Broken Weave: An Interview With Cubicle 7 Games’ Elaine Lithgow

Cubicle 7 Games, the publisher behind the original Adventures in Middle-earth, Uncharted Journeys, Victoriana, and Doctors and Daleks, all for 5e, have a new project, Broken Weave. This tragic fantasy RPG is available for 5e and Cubicle 7’s original 5e variant, C7d20. Elaine Lithgow, Producer on the project agreed to answer my questions about the book, the systems, and this setting’s new mechanics.

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EGG EMBRY (EGG): Thank you for talking with me about your latest Kickstarter. What is Broken Weave?
ELAINE LITHGOW (EL)
: Broken Weave is our new post-apocalyptic tragic fantasy setting where magic is broken and the gods are dead. In a surreal world where time and distance have lost meaning, and twisted monsters stalk the wilds, people come together to form communities and build something new. It’s compatible with the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons, and will also be forward compatible with our upcoming C7d20 system.

EGG: You’ve dubbed this “tragic fantasy”. What’s happening in this world? What motivates the PCs to adventure?
EL
: In the pre-Breaking world, magic was a fundamental aspect of reality. It held everything together, like physics and time, and permeated almost every creature and plant — it was essentially the lifeforce of the world. Then the Breaking came and magic unravelled. Overnight, anything that relied on magic came undone, twisting into strange and uncanny forms. Now, communities of survivors come together and form Havens, small settlements of relative safety in a shattered world. Everything in Broken Weave revolves around your Haven. You create your Haven before you even make your characters! It gives them purpose, and an anchor in the world. This gives the players something to fight for, they have a home full of memories and loved ones. Most adventures arise when the Haven is threatened, at which point members of the Haven gather together and strike out into the wilds to combat it, carrying the Hope of their whole community with them. Hope is a unique resource generated by your Haven which lets you cheat death, succeed where you would fail, and surpass your limits, so there are both mechanical and thematic reasons to want to protect and grow your Haven.

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EGG: What was this world like before the weave broke? Do the PCs know about this history or what prompted the fall?
EL
: It’s important to us that we never prescribe the pre-Breaking world. One of our big design goals with the setting was that anyone could take their current fantasy setting and translate it into Broken Weave — leaping forward into a post-apocalyptic future! A GM could even hide the fact that a group is playing in an all-too familiar world until mid way through a game! A good old Planet of the Apes reveal. Of course, for those who don’t have a setting in mind, we’ve offered a collection of different myths about the pre-breaking world and what caused it. But with how much Decay eats at memories and reality, who’s to say if any of them are even true?

EGG: You have a variety of new mechanics for Broken Weave, among them is Decay. What is Decay? How does it impact monsters?
EL
: I like to think of Decay as entropy made manifest. It warps and erodes everything it touches, turning familiar sights uncanny and surreal. It’s very much inspired by Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation and other new weird media. You may see a bird that looks normal at first glance, then realise with mounting dread that it is very, very wrong. Or you may encounter creatures so twisted they barely resemble their original forms at all. In the case of monsters, we have a whole bestiary full of bizarre creatures that have appeared as a result of Decay. We’re also really happy with our system for ‘Breaking Monsters’ which lets a GM take any 5e compatible creature they can think of and apply Decay to it. This can change or add new abilities, aesthetics, or tragic touches. Imagine a decaying dragon that weeps constantly in an inhuman voice, or a deer with a hide that sheds impossible colours. Decay really blows the doors wide open in terms of the amount of monsters you can add to the Broken World.

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EGG: “New mechanics for founding, growing, and protecting your community over generations.” Many 5e games are about the current dungeon and loot, very much of the now. In your game, how does the “over generations” portion work?
EL
: Your Haven is the heart of most Broken Weave games. As mentioned, we recommend that the group all sit down together to make their Haven before they even make their characters. Haven creation is just as involved as making a character — you create everything from the founding beliefs, to its governmental structure, to the biome it sits within, abundances and scarcities, all the way down to what kind of food you eat and clothing you’re known for. It’s a really engaging process that gets everyone invested in their home. Being without a Haven means no Hope, and no Hope means you are incredibly vulnerable to Decay. So there isn’t so much the industry of career adventurers you find in a lot of fantasy settings. Most adventures you’ll play in Broken Weave arise when a crisis faces the Haven. Members of the Haven are brought together to tackle the problem and set out on their adventure. But that might be the one great adventure those characters go on, just like the Fellowship in Lord of the Rings or other great tales, sometimes one adventure is enough for normal people. So that’s where generational play comes in. You can agree as a group to retire your characters and advance forward in time. The Legacy mechanics take into account the actions of your survivors during the last crisis. You could leave behind ideals that take root and change how your Haven grows over the years, buildings you construct during downtime may rise and fall over years, and as your heroes become legends, you can pick up play again as their ancestors when a new crisis threatens the Haven. You may even get to begin play with ancestral equipment handed down through the generations from your previous party, gain free proficiency in skills based on the legends, or even start at a higher level. It all depends on what you leave behind, and how your Haven endures the long years.

EGG: Thanks for talking with me. For fans interested in more Broken Weave from Cubicle 7 Games, check out their Kickstarter page.
  • END DATE: Thu, March 2 2023 9:58 AM EST.
  • “A post-apocalyptic tragic fantasy setting for 5th edition”
Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.
 

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Egg Embry

Egg Embry


Thanks for the interview. This really does sound awesome. My players tend to not care for classes that are too unique. Ran into this problem when we played Lost Citadel for a little while. Is it possible to make certain subclasses from D&D work with this setting?
 

Emmetation

Explorer
Thanks for the interview. This really does sound awesome. My players tend to not care for classes that are too unique. Ran into this problem when we played Lost Citadel for a little while. Is it possible to make certain subclasses from D&D work with this setting?
It would be slightly trickier but not impossible. Anything with magic would be out, but as well as that a lot of the Broken Weave classes have a lot of social and exploration benefits at different levels. So your typical DnD classes may be more combat focused
 


Tutara

Adventurer
I am highly interested in this. As a few have mentioned, the ‘shining in the darkness’ is so much more interesting - to me - than yet another doomed world full of doomed people looking to murder each other at the drop of a hat. I hope a few previews turn up soon.
 




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