Broken Weave Dev Diary 10: Hope and Decay
Welcome back to our ongoing series of developer diaries for Broken Weave, the post-apocalyptic tragic fantasy setting. Today, we’re talking about one of the greatest struggles in the Broken World, Hope and Decay.
‘Lost in the maze of ancient sewers, an Elf Maker smears a balm of ground herbs against his lover’s wound. He tries to ease her worries with a weary smile, even as her skin crystallises beneath his fingers — forever pushing her closer towards an inevitable, monstrous end.’
In Broken Weave, the opposing forces of Hope and Decay constantly reinforce and erode your characters and the world around them.
Hope is generated when people come together, form connections, foster community, and build a safe place in the Broken World — called a Haven. Hope is a precious resource which represents you carrying the wishes, love, and determination of your community out into the wild to face dire threats. By tapping into Hope, you can stand where others would fall, push beyond your limits, and even cheat death — all because you know that if you fail, everything you hold dear will perish.
Decay is entropy made manifest — it warps the land, making time and distance meaningless. None know the true nature or origin of Decay. Some claim it is a final curse hurled at the world by vengeful gods as they fell from the heavens, others that it is simply an arcane void left in magic’s stead. Some even claim Decay is a natural force, just part of an impossibly long metaphysical life cycle of the world, life, death, decay.
Regardless of its source a few facts are known. First, wherever there once was magic, now only Decay remains. Second, Decay is a sinister evil that even eats at your memories and corrupts your body and spirit completely.
Each Lineage (Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings) suffer from their own Curse. If they are exposed to too much Decay, their Curse slowly transforms them into a twisted monster: Elves crystallise into beautiful and terrifying stone constructs prickling with razor-sharp edges; Dwarves are consumed by flame and twist into elementals of fire and pain; Humans become eternally-hungry undead; and Halflings slough and melt into grotesque oozes that consume everything they touch.
As heroes in the Broken World, you’ll need to be wary of the creeping influence of Decay on your adventures, lest you transform into something horrible. A magic blade may help you overcome a challenge today, but the cost of wielding it is Decay. An ancient ruin may hold a treasure which could save your Haven, but be saturated with high levels of Decay.
The only question is, how long can you resist Decay’s touch?