Earth: The Opening
"But unlike the dinosaurs, we are not simply the comptemporaries of a mass extinction -- we are the reason for it."
Since this millenium began we've seen lots of changes in the world, from the revised UN to the rise of other super powers. We've seen the so-called Baby Laws, the Tree-Hugger war and the on-going backlash resulting from the whole Jerusalem incident. We've been lucky enough to avoid a world war, but no ones quite sure how. The only benefit to the increased military capacity of nations is that, thanks to A-Bombs and the like, if we wake up in the morning alive we can be pretty sure war wasn't declared. If we don't wake up ever again, it was.
- The State of The World (1998)
As our parents did, we've considered ourselves the gods of this world. We've used her and abused her like a cheap whore. We've spent the last 30 years -- perhaps since the so-called Industrial "Revolution" began -- pretending that we are the last generation, that there will be none after us. How else do you explain the prolificity of the End Time Prophets or the mess we've made of this world. Somehow, in spite of the cancer thats become humanity, the worlds kept on going and we're slowly but surely turning in on ourselves. It would be a facinating experiment to witness, if anyone would be alive afterwards. But now we’re being called to pay for whats been done, by those we’ve harmed. We've reached hell eagerly, making the whole Earth our handbasket, and now the animals are judging us. Maybe its the final days. Maybe its just no more than we deserve.
- Dr. Charles McDonald [HVid A234HTW09] "A Brief Summary Of The World In 30 Seconds or Less."
Welcome to the world of earth. A world rife with danger, corruption, fanaticism, mass exterminations and the other wonderful things mankind has produced. Its a world in turmoil, with people seeing the road we've been on for over ten thousand years is not just a dead-end, but a cliff face we're about to fall off. Everyone knows it, but no ones found a way to step away from it. Until the animals began to speak to us. Now we think we're mad ... or worse, we begin to believe in magic. The world is wider than the boundaries we've made for it, and some feel the ending is about to begin. Madness is in the air, especially for those who deny it.
The world is crying out for help ... do you have the courage to answer?
Everybody had to believe in magic. Nobody believed in magic. He didn’t believe in magic. Magic didn’t believe in magic.
The year is 2107. Cohen was wrong. The only thing anything can truly believe in is itself, or else they go mad. Magic always was, just as it has always been believed in. Humans had lost magic roughly 10 000 years ago, during a change in culture that swept the globe and unified humanity. It almost destroyed it. However, nothing in nature can truly by destroyed, only changed. The magic was recalled by the animals, who in the human year 2102 AD reclaimed that power and the world would never be the same again. Animals could now speak to humans, demanding far better that any rights group for their land. They began to gain rights to vote, to protect their lands and ways of life. Within 3 months, no human could enter the amazon rain forests and emerge alive.
- Leonard Cohen, “The Favourite Game”
The great war humanity was on the brink of - the resources war - ground to a halt as a new, and more insidious, enemy reared its head: the rest of the world. It was humanity against all, with few allies and fewer who could use the magical energy field. Most of those who could feel it during the first year were the outcasts, the “native” Indians, Inuit and the few tribes remaining in Africa and South America. They did not wish to give this knowledge to those who would use it for evil ends. They sold their secrets dearly and many died rather than give in. However, in many places the native people had long had their heritage crippled by drugs, alcohol and loss of their own culture had given up many secrets and slowly but surely the use of magic has begun to return to humans.
Purpose of This Game
I find it valid to understand man as an animal before I am prepared to know him as a man.
Earth: The Opening is a role-playing game set on a future earth with many differences from our own. The largest is that magic has only recently and for unknown reasons returned to the world. The other difference is that as a result of this, humans are once again capable of understanding the speech of other animals. How many people have heard people claim that animals can only have rights when they ask for them? Well, they are.
- John Steinbeck
That is the purpose of the game: to examine the relation between humans and other species and what it would take to get humans to accept that they are just another animal. The scenario in this game is based on the idea that animals and humans once spoke the same language, or at least understood each other. They forgot how over time, and as a result the bond of species with species broke. Consider that we are the only species to deliberately murder other species, for nothing more than commercial reasons. This alone causes the human race to be despised by other animals. Animals the humans have corrupted (i.e. domesticated) are also shunned. One result of this is many domestic animals going wild and essentially killing their owners in a bid for acceptance among other animals. However, such an act just makes other animals think the killers are insane. The slaves of humanity are almost in a worse situation than humans.
The Opening is the regaining of magic, both because it provides a way to allow communication with animals and because it adds another dimension to the story -- that of a new danger. Humans have historically shown a distressing tendency to use any power, regardless of what it could do or who it could kill as well as choosing knowledge over wisdom time and time again. Our humanocentric view has allowed us to think we rule the world and to try and crush any other species that could even remotely oppose us. Now consider how this view point reacts when realising that many other species are as smart as humanity, and some are more intelligent.
The result of this is a war between humans and animals, with humans knowing they are the minority but having the weapons to do much damage if need be. Humanity has often considered ourselves superior, and this trait will not die without a long and bitter struggle. Animals are unsure whether humanity still deserves to live and the world is moving closer to a war of unprecedented fury every hour, it seems.
This is where you, the players, come in -- do you advance this war, fighting on one side or another, for magic of science, or are you trying to halt the war and prevent all sides from killing each other? Only you can answer this and, perhaps, prevent the war that many predict is destined to come . . .