Friday, January 27, 2017

Gods of the Fall - ...and Deeper Still

So last week I talked a bit about how the content of the Deeps was kinda a guideline and that it wouldn't mess up much if you changed it to suit your taste or campaign. One thing discuss was the idea that maybe there are more than five Deeps in your game....

Five seems to be a somewhat arbitrary number. We know that the Afterworld is coming out of a Fall and hasn't been utterly buried and locked in magical stasis in favor of a new society of intelligent sea otters.
Side note: Intelligent sea otters would make for a badass coastal kingdom in just about any setting.
 So from that we can assume that there have not been exactly five Falls prior. It's possible that only certain actions of the gods cause the creation of a Deep. Or maybe there's something special about the Deeps that is unrelated to the Fall itself. Who knows? I don't ... except where my own personal version of the game goes.

So armed with that information why not expand on the idea of the deeps? Why not have six deeps? Or sixteen? The world is like an onion and the more layers you peel away the more you uncover, at least until you finally find the heart. It takes 20 total Advancements to "max out" and reach Tier 6. Optional rules for play beyond Tier 6 do exist and in a game about Gods that could certainly be a viable option, at least for a bit. A GM could set up twenty unique Deeps, and instead of the usual Advancement via Experience hand out Advancement each time the group moves to a new, deeper, tier. This could mean playing for a few sessions without advancement while the PCs try to escape the current tier and move to the next, but if your group is looking for an epic campaign in both scope and length, this is one way to do it.

Granted, added fifteen new deeps is a LOT of work for the GM, and the gimmick might wear out its welcome before the campaign could come to a close, but it's certainly possible. It's equally reasonable to just add a couple of Deeps. Heck you could just take a narrative "out" and say that after many weeks of exploration the groups have reached the Xth deep, skipping right over a bunch of other deeps. This lets you add to the setting, perhaps for a future game, but not add to the immediate work or the length of the campaign.

Why add more Deeps? Well, I suppose there's two big reasons: to add length to the campaign, and to expand the scope of the setting. I've clearly demonstrated the former, but what about the latter? Well the whole idea of Gods of the Fall is somewhat cyclical. Gods rise, rule, Fall, and are replaced by new gods who repeat the cycle, rising, ruling and in time Falling once more.

If we choose to assign direct correlation to the Falls and the Deeps this means that there have been five Falls, and five prior wolds locked away beneath the earth. If you do subscribe to this view adding more Deeps means adding more Falls. This implies the world is older, it indicates that there have been far more gods who have perished, failing to learn from the prior Falls and failing to break the cycle in some way. It means that the characters stand at the cusp of a new cycle, not one that is five incarnations long, but possibly far, far more. Perhaps the Anhilation Seed still rests in the Fifth Deep, and perhaps it is not a unique catalyst for the Falls but merely the most recent. There could be dozens or hundreds of Deeps beyond the Fifth. The character may never set foot in these long ago crypts for dead worlds, but knowing that they are there will add weight to their struggle for survival.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Nuts & Bolts #104 - RPG Blog Carnival - 1d20 Weird Omens

This month's carnival host +Phil Nicholls suggested I post a list of potential omens suitable for Numenera as a follow up to my post last week, which I thought was a really weird and interesting idea. Ergo, I set myself to 1d20 worth of Numenera omens!

The basic format here will be number, omen sign, omen meaning. If I need to deviate from this I'll make note of that somehow.

  1. A wild Seskii is following you. Danger from wild predators. 
    • Seskii are drawn to humans enough that they may even intervene if they have been treated well. 
  2. A Philethis sighting. A common omen, such as it is. Most people assume rightly that it means something important is about to happen; the tricky part is figuring out what thing is actually important. 
  3. Red lightning on the horizon. This is commonly held to indicate when the datasphere will go mysteriously silent for a day or three. 
  4. The green band of the moon being absent during the night of the midsummer full moon. A poor harvest season is coming.
  5. A child born with gills in the Beyond. If the child lives it means great fortune for them, if it dies it means flooding rains are coming.
  6. Purple light at dawn. You will encounter an ultraterrestrial that day.
  7. An intact dessicated amphibian in the road. The Iron Wind is coming.
  8. Oily black rain. Good fortune for craftspeople. 
  9. Biting ones tongue. You will find shins today.
  10. A dud cypher during a new moon. You will lose a limb soon. 
  11. Finding a shin in your meat. Disease or other illness within the next month.
  12. Seeing a cloud shaped like a creature. A warning from the datasphere to beware of said creature.
  13. One of your oddities cease to function. 
    • In Ghan this means stormy weather is coming
    • In the Beyond this indicates that you will learn something significant soon.
  14. One of your shins begins to blink. The datasphere has an answer for you, though you may not yet know the question.
  15. An all white Shanu crossing your path. Bad luck for the rest of the month (lunar cycle).
  16. A falling star (meteor) in blue. Fair weather.
  17. An all red bird in winter. Death.
  18. Your drink loses it bubbles/head/aroma quickly. You will meet a new freind soon.
  19. Breaking mirror by accident. You will discover a lie or secret soon.
  20. A sweet taste in your mouth after using the datasphere. The knowledge you gained will come to bad ends. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Story Seed - The Raver

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One hundred strong rode out against the Raver. One hundred brave souls against the corruption of a fallen god. They rode out to the plains of Maredo, banners snapping in the wind. One hundred horses stamped at the earth and rolled their eyes in fear.  A sound like thunder as one hundred times four hooves churned and stamped the earth. The hundred formed up a line five hundred feet long and arrow straight. One hundred lances rising into the air like the proud vanguard of a limbless forest.

A grand knight rode at the center of the hundred; a knight that ninety-nine others all agreed was without fear or flaw. The grand knight narrowed her eyes as the creature rose from the broken barrow. The Raver was madness incarnate, a broken soul that refused to die. Fueled by the remnants of divine power the Raver continued on following the pained and insane whims of whatever drove it to act. The knight acted on reason and compassion driven by a living human soul. The knight and the Raver were inimical opposites.

One hundred knights, brave and true, charged across the field. One hundred knights wheeled to and fro stabbing and lancing and crying out at their foe. The Raver shrieked. It cried forth with madness and pain and its touch was ruinous on the minds of the one hundred. Knight turned on knight in madness fueled frenzy and soon the one hundred were broken on the field. At last one knight stood true and alone against the Raver, she stood firm, her boots planted in the muddy churned earth. All around her companions fought each other as madness confused friend for foe.

The Raver charged the knight but the knight stood fast. Her weapon she dropped, her helm she threw aside, and her arms she opened wide. The knight caught the Raver in an unbreakable embrace and neither rebuked its madness nor fell to it. Instead she understood and she accepted and she offered balm. And in that way the Raver was defeated, not with weapons and anger, but with compassion and understanding.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Last Week Today - January 16 - 22, 2017

Story Seed - A New World

Nuts & Bolts - Oh, Man!

Gods of the Fall - Going Deeper

Speaking of Gods of the Fall ... my adventure "Thirst" for Gods of the Fall was published in issue #8 of the CypherCaster! If you have a Gods of the Fall game running, or plan to start one, this is a great (my opinion) adventure for shortly after your players hit tier 2. Please consider checking it out. If you like the magazine please consider reviewing it on DriveThruRPG, and if you run the adventure please let me know how it went!