The Zeotis, as a setting, is the Tab Creations Collective's oldest. It dates back to the very beginnings of Tab Creations, back to 1993, when Tab Creations' focus was still primarily on comics and not on role-playing games.
In those early days the setting began with a handful of superheroes created by the various members of the Collective , and then a variety of supervillains were created to combat them. From there the setting began to grow, remaining Tab Creations' biggest focus until 1998, when work began on the Swords & Arrows Role-Playing Game and the Trystell fantasy setting. Even then it was intended that the Zeotis would get its own roleplaying game using the same system. Plans were drawn up, yet they never came to fruition, and the Zeotis slowly fell by the wayside. Until now!
Since those early days the Zeotis setting has undergone at least two major revisions, as well as major expansions and oversight to add some degree of continuity and internal consistency to the setting —although it is a supers setting, and in the supers genre, bold characters and larger-than-life personalities loom larger than mere setting verisimilitude.
So here it is. Welcome to the first official release of the the Zeotis setting in a role-playing game format. Designed for use with our Saga Machine rules system, this booklet — along with the Saga Machine core rulebook — should contain everything you need to write and run your own campaign set in the Zeotis universe.
So go find some players, come up with some colorful concepts and get your game stared. We hope you enjoy the ride.
Themes & Assumptions
There is something of a paradox at the core of any supers role-playing game setting: Supers settings by long-standing tradition focus first and foremost on the lives, powers and personalities of their star characters. In any individual title, the themes and personalities of that title take precedent over any continuity and themes for the supers world as a whole. And in a supers game, that's perhaps as it should be.
Because of that, supers role-playing settings benefit from being somewhat “generic,” so as to allow player characters and their personal themes to easily assume that title role and limelight in the setting. It should be noted then that while this booklet details a number of cannon elements to the Zeotis setting, and a number of signature characters, they are meant to be used as background by the GM. While it might be interesting to have one of the cannon superheroes guest star for the session — or even be a sympathetic antagonistic for a session — these signature characters should not overshadow the player characters of the campaign, and at the end of the day, should retire back to somewhere in the background.
All things being equal, though, the Zeotis setting was written to have some underlying sets of assumptions to it. There are a wide range of supers stories out there, and the basic themes and assumptions of supers universes has changed many times over their long history.
That said, the Zeotis setting has something of a "Bronze Age" feel to it. Heroes are larger than life, although not as absurdly powerful as the heroes of the "Silver Age." Darker social issues and circumstances are not shied away from, yet heroes are generally still recognizably heroes—with their bright costumes and their altruistic agendas — not really the brooding anti-heroes of the "Iron Age."
If these terms for the different eras of supers confuse you, don't worry. They get described in detail later in this booklet.
Naturally, this booklet is meant for use with the Saga Machine role-playing system. And as a Saga Machine product, a variety of optional modules are used to create the feel of a supers setting. Which modules and options are in use are detailed below.
- Supers Module: A new module presented in this booklet, the Super Module details a variety of new rules meant to emulate the supers genre, as well as tweaking the options used by the other modules.
- Character Design Module: The Character Design Module is fully in use for the Zeotis setting, albeit with a number of new options presented by the Supers Module. Of note are the various supers arrays for generating stats, and the bid system for super power limitations.
- Combat Module: The combat module is, of course, in use, as spectacular combats are a staple of the genre. Of the Combat Module options, both the Hit Points variant and abstract movement are turned on.
- Environment Module: The Environment Module presented in the Saga Machine core rulebook is not used. It is largely replaced by the Supers Module.
- Mental Module: The Mental Module is in use, although a new variant on the usual Focus and Composure Track in in use, and presented as part of the Super Module.
- Social Module: While the Abstract Wealth system is poached by the Supers Module, the Social Module is not otherwise in use with the Zeotis setting.