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What is Gears of Defiance?
Gears of Defiance is an upcoming steampunk RPG about family, revolution, radicalism, and living under oppression. The players at the table take on the roles of characters tied to eachother through the bonds of family, forced to live as second class citizens, called Gears, under the cruel watch of the Evil Empire.
How far will you let them push you until you push back? First, they came for your countrymen. Next, they came for your friends. Now, they are coming for your family. Will you sit back and take it or will you bring the fight to the Empire? Gears of Defiance is a study on revolution and the process of radicalization in an RPG setting. It is a cross between Les Miserables and The Last Exile, drawing from historical accounts of actual revolutions as well as familiar pop culture examples.
Gears of Defiance does not take place at any real point in time or any specific place. The details of the setting, including the level of technology and location and size of the city are determined by the players during the Founding Session. This session will also establish who the Empire is, where they came from, how they maintain control, and why exactly they treat the Family as second class Gears in their oppressive machine.
The game is designed to force players to imagine a world where they have been stripped of their privelage; where they aren't alllowed to work, shop, or even cross the street without harrassement. For many in our world, this isn't a game — it is their real life. Players will experience what it might be like to live in that situation, where you have only your family and close allies beside you, forced to perform illegal acts against the Empire in order to survive.
The bonds between family will be tested, as you must stick your neck out for others to survive, and you must rely on those bonds to carry you through. The game will put pressure on you, force you to make rapid fire decisions that can change the direction your character is headed. The Alignment Matrix sits at the core of Gears of Defiance, a grid that tracks your character's political ideologies. The goal may be to bring down the Empire and win freedom and equal rights for your countrymen, but if you become a Tyrant in the process, aren't you replacing one evil with another? Balancing your character on the Alignment Matrix will be a key motivator for in-game decisions.
Gears of Defiance is live on Kickstarter now! You can find out more here.