History of The Contract
Decades ago in a sleepy town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, a group of young roleplayers experimented with a homebrew system that featured mortal Characters participating in deadly Games for a chance to obtain extraordinary Powers.
The system's one-shot-orientation, deadly combat, and support for unique Characters proved to be a winning combination. Even after the original group had grown up, moved away, and started families, the system lived on and saw continuous play. Small player groups started in various cities across the United States, and, back at home, a new generation of Players were learning the ropes.
The system changed and evolved as the years wore on, growing unrecognizable from its humble beginnings. Over decades of play, the core design philosophies of the Game were likewise tested and matured.
Along the way, several Players created other Roleplaying Games inspired by the original Game. The Contract is one such spin-off Game: a new creation that borrows heavily from a long legacy. Its goal is to deliver a polished, free-to-play Game that can be learned and played by anyone and does not rely on word-of-mouth.
Its particular innovations include refinements to the classic Game's dice system, a custom Powers system, and a Website that publishes the Game as well as a host of useful tools that make it easy to learn and play.
Who are we?
The Contract was created primarily by one person. He wrote the guide, developed the website, and pulled all the strings needed to make this game happen.
Along the way, countless others contributed their talents in various ways, including editing, art, content generation, community development, and extensive playtesting.
How does The Contract Make Money?
The Contract doesn't make money. The Game and website are 100% free. It has no ads. We don't sell (or even really ask for) our users' personal information.
The website is currently relatively cheap to host, and has been inexpensive to produce (as long as you don't count the mind-boggling amount of time and effort put into it).
Eventually, The Contract may offer some premium features with a subscription or sell additional premade stock Scenarios.
What Website? This one. The one you're on.
www.TheContractRPG.com is far more than a mere Player's Guide. It has a wide array of features to help you play The Contract including a Character Creator; an interactive Character Sheet that tracks and calculates everything from Experience to Injuries; a Power Creation tool and Premade Stock Powers; Player groups with configurable roles and permissions in the form of Cells; and more.
The website is designed to be convenient. We do not require a 100% buy-in to The Contract's suggested rules and format, nor do we require flawless record-keeping. For those reasons, Players are free to take actions that are generally disallowed in the Format, such as taking Powers they have not earned enough Gifts to purchase.
We try to make it obvious to players when the Format's rules are being broken, but we do not explicitly disallow those actions.
The Contract's website (this website) is Open Source. Please feel free to contribute!
- A Character Creator with helpful mouseover text and point calculation.
- An Interactive Character Sheet that offers
- Players can declare their Characters dead and edit their obituaries.
- Dead Characters appear in the Graveyard
- Characters can be made private, so they can only be seen by the creator, their Cell Leaders, and GMs who are actively GMing a Game for them.
- Characters can be deleted
- A Power Creation tool for creating Powers in The Contract.
- Premade Stock Powers are available as examples, or as starting places for easy customization.
- Powers can be assigned to Characters and will appear on their Character Sheets.
- Powers can be edited or deleted
- Like something you see? Any Power you can view can be used as a template to create a new Power by clicking the "copy and edit new" button.
- Players may create Cells and invite other Players via a DM, open invite link, or secret invite link.
- Cells provide a centralized way to see all your Players, their Characters, and the Games people in your group have been running.
- Cells have their own Setting, which may be edited.
- Cell Leaders can manage the Character Sheets of the Characters within their Cell, allowing them to shoulder extra record-keeping work.
- Cells have configurable roles and (soon) permissions.
Games and Scenarios
- Players may Create their own Scenarios. and edit them.
- Players can Schedule Games, invite Players who may RSVP and declare which Characters they are bringing, and declare the outcome of Games.
- Completed Games are recorded and grant Gifts and Experience to the Characters that participated as well as to the GM as appropriate.
- Players may declare completed (already occurred) Games without going through the trouble of the scheduling / invitation process.
- After running a Scenario, GMs can leave comments and feedback on how their running of the Scenario went.
- Players can view the details of any Scenario they've participated in or created in their Scenario Gallery
- Several premade stock Scenarios can be unlocked by creating a Cell, meaning you don't have to do any game design work to start playing The Contract.
Things the Website doesn't do
- Matchmaking. You will have to form your own Cells and find other Players
- Community stuff. Please visit our Subreddit and Discord Server!
- Game-time features such as dice rolling, maps, chat, etc. We recommend Roll20.
Things the Website doesn't do. . . YET!
See the Github Issues for a complete list of features and bugfixes we are tracking.
Much of the art used on this website was created by Gwynn Tavares. She is a longtime player of The Contract, an awesome artist, and a dear friend.
You can find more of her art on her Artstation