Sunday, 24 December 2017

Into the Metadungeon Open Dev I

The metadungeon is an amalgamation of every dungeon ever. It contains heinous monsters, 
untold treasures, and bad puns. Everything is life or death slapstick tragicomedy.

Are you a hero? Are you a villain? Are you just here to kill things and take their stuff?

Find out in the metadungeon!

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS A REALLY DUMB RPG. IT IS ONLY VAGUELY SUITABLE FOR 
PLAY, HAS NOT BEEN TESTED, WAS DEVELOPED IN HALF AN HOUR, 
AND IS NOT FINISHED.

Enjoy!

System

Rolling: 1d20, roll under. If you get lower than your total, you succeed. Roll 3d6 for each stat, 
in order.

Stats:
Strong (damage, hit things)
Tough (health)
Agile (dodge, sneak)
Talk (followers, luck)
Smart (experience level)

Modifiers

Stat
Modifier
1
-5
2
-4
3-4
-3
5-6
-2
7-8
-1
9-12
+0
13-14
+1
15-16
+2
17-18
+3
19
+4
20
+5


Combat
On your turn, you can attack. Your attack is equal to 9+your level+any relevant stats. 
Strong is relevant for most weapons. 
Agile is relevant for ranged and light weapons. 
Talk is probably only relevant if you have a sharp (literally) tongue.
 Smart never goes near weapons. 
When you hit someone, you roll your damage dice, and add the relevant stat. If they have 0 health,
they die. A HD is 1d8.

If you are attacked, your defence is equal to your agility. 
If you are hit, subtract your armour from the damage you take. 
If you ever get to 0 health, test tough. On a failure, you die.


Choose class:

Slayer
Health: 1d10/level +tough modifier
Damage: 1d10
Gain a weapon (you must have a copy of this weapon/object in real life, or at least a close approximation). 
Give the weapon a name. 
If you attack using the weapon and wave the real version of it around threateningly, you gain +1 damage 
or attack for every level you have. If you ever lose or break the weapon, find another one.
Abilities
Choose 1/level.
Berserker: If you scream and froth at the mouth enough that other people are worried you might spit 
on them, you can reroll your health dice. 
If you aren’t wearing a shirt, gain armour equal to half your level.

Preacher
Health: 1d8/level +tough modifier
Damage: 1d6
You can pray, reciting scraps from your holy book that are relevant to your situation 
(you do not have to make a holy book beforehand. That can be done as you recite from it). 
Whenever you do this, ask the GM if they thought it was a nice bit of wisdom. 
If they did, gain a favour point. 
The maximum number of favour points you can spend each turn is equal to your level. 
If you ever gain more than 5 favour points, you ascend to a higher plane of existence (e.g: die).
Abilities
Heal: You can spend a favour point to heal someone, provided they swear to serve the tenets of your 
god (define the tenets of your god). 
If they laugh or break their oath, you can smite them for 1d100 damage.
An Divine Load of Bullshit: If the GM doesn’t like a scrap of your holy book that you recited, 
or instead of asking the GM, you can ask the players if they liked it. 
Gain 1 favour point for every one who did.

Stealer
Health: 1d6/level +tough modifier
Damage: 1d8
If you can manage to steal dice from other players or the GM without them noticing, 
you can give those dice back, but not before rolling them and using the outcome instead of one 
you rolled. 
You can do this a number of times per turn equal to your level.
Abilities
Choose 1/level.
Backstabbing Bastard: If the GM isn’t paying attention, and you can manage to stab them in 
a vital area (it doesn’t have to be with a real knife), then you can tell them which monster or NPC 
you just killed. 
If you stab a player instead, you can kill them. 
If the person you are trying to stab catches you, you have to deal with the consequences.
Sneakster: If another player can’t see you, neither can any of their characters.
Liar’s Dice: You can hide the result of your roll behind a cup or your hand, 
and tell the other players whatever you like. If one of them tells you to, reveal your dice. 
If you rolled what you said, you gain an experience. 
If you didn’t roll what you said, you lose an experience.

Reader
Health: 1d4/level +tough modifier
Damage: 1d4
Bring a book with you when you play (if you don’t have a book, you’re shit outta luck). 
This book is your spell book. 
Every time you level up, you can get an additional book. 
Your ‘reading pool’ is equal to the number of chapters in your book. 
This reading pool recharges every time you read a chapter of the book. 
The number of reading points you can spend every turn is equal to your level.
Abilities
Choose 1/level.
Devil Summoner: For a reading point, you can test smart to try to summon a character from that book, 
with the stats below. 
If you fail, the GM chooses what character you summon from the book, and they are hostile.
Book Character HD=the number of syllables in the character’s name.
Damage=1 dice size for every vowel in the character’s name.
Morale=the number of titles the character has, +1, x1d10.
Stealth=the number of consonants in the character’s name
Blast: You can blast enemies with your book. 
You can expend a point from your reading pool to create a blast that deals 1d6 damage.


Monsters

Y’p’wrxs’mnb’q
HD: 5
Damage: 2d6
Special Abilities: Each player must try to guess how to pronounce it’s name. 
Whoever the GM judges comes the closest gains +1 armour and +1 damage against it. 
Everyone else takes 1d6 damage from too many consonants.

Dice Monster
HD: 1 HP
Damage: 1
Special Abilities: At the beginning of each round, every character must make a save. 
If they fail, their player gives the GM 1 dice. 
That dice is rolled, and it’s total is added to the Dice Monster’s HP. 
The dice is then put aside. 
If all dice are put aside, the players can no longer roll dice, or do anything that requires dice, 
unless they find a way to get more dice. 
A stealer can try to steal the dice back, so the GM should be vigilant against that.

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.
 

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:
 

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Wandering Necromancers and the City of the Dead

A History of Death
Necromancers have been around for a very long time. Almost as long as death itself. They are older than humans, and older than most of the gods. The very first necromancers arose from a race long forgotten, back when words had real power. Back when death was knew, and even more frightening than it is today.

Once upon a time, a young child asked their mother to get up. They sobbed as dirt fell, covering her corpse until it was six feet underground.

But as I said, words had power. The mother's body heard her child, even if the soul had long since departed. She dug her way up before nature even knew what was wrong.

Thus began the necromancers. Kings eternal over kingdoms undying.

Wanderers
Nowadays, most necromancers are Wanderers. You do get the odd extra-antisocial manic who wants to live in a dungeon and conquer the lands of the living, but they don't last long. Sometimes they starve to death, or their focus lapses and their creations eat them. Anything can happen.

There are also sometimes pirates or priests, but they're a different thing altogether. 
  Wanderers, although despised, looked down on, and ridiculed by many, are an integral and valuable part of society. Like retail workers, if they could run an entire store with the corpses of your ancestors and sheer force of will.

Necromancers, in those places out of the eye of the True God, or simply willing to bend some rules, provide labour, defence, or even entertainment, for a fee. Many of the more selfless ones even forgo the cost, doing good deeds for free.

The typical life of a Wanderer follows a simple pattern: Get to town with a group of undead, reanimate as many more as possible, work for a few weeks, get kicked out, repeat.

Of course, they often move on simply because the pay wasn't good, or because they got bored, but mages are notorious drama queens.

All schools of wizardry have a negative emotion that they suffer increasing amounts of, simply from casting their spells. Necromancers are lonely. They have the power at their fingertips to raise armies, bring the dead (partially) back, and turn enemies into friends, but they are lonely.

It's an ironic hell that they live in.

Most small towns were built by Wanderers, or at least started by them. When settlers came, the Wanderers paved the way. They built the first houses in the mountains, and gave the order to drag their own limp, dehydrated bodies across deserts to found sugar plantations.

Wanderers have a strained relationship with the Church of the True God. The Church's inclination to kill all necromancers other than themselves is conflicted with their desire to make life better for themselves and, to a lesser extent, their followers.

With the common folk, Wanderers are treated as an unpleasant necessity. Some towns are more welcoming than others, but the general respond to a Wanderer is 'here's some cash, do the job, and get out.'

Necromancers and ghouls generally fight, as both of them view corpses as a precious commodity. Both of them together, however, will often make a great team.


Necromancy. What is it?
Now: Necromancy is defined as:
Necromancy (/ˈnɛkrəˌmænsi, -r-/[1][2]) is a supposed practice of magic involving communication with the deceased – either by summoning their spirit as an apparition or raising them bodily – for the purpose of divination, imparting the means to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge, to bring someone back from the dead, or to use the deceased as a weapon, as the term may sometimes be used in a more general sense to refer to black magic or witchcraft.[3][4]
 Now, for today, we're focusing on the 'Bodily part. The core of what a necromancer does. Turning a useless old sack of meat and stink into a helpful old sack of meat and stink. Sometimes this is slow, sometimes this is fast. Sometimes you need to call up the spirit of a fallen warrior to posses the body, sometimes you just need to tell the muscles that to do. It all depends.

In addition, the types of undead are exceedingly varied. You've got your typical zombies, skeletons, crawling claws... but then you have odder things. Skin kites, nailmen, organ-snakes... the list goes on. A sufficiently experienced necromancer should be able to make four or five functional undead from a single body.

Necromancy, at it's heart, is a complicated process. Everyone approaches it differently, and listing all the different methods possible is too large a project for this post.


The City of the Dead 
The City of the Dead is not quite a city. It's a library. Countless rooms, towers, and basements, each filled to the brim with books. It was made over the course of nearly a thousand years, and tended to by an army of undead. Although anyone is allowed to peruse it's endless halls, necromancers are the most frequent patrons.

It is guarded by the same army that cleans it, organizes the shelves, and carries candles for any mortal who wishes to read. The entire place is protected by wards, preventing fires, water, or removal of books.

Mages, the curious, and any who would add to the library's defences or knowledge are welcomed with open arms. No one owns the library, and nobody knows who originally created it, but it protects itself. It has endured the rise and fall of many empires, and catalogued them all.

Some mages have made their homes there, nestled in the crooks and crannies of shelves, seeking out the secrets of immortality, death, and ultimate power within the books. They are most often necromancers, as they can send their servants to fetch food and drink from the outside world.

Ghosts often frequent the halls, often simply to read, wiling away their afterlife on the pursuit of knowledge.