I’ve heard it theorized that all the world loves an artist - an author, an illustrator, a painter - for one reason: they’re a Godly - or rather, Godlike - people. After all, they create worlds. Maybe that’s the pretension of the artiste speaking, or maybe it’s the nature, the overwhelming desire of the consumer, desperate to transform paint-strokes and written-word into something wondrous. Ever since the digital age, and the advent of virtual reality, pretension and desire has fused into one central conceit: the creation of a new world, a new reality, perfect and whole. Altera was one of three. A second world, presented through a polarizing medium - a game. Many noted the triviality of it, to apply such grand aspirations to something so frivolous. Some even viewed it as arrogance. Nonetheless, we pressed on because we decided it had value. Years and years later, cycle after cycle, Altera became real. A game set in a fantastical world, each and every single one of its players able to access, to feel, magic that had been lost to most of us. A world in which we were characters - protagonists - free to create our own story. And all was well… except… we were escapists… Selective realism: one of the core concepts of stories, of movies, books and games. We allow the endless skies and upside down mountains of fantastical worlds to distract us from the grey of our own bleakness, indulge in stories of chain-breaking heroism to forget the hardships that oppress us. No one truly wants a second world, not with all its calamity and monstrosity - we only wanted a dream, one we could retreat to whenever we wished. But something has gone horribly wrong… Altera is real. Hey folks! Welcome to PatchWorld! Originally, this was going to be a WaRP submission, but for a variety of reasons, I'm opting to forego that route. Conceptually, this is a play on the 'stuck in video game for real' trope, made popular by works of fiction such as Sword Art Online and Log Horizon. These works sometimes do things really well, and sometimes do things really poorly - and my hope is to expand on the things they do right, and tackle the things they don't. The goal for PatchWorld is to run it through multiple roleplays, each occurring concurrently, but with a different cast. The forecasted RPs are as follows. VANGUARD: The most Advanced of the Altera players take it upon themselves to uncover what has happened. In the darkness, mired by fear, they band together to explore the world which has become their new surreal reality, hoping to pave the way to survival. This will be the most straight-up Action-Adventure oriented of the lot, although all of them will have some element of that. Projected Player Count: 4-8 ITERATION: Having bid the characters of 'VANGUARD' farewell, the lead parties of 'ITERATION' must find their own ways of survival, to function in this new world - they begin in Thyrvald, the central hub of the game-world. Players will be free to play as Altera Player-Characters or Non-Player-Characters, in a world filled with social intrigue, dangerous plots, and magical surrealism. This will be less Action-Adventure oriented, and perhaps more introspective than VANGUARD. Projected Player Count: 4-10 Please, feel free to chime in if you're interested in either! Also, here is a teaser for Altera's lore and mechanics.! CORE-HISTORY The First World Altera The First World is known as Earth. That we ever came into being is nothing short of miraculous. Particle after particle gathering in an accretion disk, forming a world of volcanic matter and ocean unable to sustain even the simplest speck of life. Happenstance and the unfathomable occurred, bringing unto this primordial world of ours water, oxygen, bacterium, life, and us. ‘Us’ as it happened, may have been a terrible mistake. From nomadic hunter-gatherers to antiquated rulers of fiefdoms and conquerors, to industrialists with a penchant for the despotic, to exploitative drones of the cyberage. We have been typically unkind to the world, though we sometimes argue that the world is in turn unkind to us. Few subjects encapsulate the concept of ‘Us’ as succinctly as the life and near-death of Magic. The first confirmed practitioners existed amongst the warring Xiongnu tribe of China, breathers of fire and controllers of stone who required the construction of a Great Wall to stop them. They would spring into existence in more and more continents. They were manipulators of the elements who brought about wonders, their brilliance leading to the Industrial Revolution in the year 921 AC. The story of ‘Us’, however, is a story of wasteful exploitation - these Magi have been near-extinct for almost a century, worked to the bone and drained to husks by our thirst for acceleration and growth. Now, their penchant for the wondrous has been supplanted by the digital. The current year is 1412 AC, the Cyber-Age. Altera is one of three ‘cyber-realities’, their creation a priority both as a matter of virtual science and as monument to natural human arrogance. They are simulations of unfathomable scale, constructed by an infinitesimal amount of mathematical calculations and the minute, ongoing decisions of artificial intelligence systems. The three cyber-realities are as follows: Simulacrum, where time is accelerated and the environment selectively tampered with to forecast human influence on Earth; Providence, a test-world created as proof of concept and perfected as proof of capability; and Altera, a world fashioned by the artistes, and a game, a fantastical escape for the masses. Altera is molded in the image of Earth, pervaded with fantasy elements; an inordinately high presence of magic, creatively drawn and designed monsters, ivory castles and ebony high-towers. Players interact with magical world and esoteric NPC, encouraged to commune with others, explore, or to take part in combat-ridden adventures. ‘Bosses’ exist to vanquish for treasured weapons and armor, to assist in the vanquishing of stronger opponents - an addictive cycle that feeds itself. It is, however, not merely a game - it’s a second reality (without, thankfully, the possibility of permanent death). Monsters exist within the contexts of carefully curated ecosystems, while castles and tower erode beneath the torrential weight of storms. NPCs have thoughts, feelings, and emotions, as do the various ‘Bosses’ - each bestowed with their own backstory and grand ambitions. On the other hand, Players are neurally affected, their minds tricked into ‘believing’ - for the duration of their play-session - that the fluidity, the weapon-proficient, combat-ready motions of their in-game character is really their own. One week after Altera’s launch, its players found themselves stranded within the cyber-reality.