I recently ran a one-shot of the mostly forgotten science fantasy RPG – Nexus, the Infinite City. Nexus was published by Daedalus Games in 1994. It apparently wasn’t particularly successful, and only spawned one supplement. Daedalus Games went bankrupt in 1997, but not before publishing the much more successful Feng Shui, by Robin Laws. (Laws was apparently a playtester on Nexus)
Sadly, this game is long-out-of print, and no legal PDFs are available. Which is a shame, as the setting is delightful, a wild gonzo interdimensional playground published years before games with similar settings like Troika!. The AD&D setting Planescape was also published the same year, so it seems the idea of multidimensional cities was just in the air back then.
The setting of the the game is Nexus, a vast metropolis comprised of various chunks of realities from across the multiverse. Each section of the city can be wildly different from other parts, in both appearance and physical laws. One neighborhood might be magical in nature, while another might be a high-tech zone where magic doesn’t work at all.
The city is riddled with portals to other planes and realities, some permanent, some temporary, and some intermittent. So, theoretically, anything could show up in Nexus.
The book details some of the major locations, organizations, and individuals in the city. There’s a short list of common Nexan equipment, the various kinds of currency, and a discussion of the media landscape. Nexus even has a 1994 style internet called the InterNex. Apparently USENET newsgroups are still a big deal there. A lot of the book details a part of the city called Angel City, which is just 1993 Los Angeles, which was mysteriously transported to Nexus 11 years ago. Angel City generally serves as a home base for campaigns.
The system itself is similar to Feng Shui, in that it uses two D6 rolls, in which one die is subtracted from the other. You could probably run Nexus with Feng Shui with very little difficulty. If you didn’t like that system, the book provides a long list of conversions for other RPG systems that were popular at the time. It’s a regular Who’s Who of 1994 RPGs – Call of Cthulhu, CORPS, Cyberpunk 2020, GURPS, Hero System, Murphy’s World, Over the Edge, Storyteller, Talislanta, Torg, and Underground.
For my game, I established the players were all members of the Taft Adjudication Agency, a freelance troubleshooting organization founded and run by William Howard Taft, the 27th U.S. President. As there aren’t a lot of resources for this game, I thought I’d post the pregens I used. There are all using the custom Nexus character sheet I posted previously.
- Albinius – Former Roman Centurion from a alt-universe Roman Empire
- William Howard Taft – 27th President of the United States
- D’Ourangoutang – Musketeer from Simian France
- Sporetown Kate – Mushroom Woman. Rigger and technician
- Black Molly – Former sky pirate, turned jacker
- Oslon 88 – Bronze Clockwork Sorceror
- Percy Maguire – Pest control agent from 1920s Chicago
The book has a few pages that were designed to be photocopied and given out to the players. They include a short description of the city, and some rules references. I’m comfortable sharing those pages.