You’re a wizard Harry, because…

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… your parents or some ancestor was a wizard. It’s often called genetic magic, but since it doesn’t usually work like genetics at all, let’s call it hereditary magic rather.

… you were born when the moon was in the 8th House of Aquarius. Or some other astrological occurence. What happened with other people who share your birth date?

… you have lived in a certain place for long enough. Unlike astrological magic origins, you do not necessarily have to be born there. Unless you’re a hermit, other people will probably have magic too. And what happens when you leave?

… you performed some deed. This might be a one of a kind thing or staple of your culture. Hunting certain beasts, climbing mountains or towers, kill the demon lord.

… you found an artifact. Or several of them. Who made this thing? Why were they wizards? Are there similar things?

… you made a deal. Usually called a pact. Or again several of them. What’s your end of the bargain? What kind of entities make these pacts? Why?

… you had a very, very bad day and – boom – the magic happend. Such triggered outbreaks do not necessarily entail you wearing a cape. Oh, and try to be nice to people. Otherwise they might – boom – magic.

… you got medicinal treatments. Who performed them? Who else got those too? What are the side effects?

… you learned how. Where can one learn? What learning resources are there? If it’s institutionalized, who owns the institution? Why have they set it up? What are the requirements to get in?

Am I missing something? Probably. And of course you several of these might come into play together.

Trek Space ain’t empty

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It’s a good time be a Star Trek fan. Strange New Worlds is great. So in case you want to play Modiphius’ Star Trek Adventures or some other Star Trek RPG, you might run into certain questions about space and navigation. Especially: Why do they have battles in open space? How can you blockade a Romulan fleet with a hand full of ships from reaching Klingon space? What even is the probability of meeting anyone?

Rest assured, Trek canon has an answer. Space isn’t empty. Of course there are visible phenomena like the Badlands, but in the TNG episode Force of Nature we learn that space is navigable only in a small corridor around the Hekaran homeworld. Data has a presentation and explains that ships cannot travel at warp outside the corridor.

The Hekaran corridor might be an extreme case, but we see that there is good space and bad space in terms of warp travel. So whenever they appear to be defending strategic points in space, they are actually defending some piece of good space.

This also makes navigation a much more complex task. You cannot just go in a straight line towards your target. You have to avoid bad space. And if you want to account for erratic travel times in the shows (even when they take the same way back and forth), just assume it’s not a binary distinction. There is space that is more or less amenable to warp traffic, maybe even in a way of going uphill and downhill.

It can also explain some other weird numbers like the Federation stretching over 8000 ly. The number is big. Like the milky way is 1000 ly thick. And also ly is a measure for length, not for area, or volume as we might expect to describe the size of a 3D political entity. So what Jean-Luc is referring to might be 8000 ly of warp highways the Federation controls.

Primary Conceptual Elements

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Whatever RPG we play, at some point we will called to describe our character. This has several functions. We must introduce our character to the other players, so they might react to our character in certain ways. We might also communicate what we want to see or do during play. When I play a navigator, I probably want to do some navigation. This might also help in negotiating niches with other players. If I play a navigator, other players probably don’t need to.

When we give that description we might of course tell about some points we have just made up. My navigator is called Ms. Fiddlebottom and grew up Schnackpuck. We might also just read out some points that are on the character sheet. Like “I play Dwarven Wizard” (D&D), “I play an Irraka of the Night Hunters” (Werewolf: The Forsaken), “I play a Thorwaler” (The Dark Eye), “She is a Secretary To The Inner Council” (Dresden Files/Fate), “My character is a Rigger/Decker” (Shadowrun), “I picked Cyrus Vance” (Lady Blackbird).

Things on your character sheet that help you describe your character by reading them aloud, I call Primary Conceptual Elements (PCEs). And games found a variety of ways to achieve that.

So this will be a list of some strategies games used for PCEs in different games. If you know other strategies, please comment. Of course, I make this so that you never have to argue again what a “class” might be.

Of course the following might be combined. When you are a Dwarven Wizard in D&D, you have the PCEs of Dwarf and Wizard. And while the Wizard is much more notable in play, the Irraka and Hunter in Darkness of the aforementioned werewolf are pretty much on the same level.

Character Rosters

Games like Alice is Missing or Lady Blackbird simply have a fixed roster of characters. You pick one. Your character as a whole is therefore your PCE. Characters in Lady Blackbird have stats, while those in Alice is Missing do not.

Free-form Character Traits

In games like Fate, The Pool, Wushu or Risus, you write down traits for your character as you like. There are rules how you can factor those traits into a roll. The trait itself might have a rating, you might take a flat bonus for each trait that is made applicable, or they provide a pool of points to spend (Fate 2). Fate 3 has the extra rule to elevate one of your free-form traits to the status of “High Concept”, making it the PCE. In the other games mentioned your traits work as PBEs equally.

Starter packages

The races in current D&D or the hero types in olden The Dark Eye. Starter packages affect starting stats and might give you certain automatic abilities or disadvantages. This might have extensive consequences. In TDE you rolled your stats and then got the starting values for your skills from your hero type (cf. page 2 of the character sheet). So you might start with -7 in a skill which is pretty damning.

Price Lists

The strategy used in the World of Darkness series. When you choose your splat or splats, this will give you access to certain supernatural abilities to choose from during character generation, but it will also affect the XP costs that you might buy them at later. In some cases you might require a teacher for abilities not favored by your splat. In WoD these templates only affect supernatural powers, whereas attributes and abilities have the same costs for any character, but other games might handle this differently of course.

Level Progressions

Under this strategy you will open up one or more level progressions that act as PCEs. Each level will give you certain bonuses, points to spend and/or special abilities. This is of course D&D classes. So if you want to be specific, say that D&D has a PCEs called “classes” that implement the strategy of level progressions. Games might also have overall level progressions that are the same for all characters. The Dark Eye used such an overall level progression with its Starter Packages. Such an overall level progression is not a PCE.

Comprehensive Character Sheets

Also known as playbooks. With this strategy you choose a character sheet that includes all the information you need to make your character. This is of course typical in PbtA games, take the Masks playbooks for example, but PbtA’s cousin Old School Hack does the same. Under this strategy there might be options to get stuff from other character sheets, as described on your sheet.

Pseudo-PCEs: Archetypes

Shadowrun is odd. It managed to establish something akin to PCEs without naming them in the mechanics sections of its rule books at all. Everyone who plays Shadowrun knows what a sam or rigger is. And there are example characters in the book with these designations, there are extra source books like the Rigger Handbook, and those words are used in the extensive collection of novels and stories, but there is no single point within the crunch that says: “Take this to be a street samurai!”

Dream D&D

I think many gamers have wondered, how they would fix D&D. Of course, there will never be a consensus, but this is my take.

Keep the 6 abililty scores, attack & damage rolls, hit points and spell slots.

This is important to keep things D&D. Splitting between prepared spells and slots like D&D5 does or the 3.5 Spirit Shaman did, is fine though. Binding special abilities to Bloodied (below 50% HP) is a nice idea from 4e.

Make sure that rolling for ability scores is viable.

To do this, ability scores may not improve your attacks or spell casting. You will not automatically add strength to attacks or damage (or another attribute for that matter), nor will you get more or harder to resist spells from high abilities.

Ability damage is a good thing.

We can use it to get mostly rid of binary saving throws too. So a Suggestion spell might be: Take 1dX Wisdom damage or do me a favor. The player can choose. Petrification might do straight Strength damage and if it brings you to 0, helllo, you’re a statue. Of course, all six stats must have ample effects that target them. You want your stats high. Dump stats are dangerous.

Everything is a class.

Building characters in D&D should be fun. Options are fun. Especially when they have both some cool powers and some lore. The problem is that D&D has plethora of kinds of options. Races, classes, subclasses, subraces, paragon paths / prestige classes, alternate class features / kits, feats. Not all in every edition. There are problems with each. Making a 20 level class is hard; you don’t do that at home. Feats are more or less bland. Prestige classes / paragon paths can only be taken at a certain level and might not fit naturally in the narrative. Subclasses are tight to the main class.

Instead, I propose short classes only. Three to five levels each. You can have a few classes open, say 3, but then, finish one before opening the next. Most everything that ever was class-y in any edition of D&D can be turned into such a mini class. There would be Wizard class and a Necromancer class. You don’t have to be a Wizard first, you can start Necro, if you want.

You can take levels in Elf, if you want. This might be because you have Elven heritage, because you grew up with elves, or because you are fanboy and fascinated with elves. D&D 3.5 actually had elf and dwarf classes with 3 levels. That’s where I got this idea.

For newer players there should be suggestions what class to take after this one.

Simple Weapon Groups

The longer the weapon list, the more samey they will appear and the less different ones people will pick. Instead make a hand full of distinct weapon types (Heavy Weapons, Long Weapons) that offer distinct advantages.

Domains for everyone

Spells come in short groupings, like a Cleric’s Domains in 3.x / 5e. Your classes might give you access to certain domains. You know the spells then. Having short domains instead of humongous spell lists is easier to grasp, easier to extend and easier to balance. Choosing just any domain should be a rare thing.

You might want Combat as a mage and Magic as a fighter.

In 3.x there were prestige classes that were for casters and those that were for other people. That is to be avoided. I imagine two common progressions that one might get from class levels. So a level might offer +1 Combat or +1 Magic. And this adds up over all classes. This is pretty similar to what prestige classes did. Magic of course determines your spell slots and Combat your attack bonus and damage bonuses.

We have to make this palatable to the other group though. For example a character might allocate Combat to defense instead of offense. Some dodging might be nice for casters too. There should definitely be a limit there, though.

Magic is a bit more difficult, but as a first step we might power all weird class abilities with slots. A barbarian’s rage is certainly magic. We don’t have to count smites, ki or psi separately either. Another thing that might take spells slots are magic items and blessings. You might not have learned a fire spell, but this fire sword let’s you burn your slots as if you had. This would be a simple way to do attunement or items that grow with you. Something that always felt haphazard in D&D.

Scrolls are spell spellbooks and vice versa

OK. This is a small one. But it makes sense to me. The Wizards ability would simply be to remember the content of a scroll and cast it from memory. If you find a Wizard’s spell book, you can burn through it as if you found a bunch of scrolls.

Other stuff I like

The up to three, successively more difficult attacks per turn from Pathfinder 2. Special attacks on odd or even rolls from 13th Age. Action Dice / Expertise Dice.

Requirements of Mechanics

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Some days ago I had a utterly fruitless discussion on why I don’t like “Harm as established” in PbtA games. This reminded me of why some players didn’t like the Fighter’s ability Come And Get It (Article by the Alexandrianian) in D&D 4e. I think there is a common trend here. Not that most players like dislike certain mechanics, but that there is a quality to mechanics we need to recognize in order to properly formulate our likes and dislikes. Hot take: It is not as simple as labeling some mechanics as “dissociated”.

The general question we might ask: What do I need to do to employ this mechanic? – Some typical examples are:

Choose options from a list: This is very common in character generation of course, also with combat maneuvers, your character’s spell list etc. The acting player is free choose whatever they feel like, from a given list of options. This may be problematic when the list is so long that players have problems picking, or the options are not clear enough for players to make informed choices.

Buy options from a list: Similar to choosing, but instead of choosing a certain number of options, you spend an amount of points. Some options may be more expensive than others. This usually takes more planning than simple choice. So it’s similar to the point above, but more so.

Calculate numbers: You take some numbers and do some mathematical operations on them. Generally people find addition easier than subtraction, doubling and halving easier than other multiplications.

I think these points and problems associated with them are easy to grasp and unsurprising, because discrete lists and numbers is already sufficiently analyzed. More complicated are required actions involving the fiction, which is fluffy.

Scan the fiction: This means that we watch the fiction for certain events and conditions. Many games use die rolls when characters do “something difficult”. So we need to scan the fiction for “difficult things”. This might become a problem, if the thing you look for is very vague or if you have to be on the lookout for too many different things.

Grade some fictional entity: This similar to scanning, but instead of making a binary choice, you have to grade the fictional thing on some scale with more than two entries. Like determine how difficult the task is in many games. Or establishing the harm done in Apocalypse World. Long answer short, I hate doing that, especially on the fly. Still many players seem to be totally fine with that.

We can now try to understand why some players don’t enjoy “meta-game” or “dissociated” mechanics. (Note, that by the common definition meta-gaming would be something like “knowing your GM” instead.) Going by the established pattern, players are required to do something they don’t like there. This is quite usual. We do various things when employing mechanics and often several different things in concert.

It cannot be about a mechanic that is “disconnected from the game world” (from the Alexandrinian article linked above). Because character creation would be dissociated, as the article readily admits, and people don’t complain about that, which the article also explains. So whatever is critical, you don’t have to do it during character creation. Nor do you have do it, when using a magic spell during play. But apparently it does come up with spending Fate points in Fate or using Fighter powers in D&D4.

I posit the relevant difference is between referring to established factsand inventing fiction on the fly. When referring to established facts, we call on material that has been previously established, either in the rule book, prior media the game is based on, the group’s shared game state or even a character’s backstory. Of course, during character generation are you not required to say much of anything, so no problem there. And when you kick in your Barbarian rage or use Cure Lesser Wounds, saying exactly that is already enough. You might intone a prayer to your god to grant healing, but most groups don’t require that.

Whereas when you spend a Fate point, you are called to there and then, give some explanation on what happens. And depending on narrative constraints you sometimes cannot even think about it in advance. Unlike that healing prayer that you might have written down at home. You are called to invent some fiction on the fly, which can stomp certain players. Magic can often seen as a convenient shortcut to get around that requirement. This can be seen from the Alexandrian article as well. All examples on “reassociating” involve magic or magic-like tech. I have recently seen it work the other way round in a game where all the characters are mages and I asked a player to tell us how they speak to ghosts, what they do to do it. The player got visibly uncomfortable.

Inventing stuff on the fly is hard. Of course, that will throw some players out of their comfort zone and make them feel like they are not really playing right then. That is exactly like me disliking grading fictional entities and other people giving up when they should calculate their attack bonus.

What is storygaming?

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I recently came upon the article Six Cultures of Play by Retired Adventurer. I found it very insightful. Before I was thinking about three cultures on my own. Since I am apparently a storygamer, I felt the article was missing the point though. So I will now try to rectify that. What is storygaming about?

Let’s start with a catch phrase. If the Trad style extolls “Role-play not roll-play” and the OSR crowd is all “Rulings not Rules”, then storygamers are all about: “System does matter!” Meaning that different games are different and different games should be different. That is, when you make game, please make it notably different from the ones I already own. Why else would I need it?

Storygamers do not believe in the perfect game. Neither for everyone, nor even for individual people. There are many good games, that each provide unique experiences. System does matter. This is one reason that games made by storygamers are on the small side. Booklets more than tomes. After all it’s easier to try new things with a minimal example.

The other reason is the idea of “Actual Play”. According to storygamers play happens with the group at the table. Neither world-building or character optimization is play. So what do you need big books for? Instead storygamers often prefer to develop the setting and characters during play.

But what is that system that supposedly matters? To quote Vincent “lumpley” Baker: “System is means by which we negotiate the contents of the shared imaginary space.” That might sound impressive, but it basically says that system is how we play, it’s the methods we use to establish our fictional world and characters. This has consequences. If every which way that we use to make things happen in the fiction is part of the system, the system is everything. And we know that you can formalize parts of the system, write them down and then they are rules.

To a storygamer anything you do during play is therefore potentially a rule. The existence of a GM and their jobs? Ruleable. Other people play one protagonist? Ruleable. How you describe your actions? Ruleable. How you sit at the table? Ruleable. How you should light your gaming room? Ruleable. And all of these have been explicitely ruled by some game or other. Storygamers have thus produced some very unique games.

The “means by which we negotiate” part though points to something else. Play is communicating with one another. It only goes on, so long as we are mostly on the same page. At the point someone stops negotiation, play stops. In short, storygamers do not believe in strong GMs. When you read a storygame, optional rules will be like “you, the group, decide” instead of “ask your GM”. (Remember: The GM rule might not even be in effect.) Nor do storygamers have much heart for simulation. We might use formal mechanisms because they fan our creativity or help us settle on details, not because they are veridical by some standard.

That doesn’t mean that storygamers only enjoy rules-light games (whatever that might be). Instead games dear to storygamers have ultra-hard rules that make you play in ways you might not normally do. After all, system does matter. We make it so.

Campaigns as Iterations

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Campaign is a fuzzy term. It can refer to a collection of adventures or a very long adventure, where adventure is a difficult term as well (“We played through the Manitou Springs campaign…”). It can refer to a totality of play done by a group, regardless of what happened there (“In our campaign…”).

But there is another context where might overhear the term: “Can this game do campaigns?” And often games without character progression are said to fail in whatever is meant here. So there must be something making a game campaign-worthy. Having or not having character progression seems awfully specific, though. More likely something that character progression does contributes to the notion that some games are not campaignable.

So the obvious answer would be that characters get stronger, so they can do things they couldn’t do before. But that would only become visible when characters attempt something similar to what they did before. So what a campaign in this context means is that the game provides some recurring patterns. Like my character is now stronger fighter. I know this, because he now fights more powerful monsters or fights the earlier monsters more easily. For this impression to occur, our campaign must include fighting monsters over and over.

At this point, it seems that getting more powerful, while possibly being appealing for other reasons – who doesn’t like some power fantasy? -, is not itself required to fulfill this pattern. We need some recurring events and then mechanics that mark meaningful differences through iterations. Characters getting stronger is just one example of such cumulating differences.

We can therefore imagine other ways of tracking progress through iterations. Maybe for games with an investigative focus, we could grow a web contacts. For a game of scoundrels in space going from job to job, we might forgo changing stat on the characters and change stats on the ship. Acquiring new tech, patching damages, adding personal details.

One particular striking example is Capes. (I frequently recommend the free quickstart, which is actually most of the game for any aspiring RPG designer.) The game doesn’t have a GM, nor constant character ownership. Before each scene, players pick characters to play. Who will then likely get into into one or more conflicts during the scene. After each conflict, characters can acquire Debt for drawing on their abilities, and players may gain story tokens and inspirations. Then we start the whole progress again for another scene. It is like, the game has a campaign length measured in scenes.

Vampire is a class-based game and D&D 3.5 is not.

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Sounds outrageous. Good. Because that’s the consequence of using what seems to be the common understanding of class. So…

A character has a class that gives their character some theme, together with priority access to certain perks. Characters not in this class cannot gain those perks at all or at least have a harder time doing so (multi-class feats, extra skill points…). Classes might also give certain disadvantages.

So in Vampire, I might become a Ventrue, who have that noble theme. I have limitations on who I drink from (disadvantage). And I have priority access to the vampiric disciplines of Dominate, Fortitude, and Presence.

Meanwhile in D&D 3.5 / Pathfinder, while I choose a class at first level, I might choose another class every level. My character does not have one class. My character might be Warlock/Paladin or a Ranger/Fighter/Rogue. This gets even more pronounced with prestige classes.

This means a character will not have a clear theme as original conveyed by class and classes become more like skill trees. In D&D5 you have some rather trivial prerequisites on multi-classing, and more importantly do not gain certain first level things. Also there are no prestige classes.

Wildbow’s Secret Ingredients

I wrote a discussion about Sanderson’s (not so) secret recipe, which was well received, so I decided to look at how other authors approach superhuman abilities in their stories, as well. Today it’s J.C. McCray known to the Intarwebz as Wibblybob Wildbow, the author of superhuman stories Worm and Ward, modern occultism stories Pact and Pale (and Poke) and the biopunk story Twig.

My findings in this regard are less a complete recipe as with Sanderson, but more a list of typical patterns and strengths. Following links are to respective wiki articles and might be spoilerific.

Outrageous, Absolute, Specialized Abilities

The things characters can have tremendous impact, when they apply, but only do very specific things. You cannot see in Grue‘s darkness. Period. You cannot consciously harm August Prince. Period. You might be able work around those abilities, but you cannot beat them outright. This is most pronounced in Wormverse, but can be found in the other stories as well. Wildbow is not afraid to mess with the local environment, the protagonists’ minds or the world at large.

Powers defying classification

In Wormverse this shown by the classification of Capes into

Mover, Shaker, Brute and Breaker,
Master, Tinker, Blaster, Thinker,
Striker, Changer, Trump and Stranger.

While these some of these classifications appear resemble typical superhero tropes – most Brutes are rather tough -, some categories lump things to together in unusual ways. For example Masters include both people who sujugate the will of others or create drones under their control. That’s because they were made by the policing force for supers, as part of their field manual. It’s not what about what the super can do, but what you should do against them. With masters of either flavor, you want to circumvent the minions and take out the master. I learned there that it is very important to think about who made some classifcation and what for.

In Pactverse this is driven home by the constant reminder that classifying the Others does not always work or yield useful information. While goblins and fae are rather well established there, many other Others do not fit in established boxes neatly.

Not their “real” thing

Many character’s abilities are more encompassing than they show or even know about themselves or outright different from what is publicly known about them. This is so well known about the fandom, that there was talk for years what Parian’s “real” power might be. This worked because one of the most powerful capes, Rachel use their power in suboptimal ways throughout the series due to lack of understanding or resources. (In Rachel’s case, she is better with wolves and shakals than with domesticated dogs.) And characters like Panacea lied about what their powers could do for the longest time, for personal reasons.

Iconic mental and perception powers

Wildbow is very good in describing perceptions and varying the description when the point of view changes. Victoria just has an eye for fashion for example. This extends to supernatural senses as well, as all practioners in Pactverse have and what is called Thinker powers in Worm. The following is a short excerpt from Crystal Clear’s interlude (chapter link) in Ward.

Crystalclear’s vision didn’t give him color that wasn’t the blurring around the white outlines that defined everything.  Red jacket meant nothing to him.  But he could see the crowd, seeing everyone at once, and he could check the shoes.  It took some focus to narrow things down, to look for the pointed shoes, to observe for another few moments to see who was grouped up.

Three people, all about the same age, all men.  Their heads radiated with distortions.  Their focus- not on anything in particular.  He saw what they were dwelling on as a series of fractures, distorted angles, and breaks that surrounded them.  These things suggested things about what was going on in their heads that were more limited to the moment, covering stresses in every sense of the word.

You wouldn’t want those powers

This is a rather constant trope. Most Capes in Wormverse get their power when struck by a traumatic incident. That’s why you do not ask about how someone got their powers. The kids in Twig are the result of experiments and require constant upkeep from the scientists. Blake in Pact is drawn into the magic world against his volition. And the rules of magic are pretty bleak and unrelenting. Only the trio in Pale actually choose to take the job, and they are tweens from difficult homes. So there.

Rebellion: Fast Fantasy History for the Realm of the Royal Couple

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When worldbuilding a fantasy world one of the thing that might come up are histories. There are two major problems that often come up. They are too long and sparse – things happening thousand of years in the past and not much else -, or they are filled with useless details.

When making a history for an RPG, I usually have some idea about the final for now end state for the game to take place. I can usually find some steps that must have taken place before the current state may arise. But how much time should there been between those?

When we look at history, we have some units and unit-like words we use to structure it, like decade or generation. The latter may be anything between 15 and 25 years. So I think that the significant steps, I devised should happen within that timeframe. Somewhere between 10 and 25 years. Not 100s or 1000s as is typical with fantasy worlds. And since I’m a gamer, why not roll some dice?

d8+d6+d4+7 = [10,25]

This gives spacings I like for the important events, but it’s still rather dry. So I use this mechanism to get some events. To do this and to get some variety, I call the d6 the hard history die. Hard as in what historiography was about much of our history: wars, politics, so-called great men. The d8 is the soft history die. Cuture, philosophy, maybe science.

If the d6 is odd, count back from the event step you rolled for, and put a hard event there that let to the main event. If it is even, count forward and invent hard event that followed from the main event.

The d8 works much the same way for soft events, except the other way round. Count back for even and forward odd.

  • d6 odd: prerequisite hard event
  • d6 even: follow-up hard event
  • d8 even: prerequisite soft event
  • d8 odd: followup hard event

Let me demonstrate. In the Rebellion setting, I have hinted about the Realm of Royal Couple. That couple being brother and sister who the rebels with help of their allies turned into magical weapons. After the empire fell, those two and some followers traveled south, overthrew the ruling dynasty there and founded the Realm. The main events may be like:

  • Death of Father Sky, Fall of the Empire
  • Creation of the Ashen Ways, Leaving of the Hearth Lord who was venerated mostly south of the Empire across the mountains.
  • The Couple and followers cross the mountains and become allies with local lords
  • Fall of the ruling dynasty, founding of the Realm
  • Conquering of the Eastern Motherlands
  • The couple rarely appears in public anymore

I roll d4+d6+d8+7

Year 0: Death of Father Sky, Fall of the Empire

Year 17: Creation of the Ashen Ways, Leaving of the Hearth Lord (1, 1(hard pre), 8(soft pre), 7)

Year 30: Arrival of the Couple in the Realm’s northern region (1, 1(hard pre), 4(soft pre), 7)

Year 45: Founding of the Realm (4, 1(hard pre), 3(soft follow), 7)

Year 65: Conquering of the Eastern Motherlands (4, 6(hard follow), 3(soft follow), 7)

Year 93: Couple rarely seen in public (4, 5(hard pre), 2(soft pre), 7)

Now, intersperse some the secondary events.

History of the Realm of the Royal Couple

Year 0: Death of Father Sky. Over the following years, many divine domains fall to the rebels.

Year 9 (soft): Rumors about a seafaring people from across the sea come up for the first time. The Hylimoi will be seen across the coasts of the continent in ever greater numbers over the following decades.

Year 16 (hard): A compromise is reached. The remaining loyalist gods are allowed to leave to “Lands empty of human footprints” with the help of the gods who have sided with the rebels and will thus discorporate.

Year 17: Creation of the Ashen Ways (1, 1(hard pre), 8(soft pre), 7)

Year 26 (soft): Exodus of an increasing number of minor gods and their followers through the Ways. Decay of more divine domains.

Year 29 (hard): Death of the Lord Red, leader of the Rebellion.

Year 30: Arrival of the Couple and followers in today’s Realm’s northern region (1, 1(hard pre), 4(soft pre), 7)

Year 44 (hard): Covenant of the Lines: The local nobility and the newcomers will bring down the dynasty in the south and rule as a constitutional monarchy, lead by the Couple, who are ageless.

Year 45: Founding of the Realm (4, 1(hard pre), 3(soft follow), 7)

Year 48 (soft): Arrival of the Cultists of the Great Serpent from the west. They are welcomed in the Realm under explicit protection of the Royal Couple. The cult’s practices have a lasting influence on the forming culture of the Realm.

Year 65: Conquering of the Eastern Mother’s Lands (4, 6(hard follow), 3(soft follow), 7)

Year 68 (soft): The Lady’s City, another successor state founded by the Rebels, Lord Red’s daughter specifically, collapses. In the following years, refugees from the Lady’s loyalists will find their way into the Realm. Using a legal trick, they are labeled as the “Eastern Serpent Cult” and thus enjoy protection.

Year 71 (hard): The Couple’s first chancellor dies, who held the office for 26 years, since the founding of the Realm. Severe infighting the Council of the Line follows.

Year 88 (hard): The new Chancellor is murdered when inspecting the troops at the border to Spider Tribers’ lands. Two of the Lines are found guilty of high treason and removed from Council. The third chancellor is appointed quickly and starts reforms to curb the Lines’ influence among military and magistrates.

Year 91 (soft): Creation of flash towers manned by triples of mages have made it possible to communicate from one end to the Realm to the other in a single night, and for the first time been made available for private citizens at affordable costs.

Year 93: Couple rarely seen in public (4, 5(hard pre), 2(soft pre), 7).