In 1996, I bought my first book of this new game I’d seen called Heavy Gear. I wanted to see if the setting would be worth the investment first, so rather than buy the rulebook I bought Life on Terra Nova, the game’s setting sourcebook.
I can safely say I got my money’s worth. Between Life on Terra Nova (both the first and second editions) and regional sourcebooks like Into the Badlands, Terra Nova is still my favorite roleplaying setting twenty years on, and I expect it will be for a long time to come.
It does, however, leave me with a problem I can’t seem to solve: Of the ten worlds in the Heavy Gear setting, only Terra Nova is developed to the point where it feels like a real place. Some of the others were broadly described in sourcebooks of varying quality, and the rest are barely names on a map. I’d very much like to get all of the worlds to the same level of detail, so I’m bringing in everything I can think of.
So far, I’ve made good progress by mining my game library:
- Caprice: Like many other people, I play Caprice as a “cyberpunk world,” so I’ve supplemented the three published sourcebooks (Life on Caprice, Caprice Corporate Sourcebook and Liberati Sourcebook) with material from Cyberpunk: 2020 and the like.
- Atlantis: For a water world, Heavy Gear’s Life on Atlantis sourcebook pales in comparison to the books written for the Blue Planet roleplaying game, so I’ve totally replaced Atlantis with Blue Planet’s Poseidon. Also, the folks at Biohazard Games really helped me out when one of my books had a printing error, so I’ve become a big fan of both the setting and the company.
- Utopia: Though the nuclear war that consumed Utopia took place decades before the “present day,” I’ve been diving into my Twilight: 2000 collection for adventures and story ideas. I also decided to consolidate the APES powered armor suits (called Golems in Heavy Gear Blitz!) on Utopia rather than have them on both Utopia and Eden, as described in their respective sourcebooks. The same “featured vehicle” on two planets just didn’t make much sense to me.
- Eden: Eden is a garden world recovering from the aftermath of a series of comet impacts. I decided to only mine the published Life on Eden sourcebook for ideas, and replace the world with the “not-Earth” portrayed in the various Ace Combat video games. That world already comes with large anti-comet facilities for climatic battles (imagine Star Wars: The Force Awakens with F-18 Super Hornets), and I wrote up the aircraft seen in Ace Combat for use in Heavy Gear years ago.
These are the worlds I’ve filled in pretty well. But there are more….