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Son of Iron Game Chef!

Started by Mike Holmes, April 12, 2004, 07:29:35 PM

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I was to make odds and betting once Tuesday rolls around.  I may even start a PayPal account for payouts and donations, with 1/3rd of the take being given to the winner.

And... for those wondering: no, designers cannot bet on anyone but their own designs.

Anyway, the gambling will begin as the desigining ends... oh just you wait.



An RPG by timfire


a. What is "The Mountain Witch?"
b. What do you need to Play?
c. Playing the Game

Chapter 2) MECHANICS
a. Conflict Resolution
b. Combat & Damage
c. Trust

a. Overview
b. Fate
c. The 12 Zodiacs
d. Abilities

a. The Four Acts
b. The Mountain Witch
c. The Witch's Minions


QuoteAs you watch the night sky start to gray over what appears to be a sea of clouds, you recall how you ended up on top of the icy slopes of Mount Fuji. As a ronin, you were use to a hard and lonely life, traveling from village to village, looking for whatever employment you could find. So naturally, when you were approached this time you quickly accepted the offer, though not fully realizing what you were getting into. Now you find yourself on top of this cold rock preparing for an assault on the Mountain Witch himself, along side a group of men you neither know nor want to know. Men who all carry a similar story as yourself.

Who knows what the dawn of this day will bring? How will desperate men incapable of trust react when the only means of survival is to rely on each other?
The Mountain Witch is a single RPG adventure in which the players take on the roles of ronin, masterless samurai in mythical medieval Japan, who have been hired to attempt an assault on the Mountain Witch of Mount Fuji. The characters may have different reasons for accepting the task, but what they share is that they have all been disenfranchised from their former lives and from society. They also have all grown desperate from the difficulties of their lives, and hope that the payoff from this adventure will finally allow them to regain whatever life they have lost. The characters do not know each other prior to the adventure, and  are most likely leery of the new company. What's more, the characters all carry their own dark secret, that when revealed, will test their own courage and the new formed trust of the company.

The Mountain Witch mixes elements from Japanese mythology, horror, and gangster heist movies to create a dark samurai fantasy about trust, betrayal, and overcoming one's fate.

The Mountain Witch explores the themes of trust and fate, and asks the question: "In the face of Fate, how will desperate men incapable of trust react when the only means of survival is to rely on each other?"

Players: The Mountain Witch is designed for 3-6 players + GM. (Though it's possible to play with more players if you double-up the Fates ).

Dice: Each player, including the GM, should have their own 1d6. Also, it's helpful (but not required) to have an altogether minimum total of 6 dice, for the purpose of resolving duels (see section 2(b) for details on dueling).

Character Sheets: (*) Each player is required to have a character sheet. Players may use any piece of paper for this. (See chapter 3 for more details on character creation.)

Fate Cards: (*)The various Fates should be be written out on cards of some sort for distribution between the players. It is suggested that index cards be used for this. (See section 3(c) for more details on Fates.)

Pencils: Does this even need to be said? Obviously, you should have a few pens or pencils at hand to write notes and keep track of various conditions that might be imposed on the characters throughout the course of the adventure.

[(*) Character sheets and Fate cards in print-ready form can be downloaded from the following file:]

Types of Players
The Mountain Witch follows the traditional player-GM split.

Players:The role of the players is to drive the story. Players each control an individual character of their own creation, as well as certain key NPC's, monsters, or events specifically related to the character Fate (see section 2(b) for more details concerning Fate).

Game Master (GM): One unique player is given the title of GM. The GM's role is supporting the player's attempt to create a story. The GM sets the scene for the player's to interact with, and in doing so controls the environment,  NPC's, and monsters [except for key elements specifically related to a character's Fate (again, see section 2(b) for more details concerning Fate)]. The GM also controls scene framing.

[See chapter 4 for more details concerning running the game and which elements are under the player's control.]

Actual Play
Actual play consists of the players describing the actions of their characters while the GM describes the environment and the actions of any NPC's or monsters. This narration is generally run freeform, meaning any player is allowed to jump in at anytime and declare the actions of their characters. Players may declare any action within the plausible capabilities of their character.

This freeform narration is only broken when the character approaches some event, NPC, or object that can potentially cause a conflict of some sort with the character's goals or intent. At this time a conflict roll is called. When a conflict roll is called, the roll is resolved and the consequences are narrated before regular freeform narration continues. (See section 2(a) for more details on conflict resolution.)

Between scenes there is also a short intermission where players evaluate their current levels of Trust. (See section 2(c) for more details on Trust.)

Creating "Story:" Play should follow this pattern: The GM should open the scene by laying out the situation to the Players. The Players are then free to decide how they wan to react. After the situation is resolved, by playing off the choices the players just made, the GM segways into the next scene in a manner that raises the dramatic tension. In this manner, the players are the primary drive behind the story.

Chapter 2) MECHANICS

Fortune-in-the-middle, opposed roll [ 1d6 vs. 1d6 ] between player and GM (or if appropriate, between players), roll-over with degree of success (the GM's roll is subtracted from the player's, positive outcomes indicate player success of some sort, while negative rolls indicate failure). A conflict is concerned with the intent or goals of the characters, as opposed to physical actions or tasks.

What Constitutes a Conflict & When is a Roll Required? A "conflict" indicates any situation where the characters must overcome opposition or resistance to achieve their goals. It can take the form of both active opposition from living creatures, or resistance from some non-living or static challenge. With confronting living creatures, a conflict roll is required whenever their goals or intent conflicts with those of the characters. With non-living or static challenges, a roll is required whenever the challenge presents some some of active resistance or when there is cost associated with failing your goal.

Initiating a Conflict: When the players approach a potential conflict, the GM should declare the intent or difficulties of the conflict. The players then declare how their characters are going to react to the conflict. In doing so, the players also determine the stakes of the conflict, meaning what is to be gained or lost.

Scope of a Conflict: Usually, a single conflict roll should determine the outcome of a single general goal or intent of a single character. A single goal/ intent may encompasses a number of individual physical actions. (See section 2(c) for details aiding characters in a conflict.)

Narrating Success & Failures.
In general, the winner of a conflict narrates the consequences of that conflict. This most often means that players narrates any success, while the GM narrates any failure. Alternatively, other players not involved in the conflict may spend Trust points to narrate either the success or failure of the characters involved (see section 2(c) for details concerning Trust).

Degrees of Success
0: TIE
As implied, a tie results in a stale-mate. Neither party is able to make any headway towards their respective goals.

Neither party  succeeds, but you gain either a partial success or failure.
Win-Lose: Alternatively, players (and only players, not the GM) may declare a Win-Lose. In a Win-Lose, both parties succeed. A Win-Lose may be declared after the contest roll is made, but must be declared before the narration is made.
Win-Lose with Advantages/ Complications: If the players prefers an advantage/ complication (see below), then a Win-Lose indicates that the player either succeeded but with a significant complication (positive roll) or failed with a significant advantage (negative roll).

You succeed regularly, but your opponent also scores a partial success (positive roll), or inversely your opponent succeeds regularly while you partially succeed (negative roll).

The player succeeds or fails as intended.

The player succeeds/ fails regularly and receives an additional partial success/ failure. This additional partial success/ failure entails is decided after the roll.

The player receives two regular successes or failures. This additional success/ failure entails is decided after the roll.

Alternative Consequences
Advantages & Complications: When appropriate, in lieu of normal success or failure, players may opt for advantages or complications (respectively). Advantages/ complications functionally act as (-1) modifiers to future rolls. How long this modifier stays in effect is dependent upon the degree of success. Advantages & complications are cumulative, meaning all modifiers are added together.

In lieu of a partial success/ failure, players may opt for a (+/- 1) modifier on their next action.
Flesh Wound: If appropriate, as an alternative to a small complication, players may opt for a flesh wound, an injury that functions the same as a small complication. (See section 2(b) for details on damage.)

In lieu of a regular success/ failure, players may opt for a (+/- 1) modifier that lasts for one full scene.
Conditional Complication: Alternatively for complications, the complication may be declared conditional meaning the complication remains in effect until an appropriate action is taken to fix the complication.
Hurt: If appropriate, as an alternative to a significant complication, players may opt for a hurt, an injury that functions the same as a significant complication. (See section 2(b) for details on damage.)

Damage: When the appropriate consequence of a conflict is personal injury, characters take damage appropriate to the degree of success (see the next section, 2(b), for details on damage).

Combat is run very much like normal play, with the players declaring the actions of their character in a freeform manner. (Note, if all the characters are engaged in different fights, it might be helpful to pass the spotlight around between individual conflicts to aid in keeping all players engaged in the scene.) For the most part, combat is treated as any normal conflict, and follows all standard rules regarding resolution.

Dueling [Com'on, what's a samurai game without kewl duels?!?]
As an alternative form of combat, characters can initiate a duel with other NPC's (or other characters), if desired. A duel is defined as a (usually) clean, mutually agreed upon one-on-one fight. As in classic samurai tradition, a duel usually begins with the two characters starting at a distance before charging each other in an attempt to kill the other with a single strike.

A duel proceed as follows: The two dueling players begin by making a secret roll.
-After the roll is made, the players can either decide to charge or make another roll. If either player wants to charge, the other has no choice, the characters charge.
-If both players decide to make another roll, a second secret roll is made and added to the first roll. Again the players have the choice of charging or adding one last roll.
-If a third secret roll is made, it is final and the characters immediately charge.
-Whenever the characters charge, the players reveal the rolls, and damage is determined normally depending upon the total of all respective dice rolled.

[Note, when the dice are revealed, there's no rule saying players can't (unhonorably) declare some other course of action, given that they still adhere to the degree of success of the roll.]

If the duel does not kill one of combatants, play continues as normal and the players are free to declare any course of action they want. Players can decide to initiate a normal fight, duel again with the opponent, or any other desired action.

Whenever the appropriate consequence of of a conflict is personal injury (as is case most often in combat), losing the conflict means taking damage in lieu of normal failure. Functionally, damage acts as a simple (-1) modifier to future contest rolls. How long this modifier stays in effect is dependent upon the severity of the injury (ie, degree of success). Damage is cumulative, meaning all modifiers from any injuries are added together.

What is Damage?: Most often, damage means a literal physical injury of some sort; though damage can also be interpreted figuratively, given that the character still receives the appropriate modifier. [For example, a flesh wound (see below) can be interpreted to mean that the character was thrown off-balance, or a hurt could mean that the character's weapon was destroyed and they must find a new one.]

Types of Damage According to Degree of Success
0: TIE
Again, a tie results in a stale-mate with both parties remaining unharmed.

-1: FLESH WOUND (Slight Failure)
You take a (-1) on your next action.
Simultaneous Attack (Win-Lose): In lieu of a flesh wound, players (and only players, not the GM) may declare a simultaneous attack. With a simultaneous attack, the character takes a hurt, but gains a success. As with a Win-Lose, a simultaneous attack may be declared after the roll is made, but before narration.

-2: MUTUAL INJURY (Mixed Failure)
You take a flesh wound [(-1) for one action], but also gain a small advantage.

-3: HURT (Regular Failure)
Generally, a hurt inflicts a (-1) on all rolls for a full scene, but alternatively, the duration of the damage may be based on some special condition. This means, the damage remains until some special action (whatever that may entail) is taken to heal it (see below for more details).

-4: INJURY (Major Failure)
You take a (-1) on all rolls for the rest of the adventure.

> -5: TAKEN OUT (Extreme Failure)
The character is functionally taken out of the adventure. This could mean the character is killed, but alternatively the character may simply be incapacitated (in which case the other characters will need to tend to him... or not).

Recovering from Damage
Flesh Wound: Recovering from a flesh wound is automatic after the character's next action, meaning it does not require some special "healing" or "bandaging" action. (Note, a flesh wound affects the character's next action regardless of when that next action occurs, even if that action takes place in a later scene.)

Normal Hurt: In the event of a normal hurt, the wound automatically heals after a full scene. This means, if the wound is inflicted near the beginning of the scene, then the wound heals at the start of the following scene. Overwise, the wound heals at the end of the following round.

Conditional Hurt: If the hurt is conditional (as outlined above), then the wound automatically heals whenever the appropriate action is taken. This action may be performed immediately (if appropriate) or if required, the character may be forced to suffer the wound for multiple scenes while waiting for an opportunity to heal the damage.

Injury: Injuries cannot be healed, they remain for the duration of the adventure.

Recovering After Being Taken Out: If  a character is taken out but lives, at the start of each following scene (note, the character must remain incapacitated for at least 1 full scene) the character may attempt to recover by making a conflict roll.

-If the player rolls a regular success, the character recoveries but with a double injury [(-2) for the rest of the adventure].
-If a double success is rolled, the character recoveries with only a regular injury (-1).
-If a regular failure is rolled, the character's condition worsens, and the character receives a (-1) on all future attempts at recovery (until a successful recovery, that is).
-If a double failure is rolled, then the character dies and is completely removed from the game.

If another character possess an appropriate ability, they may aid the incapacitated character's recovery. An aided character gains a (+1) in future recovery attempts (until a successful recovery, that is). Incapacitated characters may only be aided once.

Inflicting Harm
It is important to note that inflicting harm is different from receiving damage yourself. In general, inflicting harm is treated the same as normal conflict resolution. However, different creatures have different levels of strength, meaning different resistance to injury. The strength of various creatures is listed in the description of those creatures (see section 3(c) for creature descriptions.)

A regular success is required to take out the creature. A partial success against the creature indicates a hurt [(-1) for a scene].

A major success is required to take out an able creature. A regular success indicates a hurt [(-1) for a scene], while a partial success indicates a flesh wound [(-1) for one action].

These creatures follow the same damage rules as player characters, meaning the damage rules outlined above.

2(c). TRUST
QuoteHow did you let yourself get pulled into this mess? Oh yes, the money. Lots of money. You were told that there was a sum of money for the group of men that defeated the Witch, a sum large enough to set you up for a long time. A sum large enough to finally let you settle down and forget this endless drifting. Funny, though, the thought that first popped into your head. "If anyone doesn't make it, that's just more money for myself."

What's also funny was your second thought: "I'm sure everyone else is thinking the same thing."
Trust is an important theme that should be explored throughout the adventure. Trusting others and working together makes tasks and survival easier, but putting too much faith in an individual may backfire. Other characters may purposely lead you astray, or may call in favors and force you to do things you don't want to.

Trust Levels & Trust Points
Each character has a separate numerical Trust rating for all other characters (ie, Trust levels). This rating describes the relationship between those individual characters. Specifically, this rating describes how much those other characters individually trust you.

These Trust levels are directly converted into Trust points, meaning that the current Trust level determines the number of Trust points the player may spend on the character in question in the current scene. (For example, a Trust level of 4 indicates that the character has 4 Trust points to spend that scene.) Trust points can be spent to influence the other players' characters, for both good or ill. (See below for more details on spending Trust points.)

Trust points for different characters work independantly of each other. Trust points do not add into some collective pool, Trust points can only be spent to influence the relevant character, meaning you cannot spend Trust points from one character on another (meaning, Trust points from character X can only be spent to influence character X, not character Y).

[In essence, the way Trust works is that other players grant you the ability (ie, Trust points/ levels) to influence their personal character.]

Trust points refresh at the start of each new scene according to current Trust levels. Any Trust points not spent at the end of the scene are voided, they do not carry over to the next scene.

Spending Trust Points
When appropriate, a Trust point may be spent to aid the other character in a conflict. (This implies that the character must physically aid in the conflict.)When a character is aided, they receive an extra die that is added on top of their normal roll. Aiding must be declared before the roll is made. In the event that the combined roll still fails, the aiding character is not harmed, meaning the aiding character does not suffer the consequences of the failure.

At any time (it is not required that both characters be together), a Trust point may be spent to narrate the other character's success or failure. This may be declared after the roll, but obviously before narration.

At any time, Trust points may be spent to influence or even force the other character to perform an action. In general, the cost is (1) Trust point for each  individual action, but alternatively, the price can be set according to the impact the proposed action might have on the character. As a general guide for setting the cost, (1) point for a minor impact, (3) for a moderate impact, or (6) for a significant impact. The player whose character is being influenced may set the price.

Changing Trust Levels
Between each scene, the players are given the opportunity to evaluate their current levels of Trust. Players should evaluate each other character independently. Each player then takes a turn telling each other individual player how they are adjusting their Trust level. Players may either:
-Raise their current level by 1.
-Keep their Trust at the current level.
-Or drop their Trust levels by any amount. If the player opts to drop their levels of trust, those levels remain lowered unless raised by normal methods (ie, 1 level per scene).

After every player has communicated how they are adjusting their Trust levels, and after everyone has updated their character sheets, normal play continues with the opening of the next scene.



Before the adventure can begin, the players must make their characters.

Should Character Creation Be an Individual or Group Undertaking? As outlined in the rules (see the next section, 3(b)), for reasons of suspense the first step in character creation, determining a character's fate, must necessarily be an individual decision, since a character's fate is suppose to remain secret from other players. But there is no rule that states that the rest of the character generation process must be approached individually, this decision is left for individual player discretion.

There are reasons why players would prefer both an individual or group-oriented character creation process. The group dynamics of the characters can have significant impact on the play experience for the players, and it's easier to get a coherent group if the character creation process is group-oriented. However, creating characters individually gives the players more freedom to tailor the character around their Fate.

Assumed Skills & Equipment: As samurai, characters are assumed to begin the game with a number of appropriate skills. These include unarmed and armed (sword, spear & bow) martial arts training, horsemanship, and the appropriate civilian skills, such as literacy and etiquette. It is also assumed that the character will carry with them a set of daisho, or in other words, a paired katana (longsword) and wakizashi (short sword). Other equipment can be acquired through the character's abilities (see section 3(d) for more information on abilities).

Steps in Making a Character
Step 1, Determine Fate: The first step in making a character involves determining the Fate of the character. The character's Fate will become a pivotal event in the adventure for that character, so the rest of the character creation process should be tailored around the Fate.

Step 2, Determine Zodiac Sign: The second step in character creation is deciding upon a Zodiac sign. A character's Zodiac acts as a springboard for the character's general personality, and also influences how others will react to the character.

Step 3, Choose Abilities: The third step involves choosing the character's unique abilities.

(Optionally) Step 4, Background & Description: If desired, a character can be rounded out by creating a background or personal description. Creating a background or personal description is generally optional, though some Fates do require a minimal back story. A character's background or personal description does not need to be written down, the player can simply keep it in his head (unless the player wants to write it down, of course).

The Character Sheet
Facts concerning a character are written on the (ubiquitous) character sheet. As stated in section 1(b), any sheet of paper may be used for a character sheet, though a print-ready form (along with Fate cards) can be downloaded from the following file:

Required Information
-Flesh Wound (1 action)
-Hurt (1 scene)
-Injury (adventure)
-Character 1: (Trust Level): (Current Trust Points)
-Character 2: (etc.)
-Character 3: (etc.)

Optional Information
TRUST: How Much You Trust Others.

3(b). FATE
QuoteRestless but tired, you agree that the group should sleep one last time before attempting its unholy assault. As you slowly drift off, you are surprisingly greeted by memories of times past, memories of happiness and former loved ones that give your heart warmth atop this cold and desolate rock. But other memories slowly creep into your vision, memories of heartbreak, hardships, and betrayals. Memories of both others and yourself that you long sought to forget. As the warmth of your heart is slowly drowned in regret and despair, new and unknown visions begin your fill your sleep, visions that soon become nightmares. Visions of the  Witch himself and the horrors that might await you.

What was that, a dream? Whatever it may be, you know it must be a bad omen. And judging from the tension and unease that seems to have fallen upon the party, you realize you must not have been the only one to be visited that night.
At the start of the game, each player is given a Fate. The purpose of Fate is to pose a question to both the the Fated character and to the other characters. Fates usually entail a betrayal of some sort. Players have a choice in how closely they want their character to follow their Fate, Fates do not necessarily mean that the character is helpless to resist them.

It is assumed that the character learned of their Fate through a dream the night before assaulting the Witch's Fortress.

Fate Cards: Before the game is started, the 6 Fates should be written on cards of some sort for distribution between the players. As stated in section 1(b), it is suggested that 3x5 index cards be used for this purpose. Fate cards in a print-ready form (along with character sheets) can be downloaded from the following file:

Determining Fate
As the first step in the character generation process, the GM shuffles and deals out one Fate card to each player. Players should the Fate card, but they should keep their Fate secret from the other players. After each player is randomly dealt one Fate card, the players are given the option of exchanging their Fate card for another in the unused deck. [If there is conflict between who gets to exchange their card first, use a simple roll (highest to lowest) to determine order.] Players are allowed to look at all the cards  in the unused deck before making their choice. In this way no two characters should have the same Fate.

After everyone is satisfied with their Fate, the GM announces which Fates are in play, though who holds which card remains secret.

The Fates
Unknown to the others, one of the company owes you a blood debt. Will you seek to collect it or will the bonds formed of trust overcome the past?
Functionally: Simple enough, another character owes you their life (or at least you believe they do). You are allowed to declare the details of the past event and your true relationship to the character in question.

A past alliegence that you long fought to forget will soon call out for returned favors.
Functionally: You hold some sort of alliegence to a person or group. Often, this person or group is of an unsavory character and is now working with the Witch.

When your loved ones needs you most you will surely fail.
Functionally: This Fate kicks in whenever a you build a Trust level around 5 or 6. You can either set up an appropriate situation artificially through narration, by you can simply denying the other character help when an appropriate situation naturally occurs.

That thought that lingers in the back of your mind and the image that prowls your nightmares will manifest.
Functionally: At some point a monster or supernatural event out of the characters fears will physically manifest.

You have made an unholy pact with the Witch himself, and he is a man of his word. He will deliver his end, but will expect the same from you.
Functionally: As stated, the character has made some pact with the Witch. What's important to note is that the Witch will deliver on his promise, at least initially.

Being one of the few (if not the only one) to truly know what lies ahead in the Fortress, you came not to kill the Witch, but to take from him. Will you stay with the company, or discard them when convenient?
Functionally: This Fate may entail simple greed, but it also involves some greater conspiracy.

Narrating & Controlling Fates
In general, players have total control over their Fate. Players determine what exactly their Fate entails, and usually control when and how their Fate is revealed (though under the some conditions the GM is allowed the option of calling the player out).The players are also allowed to narrate any NPC, monster, or environmental factor specifically related to their character's Fate. Players may also interpret their Fate as loosely as they desire.

3(c). THE 12 ZODIACS
The second step in creating a character involves choosing a Zodiac for the character.

Role-Playing the 12 Zodiacs: The Zodiac descriptions are meant as a springboard for how players should role-play their characters, and how characters should initially react to other characters. However, the degree to which the character should stick to the Zodiac description is left to player discretion.

Compatibility: Allies & Enemies: The various Zodiacs interact with each other differently. The associated  "allies" and "enemies" are meant as compatibility descriptions, not literal allies or enemies. Characters begin the game with an extra point of trust towards allies, and (-2) points of Trust towards enemies.

Choosing a Zodiac: Players may determine Zodiac signs for their characters any way they wish, though no two players may share the same Zodiac, all characters must have a different sign. Players may simply choose a sign, or if there is conflict about which player gets to choose which Zodiac, the players can make roll for choice order (highest to lowest).

The Zodiacs
RAT (Nezumi)
Charming, imaginative & ambitious. Though somewhat opportunist, Rats will work hard for their goals. They tend to be overly critical and are known for their quick tempers despite outward shows of control.
Allies: Dragon & Monkey
Enemies: Horse

OX (Ushi)
Patient, conservative, and methodical. Ox have a gift for inspiring confidence in others and tend to make good leaders. However, they also have a tendency for chauvinism and having one's own way.   
Allies: Rooster & Snake
Enemies: Ram

TIGER (Tora)
Though stubborn, hot-headed, selfish and slightly mean, Tigers are also courageous and tend to be deep thinkers capable of great sensitivity and sympathy for those they are close to and love.
Allies: Dog & Horse
Enemies: Monkey

RABBIT (Usagi)
Affectionate, obliging, pleasant. Rabbits are smooth talkers, talented, virtuous and reserved.  They have exceedingly fine taste, but they also tend to be overly sentimental.
Allies: Ram & Boar
Enemies: Rooster

DRAGON (Tatsu)
Intelligent, gifted and full of vitality, Dragons are healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered and stubborn. They tend to be perfectionists who must guard against making unduly demands. They are the most peculiar of the 12 signs.
Allies: Rat & Monkey
Enemies: Dog

SNAKE (Hebi)
Charming, romantic, and deep thinkers, Snakes speak very little and possess tremendous wisdom. They are determined in what they do and hate to fail. It is often difficult for them to keep a sense of humor.  They tend to be fortunate in money matters.
Allies: Ox & Rooster
Enemies: Boar

Independent and hard workers, Horses are quick thinkers, wise and talented. Though skillful in paying compliments, they tend to talk too much. Horses have a tendency towards selfishness  and are very impatient and egotistical.
Allies: Tiger & Dog
Enemies: Rat

RAM (Hitsuji)
Elegant, artistic, and charming. Deeply religious, Rams are passionate in whatever they do and believe in, though they have a tendency to be pessimistic at times.
Allies: Rabbit & Boar
Enemies: Ox

Erratic geniuses, Monkeys are inventive and original. They are clever and skillful in grand-scale operations and are able to solve the most difficult problems with ease. However, they must guard against being an opportunist and being distrustful of people.
Allies:[/i] Dragon & Rat
Enemies:[/i] Tiger

Hard working and shrewd, yet also extravagant. Roosters are dreamers who are always busy with their work. Having the habit of always speaking their minds, they are usually boastful and often take on tasks which are beyond their abilities.
Allies: Ox & Snake
Enemies: Rabbit

DOG (Inu)
Extremely honest and loyal, Dogs have a highly developed sense of duty and do their best in relationships with others. They know how to keep secrets but have a tendency to worry and find fault.
Allies: Tiger & Horse
Enemies: Dragon

BOAR (Inoshishi)
Brave and intellectual, Dogs have tremendous inner strength. They are sincere and honest, but sometimes naive, expecting the same from others. They are short-tempered, yet hate to quarrel or have arguments.
Allies: Rabbit & Ram
Enemies: Snake

As the last step in character creation, players are allowed to choose 3 abilities for the character. The word "ability" is used loosely, as an ability may include a physical ability, a special skill, a special weapon or item, or even a magic spell. Players are allowed to choose any plausible ability. The purpose of abilities is to broaden the character's capabilities, thus as a general guide players should avoid abilities that give an obvious inherent advantage.

As another general guideline, abilities should require activation of some sort, meaning abilities that are always active should be avoided.

Props: Certain equipment, such as a fan or straw hat, have no significant or tangible function. This type of item is referred to as a prop, and may simply be declared freely at the start of the game. Within reason, there is no limit to the number of props a character may carry.

Armor & Alternative Weapons: Since abilities are not intended to grant obvious advantages, players should be discouraged from selecting armor as an ability. However, if players are willing, armor can be accepted as a prop, meaning for flavor purposes only.

Likewise, if a player desires an alternative weapon for simple flavor reasons, then the character's assumed daisho may be exchanged for the alternative weapon. Note, weapons that grant some additional advantage or ability (such as a bow) may not be freely exchanged. Also, if the player desires an alternative weapon in addition to the assumed daisho, the player must use one of the character's abilities.

Magic Spells: Though players are allowed to select magic spells of any kind as an ability, players should remember that abilities are meant to broaden a character's capabilities, not create obvious advantages. In general, the scope of spells should be a single target, and the duration of a spell should not last more a single action. Spells that create a small advantage or complication if casted successfully are acceptable.

Examples of Abilities
The following is a sample of possible abilities, and in no represents an exhaustive list.

-Special Weapon: Spear or Bow
-Special Equipment: Rope, Matches
-Special Skill: First Aid, Arcane Lore
-Physical Ability: Superior Strength, Superior Hearing
-Magic Spell: Turn the Undead, Protect [(+1) for 1 action]

Chapter 4) RUNNING THE GAME[/b]

Once the characters are created and the players ready the adventure can begin. The game should take the form of 4 distinct acts.

In the opening Act, the players are given the set-up for the adventure and the characters are introduced. The act shouldd open with the character standing on the mountain slopes shortly before dawn, ready to assault the Witch's fortress. The primary concern of this Act for the characters is entering the Fortress. Once the characters enter the fortress, the  second Act begins.

The primary purpose of this act is to introduce the characters and the story. Players shouldn't worry too much about what happens in this Act.

Once the fortress is entered, there's no turning back. The second Act follows the characters as they explore the fortress. In this act the minions of the Witch are introduced, and the feel and atmosphere of the fortress is established.

Functionally, the purpose of this Act is really just to allow the characters to develop their relationships and build dramatic tension before the next Act. During this Act, characters should begin building Trust, but at the same time begin to show signs of the character's future Fates.

The Witch in this act should remain fairly elusive. He may begin to make contact with the characters, but it either be through visions or through his minions. The purpose of the Witch's appearances should be to pull the characters closer to their Fates.

Act 3: FATE
The third act is mostly concerned with the explosion of the character's Fates. During this Act the characters should be in a fairly low emotional state, more concerned with dealing with their Fates than with the Witch.

The concluding Act follows the characters as they both confront the consequences of their Fates and the Witch himself. Regardless of how it is done, the characters should be driven to confront the Witch.

How should the story end? This really depends on how the players want to end the story. Some players may enjoy their characters slowly succumbing to the darkness of the Witch, while others may want to see their character vindicated by the death of the Witch.

The Mountain Witch himself should be used more as an omnipresent force in the story than as a true "character" unto himself. His presence should be a thick weight felt throughout the fortress. The characters should feel his hand influencing events, even if he is not physically present. The players should always have the impression that the Witch's minions are following some sort of silent commands from the Witch.

If the characters do engaged him in a battle, he should use powerful magic to protect himself.

The Witch's Appearance and the Cold
How the Witch is physically portrayed is left for GM to decide. The Witch may be a man, a woman, he may change forms, or may the Witch not even be human at all. However, one elements that needs to be incorporated into any description of the Witch is the cold. The Witch is cold, both physically and figuratively. Any physical description should have him be either ice cold, covered in snow or ice, or possible even made of ice himself.

In fact, temperature itself inside the fortress should be related to Witch. As the characters get closer to the Witch and as the story progresses, the characters should feel the air get ever colder.


The Fortress
The Fortress of the Mountain Witch is a large, traditional Japanese fortress that sits right on the summit of Mount Fuji. Unless the characters want to scale an icy cliff, the Fortress is only approachable from the front. Once inside the fortress there is no turning back. Whether the fortress becomes a place of eerie beauty or supernatural nightmares, the GM should strive to give the fortress a life of its own. Just like all the creatures inside the fortress, the fortress itself is a servant of the Witch. In fact, the fortress is the Witch's greatest servant.

YUKI-ONNA (Winter Ghost)
Yuki-Onna is the Witch's  mistress, a winter ghost who is able to cast a number of powerful spells. She is beautiful, but her body is frozen. She most often charms her victims, forcing them to either kill others or themselves. If needed, she can evaporate into a white mist and disappear.
Strength: Strong

The Witch has a giant that sleeps in a cave in the side of the mountain. If needed the giant will awake to defend the fortress.
Strength: Unbeatable. The giant is beyond a normal human's ability to harm.

Jikininki are undead corpse-eaters who feed on the dead bodies left by the other minions of fortress.
Strength: Able

KIJO (Ogre)
Japanese ogres. The Witch has a small squad of kijo that serve his command.
Strength: Strong

These are fierce  guardian spirits that watch over the Witch himself.
Strength: Strong

Oni are demons that look like humans except that they have three eyes, big mouths, horns and sharp nails. They are able to fly and must often fight in a frenzy.
Strength: Able

KUMO (Giant Spiders)
Kumo are giant spiders about the size of a man. When curled up o the ground, they appear like a pile of dirty clothes. They often lie as such waiting in ambush for their prey.
Strength: Able

Tengu are creatures normally that prey on wanderers who stray too far from town at night. They normally live in the forests, but were drawn to the fortress by the Witch's power. They look like humans except for extremely long noses and beak-like mouths. Tengu are the generic mook of the fortress, plentiful in number but not too bright. But still, they are able fighters when they need to be.
Strength: Able

Tokutaro-san is an enchanted doll. From a distance he looks like a normal boy, but closer it is revealed that he is made of clothe. He normally serves Yuki-Onna. Tokutaro-san will not directly engaged in a fight, but will do what he can to cause the characters trouble.
Strength: Weak

YASHA (Vampire Bat)
Yasha are undead, vampire bats about the size of a large bird. There are numerous yasha that live in the mountain under the power of the Witch.
Strength: Weak
--Timothy Walters Kleinert


Whew!!! I almost didn't make it, seriously. It would have been nice to have another 24 hours to clean things up just a bit more and add a little more flavor text, but oh well.

OK. I'm late for work now.
--Timothy Walters Kleinert

Walt Freitag


Part 1: Preparations and Character Generation

Preparation for Play: Starting a New Game

The Arabian Nights ON ICE FAMILY SPECTACULAR is for three or more players. Play does not require a "gamemaster" and does not require any advance preparation.

The Basic Game set includes twenty-four Theme cards, ten Basis cards, the standard deck of Arabian Nights On Ice Conflict cards, and the Island of Serendib expansion deck of Conflict Cards. You'll also need six-sided dice (at least one per player), a stock of several dozen tokens such as pennies or Go stones in a bowl, another bowl for the Sultan's tokens, a clock or timer, and blank paper and writing implements.

Lay out the Basis cards face up for use during character creation.

Some of the cards in the Island of Serendib expansion deck have the same back design as the Conflict cards in the main deck. Shuffle these cards together with the main deck of Conflict cards. Deal three cards from the top of this deck, and place them face up in the center of the table for all to see. Put the deck face down next to the face-up cards.

Shuffle the rest of the Island of Serendib cards separately. Place the deck face-down near the center of the table.

Place the bowl of tokens somewhere within everyone's reach.

Place the empty bowl, which will hold Approval Tokens accumulated by the Sultan, to one side.

Shuffle all the Theme Cards. (There are twenty-four cards in all, four each of each of the six Themes.) Draw five of these cards at random. Put the remaining cards away out of sight, and place the five cards face down in a pack next to the Approval Tokens bowl. No one may look at the left-over cards or at the five chosen cards except one at a time as specified by the rules.

Decide how long your Night will be. For beginners, two hours is recommended. Experienced players should play with one-hour Nights, and can plan for more than one Night per game session if they wish. If using a countdown timer, set the appropriate amount of time and start it running. When it reaches zero, it will be Dawn, time for the ice show to end and for the Sultan to deem Scheherazade's fate for another day. If using a clock, all players should note the current time and should agree aloud on what time Dawn will arrive.

Players can now create characters (see below). If there is any dispute over who gets to use a particular Basis card, roll dice and the highest roll gets first choice.

Decide, or roll to determine, who will play first.

Preparation for Play: Continuing an Ongoing Game

If you are continuing play from a previous session, players will already have characters, and the characters will already have Situation arrays of Basis and Conflict cards (which they will have either carefully recorded, or kept the cards themselves in a packet), along with records of how many Tokens are currently on each card. Each player should restore his or her character's Conflict cards and tokens as they were at the end of the previous Night.

The Sultan starts with no tokens in the bowl, and with a new draw of the Mood cards. (No matter how favorable toward Scheherazade he was feeling the previous Night, he's had a hard day bidding and forbidding in Court, so he is just as tough an audience as the previous Night. How would you feel if your wife wanted you to watch another ice show every night?)

The Conflict cards are shuffled and the first three cards displayed face up, just as when starting a new game. Likewise with the Island of Serendib cards, except that if one player's Situation currently has the player's character on the Island (top Conflict card in the Situation has the Island of Serendib icon on its bottom right corner), turn two cards from that deck face up, and if two or more players' characters are on the Island, turn three cards from that deck face up.

Also, if continuing from a previous Night, one player-character is likely the current Sultan's Favorite. The (currently empty) bowl for the Sultan's tokens should be placed in front of that player.

Character Stats: the Themes

All characters have ratings from 0 to 3 in each of six Themes. You can think of the Themes as areas of skill, but they also represent universal aspects of life that your character's tale will be about.

These Themes are used to express characters' actions in the visual language of figure skating performance.

Jumps represent the use of force, prowess, and personal competence at the task in hand. In a fighting conflict, jumps are direct attacks. In a wooing, jumps are attempts to impress or making aggressive passes. (Indeed, coming on with a series of close-by triple axels is practically tantamount to rape.) Jumping ability therefore represents physical strength, talent in trades and crafts, aggressiveness, and straightforward action.

Footwork represents the use of deviousness or indirect solutions to problems, deception, fast-talking, and quickly switching between positions or stances. Footwork ability therefore represents physical dexterity, resourcefulness, and political savvy.

Spins represent sustained effort, focusing of effort on a single point, remaining centered and balanced, and observing in all directions. Spinning ability therefore represents perseverance, fortitude against hardship, patience, vigilance, and perception.

Synchronization represents moving and acting in step with others and with the background music; having good timing; adaptation to situations; and romantic attraction. Synchronization ability therefore represents the ability to get along in social, political, and amorous relationships, street smarts, communication skills, and leadership.

"Spirals" and other sustained dramatic movement in straight lines or broad curves across the ice represent inspiration, introspection, strong emotion, and spirituality. Spiraling ability therefore represents passion, commitment, and (most important in the Arabian Nights setting) pious faith in Allah.

"Lifts" (lifts, throws, and the use of props) represent power over others and control of external power and resources. Lifting ability therefore represents mastery of resources external to oneself, such as wealth, political power, slave ownership, sexual power including legislated marital rights, and magical items.

Whenever a character undertakes an important action (an action that addresses a current Conflict, on which more later), the appropriate Theme stat will figure into the resolution. Because the visual language of ice skating allows for considerable artistic license and interpretation, there may be several different Themes that might apply to a given in-character action. Describing how the action is to be performed on the ice might help a player to justify the relevance of a particular Theme in a particular situation. For instance, the ability to lead an army into battle might be represented by skating in synch with the skating troupe portraying the army (Synchronization, inspiring loyalty in the troops), or doing a solo dance routine with a flag (Lifting, invoking one's authority to command), or an emotional performance expressing the worthiness of the cause (Spirals, portraying a passionate pre-battle speech).

Players are invited to invent new interpretations of the six Themes when applying them to in-game situations, extending the meanings of Themes either metaphorically (for example, Spirals to make a strong emotional plea for mercy), or literally (e.g. Jumps to represent scaling a height, or Spins to represent someone or something rotating). The only stipulation is that the interpretation be elegant, not overly forced. For example, suppose your character is a fisherman casting your net from the banks of the Tigris. Let's also suppose that you have reason to lack confidence in your "Lifts" Theme (which includes Throws, which is the obvious Theme to use when "casting" a fishing net). Instead, you might describe the scene using the troupe skaters costumed in silver portraying a school of fish, with blue lighting and a rippling-water lighting effect; with your fisherman character skating alongside the school of fish with a net. You might then use Synchronization (the fisherman must cast the net with the perfect timing to capture the fish). Or you might decide that Spins could portray the swirling eddy currents that draw the fish into the net. But justifying the use of Footwork because you stand on your feet while casting the net would be forcing it.

Character Creation

Characters in The Arabian Nights ON ICE FAMILY SPECTACULAR are relatively straightforward. Neither traditional Eastern tales nor ice skating shows lend themselves to detailed or subtle characterization. Characters' flaws and foibles are clearly apparent, their goals and motives are simple and usually obvious, and their beliefs and emotions tend to be worn on their sleeves.

To create a character, you will decide two things: the characters' Theme scores, and the character's Basis card. To decide the Theme scores, divide ten points between the six Themes, placing no more than three points in any single Theme. You can do this before or after selecting the character's Basis card from the available supply. Record the Theme scores on paper.

The Basis card tells you what it is about this character that drives the tales he or she will be performing on ice. Depending on the card chosen, the Basis could be something about the character's circumstances, personality, goals, or fate.

You should also give your character a name, and make up any additional details you want to about your character's background, appearance, or personality. But don't write those details down. Describe your character to the other players during character creation or during your first turn. If they're not important enough or interesting enough for you and the other players to remember them without writing down, they're not important enough or interesting enough to bother with. And you don't have a lot of time to spare before Dawn.

The Basis Cards (Basic Set)


You can never stay put for long, before you feel the need to travel. Even Baghdad, the greatest city in the world, will bore you if you stay too long. There's a whole world out there, across the ice-deserts and on the far shores of the ice-seas and beyond the ice-mountains, full of wonders beyond imaging.

(Can you find enough wonder and adventure to satisfy you for a lifetime, and finally settle down?)

Adversity: 4


You're constantly being tricked and taken advantage of by women. Despite your good intentions and lack of ill will, women seem bound to practice their cruel wiles on you at every opportunity.

(Is there a woman in the world who is the exception? Can you find her and win her?)

Adversity: 4


When you reached the age of adulthood, your mother gave you your inheritance, which you promptly squandered. Now you must survive, and care for her as well, without a trade or a respected position in society. Fortunately, there is opportunity to be found around every corner. Unfortunately, no matter how much you seem to prosper at times, you always end up reduced to looking around corners before long.

(What would drive you to give up your roguish shiftless ways and become a respectable citizen?)

Adversity: 4


Money flees from your hand as a hummingbird from a sandstorm. If you had money you're sure you'd never squander it, but money never seems to come your way in the first place. You depend on your wits, alms, and Allah for survival from day to day. Fortunately, one needn't have wealth to have virtue, freedom, health, and companionship. Count your blessings.

(What would you compromise for wealth and security?)

Adversity: 4


A lifetime of struggle and ambition have brought you into a position of great power. Perhaps you hold a high office in the Kaliph's Court, or are a mighty Prince of a foreign land, or perhaps you are the Kaliph Haroun ar-Rasheed, Prince of the Faithful, himself. Whoever you are, being powerful means you have powerful enemies who rarely give you a moment's rest from their schemes, traps, and poisoned flattery.

(What mistake or misplaced trust will be your undoing?)

Adversity: 4


Such is your faith in Allah, the High, the Great, that Shaitan Iblis cannot resist testing and challenging it at every turn, visiting upon you woe and misfortune beyond most mortals' ability to bear. You've had no friend who hasn't turned against you, you've ridden no camel that hasn't kicked you, and you've boarded no boat that's reached its destination still afloat. But why should you care, when you are sure of your reward in Paradise?

(Will you discover that your faith has limits after all?)

Adversity: 4


You will not be satisfied with any honor, if there's a higher honor to be won, nor with any fortune, if there's a greater fortune to be made; nor with any achievement, if there's a more difficult achievement to strive for. Where there is danger there is opportunity. And vice versa.

(When does the price become too high?)

Adversity: 4


Most people avoid getting involved with the injustices they see around them every day. They're content to thank Allah that they're not the ones suffering when they see the innocent falsely accused or the guilty go unpunished. But you cannot accept it. Your willingness to do what you can to see justice done could lead you down some dangerous roads.

(How far are you willing to go?)

Adversity: 4


You are in love with the most beautiful woman (or man) in the world. You have reason to believe she (or he) looks upon you with favor as well. But marriage seems out of the question, whether due to class differences, family disapproval, physical distance, misunderstandings, abductions, or even magical forces. Just when you find a way around one obstacle, another one arises.

(Can true love conquer all?)

Adversity: 4


Why is that hunchback carrying a heavy bundle through the alley in the dead of night? Who is the woman whose face appears each noon in the high tower window? Are the rumors of a jeweled kingdom of merfolk under the sea really true? Why is the old man whispering endearments to his donkey? So many mysteries in the world.

(Are there questions that mortal man is better off not knowing the answer to?)

Adversity: 4


To come: Game mechanics, Conflict cards, Dawn
Wandering in the diasporosphere

Emily Care

Coming down to the wire, I want to congratulate everyone who has taken part this time around. C'est une veritable fete gourmande!

Bon Chance, tout le mond!

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games


let's see if I can make this last post as a clarification of the way Curses work. Curse Dice can be gained in transient situations (like working magic in daylight,) or by deliberate action (a rival sorceror curses you,) OR voluntarily, to reduce magical damage. when Curse Dice are rolled and come up greater than or equal to the d10 result, the character takes magical damage, similar to the ordinary damage from a failed ordinary roll; magical damage is tracked seperately from ordinary damage. if you take 5 points of magical damage in any one area (magical physical damage, for example,) you die, or suffer an equivalent fate.

players can opt to avoid death or catastrophe by transforming magical damage to permanent Curse Dice, similar to the way ordinary damage can be transformed into wounds or other disadvantages. this might be one way that a player character could become a werewolf, for instance (the unnatural advantages would not be gained automatically, however; that is a matter for character improvement.)

one other point: "innocent bystanders" are NPCs who are not important and especially are not part of an Obstacle or challenge to a character. the GM can declare innocent bystanders to be harmed or killed at any time, without a roll. one way this may happen is as a result of a Curse roll. this would be the drawback of being a werewolf or vampire, for example; people die.
John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects:


Dawn of the Day of the Monsters

Chapter One: The Name of the Game
This is a game of survival. The PC's are the hapless citizens of the small Texas town of Creeper Creek, who may or not may not be prepared for what greeted them when they woke up. A giant monster attack and military nuclear strike during the night seperated Creeper Creek from the continent, and now it is an irridiated island with a giant carcass of radioactive monster lying on it. As the first light of dawn hits the town area of the island, people's neighbors are now radioactive muties breaking down their doors and windows and eating them. Hopefully the PC's will survive, though none can wake up next to weapons of any kind, and within five minutes those that have made it so far will of met up. From that point on theyre all consuming goal is to find a way off the island, something not made any easier as within the hour the military has the town swarming with Goblins (special soldiers in radiation suits) and ORCs (genetically engineered radiation proof pigmen). Within five hours helicopters with BFG machine guns are scouring the island for survivors before they can break the quarantine, afraid that the irradiated townsfolk will infect the outside world. The PC's not only have to try not to get shot, pounded into snot by a gengineered pigman, and not to get eaten by packs of mutated neighbors, but must also survive the heat, humidity, wildlife such as escaped inbreed dogs and cousins, traps set up by other survivors, lack of food and water, and the constant threat of attack. The emotional stress and paranoia alone should be enough to crack them. If they hole up in somewhere away from the town, perhaps a stray trailer home in the middle of the woods, it will no doubt be a strong fort as long as they defend it, but eventually all fortifications are penetrated. They can't hide forever, and if they find a car, steal a jeep, or get into a truck it will doubtless end up in a firey explosion. Most of all, they can't get off the island. No matter what they try- inflatable rafts, stealing a helicopter, sending for help, or even jumping in and swimming, there is no way they will ever get off the island. Of course you shouldn't tell them that, their frantic attempts are 3/4's of the fun. Not to mention all the giggles that occur as one gets bit by a mutie and starts becoming one of the violent, mindless maneating things himself, or perhaps they wander in a heavily irradiated area and all start to get sick and wither, and soon don't have the strength to get out. Or maybe they even stumble upon the massive carcass of the monster itself, highly irradiated but somehow not deadly or turning them into muties. What happens in that place is entirely up to you. This your game, a twisted jungle Texas mutant killer survival fantasy- and it's your players' nightmare.

Chapter Two: The Rules of Freeforming
- The PC's can think of and attempt almost anything
- However, try to stay within the bounds of the genre (which can be as unrealistic and movie-like as the GM and other players want to allow)
- The PC's should be in the same genre as the others (if they all want to be texas kungfu deathbunnies let them, but if most of them want to be scared civilians and one is playing Walker-Texas Ninja, have a little chat about changing their character- it's not that hard.)
- The burden of creativity in action lies on the Players and their Characters, the burden of "reality" lies on the GM to mantain how he sees fit to the level he sees fit.
-Clever ideas should be rewarded, and really clever ideas should be rewarded with spectacular failure.
-Speed of response matters! Not all the time, but certainly in a gunfight the reaction of the PC in real time counts towards what happens. If all goes well the pace of the fight will mantain and the things that happen will happen in a natural and realistic lighting fast way between the Players and the GM.

Chapter Three: Character Creation
Player characters are the survivalist citizens of Creeper Creek, Texas
Characters can be within any of the constraints (realistic or non, set by the game-master) of human beings in real life. They can also be of any "realistic" personal history, personality, and profession that the game-master deems as ok. This is the most critical part of character creation, the writing of a brief profile. This profile should contain the character's names and aliases, pertinent background information, an optional personal history, a detailed physical description and personality profile, as well as a rundown, usually in list form, of the skills, capabilities, knowledge, and equipment of the character. (note: all characters, no matter how militant or survivalist wake up with no weapons at their immediate disposal. Whether the nearest gun is a handgun three miles away or a shotgun in the next room is left up to the game-master. Once again, the bounds of personal equipment in the vicinity of a character upon waking up (the start of the game) is left up to the player and game-master to discuss before the game begins. Getting a fairly specific idea what the character can and can't do, of whether they're parapelegic or Olympic runners, is the main focus on character creation. Also important is the balancing act between the idea filled player and the referee like game-master to ensure a character that has both strengths and weaknesses, and fits in with the rest of the player's characters without dominating the group, be it through incredible usefulness or totally lack therefore of.

A good guideline for characters are those found in Romero zombie movies, any of the townspeople from the movie Outbreak, the main characters in Dreamcatcher, and, if you really want to make it personal, letting the Players play Texan versions of the themselves.

Chapter Four: Combat and Art of Disaster
As mentioned in the Rules of Freeforming, Players are encouraged to try anything they can think of, and the GM should paint a rich enviroment of potential weapons, dangers, and "oh shit!" moments for them. Also, on the practical side of freeform combat: sound effects, hand motions, and such really help to keep everyone in "real time" with their actions and responses in combat and even otherwise, because afterall, this is not a turnbased or dicerolling initiative game. If all goes well, people should be pumped with adrenaline and genuinely paranoid after a combat sequence. And in this game, any time can be a combat sequence.

Other notes: specific rules for weapons and what you can do with them are mentioned, and of course the creativity with unarmed and improvisational weapon combat can have endless suprises and potential. Another point is that ANYTHING can be a weapon, from cars, the environment, to throwing other PC's at someone. Player Characters fighting Player Characters is also very much allowed, and hopefully the environment of the game will cause at least one instance of one PC taking a cheap shot backstabbing attempt on another's life, which will probably be successfull (unless you have an equally paranoid and hyped up Player of the victim...)

Guns are of course gonna be the weapon of choice in the game. The most basic form of gun combat is pointing at an imaginary enemy being described by the GM and saying "BANG BANG, I shoot at him *here* and *duck/rolle/jump*" Good guidelines for guns are:
Revolver (six shots, max of 3 at once)
Pistol (eight shots, max of 2 at once)
-hand guns rule-: Handguns can be stored in sleeves, holsters, pockets, inside of pants, in belts, in backpacks, and even taped to the body.
Rifle (seven shots, max of 1 at once)
-sniping rule-: Sniping can theoretically instantly kill anyone, but not only is the sniper going to have little chance to miss and not lose her shot usually, but also is prone and unaware of her surroundings except for the area she is looking at through the scope
Submachine Gun (3 long bursts, or 6 short bursts)
Mounted Machine Gun (1 minute continous fire, or 20 bursts)
-the machine guns rule-: machineguns are the best for killing multiple targets in one turn. However a machinegun or smg can only be used to shoot in one 5 foot area, arcing the fire across said area, per burst. Exceptions for BFG mounted machineguns might be made by the gamemaster
-multiple targets rule-: in one set of shooting, the shooter can use his shots (such as 3 squeezed off quickly for a revolver) on different targets, though the more targets and the more of the rush the less severe the damage will be and the less a chance of hitting all targets is.

The island of Creeper Creek is an unforgiving place. Besides the various Things That Move and Will Kill You, there are plenty of inanimate things that will do a damn good job of killing PC's as well. 6 hours of running and fighting from soldiers, mutants, and monsters can dehydrate someone pretty quick- especially in a sweltering and thickly humid unnatural Texas rainforest. And more dangerous than muties can sometimes be wild dogs, coyotes, and of course pitfall, noose, and other traps left by hunters before the Creek became an island, or by survivors/military afterwards. Rain and the flooding involved with such can also cause a hell of a lot of problems, from uncomfortable wet underwear, to causing the PC's jeep to go out of control, the giving somebody hypothermia at night. Fires, electrocution, drowning, being buried alive, and being gassed to death by the gasmasked Goblins are all very real possibilities. Most dangerous of all however, is radiation. Radiation is handled as such: During the play you should have an idea of when to spring a radiation spot on the PC's. It starts of slow at first, feelings of weakness and dehydration, uneasy feelings, seeing squirrels running away from the area. If they keep on going in the same direction, it just gets worst. They should be getting the hint. However, unless they have a compass or somebody that can follow their own tracks, theyre efforts at avoidance might just lead them deeper into the heart of the rad zone, until theyre unable to move from fatigue. Worst comes to worst, and they'll start puking out their guts, lose hair in clumps, and the oldest and weakest of them will die off. If theyre lucky, truly lucky, and have grit, they might be able to crawl out of the rad zone, but the sickness will stick with them. Have fun.

Chapter Five: Mooks and Monsters

-Big, strong, have a pig's sense of smell, violent
-Dumb, slow moving, loud, obvious stench
carry rifles (and cant snipe) and usually travel in packs of 3-5, or mobs of up to 50 O.R.C.s
Theyre used as the shocktroops and jungle scouring grunties by the army

-Psychotic, violent, hard to kill
-Don't use tools, instinctive, don't work together
A mutie is superficially a fast, angry, strong zombie that isn't dead. They want to eat you and they have no human intelligence, but a frightening level of animal instinct. And of course, mutie's bites are infectious (see the Mutation chapter for details)
Muties will attack in packs when it's convient, can run for miles without tiring out, and look like your neighbors. They will try to grab you, tackle you, bite you, and tear off vital parts of you. Once they have you pinned they will start digging in, and hopefully your buddies will shoot you at that point. To kill a mutie it takes at least two shots of a revolver in the chest and then another deathblow to make sure. Headhosts and chest shots work equally, as the hard to kill ability is not any physical ability such as how zombies must be shot in the head, but instead a cinematic ability.

-smart, work together, good with guns, ambush
-weak, need gas masks and gear to survive radiation, vulnerable to mutie bites, jumpy
Goblins carry revolvers and machineguns and will be in anything from a single straggler, to safe pairs, to squads, to a big commando group. Officers only carry revolvers, and some might carry mounted BFG style machineguns to set down.
In the worst case scenario an attack boat, jeep, or helicopter with one or two mounted BFG machineguns will show up. These provide excellent cover and mobility for the Goblins.
Goblins are pretty squeamish, often more so than the characters end up being, and the site of mangled, half eaten corpses will probably induce vommiting in the greener ones, and give most pause. And that doesnt even begin to describe the havoc a Mutie bite infected comrade of their's can cause...

Chapter Six: Mutation
Radiation is deadly, but mutation occurs from Mutie bites. A single mutie bite is enough to infect, no matter what preventive and medical measures are used, unless the bite is immediately burned or the limb cut off. The bite is immediately red and swollen after the PC who received it has reached safety. Over the next twenty minutes the character will get more and more consientous and uncomfortable of the bite, and they will become more jumpy and irritable. Within an hour the character is starting to have violent hallucinations, and has red pox all over them. At this point they are beyond help and will probably do something stupid and get shot by their friends. If that doesnt happen, without another twenty minutes they will have one last violent frenzy and then will start eating flesh and infecting others.

Example of Play:

Bob: I shoot it! (makes a gun motion towards the "direction" of the

fictional O.R.C. with his hands)
Military Commander (GM): (thinks: damn that was fast), you were

really fast so you shoot first. The O.R.C. didnt even have time to

raise his gun, it crumbles and falls over. There's the sound of grunts,

squeals and army boots behind you!
Andy: Ok, ok, ok I pull out my revol-
Military Commander: BANG BANG! The O.R.C. command squad fires, and a

bullet bursts through Andy's head. The rest of you, who didnt even

raise you guns, are surrounded and the O.R.C.'s are hesistating but

they dont take prisoners...
Bob: I reach for my gun slowly hoping they dont notice, just edging
Gamemaster: One of the O.R.C.'s twitch
Samantha: I start jumping and shouting! distractin-them!!
Bob: I kick up my gun with my foot and grab ahold of the handle
GM: the O.R.C.'s cut you down in a hail of gunfi--!!
Bob: DODGE! DUCK! ROLL! and I shoot back
GM: The ORCs are on the move and you arent shooting very well with all

that stunts so there not hit and pointing their guns and
Bob: BANGBANGBANG (it's a revolver, I can get three shots squeezed off)
Sam: I fall down while jumping! (slower but well thought out)
GM: get hit in the shoulder, and it hurts, a lot.


That is my game. It's freeform, fast, furious, and hopefully will provide you and your players with squeals of equal revulsion and fun on nights when even the D6's seem too heavy, yet they arent in the mood to just play a goofy beer and pretzel game.

I'd like to thank the other chef's for the great competition, and congratulate whomever becomes the winner out of this. I would also like to thank the judge for organizing this.

Thank you, and Keep on Gaming!


Here we go again... I have to repost "everything" because more things have changed and the last two "official" posts are a bit out of whack... So... this is the first of a few that should be final...

God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals

Part One


Spawned from the essence of the Ancient One, you find yourself, an Immortal, blessed with the powers of the gods and born with the mandate to take part in the monitoring and control of all things.  Your existence demands you to Influence reality and perpetuate your own supremacy.

In order to do your duty, you have been given the power of the Life Force, the basis of life itself, the power behind the elements.

These elements -- Dawn, Ice, Island and Breath -- combine in your being, all of which you use to control the very nature of the universe.

Dawn: the power of birth, the blazing sun and the warming fire

Ice:  the solid essence of life-nurturing water, and the freezing death of the chill

Island:  the soil and rock that stabilize the world and support plant and animal life

Breath:  bears the evidence of the Life Force, the Winds of Time and the Vacuum of Space

Together, the Immortals and the Chronicler will journey through a story of accomplishment and feats where Creation is bound and unbound, where Life is made and destroyed, where gods die and are reborn.  

Plunge into the mysteries of the gods, while sipping the nectar of Ambrosia and living their stories, dreaming their dreams, bearing their hopes and knowing their fears.

Now is the time of legends lived.  Now the God Lore is spoken.  Now the Chronicles of the Immortals are made known!

God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals


Table of Contents

Required Items

The Four Influences

Life Force

Character Generation

    "The Birthing"
       Create your Immortal
       Primary Influence
       Immortal Status
       Character Desciption
       Name Your Character
    Influence Points


      Normal Actions
           Special Actions
                Life Force Attack
             Difficulty Targets
            Difficulty Target Matrix
                  Increasing Difficulty Targets
               The Platypus



                Actions, Rounds, Turns

                The Chronicler

                How to Play


                Game Goals

                The Bad Guys

                Sample Game Session

                Character Sheet


                Sample Immortals

                Scenario Ideas


                Required Items

                To play this game you will need the following:

                  Three to ten six-sided dice (heck, grab as many as you like!)

                  Four 3x5 Index Cards

                  One piece of modern-day paper (i.e. not papyrus)

                  One Character Sheet (or another piece of modern-day paper on which you can create your own Character Sheet -- what will they think of next?!?!?)

                  One Pencil or some other fancy device used for writing free-hand on modern-day paper (i.e. pen, marker, crayon, grease pencil, chalk, etc)

                  One large bag of colored
                M&M Candies (plain, peanut, almond or crunchy -- it's up to you!) or similar. Important note:  you need five different colors!

                One refreshing drink of your choice (Dr. Pepper, cream soda, beer, wine, milk, water, etc.  By the way, you can have as many drinks as you want, but you need at least one.)

                The Four Influences

                In the Universe, four Influences form the elemental make-up of all things.  These Influences are powered by the Life Force.  Every Immortal commands the use of all four Influences to varying degrees.  Furthermore, each Immortal has a Primary Influence which usually helps her determine her Patronage.

                These four Influences are Dawn, Ice, Island and Breath.  All four are represented to greater or lesser degrees throughout the Universe.

                Dawn is the force of fire and birth.  The Immortals that choose Dawn as primary tend to be hot tempered and vibrant, full of life and quick-tempered.  They generally choose to be Patrons of such things as the hearth, the passionate embrace, or the most powerful, the Sun.

                Ice is the force of water and cold.  Without Ice life cannot survive, heat would destroy all, and everything would dehydrate.  Immortals who control Ice tend to be very calculating and circumspect.  They rarely let their emotions get the best of them and usually rely on their cunning to guide mortals into the Immortals' desired paths.  Patrons of Ice Influence choose things such as fish, the morning dew or at the highest levels, rain.

                Island is the power of the earth.  Island-specialized Immortals are very "warm"-hearted and remain calm under pressure.  Very little can shake their resolve, but they tend to recognize times when emotions are needed in order to manipulate mortals and facilitate their agendas.  These Immortals tend to choose the dust, plants or even the Earth itself as their Patronages.

                Breath is the Influence of Air and Lightning.  It is the imaging of the Life Force and Time.  Mortals require Breath to maintain their life and to advance.  Immortals with primacy in Breath tend to be very quick-witted, skilled in the intricacies of socialization and are very adept at persuasion.  They frequently stir up crowds of mortals in frenzies through their words without revealing their godliness simply out of enjoyment.  These Immortals tend to choose Patronages over things such as hiccups, breezes, or even the atmosphere.

                Life Force

                Life Force is the power that is an Immortal's existence.  When an Immortal is "born", he is granted the power of Influence through using his Life Force.  This power defines the types and amount of Influence he is granted.  The Immortal has Thirteen (13) Influence Points (Influence Point) to spread between his four Influences (Dawn, Island, Ice and Breath).  He must have a minimum of one Influence Point in each Influence and must choose a primary Influence which must have the highest (or tied for highest) Influence Point devoted to it.  As the character develops and matures, he will eventually gain more Influence Points.  As he gains Influence Points, his Life Force will rise.  Life Force is determined (after character creation) by totaling the number of Influence Points.  

                If an Immortal's Life Force ever reaches zero, the Immortal is considered to be unavailable for play with his Life Force dissipated into the ether of time.  The player may retire the character, or if other players are amenable, they may attempt to resurrect the deity by spending their own Influence Points to bring the "dead" Immortal back to life -- this requires a number of Influence Points equal to the "dead" Immortal's normal Life Force.

                Character Generation

                "The Birthing"

                Out of the mind of the Ancient One springs the Life Force, the ultimate power in the Universe which can be harnessed by the Immortals to effect change within the skein of reality.  These threads are woven using the four Influences of Dawn, Island, Ice and Breath.

                In the "Forever" outside of Time, the Ancient One calls forth new beings from the Life Force to monitor and guide the multitudes and facets of Creation.  These beings, eternally called to pursue the will of the Ancient One, seek through their designs to perform their required tasks through their personalized discretion with little or no direction from the Ancient One;  although the Ancient One sometimes speaks through the mouth of its oracle, The Chronicler.

                The Immortals, servants of the Ancient One, have nearly limitless power as they draw from the very wellspring of reality.  Their essences, maintained and generated from the Life Force, are uniquely tuned to control it and manipulate it through the facets of the four Influences in order to be effective "gardeners" and "shepherds" of all things temporal.

                Once the Immortals have been granted their Life Force, they are entrusted with a purpose which they are allowed to have chosen for them or which they may choose themselves.  This purpose, also known as their "Patronage", allows the Immortals to prove their trustworthiness as they strive to draw closer to the Ancient One and drink deeper from the limitless wells of Its power.

                Create Your Immortal

                At its creation, your Immortal has thirteen Life Force which you should spread across your four Influences at your discretion, giving each one no less than one Influence Point (Influence Points are units of Life Force placed under each Influence).  At generation, no Immortal may have higher than 10 in any Influence.

                Primary Influence

                When placing Influence Points keep in mind that the Influence with the highest number of Influence Points is considered to be your primary Influence.  This primary Influence can help you to determine which Patronage to take as well as to provide your Immortal with a support structure of Immortals that will be more likely to help in support of a common paradigm.  If you choose to have several Influences with the same number which is highest (Dawn 4, Island 4, Ice 4, Breath 1 for example) then you may choose which Influence to be primary.

                When your character gains Life Force (and therefore will be allowed to assign more Influence Points to Influence), you must make sure either to maintain the Primary Influence as highest or make your chosen Primary Influence the highest if it is the same as others at creation.


                With your Immortal's Primary Influence in mind, it is time to choose a Patronage for your deity.  A Patronage is the specific group of creation over which an Immortal is granted sovereign discretion and over which your Immortal will have control.  As well as having the benefit of using the Patronage to your whim, you must remember that your Immortal also has a responsibility to tend to the needs of his Patronage, ensuring its survival while maintaining the delicate balance found among all Creation in Reality.

                If somehow an Immortal loses a Patronage, he permanently loses five Life Force with two Influence Points taken from his Primary Influence, and one Influence Point removed from each of the other three Influences.  If this results in the Immortal having a Primary Influence lower than any other Influence, the Immortal will be on Probation until he raises it to an equal or higher state than the others.  While on Probation, the Immortal may not rise in Status, and he may be assigned a Watcher Immortal to make sure he is doing all he can to work efficiently.  If the Immortal drops in Status enough to fall to a lower level, he will retain all "unlost" Patronages.  Once the five Life Force have been re-earned, the Immortal may petition the Council of the Divinities to provide a new Patronage to replace the lost one (from the same Status group).

                If at any time an Immortal is perceived as inattentive, aloof or malicious towards his own Patronage or towards the balance of the Universe, a Council of the Divinities may be called to pronounce judgment over the offending deity.  The result of judgment could be as minor as a reprimand with corrective measures guaranteed or as harsh as complete Dissipation into the ethers of Time.

                So, make sure that your Immortal pays at least a little attention to those charged to be in her care, else she might end up being nothing.

                Character Description

                After determining the character's Patronage, you should spend a few moments describing your Immortal.  In this description, you should list strengths and weaknesses of her character including her ideas of purpose and self-understanding.  This section should list answer the "Why am I here"-type of questions while paying attention to the character's Influences, Patronage, Status and Action preferences.  Do not forget to include some sort of description of your Immortal's preferred form of physical manifestation.  While Immortals are not bound to a physical body, they tend to prefer to remain in a physical form (usually humanoid) even in their abodes as they find "bodies" to be handy tools for communicating ideas and emotions.  In this section you will want to include any reference to the "maleness" or "femaleness" of your character.  While it is not necessary to choose a "sex" for your Immortal, the gods frequently find it beneficial to choose one primary form (male or female) which to use when relating with Creation.

                After writing the description, allow The Chronicler to look it over.  If you have made some extreme choices in character description which The Chronicler finds objectionable try to work out a compromise or change your description.  Remember, "if it's not fun for all, it's not fun at all!" (Michael Pearl, emphasis mine.)

                Once the character description has been approved by The Chronicler, allow the other Players to read it.  During play, you may want to refer back to your character description to assist you in playing your Immortal.  In the midst of the game, Players can be rewarded for exceptional role-playing by the other Players (including The Chronicler).  Therefore, playing your character's flaws as well as strengths will not only enable you to have a more enjoyable time, it will also provide you with the opportunity to gain bonuses to increase your Immortal's status!

                Name Your Character

                "What's in a name?"  From the very beginning, names have provided us with a means not only of singling out one another but also have been used to identify our individuality of nature and purpose.  Holy names frequently maintain some significance that relates to the power of the gods rather than being strange amalgamations of syllables that "sound good".  When creating your Immortal, try to provide a name that has some significance to you (if to no one else) and take pride in your home-made deity's moniker.
                "We know what we know because someone told us it was so."


                God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals

                Part Two

                Influence Points

                Influence Points are the expression of Life Force within the Influence of each Immortal.  Not only can Characters gain permanent or Static Life Force, they can also spend Life Force (in the form of Influence Points) on a temporary basis to take Actions, raise Difficulty levels for other Immortals, and increase the chances of success in various encounters.

                As mentioned in the Life Force section, when an Immortal reaches zero Life Force he is sent to the Void where he is unable to affect the Game.  Normally, an Immortal will regenerate one Influence Point per round, but after reaching zero, an Immortal loses this ability and can only regenerate Life Force by being given one Ambrosia (which will regenerate all Life Force) or by being "resurrected" by another Immortal which costs one Influence Point from each Influence for the generous Immortal.  Once resurrected, the previously off-line Immortal will regenerate Life Force normally.

                Influence Points can be spent temporarily to:

                  1)   bring a spent Influence Card back into a Player's hand
                  2)   increase dice used in defense of a different Influence
                  3)   increase Difficulty Target for others
                  4)   Life Force Attack

                  An Immortal may not spend more Influence Points than she currently has.  If an Immortal ever has zero Influence Points in any Influence, then until that Influence has regenerated she has no defense against Attacks against that Influence and can only defend by spending two Influence Points from a different Influence in defense of the depleted Influence to gain the use of one die for defense.

                  See the
                Counters section below for information on tracking spent Influence Points.   


                In God Lore characters may choose from a variety of Actions to effect their will.  Normal Actions are Create, Possess and Assault.  Special Actions available to Immortals are Abrogate, Challenge, and Life Force Attack.

                Normal Actions
                As its name implies, this Action allows the Immortal to make something "new" directly from the Influences/Life Force or to modify an existing creation.  Some acts of Create require a Difficulty Target check (see below).  Once an Immortal has created or modified a portion of Creation, she becomes its Patron.  Due to the Immortal's creative efforts, that section of Creation has a special tie to the Immortal, and if it is ever threatened, the Immortal will know of the threat immediately.  It is up to the Immortal to either allow its creation to encounter whatever difficulty it faces or to attempt to "rescue" it.

                Once a Creation has been modified by a different Immortal, the Creation's Patron Immortal loses his Patronage to that particular Creation, and it becomes a Patronage of the modifying Immortal.

                An Immortal may possess any part of Creation whether his own or created by another.  If the Immortal attempts to possess any sentient creature, the Immortal must roll as against a challenge of the appropriate Influence.  The difficulty of the task may be increased by another Immortal.  Upon success, the Immortal gains complete control over the "Possession".  Immortals may only possess one sentient creature at a time.

                An Immortal may possess as many non-sentient creations as she has Life Points in addition to the one sentient creature.  A possessed inanimate object may be used for multiple purposes, such as a weapon, sanctuary for worshipers, or perhaps a vehicle for transportation to the godly realms.

                In order for an Immortal to "un"-Possess any of his Possessions, he must Abrogate the Creature (see below).

                If the Immortal is unsuccessful at possessing a creation, he may not try to possess the same creation for one full turn.  If unsuccessful a second time, the creation has a special innate protection against that Immortal's Influence and may not be possessed by the Immortal unless the creation is possessed by a higher status Immortal and the control passed to the lower Immortal.

                One Immortal may choose to Assault another Immortal's Influences.  The losing Immortal's Influence Points from that specific Influence are reduced by one for the number or rounds equal to the winning Immortal's Influence in that area.  For example, if you, Gok (Dawn = 5), attack Shartu (Dawn = 3), and you roll 6, 4, 4, 3, 3, 1 while Shartu rolls 6, 6, 2.  You would lose your attack and lose one Dawn Influence Point for three rounds.

                Special Actions

                Perhaps most feared by mortal man is the Immortals' power of Abrogation.  If an Immortal so chooses, he may remove his power from his creation and possessions.  If the Immortal abrogates from a creation, that creation will, at the Immortal's discretion, be destroyed.  If the creation is sentient (i.e. Possession), the creature will not be destroyed but will suffer from mental agony with possible physical side effects.  These Actions of abrogation could affect an Immortal's Status as other Immortals may find his Actions negligent and irresponsible which may result in a Tribunal of the Gods and which could end up with the Immortal being penalized and losing Status (i.e. Life Force/Initiative Points).

                Abrogate is not normally an Action unless the Immortal is using Abrogate to free himself from a Possession in which case Abrogate is considered to take an Action.

                If an Immortal reaches zero Life Force, is Dissipated or is Suspended, all of his Creation and Possessions are considered to be Abrogated.

                Players may Challenge other Players' Actions by playing an Influence Card in response to the other Players' Actions (if the card is still available for play).  A Challenge does not count towards a Player's one Action per Round -- it is a "free" Action.

                Each Player has four Influence Cards which can each be used once before being out of play for one Turn.  A Player may use all Influence Cards within one Round, but he may only use the same card once per Round.

                The Player may remove any Influence Card from out of play and use it immediately at the cost of one Influence Point, if that Card is his Primary Influence Card and is used immediately with a successful Challenge, then he shall regain the one Influence Point spent and put the card back out of play.  

                See links for sample cards:  Dawn Influence Card

                Island Influence Card

                Ice Influence Card

                Breath Influence Card

                When an Influence Card is played the players must roll xd6 where x = their Influence number for that Influence.  Sixes are considered a success.  If the Challenged player rolls any sixes, he automatically wins the Challenge.  Otherwise, the player with the greatest number of sixes or higher dice wins.  For example, if Shartu, the goddess of minnows (Island = 4), Challenged Gok, the god of torches (Island = 2), with her Island Card.  She rolls 4d6 and he rolls 2d6.  She rolls 5, 4, 2, 2.  He rolls 6, 1.  Gok wins because he rolled a six.  If instead, Gok had rolled 5, 4, then the result would have been a tie -- the Challenger loses a tie, so Gok would have won as well.  If, however, Gok had rolled a 4, 4, he would have lost because his highest die did not equal Shartu's highest die.

                When challenging with an Influence Card, the challenging Player must tentatively spend one Influence (which will not be counted against this roll).  If the challenging Player loses the Challenge, then he temporarily loses one Influence Point (one round per opponent Influence Point). If successful, the Challenged Player does not lose Influence Point but is not successful in his Action.

                Assaults against oneself may not be Challenged with an Influence Card;  although another Player may choose to intervene and Challenge an Assault by one Player against another.  Life Force Attacks may not be Challenged.

                Life Force Attack:
                An Immortal may choose to attack another Immortal directly by choosing to concentrate his entire Current Life Force (available Influence Points) as an attack.  The Immortal attacking will roll xd6 where x = Current Life Force.  The defending Immortal can choose to roll as many die (maximum = Current Life Force) as desired but must leave one Influence Point in each Influence.  The Player with the greater number of sixes wins the contest.  The winner of the contest loses one-half of his current Influence Points (rounding down).  The loser is forcibly sent to a negative plane where he is unable to affect play for two turns.  While suspended from play, he is forced to abrogate all his personal creations and possessed creations until his return to play.  At that point, he may attempt to reestablish his control/possession one creation per round.  If neither Player rolls a six, both Players lose one-half current Influence Points (rounding down) and both are unable to take any Action (except for personal defense) for three rounds and any possessed creation is abrogated by both.

                Physical Attacks

                Although Immortals do attack one another in their physical forms, these forms do not take any permanent harm.  Damage from one Immortal to another is the result of Assaults or Life Force Attacks.  Any resulting damage from physical attacks harms the "shell" of a body or the Avatar of an Immortal and can easily (no Life Force spent) be healed or recreated.

                An Immortal that attacks any mortal Creatures through physical force can choose the amount of damage conveyed up to and including death.  These attacks are normally rated as "Easy" and require only a successful roll (i.e. not a Platypus roll) in order to succeed.  Other Immortals may, however, choose to intervene through a Challenge or by increasing the Difficulty Target of the attacking Immortal.

                Once a Creation has been physically destroyed by an attacking Immortal, it may be restored (resuscitated) at any time by any Immortal with a Create Action and one Breath Influence Point spent.

                If an Immortal Possesses a mortal body, the Immortal may choose to spend one Primary Influence Point per Turn to keep the Creature from being harmed by all physical damage.  Otherwise, the body is susceptible to normal physical harm.

                If a mortal being somehow manages to drink Ambrosia, he will be impervious to physical damage (including fire, cold, electricity, poison, etc).  Even an Immortal cannot [i[physically[/i] harm an "immortalized" Creature.  Therefore, whenever a mortal lays his hands on Ambrosia and partakes of its eternality-imbuing powers, the Council of Divinities will seek to learn how the mortal obtained his treasure.  Any Immortal found aiding the mortal will most likely find himself losing much Status as well as being charged with the capture and disposal of the offending Creature.

                Assaults on Mortals

                If an Immortal desires to dispose of a Creation, he may choose to Abrogate the Life Force from the Creation.  For one of his own Creations, he would have a zero Difficulty Rating (Easy) and would simply need to roll a success (i.e not a Platypus roll).  For Creations other than the Immortal's own, the Difficulty Target would be set at one.  As with all Difficulty Target rolls, other Immortals may choose to increase the Difficulty Target level or to Challenge the Immortal's Action.  Note:  An Immortal who Abrogates his own Creation may not be Challenged.

                While this practice is frowned upon -- Abrogation, it is not an uncommon practice and will infrequently engender the wrath of other Immortals -- unless it is a direct attempt at seriously unbalancing the role of an  Immortal's Patronage within the Universe.

                Less often used by Immortals, Assault is just as an effective means of attacking mortals.  Immortals tend not to use this attack on Creation as it is an unusually clear sign of the Immortals' presence within the Universe which is something they prefer to keep hidden.  Immortals who use Assault against mortals will nearly always be called before the Council of Divinities and at least reprimanded.  Occasionally Immortals have lost Status due to their violent actions against mortals.

                Difficulty Targets

                Not all tasks are "opposed" by other Players or the Chronicler.  Even though a task may not be opposed, it still may have a high degree of difficulty.  Most tasks the Immortals purpose are mundane and require little expenditure of their energy or time.  These tasks are relatively easy for Immortals -- where they may be insanely difficult or impossible for mortal kin (except perhaps for the most gifted Mages, Priests or Warriors).  As tasks become more complex and difficult, the gods must spend more energy to affect their desires.  In order to complete these more difficult endeavors, the Players must roll a number of die equal to their appropriate Influence for the task.  The result must have the required number of successes (sixes) as the Difficulty Target for the aforementioned task.  If the Immortal fails to match the Difficulty Target, then he loses that number of Influence Points from the tested Influence.

                Difficulty Targets

                  0:  Easy.  No sixes required
                  1:   Challenging.  One six required.
                  2:   Herculean.  Two sixes required.
                  3:   Titanic.  Three sixes required.
                  4:   Mythic.  Four sixes required.

                  Immortals may choose to increase the difficulty of certain tasks other Immortals face through exerting their Influence upon the desired task.  Anyone desiring to increase a Difficulty Target must spend two Influence Points per Difficulty Target level for each level of increase desired.  Therefore, if an Gok sees Shartu is attempting to perform a task that has a Challenging Difficulty Target, Gok can spend four Influence Points to increase the Difficulty Target to Herculean.  To increase the Difficulty Target to Titanic, Gok must spend an extra six Influence Points.  Likewise, to make the Difficulty Target of Mythic proportion, he must spend an additional eight Influence Points to total 18 Influence Points spent.  Because of the high cost, Immortals usually only use this tactic when defending one of their Creations.

                Due to the difficult nature of some tasks, groups of Immortals will often band together to perform Titanic and Mythic endeavors.  By spending as many Initiative Points as the difficulty of the task at hand amongst the linking Immortals, they may in fact link their power and roll one group of dice equal to their total Influence required for the specific task (minus the Initiative Points required for the linking).  Immortals may make this link with no cost to perform Easy tasks or Life Force Attacks, but in so doing, they all suffer in full any losses to Influence that may occur as a result.  A "leader" of the linking must be chosen who will retain all control of any possessed or newly created/modified creations.

                Action Ratings

                The Action Rating is any proficiency modifier given to specific types of Normal Actions.  An Immortal may choose to increase an Action Rating up to plus four by spending ten Ambrosia per level of increase desired.  The Action Rating allows the Immortal the use of one extra die per plus when using the specified Action.

                The Platypus

                Most people believe the most bizarre creature existing in the known world is the duck-billed platypus.  This creature is so strange that many have called it the "Great Mistake" of the gods.  Sometimes a Player may roll all ones -- a complete failure.  If this happens, the character has accidentally and completely messed up.  Instead of the desired effect, some other negative effect (narrated by the Player) occurs with the result being that the Player loses one-half of his current Influence Points for the Influence being tested (or Life Force if being attacked/attacking with Life Force Attack -- which would be in addition to losing the fight, being suspended from play for two turns and forcing abrogation from all the Immortal's personal creations and any possessed creation).


                You begin the game with six vials filled with Ambrosia nectar.  You may choose to use these at any time.  

                If a Player chooses to use one Ambrosia, all his character's Influences will return to normal if reduced.  If none are reduced, the Player may choose to increase one Influence by two points for one turn or increase three Influences by one point.  (The Player may choose to use as much Ambrosia as desired to increase Influences temporarily.)  Ambrosia may also be used to resurrect an Immortal from zero Life Force.

                Ambrosia may be saved and used during game play to permanently increase either Life Force or Action Ratings.  To add one Static Life Force, a Player must spend five Ambrosia.  This Life Force/Influence Point is automatically transferred to the Influence of the Player's choice.

                To increase an Action Rating, a Player must spend ten Ambrosia.  After spending the ten Ambrosia, the Player may add one to either Create, Assault, or Possess.  This addition will allow Player to add one die per addition to any roll of that specific action whenever challenged or when encountering a greater difficulty.  If a Player wants to increase an Action Rating to plus four, he must spend ten Ambrosia per level below four.  Thus, if a Player has a Create +2 and wants to increase to Create +4, then he must spend 20 Ambrosia.

                Ambrosia may only be used every three turns and can only be used during game play.  Whenever your character drinks of the nectar of the gods (Ambrosia, silly!) you should take a drink of your refreshing beverage.

                Ambrosia can be earned during play and should be rewarded at the end of each game.  During play, a Player may do something extraordinary for which the other Players (not including the Chronicler) would like to reward.  Each Player is allowed to award one Ambrosia to one different Player during the Game as a reward for exceptional play.

                At the end of a game or game session, each Player receives three Ambrosia.  If the Chronicler feels as though one Player has stood out during the gaming session or game, she may award that Player one additional Ambrosia.

                If the Chronicler is also playing a character, then his character is eligible for Player-awarded Ambrosia as well as the standard post-game three Ambrosia award.

                Occasionally, the Chronicler may allow Players to find Ambrosia during a game session, but this action should be rare since Ambrosia is highly valued by the gods and is guarded zealously -- to the point of causing wars among the gods!  Rewarding Ambrosia after the game and during game play for extraordinary role-playing should be sufficient to assist the Players in increasing their character's Influence.

                Game Mechanic Time

                A Turn is the amount of time it takes for all the players to complete ten Rounds.  A Round is the amount of time it takes for all the players to complete one Action.

                In order to keep track of Rounds and Turns, you should make a personal "Timeline of the Gods" (TM).  (See Counters to learn how to make this amazing device).  With the Timeline, you will be able to monitor your in-game usage of Influence Points and Influence Cards.

                In-Game Time

                Because your characters are Immortal, they very rarely have need to concern
                themselves with Time.  In fact, they do not understand Time in the same way as mere mortals who live and die in such a limited scope that their exploits barely brush the magnificent spectrum of the lifetime of the gods.  The Immortals frequently travel from one time to another throughout the Universe not to "change" Time, but to interact with Creation in order to right wrongs and administer aid where required in an effort to effect their mission of shepherding more magnanimously.

                Some Immortals (aberrant ones and Daemons) have been known to purposefully travel through Time in attempts to shape Reality to their designs.  All efforts should be made not to manipulate Time for personal goals but to maintain its integrity and strive to perform one's duty as needed at the appropriate place and Time.

                Therefore, Immortals do not concern themselves with in-game issues of time for they can travel it at whim, but they do concern themselves with those who would manipulate it for their own desires while ignoring the bigger picture.

                The Chronicler

                From the very beginning of Time, when the Immortals were young, and Creation was younger still, the Ancient One placed Its call upon a special being not unlike the Immortals, but different, and in its own way, more powerful.  This being was assigned the task of watching the Watchers, of examining the exploits of the Immortals and producing documents that chronicled the Immortals' endeavors.  Along with its tasks came power.  This power derived from the Ancient One but did not flow from the Life Force.  Its power flowed from the very nature of its job -- the words themselves that this being used to describe the Actions of the Immortals provided it with the ability to effect its desires and follow its mandate to record and recite the Chronicles of the Immortals.  The Chronicler as it became known to the Immortals resides in The Forever and chronicles all that it sees, filing the God Lore of the ages into eternal books to be read on the great day when the Ancient One calls for the end of all things and the new beginning where all will be made known.  On this day, The Chronicler will be heard by all reading from the Scroll of Deeds.

                The Chronicler in the Game is the Player in charge of the Story.  He sets up the initial setting, context and Game Session goals.  Prior to the Game, The Chronicler should have a good idea of what he expects to happen during the Game Session and preparing the appropriate scenario which to use for the Game.  At the beginning of the Game, The Chronicler should spend a few moments briefly outlining the scenario, explaining in general the goals of the specific session and reminding them of their ability to approach that goal as they see fit.   After the Game begins, all Players will be responsible for achieving these goals.  The Chronicler is the mediator and judge during play in order to assist in maintaining Game congruence and peace.  If a dispute arises over rules, The Chronicler is granted sole judgment over resolution during Game play.  Remember that a good Chronicler listens to the desires and ideas of his co-Players before deciding on a judgment.

                The Chronicler plays all Characters that Influence the Story not controlled by the other Players.  He may choose to play his personal Character as well within the group, but he may not be the spokesman for the group and should always remember not to show favorites.

                Most important of all, this game should be played in a manner where all the Players can enjoy it.  The Chronicler is not a Lord Singular Immortal, but The Chronicler of the events that occur and a facilitator primarily.  He is in charge of looking at the Scrolls of Time in order to best interpret the Actions of the Immortals when confusion has arisen in their understanding.

                The Council of the Divinities

                The Council of Divinities, formed of thirteen Immortals with two from each Status and one over-ruling Singular Immortal (Lord Primate) , stands as the judge over all Immortal conduct within Reality.  The Lord Singular Immortal has final say in all matters brought up by the Council and has the deciding vote in all matters.

                Players may appeal to the Council at any time.  The Players may have Immortals on the Council. It is recommended that at least one Player be allowed to have a Character on the Council.  The Council's affairs can be narrated by any of the Players; however, The Chronicler always plays the part of the Lord Primate.  The Lord Primate is the highest-status Immortal in Reality and is most feared and respected by all the other Immortals.
                "We know what we know because someone told us it was so."


                God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals

                Part Three

                How to Play

                Read from the Scroll
                At the beginning of the round, The Chronicler should describe the situation in which the Characters find themselves, including any information required for the characters effectively to participate in the Game.  Such information as revealing the results of previous actions on their environment, describing the sudden appearance of another Immortal, or alerting them to strange events within Reality are all examples of "Reading from the Scroll".

                Declare Intentions
                The Players (including The Chronicler) declare the intentions of their Immortals in clockwise order, starting with the first player to The Chronicler's left.  This first phase is simply to give everyone else an idea of your intentions.  This phase does not need to be extremely detailed as responses will be made and questions asked to determine what is occurring within the "shared imagined space".

                Respond to Intentions
                As the previous phase, the Players may choose to respond to the announced intentions of the other Players.  At this point, Players may choose to challenge, abrogate or slightly modify their announced intentions if any objections have been made.

                After Intentions have been declared and responded to, the Players should toss the dice if there are any contested actions.

                Declare Actions
                Noting the results from the die rolls, the Players should narrate what happens to their Characters from the successful or failed rolls.  The Chronicler may choose to overrule or elaborate on statements made by various Players. -- Be wary though if playing The Chronicler that a heavy-handed use of narrative control may result in Players retreating from being as free with their play, ending up with disgruntled Players and a less-than-exceptional role-playing experience.

                Calculate Results
                At the end of the round, once all actions have been described, the Players and The Chronicler take a moment to modify Life Force and Influence Point levels as well as any changes to the Characters that occurred as a result of this round's play.

                REPEAT the process during next round!


                Make Your Own Timeline of the Gods!

                On a blank piece of paper (preferably letter size) draw nine lines across the page horizontally at about one inch each.  Beginning at the top of the page with the number one, write one number below each line proceeding down the page until you reach the number ten.  Example located here:  Timeline of the Gods

                This page will be your Timeline on which to place your Influence Counters (i.e. M&Ms) as you use them.  Once you return to the same number round in the next turn, place the appropriate counters in their appropriate current Influence counter pile.

                When an Influence Card is played, put the Card on the appropriate number Round on the Timeline.  The card will be available next turn same round.

                Wait!  Don't Eat Those!

                During play, whenever you spend Influence Points from your Influences (taken from your Influence Stash), place the appropriate number and types of Counters (M&Ms) on the Timeline within the numbered section that corresponds to the current Round of play within the Turn.  The next time that Round comes about in play, you may return your Counters back to your Influence Stash.  (Wait... "What's my Influence Stash" you wonder?)

                Really, Don't Eat Them, Yet.

                Before the Game begins, place one colored Counter for each Influence Point in four groups.  
                Suggested use of colors:

                  Dawn = Red M&Ms
                  Ice = Blue M&Ms
                  Island = Brown M&Ms
                  Breath = Yellow M&Ms

                Okay, But What about My Influence Cards?

                Whenever you use an Influence Card, simply place the Influence Card vertically on the lower line of the appropriate numbered Round.  For example:  When Shartu plays her Island Influence Card to Challenge Gok, she would place the Card in the appropriate Round strip on the Timeline.  She would have the Card available on the next Turn at the beginning of the same Round.

                Game Goals

                Okay, I started writing this with the intent of making people know what it was I wanted to happen in the Game for Players.  I have since realized that actual IN-GAME goals are what people would expect to see here....  So, without further adieu...

                1)  The Players should try to work together to accomplish fantastic feats of grandeur in order to save the Universe (and Reality) from the corrupting influence of aberrant Immortals, Daemons and vile Beings of malicious intent.

                2)  Individually, the Players should seek to increase their Life Force and Status while concurrently securing the place of their Patronages within Creation.

                3)  The Chronicler should strive to present a "fair and balanced" gaming environment encouraging the other Players to interact with and take control of their characters.

                4)  This Game should be played with the intent of everyone operating in a cooperative/shared imaginative and creative space where all Players should be allowed to control their Characters with only minor "refereeing" by The Chronicler when required to reorient the Game IF NECESSARY.  An eventuality like this will always be subjective, so work together and play nice.

                The author of this Game had several goals in writing it.

                Primarily, the Players are supposed to have fun.

                Secondarily, it is my hope that Players might learn something about themselves, the world around them and the "Deeper Things" of life that one ponders when examining the nature of the world and the things that make it move.

                Tertiarily, (I like that word) it is my expectation that the Players will encounter something (an idea, a phrase, etc) in this game that makes them want to take their experience in the game away with them and somehow share it with others, either as fodder for bad jokes or as meat for profound metaphysical contemplation.

                And finally, I want everyone that plays this game to think seriously and enthusiastically about purchasing any further works I write.  MUHAHAHAHA

                The "Bad" Guys

                Someone is always the bad guy.  In this game, the main characters are Immortals -- godly beings with immense (nigh unlimited) power, and just like in the real world, not only are there the "good guys" (your Characters), but also the "bad guys" (your antagonists).

                Granted, it is sometimes impossible to distinguish between "good guys" and "bad guys" because the intentions can rarely be seen on the outside.  In [color=dark red]God Lore: The Chronicles of the Immortals[/color], you play the good guys (unless you decide not to, but, that's another story).  Part of your Characters' mission is to seek out and overcome the Influence of the bad guys in the Game world.

                The bad guys in this Reality come in three general categories:  Daemons, rebellious or aberrant Immortals, and mysterious Beings.  Granted, a good Chronicler (or other Player) can probably come up with some other really great villains to play against the gods, but for our purposes, we'll stick with these three categories.

                A Daemon (sometimes called "demon") is an Immortal who has completely given himself over to his own compunctions.  Whatever he desires he will pursue, regardless of the consequences to others and regardless of the will of the Ancient One.  Daemons make their home in the Abyss where they cannot be tracked by the Immortals.  They will frequently visit the Universe for their own nefarious reasons.  It is rumored that the Daemons are attempting some grand scheme to overthrow the Immortals, capture the Ancient One and feast on Its over-abundance of Life Force, denying its use to anyone but themselves.  

                The Daemons are Immortals who have chosen to live for themselves and to seek to overthrow all rule but their own -- and that rule would most likely be little more than complete anarchy, unless of course they truly are led by the disappeared Lord Singular Immortal Fotis who prior to being called before the Council of the Divinities for questionable behavior was ambushed by a horde of Daemons and dragged into the Abyss.

                This rebellious lot consists mostly of Immortals who have not yet joined the ranks of the Daemons or who are simply trying to avoid punishment for their crimes without having to endure the judgment of the Council of the Divinities.  These Immortals are in trouble for having interfered with mortal lives too much, imposing their will on Creation with little regard to the consequences of their Actions.  Frequently, these Immortals will be found going back and forth in time to the same places trying to "fix" their mistakes and messing with Time, possibly eroding the coherency of Reality.

                These Immortals are not necessarily evil or even selfish as much as they are simply irresponsible and/or rebellious.  Seeing as how all Immortals have access to the Life Force and should have no excuse, it is hard to offer any for these beings, but they would beg to differ.

                Often times Immortals will encounter unusual entities about which they had previously not known or concerned themselves.  The surprising thing for many of the Immortals when this happens is that some of these beings are in fact quite malevolent and have designs on restructuring the Universe (or worse yet, Reality) to their own benefit.  One example of these Beings would be power-crazed Ambrosia-imbibing mortal mages with delusions of grandeur.  Death (the being) is similar in nature to the Immortals but is not controlled by them, nor is it afraid of their power.  It is whispered in the Council chambers that if Death desired to overthrow the Immortals that they would not know what to do.  While no exhaustive list exists in the Chronicles of these types of beings, who knows what The Chronicler may uncover and what your Immortal might face in the aeons to come.

                Sample Game Session

                In this example of a Game in progress, we have five Players, Tim (The Chronicler), Joe (Gok, the Demigod of Torches), Sue (Shartu, the Demigod(dess) of Minnows), Chris (Toad, the Eternal of Frogs), and Misty (Deena, the Demigod(dess) of Lichen).

                This is the beginning of a Round.  Normally each Player checks his Timeline of the Gods (TM) to see if any Influence Points have regenerated, but since no one has been active yet no points have been spent.

                The Players are in the middle of a Game Session where they have been brought to the Hall of Bhera, the Singular of Stars.  She has a special task for each of them to fulfill and has expressed it to them individually, but something quite unexpected happens in the middle of their instructions....

                Tim:   As you receive your individual instructions from Bhera, you all simultaneously sense a malicious presence heading directly for you.  Bhera calls to you telling you to have no concern, she will protect you, but as she speaks hundreds of Daemons descend into the Hall shrieking and slathering curses -- vehement cries of violence and hatred with promises of horrid things to come.
                Bhera raises her hands and shouts out some force-filled word that scatters the ten or twelve Daemons that had surrounded her they disappear into the Void, obviously sent by a Life Force Attack.  Bhera calls to you, "Leave quickly, they have linked and are too powerful for you!"  As she speaks, she downs a draught of Ambrosia and turns to face another group of vile beings.
                Chris:   Toad prepares to attack, but yells, "Link with me!  We can attack in force!"

                Misty:   Deena smirks, looks around at the remaining HUNDREDS of Daemons and casually remarks to Toad, "Umm, Toad, even with our forces joined, there is no way we could last for long against these beasts.  We should leave now."
                Sue:   "I'm with you Deena, there's no way we can fight them."  Shartu waves her rod at the offending demons hoping to frighten them away.
                Joe:   "They're right, Toad, we should leave now.  Even Bhera seems to be overmatched, I'm sure she'll take off any second."  Gok prepares to transfer to The Void.

                Chris:   Toad sullenly agrees with the others, "All right, let's go..."  He shakes his head and sighs, "Demigods... what good are they?"
                Tim:   You all prepare to travel to The Void when a powerful voice reverberates through the Hall.  The Voice seems to call to each of you as an individual and as a  group.  Slowly, you begin to understand the Voice is that of the Ancient One, awakened by this violation into The Forever.  He calls to each of you reminding you of Bhera's charge, but also providing you with a deeper message.  [Tim hands pieces of paper with messages to each of the other Players with their "instructions" from the Ancient One.]
                Before you can react to your summonings or make good on your escape plan, you are surrounded by five Daemons.  They look pretty nasty with their corporeal forms slathering all over themselves and puss oozing from gaping pores.  Obviously, they're dressed to disgust.  Their leader, a very large ogre-ish Daemon points his greenish scaled fingers towards Toad and cries out for his essence.  These Daemon are obviously linked and are preparing to attack, what will you do?
                Chris:   "Let's link!  If we gather our strength we have a better chance of defeating them."

                Misty:   "Yea, and we also have a better chance of getting our Life Force handed to us in a Void-filled bucket."  Deena Challenges the Leader Daemon thing with her Breath Influence Card.
                Tim:   "Anyone else gonna use an Influence Card yet?  If not, we'll go ahead and see how Misty does...."  Tim waits for a response.  "Okay Misty, roll."
                Joe:   While Misty's rolling, Gok Assaults the Big Bad Leader Boy -- Dawn Assault.

                Chris:   Fine.  Toad Assaults BBLB's Island Influence.

                Sue:   Well, I don't want to be left out.  Shartu Creates a huge block of Ice to completely engulf the other Daemons -- maybe they'll break their link to get out.

                Misty:   Alright, I've got a 6 Breath... 6, 6, 5, 4, 4, 1.  Yes!

                Tim:   The Leader Daemon rolls...  He's only got a 2 Breath.... 5, 2.  You win.  The Leader loses his concentration and is unable to attack Toad this round.  Roll for your Assaults guys.... [Tim removes one Breath places one Breath counter (yellow M&M) from the Leader's Breath Stash onto his first Round on the Leader's Timeline of the Gods (TM)]
                Joe:   Okay, Gok has a 5 Dawn, so... 5, 5, 2, 2, 1... darn, not great.

                Tim:   Oooo, not great Joe, the Leader has a 6 Dawn... 6, 5, 3, 3, 1, 1.  He wins.  Gok loses one Influence Point.

                Joe:   Reeling from his misfire, stumbles a bit but thrusts his club down on the ground to give himself some purchase.   He begins to think of a what to do next.  [Joe takes one Dawn Counter (red M&M) from his Dawn Stash and places it in the first Round section of his Timeline of the Gods(TM).]
                Chris:   [rolls] Toad's Island is 8.... 6, 6, 6, 4, 3, 2, 2, 1.

                Tim:   Nice roll... let's see... The Leader has a 4 Island... 6, 6, 5, 4...  Nice, but not good enough.  Toad wins that one.  [Tim places an Island Counter (brown M&M) from the Leader's Island Stash onto the first Round of the Leader's Timeline of the Gods(TM).]

                Chris:   As Toad concentrates his Island Assault a huge meteor flies out of the sky, pounding the Daemon Leader, giving him pause and a slight headache.  Toad smiles.
                Sue:   My turn!

                Tim:   Okay, for Shartu to Create that much Ice around the four remaining demons, she'll have a Difficulty Target of 2.  You need to roll two sixes, Sue.

                Sue:  [dice roll] 6, 5, 2, 2... Well, I got one six... [she frowns]  Shartu creates a large block of ice that seemingly ensnares her prey, but they somehow managed to avoid being trapped and continue to aid their Leader in his strike.  [Sue takes one Ice Counter (blue M&M) from her Ice Stash and places it in the first Round section of his Timeline of the Gods(TM).]

                Tim:  Shartu managed to contain one of the Daemons who immediately tries to Abrogate the Ice structure which effectively takes him out of the Linking.  Due to his sudden drop in Linked power and your successful attacks, the Leader backs away with his group to rethink their strategy.  You probably have enough time to get out of there.
                And the Game continued, but that's enough for now...

                Character Sheet

                A Character Sheet can be found at the following link:

                Character Sheet
                "We know what we know because someone told us it was so."


                God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals

                Part Four


                Abrogate -- An Action taken by an Immortal whereby he cancels his presence or sponsorship in the Universe within a Creature or Possession.

                Abyss -- That space outside of the Universe which is uncreated and in which the Life Force does not flow (but in which Immortals may dwell).  Also presumably the place where the souls of mortals go after death.

                Action -- An Action is the task chosen by a Player to be performed by his Character within the Game Session.  Two different types of Actions, Normal and Special exist.  

                Action Rating -- The Action Rating is any proficiency modifier given to specific types of Normal Actions.  An Immortal may choose to increase an Action Rating up to plus four by spending ten Ambrosia per level of increase desired.  The Action Rating allows the Immortal the use of one extra die per plus when using the specified Action.

                Ambrosia -- The nectar of the gods which his the corporeal equivalent of a drink of Life Force.  An Immortal that imbibes Ambrosia finds refreshment, invigoration and/or increased power.  A mortal who drinks Ambrosia is gifted with immortal life -- but does not become an Immortal.

                Ancient One -- The Creator of the Immortals and the Life Force, the Ancient One rarely speaks, nor does It seemingly take part in the activities of Creation aside from sending the Immortals to manage the Universe and maintain the integrity of Reality.

                Assault -- A Normal Action where an Immortal directly attacks another Immortal's Influence.

                Being -- An entity that carries the "spark" of Life.

                Breath -- Breath is the Influence or power of Air and Lightning.

                Challenge -- A Special Action where an Immortal chooses to Challenge the Normal Actions of another Immortal by playing an Influence Card.

                Character -- A Being within the Game, usually an Immortal played by a Player; though, characters may be mortals.  Characters are played by the Players to assist in the "Shared Creative Environment" between the Players.

                Chronicler, The -- The Player who is in charge of the Story.  He sets up the initial setting, context and Game Session goals.  (After the Game begins, all Players will be responsible for achieving these goals.)  The Chronicler is the mediator and judge during play in order to assist in maintaining Game congruence and peace.

                Council of the Divinities -- This Council consists of two Immortals from each Status and presided over by the greatest of the Singular Immortals, Bhera.  This group meets to decide the fate of errant Immortals and occasionally gathers to formulate approaches in dealing with mortals and fixing the multifaceted problems of Reality.

                Counters -- Items used to keep track of the number of Influence Points in and out of play.  Suggested item to use for Counters is multi-colored M&Ms.

                Create -- This Normal Action allows the Immortal to make something "new" directly from the Influences/Life Force or to modify an existing creation.

                Creation -- All those things which have been created within the Universe.

                Creature -- A portion of Creation which is complete in itself, such as a rock, a tree, a fish or a man.

                Current Life Force (CLF) -- The CLF is the available Influence Points available to be used by each Immortal at a given time.

                Daemon -- A Daemon (sometimes called "demon") is an Immortal who has completely given himself over to his own compunctions without regard to their effects on the continuity of Reality.

                Dawn -- Dawn is the Influence or force of fire and birth

                Death -- 1)  Death occurs to an Immortal only when his Life Force reaches zero.  At "Death" an Immortal's essence is transferred to the Void where it is suspended from Reality and cannot affect play.  2) An immortal being, similar in power to the Immortals, but which has no creative power, nor is it able to affect Creation except through "draining" life.  No Immortal would dare face Death in a battle, for aside from Death's ability to drain the Life Force from Creatures, Death has the unique ability to drain the Life Force from any being, Immortals included!  No one knows where Death dwells; although some Immortals believe it is in the Void.

                Demigod -- A Demigod is the initial and lowest Status for an Immortal.

                Difficulty Target -- In order to complete difficult tasks which are not challenged by other Players, a Player must roll successes (sixes) on the same number of dice as is indicated by the Difficulty Target assigned to that task.

                Dissipation -- Although possible, an Immortal rarely faces this heinous fate.  When an Immortal commits a serious crime for which he is tried by the Council of the Divinities and is found so culpable that his Life Force is forfeit, the Immortal is slowly drained of all his Life Force and his remaining essence is dissipated and spread across the Universe.  Even more rare, an Immortal may have his sentence reversed and may be Resurrected, but this process is extremely difficult and is usually only performed by Titans or higher-Status Immortals.

                Element -- The four Elements of Fire, Earth, Water and Air find their homes in the Immortals' Influences of Dawn, Island, Ice and Breath respectively.

                Eternal -- The second tier of Immortals.  Eternals must have 20 Static Life Force to maintain their Status.

                Forever, The -- Immortals are created outside of Time in an infinite and immeasurable place of existence known as The Forever.  The Ancient One seems to radiate The Forever from its essence.  To those Beings that inhabit The Forever, all of Time is viewable and the entire Universe may be viewed at their discretion while in The Forever.  Strangely, no violence may be perpetrated in The Forever, and thoughts of anger, hatred, violence, rebellion, etc are somehow suppressed making them slide away, unable to be expressed.

                Game -- 1)  The role-playing game [color=dark red]God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals[/color].  2)  The time period where Players gather and play the game [color=dark red]God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals[/color].

                Game Session -- A specified time period where Players gather and play [color=dark red]God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals[/color].  A game session should last from one to three hours.

                Hierarch -- The fourth tier of Immortals.  Hierarchs must have 34 Static Life Force to maintain their Status.

                Ice -- Ice is the Influence or force of water and cold.

                Immortal -- A godly Being infused with the direct power of the Life Force and the ability to use that power to affect Creation.

                Immortal Status -- Immortal Status is the measuring stick of Immortal hierarchy which is judged primarily through control of the Life Force, but which may have alternative ways of being acquired, such as through manipulation and cunning.

                Influence -- An Influence is the Immortals' control over a certain element.  The four Influences Dawn, Ice, Island and Breath have dominion over Fire, Water, Earth and Air/Lightning respectively.

                Influence Card -- An Influence Card is one of four cards for each Influence that can be played by a Player at any time in play in order to challenge another Player's Actions.

                Influence Point (IP) -- An Influence Point represents one Life Force and can be initially spent to increase any Influence (although the Primary Influence must always be highest).  After being spent to increase an Influence, an Influence Point can be used for various Actions, depending on the desire of the Player.

                Influence Stash -- A set or group of Counters used to provide tactile and simplified record-keeping of Influence Point use.

                Island -- Island is the Influence or power of the earth.

                Life Force (LF) -- Life Force is the power of an Immortal's existence that emanates from the depths of the Ancient One which gives all things their essence.

                Life Force Attack -- This Special Attack is where an Immortal to choose to attack another Immortal directly by choosing to concentrate his entire Current Life Force (available Influence Points) as an attack.

                Lord -- The Title used to address Immortals of greater Status than oneself.

                Lord Primate -- The highest-Status Singular Immortal who is the over-ruling leader of the Council of Divinities and prime mover in decision-making for Immortal activity within the Universe and Reality in general.

                Patron -- This term refers to the Immortals themselves, as each Immortal is a Patron of certain groups of Creation.

                Patronage --  A Patronage is the specific group of Creation over which an Immortal is granted sovereign discretion and over which the Immortal has control.

                Platypus -- The term used to refer to a Player rolling all ones on a Conflict Resolution roll.  This roll is considered to be a complete failure, the result of which could be such a bizarre creature as the Platypus.

                Player-- The term for someone who is playing the game [color=dark red]God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals[/color] (including The Chronicler).

                Possess -- An Action where an Immortal may possess any part of Creation whether his own or created by another.

                Possession -- A Creature that has been Possessed by an Immortal.

                Normal Action -- An action that allows the Immortal to make something "new" or to modify an existing creation directly from his Influences/Life Force.  The Normal Actions are Create, Possess and Assault.

                Reality -- The combined spaces, times and creations of the Universe, The Forever, The Abyss and The Void.

                Round -- The time it takes for all Players to take one action sequentially.

                Singular -- The top tier of Immortals who have garnered incredible amounts of Life Force (minimum 48) and whom have amassed a great deal of followers through their Patronage.

                Sovereign -- A Sovereign is a third tier Immortal with a minimum of 27 Static Life Force.

                Special Action -- Special Actions are not typical actions taken by Immortals and are usually reserved for special circumstances.  These Special Actions are Abrogate, Challenge and Life Force Attack.

                Story -- The Story is the shared creative experience into which the Players enter when deciding and joining in the playing of the Game.

                Static Life Force (SLF) -- This term refers to the overall amount of Influence Points available to the character when fully "charged" with Life Force.

                Suspended/Suspension -- Immortals may placed in Suspension or Suspended due to discipline from inappropriate actions, mischievous behavior, Life Force Attacks or self-exile.  Once placed in Suspension, an Immortal may not affect the Game Session until the Suspension time has elapsed.

                Time -- Time exists throughout Creation and within the Universe.  Immortals are not bound by time and can travel through it as through Space and may affect it at their leisure for their pleasure; however, The Council of Divinities frowns on manipulating Time repeatedly as doing so seems to affect the integrity of Reality.  Consequences of ignoring the Council's decrees against Time manipulation could result in severe penalties for any Immortal.

                Timeline of the Gods -- A sheet of paper with nine horizontal lines which assists in keeping track of Counters and Influence Cards.

                Titan -- A Titan is an Immortal of the fifth tier of Status who has a minimum of 41 Static Life Force.

                Turn -- The time it takes to complete ten rounds.

                Universe -- The spaces and creations found in Time.

                Void, The -- That space outside of Time and the Universe which is uncreated and in which the Life Force does not flow (but in which Immortals may dwell).

                Sample Immortals

                Demigod of Torches
                Primary Influence:   Dawn

                Dawn:     5
                Island:     2
                Ice:        3
                Breath:     3

                Life Force:  13

                Normal Actions:
                Create +0
                Possess +0
                Assault +0

                Special Actions:
                Life Force Attack

                Ambrosia:  5

                Character Description:
                Gok prides himself in being the Lord of the Torches.  He amuses himself by thinking that without his patronage, mortals would be left in the dark.  He tends to be rather self-important, unless he happens to be in the presence of Immortals more than one Status higher than himself.  Other Immortals see Gok as being rather inconsequential, as he rarely takes chances and prefers to manipulate from the shadows.  He has chosen an odd Primary Influence as he is not nearly as bombastic as most Immortals of Dawn, but he feels he is at home amongst these Immortals, and until Gok screws up something, they are all fine with him.

                Gok prefers a physical being that resembles a very "Neanderthal-esque" human with lots of dark hair, a thick forehead and a heavily-muscled body.  He tends to carry around a very big stick that can be used as a torch at will.  Any mortals he touches with the "stick" become instant funeral pyres.

                Demigod of Minnows
                Primary Influence:   Ice

                Dawn:   3
                Island:   4
                Ice:      4
                Breath:   2

                Life Force:   13

                Normal Actions:
                Create +0
                Possess +0
                Assault +0

                Special Actions:
                Life Force Attack

                Ambrosia:  8

                Character Description:
                Shartu chose to serve the little minnows of the Universe in hopes that she too could find her place in the big pond of responsibility within the hierarchy of the gods.  She is relatively insecure but not indecisive.  She will frequently seek out ways to ensure the predominance of her little wiggly fishy charges.  One exploit which brought her a rather large bit of renown amongst the more active Immortals was that she modified one of her minnows into a huge monstrosity, growing it 2000 percent.  She had learned of some fishermen who were using her precious minnows for sport, tossing them into fires and watching them sizzle while laughing at their juvenile exploits.  The next time those fishermen went looking for minnows they were swallowed by the jumbo fish.  Shartu was lightly reprimanded by the Council of Divinities who generally disapproved of her solution, but nonetheless found it quite amusing.

                Shartu appears as a petite, dark-skinned female with wildly flowing, curly long black hair.  She wears a white robe and carries a small glowing wand or rod which she frequently shakes at those who anger her.

                Singular of Stars, Titan of Wisdom, Hierarch of Whales, Sovereign of Licking, Eternal of Snow Balls, Demigod of Plankton
                Primary Influence:   Ice

                Dawn:      19
                Island:      16
                Ice:         35
                Breath:      15

                Life Force:   85

                Normal Actions:
                Create   +5
                Possess +2
                Assault +1

                Special Actions:
                Life Force Attack

                Ambrosia:  2

                Character Description:
                Bhera is one of the oldest of the Immortals and has assumed the lead role in the Council of the Divinities as the Lord Grand Elder.  She assumed this role after the strange disappearance of Fotis who had been the most favored and powerful of the Immortals up until his vanishing.  Most of the Immortals will automatically defer to Bhera's opinions, especially those of her Influence, Ice.  She tends to dislike Immortals of other Influences, especially of Dawn.  Once, as a Demigod a "Dawn" Eternal wiped out nearly the entire population of Plankton due to avarice and impetuous scheming which nearly caused her loss of Life Force.  She frequently watches for similar actions from every Immortal of Dawn she meets.  (That Eternal is now a Demigod of Seaweed.)

                Bhera appears as a tall middle-aged beautiful woman with long white-blond hair, a pale complexion and slender features.  Her beauty alone is enough to cause Immortals to pause at her creativity (for she created her own physical body), but mortals, if fortunate enough to see her "fleshly" self have a 50% chance of either falling dead from her overpowering beauty or becoming over-awed and being forever in her service.

                Singular of Lightning, Titan of Music, Hierarch of Squid, Sovereign of Flowers, Eternal of Cicadas, Demigod of Whispers
                Primary Influence:   Breath

                Dawn:      21
                Island:      27
                Ice:         16
                Breath:      32

                Life Force:   96

                Normal Actions:
                Create   +1
                Possess +3
                Assault +4

                Special Actions:
                Life Force Attack

                Ambrosia:  9

                Character Description:
                Fotis is thought to be the oldest of the Immortals, the first-born from the mind of the Ancient One.  He led the Council of the Divinities in their judgment over the Daemons for their betrayal of the will of the Ancient One and their responsibilities.  It was on his mission to bring these Daemons to trial that Fotis disappeared.

                Fotis was well-known for his cunning patience and would be frequently seen in thought as he pondered the Great Questions, such as what the Ancient One was trying to accomplish through the service of the Immortals and even creating the Universe.  Fotis had led many Immortals against all those who questioned the integrity of their mission and advised the Council to take a proactive stance against "meddling" Immortals ensuring their capture and chastisement for inappropriate behavior.

                Fotis tended to take the form of a handsome young man with golden hair and lightly-tanned skin.  He rarely was seen in anything resembling clothes, instead he chose to surround himself with a blinding light that clung to him as a garment.

                The Immortals often send search parties into the Abyss in hopes of finding some sign of Fotis.  Normally, though, they end up encountering hordes of Daemons and fleeing to The Forever to avoid large-scale confrontations.

                Sample Scenario Idea

                Oh Where Oh Where Has My Ambrosia Gone?

                Someone is stealing Ambrosia.  Several Immortals have noticed their Ambrosia stashes being depleted.  Furthermore, more mortals than ever before have been granted the gift of immortal life.  Strange things are occurring in the Universe as many of these immortalized mortals have started to work in collusion to topple nations, worlds and perhaps the fabric of Time.

                It seems as though some Immortal is supplying these little I-mmortals the power to teleport at will and to travel through Time.  Since Time manipulation is considered to be a huge trespass, it is imperative that these mortals be stopped as soon as possible.  The Immortals must deal with these mortals without compromising the integrity of Time while seeking out and stopping the Immortal thief.


                Thank You:

                I think many of my ideas came from my copies of Frank Mentzer's rules for Immortals from Dungeons and Dragons.  I really enjoyed the works, but found them to be a little too rules heavy and overwhelming while not seeming to give Immortals "enough" power.

                I also would like to thank Ron Edwards and Sorcerer for I think many of the ideas I have are derivative from his product.

                Jake Norwood and company for The Riddle of Steel

                Morpheus by David Durham

                And of course my wife who has been my helpmate in not only encouraging me to participate in the Son of Iron Chef Game Contest, but she also has read through and commented on most of this material.

                And of course thanks to all at The Forge who have provided inspiration and insight into our little niche of adventuring fun.

                I hope you enjoy my first adventure to a published independent Role-Playing Game.

                Thanks for taking your time to read this game.
                "We know what we know because someone told us it was so."


                At the Dawn

                The elves were the first people, the blessed, immortal children of the spirits of the One True Flame. They were made perfect, beautiful, and graceful, given the ands of the West to rule over eternally, The Land of Twilight, where the Two Trees rose bearing the Light of the of silver, one of gold.

                But the Enemy had always lurked in the Darkness Beyond, jealous of creation, desirous of its bounty, and time had not stilled his frenzy, or tamed his desire, only inflamed it and encouraged his plots. Disguised as a great spider, the Enemy came to the West and crept across its plains to the Halls of the Undying, from where he stole the light from the Two Trees and fled with it across the icy seas, to the black northern wastes of the East, so close to the Darkness where he had spent eternity hidden from the One True Flame.

                It is a time before, of myth rather than history, when the great wars of the elves were fought against the hordes of dark beasts twisted by the Enemy. This is no time of men or goblins, but a time when the First Children of the World took up their swords and bows and chased the Enemy to his black fortress in the icy North, when they battled demons, werewolves, dragons, and more hideous things of the Night which whole nations of men would learn to fear, yet a single elf would face in titanic struggles of armies of light against armies of darkness.

                You are a Child of the First Land, of the West, most perfect of all things in creation. Immortal, eternally young, skilled with word and hand, sharp of eye and deep of spirit. It is to you to recover the Light of the Two Trees and return them to the West, in the Blessed Lands. It is your Heart which guides you, and the spirits of the One True Flame speak to it. Your sword is sharp, and will become legend, become magic, in a later age when the light of creation has dimmed, and mortal man steps new upon the world, and will speak of your ability and grace in quiet awe.

                There will be Tragedy, though, for the First Age of the world always ends by tragedy, quieting their youth and giving way to the slow unravelling of the years. You cannot die, though you can fall. You cannot die, though the Enemy can capture you and torture you, breaking and twisting your spirit. You cannot die, though your grace can be tortured from you with broken bones, torn skin, and poisoned thoughts.

                And there will be Victory, for the First Age to end, creation must stand, and not drift into darkness, hidden from and lost to the light of the One True Flame which created it. The One True Flame will protect you, and work through you. The Enemy will be banished once more to Darkness, his fortress will fall, and Creation's song will continue.

                And there will be Temptation, the Darkness will promise sweet things, and lure you into the Enemy's service, twisted and cursed. And Creation will ensnare your soul and beg you to stay, a tenant upon the Eastern shores meant for man, where Dawn is not yet come and the stars are constant and brilliant companions looking down from heaven.

                May you not fail in banishing the Enemy and reclaiming the Light of the Two Trees to return to the West.


                Creation At Dawn

                Time does not exist yet because the light of the Two Trees is still hidden away in the iron fortress of the Enemy. The world is still young, on the cusp of Dawn, when the stars are all that shine in the sky, though occasionally glimmers of the coming day appear.

                The elves have built cities and forest halls, though their sole purpose in the East is to recover the light of the Two Trees, to assault the black fortress of the Enemy in the icy wastelands near the Darkness, to break its terrible iron walls, and cast it down. They have made lives upon the glittering seashores and cool riverbanks, engage in craft and trade and wandering of a land not meant to be theirs, while they wage their war against the Thief and Betrayer, the central occupation of their lives.

                Small war parties and guardians strike out to defeat those creatures of darkness which ravage the land, hiding in its cracks and folds, fled from their master, or there at his behest. Massive armies march forth from cities, or are laid seige to within, as endless, black hordes of fire and pain seek to raze and destroy the elven people. Travelers meet at elf-halls in the wilds, guiding shipments and goods from place to place, keeping their craft from corruption and destruction at the hands of the Enemy.

                What happens during a typical session?
                  The elves face the armies of the Enemy on the frozen plain.
                  They resist tortures if captured, and fight to free their comrades.
                  They visit elf-halls and gather up warriors.
                  They fall in love with life-mates, share pleasures with one another, or find deeply emotional brotherhood with others ("He tore his breast and wept openly at hearing the news of Gilgath's capture, for he loved him, and went that day to the front to free Gilgath from the Enemy").
                  They are tempted by Creation to stay and explore its wonder they have found (streams and oceans, stars and mountains, gold, silver and gemstones in the earth and wondrous crafts made of these), by the light of the Two Trees to keep it or forge it anew, and by Darkness and its false promises of power.
                  They face Werewolves and Vampires in the darkness of the pre-dawn, roaming and haunting the wilds.
                  They battle dragons laying waste to Creation.[/list:u]
                What are the places of Creation?
                  There are the Wilds: forests, rivers, plains, mountains and hills, ruined and wracked by dark creatures, or blessed and awaiting their births at Dawn, filled with the beasts of Creation whom are friends to the elves.
                  There are Elf-halls within the trees and hills, places where small groups of elves gather, away from the cities, deep within the wilds of Creation.
                  There are thriving cities full of elves, ship-builders and smiths and crafters, built upon the seashore and deep in the mountains, places of learning and magic, where the elven lords put forth laws and wage the war against the Enemy.
                  There is the sea itself, cold in the north and filled with isles of ice, over which the elves crossed from the Blessed West in ancient days in pursuit of the light of the Two Trees, and over which its southern climes they sail their ships between lands and cities.
                  There is the wasteland of the north, ice-and-snow haunted, cold and empty lands of the Enemy and his twisted creatures, where Dawn is but a distant echo for it is nearest the Darkness Beyond where hid the Enemy from the One True Flame.
                  And there are the black pits of the Iron Fortress of the enemy, from which issue forth his demons and hordes of twisted, corrupt creatures, wherein languish elven prisoners in dungeons and black foulness meant to destroy them and turn them to the Enemy's will.[/list:u]
                Who are the enemies the elves will face?
                  The very elements given form and twisted to the will of the Enemy, the Fire-demons wield terrible swords and whips of flame and iron.
                  Werewolves are shapechangers who can look like elves, but are truly of the form of beastial animal-things; their fangs and claws are poisonous, and like their lies, spread poison.
                  Vampires are fanged creatures of the darkness, hidden enemies with no form but that of shadow, who drain the vitality and life from the living, sapping their wills and resistance.
                  Dragons are powerful, winged serpents that spew poisonous fire, and enjoy wreaking havoc upon the wilds of Creation; their scales are thick like iron, and their claws and teeth like sharpened daggers.
                  Orcs are said to be the descendants of elves corrupted and bred by the Enemy; the orcs are a raging, faceless horde full of hatred for all living and beautiful things, desiring only destruction and pain.[/list:u]

                Elves at Dawn

                Elves love life, and everything they can touch. They are thrilled by its beauty, by its shaping and its nature, texture and smell are intoxicating and wondrous, all of it made by the One True Flame, and thus an expression of his song. They feel a part of it, for they are, and they live in wonder and joy at it.

                Elves are defined by those Qualities which define the elven race in mortal legend: Beauty, Grace, Skill, Might. Characters are rated from 1-5 in each of their Qualities. Each elf has 10 points to spread among the Qualities. A Quality must have at least 1 point in it. Each point in a Quality allows the elf one roll of their dice during situations involving that Quality.
                  Beauty is the physical presence and inner spirit of the elf. Tasks dealing with interaction with others require Beauty to complete.

                  Grace is the effortlessness with which a task is undertaken. Tasks of great complexity require Grace to complete. This is the blessing of the spirits upon one's actions.

                  Skill is investment which a task requires. Tasks of great difficulty require Skill to complete. This is one's knowledge and ability.

                  Might is the physical power and fortitude of the elf. Tasks dealing with hardships require Might to complete.[/list:u]


                  The Nine Virtues

                  Virtues are the measure of an elf, lessons given to them by the spirits of the One True Flame. You will have Courage, Truth, Honor, Loyalty, Discipline, Kindness, Industry, Responsibility, and Perseverance to guide you. Each will be tested in turn. An elf who passes all his tests can return to the West.
                  Quote"Why did Elfindel cast aside the Enemy's Ring of Power, though it called to her and would have made her the Dark Queen of Creation? Because it was her last Temptation, against Discipline, and maintaining that Virtue allowed her to finally return to the West."
                  Virtue is what about the elf's action that matters -- why he does what he does. The question is not whether the elf can, for the elves are firstborn and perfectly skilled in all they do, it is whether or not the elf will. Will he face the Demon of Fire in combat? Will he turn away the strangers seeking comfort and shelter at his hall? Will he fall in love with the elven beauty or spurn her advances? Take up her sword and fight alongside elven men to find her love? Will he heed the call of his family to return to the city, or will he keep fighting against hordes of the Enemy on the frozen plains before the iron fortress?

                  Virtues are rated from 1-5. Each elf recieves 15 points to place among his Virtues. All Virtues must have at least 1 point in them.
                    Courage: You will face what must be faced, and will not be afraid. Checked when the elf's spirit could be broken, or he might turn aside from his course because of the difficulty.

                    Truth: You know the secrets of the world spoken to you by the spirits of the One True Flame; in later ages, it will be called magic, but to you, it is simply what is. Checked when the elf wishes some enchantment to arise, or to detect the same; when he wishes to know something and its doing.

                    Honor: You give value and worth to that which is right and valuable, be it elf or craft. Checked when an elf is tempted to ignore the value of another, to sacrifice others and creation itself, in the pursuit of any goal.

                    Loyalty: You will lend to your companions your grace and purpose, no matter the situation. Checked whenever an elf might turn aside from the course of his fellows, or stand by while they suffer.

                    Discipline: You will perform great deeds with your command of time and patience, your skilled hands and clear mind. Checked whenever an elf might choose to cheat by taking the simple route, or is under pressure to perform.

                    Kindness: You understand love, the greatest kindness, and will not fail to give water, food and aid, even when you have none to spare. Checked whenever an elf might choose to ignore the suffering of others because they have other tasks which to fulfill or needs which must be met.

                    Industry: You will make good and proper use of your time, wasting it not on empty, (self)destructive pleasures. Checked whenever an elf might choose to ignore a better use of their time, and instead spend their energies it on other tasks, or idleness.

                    Responsibility: You know your place and your duties, and will not put them aside. Checked whenever an elf might seek overstep himself and his duties, or ignore them altogether in other pursuits.

                    Perseverance: You will see your task through to the end, and change not your course to its completion. Checked whenever an elf might abandon his course because of the complexity of the task before him, or past failure. Differs from Courage in that it allows one to continue a task, rather than face fear.[/list:u]
                    What Virtues might apply to?
                      Seeing a Werewolf in its true shape: Truth
                      Facing a Fire-demon upon the battle field: Courage
                      Resisting offers of power by the Enemy: Discipline
                      Declaring your love for another: Kindness[/list:u]

                    Color And Virtue

                    Color is the essence of a game, the spoken words that describe the glit-edged scenes of our newly created legends. Color is the expression of the ideas which underlie the setting and the game, it references and reinforces the existing details of the setting and its characters. Color may be created in the game as long as it fits with the existing themes and ideas of the setting and play.

                    Any player who utilizes Color in play, choosing his words to reinforce the existing elements of the setting and situation, gains a point of Virtue. The quality of the Color is not a factor in this gain, only that it is used, because players should not be punished mechanically for not being writers or wordsmiths. However, grossly inappropriate Color does not count for this bonus, as inappropriate Color is not Color at all, but a disruption, derailment and diffusion of the tale in progress and the ideas underlying and supporting it.
                    Quote"Twas a blue banner with two white trees intertwined which flew over Gilgalead's camp, the symbol of the city of white-marbled Avaestil" is an excellent example of the use of Color, however, "A banner with the twin trees flies over the elf's camp" is also an acceptable use of Color.
                    The points of Virtue gathered in this fashion can be spent to increase the elf's specific Virtue scores. An elf must spend three points of Virtue to increase a specific Virtue by one.


                    The Dawn At Play

                    Other characters (the opposition) exist solely to highlight the literary conflicts which take place in fiction. When opposition confronts an elf, it challenges one of the elf's Virtues. Conflicts are thus resolved by rolling one of the elf's Virtues against the opposition's Temptations.

                    For example, a demon-thing challenges an elf upon the battle field. The demon thing's strength is the fear it instills in the hearts of the elves, for it crushes them and burns them with it's flame-limned whip and sword. To face this beast and defeat it, the elf must maintain his Courage, and if he is not, he will flee the thing and turn his efforts to lesser creatures.

                    The opposition, whether elf, beast, or situation, is rated according to its Temptation dice, the total number of dice it can spread among its Temptations (if it has more than one), and the number of dice it may roll in total during an exchange. An average number of Temptation dice is 2-3. The opposition may roll once for every Temptation die it has, and may roll a different Temptation for each turn of the exchange, if it has more than one Temptation. Each roll is equal to d10 + the number of dice devoted to the Temptation the opposition is using that turn.

                    The opposition is defeated when the Temptation Difficulty threshold is passed. The threshold is a number equal to 4 times the number of Temptation dice the creature has. An average encounter has a threshold of 8-12.

                    An exchange consists of the elf and the opposition rolling against one another. At the begining of any exchange, the player states with which Quality his elf will meet the challenge, if there is a choice. This provides him the number of dice he is able to roll in total during the Conflict. Certain Qualities may not be useful for certain tasks.

                    Each roll is a d10 + the elf's tested Virtue. Each roll is tallied to previous rolls, until the elf reaches the Temptation threshold or has no more rolls left. When the tally of the elf's rolls equals or surpasses the opposition's Temptation threshold, the roll is successful and the elf performs the task. If the roll is failed, the elf does not perform the task.

                    In the course of events, other difficulties may arise which need to be overcome in order to achive success. These secondary events provide further problems for the elf. These difficulties arise from the elf failing during his turns, making winning the interim rolls important: losing them reduces the elf's chances of succeeding at his main task by increasing the difficulty of reaching the tally's victory threshold.

                    For example, failing a Pain challenge during a combat leaves the elf in Pain, causing the elf to suffer a penalty to his roll equal to the dice in the Temptation lost to.

                    Note that Virtue which has been earned but not yet added to one of the Virtues can be spent to gain extra rolls on a one-for-one basis.
                    QuoteExample: Feanor of the Silver Glove fights a werewolf with the Pain Temptation (opposed to Perseverance) and the Fear Temptation (opposed to Courage). They player chooses to make this a contest of Might -- Feanor seeks to slay the werewolf, the werewolf seeks to rend and poison Feanor -- and Feanor has a Might of 3. The werewolf has 3 Temptation dice, with a Pain of 3 and a Fear of 2.

                    The werewolf is a fearsome foe, and seeks to frighten the elf away, fearing battle with him. Thus Fear is the Temptation first tested, in opposition to Courage, which Feanor has 3 in. Feanor rolls a Might die and adds his Courage: 4 + 3 = 7. The werewolf rolls his Fear die, getting 6, and adds 2, resulting in 8.

                    Feanor is sorely afeared of the glistening fangs and black bile dripping from the creature's mouth as they circle, trading minor blows. He now has a -2 to his next roll due to failing against the werewolf's fear. But all is not lost yet, for Feanor has not yet rolled all his Might dice.

                    The werewolf howls, an eerie, echoing lullaby that speaks of darkness and madness, of corruption and emptiness. Another Fear roll: 3 + 2 = 5. Feanor rolls his Might and Courage again, gaining a 5 + 3 - 2 = 6. His tally thus far is 13.

                    With Fear failing this time, the werewolf attacks viciously, blood and bile flying in the dark night air as the shining elf and the twisted thing battle, the werewolf rending pale flesh and biting at the elf's exposed throat, bringing Pain to bear and testing Feanor's Perseverance, set at 4.

                    Feanor rolls his last Might die and gains a 4, adding 4 for his Perseverance but minus 2 due the original Fear Temptation, for a total of 6. His tally is now 20, just enough to win the struggle. However, the werewolf rolls its Pain die for 6 and adds 3, for a total of 9. The werewolf's vicious bites gain past Feanor's defenses, tearing through his armor and digging deep into flesh to leave its black bile.

                    However, Feanor is the contest's champion, and the werewolf shudders violently as the thin blade of elven steel pierces its heart, and Feanor, poisoned blood trailing from him like tiny rivers, dropping like brilliant petals to the dark earth, leaves its greasy corpse to rot into smoke and ash.
                    Of course, now Feanor must face and surivive the poison that has entered his system, struggling injured through the wilds to find hall or city, and elven help, before it consumes his body and leaves him forever comatose, lost in fevered, frightful delusion.

                    He still has two penalties, as well, Fear and Pain, for a total of -5. If he wishes to rid himself of these penalties (not the Temptations he must overcome as a result of the wounds suffered), he must either spend points from one of his Virtues (as noted below), or try to overcome the penalty itself as a new Temptation with dice equal to  the penalty.
                    QuoteExample: the Fear penalty of -2 Feanor suffers above could be cancelled by overcoming a new Temptation with 2 dice and a threshold of 8, using the Courage Virtue, and the elf can use a different Quality, such as Grace or perhaps Beauty.

                    The poison working its way through his system requires its own exchange to defeat, even if the Pain penalty caused by the werewolf's attack is defeated in its own exchange. Otherwise the penalty continues to affect the elf in his exchange with the poison.

                    The Loss of Virtue

                    An elf can reduce the penalties gained during a turn by reducing the affected Virtue by one point. One point of Virtue erases all the penalties caused by one source during one turn. The elf can only regain that point by spending Virtue gained through Color, as described above.

                    An elf reduced to 0 in any Virtue may not pass over the sea to the West, for his heart has been tied to Creation. The elf cannot simply add points to a Virtue with 0 in it, to regain the West, the elf must pass a test of that Virtue without the help of any magic, and succeed, and spend four points of Virtue to raise it to 1.


                    Equipment & Qualities

                    Qualities can be increased by one or two points by the use of the correct equipment. Weapons, armor, a craftsman's tools, prayers to the spirits of the One True Flame -- all these things can increase a specific Quality, lending the elf who is using it a few extra rolls in specific situations.

                    (incomplete: needs a list of equipment with Quality improved and relevant situation)


                    Creating Enchanted Items

                    Enchanted Items are those which can overwhelm the Enemy -- what mortals will call magic swords and battle standards, cloaks and boots, rings and staves. All Enchanted Items have a Special Effect(s) they were created with, which are up to the player to decide and describe.

                    Enchanted Items can add to an elf's Virtue when facing Temptations. Most Enchanted Items are only useful against certain Temptations; for example, a silver circlet that improves the wearer's Discipline.

                    Elves can create Enchanted Items by crafting them using their Truth and with Grace. Industry can be added, as can Discipline, if the task is undertaken under need or requires great skill. Perseverance is necessary for those items of complex enchantment, which provide great bonuses, and especially those providing bonuses to more than one Virtue.

                    (Needs examples)


                    Walkers of the Dawn

                    (Incomplete: section on elves and beasts, and various sample social and other interactions that might occur)


                    Enemies of Iron and Ice

                    (Incomplete: Beastiary -- things to defeat and kill)
                    Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
                    Wild Hunt Studio

                    Walt Freitag

                    Arabian Nights ON ICE FAMILY SPECTACULAR

                    Part 2: Game Mechanics

                    Conflict Cards
                    and the Fundamentals of Play

                    The game revolves around Conflict cards that you will use as a framework for your character's story.

                    Conflict cards (as well as Basis cards) tell you what kind of trouble, adversity, challenge, decision, or problem your character faces.

                    For example: a Conflict card might describe: "Enemy! A vengeful Djinn vows to kill you."

                    Your narration fills in how your character becomes involved in the Conflict, and especially, how your Basis leads your character into the Conflict and how one Conflict leads to another.

                    For example, if your Basis is Wanderlust, and you choose the Enemy (Djinn) Conflict card to add to your story, you might narrate: After many pleasant weeks at home, I again grew weary of life in the city, and once again decided to go to sea. I purchased passage on a fine ship. But after only a week at sea, a wild storm assailed the ship and a huge wave swept me overboard. "There is no majesty, there is no might save in Allah, the High, the Great" I cried out. The storm washed me, half-dead, onto the shore of a bleak rocky island. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in bright daylight to find myself in a fine bed in a beautiful pavilion made of gold filigree and draped with flowing silk. Wiping my brow was a beautiful girl, with a face like the moon, eyes like almonds, and breasts like leaping gazelles. When she saw that I was awake and unhurt, she smiled at me and began kissing me with great passion. I fell to toying with her and, despite my recent ordeal, I soon breached her defenses and secured her full surrender. No sooner was the deed done than the skies thundered and grew dark. The girl cried in terror, "Alas, we are discovered! My husband the Djinn, who keeps me here on this island to secure my fidelity, will surely kill you! You must flee!" She gave me a basket of figs and sent me skating for my life to the craggy peaks in the center of the island, as the thunder increased.

                    And finally, the dice, tokens, and Theme scores determine when a Conflict gets resolved in a Successful way that benefits your character, when a Conflict gets resolved in an Adverse way, and when a Conflict leads to new Conflicts.

                    For example: You might attempt, on your next turn, to resolve the Enemy: Djinn Conflict by narrating that you found an old rusty sword on the island and used it to fight the Djinn using Jumps. Most likely, the result would be a complication to the conflict. From the available Conflict cards, you might choose "Ensorcelled: Changed to Animal Form" and describe how your attacks had no effect on the Djinn, and the Djinn used magic to change you into a cat. Now your character has that Conflict to deal with, and must still eventually find a way to escape from the Djinn. See what fantastic situations Wanderlust can get you into?

                    Each Conflict card has:

                    - A description of the situation, problem, issue, enemy, condition, or decision – that is, the Conflict – to be worked into your story and affect your character.

                    - The Adversity of the conflict, a number that figures into die rolls when determining the outcome of attempts at resolving the Conflict. Adversity can be a single number or it might depend on the Theme you use when you roll for the Conflict, in which case it is a table of numbers listed by Theme.

                    - The Bonus, which is brief description of how a Success result in that Conflict might help your character resolve the next higher Conflict. For example, the Bonus for Ensorcelled: Changed to Animal Form is "Gain animal insight, +2 Footwork or Spirals" and the Bonus for Enemy: Djinn is "Find djinn's treasure of jewels, +3 Lifts"

                    Playing the Game

                    Players take turns, starting with the player who rolled highest for the privilege or with the player (if any) whose character is the Sultan's Favorite. Turns pass to the player on the left, proceeding counterclockwise around the table.

                    Each player has a horizontal row of cards on the table in front of them, consisting of the Basis card and (sometimes) additional Conflict cards lined up to the right of the Basis card. Some or all of the cards might have tokens placed on them. This array of cards is called the Situation Array (or just the Situation).

                    During each turn, your main action is to make a roll for the Conflict on the leftmost end of your Situation Array, the card farthest from the Basis card. If the Basis card is the only card in your Situation Array (as it will be on your first turn of a new game), you will roll for that.

                    NOTE: On the first turn of a new game, each player will start with step 3.

                    1. Narrate your character's action and make a die roll for the current (that is, the rightmost) card in your Situation Array.

                    2. If Step 1 results in Successful Resolution of the card that was rolled for, repeat Step 1 for the next rightmost card in your Situation Array, and so forth. This can include making a roll on the Basis card. Continue until you get a result to Complicate or Transform a Conflict.

                    3. Turn a card face up from the Conflict deck, if needed, so that there are three face-up cards. If your character is currently on the Island of Serendib, turn one or more cards face up from the Island of Serendib Conflict deck, if needed, so that there are two cards face up if your character is the only one on the Island, or three cards face up if anyone else's character is also on the Island. If you are the Sultan's Favorite for this Night, you get to turn up an extra card from the regular deck (if your character is not on the Island) or the Island of Serendib deck (if you character is on the island).

                    4. Skip this step if you have any Conflict cards in your Situation Array. If your Basis card is the only card now in your Situation Array, draw a Theme card from the Theme cards that were left over after the Sultan's Mood cards were drawn. Turn it up (be sure no one looks at any Theme cards besides the one drawn) and place it under your Basis card. This tells you which Theme your character will use next time you make a die roll for your Basis card.

                    5. Choose one of the face-up cards, an Island of Serendib card if your character is on the Island, a regular Conflict card otherwise. Place it on the right end of your Situation array. If you're Complicating a Conflict, narrate how your character comes to be involved in the new Conflict described on the new card, as a result of the ongoing Conflict (or Basis) described on the card to its left. If you're Transforming a Conflict, narrate how resolving the Conflict leads to the new Conflict. Try to end your narration in a cliffhanger, just as the character is about to attempt some action to resolve the Conflict on the new card.

                    Making the Roll

                    The die rolls in Step 1 and Step 2 determines how Conflicts involving your character develop during the game.

                    A die roll will always either end the conflict, or extend the conflict. When a conflict is extended it always generates more complications (additional Conflict cards added to your Situation Array). When a conflict is ended, the roll will also reveal whether your character has either mastered adversity, or has been overcome by fate.

                    1a. Decide which Theme your character will use to attempt to resolve the Conflict.

                    1b. Narrate what your character is doing and how the action is performed in the ice show. This narration should conform to your choice of Theme.

                    1c. Roll the die (one six-sided die).

                    1d. Add all of the following to the number rolled on the die:
                    -- Your character's Theme score
                    -- Any bonuses that might apply due to success in a Conflict resolved immediately before on the same turn
                    -- The number of tokens on the card you're rolling for
                    -- The number of cards to the left of the card you're rolling for in your Situation Array

                    If the total is 9 or less, the Conflict continues and generates a new complication. Add a token to the Conflict card. Proceed with step 3 of your turn sequence, to choose the Conflict card for the new complication.

                    If the total is 10 or more, the Conflict ends! You must now determine what kind of ending it has.

                    1e. Remember the total from your roll, and roll again.

                    1f. Add the following to the number rolled on the die:
                    -- The Adversity score on the card you're rolling for
                    -- The number of cards to the left of the card you're rolling for in your Situation Array

                    If the second roll total is less than or equal to the total of the first roll, your character has prevailed in the Conflict. This is called a Success result. Remove the card from your Situation Array (but don't discard it yet). You get two benefits from this: you may now add a token to the next Conflict card to the right, which you are about to make a roll for. And you can use the bonus indicated on the successful Conflict card when you make that roll, if you use the indicated Theme when making that roll. For example, a typical bonus would be: "The man you rescued has great influence at court: +2 to Synchronization or Lifts."

                    Narrate how your character now attempts to resolve the next Conflict to the left, perhaps aided by the result of the Conflict you just resolved. This returns you to step 1a.

                    If the second roll total is greater than the total of the first roll, the Conflict has gotten the better of your character. Your character always survives, and the Conflict is fully resolved, but in a way that leaves your character no better off than before and results in another Conflict that takes the place of the resolved one. This is called Transforming a Conflict. Proceed with step 3 of your turn sequence, to choose the Conflict card that will replace the transformed Conflict.

                    Note that you will always end your turn by selecting and placing a new Conflict, card,  because when you resolve conflicts with Success, you keep going, so eventually you must get a result that Transforms or complicates a Conflict. Basis conflicts are never resolved (in basic play). Special rules apply when making a roll on your Basis card, so that Basis cards always produce a new complication.

                    When a Conflict card is removed from your Situation, return all tokens on the Conflict card to the supply.

                    Pleasing the Sultan

                    Because of his moods, the Sultan may or may not like the way a Conflict comes out, as his opinions about the various Themes change from Night to Night. By being observant, you might be able to discern what he likes and dislikes over the course of a Night from his reaction to your character's and the other player-characters' stories. If so, it will help you to shape your story to be more likely to please him.

                    Every time you resolve a Conflict, after you've determined the result (Success or Adversity), mix the five face-down cards of the Sultan's Mood and turn one of them up at random.

                    If the result was Success and the Theme your character used matches the Mood card turned up, add a token to the Sultan's bowl.

                    If the result was Adversity and the Theme your character used matches the Mood card turned up, remove a token from the Sultan's bowl. (Do nothing if the bowl is already empty.)

                    Also, the Sultan really enjoys stories where Success in a Conflict cascades to Success in a larger conflict. If you get two Successes in your turn, add two tokens to the Sultan's bowl. If you get three Successes in your turn, add three tokens to the Sultan's bowl, and so forth.

                    Rolling for the Basis Card

                    Whenever the Conflict immediately to the right of your Basis card is resolved, leaving only your Basis card on the table, you make a roll on your Basis card. In some ways this is like any other Conflict card roll, but there are several differences:

                    1. Which Theme you must use for your roll is pre-determined by the Theme card that's currently below your Basis card. (Remember that card? You might have drawn it several Nights ago!)

                    2. The Basis card doesn't accumulate tokens like Conflict cards do. Instead, drop any Tokens, resulting from Successful resolution of the Conflict next to the Basis card, directly into the Sultan's bowl. (However, Bonuses earned at the same time can be used for the Basis roll, if they apply to the right Theme.)

                    3. The Basis cannot be resolved or transformed, so the roll for the Basis card has a different purpose. The roll is d6 + Theme + Bonus vs. d6 + 4 (4 being the Adversity of all the Basis cards). If the first total is greater than or equal to the second total, you can add one to your character's score for the Theme used in the roll. Also, this roll does count toward the total number of Successes you get during the turn, when gaining extra Sultan tokens from multiple Successes.

                    4. After rolling for the Basis card, continue your turn by choosing your next Conflict card and narrating it and playing it as a Complication of your character's Basis.

                    Special Cases When Complicating A Conflict

                    1. Telling and Being Told Stories

                    If you can't think of any way to apply any of the available Conflict cards to your character's story, you might instead be able to think of why your character might want to tell another character a story about the situation described in one of the Conflicts, or why another character might want to tell your character such a story. The Arabian Nights are full of stories-within-stories, and in many of them, the act of telling someone a story actually does resolve a serious conflict. For instance, a man facing execution might be offered a pardon if he can tell a story that amuses the Kaliph. (The frame story of Scheherazade echoes and re-echoes throughout the tales.)

                    Conflicts that you narrate as stories your character is telling or being told are resolved exactly like all other Conflicts. Even though the hero of these stories might be some other person entirely, your character's Theme scores are used when rolling the dice. However, there is one exception: the Bonus value for a Successful Resolution is reduced by one. After all, hearing or telling a story about finding a treasure can't benefit your character as much as actually finding a treasure. (Do you disagree? Understandable, given the way this game blurs the layers of fantasy and story. Play it without the exception if you want a game with lots of story-within-storytelling.)

                    2. Meeting Other Player-Characters

                    Any time you would normally choose a new Conflict card to add to your Situation, you have another alternative: you can combine your character's Situation with the rightmost Conflict of another player-character's Situation. The shared Conflict, and any complications of that Conflict that might develop, are then considered to apply to both characters. There are a few requirements for this to be permitted:

                    -- You must have the other player's permission.

                    -- Your characters must be essentially on the same "side" of the conflict, sharing success, failure, transformations and complications that may ensue. You cannot, for instance, have your character become an Enemy that the other player-character is facing in a Conflict.

                    -- The meeting of the two characters, or at least their becoming embroiled in the same Conflict, must be plausible. If one's in prison in Baghdad and the other is hunting the Rhinoceros in Zarandj, it won't make sense.

                    -- Your character getting involved in the other character's Conflict must be a plausible Complication or Transformation of your character's current Situation. You must narrate it just as you would the addition of any other Conflict to your character's Situation.

                    Once your character's Situation has converged with another's, you both play on the same set of Situation cards, on and to the right of the shared Conflict. On your turn, your character takes the lead role and your character's Theme scores are used in die rolls. On the other player's turn, that player's character takes the lead role and that character's Theme scores are used in die rolls. Basis cards and Conflict cards to the left of the shared Conflict card remain your own. When counting the cards "to the left" of a Conflict card, include your own un-shared Situation cards on your own turn.

                    When the shared Conflict is resolved with Success, the characters are assumed to have (at least temporarily) gone their separate ways. The player whose turn it is continues the turn using his or her own un-shared Basis and Conflict cards. The other player completes the resolution process at the start of their next turn, with the same benefits and bonus from the resolved shared Conflict.


                    At the exact moment when the pre-determined time span expires, the player whose turn it is must stop narrating, leaving all cards and tokens in their current state. Dawn has arrived, and it's time to determine Scheherazade's fate.

                    First, pass the token supply around. Each player should take one token for each token on their Conflict cards, and put it in front of them. (This is so that the tokens actually on the cards can be left in place.)

                    Starting with the player to the left of the last player to have a turn (or a portion of a turn), players take turns rolling a six-sided die. Each player must return one of the tokens in front of them to the supply before rolling. If a player has no token, the player can instead take a token from the Sultan's Approval bowl and return it to the supply, in order to roll.

                    If at any time a player rolls a six, Scheherazade is saved and the player rolling the six will become the Sultan's Favorite for the next Night.

                    If a player whose turn it is to roll has no tokens and there are no tokens left in the Sultan's bowl, the Sultan has lost interest in Scheherazade's ice shows and Scheherazade is executed. The cards in the players' Situations must be put away. The players, like the Sultan, will never know how their character's stories turn out.

                    Optional Rule: Pushing Die Rolls

                    A player may add one or more to a resolution die roll by pushing beyond the character's ability in the appropriate Theme, turning double axels into triples, attempting longer or faster spins, and so forth. This is risky, though.

                    If a player pushes a roll by 1, and rolls a 1 on the die, the character Boinks on the ice. ("Boink:" sound imagined, if not actually heard, when well-conditioned ice skater butt cheek contacts ice.) This is treated as a zero on the die for resolution purposes, but it also means the ice show performer has made a fall. The Sultan hates that, it really breaks the mood, so one token is removed from the Sultan's bowl.

                    If a player pushes a roll by 2, then the character Boinks on a roll of 1 or 2. (Only one token is removed, either way.) If a player pushes a roll by 3, then the character Boinks on a roll of 1, 2, or 3. And so forth.

                    Optional Rule: Resolving a Character's Basis

                    This optional set of rules makes rolls on a character's Basis card more similar to resolution rolls on any other Conflict card. This allows a character's Basis to be resolved, completing the character's story. A new Basis for the character, or a new character, is then needed.

                    -- Basis cards accumulate tokens just like Conflict cards do. However, tokens on the Basis cards do not count at Dawn.

                    -- Characters' Theme scores don't increase due to rolls on the Basis card. Instead, the player has a chance of ending the character's story.

                    -- The roll is d6 + tokens + Theme score vs. d6 + Adversity (which is 4) + 4. If the first total doesn't reach 10, a new complication occurs in the usual way. If the first total is 10 or higher, but doesn't equal or exceed the second total, an unhappy ending occurs in which the character's Basis has led to ruin or death. If the first total is 10 or higher, and equals or exceeds the second total, a happily ever after ending occurs. Three tokens go in the Sultan's Approval bowl, either way.

                    -- The player must narrate the appropriate ending. Use the question in parentheses on the Basis card as a guideline. On the next turn, the player may introduce a new character.

                    -- Players may choose to automatically choose a new complication, without rolling.

                    To Come: Conflict card sets
                    Wandering in the diasporosphere


                    Ok, there's my entry. Not bad for an idea I thought up more than half-way through the contest, worked on for a couple hours, and whose mechanics were plucked out of thin air as I wrote.

                    It's horribly incomplete, but it's almost 10pm here and I need to sleep. So it will have to be a final version.

                    Heck, if I had the time, I'd detail "DawnFire" as well, a concept I came up with last night but don't have the time to write out mechanics for.

                    Of Dragons and Men

                    It is the beginning of time, when lush forests and golden plains cover the land.
                    You are a dragon, a protector and defender, the strongest of all, the most blessed, the most majestic, and in the lee of your passage, civilization spreads and grows, man protected from the giants and nightmares still lurking beyond the edge of the world's dawn, in the surrounding half-light and cold darkness of the night of yesterday.

                    But you are not perfect, you must be careful, the heat and rage of justice and judgement flames within you, and can overwhelm, leading to angry destruction, rather than cool wisdom. You must be kept cooled with ice, brought down from the mountains and frozen tundras, from the northern seas, your rage and anger soothed that your judgement will be clear. The ice keeps your anger from overwhelming your empathy, your sense of righteousness from overwhelming your sense of protection.

                    Your benevolent reign has lasted thousands of years, and man has prospered safely, worshipping in your shadow. You have brought the dawn out of the darkness of night. Now things have begun to change. In the south, the world has begun to change, and desert and lush jungle creeps across the land, bringing heat and worse...the heat has inflamed the dragons, and their passion and anger seethe beneath a thin veil of control. Some men have abandoned their dragon protectors and seek to slay them, for their protector's vision and judgement have become muddled and angry and men can see the change; others have joined with their dragon, spreading ruin and empire across the world, leading to bloodshed and terror, and the soul of man cries out in pain.

                    And in the deep south, where the desert has swallowed the land beneath shifting sand and burning sun, where the ice has stopped flowing for it cannot last in the heat, the dragons have become savage and greedy, cunning, selfish predators that lay waste to all things, seeing wickeness only, fire-breathers who are a bane to all, even their own kind. Selfish predators who hunt in bands, devouring the stock of others, or fearsome lone creatures consumed by rage and hatred for the horrors man inflicts upon his kin, and any who defend such.

                    Your land has not changed yet, though you sense the heat. The ice has not stopped yet, but you are needed more than ever. You are the wielder of the DawnFire. And you will protect your people. Pray you do not fall to the mad fervor of righteousness brought on by the heat.
                    Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
                    Wild Hunt Studio

                    Jonathan Walton

                    Arrrr, mateys.  We be coming down to the wire here.  Can Chef Walton-San revise and wrap up his dish before the clock strikes midnight?  Only time will tell....


                    Seadog Tuxedo
                    Super Final Playtest Version

                    LOGO w/ PENGUIN:
                    ISABEL w/ SHAMAN:


                    You and your fellow band of penguin pirates sail your enormous laser-sharked iceberg-ship/home through the dangerous seas of Arctica.  Such is the lifestyle of fuzzy penguin pirates!  Booze, violence, and boistrous songs!  Arrrrr!  Squeak!

                    The Summer Isles, deep in the warm southern reaches, are ripe with plunder, especially that divine necter known as Dawnwine.  However, when you crew aboard an iceship, sunshine is your worst enemy.  The tropical waters will quickly turn your home into an icy patch on the sea.  You might find yourself easy prey for the shaman-wizards who rule the Summer Isles, worship the sun-god, indulge in penguin sacrifice, distilling the Dawnwine, and practicing magical arts that can burn holes straight through your ship.  Yowza!

                    It's going to be a icy hot time in the tropics tonight!  Strap on your fur-lined asbestos pirate gear and get ready to rock!

                    Declaration of Intent

                    This game is meant to emulate the often bizarre nature of Saturday Morning Cartoon fantasy worlds.  It's got a setting specifically designed to be a cool toy line.  Imagine Pirates of Dark Water meets Gummibears.  Let out your inner pre-pubescent.

                    This game is not funny or cute.  This game is badass, dammit!  Any signs of cuteness or humor should be quickly suppressed. Anyone caught giggling uncontrollably at the table should be forced to walk the plank or go get everyone snacks.  The person running the game needs to enforce this with a ruthless efficiency.  Grimace a lot.  Snear at any players who allow themselves the slightest smirk.  After all, you're pirates, dammit!  Get control of yourselves!

                    Materials & Setup

                    To play Seadog Tuxedo, you will need the following:

                    1) A table that you can get wet.  Either some kind of plastic or metal one, or you can cover your expensive wooden dining room piece with a vinyl tablecloth.  Whatever.  Just something you can get messy.

                    2) Walk into a liquer store or other dealer of alcohol.  Buy the cheapest gold rum you can find.  Yes, I mean literally the cheapest rum that's being sold.  I don't care how awful it is.  You're not going to drink this because you like it.  You're going to drink this because you're badass.  If you're underage or have a weak stomach, find something that is sufficiently badass, like real ginger ale (the spicy kind), high-class root beer, or quality soda in glass bottles.  Mmm...

                    3) A few coasters or other small objects to represent the Summer Isles.  Arrange them all on one side of the table, in an archipelago.  Mark them with small objects to symbolise major locations of interest.  Arrange the players seats around the opposite side of the table, far from the Isles.  The GM's chair goes right behind the archipelago, since they're in charge of the sun-worshiping shaman-wizards.

                    4) You're going to need lots of icecubes.  If you have trays, make sure you fill them the night before, but an electric machine (like in most up-scale refrigerators) is better, so it'll keep refilling during the game.  You're probably going to want to play in the kitchen if you can.  Otherwise someone will keep having to run and get more ice.

                    5) You're going to need basic pirate gear for each player.  A hat or an eyepatch is plenty.  Just something simple and noticable.  Lacking proper pirate gear, baseball caps work.

                    6) Some sort of small glass to sit in front of each player.  Shot glasses work best, but anything will work.

                    Character Generation: Penguins

                    Pirate Penguins are asexual, in that they have no genetalia and exhibit no sexual behavior, but they are all gendered as male and are attracted by comely wenches.  Like Smurfs, you know.  Just thought we should get that out there at the beginning.

                    They have 3 traits, representing the depth and complexity of their identities.  They don't embody all of them constantly, like characters in other games.  Instead, they switch between them, emphasizing one at a time.

                    PIRATE represents their scurvy seadog life, with its carousing, drinking, wenching, fighting, plundering, stealing, singing pirate songs, and generally being an ocean-sailing rapscallion.

                    CUTE represents their innate penguin nature, fully of love, friendship, and the joy of swimming gracefully in the sea or sliding down sheets of ice on your belley.

                    These two traits express the inherant contradiction in the life of a pirate penguin.  I mean, you're a scurvy pirate, dammit, but you're also a cute and fuzzy penguin.  This causes all sort of angst and inner turmoil, as the cuteness struggles against the desire to be truly badass.  Pirate penguins are the kind of drama queens that put vampire Shakespearean actors to shame.

                    Each character also has their own IDIOM, which represents their gimmick, giving them a seperate identity.  Having individualized Idioms makes it possible to make more action figures.  Every pirate penguin has an emblem representing their Idiom emblazoned on their belly and it should also be immediately obvious from their name.  For instance, the pirate penguin Black Death has an evil-looking boil tattooed on his tummy, while Forked Lightning has a bright yellow bolt of electricity.

                    Idioms distract pirate penguins from the inner turmoil of their souls.  They are an attempt to resolve the eternal tension between the pirate's life and the penguin's natural instincts.  Thusly, they almost always show signs of torment, taking the form of dark and nasty things, monsters from the Id.

                    Character creation involves simply selecting an Idiom for your character.  Everything else is secondary.  Cute and Pirate traits are not measured numerically, but as states of being.  Every character strives to stay in their pirateness as much as possible, but sometimes slips into their natural penguin state, letting the cute beast take over. All characters begin play with their Pirate trait fully in control.

                    When their character is in badass pirate mode, their pirate gear stays on (see, that stuff has a purpose), when they become a cute and adorable penguin, that stuff comes off.  This keeps you from having to use a character sheet, which would probably just get wet and fall apart on the table.  If you're using the baseball cap substitute, just turn them around backwards when you're a badass pirate and forwards when you're a cute penguin.

                    Character Generation: Shaman-Wizards

                    Sun-worshiping shaman-wizards, the bane of a pirate penguin's existence, are created in similar fashion, though they have the trait SHAMAN and DECENT instead of Pirate and Cute.  Their IDIOMS all have something to do with fire, the sun, burning death, and the like, and their names too.  Volcano Raga, high-priest of the Cult of the Sun, is empowered with the Idiom "Volcanic Destruction".  Instead of having their Idioms ritually tattooed on their bellies, sun-worshiping shaman-wizards wear red robes with their Idiom symbol embroidered on the back.  Much less badass, but what do you expect from such pansies?  Like pirate penguins, sun-worshiping shaman-wizards struggle between badassness and being normal, which, for human beings, is not about cuteness, but about compassion and forgiveness (yes, this game is optimistic about human nature; it's a Saturday Morning Cartoon).

                    Character Generation: Gregory and Isabel

                    Modern cartoons don't like absolute dialectics, where one side is all good and the other is all bad.  Instead of making things sufficiently complex, however, they often go the route of having "token" representives on both sides.  This was the route taken by the writers of Seadog Tuxedo.  Very much like the "token gay guy" in sitcoms, this show has, if you dig this comparison, "token transgendered" characters who cross cultural lines.

                    Gregory is the shaman-wizard's loyal penguin servant.  He plays himself off as being selfless and hard-working, but he really just wants absolute power for himself, and the shaman-wizards have control of the only source of real power, Dawnwine.  Of course, the wizards have made it abundantly clear that Gregory is not allowed to drink Dawnwine, but, unsurprisingly, the little penguin spends all his spare time scheming about how to get some.  As such, Gregory shares his badass trait (Shaman) with the priesthood and his weak trait (Cute) with the pirates.  Otherwise, he's treated as normal.  Gregory's Idiom is "St. Elmo's Fire," the ghost light that haunts ships and sailors.

                    Likewise, what would this cartoon be without a strong, uppity and very hot female character who hangs out with the pirate penguins and acts as a combination of unrequited love intrest and surrogate mother?  All action cartoons have one of those.  Ours is Isabel Raga, daughter of Volcano Raga, the High Priest of the Cult of the Sun.  Being a rebellious teenager, she has thrown her lot in with the pirates and spends her time pillaging the Summer Isles with her new adopted family.  Similar to Gregory, Isabel uses the pirates badass trait (Pirate) and the shaman-wizards' weak trait (Decent).  Interestingly, since Isabel comes from a long line of shaman-wizards, she gains fire powers from Dawnwine just like her father, though her volcanic Idiom usually takes the form of colorful jets of flame (her father prefers rivers of lava and clouds of smoke and ash).


                    Deep in the Summer Isles, the Fortress Impervious houses the vineyards of the Sun-god himself, carefully tended by the Cult of Sun-Worshiping Shaman-Wizards.  Grapes shine like tiny solar orbs, bursting with warm juice: the nectar that sustains the entire immortal civilization and it's autocratic priesthood.  Sungrapes can be ritually prepared, through ceremony and (if they're available) penguin sacrifice, to create a divine elixer known as The Essence of Dawn.  This ambrosia not only extends the life of humans, but endows them with the solar fury of their patron, empowing the Sun-Worshipping Shaman-Wizards with the moxie required to kick serious ass.

                    To pirates, this drink is known as Dawnwine.  Why do they bother raiding the Summer Isles so much?  Dawnwine.  After all, pirates do their best to keep the drink out of the hands of the Sun-Worshipping Shaman-Wizards, who will only use it for evil, extending their lives and using their solar magic to subdue Decent Human Beings.  Besides, have you seen what Dawnwine can do for pirate penguins?

                    When drunk by a penguin pirate, Dawnwine also empowers them with serious moxie, represented by an immediate projection of their Idiom out into the world.  If Forked Lightning, for example, downed some Dawnwine before confronting the enemy, electric arcs would erupt from his diminuative penguin body, making him near-invincible for a short period of time.  He could hold off an entire army by himself, as long as he managed to get away before the effect of the ambrosia wore off.

                    Whenever your character drinks some Dawnwine, you (the player) have to take a shot of the cheap rum or whatever you're using.  I don't care if it's nasty.  Suck it up!  Drinking Dawnwine is the only time anyone can drink any rum (or whatever).  So part of the incentive for pirate pillaging is to get more rum for the players.

                    Whenever their character succeeds in obtaining Dawnwine and refilling their bottle (since every character only carries one bottle), their shotglass is filled with rum, representing this.  All shaman-wizards start out each episode with their shotglass filled, unless there's some plot afoot involving a lack of supplies.

                    Narration Rules

                    Seadog Tuxedo uses a turn-based system of free narration.  Play proceed in a circle, with each player giving a brief description of what their character does.  This narration is basically unlimited, as long as it fits within the genre and color of the game.  Pirate penguins can swing from chandeliers, sneak through towns under the cover of dark, pull off amazings stunt of spectacular daring, all by their player simply narrating what happens.  Likewise, the GM (or other players, if you have enough) should narrate for the Sun-Worshipping Shaman-Wizards and other significant characters.  Gregory is probably a GM-controlled NPC, while Isabel should be a PC, played by a female player if you can manage it.

                    The open narration means that, in practice, confrontations are like duels.  No one ever fails to do what they narrate, but no one gets narration rights over someone else's character.  For example:

                    QuoteSWSW #1:  "Aha, Forked Lightning!  We meet again!  I'm going to burn you to a crisp you scurvy scalliwag!  Reaching into my belt, I pull out a magic solar wand and fire bolts of heat at the penguin!"

                    FL:  "That's what you think, Villain!  I scamper nimbly out of the way of a few bolts, before lauching myself in the air, sword swinging!"

                    SWSW #1:  "I step out of the way and wiggle my eyebrows menacingly.  You've overestimated yourself, this time, little one...  Face the wrath of the sun!  I fire a blast at the gunpowder barrel he's standing next to, causing it to explode in a cloud of heat and smoke!"

                    FL: "Rolling out of the way, Forked Lighting emerges looking slight burnt and bruised, but he smiles triumphantly, though in pain.  Is that the best you can do, you old fake!  I pick up a barrel of Dawnwine, obviously feeling a bit weak, and throw it into the ocean, jumping on top and paddling it back towards the iceship!"

                    This pattern of unchallenged narration can be broken by one of two ritual phrases, which indicates that an opponent is challenging what you've just narrated.

                    For those opposing the heroes, this phrase is: "Cute trick, pirate!"  Oh no!  Pirates can't be cute!  This sends a shock to the Pirate's psyche and requires them to roll or risk going into Cute mode!

                    For the pirates, their challenge phrase is: "Not so, bozo!"  Bozo?  But... but... Sun-Worshipping Shaman-Wizards don't mean to be evil and cruel.  They're just Decent human beings that do what's necessary to preserve their way of life.  Better roll or risk succombing to compassion and weakness.

                    Rolls are done Risk-style, with the narrator getting 2 dice (d6's) and the challenger getting one.  The narrator simply has to beat the challenger's roll, but the challenger automatically succeeds on a 6.  Whoever wins the roll gets to re-narrate the last action, ignoring the rule about not narrating for other characters.  Failing to overcome a challenge means the narrator's character reverts to "sweet" mode (Cute or Decent, depending).  Having your challenge ignored means that you can't issue another challenge for the remainder of the scene.

                    Continuing the example:

                    QuoteFL: "I pick up a barrel of Dawnwine, obviously feeling a bit weak, and throw it into the ocean, jumping on top and paddling it back towards the iceship!

                    SWSW #1: "Cute trick, pirate!"

                    They roll.  FL gets 2, 4.  SWSW gets a 5.

                    SWSW #1: "Forked Lightning leaps onto the floating Dawnwine barrel, but it rolls out from under his feet, causing him to fall unceremoniously on his rear end.  He looks dazed and very cute and adorable."

                    FL:  "Help!  Help!  Somebody help me!  Oh, the evil man is going to get me!"

                    Alternately, it could go the other way...

                    QuoteSWSW #1: "Cute trick, pirate!"

                    They roll.  FL gets 2, 4.  SWSW gets a 3.

                    FL:  "The Shaman-Wizard calls for his troops to come get the pirate, but when they rush to the edge of the pier, the ones in the rear bump into the ones in front, causing a domino effect that ends with the Shaman-Wizard flying unceremoniously into the brine!"

                    SWSW #1:  "Hack, spit, cough!  Curses, foiled again!  I'll get you, you... pirate!"

                    Idiom-based narration (as opposed to that based on Pirate or Shaman traits) works a bit differently.  Erruptions of Idiom result from drinking Dawnwine.  This makes a character's actions unchallengable for 2D6 turns, rolled the turn when the Dawnwine is drunk.  Furthermore, the character is able to narrate supernatural effects into their actions, as long as those effects are part of their Idiom.  Additionally, those empowered by Dawnwine suffer no ill effects from losing a challenge.  They retain total control of their character, the winner isn't allowed to narrate for them, and they can freely challenge again on their next turn.  All of these powers are lost once their turns of Dawnwine-empowerment are up.

                    Conflict is complicated by two Dawnwine-empowered characters facing off against each other,.  In such cases, rolling works similarly, but both characters roll two dice and BOTH have to be higher for one side to triumph.  Otherwise, nothing happens.  "Nothing happens" means that no side gains a distinct advantage.  All narrations still succeed as normal and supernatural effects are probably flying all over the place. The consequences of losing a Dawnwine challenge are different as well, and make no distinction between challenger and defender.  Whoever loses a Dawnwine confrontation immediately looses the powers of Dawnwine and should probably run, since the other character is still empowered and can challenge without restrictions or fear.

                    Cute and Decent

                    Once a character is in Cute or Decent mode, they cannot be challenged, but they are officially banned from being badass.  Everything they do should be as cute and innocent as possible.  They can still try to run away or escape, but no actions of daring or crazy stunts are possible.  Narration works as normal, except with those restrictions.  

                    However, no real harm can ever befall someone Cute or Decent.  This is the secret power.  While sun-worshiping shaman-wizards hate pirates with all their hearts, they really have a soft spot for cute penguins.  Likewise, even pirates have a code of honor and refuse to hurt or humiliate Decent human beings.  This is what protects them from challenges.

                    Additionally, Cute and Decent characters are much more successful, socially, than pirates or sun-worshipping shaman-wizards.  Normal people won't give a pirate the time of day.  If the scurvy seadog wants something, they'll have to fight for it (and most gladly do).  Pirates never get anywhere in relationships with humans.  Whatever they do, the pirate will always been a mangy seadog, worthy of contempt.  Likewise, everyone hates sun-worshiping shaman-wizards, even their own people.  They're stupid, egocentric tyrants that whine like babies whenever the pirates succeed in stealing some Dawnwine.  Everyone resists their rule, but the shaman-wizards also have the power to take what they want (and most gladly do).

                    However, once a pirate has switched into Cute mode, or a sun-wizards reveals themselves to be a Decent human being, things really change.  Humans are always more than happy to assist cute penguins (though shaman-wizards, being badass, don't succumb to this weakness and can get people to obey them, and not the cute penguin, out of fear).  I mean, who can resist cuteness?  Also, penguins and other humans will always treat Decent human beings like they would want to be treated themselves.  That's the humane thing to do.  Pirates, however, regularly steal and plunder and beat people up, so they're immune to such tactics.

                    Regaining Badassitude

                    Both pirates and sun-worshiping shaman-wizards can lose their badassitude through conflict, reverting to their Cute and Decent selves.  In order to get their mojo back, the characters have to wait for the current scene to expire first.  This can be tricky, seeing as Cute penguins are helpless targets for any sun-worshiping shaman-wizards in the area, unless shielded by their mateys and quickly taken back to the iceship or other safe hideout.  Likewise, Decent human beings can easily be taken prisoner by the pirates, unless other shaman-wizards step forward to prevent this.

                    Captives on both sides are humiliated, but not mistreated.  Decent human beings may be forced to serve the pirates, dance for them, and so on.  Likewise, the shaman-wizards always appreciate penguin servants and have plenty of dungeon space in the Fortress Impervious in which to keep them in chains.  Often times, an exchange of prisoners will quickly be negotiated, with the pirates returning captives and Dawnwine in exchange for their friends and the shaman-wizards doing likewise.  Prisoners can also be exchanged for a ransom, magical objects, information, or whatever other scheme the pirates and wizards want to work out.

                    The shaman-wizards always hold the threat of ritual sacrifice over the penguins' heads, which frightens them a great deal, but killing never actually happens.  Whenever a penguin ends up on the alter, they will inevitably be saved at the last minute by their pirate comrades.  Additionally, Decent human beings forced to walk the plank are inevitably fished out of the water by local fishermen or saved through miraculous acts of the Sun-god, who loves his priest-kings, misguided though they may be.

                    Once a Cute or Decent character is integrated back into their respective faction, a simple scene-long ceremony is enough to restore their badassitude.  For shaman-wizards, this is a formal ceremony that re-invokes the favor of the sun-god.  For pirates, their mates simply redress the penguin in properly badass pirate garb.  Then they all the players should yell "Arrrrrr!" and get back to plundering.

                    Victory? and Rebuttals

                    Seadog Tuxedo is meant to reflect an ongoing cartoon series, which means that neither the pirates or the shaman-wizards should ever gain an obvious or irrevocable advantage.  This is an eternal battle meant to continue forever.  As such, whenever such a thing would seem about to occur (for instance, if the shaman-wizards were about to sacrifice a penguin to the Sun-god) the opposing side gets a "Rebuttal."

                    Rebuttals are not world-changing paradigm shifts.  They are slight twists of events that make all the difference in the world.  For example, perhaps the penguin sacrifice suddenly manages an action that would normally considered badass (and, therefor, illegal), such as escaping from their bonds.  Perhaps there is some accident or lucky escape, where the ritual bonfire catches the high-priest's cloak ablaze.  Perhaps the hooded cultists are really the pirates in disguise.

                    Similar things would occur if it looked as though the pirates had obtained an absolute advantage or were about to alter the very foundation of the world.  Maybe they stormed the Fortress Impervious and took it over.  Maybe they burned down the vineyards of the sun, destroying the source of Dawnwine (and what would the series be without Dawnwine?).  In this case, the GM or a player representing the shaman-wizards would get a rebuttal.  Perhaps Volcano Raga and other powerful wizards secretly sneak back into the Fortress with several casks of Dawnwine, ready to kick serious ass.  Perhaps the Sun-god yells at the wizards for not defending his vineyard and then uses his magic to regrow it from a box of stored seeds (afterwards, stealing some seeds could be the point of a whole episode).

                    Sailing on the Ships of Ice

                    Yeah, you know this is what you've been waiting for: iceship mechanics!

                    Pirate iceships are basically just icebergs, those giant drifting islands of ice.  With a few quick alterations, such as sails (which pirates inevitably seem to have hidden in their trousers), any iceberg can be made servicable in the time it takes to run a few scenes.  However, iceships are not really made for sailing through the warm southern waters of the Summer Isles.  They melt rather quickly and are liable to leave pirates stranded if they suffer any delays or setbacks during a raid.

                    To simulate this, iceships are represented on the tabletop by ice cubes.  If possible, find someone with an electric ice machine that spits out those little half-moon shaped slivers of ice.  When you put the round edge against the table, they look just like little boats.

                    Now, assuming your house isn't kept at freezing temperature, the iceships are going to melt in realtime, while scenes are playing out.  If your iceship is totally melted, or drifts/falls off the edge of the world (the table), your pirates are stranded wherever they happen to be (in the water, on the Summer Isles, on a sandbar) until they manage to change this situation by stealing a human boat or hijacking one of the icebergs that occasionally floats south and steering it back home.

                    Now the pirates normally live in a moderately-sized ice castle on the northern continent of ice.  Whenever they are there or sail around the arctic seas, no ice needs to be used.  Their iceships don't melt fast enough up there to actually shrink at any noticable rate.  Only when the pirates decide to sail south (which they almost inevitably do, in most episodes) does the ice hit the table.

                    This is how this works:

                    1) On any given turn, a player can either declare their character's actions or push their iceship 1d6 inches across the tabletop.  Dice must be rolled, a ruler must be utilized, all in real time while the icecube is melting.  Once the icecube reaches something placed on the table top to represent an island or other interested feature of the southern ocean, the players (including the GM) can declare actions and frame scenes related to to that location.

                    2) Any icecube-drift that occurs, as the ice begins sitting in a growing puddle and even floating on top of it, also occurs in-game.  The pirates might park their iceship only to have it drift away, forcing them to abandon it or swim/sail out to it.  Icecubes that drift over the edge of the table are removed from play.

                    3) The shaman-wizards fire magic can do a doozy on iceships.  This is represented on the tabletop too.  After drinking Dawnwine a wizard character can focus his attention on an iceship.  The player representing the shaman-wizard then picks up the icecube in their hands, warming it and causing it to melt faster.  As long as the wizard is focused on melting the ship, in game, the player can focus on melting the icecube.  If the wizard is distracted or impeded in his melting, the player must set the icecube back on the table in the same spot that they picked it up.  If more than one wizard is blasting away at the ship, one player may try to crush the icecube in one hand.  If they succeed, the shards are placed back on the table, representing fragments of the iceship that might still be servicable to resourceful pirates.

                    4) It can be ever more annoying if the iceship melts on the way back home, stranding the pirates and their booty in the middle of the warm ocean.  There should be some marker on the player's side of the territory that represents the cold waters of the arctic seas.  Once back to that point, intact, the icecube is removed from the table and the pirates can breathe a sigh of relief.  This point is also the starting point where icecubes are placed to begin an expedition to the south.

                    5) Sometimes, to ensure the safety of the whole, individual pirates who don't make it back to the ship on time may be left in the Summer Isles.  After all, they have to get the iceship back before it melts.  This kind of situation just comes an excuse for more storytelling, as the pirate tries to wait out on the Isles (avoiding the authorities) until their mates can come back and rescue them.

                    6) To represent the lucky break of having an iceberg drift through the Summer Isles and provide a way off (which is a good option if the whole crew is stranded), the players can all choose to give up the rum (Dawnwine) that they have (assuming they have some) to put an icecube into play.  This can be moved by any player as normal, on their turn, including the GM and players representing shaman-wizards.  Since the pirates inevitably have more players, the icecube should eventually reach the pirates (assuming they are working together), but at a much slower rate than a crewed iceship, due to meddling by the opposite side.


                    Like every cartoon show, Seadog Tuxedo has trademark phrases.

                    • "Yowza!"  Pirates always use this word instead of any four-letter words.  Try it.  It's fun.
                    •"Squeak!" This is the noise frightened penguins make.
                    • "By the sun's eyes!"  A popular curse among shaman-wizards.
                    • "Daddykins" is what Isabel calls Volcano Raga.  He hates this.  It's why he disowned her, actually (not because she's a pirate).
                    • "Power of the SUN!"  What shaman-wizards yell when downing Dawnwine and turning on their solar magics.
                    • "BURP!"  The sound pirates make after downing Dawnwine.  Kids love penguins and hot girls making rude bodily noises.


                    Damn, I'm almost out of time.  I really planned for a more thorough revision, but that's what the judges will have to chew on...