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A new epic and grim fantasy tabletop roleplaying game.
A new epic and grim fantasy tabletop roleplaying game.
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Playing GODS (Part 2 OF 2)

Posted by JN Childs (Collaborator)
15 likes

Ready to roll some dice?

These are the main aspects of the system. We are presenting the rules in a raw and simple way, so you can clearly understand its principles, and we will be glad to answer your questions!

GODS uses the TOTEM System© created by Julien Blondel: a simple and intuitive game engine based on 10-sided dice, usable by both experienced players and beginners.

Combat, magic, search or negotiation: all technical aspects use the same mechanics, from the easiest craft to the most heroic action. One rule to ring them all, and a lot of options— from advanced rules and advices on how to fine-tune actions— and in the Wildlands bind them.

The One Rule

Whenever a character undertakes an action whose outcome is uncertain, or where the level of success can make a significant difference, the player rolls a number of 10-sided dice equal to the score of the Trait at hand and compares the result of each die to a Difficulty ranging from 1 to 10.

  • If the player gets at least one die equal to or greater than the Difficulty, the action is successful. Otherwise the action fails.
  • If several dice are equal or superior to the Difficulty, each of these die counts as a Success and improves the effects of the action.

That’s it!


Traits

Characters are defined by eight Traits, generally valued between 1D and 3D, which determine their physical, mental, manual and social capabilities. When a character performs an action, the player simply rolls a number of dice equal to the score of the Trait at use.

The eight traits used in GODS
The eight traits used in GODS
  • To shoot an arrow, the Trait Accuracy is used. If the character has 2D in Accuracy, the player will have to roll two 10-sided dice to see if the arrow reaches its target.

Difficulty

The result of each die is then compared to the Difficulty of the action. Numbered from 3 to 10, the Difficulty is set by the gamemaster or by the rules, based on the distance, weight, or urgency of the action. The more complicated, tricky, or perilous an action is, the higher its Difficulty.

An action can be Easy (5), Hard (7), or Very Hard (9).

  • To hit a large, immobile target standing a few meters away, the Difficulty will only be 5. However, to reach an enemy more than a hundred meters away, or hitting a bird twirling in the sky, would raise the Difficulty to 9.

Successes

If the player gets at least one die equal to or greater than the Difficulty, the action is successful. Otherwise the action fails. If several dice are equal or superior to the Difficulty, each of these die counts as a Success and improves the positive effects of the action.

  • The player rolls two dice and gets 2 and 8 compared to a Difficulty of 5: the action will succeed. If the player rolled 2 and 4 instead, the action would have failed. With results of 6 and 8, the player would have obtained two successes, allowing the arrow to reach a specific area or hit the bullseye.

The more Successes a player gets, the more spectacular and brilliant the outcome. The number of Successes alters the action according to criteria such as length, quantity, efficiency, or combat damages.

The Successes concept is the very heart of the rules. Most of the actions require only one, but some combats, negotiations, searches, and opposed actions not only require more than one Success, but also compare the number of Successes of each.

  • To find something or someone hidden with 3 Successes, at least 3 Successes will be needed. During a fight, a bargain, a race, or a hunt, the character who gets the most Successes wins.

Handicaps

When a character attempts a more complex action, like doing several things at once or acting while in the dark, blindfolded, wounded, or otherwise impeded, the GM may determine a Handicap exists, which means the action will require more than a single Success to succeed.

Handicaps allow players and GMs to handle very complex actions without changing the Difficulty. They are used in advanced rules, spells, or combat technics, like aiming at the heart, trying to disarm someone, or fighting on a horse.

  • If an action incurs a Handicap (2), the player will have to roll two more Successes (a total of 3) to succeed. If they only get one or two, the action fails.

Skills

In addition to their Traits, the characters develop Skills and Specialties. Unlike Traits, Skills do not have a dice value, but a Level of mastery. The higher the Skill’s Level, the better the character is at this skill, granting bonuses of +1D or +2D. They also grant Rerolls, which allow the player to reroll one or two dice after they have already rolled.

  • If a character is a Beginner at Bows, the player will roll an extra 1D in addition to the 2D in Accuracy. An Expert would get an extra 2D, and then roll a total of 4D.
Chart for Skills
Chart for Skills

Skills are distributed among six Domains: Man, Beast, Tool, Magic, Weapon, and Journey.

Each character has a Preferred Domain, and these skills are easier for them to develop. Skills that are very rare, forbidden, or forgotten have a Rarity Level of 1 or 2, which increases their price in Experience Points and gives a Handicap of 1 or 2 if the character doesn’t possess this Skill.

Sekhu Warrior (Artwork by Bastien Lecouffe Deharme)
Sekhu Warrior (Artwork by Bastien Lecouffe Deharme)

Dice Reserves

Each character has Dice Reserves, which contain a number of dice (usually 5D to 8D) and correspond to their endurance, their strength of will, or their capacity to go “above and beyond”. During an adventure, fatigue, fear, or Wounds will deplete the Reserves. They will increase again with rest and recuperation. They also increase with the character’s deeds.

Reserves are very important and useful, as players can tap into them to roll additional dice, taking the risk of weakening their characters later. They also have access to the shared Party Reserve, which represents cohesion and team spirit among their characters.

  • In order to focus the aim, the player can tap into their Reserve to roll 1D Bonus, for a total of 5D, implying that the character will feel tired afterward.

Weapons and Armors

Weapons, spells, and attacks are divided into Skills (like Swords, Spells, Bows…). They each inflict base Damages of a certain type (Blade, Shock, Fire…), which add to the roll’s Successes.

  • A double-handed sword will be used with the Swords Skill and inflict 3 (Blade) base Damage.

Armor, shields, and such protections all have basic Protection against all types of Damage, and may have a specific Protection against a particular type. Protection decreases Damage, and Damage in excess of this Protection inflicts Wounds.

  • A simple leather light Protection will prevent 2 Damages of any type, but 3 Shock Damage. 
Red Ice (Artwork by Pascal Quidault)
Red Ice (Artwork by Pascal Quidault)

Combat

The Trait and Skill required are determined by the weapon or attack, and the Difficulty is set according to the range and weapon used. Only one attack is possible per turn, unless the character uses a “Fast” weapon or a special “Combat Technique”.

  • To shoot with a bow, a player rolls Accuracy + Bows against a Difficulty determined by the weapon’s Range and distance to the target. To hit with a sword, the roll is Strength + Swords against a Difficulty of 7 for a basic attack, which might be tuned according to the character’s Skill Level.

Defensive actions

Rolls are usually made with Reflexes or Strength, with Skills like Dodge, Brawl, or Melee, depending on what the defender is trying to accomplish (avoiding or blocking the attack).

The Difficulty is always tied to the attack rolls, but it can also be modified by the circumstances. It is possible to defend several times in a single turn; however, the Difficulty increases.

  • Avoiding a 3-Successes sword blow against a Difficulty of 7 requires a Reflex + Dodge roll against the same Difficulty, as well as at least as many Successes. Blocking such a blow would be a Strength + Melee roll.

If the defender gets at least as many Successes as the attacker, they manage to avoid, dodge or parry, and the attack does no Damage. If the attacker gets at least one more Success than the defender, they manage to hit and inflict the weapon’s Damage, plus an amount of damage equal to the number of Successes.

  • If the defender fails, the attack inflicts 8 Damage: The weapon’s Damage, which is equal to the attacker’s Strength (3D) +2 for the sword, plus 3 for the attack’s total Successes. 5 + 3 = 8.

If the defender has an Armor that is useful against this type of attack, Damage is reduced by the applicable Protection level before being compared to the defender’s Wound Thresholds. If the character is Wounded, they lose dice from their Reserves and incur penalties to their actions until they get medical care.

  • With a Protection of 2 against Blades, the defender will only get 6 Damage instead of 8. They will incur a Serious Wound, probably a fractured bone or a hemorrhage, and a 2D penalty…

The combat system offers many options for weapons and complex situations such as group fights, combat techniques, and PC and NPC powers or advantages.


Wounds

Each character may take a number of Light, Serious or Lethal Wounds depending on their Health and other factors. Each Wound type has a threshold from 1 to 10 followed by a series of boxes.

When a character incurs Damage, their player compares the number of Damage to the character’s thresholds and ticks one Wound box that corresponds to the highest Threshold that is equal or inferior to the Damage incurred. The character may incur penalties to their actions, depending on the gravity of the Wound.

Chart for Wound Penalties
Chart for Wound Penalties

Characters only have one or two Lethal Wounds boxes, but some NPCs have more. In this case, death only occurs once the last box is ticked, but the penalties and losses of Reserve dice occur as soon as the first box is ticked.


Damn, there is still SO MUCH we  want to tell you about Character Generation, Skills and Specialties, Combat techniques, and the special “traits” attached to the weapons... 

GODS will feature many additional rules to deepen the gaming experience, including systems of colored dice to reflect the relationship between the characters and their gods, lists of spells, powers and favors, the use of the powerful Shards that the Chosen ones wield....

Among other exciting upcoming features, we are working on a set of news that will focus on the characters and the combat mechanics. And on the magic system. And the gods. 

And the Wildlands. 

And...

Joakim Almgren, Piotr Kraciuk, and 13 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Florent on

      Makes sense! Thanks for the additional clarification - cool way of including some strategy into rerolls! And also looking forward to Vermine 2047 ;)

    2. Julien Blondel Collaborator on

      Hey Florent!

      You’re right on this: rolling a Bonus dice and Rerolling a dice are basically the same. But if the action suffers a Handicap and requests 2, 3 or 4 more Successes to actually succeed, or if your character face a stronger opponent with more Dice than you have, then Rerolling won’t help – you will need more Dice upfront and consider taping in your Reserves and/or getting some help from your Party.

      There is also another trick, but you didn’t miss it – we just haven’t revealed that part of the system yet : )

      The full Totem System comes with a Divinity/Humanity Balance option which includes three different dice – let’s call these neutral, “divine” and “human” dice. According to the kind of dice you roll and keep, not only the result of the action will be different, but your character might also evolve. And these dice count for two Successed instead of one if kept. So, yeah: Rerolls matter : )

    3. Missing avatar

      Florent on

      Thanks for the feedback. What I meant though, is that from the preview to date I don't see a lot of difference mechanically between "rerolling a dice" and "adding a bonus dice". Either way you get a chance to get another success with a dice. Seeing the skill brings a benefit in both instead of a unified bonus, I wonder if there is anything specific that I missed?

    4. Missing avatar

      JN Childs Collaborator on

      If you roll poorly, you would have another opportunity to avoid either a failure mechanic or get a success!

    5. Missing avatar

      Florent on

      Is there a real benefit of a reroll mechanic for skills? Most of the time reroll would be the same as having another die to roll, except in the unlikely event that all dice succeed.

    6. René Schultze
      Superbacker
      on

      to. E = to be
      Writing without glasses isn’t a very good idea - obviously ;)

    7. René Schultze
      Superbacker
      on

      @Julien: Can’t wait for the game to. E delivered! Sounds AWESOME :)

    8. Julien Blondel Collaborator on

      Characters actually have two Reserves: one you can tap in BEFORE you roll the dice (in order to focus, aim, gather your strenght) and therefore get a few extra dice to roll (up to your Trait's value, so up to 3/4D), and one you can use AFTER to reroll a few dice in order to turn low results into Successes.

      The first "Cold Blood/Nerves" Reserve leaves you stressed and discouraged once depleted, the "Stamina/Physical Resources" one leaves you exhausted – both in a roleplay and a technical way, as characters suffer a -1D/-2D Malus on relevant actions.

      But yes, failing forward is also a thing. And that’s where Party Abilities and Party Reserves comes in : )

    9. René Schultze
      Superbacker
      on

      Ah, no failing forward in this system - but that’s okay because you can use dice from the reserve and perhaps you can reroll. If this isn’t possible I like failing forward.
      You can use the dice of the reserve after you rolled for the test? And if you deplete your pool are you exhausted in a roleplaying way or are there rules to show the strain?
      All in all: love the game :)

    10. Zaarin on

      Awesome, sounds perfect. :D

    11. Julien Blondel Collaborator on

      Yes Zaarin, definitely. Not for all the gear, as survival and stuff are not the main point here, but armors and shields will be provided with structure points (nothing gritty) and lose some when they take more Damage than their Protection rate.

    12. Zaarin on

      Great stuff! :D Will gear degradation be a thing? This seems like a setting that would almost demand it, but Mutant Year: Zero (and its fantasy cousin The Forbidden Lands) is the only pen-and-paper RPG I've seen handle the concept (I'm sure there are others I haven't read).