Agents of Syn Logo
Agents of Syn

So what is this thing anyway?

Tabletop RPG Living World

A Living World World RPG is a perpetual tabletop role playing campaign comprised of many different players & many different Game Masters running one-shot style games. Sometimes it's called West Marches style campaigns, but we prefer the term "Living World".

Games are ran as "missions", which will be posted by GMs when they have the time to run them & players join them usually freely if they are available during that time frame. Sessions generally last a normal TTRPG length of 2 to 4hrs.

Both players & GMs must be approved before joining into a game. Character progress will be tracked on this website & characters will gain advancements based on how many sessions they play or sometimes, what type of sessions they play.

Other names may be "Living Campaigns", "Shared Campaigns", or "Living RPG". Wikipedia even has an article about it here.

Some other examples of this are r/RunnerHub for Shadowrun, Pathfinder Society, Starfinder Society, or Star Trek Adventures.

FoundryVTT

FoundryVTT Small Log

We will be using FoundryVTT. If you're not familiar with this Virtual Table Top, it is a very feature rich self-hosted virtual tabletop. But don't worry, I will handle the hosting. Going by their TOS, as long as only 1 game is running at a time, then any number of GMs can run games.

Players will play for free!

FoundryVTT is also fairly new & more features are coming. The first thing I plan on building (and honestly the main reason for this site other than SEO) is for GMs to setup games without having to log in to Foundry directly. I even have plans to make custom extensions for Crystal Heart for us, once the new version hits production.

The one downside of the system, is currently it's very heavy on your computer resources. Hopefully they address this with time, but for now you can't use a low end machine to play a game. Sorry. If this is a problem, we'll try to figure out how to work around the situation for you.

Savage Worlds

Savage Worlds is a generic role playing system published by Pinnacle Entertainment Group Inc, that is based on the concept of being "Fast, Furious, & Fun!", and it is! We use the current version called Savage Worlds Adventure Edition or SWADE.

If you'd like to purchase a copy of SWADE we suggest buying from Pinnacle's site, because you get a free PDF with the hardcover version, or you can just buy the PDF alone. You will probably need this to play the game.

SWADE on PegInc.com

However, if you'd like to buy it on Amazon instead you can find it here:
SWADE on Amazon.com

Here is the description from the official site, which can be found here:

Savage Worlds is the core ruleset for all of Pinnacle's roleplaying games.

The current version is the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition, or “SWADE.”

Savage Worlds has everything you need to play narrative or miniature-based games, with quick, simple, yet comprehensive rules for everything from combat to Dramatic Tasks, Chases, and Interludes. The emphasis is on less bookkeeping for the Game Master so she can quickly and easily create worlds and adventures for any setting and focus on the players and their actions to keep the action and story rocketing along.

There are a number of great Savage Worlds settings, the original setting is Deadlands a "Weird West" supernatural world set in the Wild West, like 50 Fathoms a fantasy Pirate themed game, East Texas University where you play a college student protecting your campus from ghosts & ghouls, & many more which you can find on their site here or on DriveThruRPG here.

Here we will be using a licensed, but unofficial, setting called Crystal Heart.

Crystal Heart

Crystal Heart Logo

The SWADE setting we use on Agents of Syn, is called Crystal Heart, which is based on a web comic of the same name where they play the game itself! This setting is technically a Post-Apocalyptic setting, but it's set about 800 years after the fall of human civilization called the "Bygone Age". There are elements Fantasy, Diesel or Steam Punk, & a little SciFi.

Here is an explanation from the free Starter Set, which you can download here, it says this about the world:

About 800 years ago, human civilization ended. Even the best experts know little about the people who came before, and no one knows why their powerful society was annihilated. The person on the street only knows that several centuries ago, history began almost from scratch.
...
One island might have a Bygone Age forcefield that keeps everyone inside healthy
...
One Fjordstadian city might have cars, and many of them have electric street lights, but these are seen as trade secrets to be kept hidden from rivals.

In short, it's a freaking cool setting.

For the most part, this is an all human setting. However, people in this world have hearts made of stone.

In the free starter set, it says this about human hearts:

In the world of Crystal Heart, human hearts are not flesh-and-blood. They are hard, gemlike objects, changing slightly in shape and greatly in color between individuals. At birth, the heart is only a small, colorless pebble. As the person grows, developing a personality and a world view, the heart solidifies into a unique shape and hue.

Resources & Downloads

Below you can find a list of the various resources to learn more about the world of Cyrstal Heart.

The Syn organization

Syn Logo

The Syn is the organization players will be working for. They are a mysterious organization, who recruits special agents & replaces their hearts with a harness that allows them to harness the power of the Crystals while sending them on missions to find more Crystals.

From the start set:

About 20 years ago, an organization named Syn began recruiting and training special Agents, replacing their hearts with harnesses a never-seen-before technology. Syn existed for some time before this, but it was the arrival of the Agents that brought the organization to the public's eye. Most Agents are trained as Crystal Hunters. Syn's intelligence team provides them with a designated route to follow for several months, usually passing through two Lands. During a hunt the Agents are expected to follow the rumors Syn has gathered beforehand, as well as to explore on their own and recover any Crystals found. At the end of a route the group returns to Syn's headquarters: a huge, high-tech flying citadel.

The Agents have a single overarching goal in mind: Find & retrieve Crystals.

Crystals

The crystals in Crystal Heart are at the root of the main goal of everything player will be doing. Missions may have other things happen & sometimes Agents may need to rescue people or take down an evil ruler.

The crystals are unique to this setting. They have their own Rank, Powers, & Disposition. A player is not tied to a single crystal & can change their crystal under the right circumstances. When a player slots a new crystal, they will gain new Edges, Powers, & even Hindrances.

Tracking found crystals

May 22, 2021 - This still hasn't started yet. We can probably start tracking found crystals through a simple Google doc. But if you notice, this page has a login button. Eventually, I'll put together a simple way to track crystals.

Players and tracking them

May 22, 2021 - The same as above. At first we'll probably use a Google doc. But I can flesh something better out with a little time.

With Savage Worlds, players don't have hit-points or levels. They have Ranks. In order to keep players from advancing too quickly, we will scale up the amount of missions required to gain an advancement. This is subject to change if it doesn't work, but the idea is to keep players from getting too powerful too quickly.

It takes multiple advances to gain a new rank. Below are the requirements for a rank to achieve an advancement.

Rank Req. Missions to gain advance
Novice 1 mission
Seasoned 2 missions
Veteran 3 missions
Heroic 5 missions
Legendary unachievable*

Read more about advancement on the Our World page.

Once players reach Heroic, they can probably retire their character & let it become a Free Agent NPC that exists in the world in a place of their choosing or they can probably keep playing that character without gaining advancements. It should be up to them.

Making a character

To build a character, you should follow the rules in the Cyrstal Heart book.

If you haven't yet purchased the book or need additional guidance, check out the Creating a Crystal Heart character page.

It's worth noting that Savaged.us supports Crystal Heart if you're on the paid tier. If you don't know how to load a setting (I didn't!) then here is a quick video on how to do that.

If you have a subscription to the character creator Savaged.us, they support Crystal Heart... but only on the paid tier. You can still create your character there on the free tier, it just takes more manual work. If you need help, just ask in Discord.

You can also create your character yourself on paper, if you'd like. It's up to you.

But all characters must be approved before being allowed to play. Just submit your character in Discord in any format you want, preferably copyable text of some sort, but JSON from Savaged.us or just a text block will work too.

Becoming a GM

For now, it's an easy process. We need GMs! All you need to do is join the Discord then make a post here.

You'll likely be approved immediately. It's just nice to know who we're approving.

Missions

GMs will either be creating their missions via homebrew, buying 1 shots from DriveThruRPG, or use the "Chasing Leads" mechanics & letting the players create the story!


That's it for now! I hope to see you around the Discord soon!