Main Storyline summary

Imagine... within the next hour your computer monitor turns RED. The only words visible are 'The Gate is Open. Beware The Mist'. Every computer, television, tablet and cell phone on the planet has the exact same message. An hour later, it abruptly ends. Twelve hours from the initial broadcast, every human in New York City instantly vanishes. The next two years are spent watching the very fabric of reality unravel. Magic, aliens, telepaths and far worse flood through random cracks in reality. The only indication a crack is forming is the odd atmospheric depression causing a dense mist to form. The Mist, as it is now known through your fragmented world, strikes fear in the hearts of all. Those who enter The Mist don't always return. Those who return from The Mist are never the same.Tortured Earth is a world torn by plague, warring races and fragmented civilizations. Reality itself has lost the ability to keep barriers in place. Magic and its associated races mingle with future civilizations and alternate realities in which humans never existed.

Watch the game in action

How ReRoll is a Twitch channel featuring Tortured Earth sessions. The current story line is set in the ruins of Monroe, LA and follows the progression of a group as they discover the strange mix species community.

Learn the basics

Port City Games presents a series of videos highlighting the basics of Tortured Earth. They cover the setting, character basics, skills, combat, status effects, and abhorrent traits. This is an excellent guide for anyone looking to start their first journey through the world of Tortured Earth. So grab your dice and be ready to roll!

The creators

K. B. Kidder

K. B. is a retired teacher. He’s worked in the oilfield and writes Tortured Earth as a side interest. He holds a Master’s of Chemistry, enjoys backpacking and camping, and wine making. K. B. focuses on story development, creature creating, and technical writing. K. B. has 3 sons of his own, an adopted son, and an adopted daughter. He enjoys a quiet country life with periodic bursts of madness when his entire brood returns to roost. The greatest stabilizing factor in his life is his beautiful wife, Rene.

Artice Dowdey

Common to the Tortured Earth theme, Artice lives in a world of chaos and ruin. Over the past four years, he has steadily watched his home fall into disrepair, dog become obese, and has undergone three major career changes. Artice holds a Master’s in History, has worked with the National Guard, Homeland Security, and Fire Department. As a writer, he focuses on rules and weapons development. Artice enjoys backpacking, brewing beer, and travel.

Story Behind T.E. creation

Artice and I met at the camp for an afternoon of gaming. At the end of the session, and a few beers later, we started talking about what we liked and did not like about RPGs on the market.  The main fantasy games on the market relied heavily upon classes. Not a bad notion and widely accepted, classes create a mold to which the character must conform. Science fiction games utilized combat systems which became increasingly complex as weapons increased in technology. Horror games adapted to a wider range of weapons, but introduced complex systems to deal with the concept of fear - which the game depended upon.  We debated and tossed around ideas for several hours.

At some point in the early morning, Artice said, "You realize what we're doing, don't you?" I had no idea what he was implying. "No. What?" "We're creating a game," the grin he gave me has lasted for four years running. So we started. The first draft fused all the components of other games which satisfied our wishlist. The pilot test was horrible. The entire thing was scrapped and discussions began as to how we could accomplish our goals.  First thing to go was the notion of classes. We replaced it with a 'real gaming' concept. The basics condense to this: as a real person, the person reading this has a skill set that is not bound by a profession or lifestyle. A doctor is equally capable of demonstrating an interest or training in boxing or automotive repair as anyone else. Simply being a doctor shouldn't limit a person to a narrow skill set. Then why hasn't gaming adopted this approach. Why can't a cleric also possess psychic abilities? or master sword play? The restrictions of class are not natural and the rules govening them are riddled with exceptions and exemptions.

 The real question we asked is, "Why have a rule if it has to be followed by an exception?" The next component requiring attention was the development of the horror aspect. Many horror games rely upon either Sanity or Fear points. The decision to create a Mental Points solved several problems. It offered a secondary health pool which physically weak creatures could cause harm without making them laughable when on the battlefield. It also opened the door to develop as series of Status Effects uniquely 

tailored to the horror genre. When class restrictions were lifted and horror aspects became part of the basic game mechanic, real game development began. Weapons, skills, and abilities were developed regardless of genre. The unexpected shift allowed for the creation of a system adaptable to a wide range of time periods and settings.  Test groups have played the system in pure fantasy settings allowing for basic weapons and magic, in pure science fiction settings allowing all weapons and psychic abilities, and in hybrid scenarios in which all things are fair game. Players were amazed to discover new characters do not have to be rolled when transitioning from one scenario to the next. GMs don't have to announce, "Today we're playing in a horror setting" or "Get ready for a fantasy encounter". The shift in genre is subtle and may easily become part of the overall storyline. The adapability of the system to genre shifts also enables GMs whom grow tired of pure fantasy scenarios to shake things up a bit and never really lose their initial story line.  As you can see, we're quite proud of the Tortured Earth gaming system. We hope you find it as entertaining to play as we've found to create.

- K. B. Kidder