Sunday, 10 December 2017

Land of the God-Kings: Flaws and History

Land of the God-Kings is going strong. Slow, but strong.

I just wanted to give a rundown of the two most unusual of the game's stats: Flawed, and History.

 Flaws

Flaws are an essential (I believe) part of any super-powerful character. Otherwise, they're just a Power-fantasy mary sue.

Flaws are a character stat. Technically. They are ranked from +1 to +3. The exception to this is the Ancient (who's flaws go down to =0), and anyone who gains a new flaw (which starts at =0). There is a list of 9 flaws characters can choose from, and room to create more, if the GM allows it.

Flaws include: Ambition, Greed, Honour, Isolation, Kindness, Pride, Rage, Revenge, and Sacrifice. A character can have multiple flaws, and flaws can be at different levels.

Flaws are used for 4 moves: the most any stat governs. Harm, Final Fate, Flawed, and Break the World.

Harm, Final Fate: Harm and Final Fate are two moves that determine what happens to a character when their Stress is filled up. Harm triggers when Stress (the games psuedo-HP) is filled up. Final Fate triggers when stress is filled up and a character is acting on their Fatal Flaw.
Unlike most moves, with Harm and Final Fate, you want to roll low. A high roll of Harm results in your character being out of action and in some sort of danger (unconscious, threatened by an enemy, trapped). Note that even the worst result on a Harm move cannot kill a character. A low result results in your character being out of action, but they accomplish something off-screen. Maybe they plan while licking their wounds, maybe they infiltrate somewhere: you can work with your GM on that.

Final Fate is nastier. A high roll of Final Fate results in 2 things: your character becoming an NPC, or Death. A low roll results in permanent stat reduction, a playbook switch, or crossing off moves.

As you may have noticed, this means that a character can only die if they are acting on their Fatal Flaw.

Flawed: Flawed trigger when a character acts on their Fatal Flaw, and serves as a means of advancing experience, as well as gaining power boosts. If a character rolls low, they gain experience with no side effects. If a character rolls high, they gain the tag (power ups/power downs) acting on my fatal flaw, giving them a bonus to any rolls related to their Fatal Flaw, and a penalty on all rolls opposed to it. In addition, rolling high increases your flaw. If a flaw is increased to +4, it instead resets to +1 and you mark experience. This incentivizes characters to seek out their flaw, despite the risks.

Break the World: Break the World is the last move that runs off of the Flaw stat, and does pretty much what it says in the title: You break the world, doing something so dangerous, so immense, or so outside of the games scope that it makes people go 'what.' With this move, you want to roll high.

Really, really high.

A roll of a 10+ gives you a choice between the following options:
• cross off a move.
• gain a permanent severity 1 tag.
• reduce one of your stats by stat-1.
• change your playbook.
• the collateral damage is devastating and irreversible.

As you can probably tell, this isn't a move to be used lightly. On a 7-9, the GM chooses on of the options. On a 6-, the GM chooses one of the options, and you must roll Final Fate. But, if done correctly, this move can do pretty much anything. Create a new race. Kill death. Raise a continent from the ocean. Put out the sun.

History

History (credit to apocalypse world) is an important stat for the group. Each character has history with each other character.

History ranges from -2 to +3, and is determined at the beginning of the game by each character asking questions. An example:

A Dragon, an Ancient, and a Monarch are playing a game together. It's the first session, and they ask their questions.

The Monarch goes first: She asks: 'Who among you has been my ally in the past?' The Ancient decides that he was a foreign dignitary when the Monarch was a child, and says it was him. The Monarch writes +2 for his history, and moves on to the next question. 'Who among you has been my enemy in the past?'

The Dragon shakes his head. 'I've never been in this continent before.' He says. 'I couldn't have been.' Since the Ancient already answered a question, he can't be the enemy. Therefore, instead of marking the -2 History beside the Dragon's name, the Monarch marks a +1, which is the standard for Monarch's. She finishes, and they move on.

This would continue, with each character asking their questions until each character has history with every other character. History is used for two moves: Help/Hinder, and Remember

Help/Hinder: Held/Hinder is a very basic move: a character rolls+history with another character (this is the only move in the game that can only be used on PCs), and they adjust the other PCs roll depending. On a 10+, they may adjust the roll by 2 in any direction. On a 7-9, they may adjust the roll by 1 in any direction.

This moves lends a distinct PVP system to the game, but it is optional (not the move, the PVP). The game works if two PCs decide to have a go at each other, and it sounds like a wonderful idea for a game. However, if you decide you want to play a team of allies, talk about it with your group like adults, and agree not to inflict penalties on each other. 

Remember: Remember is the move that players can use to have agency in the history of the Land of the God-Kings. The player rolls+history (their highest history score, or, if they are remembering something pertaining to another PC, their history score with that PC), and then they tell the GM something they remember from the past that is relevant to the situation. On a 7-9, the GM will tell them how it has changed, if they wish.

This lets players determine little parts of the world as they wish. If they find an indestructible ring, they can Remember that there happens to be a convenient active volcano nearby that they can throw it in. On a 7-9, the GM could say that it is now inactive, but if one were to dig deep and set the ashes alight with dragonfire...
 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Land of the God Kings playbook #1: The Chained One

Behold! The Chained One!
Once, you lived in the Land of the God-Kings. No longer. By magic, luck, or something
stranger, you have been evicted from the world, imprisoned or banished. But your power
grows...


The main inspiration while writing this playbook was Sauron from Lord of the Rings, the Elder Gods from the Lovecraft mythos, and the Crippled God from the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

Credit goes to u/cilice on reddit for the idea for the playbook.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Land of the God-Kings Update

Yo.

I know almost nobody reads this blog (to those who do, I love you and you're awesome), but when has a lack of anyone interested ever stopped me?

Just dropping by to say that work for Land of the God-Kings playtest 1.2 is still ongoing (1.1 was scrapped), and going well. Almost everything has been revamped to streamline the system, as well as make the playbooks more open to customization. Only 2 of the twelve playbooks in the final product are finished, but 2 more are close, and all the others are being planned for.

1.2 will have some new art (new as in stuff the public hasn't seen before), but will not have different art from 1.0.  Hopefully 1.3 will hopefully have some new art, most likely with colour (yes, I'm making it, stop groaning).

Thanks to everyone who reads my rambles! Sorry about the lack of worldbuilding-focused content lately.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Subverting Mage Steryotypes

Think of a 'bad wizard.' They're a necromancer, right? Maybe a rat mage, a pyromancer, or a witch.

Now think of a 'good wizard.' Light mage? Healer? Lovable illusionist?

All of those are wrong.

Shadowmancers
Shadow mages get a bad rep. Sure, in the civilized lands they conjure darkness, despair, all the crap, but Shadow mages are, by and large, pacifists.

Shadow is scary, but it in itself can't hurt you. Shadows can blind, but when the darkness clears, you'll still be able to see. But if light blinds? You may never see again.

Shadow mages in most lands are thieves and tricksters, using their magic to enhance their larcenous skills. It is an art rarely taught outside criminal circles.

In the Inkal desert, Shadowmancy is one of the most taught schools of magic. It is powerful, versatile, and useful. During the day, it can be used to hide from the burning heat of the sun. At night, it grants concealment in an otherwise flat land.

The north is the one place where Shadow mages are almost exclusively evil. There, powerful shadow mages shroud entire valleys in darkness, blotting out the sun and bringing a cold, dark, slow death to all inhabitants, after which they descend to claim the spoils of war.

Pyromancers
Fire is dangerous. In the middle-lands, pyromancy is feared, much as anyone would fear someone carrying a Molotov cocktail everywhere they went. It is dangerous, volatile, and causes too much collateral damage to be safe.

However, in Inkal, pyromancers are praised for their ability to turn sand to glass quicker than any forge. Great works of art, palaces, and even, once, and entire city have been raised by a dedicated pyromancer.

But, it is in the northern lands where pyromancers are granted the most respect. The north is cold, and fire is warm. Pyromancers bring light and heat to entire tribes during the long months of dark and snow. Many tribes have survived solely because of the loyalty of a single fire mage.

Enchanment
Of all the schools of magic, enchantment is the only one universally feared, and regarded as evil. Taking away the free will of a person or creature, while powerful, is regarded by most as the height of immorality. Enchanters survive through secrecy or fear, and entire armies have been raised to kill a single mage who went too far into the depths of mind-magic.
 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Excerpt: Artifact creation example

This is an Excerpt from the section of Land of the God kings on the creation of artifacts.

Artifacts are powerful magical items that Ascended beings can create and use. Examples would include: The One Ring from LotR, Dragnipur from the Malazan Book of the Fallen, or the Book of Vile Darkness from D&D.

Without further ado: Enjoy!

Example
Kuthru Blademaster, a Smith of Legend, wants to make his Warrior friend, Alexander the Bloody, a weapon. He starts by picking a base: Alexander generally uses a sword, so that starts it off as [sword, 3 harm close].

Kuthru rolls his Wyrd to use his Create Artifact ability, and gets a 7. That means he gets 2 Enhancements, 1 Flaw, and 4 power. He wants to save choosing the artifacts Powers until later, so he skips to the Enhancement section.

Kuthru decides to take the +indestructible and +magic eating enhancements. He is tempted by +strengthening, but Alexander’s last sword was destroyed by a dragon, and he’s been having trouble with mages, so he doesn’t want either of those to happen again. Now, the artifact looks like this:

[sword, 3 harm close, +indestructible, +magic eating]

Kuthru now has to choose one flaw. He decides that, although powerful, the sword requires it’s bearer to give up a little bit of their social graces (no, this has nothing to do with the fact that Alexander seduced the barmaid he fell in love with). He chooses +weakening manipulative. The sword now looks like this:

[sword, 3 harm close, +indestructible, +magic eating, +weakening manipulative]

Now it’s time for Kuthru to choose powers. He decides that he wants the sword to grant unnatural knowledge to it’s bearer. He talks with the GM, and they decide that this ability will allow the bearer to treat any result of a 6- on a Remember roll as a 7-9. They also decide that it will allow the bearer to ask 1 extra question when they make an Observe roll. The GM decides that while this is a powerful ability, it isn’t dangerously powerful, and so he assigns a power of +1 to each ability, making this power a total of +2.

Next, Kuthru wants the sword to grant the ability to control the ocean, moving it and changing it’s state as the bearer chooses. The GM decides that that ability is quite powerful, and assigns it a rating of +3. Kuthru realizes that this brings the total power of his artifact up to 5, which means he has to find a way to lower the power by 1. He decides that he likes the unnatural knowledge power, and instead weakens and changes the ocean power to instead grant the ability to call storms. The GM decides this is acceptable, and gives this power a rating of +2.

Kuthru pays his price for creating the artifact, and works with the GM to write down it’s abilities. In the end, the artifact looks like this:

Wurthul, the Storm-Bringer
Sword, 3 harm close.
Indestructible. Wurthul cannot be destroyed, unless it is brought to the bottom of the ocean and struck with a holy book of Temp, the Sea god.
Weakening Manipulative. While in possession of Wurthul, you become hot-tempered and stormlike. You have the lower of -1 to your Manipulative, or 0 Manipulative.
Moves. While in possession of Wurthul, you gain the following moves.
Memory of the Depths. When you Remember, you can treat a 6- as a 7-9.
Knowledge of the Depths. When you Observe, you may as 1 extra question.
Eater of Magic. When a spell is cast on you and you have Wurthul in your hand, roll +Wyrd. On a 10+, the spell doesn’t affect you. On a 7-9, the spell falters, having half the normal effect on you. On a 6-, the spell goes off without a hitch.
Storm-Bringer. When you try to summon a storm, roll +Wyrd. On a 10+, choose 2. On a 7-9, choose 1.
  • The storm comes quickly.
  • The storm is in your control.
  • The storm is powerful.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Land of the God-Kings Announcement

Over the last month or so, I've been working on a system using the Powered by the Apocalypse Engine (all credit to the origional creator, you're a genius, dude), taking tips from dungeon world, inspired by books like The Malazan Book of the Fallen and other high-fantasy stories, and grudgingly made because my players were getting annoyed at how often they die.

In Land of the God-Kings, characters play as the movers and shakers of the land. You aren't fighting an orc and hoping you survive. You're taking on armies because you're bored.

 It is a game where characters are defined by their flaws, driven by their desired, and opposed by each other. If you want a game where you can lay armies low, but still get down and dirty fighting a single great warrior, Land of the God-Kings is the game for you.

Character playbooks will include everything from Warriors to Undead to World-Destroyers. Starting moves are things like 'Destroy anything' or 'teleport anywhere.'

It is still WIP, but will be updated as time goes on. For now, here are some images that fit characters you could make: