“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
They told us that some people are born to be hammers, others are born to be nails.
They told us that our place in the world was to be lined up, beaten down, and put to work until we were broken. For generations the nobles of the Great Houses have looked down on us from high up in the Citadels, growing fat and rich off our sweat and toil.
When the Spore Plague came and blighted the land, they feasted while we starved.
When the stars fell and burned the sky, they profited while we perished.
But when the Titans came to destroy what little we had left, they fled while we stood firm.
In the past, we have allowed them to rule us, to oppress us, to exploit us - but each time they struck us down… we learned. The world about to change - and only those who change with it will survive.
What is Flashback?
Flashback is a next generation RPG with simple, fun and innovative rules where players develop their character by adding to their backstory and building personality traits. The key difference between Flashback and other RPGs is the eponymous advancement system: using storytelling techniques inspired by TV and film, players reveal events and characters from their past to enhance their skills and abilities in the present.
This makes every situation an opportunity for roleplaying and encourages interesting and complex characters to develop through gameplay. Players are rewarded for being creative and engaging with each other - not just the GM.
Flashback is a game for players who love D&D but want their game to have a stronger focus on roleplaying, character growth and storytelling.
Every encounter should be epic and dramatic, and Flashback’s action system is designed to make every combat varied and interesting. Titans: the huge, fearsome beasts that ravage the land and demolish cities are both a map and a monster! Don’t just stand in front of your enemy and strike their ankles: Climb up their legs, leap onto their back, and scale their limbs to strike at their weak-points and protect the Empire!
Fighting is deadly and dangerous business, so Flashback includes unique and innovative system for handling Social Conflicts. Wear down your opponent’s Confidence score with your words and actions - Negotiate with your foes, persuade them to surrender, inspire them to join your side! Wounds acquired from loss of confidence represent serious psychological trauma and must be healed and treated as if they were physical Wounds. A character might develop a genuine limp or a twitch from extensive bullying, or they might become nervous and clumsy after repeated intimidation.
To the character, these scars are real.
No matter what your playstyle is, the Flashback mechanic ensures that your character’s personality and backstory will grow as you advance. At any time, a player can choose to reveal an element of their past to the group in order to gain an advantage on a skill roll. The advancement system allows everyone at the table to participate and weave their own stories together, creating a single intertwining narrative that enriches the world and gives the GM an endless source of ideas for future campaigns and adventure hooks!
Although the Flashback RPG system can be used to run games in any setting, we wanted to supply a rich, vibrant and comprehensive canonical Fantasy-Steampunk themed world for you to explore. The continent of Eridani is specifically written to work in conjunction with the Flashback Advancement system - players can use the organisations, locations and characters to give colour to their backstories and still have the freedom to combine their own narratives with ongoing world events.
Reychester is the second largest city in the empire after the Capital, Criar. Home to the largest industrial centre, the Reychester Ironworks, the city is fully powered by steam energy from the massive underground steam-engine known as The Core.
More than 90% of Reychester is under the direct control of House Blackspring. Lord Nimo Weston Blackspring oversees all activity within the city through a complex hierarchy of aristocratic control.
Lord Nimo leases Reychester's individual businesses and manufactories to nobles and aristocrats from lesser houses. These businesses are encouraged to compete with each other in an effort to outperform their peers. House Blackspring then imposes a kind of economic "survival of the fittest" - those that succeed are lauded upon with licenses to operate larger and more productive facilities, while the less productive leases are unceremoniously terminated.
This kind of aggressive competition is good for the consumer, which happens to be House Blackspring itself. The lease arrangement forbids the sale of goods or services to other entities, so House Blackspring is then able to re-sell all of Reychester's manufacturing output at a tidy premium. The productivity of a business is measured by the value of goods sold directly to House Blackspring, so there is very little incentive to establish a black market. In addition, Lord Nimo and the other senior aristocrats have the right to withdraw a lease or license for any reason, so corporations rarely step out of line.
Only a small handful of Criar's inhabitants see the full benefit of the city's prosperity. The owners of ships, wharves, trains and rail-yards form syndicates to charge fixed prices for the use of their assets so they don't have to compete with each other on prices. Lamniforth Harbour has only so much shoreline and Bullhead Terminal has a fixed number of rail lines, so as long as traffic remains high they don't have to worry about competition from outside sources. Meanwhile, the workers, laborers and traders that they employ are in constant competition with each other for work at these establishments. There are more people than jobs in most areas, so workers must always outbid each other or risk being not paid at all.
Unlike most cities of its size, Criar does not have a Citadel. Instead, most of the wealthy live aboard huge luxury ships known as Havens. The majority of the rest of the city consists of slums and shanty-towns that house the less-fortunate citizens of the metropolis. These areas are rife with crime, poverty and disease - particularly the spore sickness which has spread quickly through the poor areas of Criar.
Far, far away from the bright, thundering, steam-powered heartland of the empire is the Frontier.
Life is tough out there: folks live by their wits and die by their own stupidity. No titles, ranks or houses - they say that when you live out on the Frontier, you leave your name behind.
Many Frontier folk are outlaws, pirates, rebels or revolutionaries, driven to the very fringes of the Empire by the Coldstream Guards or the Imperial Navy. It's a lawless place where only the strongest survive. If that doesn't make life hard enough, these wild and savage lands are home to many dangerous creatures - Titans, Void-Creatures and worse...
- Beginner friendly: Character creation is short (you start playing immediately and shape your personality as you go) and new players don’t need to read volumes of class options before they start. We also have used TV and movie terminology (Director, Scene, Conflict, etc) to make it approachable for non-RPG players.
- Interesting Decisions: Conflict uses a dice pool resource mechanic (Stamina) so that players have control over the odds of their actions. Players always need to ask themselves “do I want to succeed now or save my stamina for later?” - this means that players are always considering resources even out of turn.
- Player Interaction: The Flashback advancement mechanic distributes the storyteller role the whole group instead of just the GM. Player backstories easily intertwine, leading to dramatic moments and theatrical entertainment. Player interaction is rewarded directly rewarded in game which encourages more introverted players to participate.
- Unique Experience: Roleplaying games have the potential to open our minds in ways that no other games can, but most of the time we stick to the same old one-dimensional archetypes that fill every uninspiring fantasy setting. We want to provide a framework that breaks down the classic RPG stereotypes and lets players see the world through different eyes.