(Re)Destroy/(Re)Build (credit goes to Vegedus at snafu-comics.com in the Role Playing forum) (OOC link)
“I woke up from a dream, yet my eyes see only nightmares. Corpses in the streets and a shrieking red maelstrom where the sky is supposed to be. The world itself seems to be dying and nothing really makes sense. Today, I accidentally walked into someone’s memories, nearly killed her as a child. I never thought I’d miss the laws of physics being consistent this much. The voice tells me to fight, to destroy this broken world and the last ones in it and I’ll be able to create a new one. One without senseless suffering like this, perhaps. I shouldn’t believe it, but my gut tells me otherwise. When I unlocked my power, instinctively, I knew I was born for this.”
- The setting is our modern day world, struck by a supernatural calamity, killing all but a handful of all living beings in the entire cosmos. Reality is slowly dissolving, allowing a new universe to be born, in a cycle that has supposedly been going on forever. This new world will be designed according only to a single vision and the survivors are to determine which it’ll be.
- It’s a sorta action-intrigue kind of game. The characters have awesome powers and the most straightforward way of accomplishing their goals is to kill the others. However, it’s not the only way, diplomacy, mindfucking and backstabbing also being quite effective. PvP is to be expected, either way. Drama, angst and general roleplaying faffing about is also encouraged. Really, it’s about whatever the characters do, because...
- It’s a sandbox game. There’s no pre-written plot. As a GM I have a couple of characters meant for stirring shit up and a couple mysteries up my sleeve, but no plot, no sequences you have to go through. All the characters have a central goal they should pursue with vigor, and how they go about it, and what they do in between, is the story. I’ll do some of it, but you’re still largely in charge of interesting things happening in and around your character.
- There’s a resolution system in play, so fights aren’t won by whoever posts most aggressively. It’s based on the concept of “no guts, no glory”; a risk has to be taken for anything to be accomplished. Inversely, you can’t lose something you haven’t risked. I’ve tried to keep it simple and non-intrusive and it can be bypassed entirely if people would rather not deal with it.
- The concept is heavily inspired by the videogame Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, and a little by the others in the series as well. There’s lots of differences though and the game isn’t canon or required knowledge or anything. If you have played it, you’re free to draw as much inspiration as you want from it.
A ritual older than time was enacted and the end of the world came swiftly. The sky turned in a red, swirling vortex and all life started dying in a matter of moments. Billions of people fell dead immediately, at best letting out a scream first. You watched this, catched a glimpse of building contorting and changing size, shadows coming alive and reality itself destabilizing before blacking out. In your unconscious mind a voice spoke to you. It explained how the destruction of the universe had been set in motion. How it was a necessary step in the rebuilding of a new one. And how you could be the one to rebuild it according to your own vision, as a god incarnate. This vision, this burning flame for change is the only reason you are still alive, one in a billion. You are not alone, however. There are others with visions just as strong. They will have to persuaded to your way of thinking or be killed. The new universe cannot be created until then. Your weapons have been readied. Reality, fickle as it this close to the end, can be bent to your will, your soul’s strength materialized. The rest is up to you.
The game takes place in New York, simply because it’s a big city that most of us are somewhat familiar with. It’s also the eye the storm, the most stable place in a deteriorating world, though that doesn’t say much. Like everything else, the earth is steadily dissolving. At the start of the game, the points farthest from New York, which is Australia, is effectively gone, and the rest is going too. Keep in mind though, reality is not consistent, walk through a door and you may find yourself seemingly on another place on earth. Your character can also come from anywhere, and be in New York for specific or mystical reasons or for no reason at all. The city streets are littered with corpses, well-preserved and lifeless in a doll-like manner, though there are also many who are conspicuously clean. It’s dark everywhere because the sun is not visible anymore, instead there is the fluctuating, red glow from the vortex and the occasional working street lamp. Like everything, electricity is inconsistently working in some places and not others. While the major streets and landmarks most lodged into the worlds subconscious look like themselves, odd things and places can be found in every alley. What I’m trying to say is, that it is your world too and you may fill in what you like, as long as it matches the overall theme.
The game will start one day after the calamity started. This is to kickstart things a bit so we don’t have to spend more time than needed on “omg, this is horrible!”. “omg, I haz special power?” and “omg, nothing makes sense!”. Basically, your character already knows what’s going on to the detailed here and the shock may have lessened a bit. Wangst is still good though and your character may still be finding their sea-legs, if you think that’s interesting. It’s just so we can skip past a bit of the unnecessary set-up and exposition. Your character may also have been sleeping for all of that time, if you do think the “reveal” is interesting. Alternatively, you can always do flash-backs. It’s also enough time you may have met some of the other characters already, but you should state it explicitly in your character sheet if you have.
What you can always do
The rules come into play when you enter into a conflict with another character and during special, player-initiated challenges, and only then. For all other parts of the game, you say what happens and that is what happens. So yeah, you can go scaling up the sides of buildings, invent parts of the landscape or one-shot random monsters, without me stopping you. You should not fuck with physics in a way your characters power does not enable you to, but since the setting itself is messed up, there’s a certain amount of leeway to be had by detailing your surroundings instead. Gravity might be weaker or tilted in an area, the food you’re eating might last you for days somehow and there might just be a convenient hole in space to escape through. You can just declare this and it’ll be true. What you cannot do, however, is dictating anything about what happens to another character than your own. Not without using the conflict resolution rules.
When you enter into conflict with another character, the rules kick in. As mentioned, it works both as a safety net, and an encouragement to risk it all and win some fights, dammit. Conflicts can be of any nature: physical fights, social, trying to convince someone to join your cause, a mind battle, who can sprint the fastest, whatever. The players involved are the ones that decide when something counts as a conflict, and initiates it themselves. The only requirement is that two characters is in direct opposition, having opposite goals. It’s probably most suited for combat, and while I think it’ll work well for social intrigue also, it’s perfectly fine if people would rather just “talk it out”. The rules will often get you further in terms of the game’s overall goal though (or further away if you lose, heh).
At any point, anyone can identify they are now in a conflict. First, they’ll do the usual thing and post something about what their character does, probably something drastic like throwing the first punch. Then, in spoiler tags at the end of their post they should detail two things: Their risks and style bonuses. Risks are what you are willing to let happen to your character, mostly in the case that you lose. Bigger risks means higher bonuses which help your odds of winning. You cannot enter into a conflict without risking anything. When one player has posted their risks, the other player should respond in kind, posting first how their character responds and their chosen risk. Then either I or the players roll two ten-sided dice for each combatant, adding in the bonuses, and the higher sum wins. More on this later. Each player should then follow up with a post detailing the consequences of the roll. The winning player generally have the right to describe the infliction of the risks the loser chose. If they risked serious bodily harm, the winner is allowed to describe how they beat up the losers character, badly. They can also let the precise effects of some of them be up to the other part, as might be appropriate with mental risks and such. The loser has the right to describe how the conflict ends, whether they surrender, flee in haste or just leave in a huff, unless one of their risks specifically dictates how the fight should end. In its most compact form, a conflict takes four posts, but can be longer. Not all risks have to be taken right away, but can be “built” up over multiple posts. For instance, the initiator can add to their risks if the opponent bids much higher. The resolution after can also be done in multiple posts, the ultimate outcome is just set in stone when the dice are rolled.
Below is the standard lists of risk you can take. They’re divided into categories of how much of a bonus it gives you. +1 is awarded for bad, but not debilitating stuff that can mended, +2 is something lasting or particularly nasty, +3 is something incapacitating that puts you at the mercy of your opponent and +6 radical, permanent change of the character, death and what’s worse. You can at max take enough risks to get a total bonus of +10, and you take max 2 risks in the +1 category, max 1 from all the others. The list goes:
+1: Temporary Setbacks
- Losing a very useful, but not significant item
- Serious fatigue, needing rest for most of remaining day
- Serious embarrassment and disreputation, in ones own eyes and others
- Question your own beliefs
- Gain respect for the specific opponent/change your view of them
- Power exhausted, completely unusable for 24 hours
- Accidentally hurt an ally or innocent
- A small, but nagging injury or mental trauma (-1 in your next conflict)
+2: Lasting Hurt
- Losing a personal, unique and important item, to your opponent if they wish
- Conceding to any reasonable demands of your opponent
- Minor mental breakdown, impacted self-confidence or rationality for an indefinite duration
- Power unstable and dangerous for a long while (essentially giving me, the GM license to fuck with it and you)
- A fixable, but serious injury or trauma, like heavy blood loss or temporary insanity (-2 in your next conflict)
- A permanent injury or trauma, like a crushed bone or a new phobia (-1 in all conflicts, unless you get someone else capable to mend it)
+3: Losing the Fight
- Surrender, on their terms
- Concede to their way of thinking
- Incapacitated, knocked out cold
- Captured, to be dealt with later
- Bleeding out, dead without help
- A part of yourself, like a limb, or your power, gone forever.
+6: Lose Yourself
- All but a slave to their opponent, bound to follow their every command
- Mind forever broken and lost track of your goal, catatonic or insane
- Subsumed by your own power, integrated in the fabric of the current universe
- Dead, your corpse the foundation of the next universe
This is not a complete list, you can, and I hope you will, make up your own risks along the way. What makes sense will often depend on the specific situation. Like, if you know your opponent wants something specific from you, risk that. It’s good sport. These are mainly examples so you know what categories they should fit into. Note that the math works out so that you gain a pretty sizeable advantage by taking more risks than your opponent, but it’s never completely unlikely you will lose. The most important thing rule though, is you may never inflict something on your opponent that they have not risked, or you have not won the right for yet. You may not inflict serious wounds on another character (cuts, bruises and flesh wounds should be fine), you may not kill a character you have captured, before winning the right to do exactly that. The rules expect some degree of gentlemanly conduct from you.
Conflict Resolution Detailed
So, you write about post where you duke it out, decide what risks you’re willing to take. You post them in spoiler tags at the end of your post like so:
SpoilerRisks: Nagging Injury +1, Give him the amulet +1, power backfire +2, surrender +3. Total: +10.
Or similar. You also post it in the OOC if you prefer, and it’s not crowded that day. Once all involved in the conflict have posted all the risks, the dice have to be rolled. I can do that for you, or you can do it yourself to speed things up. Either way, the rolling is done via this website. Input your character’s name, roll 2d10 plus your total bonus. The site saves the rolls so they can be looked up later, so there’s no cheating. Whoever has the highest sum is the winner, and has the right to make true all the risks the loser took. They can do however many of them they want, them all, or just a select few, if they wish. If the difference of the two results are less or equal to 3 (20 and 17 for instance), the loser may inflict one +1 or +2 category risk on the winner, as a consolation prize. If the two results are exactly equal, both may inflict ALL +1 or +2 category risks on the other, and can then either start a new conflict or solve it in a more civil manner. As mentioned, the winner has the right to make the risks come true, but take advantage of the OOC thread and communicate, discuss which specific outcomes are the most fun and such. You also never HAVE to inflict all the risks as the winner, you can chose which ones you make happen. Fights with multiple opponents work just the same, it people are in “teams”, on team can win, otherwise there’s always only one winner. Someone who rolled higher than one but lower than another is still effectively a loser, but may help in realizing the risks of those with lower sums.
Hopefully this all makes sense. There’s one other thing you can do with the rules, called challenges. If you’re ever bored, you can end your post (or post in the OOC) with “Challenge” in spoiler tags. When you do this, I, as the GM, will follow up by making your characters life... Interesting. I’ll throw monsters, falling-rubble, spontaneous black holes or something else at you. Then I’ll post in spoilers a target number you have to beat. You’ll do the usual thing and post your characters actions and chosen risks. The roll happens and if the roll is less than the target, I get to act on your risks. Equal to, or above, and nothing bad happens, and something good might. Roll 3 or more above the target number, and you at least get a +1 to your next conflict or challenge, but challenges might also provide opportunities, for instance for healing, but it varies.
Challenges are really the only way in which I’m a traditional GM. If no-one is initiating challenges, I’ll just play my characters and adjudicate the rules. Otherwise, you’re in charge of things happening. If you ever can’t figure out what you should do, put in the challenge flag, and something will come to you. Alternatively, you can put in “Challenge (no dice)” and there won’t be any risks taken or dice rolling business, but still dangers and opportunities coming at you.
A conflict is any time you are in direct opposition with another character. Post in spoiler tags at the end of your post the risk you are willing to take. Max +10 in risks can be taken, and max one from every category, except for +1, where it’s 2.
Your opponent will do the same. Keep posting until you both have all the risks and bonuses you want. Roll 2d10 plus your bonus via this website or signal me to do it for you. The one with the highest roll may inflict all the others risks taken on them. If the difference between the two sums are less than four, the loser may also inflict a +1 or +2 risk on the winner. In a draw, both can inflict all such on the other.
If you’re ever in doubt about what to do in the game, post “Challenge!” in spoilers and I’ll throw something interesting and/or dangerous at you.