I updated the character sheet for Violence Spells Gods and Politics. Character creation is simpler, and character advancement is different. I made these changes to accommodate a broader scale game. Details follow.
Violence Spells Gods and Politics is a fantasy roleplaying game that I made last year. I am currently revising it. For more explanation about that, read the end notes. What follows below are notes about some new rules for this game, but these are a work in progress, a snap shot in time, and thus unlikely to survive as official rules.
- Get a character sheet and pencil.
- Fill out most stats with their default values:
- Age: 18/60
- Speed: 9/9
- Toughness: 3/3
- Spirit: 2/2
- Hubris and Glory: 0
- Choose a Talent to invest in: Combat, Magic, Faith, Influence, or Luck:
- Record a 1 for this Talent, and 0's for the other four.
- Follow the procedures for starting Property, Relationships, and Experience specific to the Talent you chose. (These are still all over the place, so I'm not going to post these lists here.)
- Name your character.
This part is very much a work in progress. I'll be play testing it as it is written here or very close to this.
Deeds are the things a player character does. Impressive deeds are the deeds that non-player characters talk about in game, deeds like slaying the dragon of the crags, rescuing the village's children from the ogre's kitchen, finding the holy grail, and so on. The deed need not be the stuff of a heroic quest. Each Game Master will have different ideas about what makes an impressive deed, so the rule for this relies on a subjective assessment by the GM.
Rule: If you are impressed by your character's deed and the GM agrees that it was impressive, you may record it as a Deed under Experience on your character sheet.
Recommendation to the player: When you record a deed, it is recommended that you write down a clear but short name or phrase describing it, and make a note about how you can prove your responsibility and/or which of your Talents were exercised. Why? Because reaping the reward for the deed may require you to do so.
Character advancement is primarily achieved through dedicating these impressive deeds to one of three categories of beings:
community, or a
god. Each deed may only be dedicated once. When a dedication is successful, the player records who the deed was dedicated to, next to it on the list. The criteria for a successful dedication, and the nature of the rewards are determined first by who the deed is dedicated to, and second by the deed itself.
- Self: During downtime, a deed may be dedicated to 'self'. The PC's Hubris is increased by 1, and the player chooses Toughness, Spirit, Combat, Magic, or Influence as the other stat to improve. If the GM is convinced that the chosen stat is appropriate to the deed, the dedication is successful.
- Community: A PC may dedicate their deed to a specific community. The community must be aware of the deed, and impressed. If the community is negatively impacted (terrified, angry etc...) by the deed, then the character gains 1 Hubris. If the character's involvement is known by the community at the time, they gain 1 Glory. If the deed was a subversion of authority in that community (such as undermining or tricking the king), and the PC's involvement is unknown to that party, the PC gains 1 Luck.
- God: A PC may dedicate their deed to a god by making a ritual sacrifice to that god. The PC gains 1 Faith. If the god accepts the sacrifice, the PC may make a request of the god. If the PC makes the request publicly in front of the god's religious community, the PC gains 1 Hubris, but also 2 Glory if the request is granted. If the community witnesses a successful sacrifice, but no public request is made of the god, the PC gains 1 Glory.
Followers are NPCs under the control of both the PC and the GM. The player may move them around, declare their actions and so on. The deeds of a follower reflect on their master. Acquiring a follower costs 1 Glory, as does directing them to dedicate deeds on behalf of the PC. Whenever the PC spends this Glory, it is given to the Follower.
Aquiring: PC favorably convinces an NPC to follow them with an Influence roll, and then gives them 1 Glory.
Deeds: The GM may decide that the NPC wishes to advance a stat, and prompt the NPC to dedicate a deed to self. The player may interupt this by giving the NPC 1 Glory and direct them to dedicate this deed or another on their behalf to a community or a god. This might not be successful, but if it is, the PC benefits.
Loyalty: A follower remains unquestionably loyal as long as neither the sum of their Hubris and Glory, nor the number of the master's followers exceed their master's Influence score. If the follower's loyalty is in question, then the GM can at any time control the NPC's actions.
The character's abilities can be expanded by learning spells, skills, and knowledge from an NPC. The PC must spend enough downtime in study or training in order to acquire the ability. In addition the PC must pay the NPC's price for training them, and this may be something material, like coins, or it can be in Glory, in which case the NPC receives the Glory. If a follower trains a PC, then they always require Glory in exchange for the lessons.
Wealth is a source of power entirely rooted in the fiction of the game, both in how it is acquired, and in how its use advances the PC's interests. It is not treated as an abstraction, but as is traditional in RPGs "wealth" is merely the value of the character's possessions and money, the stuff they have. What the PC does with their wealth might be seen as an impressive deed. Or it might be used to achieve a prerequisite for certain NPCs to do as the PC wishes. Or the PC can acquire employees who are not controlled directly like followers, but if well managed and paid will do what the PC wants. Acquiring wealth is thus a form of advancement unto itself, but what it does for the PC is dependent on the player's choices and the fiction in the game.
My purpose here is to create a simple core to Violence Spells Gods and Politics which can be played as quickly and as abstractly as a board game. The primary goal of player characters is to attain power. Doing so involves performing impressive deeds, and later dedicating a deed to self, a community, or a god in order to reap intangible rewards like Glory. The focus of play is the 'hex crawl', player characters exploring the map for loot, for opportunities to perform impressive deeds, and for gods or communities to impress. Although this is becoming more like a board game, the game master is retained, so traditional RPG procedures for resolving actions and GM license to make stuff up are still here. If the 'board gameyness' is achieved, I believe that casual, albeit competitive player versus player one shot sessions will work just as well as cooperative multi-session campaigns. Competitive play has a hard objective - acquire 10 Glory, 10 Followers, or similar - and the first player to fulfill it wins. Admittedly competitive play is difficult to pull off fairly with a Game Master adjudicating the game so I don't know if this will work, but I am trying anyway. ↩︎