield than before, and have greater operational flexibility.”

      What makes this new Jump drive so revolutionary to the Heavy Gear setting is that it is small enough to be fitted on a Fury shuttle, which is only 120m long without any appreciable loss in carrying capacity, something unheard of before, as the smallest Jump Drives prior to this one where the ones used on Jump Drones back during the early stages of space exploration by the Concordiat and even the the jump drives took up most of the space of the 130m long automated drones.

      Theoretically this new Micro-Jump drive would make those huge logistical nightmares that are the Gate Ships obsolete, as now a jump-drive for a single vessel could be installed on almost any ship without a severe penalty in carrying capacity or space (not to mention power consumption), to make a point, the current Dreadnoughts of the NEC as stated on their source books are 400+m long, using one of the previous small scale drives used by even the small gate drones, it would mean sacrificing the better part of 100m of ship space into a drive (not very convenient, though Star Trek has managed to live with it), with the new drive, the space needed would be significantly smaller, meaning not such a heavy penalty in space and cargo.

      Hope that answers your question

    2. Jacob Yarce

      Hi Jeremy

      The Micro-Jump Drive I am referring to is the one described in Black Talons Return to Cats Eye from the miniature game. In page 93, under 37 Autumn 1947 it is stated that a new Micro-Jump Drive that could open even the newly discovered microgates was developed and subsequently deployed, primarily in the Fury shuttles of the Black Talons teams.

      What makes this development so important is that it creates a new type of jump drive that can use even the smallest yet known microgates to date and is small enough to be used on a Fury shuttle. Prior to this the smallest know and developed jump drives where more than 100m long, expensive and heavy. This new Micro-Jump Drive however is small enough that it does not infringe on the cargo capacity or efficiency of the Fury shuttle and so it is revolutionary.

      For the record, while the NEC and other colonies might know of the new 3rd type of microgates and can use them, only Terra Nova has developed a Jump Drive that is small enough to be fitted in a relatively small ship, without sacrificing payload or capabilities in the process.

      Going forwards into the future depending on how the end of the second CEF invasion of Terra Nova goes, the next step would force a major interstellar war between Terra Nova and the CEF, lest the CEF attempts an even costlier third invasion and so this new Micro-Jump Drive will be essential in significantly diminishing the logistical chain for any Terra Novan force as they no longer would have to rely on the logisitcal nightmares that are the Gate Ships

    3. Post

      We both worked with Robert Dubois for years when we were at Dream Pod 9, and have a solid understanding of the storyline. I will say this ever era in this post has been affected by the group that is having the conversation on the front cover.

  7. Jeremy

    Hi Jacob,

    Thanks for the reference. I guess the mini-gate drive technological development is to allow the CEF not to block the Black Talons using the known Caprice gates and to allow Black Talons to visit other star systems without dragging along a full Terra Novan gateship to Caprice and beyond. While I understand the purpose of the change in the metaplot / gaming experience, it is not very plausible that Terra Nova would become a leader in gatedrive technology when having no experience constructing gatedrives.

    Having just now skimmed the Black Talon Field Guide, Raids and Raiders, Life on Atlantis, Eden and Utopia, and the Blitz Black Talon book, I see no discussion of how Black Talon teams are able to get to systems past Loki/Caprice without a Terra Novan gatsehip operating in the Loki system. Was there ever such a discussion that you are aware of?

    1. Jacob Yarce

      To address your point on the development of the Micro-Gate Drive, it is clearly said that it is based on new principles recently learned in relation to Tannhauser Gates (especifically the use of 3rd type microgates) and of the captured Caprice single jump pod. Furthermore this was done by Werks Raptor in collaboration with Paxton R&D under the auspices of the Westphalia Cabinet that ever since the war of the alliance has been working to defend Terra Nova from future CEF aggression (which they failed at miserably, though not for a lack of trying)

      Furthermore Werks Raptor is one of the most advanced research centers on Terra Nova and have access to resources from all over Terra Nova as well as some later acquired knowledge from the colonies (Utopia primarily, which is at the moment the most advanced Human faction on the Heavy Gear universe, as we don’t know how advanced New Jerusalem or Jottenheim are).

      As for Terra Nova becoming a leader, I am not sure I would use that, merely that they made a insane breakthrough thanks to a combination of new and proven theories, experimental technology that came into their laps and sheer desperation, that kind of combination tends to produce some crazy results even in real life.

      But on a more practical side, I know that this development was partially, if not directly the result of the short union between Activision and DP9 during the Heavy Gear one and two games, how much of that influenced this particular development I am unsure of.

      Also it always struck me as somewhat strange the first deployment to caprice (as described in the Return to Cats Eye book) how can they send a ship that cannot return any sort of information, how they even returned to Terra Nova at the end of the mission is still a mystery to me. But since the deployment of this micro-Jump Drive happens after the end of this first campaign and before the deployments to Utopia, Home, Atlantis, Jottenheim and Caprice once again, it is safe to say that the Black Talon groups 2+ that got deployed already had the micro-Jump Drive installed, so returning was not an issue, like it was with BT1

      1. Jeremy

        Hi Jacob, The Blitz timeline in the Black Talon: Return to Cat’s Eye book has Black Talons being dispatched to Atlantic, Eden and Utopia on 12 Summer 1945, two cycles before the micro-gatedrive is invented on 37 Autumn 1947. So even in the Blitz book that introduces this micro-gatedrive, Terra Novan forces had ways of reaching other systems that can only be reached through Caprice/Loki. Unfortunately, we are not told how this works! This is compatible with the lack of information in the RPG sources I previously mentioned.

        I played the first half of the HG2 video game back when it was released. I ran into some bug that prevented me completing a required mission and I stopped playing rather than starting all over again. I don’t often enjoy first person shooter type games so I was only playing out of interest in the setting. As I recall from other sources including the RPG book Black Talon Field Guide, the CEF had some giant cannon called a Brimstone that was going to fire through what Blitz calls the Caprice Prime gate to shoot at Terra Nova from the Loki system. The Black Talon team commandeered a CEF ship and ended up in combat in space, destroying the weapon. I conjecture (as I never played the conclusion of the video game) that the team slipped back through the gate when the CEF opened it to fire the Brimstone. Blitz retconned the video game plot even more than the RPG books did.

        All of the video game drama is not replicable for an operation to repeatedly send Black Talon teams back and forth from Loki/Caprice and on to other solar systems. Using normal gateships, Terra Nova can send someone to Loki using the micro-gates. I don’t know if micro-gates are big enough for a Fury shuttle or only a capsule with one person onboard. A gateship would need to be in the Loki system to get teams to other systems.

        1. Jacob Yarce

          Hello Jeremy.

          I see your point, and you’re right, the fact that teams where sent to other systems without the aforementioned micro-jump drive is somewhat disappointing, but on the other hand, I will say that it may have something to do with the nature of the microgates.

          It is possible, since so little is known about this new type of gates that they may connect the various systems with only one jump between them, meaning you don’t have to go to Caprice, before going to Utopia for example, you just have to know which microgate connects your system to the desired system and use it. To me at last this answer would make sense, and it seems to be supported by other pieces of the story, specifically the Talon team that sent a message from Jottenheim to Terra Nova, requesting instructions after stalled negotiations. It was my belief that this team used the microgate connecting Terra Nova to Jottenheim to make this request, and so far nothing in the story or sciences seems to dispute this possibility, but again it is not clearly stated or confirmed.

          On a related note it seems that the micro-jump drive used and created by Terra Nova is based on CEF technology, which means that the CEF knows how to manufacture them, as they are used in their single person jump pods.

          On a final note nothing says that the new microgates cannot or do not work like the older known two previous types, the new microgates are simply smaller and harder to detect than the other two previous types, but otherwise function just like any other gate, meaning that if a gateship is used on it, it could keep the gate open long enough for an entire fleet to pass through.

        2. Jacob Yarce

          Hello Jeremy.

          You are right, Terra Nova did indeed launch Black Talon groups before the development of the new micro-drive, but seeing as they had already done something similar before this is not surprising, but again it is not what I would consider a smart move, but to be fair they had to do something to stop the NEC.

          As to how Terra Nova can reach the other colonies without going to Caprice, it is my understanding that this has to do with the new microgates that have been recently discovered. Simply put these new gates seem to allow the connection between several systems, so you can go from Terra Nova to Utopia, or to Terra Nova to Jotenheim by using the gate that connects these two systems. This does not violate any known principle of know Tannhauser gate travel, but it is incredibly convenient. The proof that this may be the case is spelled out in the Paragraph of 13 Winter 1948, where the Black Talon Team sends the information to Terra Nova and awaits further instructions.

          In regards to the capabilities of the new microgates, everything I’ve read points out that the only difference between these newly discovered gates and the older more well known ones is that these new ones are more difficult to detect, but are other wise no different from regular gates. That is if a gate ship was used on a microgate it could still keep the gate open long enough for a whole fleet to pass through.

          On a final note I recently discovered that the development of the new micro-drive is not as miraculous as we once thought. In one of the older story books, specifically “Storyline book 4: Storm on the Horizon” there is a passage stating that the researchers at Werks Raptor under the auspices of the Westphalia Cabinet where reverse engineering a new type of CEF drive, possibly used on the single man slip pods used to infiltrate individuals and material into Terra Nova, that eventually led to the bombing of Peace River, this is also the same type of pod used by Helen del Puciano to infiltrate Terra Nova and form an alliance between Terra Nova and the Liberati on Caprice

      2. Rhoderic

        I’m seeing some jumping to conclusions in this discussion. First, I must ask this: Are the microdrives only featured in the Blitz book Black Talon: Return to Cat’s Eye and not in the old storyline books? If so, microdrives don’t even exist (yet) in the RPG timeline. We’re all talking about the RPG timeline here, right? And we’re all aware the guys at Arkrite Press have declared this to be divergent from the Blitz timeline, right? I’m not saying microdrives might not be introduced with the new Distant Shores sourcebooks, but if they’re not featured in the old storyline books, they don’t “currently” exist.

        The ability of Black Talons to travel past Loki System without / prior to microdrives is a massive plot hole that needs to be fixed. I fear it can only be done with some cheap and ultra-convenient plot device (like having there be microgates that go directly from Helios to the systems at issue) but even that’s better than a gaping plot hole.

        1. Jacob Yarce

          On that note as one of my previous posts will point out, the existence of new types of intersystem gate drives is present in the old storyline books, specifically in the Storyline Book 4 Storm on the Horizon, specifically on page 2-18, where one researcher explicitly claims that they are making headway into the development of new Intersystem Gate Drives, based on captured CEF design, and though a specific date is not given, the Storyline Book 4 is set between TN 1941 and TN 1943.

          So to answer your question, the existence of New types of gate drives do indeed exist in the RPG universe, but how much do they relate to the Blitz drives is unknown and we will have to wait for the books to find out.

          As for the specifics on mircogates, it is largely based on speculation on my part (at least the point-to-point nature of microgates between colonies) but so far there is no directly contradictory information and at least from the Blitz Book, Return to Cats Eye, there is one piece of evidence that may suggest that my idea of the microgates connecting systems through a single use gate may not be incorrect.

          In Black Talons Return to Cats Eye book from Blitz, in the paragraph of 08 Winter 1946 it is stated that group 10 had a difficult time finding a suitable Gate to enter Eden, what a suitable gate means is unclear and you will note that this is before the development of the new micro-drive, which leads to the conclusion of only one Jump between Terra Nova and Eden, as Gate Ships are too expensive to use in mapping uncharted Jump routes, specially for Terra Nova who can barely keep the ones they have operational. This definitely gives credence to the theory that the new microgates do indeed connect all known systems via single jumps as opposed to the chains as presented in other books (both RPG and the Miniature game) or at least that several systems may be interconnected in such a fashion , with Eden and Terra Nova being the most clear examples.

          1. Jeremy

            Good find on Storybook 4, Jacob. I agree that the purpose of that new drive is unclear. Is it of much smaller size or can it go places older gatedrives could not?

            As an old time fan, I am not a fan of faster than light travel between any two arbitrary star systems. Our Milky Way galaxy has between 100 and 400 billion stars. Why restrict oneself to previously settled solar systems if one can travel to any solar system quickly?

            It might be easier to understand how book publishing pressures screwed the timeline up. Maybe the DP9 ran out of book ideas to publish on Caprice and Terra Nova and/or was outsourcing all the books to freelancers. Books about other colonies are easy to outsource to freelancers because they don’t impact the core Terra Nova and less core Caprice settings much. But then gamers want to link these new books to their campaign, and so the impossible happened and Black Talon teams starting traveling the gate network much earlier than had been intended and without much explanation. The pre-video game plan was perhaps the same as my preference: to let Terra Novans conquer Caprice before Terra Novan troops show up on the other colonies.

            Another explanation was the Life on Utopia was published so that Utopian troops could participate in what Blitz eventually called the War for Terra Nova. Indeed, Storyline Book 5 ends with a Utopian fleet entering the Loki system and this operation is referenced in Life on Utopia. Back to book publishing, one can conjecture that Black Talons on Utopia were added at the last minute to link the book to existing RPG campaigns. Supporting evidence is that Black Talons in the Heofon system of Utopia (rather than Utopian troops trying to prevent Black Talons entering the Loki system of Caprice) are mentioned only twice (pages 57 and 75) on Life on Utopia, and the reference on page 75 is to a quite generic campaign idea. Once Life on Utopia was published with Black Talons allegedly on Utopia with little thought, the floodgates opened for two more planetary books with Black Talons on those planets being at least casually mentioned.

            I think many will agree that this post-video game 2 era of RPG publishing was not so exciting.

          2. Jacob Yarce

            Hello Jeremy.

            Let me make a few points.

            1st) I think that the way Heavy Gear has evolved over time has given it a breadth and width rarely seen on other RPG’s specially with such detailed information on so many different factions. On that note I will add that many of these factions have been separated by great technological hurdles that have made them completely unique in a way few other RPG’s have been able to do.

            At the same time they have also managed to keep it very consistent overall (with the most glaring and obvious divergence being the creation of this new micro-jump drive) but at the same time Heavy Gear has also expanded well beyond the borders of Terra Nova and now it is coming to be more in line with other Science-Fiction shows and also a fact of necessity due to the events of the first CEF invasion. Prior to this very important plot point there was no reason for Terra Nova to care to explore beyond their borders as they had more than enough political and storytelling points to continue without any outside interference.

            2nd) From the various books related to space, while the creation of the new micro-jump drive may be a point of contention it is in my opinion only the logical and eventual evolution of a system that has been in development for several millenia now (gate travel has existed in one way or another for more than 2000 years at this point). Furthermore it allows for grander engagements on multiple worlds with a system that can support such deployments (even if it has taken an ungodly amount of time)

            3rd) On one aspect we will have to agree to disagree, and that is how we see the future of the universe. In my opinion I want to see this universe expand, not only to the places it has not visited before (Jotenheim and New Jerusalem) but also to allow more interaction between the different factions.

            In this instance the micro-jump drive is essential as it greatly curve-tails the logistical and economic costs that are the gate ships and allow for more varied encounters on different locations that prior to its invention where either highly impractical or completely unfeasible.

            This combined with the new micro gates that seems to connect systems that where previously completely separated seems to indicate that the future of the Heavy Gear universe will be based on more high scale and high profile conflicts beyond the borders of Terra Nova.

            Remember, that with the exception of the Terra Nova, Jotenheim and New Jerusalem invasions (1st and now 2nd) all contact and conflicts beyond what we have seen on Terra Nova have been extremely small scale, that and Terra Nova will have to take a significantly more proactive stance in regards to the CEF, otherwise they may not survive a third invasion as they have been quite literally utterly ravaged in this second one, from which the reconstruction will be long and hard at a time where their enemy will be seeking more ways to conquer the remaining worlds not under its control.

          3. Rhoderic

            I’m inclined to agree with Jeremy that it would be highly problematic if microgates were to open the whole galaxy (or universe?) to fairly effortless exploration. Microgates should be much more restricted than that. But restricting them makes it feel quite incredulous that there just happened to be microgates conveniently connecting Helios system to some or all of the other colonized systems beyond Caprice. Ultimately I could accept it as a means to an end (I definitely do want Talons on all the colonies), but it does feel a bit cheap.

            Perhaps, then, the best solution is to retcon the development of Terra Novan microdrives to have happened earlier. Still cheap, but not as cheap as circumventing the channels of interstellar travel as we know them in the Web Map.

            I’ve also contemplated some sort of external “fire and forget” gatedrive attached to the outside hull of a Fury and detached upon use, but this idea is problematic as well, for reasons of its own.

          4. Jeremy

            Hi Jacob,

            We don’t disagree about the desire for a wider conflict with interactions between many colonies. I just want this to occur only after Terra Nova somehow invades Caprice in say TN 1975 and after using the gate map and traditional gateships for transportation.

            Note that the storyline starts in TN 1933, so waiting 30 Earth years to go from a state of preparation for a planetary conflict to invading another star system seems like a reasonable time frame, especially that two huge wars (Interpolar War, War for Terra Nova) occur during that period.

            Compared to you, I am definitely an old codger fan, akin to those guys who play clones of basic D&D or AD&D 1st edition. 🙂 I like, for example, the Blitz book on the Southern armies a lot (I read throughout it again last night) but am still annoyed the Humanist Alliance got most of its territory back and even independence from the AST after “peace treaties” at the end of the Interpolar War (how did the Southern Republic get so thoroughly defeated when the North started the war and basically lost?) and managed to train a new preceptor class in seven Earth years. A preceptor should require the equivalent of specialized junior high + high school + college + graduate school. That’s a lot for seven years when the existing teachers are dead and the prime candidates have been killed by a virus. 🙂

          5. Jacob Yarce

            Hello Roderic and Jeremy.

            I understand that the two of you are old-timers who prefer the universe as it was before the Black Talon program and to be fair this program only truly got started as part of the meta-plot because of the Heavy Gear II video game. However retconning all of that history (especially considering how much the Black Talons have done to push the timeline) would be a major breach of the universe.

            Simply put without the Black Talons (and all the story related to them, not the least of which is the micro-jump drive reverse engineered for them) you would have two completely different timelines that would have no hope of being reconciled, you will have the Blitz timeline (the miniature game in which the Black Talons are a huge part of) and the RPG timeline (without the Black Talons, which means a lot of things would have to be completely retconned) simply put these two would exist as separate timelines.

            The best example I can think of what I am saying is the new Star Trek (which is its own timeline, completely different from the TV shows and previous movies).

            Now the other point of contention has to do with the microgates and their impact on the Heavy Gear universe. To be fair the stellar map, present in the Blitz books and in the RPG books is woefully out of date. The reason being it only shows the type one gates, that is the original ones discovered by the Concordat that allowed the creation of the colonies. It does not show the type two gates, discovered somewhere between the fall of the Concordat and the first CEF invasion and it also does not include the microgates (type 3) discovered prior to the first CEF invasion and which have become such a point of contention.

            Personally I would like the Authors of the new books to take this most important information into account and give us an update stellar map, where we can see the types 1, 2 and 3 gates and where they lead, so that we can at least have an understanding of how they relate to the colonies and to the future of transportation in the Heavy Gear universe.

            I will point out that the Black Talons will be included, which means that they are keeping close to the Blitz Timeline (how close and what details will change remains to be seen) so that being said, it is clear that the future of Heavy Gear will deal with the interaction between the CEF and Terra Nova after the end of the second CEF invasion, how this will impact the setting, what technology will be revealed, discovered or created and what will come is pretty much up in the air at this point.

          6. Rhoderic


            You’re mistaken about me being an old-timer. I’m not one at all. Blitz and BT:RtCE existed by the time I got into the Heavy Gear setting (prior to that I was more a fan of the Jovian Chronicles setting, but finally jumped over to Heavy Gear when it became painfully obvious that DP9 was leaving JC by the wayside). The Black Talons to me are a natural and integral part of the setting and, as I said in my previous post, I definitely do want Black Talons on all the colonies.

            The point where I’m agreeing with Jeremy (unless I’ve misunderstood him) is, that it feels terribly arbitrary for there to just happen to be direct microgate connections between Helios and all the other colonized star systems. Of the hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way, the systems of Caprice, Utopia, Atlantis and Eden (at least) happen to be directly connected to Helios by microgates? How many microgates are there in Helios system? Millions? Billions? That feels to me like it’s opening some floodgates that had better stay closed.

            The arbitrariness of these microgate connections is something I could ultimately accept as a means to an end, but it feels terribly cheap and I’d rather have some more sensible solution if one can be found. I’d prefer for microgates to have a general tendency to run “parallel” to the larger gates, thus largely maintaining the integrity of the Web Map which is part of the groundwork of the setting.

        2. Jeremy

          Hi Rhoderic,

          Just so we are on the same page:

          The gaping plot hole applies to both the RPG and Blitz. In the RPG, it came from an attempt to have Terra Novan military units and equipment show up on colonies other than Caprice without much thought.

          The micro-drives are apparently only in one Blitz book and even in that book do not solve the gaping plot hole.

          Myself, I don’t like Black Talons on any colony but Caprice until Terra Nova conquers Caprice, probably after TN 1975 by the eras listed above. My own desires contrast with canon, however, as both Blitz and RPG sources put Black Talon teams on Eden, Atlantis and Utopia in the TN 1940’s, without discussion of how the Terra Novan military units were transported there.

          If one’s conclusion is that RPG products written after the second video game messed things up, I would agree. I am not sure how to fix it.

  8. Iain McGregor

    Jason, this is really ambitious. I’m really only interested in the Blood in the Wind (default) time. I’d happily buy supplements on additions to this period, but not as jazzed about other time periods and off world happens. I’m just worried you guys will go after ever increasingly smaller niches with less returns. I’m guessing you have a plan to engage a bunch of fans whose interest in this property can be almost mutually exclusive. Good luck.

    1. Adam France

      I agree re the other time period sourcebooks seeming a dangerous diversion of resources. It strikes me that there would be diminishing interest in those.

      Personally I would love to see; new Terranovan army books completing what was started with the SRA sourcebook. Books for the yet to be detailed planets (did the Botany Bay sourcebook ever get published? I’ve never been able to find a copy.). Then we get to the really interesting possibility of adding detail to the already somewhat well fleshed out Terranovan Leagues. I’d love to see a sourcebook giving loads more depth and detail to specific cities or regions for example, or other elements of Terranova, such as a book on the Macallen Network, or the Maglev lines for example – perhaps as part of adventure modules(?).

      Other time periods = meh. More depth and detail to the already fantastic Terranova = hell yeah!

      I’m glad to see the pernicious credo of setting vagueness (as championed by D&D4e and WFRP3e, to name but two) is actively opposed by the writers here. That’s very reassuring news. I have long ranted against setting vagueness (‘so GM’s aren’t constrained’), and firmly believe it is not popular – role players (especially GMs) in my experience love detail. It helps to build up the setting, inspires ideas, and helps to create strong attachments to settings. It in no way constrains me to be given detail, as a GM I can always chose what to use and what not, or whether I want to add stuff of my own. For example, (cover your ears purists), I never used landships in my version of the setting, never used the ongoing metaplot (HATE metaplots), and even dropped Terranova into the Battletech setting – and added stuff from that.

  9. Boris


    I’m from Chile. I heard of HG from a friend who bring the first edition from Australia. I loved it.. this was aroun 1998. Years later, as i worked i manage to get the second edition books, league books, etc. Many years ago y felt neglected, Blitz was takin all the atention and we, the roleplayers got abandoned, many promises were made… and then this promising idea appears. I think you’re being ambitious, but i also think HG deserves it. I just want to say: thank you for keeping the flame burning.

    1. Greg

      It always amazes me how far reaching Heavy Gear has been over the years. Glad to know it’s still as dear to you as it is to us.

      1. A.0 (Boris)

        HG it’s an amazing setting, i have a regular party since 2006… We even registered in the forums (Black Talon Unit Register) as the 11th Tactical Insertion Team, “The Heralds of Oblivion”. We’ll be watching the progress, and very glad to help!

  10. Whipblade

    I’m not interested in playing in any time periods before Blood on the Wind. What I do think those periods are good for are creating background questions and mysteries that pull characters into stories. What happened to the Prime Knights? How did they get created and why does it matter to GREL’s of this time period? Where did the stone faces come from that are everywhere? These kind of questions build up the background and provide mysteries for parties to become invested in. Heavy Gear could use more big mysteries like that that aren’t necessarily explained, but provide great motivation for adventures.

    Something I’d really like to see is an improved layout when gears and vehicles are statted out. I always felt like they took WAY too much room. 2 pages for a single gear is just too much. I feel like they could get in what they needed in half a page. If I want to know about background and detailed information on gears – let me buy a book specifically for that! In the core product, I would rather have several vehicles statted out rather than knowing its service record.

  11. namar13766

    I do remember something in Aurora 6.1 about how one fan came up with an entirely original army based around Norse mythology with hovertanks (possibly superior to CEF designs), giant Striders (but no Gear-sized mecha), and battlesuited infantry. If for some reason that’s what Jotunheim ends up being like, I’ll just chuckle and wait for whatever you came up with for New Jerusalem.

  12. Chris

    Hi Everyone,

    I wil openly admit the I am a Black Talon fan all the way. I have around 30 Dark/Claw minis and have one team (the 33rd) ready to go for my gaming group. The reason I enjoy them so much is beacuse 1: it gives the players a chance to travel all over the planet and do various things all James Bond like, 2: they can travel to the diffrent worlds, experiance new cultures, and offers tons of role playing, and 3: going off of the video game and original source book (not a fan of the Blitz book) a small gaming group can do action hero kinda things. With all that said, if I was to pick another timeperiod book to vote for, it would be the Ice Age for the simple reason that it sounds very interesting.

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