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Concept The Wheel


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1. Premise

“We are all just Cogs in a machine...”

The Wheel is an enormous floating fortress, drifting around in the void with an ever increasing population of many different alien species. Most of them are outcasts and run-aways, some are survivors of doomed worlds while others are prisoners, unable to find their way home. The Wheel itself seems to have no clear origins, though many attribute the creation of the original fortress to an ancient, unknown race of engineers that vanished long ago. Over the course of thousands of years, The Wheel has gone through many changes and iterations, as new species discovered the fortress, often by accident, their spaceships became permanent fixtures of the station as their technology was integrated into The Wheel. Now the floating bastion is a hodgepodge of different alien structures, ships and tech all meshed together to create a strange, albeit functioning whole.


The fortress is not stationary and it isn't direction-less either. Occasionally, ancient drives and engines somewhere deep within The Wheel fire up like a hiccuping giant and either steer the fortress towards some unknown destination or teleport the entire thing somewhere else entirely. As the fortress passes by habited systems, some of The Wheel’s residents take the opportunity to raid these planets in order to steal valuables and resources, and to kidnap slaves. So far no single group has been able to figure out of The Wheel’s full capabilities and several factions and gangs are vying for control over the ancient fortress, either through politics or through force.


2. Summary

The Wheel is an online RPG with a heavy focus on Roleplay. Most of the game takes place in The Wheel itself, which is divided in to several different wards that serve as home territories for major guilds. To keep things fresh and dynamic, The Wheel 'moves' and as new planets become accessible others drift out of range, giving players new locations to explore every couple of months of so. The main focus however is a game of politics, influence and control. Heavily inspired by the Planescape setting (The City of Doors, specifically) and the likes of White Wolf RPGs, players with common goals can band together in Guilds or Gangs. Whether they want to gather wealth, personal power, political control, explore new worlds or unlock the secrets of The Wheel itself, that is up to them.


3. Art Style

Considering the setting and potential mature themes, I feel the usual cartoony or animesque style doesn't fit. Instead I would like to go for a more 80’s inspired retro futuristic art style. For examples, see games like Hyper Light Drifter, Undungeon, Narita Boy, etc.






4. Mechanics

The Wheel will not make use of levels and a limited sort of class system. Experience can be gained by defeating monsters and solving quests, though experience is more like an extra currency used to purchase Skills. Skills or a combination of certain skills will give a player access to more areas and interesting bits of lore and information, and unlock crafting recipes.


Combat effectiveness of a character will depend on two things; Equipment and Enhancements. Equipment, although having a significant impact on a character's stats should be considered secondary, as all equipment is dropped on death. Things like rare and unique weapons and artifacts can be found, though running around with these in public has obvious risks attached too them.


Enhancements will determine your primary play-style. Each character has five enhancement slots in which you can fit any type of enhancement (Mutations, Tech, Psionics & Manifestations), although not every class can use all enhancements of a certain type. Enhancements follow a certain thematic trait that grants a number of buffs, special abilities or attacks depending on the enhancement in question. For example, 'Plugs and Ports' is a Tech enhancement that allows you to access and hack terminals or defense systems. 'Acid for Blood' is a Mutation that grants you immunity to certain hazards, though also gives a character an Acid Spit attack. By mixing and matching enhancements a player can create a unique toolbox of abilities that fit their play-style.


4.1 Classifications

Organics [Humans, most Aliens, Intelligent animals, etc.]

Average in everything. Can use enhancements of all four types, but with limits. Flexible.


Mechanicals [Robots, Androids, Holograms, AI, etc.]

Slow, but increased physical defenses & hit points. Start with one rank in Engineering for free. Can use certain Tech enhancements that no other species can use but will never be able to use Mutations.


Ethereals [Dimensional beings, Supernatural entities, etc.]

Increased mental defenses. Largest magic/mana pool. Free ranks in knowledge skills. Access to all of the Psionic enhancements but can never use Tech enhancements.


The Eldritch [Monsters, Slimes, Living Plants, Lovecraftian Horrors, etc.]

Minor increased physical and mental defenses. Free rank in Forbidden Lore. Can never use Tech enhancements and only a small, limited selection of Psionics, however they have access to special, more powerful Manifestations.


4.2 Skills

Skills are still subject to change as planning continues.


Skills Related to Game Mechanics

•  Genetics – 10 ranks, allows discovery & creation of mutations

•  Bionics – 10 ranks, allows discovery & creation of Tech usable by both Organics and Mechanicals

•  Cybernetics – 10 ranks, allows discovery of Tech exclusively available for Mechanicals.

•  Engineering – 10 ranks, Creation of weapons, armor and other technological items such as drones and portable turrets.

•  Meditation – 5 ranks / 10 ranks for Ethereals, allows discovery of new Psionics.

•  Forbidden Lore – 5 ranks / 10 ranks for The Eldritch, allows discovery of Manifestations.

•  Chemistry – x ranks, creation of ‘potions’ and hypos.

•  Nature & Survival – x ranks, useful when scavenging & exploring planets


Knowledge Skills (Used to gain more information, can be used for RP, or called by DMs, might also be called during certain events / quests)

•  Knowledge (The Wheel) – x ranks

•  Knowledge (Dimensional Theory) – x ranks

•  Knowledge (Universal) – x ranks

•  Knowledge (Physics) – x ranks


4.3 Enhancement Types


Mutations are usually only available for Organics and The Eldritch. Mechanicals lack biological components to mutate and an Ethereal’s biology is usually too complex or too advanced to accept any kind of tampering. Although mutations can provide someone with amazing benefits, they often come with a draw-back in the form of physical changes, some of which might be quite gruesome.



Cybernetic implants, advanced prosthetics, brain stimulators, etc. Tech comes in many forms. General Tech such as weapons and gadgets can be used by anyone, although Tech Enhancements can only be used by Organics, generally in the shape of bionics and Mechanicals who can easily integrate new Tech in to their bodies. Ethereals have a hard time integrating tech in to their bodies for the same incompatibility reasons as with mutations and The Eldritch are simply too alien for common Tech to work on.



In a broad sense, Psionics refer to any natural ability that can manipulate the world or even reality without the assistance of any intermediate tool or device. It is essentially ‘space magic’ though with alternating origins or explanations depending on who uses it. Organics and The Eldritch have the capacity to learn some psionics, though only the ancient Ethereal races can truly master it.



Also called ‘mantles’, Manifestations encompass Summons & Transformations.



Acid for Blood


Usable by: Organics, The Eldritch

  • Sabotage: Use Acid to get past certain barriers
  • Acid Spit: Attack that deals damage over time
  • Immunity to certain hazards such as acid damage, pools, traps etc.


Plugs and Ports


Usable by: Mechanicals, Organics

  • Allows the user to access computer systems for information and bypass certain electronic security measures.


Force Specialist


Useable by: Organics, Ethereals

  • Force Shield: Increases physical defense by 10%
  • Force Barrier: Summon a temporary impenetrable barrier
  • Force Bolt: High damage projectile though with a long cool-down period


The Specter


Usable by: Ethereals, The Eldritch

  • Specter Form: Allows you to turn invisible for a short duration, increases your dodge chance.
  • Summon Specter: Summons an illusion that deals no damage, but distracts enemies.


5. The Wards

5.1 The Greenhouse




  • Provides Food for the Inhabitants
  • Fancy designs, big gardens, statues, well maintained
  • 'Good' food is expensive, The Greenhouse is usually control of the wealthy


5.2 The Labs




  • Determines the Research & Development tract of The Wheel
  • Gets to play with experimental technology


5.3 The Factory

  • Provides The Wheels bulk manufacturing capabilities, including arms
  • Aids in construction & maintenance of The Wheel
  • Easy access to crafting materials through large warehouses


5.4 The Hive




  • Home to The Eldritch and other monsters
  • 'Infected' part of the wheel, though provides unique & rare tools and crafting materials


5.4 The Circus

  • Provides 'entertainment' for the inhabitants of The Wheel


5.5 The Gaol

  • Houses The Wheel's security force
  • Massive level of barracks, armories and jail cells


5.5 The Market

  • Main source behind raids
  • Misleading name, The Market is where goods, resources and slaves are temporarily housed which have been acquired by Raids on other planets before being sold to the other wards


5. Final Words

I wanted to do so much more before making this post, such as have things written out in more detail and having more mock-ups for the different wards ready but because of work and other real-life priorities I have been slacking a bit. The Mock-up images are not final, and a few of them lack details I wanted to include and I'm hoping to spend a couple of evenings and weekends smoothing them out of time allows. Either way, I'm wondering about people's thoughts on this concept. C+C welcome.

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Intersect yes, although I'll probably need to make quite a few changes to the source for some of the custom stuff I'm considering :11_blush:


5 minutes ago, jcsnider said:

(Also 5.5 misspelled?)


And nope, Gaol is just a very old word for 'jail'.

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17 hours ago, jcsnider said:

Umm.. you were concerned this might not get insta-approved? This looks fantastic!




10 hours ago, gallighanmaker said:

Oh boy, I found this project concept fantastic, I really like this art style.


And that.


Your project is exactly what i'm looking for when i think of original indie ORPG, sir !  :)


Or in other words :

17 hours ago, Refur said:

It's nice see a different concept game here.


Keep it up !

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  • 1 month later...

I don't mind, but I'll make a different version later this evening in that case. The Admin character that's in the gif is a sprite-rip from Hyper Light Drifter and I assume you don't want any copyrighted material in it  :D

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