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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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In Depth Presentation of GODS

Posted by JN Childs (Collaborator)

Hello, Chosen Ones! Today, we wanted to go deeper into the explanation of who you play and what's a group in GODS. 

About characters

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.

(Art by Bastien Lecouffe Deharme)
(Art by Bastien Lecouffe Deharme)

The Party

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.

Party members

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…
Vaelkyr Horsemen (Art by Sergey Vasnev)
Vaelkyr Horsemen (Art by Sergey Vasnev)

Party traits

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.

Ice and blood (Art by Pascal Quidault)
Ice and blood (Art by Pascal Quidault)

Your Characters

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?
Chosen Ones (Art by Bastien Lecouffe Deharme)
Chosen Ones (Art by Bastien Lecouffe Deharme)

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.

F@B, Charlie D, and 12 more people like this update.


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    1. Bastien Lecouffe Deharme Collaborator on

      @nicholas Glad to read that! We don't hide or deny or influences, we accept them and build from that!

    2. Missing avatar

      nicholas mills on

      Im not a table top guy at all. but this might have converted me. Its everything I love in fantasy.
      the similarities to its inspirations (like the world and lands being very CONAN esque, the shards essentially being a bunch Stormbringers, the Cult of the black sun being the Spanish inquisition) are just that. similarities and influences. Hell every elf ever now is a direct influence from Tolkein and has been since The Hobbit.

      its great and taking those influences to spawn something fresh and damn fine fresh is great.

    3. Bastien Lecouffe Deharme Collaborator on

      @Jeep "It reminds me just enough of what I knew and liked when I was younger (for ex. Elric and Bloodlust as you said), but you've also taken it to another place that probably suits us more that we've all grown older. And yes I agree with you it's legacy and I find that beautiful too."

      Then we are on the same page! And you are the type of player that GODS is made for!

    4. jeep on

      @Bastien ha! I wasn't aware of that the topic had been discussed. But don't take me wrong : I love the look and feel of GODS! And as you aptly pointed out, Bloodlust used very common tropes of dark fantasy. Using Frazetta's Death Dealer as a cover for the rulebook wasn't very original, after all:)
      I really like what you've done. It reminds me just enough of what I knew and liked when I was younger (for ex. Elric and Bloodlust as you said), but you've also taken it to another place that probably suits us more that we've all grown older. And yes I agree with you it's legacy and I find that beautiful too.
      I took up mini painting recently and one of the reasons I back is because I too was inspired by the art of this project. I will take the Artbook as an add-on in the post campaign no mistake ! So your remark on being influenced and influencing is spot on.

      Et oui je suis Français mais je ne connais ce projet que par la page Kickstarter donc j'ignorais tout cela. Mais encore une fois je suis conquis !

    5. Bastien Lecouffe Deharme Collaborator on

      @jeep You know, none of us will pretend to hide our love for Bloodlust and many other games from the french golden age of RPGs. And there is no denying the influences that the games from our early ages have a big and welcomed influence on us. It works this way in every creative field. And that's great, we pass the flame. As an artist, I see young students getting influenced by my artwork as much as mine was influenced by the one of Brom, who was influenced by Frazetta and so on. It's beautiful, and it's called "legacy".
      And when you understand that, you understand that Bloodlust was inspired as well: Frazetta, Conan, Elric and Stormbringer (you know, the blade with a soul?), Kane ... and so on. We share the same love for those references, and it is not because Bloodlust used those references before that we should not claim them as well.
      The civilizations inGODS and in Bloodlust are inspired by real life ones, and once again, there is no copyright on that. Bloodlust only used standards of Dark Fantasy as GODS does. Conan is a man from the cold north, and when you get south, it gets warmer. No creative licence on that haha. The civilizations in GODS all have their own twist that make them unique and exciting.

      So let's be clear, GODS is fully and openly influenced by the Sword&Sorcery/Dark Fantasy genre, but GODS is also different, unique, brand new and will kick asses!


      Side note, if you read french, you will realize that the comparaison is something that as been discussed in the past:
      "Assez tot dans l’elaboration du projet, j’ai publié sur la page GODS une sorte de declaration d’intentions ou je parlais de Bloodlust comme étant fondateur de mes envies dans la construction du jeu. Cette declaration a pu prêter a confusion et il est temps de tuer les rumeurs a ce sujet. Bloodlust c’est de la Dark Fantasy, c’est brutal, c’est un monde adulte qui rappelle le notre par bien des aspects. GODS partage ces elements, tout comme Bloodlust les partage avec Moorcock, Howard , Karl E. Wagner et beaucoup d’autres auteurs de Fantasy.Donc oui, dans GODS il y a des peuples du froid au nord tel les Cimeriens de Howard, les Vikings de notre monde ou les Piorads de Bloodlust. Oui il y a des deserts, des ziggurats et des jardins suspendus, oui il y a un Empire directement inspiré de notre Rome antique et oui, il y a une jungle géante et des peuples qui rappellent les terres du sud dans la Compagnie Noire, les forets humides des aventures de Conan et les jungles Gadhar.[…]Et les Armes Dieux?La, on entre dans le vif du sujet. Il y a des Objets dans GODS. Des objets investis d’une puissance. Tel Stormbringer ou bien la main de Corum, Excalibur ou Durendal. Des objets qui ont une mission symbolique.Dans GODS, les personnages ont un rapport a la magie qui est majoritairement liée au Divin. On va pas vous en raconter trop tout de suite, mais en gros, dans GODS, tout objet manufacturé peut manifester des pouvoirs.Ces Objets sont très rares et on en discutera davantage sous peu, mais le système est loin d’être celui que les joueurs de Bloodlust connaissent, les implications sont différentes et il ne s’agit pas uniquement d’armes. Pour le dire simplement: c’est autre chose!Dans GODS, on ne joue pas un “Porteur d’Arme”. On joue un ou une Elu(e), et oui, certains d’entre eux se trimbalent avec des Objets un peu flippants a leur cotés."

    6. jeep on

      Am I the only one to see similarities between Gods and the old French RPG Bloodlust? Granted, some of these are just tropes in fantasy/dark fantasy but still :
      Single continent on a planet orbited by several moons. Civilizations include African, steppe-bound, empire-in-expansion, arabic and viking type people (resp. Thullean, Katai, Black Sun Empire, Sahkar and Vaelkyr on one side and Gahdar, Sekeker, Vorozion, Batranoban and Piorads) and objects infused with supernatural beings that grant powers to the carrier. Desires and objectives of object and carrier help gain XP to unlock new abilities. Old magic create supernatural monsters etc.
      The resemblance goes further in the illustrations, with the Horde illustrated by a female warrior (Sekeker in Bloodlust), the Vaelkyr illustrated with a red-eyed horse (Piorads' chagar horses) and the Avhoran rider illustration bearing resemblance to Frazetta's Death Dealer, which was the cover of the Bloodlust rulebook/case.
      Overall Gods looks to me like a more realistic, complex and grown-up version the sometimes-cartoonish Bloodlust, to a certain extent. I wonder if it's purely coincidental but in any case I like it !

    7. Missing avatar

      nicholas mills on

      just because there are no dragons doesn't mean we cant stumble across the long dead bones of dragons.

      in a way im glad elves and dwarves aren't a thing. It gets old.
      I would love there to be maybe be vaugly Elvish races like Melniboneans or the GODS equivalent for players who aboslutley need elves or whatever in games.

      In Conan, Thulsa Doom was always played up or hinted at that hes the last of a now dead race. that would be a cool concept to explore in the future also.

    8. Zaarin on

      Lots of great stuff here. I especially love the player codes and the group concepts (the latter reminds me a little of City of Mist). :D Little disappointed about no dragons, but not *every* fantasy has to have dragons. Sadly. ;)