| Multiverser® is a true multi-genre game. There are many games which cannot be pinned down to one genre, and the meanings of such designations as "universal", "generic", and "cross-genre" are much debated.
Those with no experience in Multiverser immediately compare it with one of several other games, and misunderstand the concept entirely. There are rules systems which are easily adapted so that you can use them to play any genre; you can create super-heroes characters, or space adventures, or medieval fantasy worlds, or whatever your gaming group desires. And after playing these adventures, if you tire of them, you can throw them away and start a new game in a new world with new characters, but still use the same basic rules so that no one has to learn a new game system. That's not what Multiverser® is like at all. There are a few games in which different worlds have collided, where wizards and robots each have a place in which they thrive, and player characters may wander the world and encounter any of them. That's not Multiverser® either. The verser moves from universe to universe as part of the adventure. He might begin the weekend on board a spaceship, find himself on Her Majesty's Secret Service by Saturday afternoon, and be knocking on Merlin's door before dinner on Sunday. He might, on the other hand, be doing any one of those things for months, while his fellow players explore other worlds. During the same evening, one player could be rescuing a king from the castle of his half-brother, another could be battling pirates at sea or in space, a third fighting vampires now or a thousand years ago, a fourth deeply involved in philosophical debates with creatures from another dimension. There are no limits on the kinds of adventures which players can have, and often there will be many different kinds of adventures happening during the same game session.
You're right--it's not an easy game to run; juggling several players in different stories at the same time is challenging for the referee.But it's a great deal of fun for both the referee and the players. Besides, the book is full of ways to make it run smoother, from shuffling a player character into a long-term project he's going to have to think about for a while to leaving him hanging over the precipice dying of suspense while one of the other stories moves forward, and much more. We've run this game for years, and worked out a lot of the kinks. It's not as difficult as you expect--as evidenced by the fact that one of our referees is an eighth grader who runs games over lunch in the cafeteria.
But on with the experience. All of this is possible because of the mechanic we call "bias". It infects everything in the game--skills, characters, and worlds are all biased. When people understand what it does and how it works, they are amazed that something so simple could do so much so easily.
A magical world should always be a magical world; and a magically-skilled character should be very powerful in such a world. A science fiction setting should always be high-tech, and technologically trained characters should do well in them. All games do this easily enough. The problem arises when the wizard boards the space ship, or the space marine lands in Camelot. At this point, games either strip the out-of-place character of all of his skills or let him run roughshod over a scenario which has no defense against his power. Bias solves that problem. It becomes part of the skills equation such that the referee can determine quickly and easily how much magic and how much technology is possible in each world, and it does it in a way which doesn't tip the players as to the nature of the world until they've tried a few things.
How does it work? Well, it works in several ways, but perhaps they can be explained briefly. First, the bias of the world becomes a limiting factor in the chance of success for each skill. Because the chance of success includes the bias as one of its addenda, it's a lot harder to do things which aren't normal in a world--but many of them can still be done. And because Multiverser® uses "relative success", even when these counter-genre skills work, they don't work as well--that is, they don't do as much damage, or provide as much protection, or do as much or as well at whatever they do. And because the chance to botch is tied to the chance of failure, there's a greater chance that things will go horribly wrong on such skills. On top of all that, the bias of the world sets up a bias curve, such that more potent skills will often be impossible in a world, although similar less-powerful skills will still work. Thus the wizard is still a potent character when dropped in a sci-fi world, but he's a lot less potent than he was back in his magical fantasy realm, and he might find it useful to learn some technology while he's here in order to survive.
And that brings us to one more aspect of the experience which is unique: the verser never dies. In some ways, this is the greatest innovation. It is very difficult to take away death and retain the fear of battle. Yet because of "scriff", it works.
You've often heard characters say that they were going to send their opponent on to "the next world". Multiverser® has made that a reality in an entirely unexpected way. When a player character is killed, he is sent on to the next world--but it isn't his supernatural reward or punishment. Rather, he lands in another material world in which new adventures await. This can be very frustrating for the player who has found his character's plans shot to bits by his unexpected death; very rarely will a player want to have his character killed.But he doesn't have to roll up a new character or start over from scratch. He just has to collect his equipment, pull himself together, figure out where he is, and start a new adventure in this world. He might never get back to that unfinished business (but then again, he might), but it's time to move on, to reinvent himself, discover the new rules of the new world, shift gears into a different genre and new objectives, and press forward.
Justin Bacon of RPGnet has spoken of "dozens of things" which make Multiverser "unique, interesting, and inspiring". We've presented you with three. We could go on to discuss others, but this page is already long, so we'll just mention a few. The worlds provided have been praised for their variety and imagination, and they're just the tip of the iceberg for what is possible. Game characters can be dropped into other game systems, even into ongoing campaigns of other games; and characters, equipment, and skills from those games can be brought out into other worlds. As yet no one has found a world which Multiverser® characters cannot explore.
Many of the questions you might ask have already been answered; check our Frequently Asked Questions page.
|You can order Multiverser® on-line by credit card or through the mail; we anticipate that the game books will soon be available through an increasing number of retail outlets as well.