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The year is 1809. Nearly all of Europe has fallen to Napoleon and the dragons of his Armee de l'Air. Britain's Aerial Corps struggles to oppose the French dragons while the Royal Navy maintains control of the seas.
Ranging from 3 to 50 tons, fully sentient and capable of bonding to a human companion, able to carry crews of more than a dozen rifleman, dragons alter the balance of power the world over. Nations that would otherwise be extinct instead thrive. European colonization was resisted and eventually thrown off by the Tswana in Africa, the Inca in South America, and even the Iroquois maintain their status as sovereign in the face of American expansionism.
Across the Atlantic, James Madison is elected President of the United States of America. Plans for westward expansion have been severely curtailed by the strength of the Indian nations and their native dragons. Skirmishes between the Americans and Indians who supported Britain during the Revolution continue around the Great Lakes area.
In the wake of the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair and the continuing impressment of American sailors, a standing army is created for the first time, including provisions for six naval frigates and six wings of dragon crews to eliminate American dependence on foreign military aid.
This game is designed as a game for couples where one person plays the dragon and the other their human captain either as part of the newly-formed American Aerial Force or local tribesmen tapped by the government to provide instruction and support. Individual players are welcome also; such players are generally assumed to end up as part of a dragon's crew by either hefting a long rifle, leading aerial boarding actions, or otherwise supporting the wing formation.
The game will also serve as a field test of the Cortex Plus dice system. For those of you unfamiliar with the system (presumably everyone reading this), Cortex Plus is designed upon a radically different premise than most dice systems. Where a classic dice system is an attempt to model reality through the probabilities of individual actions, Cortex Plus seems to have been designed to model the difference in entire scenes. Where a traditional system asks "does this one punch land or not", Cortex Plus asks "does this fight go in the favor of one party or the other" and the player with the winning roll is invited to narrate the scene.
On the one hand, this might lead toward a more narrative roleplaying experience, with less time spent on turn order and individual rolls and more time devoted to creating a cinematic and interesting story. On the other hand, this idea would require a group of players capable of that, as the loopholes for munchkins and powergamers to abuse the system are big enough to ride a dragon through.
This game is planned to run as a shorter-format campaign than previous stories. It is not expected to last more than a year, the plot will be more singular and straight-forward, and player characters will be more subject to the authority of their superiors as opposed to the normal free-roaming sandbox nature of previous games.
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