How do you exercise power and build coalitions in an explicitly stratified society? That’s one of the questions at the heart of Tomorrow on Revelation III, a science-fiction RPG about improving the material lives of workers aboard a “hyper-capitalist” space station.
Tomorrow on Revelation III, designed by indie creators Charles Linton and Dominique Dickey, sees two to five players, plus a GM, take on the role of denizens living aboard a space station that grows, processes and ships food throughout colonised space. But the daily lives of each worker is limited by their assigned profession - each of the six lettered tiers comprising Revelation III limit movement based on roles. Location and labour provided can have dramatic effects on an individual’s quality of life.
Players will choose one of 12 roles as their character’s class, granting them access to specific abilities and cultural cache - an important resource for both phases of play (more on that in a bit). Nobody plays a boss, but different professions might cut off access to certain floors and limit who and what you know about the complex workings of the space station.
Each session takes place over two distinct phases: downtime and mission. The group - including the GM - will spend their downtime telling a collaborative story about life on Revelation III, filling the shoes of NPCs as well as their characters. The information gained and relationships established during downtime will affect how the proceeding mission unfolds, but the group can also use this time to flesh out the larger social ecosystem and plant narrative seeds for future events.
Missions tackle the main goal of the RPG - gradually improving the lives of workers aboard the space station. The group will isolate “one or more realities related to surviving, negotiating, and overcoming capitalism that they would like to improve on the station” and utilise their combined resources and connections to fulfill that new reality. This could be stealing hoarded medicine to treat farmers on Tier F or blowing the whistle on a corrupt administrative lead using their position to defraud those underneath them.
Tomorrow on Revelation III places special import on building coalitions and using one’s strengths to enact change. Because of the space station's cultural stratification, an engineer from one of the lower tiers will have more influence attempting to organize their peers than a teacher or artist. But that same engineer will be a fish out of water when speaking with a group of educators about their lack of funding.
It’s not hard to see Lindon and Dickey’s personal politics on the page, but there’s a joy in fully embracing the concept that runaway capitalism destroys collective power by homogenising labour and pitting players against a massive system that must be dismantled piece by piece. The ultimate goal of Tomorrow on Revelation III is to completely change that system, and it only creates space for setbacks, never complete failures.
The Kickstarter campaign will run through April 7th, with the goal of publishing a softcover sourcebook by September of this year. Digital and physical editions are available for $10 (£7) and $25 (£18), respectively.