From "Beta 1e Core Rules" Introduction:
Earth Delta is a roleplaying game of adventure, action, excitement, and psychic mutant badgers. It is inspired by classic "post apocalyptic" role playing games, most especially older edition of Gamma World and Metamorphosis Alpha, but also draws considerably from films like "Wizards", comic books like "Kamandi", and 1980s cartoons like "Thundarr, The Barbarian". It is a game set in a world ravaged by war and now utterly transformed, a world where beasts walk on two legs and plot against humans, where plantmen walk side-by-side with robotic war machines, where even ordinary men and women can perform feats of extraordinary power. In this setting, you may face foes armed with everything from stone knives to high-tech death rays, you may battle simple bandits or gargantuan, lightning-breathing mutant crocodiles, you may explore ruined cities which reach across the horizon or slog through dense jungles. You may even look down on the ruined Earth from an orbital city, or find a sub-sea civilization still secure within its dome of synthetic diamond a foot thick.
While it draws stylistic inspiration from much older games, it uses rules from modern games... specifically, it is built on the rules for the Fourth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, and this document assumes both possession of and familiarity with those rules, which are essential for play.
Earth Delta is designed to allow play in a variety of styles, from all-out gonzo to relatively serious. The nature of the rules system and the design choices mean that, regardless of style or tone, there will be a general focus on action, conflict, daring deeds, and dismal (but possibly hilarious) failures. It is possible to play campaign where a mutant rosebush shares genes with a spider and her allies are a rabbit obsessed with ancient science and a vicious robot nanny intent on "disciplining" any "naughty" enemies with a built-in sledgehammer, or you may have a campaign featuring only "normal" humans, struggling to survive and possibly rebuild the world. Earth Delta provides the rules; you decide how to apply them, how serious or silly you want to be.
This book contains the core rules, intended for players and DMs.
Here are the goals I set forth when I began this project in February 2010, having no idea just how long it would take to get to the Beta state. These goals have not changed, and I believe Earth Delta meets them all, to varying degrees of completeness. The goals of Earth Delta are:
- Capture the spirit of old-style Gamma World, especially the first and second editions, and of the sources which inspired it or which seemed to draw inspiration from it: Hiero's Journey, Heinlein's Orphans Of The Sky, Metamorphosis Alpha, Kamandi, Thundarr, Wasteland, Fallout, and anything else with mutants and mayhem.
- Create a game which is balanced and playable. This isn't a beer-and-pretzels game (though it can be) or one where you create "wacky" throwaway characters. Nor is it one where random luck determines if you're useful. One of the Unchanged is just as powerful as a winged grizzly bear with laser eyes.
- Allow for the playing of winged grizzly bears with laser eyes.
- Be balanced with standard 4e rules, so there's minimal work involved in taking creatures, or characters, from this game into D&D.
Mad? They dared to call me mad? Well, we'll see how it goes.
What you are holding in your hand... or, more probably, looking at on your screen... is the "Beta" version of the rules for Earth Delta. What this means is that the core mechanics are very unlikely to change. There has been some playtesting, and it's been determined things work well enough as a framework. What may change -- what almost certainly will change -- is small details, if an ability gives a +1 or a +2, if a power belongs in the third level or the seventh, if it should stun or daze, and so on.
This document focuses very heavily on the first ten levels of play, the "Heroic Tier". There is quite a bit of material which goes beyond that, especially in the form of higher-level mutations and technological items, but the Earth Delta is really only "complete" to level 10... there are very few monsters, class powers, paragon paths, and so on beyond this level. As the Beta becomes more solid, more higher-level material will be added, and of course players and DMs are free to make their own... and send it to me, if they wish, for possible inclusion.