Monday, September 26, 2016

Story Seed - Fateful Descent

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I tested the rope. The line held secure around the the rocky outcropping. I swallowed hard as I leaned over the chasm and looked down. I could see the bottom. That was a big plus. But the tumbles of rock and stone seemed tenuous and ready to collapse at any moment. I could feel the line of my fate pulling me toward that place; downward into this chasm there was something I needed to do, or see, or gain. Maybe all of those things.

I tested the rope again, delaying the action I feared with a reassuring check of the gear that would, for my descent, hold my life in its grasp. Again it held. Again I looked down and swallowed hard. Trepidation was the sole feeling throughout my body. Anxiety that just because my fate lie below there was no such reassurance that in time my fate would once more lie above. Perhaps I was not to achieve godhood in this life.

I took a deep breath. I fell. The gloves twisted around my hands as I gripped the rope and began my descent. I considered if this task was brave, foolhardy, or something else. I settled on necessary. I needed to find what was within the tear in the earth. I could no longer ignore the need, and the need overrode my anxiety, my fear, my sense of self preservation.

At last my feet touched ground. I felt around, and it seemed I was on the bottom. I opened my eyes, ashamed at my fear, and looked around. The chasm fell away unevenly deeper into the earth but the light from above illuminated the way and I could see at the far end a structure hewn of stone. I knew I needed to go there, and with the descent behind me I set forth immediately.

In moments I was there, at the feet of broken stone stairs. A great stone arch rose up beyond with columns and pillars that reached upward into the darkness shrouded ceiling of this cavernous portion of the chasm. There was no door, just a darkened portal. Slowly I ascended the stairs. The stone felt sure under my feet, and the light seemed to illuminate the structure entirely, except for the opening, and what lay beyond.

I stood within the arch, the light behind me, the darkness before me. Deeper and deeper I knew I still  needed to go. My fear was gone, the anxiety subsided. I knew my goal lay before me, and I knew I would live to reach it, if not what lay beyond.  I stepped forward, unsure but no longer timid.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Last Week Today - September 19 - 25, 2016

Story Seed - Home

Nuts & Bolts - Hacking the Cypher System - All About that Base

Gods of the Fall - Rebuilding Heaven

Friday, September 23, 2016

Gods of the Fall - Rebuilding Heaven

Housebreaking your divine pets can be a real labor.

You know what I like about games with the same mechanics? Stealing stuff! We're about to get seriously Strange here folks!

A major element of the setting of Gods of the Fall is the post-apocalyptic nature of the world, and two events contribute to the state of the Afterworld more than the rest: the fall of Elanehtar and the arrival of Nod. Elanehtar's fall and the death of the gods is the seminal event of the setting and in its wake not only is the world left without gods, but left without a heaven.

The book alludes to a couple of possibilities for characters to reestablish the world's divinity. The first is the hope that using enough cyphers and releasing their bound divinity will allow Elanehtar to reform within the Aether on its own. The second is that perhaps Elanehtar is gone forever, but that intrepid gods might find or create a new heaven within the Aether and call it their own.

As much as I like the idea of the players burning cyphers as quickly as possible with the hope that maybe they will be able to quicken the rebirth of Elanehtar it's the second option I find more compelling. It also reminds me an awful lot of a Genesis quest in The Strange and the birth of a new recursion.

Yes, that's right folks, I'm going to treat the realms of the Aether as recursions in the Strange (though without the Focus shifting properties). I could see a multiple adventure quest involving the players finding a sufficiently large piece of Elanehtar to act as a "reality seed" (The Strange page 138) or perhaps seeking out another suitable object. Then traveling to the Aether and investing that seed with some of their divine essence to birth a new heaven that they could then invest with their choice of natures and properties. Their heaven should have a connection to the Afterworld in a place strong with their worshipers that acts as a means for the gods to move between worlds.

Instead of having their heaven grow based on age as a recursion does I'd suggest that it grow in size as the players gain more followers and expand their influence in the world. This would mean that a pantheon with a few hundred followers could control a heaven between up to level 5 and possibly as big as a hundred miles across (the same as a developed recursion). It's even possible players may eventually gain enough followers to expand their realm even larger if they can count their worshipers in the thousands.

Additionally if the new pantheon has established a heaven and has enough followers their heaven should begin to be inhabited by seraphs or some other divine servant. The first of these may appear with as few as a dozen followers but these servants will be weak and few in number and likely not suitable to serve the gods in the Afterworld. Over time as the gods gain new worshipers these servants may grow strong enough to supplant seraphs as the gods servants both in heaven and the Afterworld. It is even possible that some of the monsters that exist in the Afterworld were once the servants of some pantheon from a fall long past.

Using these guidelines and the recursion rules from The Strange players and GMs can easily allow their god characters to found new heavens as part of their divine labors and personal mythologies. This will help grant an additional level of personalization to the game's story as well.