|Publisher(s)||Leading Edge Games|
Living Steel was a high-tech role-playing game published by Leading Edge Games and based on their Phoenix Command game system. The rules were presented first as a box set in 1987 and then republished in a single hardbound book in 1988, but they are now long out of print and their publisher defunct.
The game was notable for its highly unusual setting and (like all Phoenix Command-based games) the realism and complexity of its rules. The game background gave groups a very obvious and challenging arc of campaign goals but unfortunately the rules as published provided very little to help Games Masters in planning a campaign.
The game is set in 2349 on an isolated human populated planet called Rhand which has just suffered a devastating attack by an alien race called the Spectrals. In addition to bombardment from space, the Spectrals released a virus onto the planet which rendered some 80% of the population into dangerous sociopaths. The Spectral warship then crashed into the planet's surface causing further widespread destruction. Society has stopped functioning and the survivors are competing viciously with each other and the remaining Spectrals for the essentials of life.
Into this apocalyptic world have been released a small number of highly trained soldiers, survivors of a war 150 years in the past in which the tyrannical Starguild Imperium fought with the more enlightened Seven Worlds for control of the future of humanity. The Starguild won and placed the bulk of humankind into near-slavery but a few of the Seven Worlds soldiers survived and were placed into cryonic storage to await the time when the dream of the Seven Worlds might be ready to rise again. Rhand, civilisation all but destroyed and cut off from the rest of the Starguild has been adjudged the place to begin this rebuilding of the defeated society.
Players in the game all represent one of these awoken Seven Worlds soldiers. The squad must secure a base, make contact with the surrounding population and begin the work of rebuilding and reeducation. Player Characters are usually armed with Powered Armour and a variety of other high-tech weapons and gadgets which make them extremely powerful. Set against this is the hostility of the game environment and the lurking threat of the Spectrals who are every bit as dangerous as a Seven Worlds soldier.