In Depth Presentation of GODS
Hello, Chosen Ones! Today, we wanted to go deeper into the explanation of who you play and what's a group in GODS.
In RPGs, some questions come in at the top of the list, like “Are there dragons?”, “How much damage does a double-bladed axe deal?”, and of course “Who do we play?”
Of course, we could give you the “You can play anything you like” answer, or the “heroes and chosen ones with great destinies” answer, but that wouldn’t help you very much.
GODS does offer (almost) endless possibilities and allows you to create high profile characters whose names will live out in songs.
In many RPGs, players create their characters individually and it’s up to the GM to find ad-hoc reasons to unify all of those different backgrounds, experiences, goals, and expectations. GODS lets the players create characters together in the form of a Party, a group with common objectives, collective abilities, and shared resources.
The Party is at the heart of the experience GODS provides. Players can define when, where, and how their characters met, what their relationships are, why they chose to travel together, as well as Goals and Rules that will directly influence how they earn experience, collective abilities they have as a group, and the Dice Reserve shared by all members of the Party.
Characters might be very different from one another. They don’t have to have similar cultures, or be from the same region, to share the same worldview or even to have been chosen by the same deity – they only have to have a good reason to travel and share living space together.
- For example, the group can follow an overarching concept, such as the characters all being members of a single family. Other concepts include members of a group of riders cast away from their tribe for crimes against the law of their community, a traveling merchant guild specialized in acquiring and selling Shards, a phalanx of Cult Inquisitors hunting Chosen Ones down, or a brotherhood of sorcerers disguised as a troupe of traveling actors and jugglers. This is the most interesting way to create and play a Party, but this is by no means the only one.
- Characters can also be brought together through an event, defined by the players in their background to explain how they met. They could all have been captured by slavers and managed to escape together, or witnessed a divine manifestation. They could be on the run from the Cult, or even discover they all have a fragment of an antique broken sword…
Once the players settle on an idea for the Party, it will have to follow certain mechanics, just like a player character would. While the Party doesn’t have traits or skills, it has Levels, Goals, Rules, a Party Reserve, and Party Abilities.
- Party Level increases with time spent adventuring. It allows players to develop new abilities and increase the Party Reserve, which can be used for group actions. Party Level also influences the encounters the players characters can get into, and the regions where they can go. The higher the Party Level, the more powerful the Party Abilities; however, that also means the GM is able to introduce more powerful NPCs.
- Players set their own Goals, and accomplishing them will earn them Party Experience Points. These could be Minor Goals, such as reach a specific city, buy new armor, win a battle without getting hurt, or free one of their companions from captivity. Major Goals are long-term objectives requiring several game sessions to accomplish, such as triumph over their nemesis or find the lost tomb of a god.
- Players set their own Rules, a code of conduct that reflects its tendencies and inclinations. It allows characters to regain Party Reserve Dice each time they respect it, but can also cost them dice if they go against it. GODS provides codes which come with specific rules and taboos. For example, a “Conqueror” code rewards acts of heroism, successes, and victories, but penalizes running away, renouncing values, or cheating. A “Balance” code rewards compromises and diplomatic solutions, and penalizes characters who pick a side or upset balance.
- Players are able to use the Party Dice Reserve to roll extra dice. This represents team spirit and esprit de corps in the group. The Party Reserve replenishes when the characters fulfill Party Goals and act according to the Party Rules, but it diminishes when they break their taboos or when player characters oppose one another. When the Party Reserve is low, group morale is down, and members suffer penalties on all collective actions, including combat. If the Reserve is empty, characters cannot use any of their Party Abilities.
- Finally, the Party can use Party Abilities. They go from simple bonuses for certain actions to spectacular special tricks. Players can choose these abilities during Party creation, and buy them with Party Experience Points. They become more and more powerful as the Party level increases. Some abilities allow players to trade Reserve Dice, or give them combat bonuses when they fight as a group, to reroll a failed action, or even to bring back dead Party members.
Once the Party has been created, each player develops their character. If you haven’t already, you may want to familiarize yourself with the technical terms in the description of the rules system presented in “Playing GODS” parts 1 and 2.
GODS invites you to play Chosen Ones, exceptional people who heed the call of the Old Ones, develop a link with their deity, receive favors and powers to help them forge their legend, and become the agents in the awakening of the Old Gods.
- Characters are all human. There is no such thing as elves, orcs, dwarves or other playable species. The Wildlands are filled with creatures and monstrosities, some of which are sufficiently clever, humanoid, and capable of wielding weapons and wizardry to be played, and some may become playable in the future… but as of now, we chose to focus on humans. There are two reasons for this. Rather than differentiating characters through the concept of “races”, as many fantasy settings do, we would underline the specificities of the different peoples and civilizations of the Wildlands. Most of all, we want to develop the unique bond that links humanity to its gods, through rules as well as background.
- There are no careers or “character classes”. Players are entirely free to create their characters’ origin, profile, and occupation. A Katai rider from the High Plains can very well be a powerful sorcerer or a cunning diplomat, and there’s no rule stopping a necromancer from Ool who wants to fight with an axe, become a bodyguard, or answer the call of a non-violent Old God.
- Characters all come from a civilization. Whether warriors of Vaelor, blacksmiths from Avhorae, water-bearers from Sabaah, or sorcerers from Ool, each civilization possesses specificities which can influence character creation. The people you choose can modify certain Traits, grant bonuses on actions familiar to members of this culture-- such as resistances to heat, immunity to poison. There could also be penalties when wielding certain weapons, using certain techniques, or skills unknown or forbidden in certain regions.
- Each civilization also offers several playable profiles which correspond to castes, trades, crafts, and occupations typical of each culture. Each Profile allows the development of specific Skills and Specialties, such as traditional weapons, ancestral combat techniques, or magic rituals. These aren’t “classes”, but rather archetypes designed to inspire players, make character creation easier, and represent different civilizations.
- Characters are defined by eight Traits, each associated with a number of dice between 1D and 3D. They may develop all kinds of Skills and Specialties which allow characters to roll additional dice or use Rerolls to improve their results. Characters also have access to two Dice reserves, which they can tap to roll additional dice, at the price of weakening their character… but you’ve read “Playing GODS”, so you know all about that, don’t you?
Well, that’s our answer to the “Who do we play” question!
And to answer the first questions, there won’t be any dragons in GODS, and an Avorhean battle axe deals 3 (Blade) base Damage + attacker’s Strength + attacker’s Successes on their roll.