In the Beginning, there was boredom. An Ultra-being comprised of the sum total of the previous universe languished for a timeless eternity, categorizing all knowledge--until that knowledge was all neatly sorted and known. "What is there to do when there is nothing more to know?" it asked itself.
So it looked over its information, squeezing out everything that could be inferred by the connections it had. Magical theories, Divine quandaries, scientific breakthroughs, Elemental disputes, down to Psionic headaches until the being realized it missed debate. Then it began to go over the creation of all known creatures, and it knew loneliness.
Eventually it came up with a plan. Perhaps similar to the way the world had been created before it. It would divide itself up, with power for divine beings and much left over for the creation of New Worlds and New Life.
I will be attempting a Tabula Rasa Big Gods game. You will be a powerful god starting at the beginning of time, participating in creation and then the maintenance or ultimate destruction of that creation. You will have Action Points(AP) to pay for general actions, and Mythic Points which are intended to be used for actions that will enter the world's mythology with lasting effects and providing for mortal faith in the future. Your gods will draw from an entire destroyed universe of information and power, but you have no past: you are coming into existence now.
This game will be ran in PDQ with a +12/-2 build. You can read about PDQ here: http://www.atomicsockmonkey.com/freebies/di/pdq-core.pdf
Now to get some things out of the way:
Setting Player Expectations
You can have excellent players but the wrong kinds of characters. This is usually because players go into a game not knowing what the game is actually about or their missions/perceptions of what the game should and should not be are not in line with the GM's way of running the game. In fact, in some games it may become so detrimental that the GM and certain players will be in complete and total opposition, which causes the game to self-destruct in a prompt and messy fashion. Most of that can be avoided by keeping an open dialogue with the GM and other players.
To that end these are the following expectations of the players.
Communication - Players must be able to communicate with each other in game. While it is virtually impossible to prevent meta-gaming, especially in a play by post environment, as long as the players are talking to each other is what counts. This also means that players also must communicate their concerns to the GM in a constructive way and the GM listen to those concerns. Please do this and be clear and concise when you do.
Teamwork and You - This is a Competitive Sandbox style game, player characters can co-operate with one or act in opposition to one another based off their natures and alliances. Unlike any other multi-player game, the majority of the time will be spent working to increase the player's personal power base and accomplish goals. This can be accomplished through teamwork or other means. This game requires interaction with the other gods and is not meant to be played with your god barely interacting with the other characters.
Meta-game - Planning long term projects and sharing information outside of the game is fine, as long as player knowledge and character knowledge remain separate. Ideally all interactions would happen in game in order to allow people the opportunity to discuss what to do and act accordingly in character. The idea behind this is that players are mature enough to actually play through with what their character knows and is expected to know rather than what the player knows.
Post Quality - Players should be interacting with each other and the game world frequently and dynamically. This is not to say that posts should not be long or short, but they should be well thought out. Players should always stay abreast of what is going on and clarify the situation before posting something that doesn't make any sense to anybody else because a player misunderstood what is going on. All other standard conventions and rules still apply.
Note: Posts too long with little actual game content should be avoided. Most GMs don't want to have to read your novella just to learn, "I use +X to do a DC:Y action." But then, your post shouldn't be devoid of flavor. Hitting the sweet spot is important.
Post Frequency - This is at the GM's discretion, but people should post when the GM tells them to go post. If people have to take breaks, etc. then they can let the GM know what they're doing in "autopilot" while the game progresses forwards. All players should include their time zones (or if they change) so that the GM can properly regulate the flow of the game.
Acceptance - Things will happen in the game that may not always be what players want. Some decisions may be made which may anger or frustrate this players. Acknowledge that these things are going to happen but they are to service the game and to move the story forward - if there is really that serious of an issue over a decision that is made, then it can be brought up with the GM in private. If it's serious enough AND no common ground can be reached, the player will be gracefully removed from the game and a replacement will be hand-waved in as necessary.
The system for character generation and resolution is Prose Descriptive Qualities (PDQ).
Standardized Divine Qualities
One of the biggest problems about a game of this type is that people will often place their qualities into categories and then proceed to completely disregard them. There are also catch-all qualities that, when looked at by some players, would suggest that they pretty much may as well be used damn the consequences.
A Dominion(s) or Domain(s) [+X] - This is what composes your deity. This is their primary reason for being in existence, and is a broad category type of quality.
Domains / Dominions
This is your deity's realm of expertise. While all gods can use their relevant domains to modify this thing we call existence, they will find it more difficult to try and use their domain in a way which it wasn't intended. (Indeed they may find that their efforts may backfire completely.) The following is a listing of a few domain categories and domains. This by all means is not an all inclusive list! Some domains may even overlap such as the domain of "nature" and someone with a domain of "natural magic". Feel free to mix and match or come up with concepts of your own.
The following is a listing of a few off limits domains and concepts. This list has accumulated over many godgames and has proven problematic and detrimental to those games.
An example character given 6 ranks of points for a Domain and one rank as a drawback:
Black Gol; The Sculptor, Monsterfatherer
Patron of Artists and the Vengeful
In a small town nestled between emerald hills and sapphire streams, a young artist made his home. His medium was clay and the rivers of this quiet hamlet provided the perfect material for his work. Thanks to his patron, the artist had little to want for--he had good food, clean water, warm lodging with coin still left over for special occasions. All he needed, save for a wife. The muses may have been fine companions for his artistry, but a man of flesh and blood needs a lover of the same.
There was a fine girl that caught his eye, the daughter of a carpenter. As time passed, he grew fond of her, but before he could voice his desires, she was burned terribly in her father's shop. She once had many suitors, but after the accident, only Gol came to her. He spoke to her and gave her beautiful gifts. Those days brought him much joy, though he could feel his love's pain.
Gol endeavored to sculpt his masterwork, a bust of his fallen love, as she was before the accident. Into it, he poured his heart and soul and sweat and blood. His labors were rewarded with miracles as by virtue of his art, his love was restored to the full bloom of her beauty. It is a shame that her appearance was the only thing that changed
As soon as the sun and cool winds of the valley caressed her renewed face, she threw Gol away for another. In his rage and sorrow, he took a hammer to his masterwork and began to scuplt his next project. By morning, his former love and her new suitors wore the faces of terrible beasts to match the abominations of clay Gol had made during the night.
And so young lovers beware. Your flights of fancy may bring you brief pleasure, but take care who you hurt. Artists, take heed. Your sculptures and paintings have more power than you know--a careless mind is as dangerous as a careless hand. Ignore my warnings at your own peril, it is not I who will suffer when you draw Black Gol's wrathful eye.
Art [+4]: One of the few things that still bring joy to Gol's black, withered heart is art. Despite, or perhaps because of his temperament, he is the most popular god for artists.
Monsters [+4]: For every work of beauty Black Gol creates, in his rage for what he never had, so too he makes things of horror. The dark places of the world are infested with the spawn of his twisted imagination.
Vengeance [+4]: Where love turns to ashes and spite survives, Black Gol is moved to action.
[-2] Vengeful: While it is rarely wise to earn the ire of gods, Black Gol is a special case. Some deities may strike you dumb for speaking blasphemies. Black Gol would prefer to turn your tongue into a venomous snake. And then do the same to everyone who happens to be nearby.
A good domain description:
Death: There is an end to all that is living and it is the god of death, this domain ensures the natural end to all living things.
A bad domain description:
"The Cat Drops the Kettle in Hay": Being of the only living cats and last of the nine lives gives catgod the power over "The Cat Drops the Kettle in Hay" and "feet paws at the head of a sick man" (GM thoughts: wtf, is this death?)
Actions and difficulty:
Notes on Keywords:
Avatar: The physical form you manifest as. Some games may limit you to actions in an avatar state. Only assume one avatar at a time, but can be nearly anything.
Bless- A lasting positive action performed on a mortal or group of mortals.
Create Magic Item(Mortal scale) These act as D&D magic items. From everlasting chalk to a Handy Haversack to a tricked out Vorpal sword, even the most powerful of these cannot be used to harm gods except in extensively-discussed GM-sanctioned unlikely events.
Create Race(non sentient)- Whether it be large medium or small, please be pretty clear about it's form and habits. Carnivorous rabbits or beetles the size of a T-Rex for example.
Create Race(Sentient)- A mortal race roughly equivalent to humans in intelligence and ability. Take great care, as a god is only allowed 1 official patron race at a time.
Curse- A lasting negative action performed on a mortal or group of mortals.
Enchant: A sustained magical effect over an area. Break DC will always be 2 less than the DC used to create it. Can just be present or have a focal point like a physical object. Altering/Destroying an area by divine power falls under enchanting's header.
Forge Magic Item(Ranked 1-4): Through increasingly considerable costs and effort you forge a magic item capable of wielding a fraction of the power of the gods. Please think carefully about these.
Inspire- A lasting change to the way of thinking of a mortal or group of mortals. Teach actions fall under this Keyword in the absence of other mechanics to handle them.
Scry- To use divine senses and powers to search over an area.
Note: Please ask 1-4 clear, concise questions you hope to have answered by the scry.
Effortless: no roll, not counted as actions
-Conjure up a small quantity of anything
-Listen in on mortal prayers to you.
-Talk to someone(across any distance if known or scried or receive prayers from.)
-Talk to another god(across any distance)
-Take on a physical avatar.(Gods may only possess one avatar at a time)
Difficulty: 5 Local Action Cost: 1 AP
-Affect(Bless/Curse/Inspire) a single mortal for the term of their natural life
-Enchant/Scry an area the size of a large room.
-Create a trivial mortal-scale magic item.
-Identify a magic item in your possession
Difficulty: 7 Villiage Action Cost: 2 AP
-Affect(Bless/Curse/Inspire) a small group of mortals (less than 50) for life
-Enchant/Scry an area the size of a village or neighborhood.
-Create a group of trivial(10) or one heroic mortal item.
-Creating or altering a single nonsentient creature smaller than an elephant.
Difficulty: 9 Town Action Cost 3 AP
-Affect(Bless/Curse/Inspire) a large group of mortals(500) for life.
-Enchant/Scry an area the size of a town or small city
-Create a Paragon-equivalent mortal item.
-Creating or altering a one-off living creature bigger than a blue whale.
-Creating or altering a non-sentient species smaller than an elephant.
Difficulty: 11 Area Action Cost 4 AP
-Affect (Bless/Curse/Inspire) a very large group of mortals(2000) for life.
-Enchant/Scry an area the side of a Large City or a town and surrounding countryside.
-Create an Epic Mortal Item.
-Creating or altering a sentient species (Limit one per god.)
-Creating or altering a non-sentient species larger than an elephant.
-Grant transmittable immortality of a sort to a small group of mortals. (One strain per god)(eg vampires; immortality with a major instant-kill weakness, basically)
-Grant genuine immortality and invulnerability to a single mortal. They will gain the quality Immortal +0 as long as their god still lives. This does not include superpowers (eg the ability to break out of a prison cell) Nor are they immune to attack by other gods or mortals with ranked items.
Difficulty: 13 Regional Action Cost: 5 AP
-Affect (Bless/Curse/Inspire) a huge amount of mortals(5000) for the rest of their lives.
-Enchant/Scry an area of many towns or a metropolis or small Kingdom.
-Forge a +1 Magic Item
-Reforge a +1 Magic Item into a +2 Magic item(Same conditions as +2, failure will destroy the item)
*Note: All gods are aware of DC 15 and above actions.*
Difficulty: 15 Continental Action Cost: 6 AP
-Affect (Bless/Curse/Inspire) an entire race or civilization.
-Enchant/Scry a large area of the game world.
-Forge a +2 Magic item(see Item Forging)
-Turn a mortal or creature into a demigod [+2 Quality, -2 Drawback](Limit 4 Demigods per God, is NPC under GM's control.)
-Introduce a major change to the world's structure or its atmosphere without causing any lasting damage to the world (eg adding a new moon, new islands etc)
Difficulty: 17 World Action Cost: 7 AP
-Affect (Bless/Curse/Inspire) the entire world(Other players will likely take issue with this)
-Forge a +3 magic item (see Item Forging)
-Create or alter a sentient species vastly superior to a human (GM and player to agree on any bonus/es, eg immunity to disease, invulnerable to certain types of weapons etc)
Difficulty: 19 Planar Action Cost: 8 AP
-Change one of the rules of the universe across the entire world. This is likely to have a catastrophic effect.
-Enchant/Scry an area equal to the entire game world and attached realms.
-Forge a +4 Item(see Item Forging)
Note: Only 1 Ranked item may be forged per age by a player.
Forging a +1 Item (For example: Excalibur)
Easy to create a god merely forges it magically. Item can be destroyed by another god. Can also reforge a +1 item to a +2 with the same conditions(see below)
Forging a +2 Item (For example: The One Ring)
Item must be forged in an area where it may be destroyed. Gods can figure out where by identifying the magic item. Legends exist telling mortals where to do this as well. (Location cannot be out of reach of mortals)
Forging a +3 Item (For example: The Rod of 7 parts)
Sacrifice an entire race or continent to create. Cannot be destroyed.
Forging a +4 Item (For example: The Infinity Gauntlet)
Have part of a domain (+2) donated from a god, living or dead. Item cannot be destroyed, only imprisoned or placed beyond the reach of mortals and other gods.
AP (Action Points)
All gods will recieve 30 AP for the use of actions. At the start of each age the gods get a recharge. AP cannot be collected or banked.
MP (Mythic Points)
All gods receive 2 MP at the start of an age. Mythic points are intended for big, world-changing actions or dire situation last-ditch efforts in a style reflecting many other real-world and fictional-world mythologies.. Actions involving Mythic Points use half AP, rounded down. Mythic Actions are intended to enter the mythology of mortals and other lesser beings.
Worship and Power and YOU!
Mortal Worship will have no effect in the first age, but that can easily change in future ages.
For those of you who may have trouble making a god, I've made up a template to help you along.
-As normal, the difference of the attack roll minus the defense roll equals the number of ranks lost.
-However, you cannot be destroyed outright by the outcome of a single skirmish. Instead, should a PC be dropped to 0 ranks they will lose all of the AP in their pool(basically out of play until the next age), the winner can choose to either:
-subtract a rank from the loser(first instance would drop a god to +10, note that this lost rank will work as a prerequisite for a +4 magic item)
-confer an additional drawback(to be discussed with opposing party and GM. Example: in D&D histories Corellon wounding Gruumsh's eye).
-Attack/Defense for both sides will be resolved at the same time, so nobody has to jockey for attacking first. It will be possible for both sides to be reduced to +0, which I would find hilarious.
Imprisonment: Should a god run afoul of many others, if the opposition should so choose they can imprison the target in a demiplane(DC19 action, likely overwhelmed defender gets a free opposing roll or normal cost final action). This effectively ends a character's run and is kind of a big deal.
Mythic Points: Actions using mythic points are intended to be in the style of the myths of many world cultures. As such these posts should have some distinct effort and flavor to them as befits your god. This is not to say that they should be especially long or complicated, just well thought out and decently executed. Really good attempts will likely get an upshift. Really bad ones will get a downshift.
Interconnectivity: Should you choose to create a populated part of the game-world separate from a unified physical world(like the moon, as an obvious example) it must be accessible to mortals under some fairly regular conditions(examples: a crossing forms under certain repeating predictable natural conditions, or a stable entrance portal or magic door etc) To make mortals in an absolutely separate realm is to remove yourself from the game.
Update Schedule: I intend to have regular weekly updates on Sundays, and maybe supplementary ones on Wednesdays if time and player participation allow. Exception: Should you get into a godbattle, I will update for you to resolve that in a timely manner.
Participation: Due to problems I've had in the past I'm instituting this rule: players missing two consecutive weekly updates without any notice will be considered to have dropped. I'm not hunting you down. So if work or school or real life gets busy, let us know so we don't feel abandoned.
IRC- While not necessary, it does help.
It really helps to be in irc fairly often(we're in #escapistgods on Synirc), both to communicate with other players and have IC chats to speed things up should your schedules align. The absolute simplest way to do that is to click this link: http://webchat.synirc.net/, next to "Nickname" put your escapist username(preferably), and next to "Channel" type in "#escapistgods".