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Author Topic: Son of Iron Game Chef!  (Read 177121 times)

Posts: 92

« Reply #75 on: April 14, 2004, 06:33:26 PM »

I'm sorry, I have to edit and repost... I tried to edit before I posted, but something got screwy with my connection.  So, here is the revised version:

God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals[/size]

Spawned from the essence of the Ancient Ones, 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!

"We know what we know because someone told us it was so."
Matt Snyder

Posts: 1380

« Reply #76 on: April 14, 2004, 06:47:19 PM »

Holmes-san, you bastard! This is a terrible week for me to do this, and I sooooo want to. Alas.

I'll offer up a tease, at least. Odin only knows if it'll ever be more than this. This idea howled to me from the cold north:


Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Walton!

Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
C. Edwards

Posts: 558

savage / sublime

« Reply #77 on: April 14, 2004, 07:12:53 PM »

The ghost of Iron Game Chef past makes an appearance to remind the chefs of Number 1 Rule.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
All right, you wickerbuckin' finnicks ...

That's enough pictures, K? Use links.


I couldn't resist.

Daniel Solis

Posts: 411

« Reply #78 on: April 14, 2004, 08:19:21 PM »

I haven't forgotten! I'm still cooking up this weird little Inuit fantasy thing. In the meantime, I've researched a little more on the actual mythology and lifted a couple key terms. Most notably, there already is a word for "cannibal spirit" which was mighty convenient. With this new knowledge, I've revised the introductory passage.

Lak (Revised a bit)

Elders say the land beyond Inotowok was once warm as our fires. Lush with green things and animals that flew in the sky, they say. But, for reasons unknown, the sun went to sleep many winters ago. Slowly, our people were the only ones able to survive, all alone on Inotowok. With the talluak, the protective spirits, keeping us just warm enough, we managed to survive on an island isolated from the rest of the world by oceans of ice.

And life was good in those days, not so much different than before. But those who died when the sun went to sleep did not lie as easily as that great, slumbering star. Pana, guide and caretaker of the dead before reincarnation, was overwhelmed by the great numbers of dead now entering the ghostly realm of Adlivan. Great evils were done before the sun fell asleep and Pana could not in good conscience bring those dark souls back to our world. Further, there were simply not enough new bodies into which to reincarnate those souls.

The souls were angry at their imprisonment, combined their anger into a powerful storm and forced their way out of Adlivan, back into the land of the living. Upon their return, they found their world gone. The world of their memories buried under the snow. Their anger grew even greater, twisting them into vile horrors swarming in the mad, violent orgy of the storm. They became atshen, cannibal spirits, fiercely jealous of those who still live here on the island.

Elders sensed a darkness approaching. Spectre-storms approached in enormous thunderheads pregnant with every darkness of the human heart. Elders pleaded for assistance from Pana for it is Pana who is meant to care for these souls and soothe them. Alas, Pana was weak. Once the doors between the worlds were forced open, they were too hard to close. But then Pana thought of a trick. Just as the evil souls of Man were now in the land of the living, so to would she send the souls of the light, compassionate, and courageous.

Great souls were condensed by the thousands, sometimes by the millions, and branded onto the bodies of special men and women of the island. They were the Lak, the greatest, who still stand at the shores, the forest, the icy desert and elsewhere on the island, defending us from the atshen in all their horrid forms.

Obligatory Semi-Clever System Concept
Character effectiveness is defined by the length of your name. You sacrifice syllables from your name as your resource pool to do great, mythic acts. The last syllable of your name is always "lak" which is an actual Inuit sobriquet meaning "the greatest." When "lak" is the only remaining syllable of your name, something cool happens... I haven't decided what yet. But after that point, you can no longer perform mythic acts until the next dawn.

I'll write up more tomorrow.

Meatbot Massacre
Giant robot combat. No carbs.

Posts: 102

« Reply #79 on: April 14, 2004, 10:47:35 PM »

Dav wrote:
Hans: 2.6:1 (drops to 2.2:1 if he follows family tradition in the title)

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll point out that while my name is indeed Hans Christian Andersen (The Fifth, to boot!), I'm not related to the famed author.  He was Danish, while my family was Norwegian.

Having said that, I hereby call dibs on the following Hans Christian Andersen story titles to use as Chapter Headings in the final draft of the game:

What the Moon Saw
The Goloshes of Fortune
The Snow Queen
The Neighboring Families
The Thorny Road of Honor
The Snow Man
The Ice Maiden
The Snowdrop
What One Can Invent

What say you to that, Dav?  I figure that outta improve my odds to around 2.4:1.

Hans Christian Andersen V.
Yes, that's my name.  No relation.

Posts: 102

« Reply #80 on: April 14, 2004, 10:51:13 PM »

Awwright, that's enough trash talking for me for one night.  Now, on to some more game content:

Snow Day!  Assaulting Fort Joey

First, an important clarification:  Actions performed by Ice Monsters *always* use Fantasy Checks, and never Reality Checks.  Ice Monsters don't have Age, so these fantasy checks are made against the Ice Monster's Ice Monster Power instead.

Second, a key rule that was left out of the section on Snowball Fights:  As your action, you can Cry Uncle to admit defeat and bow out of the fight.  No Kid will*ever* throw a snowball at someone who has cried Uncle, but since all actions during a round happen simultaneously, another kid can use that same round to get in a parting shot.  If you cry Uncle, you're out for the rest of the Snowball Fight, and you can't join back in.  All of your Ice Monsters are out of the fight too, but at least they don't melt.  Feel free to cheer on your comrades from the sidelines.

Assaulting Fort Joey is a daunting prospect.

The Towers - From the high vantage points of Fort Joey's two towers, a Kid gets to throw snowballs as If they're a year older than they are.  Also, because of the high walls, a Kid throwing a snowball at a Kid in a tower throws as if they're a year younger than they are. Ice Monsters are unaffected by the towers.

The Snowball Stash - A single kid running back and forth can keep both towers stocked with snowballs, allowing the throwers in both towers to throw a snowball every single turn.

The Icicle Spikes - Because of the Icicle Spikes around the fort, you can't just rush up and attack the fort.  Oh, no.  You need a *cunning plan* first.  (More about Coming Up With A Cunning Plan in the forthcoming section on Scene Framing.)  Without a Cunning Plan prepared beforehand, you can pelt the fort's defenders with snowballs, but you can't actually take the fort… no matter what sorts of Ice Monsters you have on your side.

At any given time, Fort Joey is manned by either Joey (age 15, and a mean shot with a snowball), or by his younger brother Jimmy (age 7, and a know-it-all brat.)  Jimmy is almost always accompanied by a sneaky Slush Troll (Ice Monster Power 7, with the abilities Sneak Around, Slushy Claw Attack, Carry Slushball, and Mock Other Kids.).  Additionally, 1-3 other kids will be present (ages vary wildly), and each of them has an Ice Monster with two powers.  Note that Joey himself doesn't have an Ice Monster, because he's been too busy improving the fort itself to bother sculpting one.

If, with the aid of a suitably Cunning Plan, the characters and their Ice Monsters can drive off all of the fort's defenders, and somehow circumvent the Icicle Spikes, then they have successfully taken Fort Joey!  Each Kid on the victorious side gets to do a Victory Dance, or a Victory Song.  Plus, they each get a Gold Star!  (I still haven't decided what Gold Stars do.)  But be careful for reprisal raids, for now that you own the fort, Joey and Jimmy and the other kids will be sure to return just as soon as they've fortified themselves with Hot Cocoa…  How long can you hold the fort?

Hans Christian Andersen V.
Yes, that's my name.  No relation.

Posts: 92

« Reply #81 on: April 15, 2004, 12:40:24 AM »

God Lore:  The Chronicles of the Immortals[/size]

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

If an Immortal's LF ever reaches zero, the Immortal is considered to be unavailable for play with his LF 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 IPs to bring the "dead" Immortal back to life -- this requires a number of IPs equal to the "dead" Immortal's normal LF.

The Demigod must declare his primary Influence which must have his highest Influence number or be tied with other Influences (with no Influence being higher).  After this primary Influence is declared, the Demigod should take time to decide her patronage*.  Below a table of patronage examples for Demigod level is provided.  The Demigod level is quite insignificant in the grand scheme of Immortal Status; therefore if deciding to on a different patronage than listed, care should be taken.

Demigod Patronage List
(For Random Result roll five six-sided die and add the results)
    5   --   Roll Again
    6   --   Apples
    7   --   Bunyons
    8   --   Caterpillars
    9   --   Dust Motes
    10   --   Ear Wax
    11   --   Flatulation
    12   --   Garbage
    13   --   Hiccups
    14   --   Impish Behavior
    15   --   Jumping
    16   --   Kale
    17   --   Leeks
    18   --   Minnows
    19   --   Nails (Toe or Finger)
    20   --   Oranges (for the scurvy scum that follow!)
    21   --   Penguins (MUHAHAHAHAHA)
    22   --   Quail
    23   --   Roses
    24   --   Snails
    25   --   Torches
    26   --   Ugliness
    27   --   Vomiting
    28   --   Worms
    29   --   Yelling
    30   --   Other (Choose or Make-Up Your Own!)[/list:u]

*A Note on Patronage:
As Immortals gain "Status" they gain new patronages.  A Demigod has only one patronage.  Further information on Immortal Status and more patronages will be detailed later.

Immortal Status

Immortals gain status through their acquisition of Influence Points because IP directly affect an Immortal's Life Force.  Life Force exists in both a "static" and a "current" form.  Immortals determine their effectiveness in each encounter and through each action by the amount of "current" Life Force (CLF) available.  The CLF reflect the available Influence Points available to be used by each Immortal at a given time.

Static Life Force refers to the overall amount of Influence Points available to the character when fully "charged" with Life Force.  The higher the character's SLF goes, the more power and greater status she has within the Immortal community.  Eventually an Immortal can gain such status as to be named among the greatest of the gods, being a patron of such things as the very elements they represent, or if wise and powerful enough, an Immortal may try to take over the rulership of the heavens from more established figures (i.e. Zeus, Odin, etc).

Immortal Status Matrix
SLF           Status
13     --   Demigod
20      --    Eternal
27     --   Sovereign
34      --  Hierarch
41      --  Titan
48      --    Singular

When addressing an Immortal with 27-33 SLF, he would be addressed as Eternal "Name" by Immortals of higher status.  If addressing an Immortal of greater status, they would be addressed with the term Lord preceding their status and name... Lord Titan "Name".

Okay... that's enough for tonight... It's way too late, and I need some rest... I'll cook some more tomorrow.

"We know what we know because someone told us it was so."
Ben Lehman

Posts: 2094


« Reply #82 on: April 15, 2004, 02:11:42 AM »

Below the eternal Pole Star lies the mistake, festering like a forgotten apology, a tower of smoke to the sky that most of the People prefer to ignore even as the demons it spawns crush their fragile palaces of starlight, frost, and ice.

But you are not like most of the People.  You are a Star Knight, guided by the charter set down by the long-dead Snow Queen, chosen for the heavy duty of guarding the People against the yearly demon invasions from the frigid mists of the mistake, and try to save what remains of your civilization after the fall of Polaris.

The knights have a thousand forces arrayed against them, and the radical elements from within the People are as dangerous as the demons that boil forth from the Mistake with every dawn.  And, in the end, it shall be the knights themselves that will destroy what remains of the greatest civilization that ever was.

Your fight is as futile as a baby crying against the coming of summer.

But you have decided to take up the struggle.  Don your starlight sword, take only a breathsuit as refuge against the cold, and fight against that coming light.

Coming soon from Whenever The Hell I Feel Like it Productions
A Ben Lehman Game
Designed by Ben Lehman


Ben Lehman

Posts: 2094


« Reply #83 on: April 15, 2004, 03:29:04 AM »

Chairman Holmes!

A question regarding the judging:
In regard to the three ingredient rule -- if all four ingredients are used, but one is less primary than the others, is there a loss of honor in the half-hearted use of one ingredient?

--Lei Xiansheng


Posts: 67

« Reply #84 on: April 15, 2004, 03:56:15 AM »

As I'm sure my preveiw showed, instead of trying to integrate a loose system and freeform like I have in the past, I am instead going for "dramatic freeform" that focuses on the dramatic and full bodied (literally) storytelling that I often have and have been in games where the GM's have, incorporated it into their tabletop games (sound effects, dramitization, real time responses, motions mimicking characters)

I don't expect for Dawn of the Day of the Monsters (DDM) to be complicated or polished enough to rank very high, but I'm enjoying the experience of limited time and slightly guiding game creation experience.
Jack Aidley

Posts: 488

« Reply #85 on: April 15, 2004, 05:24:35 AM »

That which was known as Four shall hence forth be known as Chanter.

Is this a show of confusion from our chef? Or a cunning ploy designed to throw his opponents?

Character Creation Mechanics

Players must assign each of the four attributes a priority starting from 'A' as the best, down to 'D' as the worst. They can choose either to either to assign one A, one B, one C and one D (ABCD) or two Bs and two Cs (BBCC) for a more generalist character.

Mike wants his character to be strong on magic, and deeply involved in the structure of Chanter society but not so capable of looking after himself - he decides that ABCD is the best option and assigns an A to Dawn, a B to Ice, a C to Assault and a D to Island.

Rolling the Bones

Chanter uses d6s for its bones, and you'll need a fair handful - but you're roleplayers so I know you've got them. Conflicts are determined by rolling a bunch of d6s (the numbers known by means yet to be revealed), and looking for duplicates. Rolls are called by saying the largest number of matches in what number and how many other duplicates you got (extras).

Robin rolls ten dice and gets 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6 and announces that he got two 6s and three extras.
Ant rolls seven dice, getting 1, 2, 2, 2, 4, 4, - he announces that he's got three 2s and one extra.
Gilli rolls four dice, getting 2, 4, 4, 5 - she announces that she's got two 4s.
Mike rolls eight dice, getting 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 5 - he announces he he got three 5s and two extras.
I roll five dice and get 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 - I announce I got nothing

All rolls in Chanter are opposed. Usually the GM rolls the opposition dice - rolling a number of dice according to how hard the task is. Whoever got the highest duplicate wins, or if they got the same duplicate (i.e. both got triples) then whoever got it in the highest number wins (thus three 5s beats three 3s, but four 2s beats both of them). Each extra on the player's side mean something extra good happened (bonus), each extra on the GM's side means something extra bad happened (penalty). The player can choose to cancel a penalty out with a bonus.

Should the roll be tied both on duplicity and number shown then it is a tie and no resolution to the action is achieved (if they're climbing a cliff, they got a little stuck for a while but can carry on; if they're picking a lock they haven't solved it yet but might be able to; if they're fighting someone, they've fought back and forth but neither side has yet gained a conclusive advantage) any extras, however, still take effect.

- Jack Aidley, Great Ork Gods, Iron Game Chef (Fantasy): Chanter

Posts: 202

« Reply #86 on: April 15, 2004, 06:33:42 AM »


For a thousand years, the stars have shone down on Halakat, the Sea of Tears, burning brightly in a sky that was always dark. Now in the east the horizon has brightened to grey, and the stars have begun to fade. The shamans of the People speak of the rising of the Sun.

For a thousand years, the People have lived upon Ganakagok, the Island of Ice, in the midst of the Sea of Tears. This mountain of ice, floating in a cold sea, has been carved into soaring spires and dizzying stairs, immense caverns and intricate labyrinths. The legends of the People speak of the Ancient Ones who carved it so, to escape the falling of Night.

Dawn is coming to the Island of Ice. The stars are fading. The sea is growing warmer. The world is changing. Will the People survive the change?

GETTING READY TO PLAY includes (a) creating characters, and (b) fleshing out the setting, including (1) sketching a rough map of Ganakagok, (2) detailing the characters' village, and (3) deciding upon elements of the metaplot, including the nature of the spirit-world.  Creating characters is done by the players; fleshing out the setting is done by the Game Master (GM).

CHARACTERS are men of the People, the tribespeople who live on Ganakagok, a gigantic iceberg floating in a freezing cold sea illuminated only by starlight.  They all belong to the same village, and are in fact related to one another by kinship ties of marriage and consanguinity.  Each player should create his or her character one after another, so that players can draw upon each other's character creation process.

Name.  The naming of names is important; characters should have names with a vaguely Inuit feel, with lots of guttural consonants, aspirations, and flat schwa sounds.  Hagak, Jukub, and Natahuk are all suitably icy and primitive, for example.  Players should be discouraged from trying to name their character, 'Nanook'.

Attributes.  Characters receive 10 points to distribute among four attributes called Body, Face, Mind, and Soul.  No attribute may be lower than 1 or higher than 5.  A score of 2 or 3 reflects notable competence or ability in an attribute; a score of 4 or 5 indicates exceptional prowess.  A score of 1 indicates no special proficiency--the character is unexceptional in that dimension.
    Body reflects physical ability and athletic prowess.  Characters use Body to trek across the snow, bag their prey when hunting, fight, and perform other physical tasks.
    Face reflects all sorts of communication skills and social status.  Characters use Face to interact with each other, negotiate with strangers, persuade each other, woo maidens of the People, and so forth.
    Mind reflects mental acuity and knowledge.  Characters use Mind to learn and apply the lore of the people, and to craft material goods.
    Soul reflects moral development, reverence, and piety.  This is the attribute that is used for journeying into the spirit-world, which any character may attempt via dreams and vision-trances.[/list:u]
    Gifts.  Characters may also take up to 6 points of Gifts, which reflect possessions and relations that can aid the character in times of need.  For each point of Gift a character is given, a token of that Gift should be recorded.  No more than three gifts of any one type may be given to a character at the start of the game.  A character may never have in excess of six Gifts of any one kind.

    Gifts are used in two ways.  First, if a Gift is relevant to a particular action, it may be used to increase the character's Attribute for the purpose of avoiding Risk or accumulating Success (see 'Taking Action' below).  Second, when Failure does occur, Gifts may be sacrificed (broken, lost, damaged) to ward off more harmful effects.
      Goods aid Body-based actions.  Goods tokens are listed as specific items of equipment, e.g., a whalebone harpoon, a hide kayak, a whale-oil burning torch, a sharktooth knife, a rope of twisted sinew, and so forth.  It doesn't matter too much what the item is, though it should be something of general rather than specific utility.  When Goods are used up, they are lost, damaged, or destroyed, and need to be repaired or replaced.
      Love aids Face-based actions.  Love tokens are listed as relationships, favors, and kinship ties with specific individuals from the village (who are specified by their names and their relations to other characters), e.g., 'Saved Takanuk, the chief's brother, from a snow bear during a hunt,' 'married to Luinapa, the shaman's second-oldest daughter,' and so forth.  Players should feel free to invent characters at this time, as well as to create relationships overlapping those of other players.  When Love is used up, the other person is mad at or otherwise disinclined to help the character; the relationship needs to be patched up.
      Lore aids Mind-based actions.  Lore tokens are listed as the titles of myths, legends, or songs that the character knows, e.g., 'How the Whale Lost His Teeth,' or 'The Brave Harpooneer'.  When Lore is used up, it has been forgotten or confused, or is somehow always already irrelevant, and must be studied anew.
      Mana aids Soul-based actions.  Additionally, depending on its source, mana can aid one other type of action.  Ancestor mana aids Face actions.  Before dawn, Star mana aids both Mind and Body actions.  Sun mana aids Face actions and, after Dawn, Body actions.  Ancient Ones mana aids Body actions.  Regardless of source, Mana tokens are listed as specific items of mystical or religious significance, e.g., a braided-seaweed amulet in the shape of a man (Ancestors mana), a scrimshaw talisman carved with star-signs (Star mana), a piece of polished black stone found in the ice (Ancient Ones mana) and so forth.  No character starts with any Sun mana.  When Mana is used up, it may have lost its mystical resonance through obvious inefficacy, been profaned or otherwise rendered unclean, or been sacrificed in some sort of potlach or other ceremony.  In any case, the amulet or talisman must be purified or replaced.[/list:u]
      Sample Character.  The GM tells the players to create characters who are men of the village of Turanagu.  The first player creates his character, Gujanopak.  Gujanopak (Body 3, Face 3, Mind 2, Soul 2) is a young hunter of the village of Turanagu.  He carries a whalebone knife (Goods 1) and a rare bone-handled stone axe (Goods 2).  He also owns a sturdy kayak (Goods 3).  He is the son of Umagakan, the village chief (Love 1), who taught him the 'Tale of Karakojuk in the Belly of the Whale' (Lore 1).  His proudest possession is the ornately carved ceremonial kayak paddle (Ancestors Mana 1) he made for his initiation into manhood.

      THE VILLAGE is a central focus of the game.  The village has Stores of meat, hides, bone, oil (rendered from fat), and other necessities of life; these Stores are held in common by each family but can be drawn upon by others in the village (in exchange for current or later favors).  The village is also the characters' social world.  A village consists of maybe 7-12 extended and interconnected families of 10-12 people living in ice caves, tunnels, or caverns on the lower reaches of Ganakagok.  The People live by hunting seals, sea lions, and other large aquatic mammals, including the occasional whale, and by fishing.  Each village has a chief (usually the most successful senior hunter); his wife is often but not necessarily the 'senior mother' of the village, with great influence upon what the women of the village do.  Each village will also have a shaman, usually an elder man but possibly a woman, who is conversant with the methods of dream-interpretation and spirit-journeying.  

      To describe the village initially, the GM should indicate the Stores of meat, bone, hide, and oil held by each family and map out the social network of the village insofar as it is known.    A GM could decide that a particular family is especially prosperous or impoverished; this will create interesting social dynamics in the village.  Assume that about one-quarter of each family consists of able-bodied hunters, with the remainder divided among able-bodied women as well as dependent children and the elderly.

      Village Example.  Turanagu has 8 families and about 100 people, the DM decides (i.e., about 12 people per family). He gives each family in the village Stores equal to Meat 14, Hide 6, Bone 3, and Oil 2 (i.e., the characters need to get out there and hunt!).  The village's social map is very sketchy at this point; it includes Gujanopak, his father Umgakan (the chief of the village and the head of Gujanopak's family).  A second player created Hagak, Gujanopak's elder brother, who is married to Luinapa and saved Takanuk, his paternal uncle, from a snow bear.

      THE MAP of GANAKAGOK is created by the GM.  The map is a rough sketch of the area surrounding the village.  The village is the center of the characters' world; they should regard it as the only truly 'safe' zone they have.

      Map Example.  The GM draws a circle representing the village of Turanagu in the center of the map.  He draws another four circles, approximately in the cardinal directions.  The area to the south he labels 'Open Sea (Halakat)'.  The area to the east is 'Icy Cliffs (Gokutagun)'.  The north is 'Glacial Plains (Anunagoruq)'.  Finally, to the west is 'Neighboring Village (Danokaru)'.  The GM connects each area to the village with a line.

      THE METAPLOT involves the coming of the Sun to Ganakagok, and the changes that the Dawn brings.  As the game begins, the Sky contains 100 stars (actually, hundred of stars, but say 100 for the sake of tracking).  As the Sky brightens, Stars will fade.  When the last Star fades, the Sun has risen.  It will slowly climb higher and higher in the Sky until it reaches the height of Noon.  As the Sky changes, conditions on Ganakagok will start to change, too.  In addition to disasters caused by melting and shifting ice, the spirits of fading Stars (whom the People revere) will contend with the spirit of the Sun (who desires their reverence).  The spirits of the Ancestors of the People may also interfere, and the legacy of the Ancient Ones who created the Island of Ice will have to be reckoned with.

      The GM must create a time line of events that occur as the dawn approaches and the Sun climbs higher in the sky, keyed to the number of Stars remaining (pre-dawn) and the height of the Sun in the sky (post-dawn).  The incidence of these events (which will include animal migrations, avalanches, ice floe break-aways, 'icequakes', and disturbances in the spirit-world) should cause characters to seek out an explanation and a solution for their village at least and perhaps for the People as a whole.  Whether this solution is an exodus from the Island of Ice or seeking refuge in its depths will depend on the direction the GM guides the metaplot.

      As the Stars fade, their mana becomes less powerful.  Each turn, the GM can roll percentile dice (based on the number of stars remaining) or just decide that one or more Star mana tokens has become ineffective since the Star that bestowed it has faded from the Sky.  Once the Dawn breaks, all Star mana is ineffective thereafter.

      Once dawn breaks, the mana of the Sun becomes more powerful:  in addition to aiding Face actions, it also aids Body actions.  The GM will have to decide whether, as the Stars believe, it is possible to forestall the Dawn.  The spirit of the Sun is majestic and, according to some, beguiling.

      It may be that Island was built as a sanctuary from the domination of the all-consuming Sun, or that once the Sun has risen a new age of prosperity will come once the People travel to the new home that has been granted them.  Something else may be the case entirely.  The GM must decide what the truth of the metaplot is!  

      THE SPIRIT-WORLD is an important element of the metaplot, since it is through the spirit-world that the People can learn of the conflict between the Stars and the Sun.  The creatures of the spirit-world include the Ancestors, the Stars, and the Sun.  The Ancient Ones may also be represented as a separate category of spirit, or may be hidden, or may in fact be the Stars themselves in different form.  Again, the GM must decide.

      Journeying in the spirit-world to gain mana from the spirits is an Soul-based action that incurs some risk to the character; this is discussed at somewhat greater length below.

      In any event, traditional spirit-journeying allows the People to interact with and gain mana from Stars and Ancestors.  As the metaplot progresses, the power of the Stars will fade (i.e., dealing with them is less Risky but produces less Success per effort as well) and the power of the Sun will increase.

      PLAYING THE GAME involves following the story of the People as the Dawn comes ever nearer.  Each turn represents a few days worth of time.  During a turn, characters will take actions of different sorts.  The order of action is random; if it matters who acts first, roll off.  After actions are resolved, the sustenance of the village is determined and the metaplot is advanced.

      Taking Action.  During a turn, each character can attempt three broadly defined actions, e.g., 'I go hunting for my family,' 'I go to the neighbor village to trade,' or 'I explore the Glacial Plains north of the village.'

      Once a player has declared his character's intention, the GM will determine the parameters of the action resolution, including (1) the Attributes relevant to tasks comprising the action, (2) the Risk associated with those tasks, and (3) the amount of Success required to achieve particular outcomes.

      The basic dice mechanic is this:  For any task within an action, the character's level of Success is equal to his Attribute.  For each level of Risk associated with the task, roll 1d6.  If a die is greater than the Attribute (plus any relevant Gifts invoked), it inflicts 1 Failure on the task.  The GM will determine how much Success is necessary to accomplish the task at hand, or what is produced per unit of Success (e.g., 1 Success during a the physical part of the hunt might mean that the hunter has bagged a penguin with enough meat on it to feed him until the next turn.

      The player then has to decide how to deal with Failure.  He can (1) trade Success for Failure, (2) accept an injury (reduce an Attribute by 1 die until 'healed'), (3) lose a Gift (permanently, or at least until 'replaced' or 'repaired'), or (4) accept a narrative complication, if offered by the GM or opposing player.

      Gifts of the appropriate sort can be used during an action to lower the Risk of the task or to increase the amount of Success -- but not both.  In any case, a die roll of '6' is automatically a Failure.

      A player can decide to accept greater Risk for additional Success.  For each additional Risk die rolled, increase the Success of the character by one.

      A player can reduce his Risk by limited his Success similarly.  Roll one fewer Risk die per level of Success sacrificed.

      Obviously, Risk trade-offs have to be made before the dice are rolled.

      Cooperation among characters may play an important part in the game.  Depending on the specific activity undertaken, cooperation can be resolved by (a) having individuals undertake separate efforts, each of which requires some measure of Success, (b) reducing the level of Risk or increasing the Attribute level of the character leading the task, or (c) producing additional Success for the character leading the task.  The GM must decide.

      Conflict between characters (fistfights, verbal sparring, and so forth) involves treating the opponent's attribute as the Risk level for other character.

      Example of Conflict.  Hagak (Body 3D) gets into a fight with a stranger from another village (Body 2D).  Hagak has 3 Success to the Stranger's 2.  Hagak rolls 3 dice and gets 1 ('miss' as this is less than or equal to 2, his opponent's Attribute), 4 ('hit'), 6 ('hit'); the stranger rolls 6, 6 (two hits, as both are greater than Hagak's attribute of 3).  Hagak has a total of 5 hits (his Successes plus the result of the stranger's Risk) while the stranger has 4 hits.  The stranger, with fewer successes, decides first what to do:  he opts to trade all his hits to negate four of Hagak's.  Hagak hits the stranger, who loses 1 Body.  Hagak wins the fight; the stranger is bloodied and (with his action) takes refuge with another family in the village.

      The GM should be prepared to create different 'dice structures' to represent different situations, e.g., a race between two characters, trying to accomplish something in a specified amount of time, and so forth.

      A 'narrative complication' can be anything the GM decides:  a permanent rivalry or hatred, a scar or injury, or any sort of trouble the GM thinks is reasonable.  The GM should decide if narrative complications hasten the coming of Dawn.

      Out on the Ice.  The People live by hunting, and this sometimes necessitates long trips out on the ice.  If a character ends a turn out on the ice, not in a village, he must try to Survive using his wits (Mind) and fortitude (Body).  He needs a total of 1 success per turn away from the village (i.e., 1 success on the 1st turn out, 2 on the 2nd, and so forth).  The GM should key survival Risk to different areas of Ganakagok--e.g., the Glacial Plain might be a 2-die risk while the Icy Cliffs are a 4-die risk.  The open sea should be a much greater risk; perhaps as much as 8 dice.

      Hunting.  Hunting trips require the hunter to accumulate intellectual Success to track or find his prey (Stalk) and physical Success to bag it (Catch).  The list below provides examples of Success rates and what's gained.
        Seal.  Numerous and therefore relatively easy to find, relatively easy for a determined hunter to catch and kill.  Provides 2 meat, hide, bone, and oil each per completed hunt.  Stalk 2, Catch 3, (Risk 2)
        Sea Lion.  More dangerous but also proportionally more productive than seals (3 meat, hide, bone, and oil per completed hunt).  Stalk 2, Catch 4 (Risk 3).
        Penguin.  Also numerous, but smaller and therefore harder to catch in sufficient quantities for the effort required.  Provides 1 meat, hide, bone, and oil per completed hunt.  Stalk 2, Catch 4 (Risk 1).
        Whale.  Infrequently encountered, and extraordinarily dangerous for a lone hunter or even a small group.  Provides meat, bone, and oil in extraordinary quantities--say 100 each--per successful hunt.  Stalk 4, Catch 20 (Risk 6).[/list:u]
        Characters can fish, which is Risk 0 and produces 1 meat per 2 Body per action.

        Spirit Journeys. Spirit journeying is a Soul-based action that can be used to obtain mana or oracular information (that will be of ambiguous meaning and uncertain accuracy, naturally).  At the beginning of the game, the Stars are powerful (Risk 4, 1 success per mana received or question answered) and the Sun is weak (Risk 1, 4 Success per mana received and questioned answered).  As the Stars fade, this will reverse until the Sun is powerful and the Stars are weak.  Interacting with the spirits will often require a Face-based task to avoid their enmity.

        Making Goods.  Making new Goods (or fixing broken ones) requires the expenditure of Stores and Mind-based action.  If a character is married, his wife will take up to one action per turn to make things for him.

        Learning Lore.  Learning new Lore requires Face-based action to get a knowledgable elder to teach it and Mind-based action to remember it.

        Making 'Love'.  Gaining friends and influencing people within the village requires Face-based action.

        Recovery.  Players can recover lost Attribute points for their characters by taking an action and telling a story of a sort appropriate to the Attribute being 'healed'.  The story need not be terribly lengthy, but it should maintain the flavor of the game.  The following format indicates the sort of thing that should be appropriate:

        'Hear now the tale of [character]!  [Character] was [description].  One day, [Introduce a complication, like a difficult task being proposed to the character].  But [character] was undaunted! [Tell how the character overcame the complication and was rewarded.]  Thus ends my tale!'
          Body.  Tell a story of Monaagak, the powerful King of Whales.  
          Face.  Tell a story of Ganakorop, the shapeshifting trickster-seal.
          Mind.  Tell a story of Panuuguka, the wise Mother of Stars.
          Soul.  Tell a story of Meetaqi, the Good Son of Panuuguka.[/list:u]
          Taking Care of the Village.  At the end of every turn, the village has to be fed.  Each family uses up a number of Stores of Meat equal to its size.  If it doesn't have the necessary Stores, it can get food from another family (if they have extra--the GM has to keep track, making some simplified assumptions about the success of hunters from each family).  If it doesn't have enough, it can 'expose' one or more elderly members to the ice.  This kills them, of course.

          The village also has to be heated; each family burns 1 Store of Oil per 3 people in the family.  If it doesn't have enough, treat the family as if it's out on the ice at Risk equal to the cumulative shortfall.

          Advancing Toward Dawn.  Each turn, starting from 100 on the first turn, some number of stars will fade (maybe 1d6 to start, more as the Sun gains in strength).  The GM decides exactly how many and what effects this has, and what can influence the rate at which Stars fade.  It may be possible to reverse the coming of Dawn, but on the other hand it may not be.  Once Dawn breaks, the Sun climbs in the Sky at maybe 1d6 degrees per turn.  Once it reaches its full height (90 degrees), the campaign ends.

          Posts: 202

          « Reply #87 on: April 15, 2004, 06:39:53 AM »

          There is my entry!  

          Notice how it invokes the theme ingredients:  the coming of the Sun (dawn), the isolation of the People (island), and the desolate nature of their environs (ice)!

          And, pace Eero, it is Tolkienesque in spirit if not in its trappings:  the fantasy invokes melancholy about the world changing, and nostalgia for a lost past.  The world of the People is literally melting out from underneath them.

          As I promised, an earnest little fantasy.

          Bill White

          Posts: 67

          « Reply #88 on: April 15, 2004, 06:53:13 AM »

          Dawn of the Day of the Monsters has survival horror, a frantic and fun atmosphere, a satirical storyline, and it even has fantasy roleplaying tropes (presented in a cheesy 50's scifi being heckled by MST3K kinda way)

          and because all the hip kids are doing it...

          the dawn is the focal point for the "beggining" of the game, as well as the metaphorical dawn of an age of mutants and atomic monsters
          Creepers Creek is now an island in the Atlantic, and nobody can get off of it
          And the military is assaulting the irradiated, man eating mutie filled island with it's hordes of Goblins, O.R.C.'s, and other monstrosities.
          Daniel Solis

          Posts: 411

          « Reply #89 on: April 15, 2004, 07:05:16 AM »

          It really doesn't look like I'm going to have time to finish Lak in the next few days. I'm heading out of town tomorrow and saturday and it's only a couple weeks until graduation with so much left to do. I'm a little disappointed that I couldn't finish the concept, but them's the breaks I guess.

          Anyway, Bill_White's pretty much done the whole Inuit thing right there. :P

          Meatbot Massacre
          Giant robot combat. No carbs.
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