So, it’s been a while since I posted anything about Illegal Gods, and a lot of that has been because Hellsing House has had a lot of my attention on those rare instances I’ve had energy for design. I’m a bit stalled on the House for a few reasons (one of which I just fixed while thinking about it) but it’s partially in order to treat the underlying ideas with respect.
But, in a fit of pique, I decided to run an Illegal Gods game at BigBadCon 2016. The system is really the kicker, and I figured I could talk a little bit (spoiler-free) about how this playtest is being designed.
The scenario is actually one from our original game, and I really should give a lot of props to the LintKing as I’m cribbing from some of his notes as well. I’m not so much worried about planning what happens (I know, shocking isn’t it?) as I am working on the characters.
So, I’m pretty sure “Powered by the Apocalypse” is going to have a resurgence with the release of the new version. I’m a little tepid about it, honestly. The reason I mention it is because I see some similarities in the basic strategies of what I’m doing now with Illegal Gods. I have ideas on how to handle rolls of everything from -2 to 16 with a roll being two different stats.
Three things all characters should be able to do:
1) Petition the Gods
2) Choose “fight or flee,” in whatever ambulatory method they have available
3) Get more information on an object.
So, the statistics are awful. I cannot tell you how awful they are. Okay, I can tell you what they are called and you can groan with me:
You’ve kind of seen the word “ligeance” before in “allegiance” Ligeance refers to “the connection between sovereign and subject by which they were mutually bound” or in this case, for Illegal Gods it can refer to the connection between a character and their god, political group, homeworld, or family. That “mutually bound” is part of the number. You may be devoted to His Most Ardent and Glorious Self, but I’ll be honest – He doesn’t even know you exist. I do like this particular statistic, and might just keep it.
“Content” is hard by itself because it sounds like something that’s included, and I actually mean it more like how mentally at ease you are. It’s hard to move someone who is content, hard to bribe them, but on the other hand, if you’re comfortable you are not actively seeking out new things, you are not hungry for adventure. I’m less happy with this one. I want it to include how hard it is for you to be bothered by things, too, from “Unflappable” to “conspiracy-driven.”
“Sooth” is the ability to discern things. It could be for lore, or truth, or sensitivity to magic maybe. The only reason not to put the other side of the coin and make it include how convincing you sound is to provide Cassandra-like characters. I’ll have to play around with this one.
Finally, “Pioneer” is how able to explore the world(s), develop new opportunities. Said like that it’s a little bit close to “Content” but this reflects some level of preparedness, such as resources (and the ability to do without.) Again, we’re workshopping these.
Each character will have a scale from -2 to +2 for the statistics to add to their dice rolls.
What I am doing first is making the characters, writing their background, and writing in the connections between them. Then I am coming up with thematic abilities. For example, if I had a sentient pineapple, I might name one, “Piña colada” and have it be something that makes a delicious combination from another person’s abilities. I want them to have ten to pick from, and I’m thinking they should be able to have six.
I write the adventure second-to-last.
Finally, after the adventure has been written out, I do the pieces. The clues. Partial maps, symbols, puzzles. Those are the optional pieces that time may mean I have to abandon, but would be nice to have. For example, the Ambassador to the Dominion Council ought to have some kind of fancy diplomatic paperwork, maybe a passport. The Pleasure-Bot ought to have a “use and abuse” contract. These are also the bits I design when I have spare time.