Custom Tabletop RPG settings

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Custom Tabletop RPG settings

#1 Post by Nomine » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:47 pm

I do something called "Custom setting", the world and even plot/story idea are all based on player input
Players "gather" to give a few lines/words as inspiration for me - the GM to create the entire game from.
This can be everything from playstyle "I straight plots" "cooperation". To details: the color blue, water, Magic, or all-encompassing concepts like "matriarchial society" "steampunk" "The World with trolls"
Based on the setting I will also create/pick the rules that fit. The goal will be to have rules that are clear, clean and easy to work with. Typically that means for skill checks and conflict. A goal will be to have as much done through roleplay, rather than dice rolling.

Thought I should share the last custom setting.

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Re: Custom Tabletop RPG settings

#2 Post by Nomine » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:47 pm

The concepts that went into this:
- Low key magic/High Cost
- Sensible place for non-magic users
- Blue is illegal
- Characters are in a travelling group of performers
- Characters are on the same team/cooperating
- Demons, Angels, Devil etc do are not seen as traditionally Christian evil
- Post Modern Doomsday/Media being a key representation
- No fantasy races
- Wild West Aesthetics (Mad Max to Ok Correll)
- Genders not matter/Gender fluidity
- Casts matter/Born into a role. Most clear in Gods, as they are all travelling performers.

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Re: Custom Tabletop RPG settings

#3 Post by Nomine » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:48 pm

World and character information

In 2011 we all discovered that the Mayans was right, time ended that year, the world as we know it broke.
Things, creatures and ideas that once had been true returned to us, the collective belief in technology failed as Gods walked the earth, as a giant snake swallowed oil tankers, why become a doctor when a God could perform a miracle.
As the world struggled to deal with what all this meant, catastrophes started to roll over the world. We had hurt the world in countless ways, and it would no longer take it. Cities, nations and billions died over the next generations.
A few generations have passed and what is left is the world that almost feels like it is dying. Tundras and deserts have replaced forests.
A generation ago, a trinity of Gods (God, The Holy Sprit and Ares, Jesus was noticeably absent) their followers tried to gather up enough humans to start a new "age" to change the world, killing those that resisted their ideas. Be it, Gods or Men. Their followers all wore cloaks and masks died blue to show their devotion, the serious believer inked themselves with lines of blue. As the war continued, suffering replaced devotion, and all felt their powers weaken. In the end, it was a band of human magicians and Gods that put a stop to it. Through the killing of God, along with a score of the followers. Since then Gods have started to be on the watch for similar attempts, wanting to put a stop to them. While humans learned that even a God can be murdered by ordinary men.
Skyscrapers have fallen down, and people have used the materials to build new buildings. Humans cluster up in smaller towns, surviving, building a new future and Gods still walk the earth.


Religion changed when Gods came back, and along with them deities, angels and demons. At first, they were powerful, but as people started to die, the Gods weakened and even died. It was soon understood that a humans devotion gave the power/life to the Gods. Without devotion, a God/deity would start to starve and ultimately die. But people are also fickle, they lose interest quickly when they have seen a miracle a few times, it becomes commonplace, and devotion dries up. Gods became travelling entertainers, storytellers, and performers. Going from town to town, seeking devotion.

Gods also became unofficial law keepers, as each dead human meant one less potential devotee.
Human cities are mostly isolated from one and another, so news, stories and entertainment are highly sought after. Children take their parents crafts, and all is very much at a medieval level; Crafts, Education, etc. (Rarely feudal though)
Technology: Artefacts of the time before are very much prized possessions, and they keep working. (If you believe in your Walkman, its batteries will never run out)
However, as items get destroyed or broken, it 's hard to replace them or repair, and expendable things like Bullets and similar are very hard to find.

Genders: Gods changed all that, just look at Zeus... when there are things around you that can change form at will, breed at will... well, it starts to matter less. Society looks more at the role you perform and very rarely at the gender you have or identify as. Some smaller communities may still cling to old ideas, but are considered to be outliers.
Law: Each small town seem to have their own set of laws, but universally: Murder is viewed as a crime of the worst kind, especially the Gods, (even Death Gods) seek to punish it harshly.
The colour blue is closely associated with the religious war, and thus unlawful to wear, people are afraid it may give birth to another war. Simply through the power of belief.
Magic: Magic exists, largely in two forms, and both of them are relatively weak. Gods can use devotion to performing miracles/tricks. While humans can use sacrificial rituals to perform magic. From bloodletting to actual sacrifices. It is largely sympathetic magic and seldom used. Most people are not willing to commit to it, but it is a definitive part of society.
What do we mean with devotion? It is the name of the Gods energy, it is used to sustain them and give power for their magic. Without it, a God will shrivel up and die over time.
Different Gods gather it in a variety of ways, from creating fear, love, lust, asking for acts of worship, and humans are very much aware of this transaction.
What is more unclear is how devotion to items, like statues of a God work. Some believe it can change the God, feed the God, or even create a new one. Many Gods have gone out of their way to destroy books, statues, works of art. Fearing that it can harm them, or reduce the available devotion.

All of you play a God, Spirit or Deity, that is part of a travelling band of entertainers called the Pantheon. Gathered Together to share the devotion.
The first step would be to find the God, Spirit or Deity that forms the basis for your character. That one would also reflect on what abilities you have, what kind of performance you do, etc.
There may be several versions of one God in the world.

Then you need to think about, your performance act. What are the tricks you do on stage, to gather this devotion? (It should fit with your God) - Each character also has their own waggon, with a painted picture describing their act and the God.
Powers: What should your character be able to do, based on history. But keep in mind, such things cost devotion in most cases, and the scale we talk about is more personal than being epic. So.. creating a burning bush is simple, parting the red sea, however... Would likely not be possible, at the very least permanently reduce how much devotion your character can hold.

Appearance: Human scale and a God can change appearance, but it is easier for them to retain the appearance they had in religion or at least parts of it. So

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Re: Custom Tabletop RPG settings

#4 Post by Nomine » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:49 pm

A note on memory:
Gods largely remember things from the period of times they were active and worshipped. So an Egyptian God will remember things from ancient times, as well as when they got rediscovered during the Victorian era. Everything else is a bit of a blur.
Along with everything after 2011, as long as a God can feed on devotion, they do not age.

A note on feeding:
This should reflect your God, so, for instance, a Kitsune could feed on being given candy. Asking for candy, in payment for their entertainment act. Or even teaching cooking classes, in trade for candy.
Another could have an act meant to shock or create awe, and from people feeling that towards them, they gather power.
Or a specific ritual, when people take part of it, they gather devotion. So you weave that ritual into your show, perhaps having smaller performances.

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Re: Custom Tabletop RPG settings

#5 Post by Nomine » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:52 pm


We are going to drill this down to the very essences. (This will be based upon Fate Core, for those curious)

All Deities have two aspects.
One that represents the light side of your deity. e.g typically what worshippers would ask for you to grant them/invoke your blessing for.
And one that represents their dark side, how a deity would curse those that fail to respect the deity or curse them.
The dark side can also be the flipside to the light.
Focus on what you want to play on and think will be fun.
However, keep in mind that aspects can be invoked to give your character advantages or create challenges (+1/-1 on dice or RP situations)
Each should be represented by keywords or 1-2 lines.

Light: Brave warrior
Dark: Headless rushing into danger

Light: Beacon against darkness
Dark: "Clothes off my back" - charitable

Light: Safe in the wilderness
Dark: Call of the hunt

2. Disciplines/Skills
Every Deity has three associated Disciplines, a major and 2 minor ones. Each of those represents what is truly known for that God in lore.
These skills fairly broad, so to give a couple of examples:

Weather (Major)
Fighting (Minor)

Persuasion (Major)
Healing (Minor)

Hunting (Major)
Survival (Minor)

Your major Discipline will give +4 and minor will give +3
In addition, you will have 4 skills that each gives +1, representing what you have learned during your life on this earth.
Can be things like "Deceive, Shoot, Fight, Crafts, Survival, Games, Healing, Empathy Again, we paint in broad strokes here, no need to define if your character knows knitting or painting as their craft.

One during each play session, you can at any given time learn a new skill at +1, as wanted.

These are powers/gifts you have as a deity. You may have up to 4 of them. Depending on what you wish to do, you may use devotion. Devotion functions as a plus one on your dice roll, per point spent.
There are good examples in your characters:
Change shape/form
Sleight of hand

Used as an example:
Thor: Weather control:
Wants to create a thunderclap during the clear day, which is a rare occurrence, but not unheard of. So on a scale from -2 (Terrible) to +8 Legendary/Miracle, this one is a +3 Good.
We roll four dice, you can either get -1, 0, or +1 on each dice. And Thor got "weather", which gives a +4. If Thor spends 3 point, he is guaranteed to succeed.
If Thor, on the other hand, wanted to summon a monumental thunderstorm while being in the desert, That could be an +7 Epic, and he would need to spend 7 devotion points to be guaranteed successful (potentially -4 on dice, +4 from "Weather" + points)

Devotion points:

Can be used for:
Healing yourself. 1 pt = 2 pt healing
Healing others 1 pt = 1 pt healing
(if you got healing as a discipline you get a bonus)
Fuel for abilities
Soak injury/avoid getting hurt. 1 pt = 2 pt soak.
Staying alive: 1 pt per week
Give devotion to another deity 2 pt = 1 transferred devotion.
Maintain a supernatural aura (Cart driven by ghosts, never walk but float through the air, etc. Usually 1 pt per week. Exception being your waggons interior, which has taken on your aura, in many ways)

Each deity may have max 9 devotion points
If you should ever get more than 9, wild magic happens. Typically in the shape of your characters major discipline. In other words, fill a God up to the brim with your love and devotion, a random miracle pops out.

How do you gain devotion:
While each deity has their own special ways to get it personally, which we deal with RP wise. A successful group performance would normally reward all members with 1-3 devotion each. Extraordinary success on your performance may lead to more or skilful RP
Each settlement has a total maximum devotion to give, before the humans run dry. So other deities will be in competition.
Humans take no harm from this, their lives are just a little more "grey" when they are out. In the eyes of deities, they start to lose their individual traits, becoming sort of a dull grey mass.

Deities are a bit harder than humans, so all attacks on a deity count as -1 one on the effect. How this appears to a human, is entirely up to the deity.
0: Scratched, no real effect.
+1: Clipped, this makes the next action harder (-1 on dice)
+2 -4: Hurt, getting cut, hurt, lose your weapon (-1 all dice rolls during this scene)
+5-6: Injured, (-1 all dice rolls, until healed)
+7: Taken out of the combat. This does not mean killed, that is handed post fight.
While a +7 knock you out of a fight, you can also be worn down from multiple small injuries. For each time you get hurt/injured, tick a box. When that number is higher than your current devotion. You are worn out, and unable to keep fighting.

Small weapons like knives, Club, holdout firearm, martial arts strikes +1
Swords, maces, pistol +2
2-handed sword, rifles +3
Heavy firearm, special weapons +4
There also exists "Godslayer" weapons, extremely rare. What they do is they cut off the connection a deity have with devotion. E.g if you get injured, until the wound have been cleaned /taken care of. You are unable to use any devotion. However, they give no extra effects beyond that, and many also only function under certain conditions.

Armour have similar levels. (The deity`s natural -1 or 1 in soak, is equal to leather armour)

Armour does not stack, highest value count. But for a deity, soak always come in addition to the armour value.

To compare with humans:
Humans get 2 disciplines vs 3 for deities and maximum +3, vs +4 for a deity
Don´t get pick up skills, but can have skills at +2
Healing takes a whole lot of time for a human
A fit human can often measure up to a starving deity when it comes to a fight. But if it is a fit human, vs a fairly normally feed deity, the deity will always come up on top.

Also, a deity does not die in the same way as a human. E.g cut a man's throat and he dies, cut a deity`s throat and it might not actually impact them more than any other injury. A deity dies when they run out of devotion and have starved. ( 0 pt, unable to use any god powers, and start to age) at -4 (dead)

So extra injuries after a deity are knocked out is usually a question about spending devotion on healing, which is a conscious choice for a deity.

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Re: Custom Tabletop RPG settings

#6 Post by Nomine » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:52 pm

The Impressario (optional)
For each new settlement, the group will perform in, you need to pick who will be the impresario.
This player then describes how their character sets the stage and tone of the show. E.g their own personal spin on the overall feel. This impacts how the people will react/engage with the players as a group.

The impresario rolls for the overall success of the performance.
Impressario always gets +1 extra devotion, but they can also choose to spend devotion to boost the roll, each point gives +1 on the roll. The greater the success on the roll, the more of an impact the performance and its tone has on the settlement, but also more devotion the players get.

This is largely intended as an rp moment, and characters will take the turn. E.g everyone needs to be the impresario

Repeat performance
Each repeat performance in the same settlement, increase the difficulty for harvesting devotion.
A settlement needs to be very large to support more than one performance each night.

Each game you get to pick one new skill at +1, if you do not pick a new one, you can increase an existing one from +1, into a +2

As a group, you have fortune points, you start each session with 1. You gain more from overcoming enemies, good roleplay, etc.
A point can be spent on:
A reroll of a throw
Create an advantage/situation: "I have an old friend in this town" "I just happened to find a XYZ", Stop me from using aspects
Get a +1 on any dice throw.
You spend fortune point after the diceroll, and several points may be used at once.

Each time players act in a way that breaks the covenant between humans and deities, like unlawful murder, roll a -4 on the dice, I gain a "Despair" point. Which I can use to, bring enemies into play, create obstacles that make it harder for characters to succeed. E.g minus on rolls. I start each game session with 0.

Personal devotion
This is separate from the performance, but interactions with humans may grant devotion points. Just so it is said. A good example there, would be the human praying/giving gifts in a way that is right for your character. Which of course can be part of your stage show too.

Stacking devotion in one character, to make them get more than 9 and cause a wild magic effect. Two points, a character may contain the extra devotion for a very short time.
And it is very possible and sometimes beneficial to push it into a character.
Firstly each point over 9 will count as +2 on the dice roll, and as it usually is based on your major discipline, often with the bonus of the aspect too. You talk about a start of +6 or +7.
In addition, the character may choose to spend their own normal devotion, at 1 pt = +1 on the dice roll.
There are other things that can also boost the effect, areas, time of day, etc.

There is no upper limit to how many points can be burned like this.

The end result can be a miracle that has several combined effects. For instance a creating a flask with healing ointment that will refill itself each full moon or a rainstick that can summon rain.
(Back when the deities first appeared, and humans were numerous, many of them had several hundred devotion points with no upper limit and could create major miracles with seeming ease. It took some time before the deities realised that the pool did not get refreshed with new devotion. That they in fact, burned their own reserves, and when humans started to die, their max devotion pools started to shrink)

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Re: Custom Tabletop RPG settings

#7 Post by Nomine » Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:52 pm

And thats all that have been created for this specific setting so far :)

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