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Iron Game Chef - Simulationist!

Started by Mike Holmes, May 08, 2003, 04:09:57 PM

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Kester Pelagius

Greetings All,

Wow, a lot of great entries today.  Some awesome work, too!

Though I am beginning to think a week is barely enough time to cobble together a decent rough draft, I suppose Mr. Holmes has the right of it.  It really is amazing what a little friendly pressure, peer or otherwise, can propel one to accomplish.  Can't wait to read all the entries.

I have a little something to add, though it's not as great.  In fact it's not really all that complete, but I have uploaded it just the same.  So, if you are interested, a rough working PDF of Ubel They is now available for your scorn, derision, and belly laughs at my Yahoo group, found here.  Let me know what you think.

The PDF is roughly 800k and runs 30-32 pages.  Though that's mostly white space due to formatting and the fact there's yet a lot of detail that needs to be filled in.  But at least it's something to see, and there are maps.  

Just log in, go to the file area, and click on the "Ubel They" folder.  Say, Mike, maybe that's what Iron Game Chef needs?  A group somewhere that everyone can UL files to.  What do you think?

Don't strain your eyes while reading!

Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri

Mike Holmes

Nobody really expects much more than decent rough drafts. Though I was surprised by the quality as a whole of the last contests results. And these seem very nice as well. To say the least.

Why one week? Because it seems long enough to get a game together and yet short enough to keep pressure there. We used to do 24 hour ones, but they tended not to get much repsonse. That's because only so many people can participate in a given 24 hours. If I had my druthers and could get people to sign up first or something, I'd go with that parameter. This way, people can pick the days that they want to work on their project, meaning more people play. Also it's a good period for suspense to build.

Lastly I'm of a belief that it only takes about 24 hours to make the most important 90% of a game. The rest is icing on the cake. Which can be added later if people want to publish their creations (something I highly suggest).

And it's as much a game as it is an attempt to promote creativity. I think I even have a prize this time.

As far as where to post, I like it here. In fact, I'm not a fan of PDF for reading (I never print anything out and find PDF hard to read). I'm not judging on what the "printed" version looks like at all. Layout is not a criteria.

So I'd like to accept your entry, and would as it's as complete as I expect a game to be. But it has to be posted here to count. Only graphics are excepted. This is because I can count on people not being able to alter the entries after they're entered here (and if they alter graphics we'll all notice so I'm not worried about that). Just keeps everything fair.

I'm a stickler for rules. Go figure.

BTW, anyone can certainly post an updated version of their game here. So if you've posted something, and then revised it, post it again. Just make sure that it's clear which version is the final version (I don't want to have to read through several versions of each game). Another way is to link the parts together in a final post.

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Chapter TWO:

System: Target 15

Skills and Conflict Resolution

A word on Conflict.  Clearly, in many RPG's, the word Conflict brings to the mind a myriad of deadly physical or magical confrontations.  A dividing line is drawn between the mechanics for non-combat skill resolution and combat skill resolution.

In SODS, Combat is a subset of normal Skill resolution, which, although it requires comment, really works no differently then the use of other skills. If SODS were a war game a large and detailed combat section would be appropriate but SODS is a game about war and the personal conflicts that arise in the course of survival.

2.1 Coming into Conflict

Simply put, Conflict occurs whenever a Persona tries to perform an action resisted by another Persona, Nature, or the Persona himself.  A Persona tries to seduce an IID agent; another Persona tries to open the hatch of RIFv that is not hers; a Persona must try and come to grips with the Horrors of War.

At the GM's and Personas' option, actual mechanical resolution of Conflict can be foregone if the situation warrants it.  

For example: Three RIFvP go out to a bar and get in a friendly game of darts. The person with the best Physique will probably win, unless he or she has had a lot to drink. No real need for rolls. However, if a rival unit's RIFvP comes up and wants to play, it may be better to slide into Conflict Resolution mode.  

2.2 The Process of Conflict Resolution

Definitions of Conflict Resolution

Action: The exertion of mental or physical energy during the confines of the Moment.
Moment: An amount of time for all participating Personas and Extras to perform an action or small number of actions. Up to 3 for a Persona and 1 for an Extra.
Extra: Small Personas who have no purpose other then to act as part of the environment. These are always controlled by the GM.

The Steps of CR

1.   Determine who or what is involved in the Conflict
2.   Each Persona rolls Initiative. All Extras have an Initiative of 1d6.
3.   The Persona with the Highest Initiative Acts first. Once he or she is done, the Personas and Extras move according to their position in the Initiative ranking.  That is Highest to Lowest.
4.   Any natural or unnatural events occur. Earthquakes, sprung traps, crashing space ships, and exploding planets all qualify here.
5.   The moment is over.

Performing an Action

As you may have noted the subtext for this system is Target: 15.  That is to say that any roll on a d20, after both positive and negative modifiers have been taken into effect, that is 15 or higher is a success. Period. The lock opens, you find the correct circuit, or you slam your fist into the Malganorn's head.

Passive Resistance

Now a lock, unless controlled by an aware computer, offers only passive resistance when being picked.  The gravity of a 2g planet pulling at your body as you run a marathon again is offering passive resistance yet you are still in Conflict.  In combat, all Personas and Extras have a Passive Defense number that acts as a negative modifier to hit that Character as long as the character is Aware and not Immobile.

Critical Success and Failure


A roll of a natural 20 that is still a total of 20+ after all modifiers are added is a Critical Success.  On a critical success, the action is fully effective with no negative repercussions for the Persona who is performing the action.  For example: A Persona trying to jump from one moving train to another gets a critical.  Not only does the jump succeed but also she lands behind the man she was chasing in perfect position to attack him.  The GM should adjudicate all critical successes so that they are a reward but do not the physics of the game too much.

Also, when a character gets a Critical Success, they gain 1 point of Experience for that skill.


A roll of natural 1 is always a failure, regardless of the bonuses or the level of skill.  However, since nothing teaches like failure, a Persona gains 1 point of Experience for that skill.

Giving up an Action

As mentioned a Persona may take up to 3 Actions in each Moment.  This can be movement, verbalizing ideas, or performing a skill.  It can be all three (one of each). However, because of initiative order, a Persona may give up two of his/her actions to perform one Action out of order.  This is usually to offer Active Resistance against another Persona or Extra to prevent their action from succeeding.  Giving it Up, as it is known, really comes in two flavors: Active Defense and Counter Skill.

Active Defense

When someone is trying to break down a door or suddenly a giant space squid is going to eat your RIFv, a Persona may choose to go into Active Defense mode.  In the case of holding back the door, the GM adds the Reacting Player's Physique (or any appropriate Attribute) to the negative modifiers of the Acting player's Skill attempt.

In Combat, Active Defense means a doubling of the Passive Defense score of the Reacting Player.

Counter Skill

Jill Longpants is trying to break into the Main Frame AI of Freedom Base. Her goody two shoes twin, Jane Longpants wants to stop her.  Jill uses her Computer Skill and Jane reacts, using her own skill to counter Jill.  Jane makes a skill roll just like Jill and if both succeed, Jill is blocked and a Stalemate ensues.  If both fail nothing happens.  A simple failure of Jill's allows her to try again on her next action. A stalemate locks both Jill and Jane into another contest.

This is the essence of counter skill.  If a reacting Persona does NOT have a Skill or Song that can counter the Acting Persona's Skill (or Song) then they cannot react to it.

2.3 The Results

When a Skill succeeds, the result = whatever the successful result of using that skill would be.  A gunshot hits its target. A Picked lock opens. A diffused bomb does not explode.  This is very simple.

Special Cases: Physical and Mental Harm

During physical (or metaphysical combat: see Chapter 3) combat the usual intention is to physically harm or subdue an opponent or opponents. Outside of combat, falling off a building, eating 10-year-old cheese, or having a sun go nova right next to you can cause physical harm.


Taking damage from physical attacks removes health.  Armor absorbs physical attack damage up to its limit.  Anything after that goes through to Health.

Falling, drowning, and miscellaneous Dangers

The following is a quick and dirty table for the various types of damage for miscellaneous dangers.  Some kinds of armor or protections may degrade some of this damage as well.

Table 2.3
Danger   Damage
Falling   (1d6 per 3m) x Gravity
Drowning   1d6 per Moment under water
Fire / Radiation / Acid   1d6 per Intensity level (1-10)
Falling off Moving Vehicle or being Struck by one   Speed in KPH – Physique
Vacuum of Space   2d6 per Moment
Explosive Force   1d6 per 2 Intensities

Poisons and Toxins

When a poison or toxin is introduced into an organic person, a Persona for instance, the strength of the Toxin is measured against the Physique of the target: (Toxin Strength + 1d20 – Physique of Target). So even strong bodies may succumb to some Poisons.  Target number is still 15.  Any anti-toxins present or administered in time add to the Physique of the target.


Physical damage is healed either by rest, by advanced medical techniques, or by the Song of Life.  Reports that the Song of Life can be used to raise the dead are exaggerated.  No official event has ever been documented stating in fact it can bring back the dead.

Healing Sanity loss requires Therapy or the use of the Song of Mind's Rest.

Loss of Sanity

Loss of Sanity due to mental harm is much more subtle then physical harm. A dazed look or strange habits can form as Sanity slips away.  Many RIFvP pilots take their last Flight along "The Jet". The Jet is a six light year in size region of superheated and swirling plasma with a gigantic Black Hole at the center.  It is known as the Riffraff graveyard and pilots start to worry when a friend "Looks like her is getting on the Jet."

Up until that final 0 of Sanity, the Player and GM should discuss the loss of sanity and how it affects the Persona's actions and attitudes.  A penalty or even bonus to certain skills may be added if appropriate.

2.4 Experience

A Persona gains a point of Experience just for showing up at a game session, though even this is subject to GM approval. (i.e. if you arrive and hit on the GM's girlfriend all night to the detriment of the game, do not expect him (or her as the case may be) to give you your standard 1 POE.)

POE = Points of Experience

The following are the costs of character improvement, again subject to approval by the GM.

Table 2.4
Improvement   Experience
Untrained Skill   0
Trained   10
Expert   15
Teacher   20
Master   25
Improve Ability   20
Learn New Song   10
Create New Song   20
Improve Rank   15
Pay for RIFv Modification   5



I have like 8 Chapters to go

ugh sorry mine is going to be a long one




The interplay of form and force is dangerous and subtle. It provides the underpinnings of the world around us, but is unseen, unfelt, until it washes away. No where is it more apparent than the dark and foreboding world of catchy music.

In Obscurity, players take on the roles of catchy songs, precisely the songs that become stuck in one's head, requiring more potent songs, or perhaps a power drill, to remove. But player songs are different from your ordinary commercial jingle or top-ten pop song. They are alive, and they are aware, and they have plans for humanity.

The Debut Album


A good song has a stupid name. While this isn't always true, it's best to start with one, then people try to get rid of the song all the more, which only feed your power.


What musical genre do you fall into? Fans of this genre will be especially susceptible to your wiles. On the other hand, this may make other immune. Being a commercial jingle neatly avoids both of those eventualities.


One is really all you need. Consider the important things, like bringing back bell-bottoms and promoting Volkswagon Beetles.


Ever notice how some songs just won't stay dead. This is because the Great Composer does not leave her children without some defenses. When all is silent, your song can return from obscurity and become known again. This is referred to as Eruption. Being a fair deity the Great Composer provides each of her children with five Eruptions. Starting songs will have already used one, to start their plans. While not impossible, it is difficult to gain additional Eruptions, and even then only through  great adherence to the ideals of the Great Composer. Of course no one has a clear idea what those are. Well except for chocolate, she seems to like chocolate ...


The ability of a song to influence people is rated along the three spheres of human experience:

Blood - passions and pleasure, violence and lust.

Sweat - exertion, both mental and physical, usually accompanied by purpose.

Tears - sadness and the other passive emotions of the world.

A given song has 7 points to divide amongst these three spheres, indicating the degree this song can incite a reaction in that arena.


Like all parasites a catchy song is nothing without it's hosts. To create a host, specify the following:

Name - people need some way to refer to each other.

Potency - the raw talent and effectiveness of the host. Also indicates their resistance to your influences.

Talent - each host is good at something. How good of course depends on their potency.

Dominant Sphere - which sphere plays the greatest roll in a host's life?

Generate one host, of potency 3 as your initial host.

The Road to the Top

Getting around and making people do things is an essential element of any plan, but with songs the greatest risk is slipping out of people's minds.

Getting Stuck:

To get stuck in someone's mind, you first need to expose them. This usually involves being played or even hummed in their presence. Then you roll equal or above their potency to become stuck. However if you roll a 1, you will slip out of the mind you originally were inside. Hence you must always roll this, even if the person you are going after has potency 1. Also while many people can hear you at a time, only one host can be acquired per playing. If the target is a fan of your affiliation, their potency is considered reduced by one, if they are opposed to it, their potency is considered increased by one.

Doing the Job:

Influencing people is not difficult, after all songs can link into the deep well of which most hosts are unaware. Of course it's got some risks associated with it. Under normal circumstance you will roleplay your hosts normally. But if there is a point where you decide to make the host act differently than usual, you must roll to determine if the song can affect them in this manner. This is done by rolling a d6 equal or less than the associated sphere you are using. Hence if you are trying to stop a mugger from mugging a lone woman, you need to roll equal or below your Tears sphere. However to cause the mugger to save that same woman from being hit by a bus, requires rolling equal or below your Sweat sphere. Further making the mugger fall in love with that woman would require rolling equal or below your Blood sphere.

Note, your sphere is considered one higher if it matches the dominant sphere of the host being used at the time. However, if you roll a 1 on any of these rolls, you slip out of the host, though the change likely was retained.

Taking Care of Business:

When a host takes some sort of action, compare the potency of the host to the difficulty of the action. Add a +1 if the action falls within this host's talent. Then either compare with an opposed potency, or look at the table below:

1 - trivial action
2 - easy action
3 - average action
4 - difficult action
5 - complex action
6 - very complex action
7 - nearly impossible action

A song can inspire a host to new heights of ability, or depths of failure. Roll above, as if you were influencing the host, subtract your roll from your sphere. Add this value to the potency of the host.

The Green Room in the Sky

Songs can dwell in many places, but few of their hangout are as consistent as the Green Room in the Sky, or just the Green. This is where songs can discuss their plans, and try to get help from other songs. It's also the only place you'll find a song when their Eruption has ended and a new one has yet to begin. It's a good place to parlay and make friends, but it's also a good place to make enemies. Which occurs is up to your song.

Sure it's not long, but I could only devote an hour to the design and writing, so I had to make it fairly short.

    -Mendel S.

C. Edwards

Tiki God

It's not just a game. It's a sport.

Beer chugging, role-playing, furniture surfing mayhem for 3 to 5 people.

What's it all about man?

Not only are you an all around cool Dude but you're also a trouble-shooter for your Tribe. When you're not Chugging, Grooving, Hanging-Ten, or chasing the islands seemingly endless supply of Virgins you're helping your Tribe iron out life's little kinks. Life on the island has gotten hotter than usual because Pele, goddess of the mighty Volcano, is not well pleased with your people. Only by uniting the Tribe behind one righteous Dude can you gain Pele's notice and convince her to mellow out this most heinous situation. There's only one real problem. Your contemporaries, those other Dudes in the Tribe, are trying to unite the Tribe themselves. So get stoked and grab a tasty brew because battling these bogus posers is bound to make you thirsty. The winner becomes the Tiki God and keeps the Volcano's wrath from putting a real downer on the permanent beach party you call 'life'.

*Disclaimer: The designer is not liable for injury or property damage incurred as a result of play.

The following things are required for play:

-3 to 5 people
-Beer and lots of it
-A buttload of six-sided dice (10 dice per Dude should be enough)
-Some paper and pencils
-A box of crayons
-A Hawaiian shirt for each participant, the more hideous the better
-Some tokens (shells, coasters, old bottle caps, coins, poker chips, or whatever)
-A timer (stop watch, kitchen timer, or whatever)

The Big Kahuna
One of the participants must play the role of The Big Kahuna, the Tribe's wise man. The Big Kahuna is responsible for guiding the Dudes through Trouble-Shooting, standing as judge during every Challenge, keeping track of the Dudes' Groupies, and may end up as the Designated Driver.

Everyone else takes on the role of a Dude, a surfing, Beer guzzling, beach partying bum and cult icon. A Dude's responsibility is to make sure he has an adequate supply of Beer for Chugging. This includes any Beer that he has The Big Kahuna drink by sacrificing a Virgin.

Numero Uno
The first item of business is for all the players to create their Dudes.

Dude Creation
-Give the Dude a name (use the Random Name Generator if you're
 having trouble)
-Vote for the most wicked Hawaiian shirt
-Rank the Spheres of Power from 1-3
-Rank the Spheres of Copacetic from 1-3
-Draw personal Tiki Mask using crayons
-Choose a Theme Song

Random Name Generator
Roll 2d6 for each column in the chart.

 2:  Moon..............2-5:  Dog
 3:  Honey............6-9:  Doggy
 4:  Sand...........10-12:  Dude
 5:  Sun
 6:  Big
 7:  Crazy
 8:  Beach
 9:  Surf
10:  Beer
11:  Sky
12:  Wind

Wicked Threads
All participants vote to see which player is wearing the most wicked Hawaiian shirt. The winner of this dubious contest receives one bonus die to use during Dude creation. This die may be added to any one Sphere. You may not vote for yourself. If the vote results in a tie nobody gets the bonus die.

Spheres of Power
The Spheres of Power are the most righteous abilities of the Dude. Only the blessed of Pele excel in the Spheres of Power and it is in these Spheres that a Challenge between Dudes takes place.

Chugging: This is the Sphere that covers the drinking of Beer, and lots of it.
Grooving: This Sphere covers dancing and all booty shaking.
Hanging-Ten: This Sphere covers the righteous art of surfing. In Tiki God surfing is simulated using furniture, stair railing, large appliances, and the like. If a player ever breaks their 'board' they lose all their Virgins.

Spheres of Copacetic
These Spheres come into play when a Dude needs to mellow out some heinous situation while Trouble-Shooting.

Zen: This represents a Dudes ability to overcome obstacles by uttering seemingly wise yet incredibly vague gibberish.
Sand: Whenever the Dude is forced to bust out and split some wigs he starts by kicking Sand in his opponent's face, and then he kicks their ass.
Coconuts: Yes, Coconuts. The Dude has the amazing ability to solve almost any problem by using this sacred fruit. A Dude's ingenuity knows no limit.

Tiki Mask
Each player uses the crayons to draw a Tiki Mask for their Dude. The Tiki Mask is a symbol of individuality and a Dude's dudely skills. The babes dig it too. Optionally, the players may cut out the masks and wear them during play. Be warned, after some Chugging you will most likely have a soggy Tiki.

Theme Song
Each Dude needs a Theme Song. It can be anything the player desires. Speed metal, opera, Burmese folk tunes, it's all good. If the player sings their Dude's song during a Grooving or Hanging-Ten Challenge they gain a bonus die on the Challenge Roll. This does not apply to Chugging. Beer is its own reward.

Island Tour

The standard unit of measure on the island is the Beer. If it's not measured in Beer the Dude probably can't count it. That said, those possessing less than pure Dudely prowess, a.k.a. poser wannabe's, may want to use fractions of a Beer during any Chugging. This may be a shot, a tumbler, or whatever fraction of a Beer that your mewling little body can handle. Remember that Pele will not be pleased if you drink non-alcoholic beverages during a Chugging.

These are members of the Tribe that worship the sand the Dude walks on. For each Dude in the game there are 50 Tribe members, 20 of which start off as the Dude's Groupies with the rest going to the Village. The Village is where non-Groupie Tribe members stay until they become Groupies. The Big Kahuna is charged with keeping track of how many Groupies each Dude has and how many Tribe members are in the Village. The Big Kahuna will never tell a player how many Groupies they have, only whether their Dude has more or less than another player's Dude. The players aren't allowed to keep track of Groupies. Dudes don't take notes. The Big Kahuna can also tell a player if there are any Tribe members left in the Village, but he cannot tell the player how many.

If there is a foundation that Tribal life is built upon it is the unassuming Virgin. A Dude gains a Virgin for every five or six that is rolled by the player on a Trouble Roll and if the player wins a Challenge the Dude gains one Virgin. Sacrificing Virgins to the mighty Pele by tossing them into the Volcano gains the Dude favor in the form of bonus dice that can be used to overcome his rivals. Each Virgin sacrificed is worth one bonus die. A Virgin may also be sacrificed at any time during a player's turn in order to make any of the participants, including The Big Kahuna, chug a Beer. A player may only do this once per turn.

Get Your Game On
Play starts with every player rolling a die to see which Dude goes first. Highest roll wins. Roll again if there is a tie. Turn order moves clockwise starting with the highest roller. During their turn a player may have their Dude do one of three things, Trouble-Shoot, Challenge, or Party Hardy.

Whenever a member of the Tribe has a problem they come to the Dude for help. The Dude just wouldn't be the Dude if he didn't do his best to fix the Trouble. To start the player must decide the potential Groupie Value of the Trouble. The Groupie Value is the number of dice that The Big Kahuna will roll to represent the source of the Trouble that opposes the Dude. Randomly determine the Sphere of Copacetic to be used by rolling a die; 1-2 is Zen, 3-4 is Sand, and 5-6 is Coconuts. The player may alter the result of the roll by sacrificing a Virgin and then picking a Sphere to use. The Big Kahuna then narrates the Trouble situation, which he may invent or take from the Random Trouble Charts, with which the Dude is confronted. The player should have the Dude react to the Trouble that The Big Kahuna presents. The Trouble Roll may be called for by either The Big Kahuna or the Dude at any point that seems appropriate.

When the Trouble Roll is called for the player rolls a number of dice equal to the rating of the Sphere of Copacetic being used plus any bonus dice if the player chooses to sacrifice any Virgins. Whoever has the highest total wins the Trouble Roll. If the Dude wins he receives a number of Groupies from the Village equal to the total of The Big Kahuna's roll and the Dude gets to narrate the most righteous manner in which he mellows out the most vexing situation. If The Big Kahuna wins the Dude loses a number of Groupies equal to the difference between the two totals. The lost Groupies go back to the Village and The Big Kahuna narrates the Dude's total wipe out. The Dude gains a Virgin for every five or six that the player rolls during the Trouble-Shooting. Only one Trouble Roll is allowed during Trouble-Shooting. After the narration for the Trouble-Roll the Dude's turn ends and play passes to the left.

Random Trouble Charts

Chart A
1: a wicked monkey has stolen Lana's wooden comb.
2: Una really needs some pineapples, which just happen to be guarded by a diabolical water buffalo.
3: Lola is missing. She was last seen going into a dark, dank cave.
4: Lelu has been possessed by the spirit of a crazed Industrialist and is
   trying to pave over the beach and put a strip mall in the Village.
5: A strange chest has washed up on the beach. No one in the Tribe can  
   get the stupid thing open. Perhaps the Dude in his gnarly dudeness
   would deign to give it a try?
6: The seagulls keep crapping on The Big Kahuna while he is trying to
   bathe. Surely there must be something the Dude can do about this

Chart B
1: Several orangutans have started an evil cult in a cave behind a
   waterfall. They keep sacrificing Virgin's that don't belong to them.
   Make those silly primates behave.
2: Some yuppie from the mainland has parked his yacht in the lagoon.
   Not only is he scaring all the fish away but his incredibly bland polo
   shirts are frightening the children.
3: Wild dogs have eaten the Beer delivery guy. If this keeps up you might
   run out of Beer. Totally unacceptable, Dude.
4: Mermaids have been destroying the fishermen's nets. You've got a
   craving for some mahi mahi. What ever will you do?
5: A lightning strike has started a fire that is moving towards the Village.
   Save your people, Dude!
6: Some punk that was raised by monkeys has stolen Jane from the
   Village. Bad manners just don't cut it on this island. Besides, Jane
   gives awesome back rubs.

Chart C
1: A strange glowing rock has fallen from the sky and the Tribe has
   started to worship it. Hey! You and the Volcano are the only things on
   this island worthy of worship.
2: Pirates from the far side of the island are intercepting the Beer
   deliveries. Need I say more?
3: Some lame-ass has set up a booth on the beach selling 'Tiki God' shirts
   and merchandise. All the babes have started hanging out there and are
   actually trading Beer for the crap the booth guy is selling. The men of
   the Tribe beseech you to take care of business.
4: The Big Kahuna pulled a groin muscle while playing beach volleyball.
   He needs you to go find him a special herb with soothing powers that
   only grows on a small atoll neighboring the island. That would be the
   atoll surrounded by man-eating sharks.
5: A group of tourists is taking pictures, asking stupid questions, and just
   being damn annoying.  The Tribe wants you to do something about it.
6: A massive python has swallowed The Big Kahuna's wife. It wouldn't be
   a big deal but she's the one that orders the Beer.

Dudes compete with each other in order to show off their awesome skills and impress the masses. The player declares a Challenge and the opposing player chooses the Sphere of Power to be challenged. The challenger then has the opportunity to add another Sphere of Power to the Challenge by sacrificing a Virgin. Each player then writes down how many Virgins they want to sacrifice for bonus dice on a slip of paper and hands it to The Big Kahuna for safekeeping. The players then perform the Challenge, either simultaneously or with the challenging player going first. That part is left for The Big Kahuna to decide. Players have twenty seconds to show their stuff, which is why The Big Kahuna needs a timer. In a Challenge that involves multiple Spheres all actions are combined into one big Challenge. For example, if the Challenge involves Chugging and Hanging-Ten the players must swill their beer while they are surfing.

After the Challenge is performed The Big Kahuna votes for the most impressive display and that player receives a bonus die for the Challenge Roll. Singing your Theme Song during a Challenge that doesn't involve Chugging also grants a bonus die. Beer is it's own reward. Each player then makes a Challenge Roll with dice equal to the total of their ratings in the Spheres of Power that were involved in the Challenge and any bonus dice from sacrificing Virgins or singing a Theme Song. The Dude of the player that rolls the highest total wins the Challenge. The winning player takes from the loser a number of Groupies equal to the difference between the two totals. The winner cannot gain more Groupies than the loser possesses. If a player passes on a Challenge they lose a Virgin and the challenging player rolls two dice to see how many Groupies they take from the passing player.
In a Chugging only Challenge the first player to finish their Beer gets the bonus die. If it's too close to call The Big Kahuna decides who gets the bonus die based upon factors such as spillage, an impressive belch afterwards, etc.

Party Hardy
Sometimes a Dude just wants to party. In such a situation the player chooses another player's Dude to lure Groupies from by inviting them to a beach party. Then the player starts the party by Chugging at least one Beer. Each Beer the player chugs grants one die for the Party Roll. The player may also gain bonus dice by sacrificing Virgins. The player then rolls all the dice and the total represents how many followers that the partying Dude steals away from the target Dude.

The End
There are several ways for the game to end:

- Every time that a player sacrifices a Virgin in order to have The Big Kahuna chug some Beer there is a chance that Pele will come to The Big Kahuna in a vision. The Big Kahuna rolls three dice and if the total rolled is fifteen or higher then Pele has come to The Big Kahuna and declared that the Dude with the most Groupies has pleased her enough to keep her from annihilating the Tribe. That Dude is declared the Tiki God and the Tribe rejoices.

- If any Blood is spilled by the participants during the game, on purpose or by accident, Pele's anger at the stupidity of the Tribe causes the Volcano to spew fiery death down upon the island and the Tribe perishes to cries of "Bummer, Dude!". Self-mutilation does not count and will piss Pele off enough that she will demand the sacrifice of the offending Dude to the Volcano. In a two Dude game the remaining Dude is declared the Tiki God.

- If any of the participants pass out due to inebriation Pele is well pleased by the adherence to her dogma and the island is safe until some idiot pisses her off again. Game over.

- The first Dude to have two-thirds of the Tribe as Groupies gains Pele's favor and has saved the island. He is declared the Tiki God, savior of the Tribe and most righteous Dude to ever set foot on sand.


Damn. Just found out about this yesterday. Thank goodness I finished Signature.

NOW! Witness the awesome power of my Signature cooking style!
(Not bad for 4 hours and 30 mins work, if I may toot my own horn.)
Volcanoes and Glaciers: Bloodsong of the Spheres


Social Contract
   Death and Dying
   Tone Bonus
   Carry-over Traits

The Setting
   Player Direction
       Sample Character Goals
   Tech Level
   Sample Signatures

The System
   Time Units
       What is a Trait?
   Character Generation: The Signature Trait
   Action Resolution
   Using/Gaining/Changing/Losing Traits
   Wild Points
       Using Wild Points
       Recovering Wild Points
   Setting Mechanics

For the Guide: Making Adventures
   The First Rule
   Challenges and Relative Difficulty
   Carry-over Traits: NPCs, Locations, and Items


Social Contract

Game Tone
   Death and Dying
   Tone Bonus
   Carry-over Traits

Before beginning, the Guide(s) and the players should decide what and how the group is going to play: how long and how frequently the group meets, who brings the food and drinks, what kinds of behavior are acceptable and which aren't -- basically what is expected of everyone socially. This is called a Social Contract in gaming lingo.

Death and Dying

1 Success indicates a minor distraction, sickness, or degree of healing; for example, throwing sand in someone's eyes, catching a cold, or curing a cold.

2 Successes indicates a major wound, sickness, or degree of healing; for example, a knife wound, catching the flu (very serious in a world without antibiotics), or being cured of the flu.

3 Successes indicates death, total incapitation, or ressurection.

Tone Bonus

The Tone Bonus is a modifier that gives bonuses to particular actions that help define the tone of the game. Examples include, Funny, Cunning, and Violent. Generally, there will be  only one Tone Bonus per game.

The Tone Bonus for "Volcanoes and Glaciers" is Cunning.

Carry-over Traits

Carry-over Traits carry over from game session to game session. One example are relationships the character has, like Sickly Aunt 2, etc. Another are the NPCs the Guide controls. The fewer Carry-over Traits a game has, the more episodic it is.


Quote from: C. Edwards
If there is a foundation that Tribal life is built upon it is the unassuming Virgin. A Dude gains a Virgin for every five or six that is rolled by the player on a Trouble Roll and if the player wins a Challenge the Dude gains one Virgin. Sacrificing Virgins to the mighty Pele by tossing them into the Volcano gains the Dude favor in the form of bonus dice that can be used to overcome his rivals. Each Virgin sacrificed is worth one bonus die. A Virgin may also be sacrificed at any time during a player's turn in order to make any of the participants, including The Big Kahuna, chug a Beer. A player may only do this once per turn.

Wow, I may have to bow out.  Any game that incorporates Virgins as a game mechanic is going to own the crucial 13 to 24 year old male audience - a key to market dominance!  Well done!


"Oh, it's you...


The Setting
   Player Direction
       Sample Character Goals
   Tech Level
   Plot Hooks
   Sample Signatures



Spheres are alternate multiverses with copies of the Nine Worlds in various states of development.

The Nine Worlds

Yggdrasil the World Tree

The Norse world tree connects all the nine worlds. It has roots in three: Asgard, Niflheim, and the realm of the Frost Giants. An eagle sits in the branches of the tree; between its eyes perches a hawk. A squirrel called Ratatosk scurries between the eagle and Nidhogg, the dragon which gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil in Niflheim, carrying messages. There are four stags running in the branches, Heidrun the goat and Eikthyrmir the hart, all eating leaves of the tree. The tree is tended by the Norns at Urd's well under one of the roots, who pour water over it, keeping its bark white.

Bifrost the Rainbow Bridge

Bifrost connects Midgard to Asgard. Every day the Aesir travel over Bifrost to Urd's well to hold counse1 -- except for Thor who must wade through rivers instead.. The red of the rainbow bridge is the flames which keep those who are unworthy from gaining entry into Asgard. The Aesir Heimdall guards the bridge at the point it reaches Asgard.

Asgard Realm of the Gods

Asgard is the home the ruling gods, the Aesir.

Following the creation of Midgard, the gods built their temples on Iðavelli, the shining plain. Here is Odin and Saga's Sokkvabekk, Odin's Valhalla with its 540 doors in Gladheim, Odin's hall Valaskjalf that houses the throne from which he looks over all the worlds, Thor's Thrudheim where his hall Bilskirnir stands with its 540 rooms; Ull's Ydal's plains; Freya's Folkvang and her hall Sessruminir; Skadi's Thrymheim; Baldr's Breidablik; Heimdall's Himinbjorg which stands at the edge of Asgard by Bifrost;  Forseti's Glitnir; Njord's Noatun by the sea; Frigg's Fensalir and Vidar's land called Vidi.

Midgard Realm of Mankind

Midgard, whose name means "middle garden" or "middle earth", is the home of humanity.

Vanaheim Home of the Vanir

Vanaheim is home of the Vanir, allies of the Aesir. Little is known of it, save thatVanaheim will not be affected by Ragnarok.

Alfheim Home of the Light Elves

Alfheim is home to the Light Elves, who are ruled by the god Frey.

Niflheim World of Ice

Niflheim is a cold, unforgiving realm where the power of the Glacier is strongest in the Nine Worlds.It is home to the Frost Giants

Muspelheim World of Fire

Niflheim is a burning, chaotic realm where the power of the Volcano is strongest in the Nine Worlds. It is home to the Fire Giants, who are ruled by Surtur.

Jotunheim Home of Giants

Jotunheim is a barbaric realm, home to the enemies of the Aesir and Vanir, the Giants.

Nidavellir Home of the Dwarves

Nidavellir is the underground home of the Dwarves, or Svartalfs.

Hel Land of the Dead

Hel is the land where the dead go to rest after dying. It is not a place of torment, but of quietude.

Player Direction

All PCs come from the same Sphere, and should share similar goals, whether it be exploring the Spheres to find new lands to colonize, open up trade routes, or find targets for raids.



All Spheres have the same basic timeline, but some Spheres may be behind or ahead of others relative to the timeline.

Also, there may divergences in key events in the timeline of a particular Sphere relative to the others.

Years 1-4,000: The Creation of the World

In the beginning there was the void, Ginnungagap. In Niflheim was a spring called Hvergelmir from which the Elivagar, the eleven rivers (Svol, Gunnthra, Fiorm, Fimbulthul, Slidr, Hrid, Sylg, Ylg, Vid, Leiptr, and Gioll) flowed. The Elivargar froze layer upon layer until it filled in the northerly portion of the gap, while the southern portion was being filled by sparks and lava from Muspelheim.

This caused part of the Elivagar to melt forming the figures Ymir the primeval giant and the cow Audhumla, fed from licking the salty ice. The cow's milk was Ymir's food.

While Ymir slept his under arm sweat begat two frost giants, one male one female, while his two legs begat another male. The cow's incessant licking formed the god Buri. He had a son named Bor who was the father of Odin, Vili, and Ve, who all decided to kill poor Ymir. Ymir's blood caused a flood which killed all of the frost giants except for two, Bergelmir and his wife, who escaped the deluge in their boat.

Odin, Vili, and Ve put Ymir's corpse into the middle of Ginnungagap and created the earth and sky from it. They also created the stars, sun, and moon from sparks coming out of Muspelheim.

Years 4,000-8,000:The Time of Legends

Finally, the brothers happened upon two logs lying on the beach and created the first two humans Ask, whose name means ash, and Embla, whose name means elm, from them.

In this time, the gods walked the earth, fighting giants and interacting with humans.

Years 8,000-12,000: The Time of Man

The gods withdraw from openly walking the earth, and mighty heroes arise, fighting monsters and leading the people.

Year 12,000: Ragnarok

Year 12,000+: New Midgard

The remaining two humans walk among on the new earth, which they call New Midgard, and repopulate it. The magic of bloodsong is discovered and other Spheres are discovered along with it.

Tech Level

Technology in "Volcanoes and Glaciers" is similar to that of Earth's Dark Age Norse. Iron is made into weapons and chain mail. Sailing is advanced, but uses solar compasses instead of magnetic ones. In a solar compass, the Sun's shadow is traced against a curving line on a sundial, and North is calculated against the position of the shadow.

The only magic in "Volcanoes and Glaciers" is bloodsong. Bloodsong involves carving a runestaff, then cutting oneself and smearing the blood on the runes of the staff. One then sings a bloodsong to create the magic.


Time Units

Action: A single action taken by a character.
Scene: A collection of Actions all in the same place.
Adventure: A collection of Scenes all involving the same characters.
Campaign: A collection of Adventures all centered around a single plot.

Plot Hooks

Sample Signatures

Generally speaking, a Signature in "Volcanoes and Glaciers" is comprised of two parts: a Profession and a Race. So one character might be a Warrior Aesirdottir, another a Bard Midgardson, and so on.



Warriors specialize in hand to hand combat with shield and one-handed weapon, such as a sword or axe. Generally speaking, Warriors lack the discipline to fight in organized groups -- fighting tends to turn into a mass brawl. However, Warriors are usually good leaders and decent sailors.


Bards specializes in remembering, learning and telling sagas. They are usually excellent at bloodsong, and are good diplomats.


Explorers specialize in exploring new lands and Spheres. They are usually good and sailing and bloodsong, and are usally decent leaders and diplomats.


Traders specialize in opening up new trade routes to other Spheres and lands. They are usually excellent leaders and diplomats, and good at sailing and bloodsong.


Nobles are the leaders of society. They are good at leading, of course, as well as diplomacy, and are usually well-off.


Priest represent the gods to mankind. They are usually good at diplomacy and leading, as well as being decent at bloodsong.



Race indicates which bloodline is strongest in a character. The suffic -son delineanates a man, while -dottir, delineates a woman.


Aesirsons/Aesirdottirs are mainly descended from the Aesir. They are strong and good fighters.


Vanirson/Vanirdottir are mainly descended from the Vanir. They are beautiful and skilled at bloodsong.


Midgardson/Midgarddottir are mainly descended from humans. They are resourceful and cunning.


Jotunson/Jotundottir are mainly descended from the Jotuns. They are big and tough.


Alfson/Alf dottir are mainly descended from the Alfs. They are beautiful and agile.


Svartalfson/Svartalfdottir are mainly descended from the Svartalfs. They are tough and excellent craftsmen.



What is a Trait?

A Trait is literally anything that can be used to describe a character, or something associated with a character. For example, Strong, Slow, Loves Wife, Magic Sword, Shield Maiden ...pretty much anything.

Character Generation: The Signature Trait

To generate a character, the character's player simply comes up with a Siganture Trait. The Signature Trait is
a description of a PC in a nutshell. For example, "Fierce Warrior Midgardson."

Extra Starting Traits

There are several starting Traits that both Guide and Players may set when creating their characters (Players) and settings (Guide.) They are listed below.

Blood and Song

Blood is used to power bloodsong. It goes from 0 to 5. Default is 1. Song is used to control bloodsong. It goes from 0 to 3. Default is 1. Upon creation, a character has 5 points to distribute among Blood and Song.


Sphere is a Trait describing a particular Sphere. It has three sub-Traits: Volcano, Glacier and Prosperity. When creating a Sphere, the creator receives 6 points to distribute among the three sub-Traits.

Volcano indicates how chaotic and changeable a Sphere is. It goes from 0 to 3.

Glacier indicates how static and restistant to change a Sphere is. It goes from 0 to 3.

Prosperity indicates how well-off characters in a particular Sphere are. It goes from 0 to 6. 0 Prosperity is equal to Cambodia under Pol Pot; 3 Prosperity is peaceful but not rich, and 6 Prosperity is paradisical.

If Volcano and Glacier are both tied, their rating indicates how close the Sphere is to Ragnarok. 0 indicates Creation, 1 Time of Legends, 2 Time of Man, and 3 imminent Ragnarok.

All PCs come from the same Sphere. Thus, all Players must agree on the sub-Traits of their Sphere upon creation.


Scale is used in "Volcanoes and Glaciers" to separate the various levels of power in characters. The scales are:

Ordinary: 0

Ordinary scale is that of an ordinary character, such as a farmer.

Heroic: +1

Heroic scale is that of a skilled character, such as a well-known leader.

Epic: +2

Epic is the default scale in "volcanoes and Glaciers." It designates heroes who are reknowned throughout their home Sphere.

Godly: +3

Godly scale is that of the gods, such as Thor or Loki.

Each level of Scale automatically succeeds versus the level below it and automatically fails versus the level above it. For example, Heroic beats Ordinary, while Epic beats Heroic.


Action Resolution

1. Action
The player describes the action, and the Guide finds the appropriate Trait. If there is more than one appropriate Trait, the Guide takes the highest.

The Guide modifies the Trait as follows.
   The Guide assigns a modifier of -3 to +2 depending on how plausible the action is.
   2.2 Tone Bonus
   The Guide assigns a bonus of +1 to +3 if the action follows the game's Tone Bonus. Generally, there will be  only one Tone Bonus per game.
   2.3 Wild Point Bonus
   The player may assign a bonus of up to +3 to his action, if the description is wild enough, and the player
spends Wild Points equal to the bonus desired.

3. Resolution
The modified number of points is the degree of success. 0 is failure, 1 is minor success, 2 is major success, and
3 is complete and total success. The modified degree of success may not be lower than 0 or higher than +3.