Terafie: World Engine

Come and sit, come be warm,

down here by the fire.

The storm eternal blows outside,

while we sit near the fire.

If you hear Them, go take cover,

and be sure to douse the fire.

Stay still and quiet, for death has come:

There are Harvesters in the Spire.

-Children’s rhyme, origin date unknown

Terafie: World Engine is a skirmish wargame I’ve been working on for a couple years, in a unique setting that combines dieselpunk and horror as humanity seeks to survive on an icy planet, beset by horror and death on every side.


The Setting:

The world of Terafie is an enigma, and an icy, forbidding surface conceals the vast mechanisms and devices underground. The planet is seemingly an enormous machine on a scale that dwarfs imagination, and humanity has only begun to scratch the surface of the true extent of the planetary device.

More pressing to the myriad of people trying to scratch out an existence is the untold number of threats that beset this huddled bastion of life. The very planet itself is covered with a huge omnipresent storm, ranging from light breezes and gentle snowfall to raging blizzards that can freeze extremities in seconds or cut men to ribbons with icy shards. The planet is ringed with a belt of a shattered moon, which occasionally rains to the ground in huge silica blades capable of bisecting bunkers or the protective city walls.  Even the mechanisms beneath the ground can be deadly, catching men between teeth of house-sized gears and crushing them to bloody pulps with ease.


The planet is not uninhabited, either. There is a race of mechanical monstrosities, known simply as Harvesters, who seem to view life as  an inconvenience, and rip apart humans with warped metal talons or blades that a human would be unable to even lift. They skitter through the ice and cold, unfeeling and focused on slaughter, and overwhelm defenses in mere seconds and with little noise other than the tinkling of their metal claws on the ice and stones. From the icy waters and sub-zero lakes of coolant come the Gilded; Enormous once-recognizable creatures, now warped by their exposure to the mutagenic silverdust, they can emerge from once-safe wells and rivers to spread their infection through sleepy towns, leaving little more than more of the accursed silverdust and the entrails of their victims before they slip back into the black waters.

On top of all this is the infighting between the various spire-cities on the surface has further shattered humanity, as the divides between the craftsmen and peasant laborers and the tyrannical merchant-lords and noble families grows daily. Countless conscripted men are sent out to die in waves against the seemingly-unstoppable Harvesters, diseased and abhorrent Gilded, or simply against their fellow humans. Some flee the cities, and either die in the cold wastes, or manage to make it to the shelter of a Nomad camp to join their cause. There are even rumors of bodies mutilated and displayed deep underground, where even the miners hesitate to venture.

This is Terafie, where a man can be freeze to death within seconds unprotected.

Terafie, where unfeeling creatures will slaughter you for the offense your warm pumping blood represents.

Terafie, where the dark corners of the pistons and gears underground hide more than oil and dust in the shadowed corners.

Terafie, where the idea of lasting peace is as hopeless as that of lasting warmth.

Pray the storm takes you first.

The Game:

Terafie is a skirmish wargame, typically fought with between 2 to 15 models on a side. The gameplay revolves around players attempting to achieve secret objectives, and players get a set of event cards they can play through the course of the game based on which models they selected to be a part of their forces. Some creatures can deal damage that infects a model, gradually allowing the enemy player to take control of the infected model, while others allow for you to return dead models to “life” as their bodies are stitched together and filled with pistons and pulleys to enable them to attack their former brethren. The ever-present storm is capable of flaying flesh, so players have to weigh leaving the shelter of terrain or campfires with the risk of staying huddled and being trapped in a melee.

The play area is very small, just 2’x2′ at a basic 50 point game, so a game is quick, brutal, and usually over in half an hour to an hour. The primary mechanic uses players rolling pools of exploding d6s, which they form into pairs of 2d6. These pairs are rolled for the attacker, then defender, and compared to determine damage. This system enables an attacker to hedge their bet with several medium-power attacks, or one or two high-power attacks in an attempt to deal reliable damage, or take a target down in a flurry of blows.

The Rules:

The rules are available if you’d like to help out with the beta!

v0.3 Google Doc Link

v0.3 Pdf Link

Eventually, the game is planned to be Kickstarted, along with an accompanying line of 3D-models suitable for printing from Shapeways or your own home 3D printer. I do highly appreciate the value of free rules and the future of 3D printing, so there will be the basic version of the rules (No images or fluff) available forever, along with a limited set of 3D model poses as well.

7 thoughts on “Terafie: World Engine

  1. I have also been keeping a very Keen eye on 3D printers, watching for when they become semi affordable with a high enough print resolution for mini games. Currently the fine detail is still lacking for any printers less than £10,000 but it wont be long until they get there at the lower cost ranges, some are very close already but with an investment of that size there is no way I would be willing to commit until It was 100% doable. 😀

  2. Actually, the Makerbot Replicator 2 has absurdly good resolution capabilities of 0.01 mm, which should give almost-flawless results for around $2.2K

    There’s also a variety of sub-$500 printers of decent quality as well*, if you don’t mind having tabletop-quality detail (Something that won’t be winning any Golden Demons anytime soon)

    EDIT: Plus, the plan for the Kickstarter would be something like $5-$20 or thereabouts would get you the full rulebook with art and such, and either that or a pledge that was ~$10-15 higher would get you the variety of 3D models. There would probably be high-level pledges that would be for hardcover books and physical models, although I would shy away from getting resin-casted or injection-molded models unless I was confident it would be from a good source, and be affordable/timely.

    *Steer well clear of the Makibox, however. They’re in shipping hell, after being in development hell, which had followed getting-off-track-for-the-better-part-of-a-year-hell. Mine has shipped, technically, but afaik it’s still on a slow boat from China over here.

  3. Fore 28mm or smaller models you need a print resolution of around 0.007mm or 10 or less microns! While you could get away with a lower resolution for a lot of stuff if I was making a commitment anything close to the size of 2+ thousand dollars I am not willing to consider it unless it can produce what I need exactly, though I am also concerned regarding how reliable for long term use 3D printers are currently as its not the sort of investment I could make without some kind of insurance.

    The closest I have found is http://formlabs.com/products/our-printer but I am not sure about current 3d design programs for use by non Graphic Design trained users…


    • Well, the Formlabs printer you posted has a print scale of 0.3mm, which is about 1/3 as detailed as the Makerbot Replicator 2 despite costing $1K more. However, it is clear resin, so it might be smooth enough to hide the lower level of detail.

      That $100 Peachy Printer looks to have a 0.2 mm printing resolution, and is resin to boot, so it might be an option you might be interested in if you’re looking for a good pricepoint and resolution.

      As for 3D programs, I agree the options are fairly sparse for non-graphic designer folks. I personally like TinkerCAD, but CAD programs are incredibly limited when it comes to making organic shapes. Sculptris is apparently great for organic stuff, but I’ve had a hell of a time getting anything good looking out of it.

  4. I think one of us is getting confused somewhere regarding the print quality, as the formlabs printer has a layer resolution of 25microns while the Replicator2 has one of 100 mircons unless I am looking at the wrong model…

    On the other hand the Replicator brand is the most established and well known for 3D printing in a desktop enviroment and as such are one that I would feel more assured to purchase from.

    Most importantly for me is the fact I am in absolutely no rush to get running with a 3D printer, I feel that new technologies are often very glitchy in the first two years of there release. Now I know 3D printing has been around for a much longer time than that but in a desktop enviroment it has not… but anyway I was not trying to convince you into my line of thinking, I was simply making a discussion… 😀

    • Ah, my bad. I was reading the minimum feature, not the minimum layer size for the formlabs printer!

      I do think 3D printing has a way before it becomes completely mainstream, but I’d bank on the timeframe for it becoming a $60 or less purchase as being inside of a decade.

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