Designer’s Diary: Mystical Throne Entertainment – Twilight Continuum

Twilight Continuum
Twilight Continuum is a space opera adventure series, for Savage Worlds, being developed by Mystical Throne Entertainment.
By Aaron T. Huss and Curtis Lyon

Welcome to the forty-third Designer’s Diary, a column where designers are given the opportunity to take readers on an in-depth ride through the design and development process of their system, setting, or product. If you’d like to share your product in the Designer’s Diary column, send a message to

Back the Twilight Continuum Kickstarter here

Designer’s Description
Aaron: Twilight Continuum is a sci-fi action and adventure storyline, presented as a full Savage Worlds campaign spanning Novice through Legendary. It is not a setting, but rather a story that allows you to modify the setting to fit the needs of your gaming group. As-is, it can be played with only the Savage Worlds core rulebook as a standalone setting, or you can make some minor modifications to place it within your favorite space opera setting.

Curtis: I’d add that Twilight Continuum is meant to be a space opera in the classic sense of the genre – it’s a story designed to pit characters against a threat that could destroy the galaxy. Savage Worlds handles the setting well as an engine because the characters – the heroes – while they may have their own personal dramas and ghosts to deal with, must in the end be larger than life to save the day. And Savage Worlds creates that type of feel perfectly.

Aaron: Twilight Continuum is our first endeavor into presenting a full campaign to Savage Worlds enthusiasts which includes everything the GM and players need. It can be run 100% out-of-the-box and doesn’t require the GM to fill in the blanks. This publication model, called Perilous Journey, is designed to be Fun, Fast, Furious, and Flexible! We don’t want to introduce yet another space opera setting to Savage Worlds fans; we want to give them a campaign that they can get fully absorbed into.

Curtis: Twilight Continuum, as an adventure series, is meant to fill a vacuum in the Savage Worlds community. There are plenty of settings and even a few one-off adventures, but very few of what could be considered full-length adventures designed to be relatively generic… and even fewer for the science fiction genre. Most importantly, perhaps, I wanted to have a connected set of adventures that could take characters from their humble beginnings as Novices all the way to being Legendary.

Aaron: From a project development standpoint, the Perilous Journey model and the first campaign, Twilight Continuum, is based on a combination of Paizo Publishing’s Adventure Path and Triple Ace Games’ Daring Tales series. This means that each book, which corresponds to a different character rank, can be played as a linked campaign or as separate adventures within a separate campaign. To make things even better, like Daring Tales of Adventure, you don’t need a core setting guide, just the Twilight Continuum books.

Curtis: For this particular series, I drew heavily from classic space operas of film and television: Star Wars, Robotech (the original one from Harmony Gold), Battlestar Galactica (again, the original series), just to name a few. In fact, anime like Robotech had some major influence because – unlike most Western fare – they tend to have a strong symbiosis between man and machine, which is an important part of Twilight Continuum.

Curtis: To call it ‘research’ might be a little generous, but I generally like my settings to have a grain of reality behind them… even if they’re fantasy. In this case, aside from the usual looking at maps sort of thing (so I know, for example, where on the moon there might be an Alliance outpost), much of what Twilight Continuum centers around amounts to ‘fringe science’. Psionics, of course, but also the whole concept of Atlantis. Without trying to reveal too many spoilers, anyone who has studied those sorts of things should find themselves on familiar ground. My choice of time frames and locations wasn’t a random one.

Art Direction
Aaron: As a team, we decided to create our own look and feel to the artwork. So far, we’ve come up with a near-future look that is neither far-fetched, and out-of-this-world, nor is it modern day. It is definitely somewhere in-between with a look and feel that is believable. At the same time, the artwork has a bit of a retro feel harkening back to games like Traveller.

Gaming Experience
Aaron: One of our biggest selling points for Twilight Continuum is that you are getting a complete campaign package in six books. In addition, you’ll get supplemental material in each book to further the campaign, create side adventures, or drive the storyline in different directions. There is a definite over-arching storyline, but the overall direction of the campaign is meant to be driven forward by the progress and decisions of the player characters.

Additionally, Twilight Continuum is designed to create a sci-fi environment filled with intense action and no shortage of conflicts. The storyline depicts an ever-increasing threat that only gets larger (physically as much as metaphorically) as the campaign progresses. It’s like the build-up of Star Wars with a huge climax at the end!

Curtis: To build on the Star Wars thing, I’d add that one of the most important aspects of Twilight Continuum from a play point of view is the dog fights. Since most of the physical combat will take place in space, I’ve taken pains to use Savage Worlds mechanics to their fullest so that players will be drawn into the dogfights and feel they have options while not sacrificing the Fast, Furious, and Fun that Savage Worlds is meant to be.

Aaron: In terms of Savage Worlds, Twilight Continuum is a significant, I use the term radical, change from traditional releases. It is not a setting guide, it is not a plot point campaign, it is not a simple series of somewhat linked adventures. Instead, you get a completely campaign package from beginning to end that offers everything the GM needs to run, straight “out-of-the-box.”

In terms of other space opera settings, Twilight Continuum is set in the near-future where the technology is not that far from our own. To make things more interesting, psionics are becoming an integral part of humanity to the point that the fighters featured in Twilight Continuum are controlled through psionics.

Curtis: Someone asked what we were doing to avoid the pitfalls that have doomed so many other purported ‘space operas’ in the RPG industry. Here’s the deal, from my perspective: there haven’t been any successful space opera RPGs because there haven’t really been any space opera RPGs, titles notwithstanding. Realistically, what makes space opera work in books and film is the story more than the setting. Most such RPGs tend to focus on the scope of the setting – lots of rules and tables and charts so the GM can build ships and planets and stellar systems… but no real story.

Twilight Continuum is all about the story. Sure, there’s a vast galaxy out there, but it’s a backdrop against which the story takes place. There’s room to grow, if necessary, which is why the story can be plugged into an existing setting if desired – or the Twilight Continuum setting can be developed to encompass other stories.

Development Process
Aaron: For Twilight Continuum, we have assembled a fantastic crew to bring the project to fruition. Starting with me as project manager, I am overseeing the design of the campaign as it fits with the Perilous Journey model. From there, we move to the mind behind the storyline, Curtis Lyon. The Twilight Continuum storyline comes from the mind of Curtis Lyon and he is acting as lead developer, watching over the full development and making sure there is storyline synergy from beginning to end. We have recruited two industry regulars to work with Curtis as campaign authors, Darren Pearce (currently freelancing for Savage Mojo) and The Warden (owner of Broken Ruler Games).

For artwork and cartography, we have assembled the crew of Andrew DeFelice as head artist, Simon Powell (of DramaScape and FASA) as cover artist, and Gil Pearce as cartographer. We have enlisted Savage Worlds-regular Sarah Lyon as the lead editor and Savage Insider regulars Jeremy Stromberg and A.J. Preece as authors for the supplemental and bestiary material. Rounding this off is Bryan Hitchcock doing the novellas. Further stretch goals will grow this team, but we’ll reveal them later.

To make this project come to fruition, we have turned to Kickstarter for funding. Twilight Continuum is a very large project encompassing six books of 72 pages each. As it is a campaign series with supplemental material, that means a lot of writing, artwork, cartography, editing, and layout. We are determined to bring a complete project to the public and want to present it as the full package – all six books. Otherwise, we’re only presenting part of the project and one book doesn’t do much good without the other five.

You can help bring the Twilight Continuum project to life by backing us on Kickstarter:

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