Looking Back

It’s the end of the year and that always brings with it some time to reflect on the year that has been.

2016 was our first full year of operation and we are glad to say it went much better than we could ever have hoped for. Much was planned and even more was done and it was all good.

So let’s see what did happen:

The Runed Age

Yes, technically, we did release The Runed Age in December 2015, but it is the story that started everything here at Stormforge Productions, so how could we leave it out? The Runed Age was, is, and always shall be our flagship product and it alone spawned everything else on this page, from the base rules of the Sigil System and GLYPH, to the Ruined Campaign and even the Journal of Array Design. It created us as much as we created it and we couldn’t be more proud of it when it reached the Silver Seller rank of DriveThruRPG, showing us that you love it just as much as we do.

The Journal of Array Design

While we were still planning and writing the first of the Ruined Campaign books, we released the first volume of the Journal of Array Design after quite a lot of you asked for a collection of the Magic Mondays arrays we post each week. We thought it was a fabulous idea (and we use it regularly with our own games) and now we are going to do a yearly volume to collect each week’s arrays for the year. So watch out for March 2017 because you’ll get the second volume then.

The Ruined City

And in June, we released the first official expansion book for The Runed Age. With a city as huge and grand as the Grand City of Middelburg, we knew it would take a colossal book just to cover everything inside it, so we decided to do four instead. We also knew that the city couldn’t be as grand as it ever was, and in the lethal tradition of the Runed Age, we knew the story we had to create had to be as brutal and dangerous as the world in which you play. We thought it worked pretty well, and this is only the first book!

The Sigil System and GLYPH

We were always going to be more than a one trick pony. The Runed Age is amazing, but we have more than that up our sleeve. So in September we released our core rules for free to show all the amazing things that can be done with it. Inside the Sigil System book is our rules and plans for five more awesome settings that we are always busy working on, and one of which you will see very soon! Over a thousand of you have downloaded the Sigil System and GLYPH, so if you have any comments, we would love to hear it.

The Ruined People

After the introduction of The Ruined City, you know had to be shown how dangerous the people itself were. After all, what is a roleplaying game if not about the interactions with others? So only two weeks ago we released our latest and greatest book: The Ruined People. The Ruined Man has revealed himself and now you know what you are facing. We won’t spoil any more of it, so just sit back and enjoy your time in Middelburg… while you can.

The year has been jammed packed and has kept us busy as can be, but looking back on it all, all the blood, sweat and tears were more than worth it. Expect more from us in the coming year and next week we’ll look ahead and see what the new year will bring!

Magic Mondays – Hellish Rebuke

Sometimes it’s not about the weapon used or the enemy fought; sometimes it’s just about sending a message.

This week we show you the Hellish Rebuke array.

Notation: Transmute, within an area 100 times greater than the array, Humans into Wood if Human Blood is present and apply the effect of a Created and Sustained Fire to Wood.

Class: Offensive

Description: At a quick glance, you might be forgiven for mistaken this array for the Sculptor. They both work in a fairly similar fashion and, unbeknown to most, they have share an origin in the old Western Neoist Empire. However, where the Sculptor was used to immortalise their emperors in stone, the Hellish Rebuke was used for its worse criminals.

In the Neoist faith, there is a specific punishment in the afterlife meted out to each type of sinner. For the violent and murderous among us, their punishment was to be turned into an olive tree and set alight for all eternity. The supposed irony of this punishment has been lost over the centuries, but not the method, and while there is no rune for olive trees, a simple wood rune suffices. From that time, and even today in the smaller towns and far flung villages, the KaĆ­ns (the Neoist priests and judges) would use the Hellish Rebuke on the murderers in their midst.

The array transmutes the human into wood before setting him on fire, and so it is completely painless. This is hardly a cruel punishment, and it was never meant as such. The Hellish Rebuke is not meant for the condemned prisoner, but for the audience instead. This means of execution is a warning to those watching, a vision of what awaits them in the afterlife should they too follow down the violent path. By the time the fire has completely consumed the wooden statue, the message has sunk deeply into the minds of the audience and for a while at least the towns and villages would be free of crime. For a while.

In Middelburg, however, no amount of dire warnings and extravagant means of execution can stop crime. It’s as much a part of the grand city as the bricks in its buildings. But it does serve well as a warning not to enter an area. Rather than a vision of eternal punishment, the Hellish Rebuke has become a grisly scarecrow used by the gangs of Middelburg to mark their territory. The few Neoists in the city has taken great umbrage at this, but the few who have tried to intervene merely became another burning effigy to the gangs’ bloodlust.

Even the footmen, ever practical as can be, have taken a liking to the Hellish Rebuke. Not as any sort of warning, be it territorial or eternal, but for the sheer shock value. Working in the dark as they often do, having a comrade suddenly become a burning wooden statue would go a long way to demoralise you, and the sudden bright fire would expose your position and reveal you to your enemies. All in all, being on the receiving end of a musket round engraved with this array is not a terribly good thing. The one doing the shooting, however, would be more than cheerful at seeing his results.

Want to put your arrays to good use? Use them in The Ruined People, the new campaign book released just this month. Click the image above and see what the arrays can do in the grand city of Middelburg.

Merry Christmas, now buy our stuff.

The year has come to an end and tis the season!

We here at Stormforge Productions want to wish you all the merriest of Christmasses and a prosperous year ahead. May the holiday season and the year to come bring you all that you hope for and all that you deserve.

While we may make jokes about our Ruined Man and his Ruined Christmas, we do sincerely wish you the best of times ahead. Christmas is a time of celebration, of joy, of reflection, of family and of friends and we hope you have all of these in abundance. The more we surround ourselves with that which is positive, the more positive our lives become, so take some time out from the busy world we live in with all its hustle and bustle, and make space and time to enjoy what this world has to offer in the company of those dearest to you. Renew old friendships, mend broken bridges, turn bitterness into peace and end this year on a loving note. Then when next year rolls around you will be refreshed and re-energised and know that the world, or at least your world, is a bit better off now than how it was.

And more than anything have a safe, comfortable and happy holiday season.

From all us here at Stormforge Productions,

Merry Christmas.

Now in saying all of that, it would be the capitalistic world we live in without a product plug at the end to entice you to spend money. If you still have stockings to stuff, presents to buy or just wish a little something for yourself this holiday, have a look at our Ruined Christmas bundle which puts all our Runed Age products together for only $15. Three game books, starting characters and all the magic you could want in one bundle.

Magic Mondays – Dark Folly

For Magic Mondays today we give you the power over life and death, but dare you use it?

This week we show you the Dark Folly array.

Notation: Contain Human and apply the effect of Inverted Time.

Class: Utility

Description: Conquest is no easy thing. The Westerners and Bythikans trying to colonise the southern continent have quickly found that out, while the Caels and Tolians have long since known that fact when dealing with the Uttosians. In a world where every man has access to the power of the gods, conquest and colonisation is a struggle at the best of days. When the Westerners discovered the southern continent they thought to find simple savages that they could do away with in a day or two. What they found instead were legions of the undead armed and armoured with the arrays and ready to fight. They may not have had the muskets and cannons of the Westerners and Bythikans, but they had the power of death itself.

And so for near on a century, Death and Conquest have waged war.

The Dark Folly is one of the few arrays brought back to the continent exactly as the dark southerners designed it. It was also the first array that gave the Jytohans the clue as to what the Invert rune actually did. As powerful as the Invert rune is, by affecting time it becomes perhaps the most powerful of all runes, because inverting time does exactly what it sounds like: it makes time run backwards.

Playing around with time is about as expensive as it gets when it comes to powering the arrays, and that is why it is so seldom done, but the southerners have found a way around this issue. They only invert time on and inside the human body targeted by this array. It is still costs more energy than turning a man to gold, but far less than inverting time entirely within the containment field.

The effect of this is that the human inside moves backwards and any wounds start to knit themselves as time flows backwards. Even musket and pistol rounds extract themselves as they are caught up inside this time distortion.

While you can use this to heal cuts and scrapes, the dark southerners use this to bring the dead back to life. That is why the containment field exist, because long after a battle has finished, the southern dead are collected and brought back behind safe lines where they are revived. Since time will flow backwards with this array, the dead would naturally move back to the battlefield before any wound closes, but with the containment field they are kept in place.

The result is that it is common practice for the southern kingdoms and empires to have legions they call “the Immortals”, consisting of men brought back to life more times than you’ve had hot meals. These men are killed time and time again, only to be brought back to life in a different place with no memory of the event. Their lives are spent cheaply, but with great effect against the Neoist and Bythikan conquests.

When the Jytohan forces discovered the use of this array, they were as appalled and disgusted as they were ready to use it. Militarily it is the most effective weapon one can have, but spiritually? Neoism, Prodigalism and Progenitorism all teach that the soul leaves the body upon death… so does it come back when the dead are revived? It is question for scholars and philosophers, but what can be said is that the few who have thus far been brought back (both soldiers on battlefields and footmen in Middelburg) were changed by the event. They are different now, more distant with less ties to friends and family.

To call them soulless may not merely be a metaphor.

Want to put your arrays to good use? Use them in The Ruined People, the new campaign book released just this month. Click the image above and see what the arrays can do in the grand city of Middelburg.

Stealth Mod Developer Journal #7

Hello everyone and welcome to our seventh dev journal about the Stealth Mod we are making for the Sigil System.

In our previous five journal we showed a quick example of the Stealth Mod rules in action and so today we are just going to wrap everything up. As such it should be fairly short blog today.

What changed

Overall, not a lot.

There were two big issues that folks brought up about the system. The first was that leaving the reduction of Awareness Levels mostly to time elapsing didn’t give the players a lot of agency. While there are the “narrative actions” that players can also take to reduce the Awareness Level, these are unknown variables that are completely contextual and so could not be planned for ahead of time. So we had a think about it and decided to use our current meta-currency (the Sigils) to help with this issue. So now along with time and narrative actions, you can also spend a Sigil to reduce the Awareness Level by 1 step. This solves the player agency problem, and it will also mean that players use (and therefore run out of) Sigils more often which allows for more GM-intrusions in the game, making everything a tad more exciting.

The other issue brought to our attention was one of granularity. For some readers, having ten steps on the Awareness Scale was a bit too much and they would have preferred a simpler and more vague approach. The Sigil System is all about granularity and working with things in groups of 10s so we couldn’t quite change the Stealth Mod to accommodate this, but there is a compromise to be had: the GLYPH system. GLYPH is already a scaled down and simplified version of the Sigil System and so we decided that we can just port over the Stealth Mod to GLYPH as well when we release it. GLYPH is a faster paced game so a 5 step Awareness Scale would go well with it. And, of course, we do enjoy having our cake and eating it too.

In short

So, to sum up the Stealth Mod: It all revolves around the Awareness Scale which is a reflection of the mood of the compound you are in. The higher the Awareness Level on the Scale, the worse it is for you and the NPCs in the compound will react to it and you. Failed Stealth Skill Checks and narrative actions make the Awareness Level go up; and time, narrative actions and spent Sigils (or Glyphs for GLYPH) make the Awareness Level go down. If the compound you are in is too big to handle, you can chop it up into manageable zones and any zone the players are not in will simply play catch up to the Awareness Level to the zone they are in.

And that’s it!

All we need to do now is rewrite all of these journals into something coherent, tidy and tart it all up and then we’ll have it up on DriveThruRPG for you absolutely free.

Until then, why not have a look at the campaign book we just released this week which takes place in The Runed Age, where the Sigil System comes from. Just click on the picture and enjoy!

The Ruined People is released!


We’re pleased to announce that The Ruined People campaign book is now on sale at DriveThruRPG!

So CLICK HERE to get the second chapter of the Ruined Man saga, delve back into the grand city of Middelburg and see what fresh horrors and tribulations await you!

And if you want to get everything all at once, you can get The Runed Age Corebook, the Ruined City and the Ruined People as well as the Ruined Souls starting characters and Array Journal all for just $15 with our Ruined Christmas bundle!

Magic Mondays – Second Wind

For Magic Mondays today we give you an array that will give you the time you need to defend yourself.

This week we show you the Second Wind array.

Notation: Slow, in an area in the shape of an Inverted Dome three times as wide as the array and ten times as long, Humans if Humans are present.

Class: Defence

Description: It seems that for every defensive array that exists, there are twenty or more offensive arrays. There are only so many ways you can stop something harming you, but a near infinite ways you can harm someone else. This array takes an interesting approach to defence, in that it doesn’t actually defend you per se, but gives you the time needed to defend yourself, or to strike before your opponent’s hit lands.

The Second Winds works quite simply: it slows the person attacking you, making them move at half normal speed, in the hopes that you can bring a weapon up in time to deflect the blow, or indeed it can give you the time to kill him before he lands his blow. It’s the how, rather than the what, that makes this array interesting.

The main focus around which this array works is the affecting rune (Slow) rather than the centrum as is the norm. This is because it is the shape of the effect the array creates which is all important. If you simply left out all the size and shape runes, then this array would slow all humans in front of it, with the more energy put into the array making the effect bigger and bigger. Not a bad thing in and of itself, but if you point the array the wrong way it can slow your allies or even part of your own body that is over the area of effect.

So instead, with the help of the Invert rune, this creates a dome (with the tip of the dome in the centre of the array) that stretches out away from you. This gives you some room to move around the edges of the array as the area of effect curves away from you towards your enemy. It also allows you to be specific in who you want to target and so if there are a few enemies you (and perhaps some allies) are fighting, you can pinpoint which enemy to target and help the battle speed along.

Also take note of how the Circle rune works here. Normally it creates a flat disk, and with the size runes attached to it, it would have created a cylinder three times as wide as the array and ten times as long, but because it is attached to the Contain rune, it actually stretches the dome to fit into that space. In effect, this conglomeration of size and shape runes creates a round cone with its top on the centrum.

It also should come as no surprise that this array should probably not be put on your clothing and armour your movement would invariably cause some part of your body to cross the field of the array’s effects. Keep this array to shields and bucklers that you can keep away from yourself. Or if you are feeling paranoid, keep this array on your back and you won’t have to worry about getting backstabbed anymore.

If you want to get more arrays and incantations, check out our Journal of Array Design over on DriveThruRPG, now also available as a deck of magic cards.

Stealth Mod Developer Journal #6

Hello everyone and welcome to our sixth dev journal about the Stealth Mod we are making for the Sigil System.

In our previous five journal we have covered all the important mechanics in the Stealth Mod and so this journal will give an example of play using these rules.

Stealth in Action

The Scenario

It’s the roaring twenties and, on the upper east coast of the USA, the Italian mafia has its claws sunk into anything and everything they can get their hands on, including booze. Two young and brave entrepreneurial lads (Jack and Bucky) have decided to break into one of the mafia’s warehouse and steal some crates to sell and make themselves a tidy profit. The warehouse is guarded, however, and these mafia thugs aren’t liable to play nice with anyone they find snooping around.

The Game

It’s the dead of night and Jack and Bucky, dressed all in black (or as close as makes no difference) and with scarves around their faces, have decided tonight is the night they get rich. They’ve circled around the warehouse and have seen that there are only two entrances: the larger doors at the front where trucks pull up to load and unload and a small side door near the rear of the building, both of which have mafia goons hanging around. There are windows, but they are small and almost touching the roof, so it will be a long climb to get up there, and anyone can walk by and look up.

Jack decides that a distraction is their best bet. More dangerous, but if they keep quiet it should all work out well. So while Bucky waits around the corner from the warehouse’s side door, Jack skulks towards a car a street over, uses a knife to jimmy open the gas tank’s cover, rips a bit of his shirt off, stuffs it in there, and then he uses his lighter to make sure it catches fire.

The GM all lets this happen since it’s far enough away from the warehouse to not have been perceptible by the mafia thugs, and it’s too late at night for anyone to be wandering about this neighbourhood. He does however make Jack roll athletics to see if he can get back to Bucky before the flame reaches the gas in the car, which Jack succeeds on.

Jack just reaches Bucky before the car explodes and lights up the night. Exclamations are heard from the thugs and the thieves hear one of them tell the others to go find out what’s going on. Three thugs, including the two at the side door leaves to investigate. The GM tells the players that the Awareness Level is now at Level 3.

The door is open and the players slip into the darkened warehouse, succeeding on an easy Stealth Skill Check to see if they are noticed.

The only light inside is coming through the windows and so the warehouse is streaked with shadows. The players hear more thugs inside and a successful Perception Skill Check tells them that they just broke up a poker game on the far side of the warehouse with their explosion. The thugs are now on foot and restless.

Around the players are just cases of beer, cheap stuff that won’t make them much of a profit. They need to go hunt for the strong liquors in here. They decide to split up and both roll Investigation Skill Checks. Neither succeeds, it seems their eyes haven’t adjusted to the dark quite yet, but there is more warehouse still left to search. However, they aren’t the only ones here, so the GM has them do a Stealth Skill Check to make sure they haven’t been spotted. Unfortunately for Bucky, he failed by 16 and so he was seen for just a second by one of the goons walking around.

After a “hey, who’s there” and “who the hell are you talking to, Jim” and a “I just saw someone over there”, the goons are now properly on edge. This is not the night they were expecting. The GM says the the Awareness Level is now at Level 4.

The players know what this means: Paranoia. They know that it will take a good 20 odd minutes to subside. For their characters, they feel the tension in the air and can hear this paranoia in their voices and know it’s suddenly not safe anymore. They decide to hide, but 20 minutes is a long time and a lot can happen, so Jack spends a Sigil to lower the Awareness by 1 Level. Level 3 is easier to deal with and only 10 minutes long.

Jack and Bucky hear a goon say “you’re seeing ghosts again, Jim” and “I’m not, I swear I saw someone” and finally “well then go look yourself, we’ll right here, you meathead”. A Perception Skill Check reveals to them that the rest of the goons have gone back to their poker game, but Jim is determined to see what’s what. Jack and Bucky regroup and try to find their liquor once again. Both were successful on their Stealth Skill Checks from Jim, and on their Investigation Skill Checks.

They found a heavy case of liquor, but now they have to get it out. The GM tells them the Awareness Level has dropped to Level 2 and Jim has decided to set up post where he heard Bucky last. The players are feeling confident so they each spend another Sigil to drop the Awareness Level to 0. Jim goes back to his poker game shamefaced and everything outside becomes quiet. The players decide to take their time with the heavy case and move as slowly as possible with it back to the side door.

An easy Skill Check later and they are back at the side door with the poker players none the wiser. The only problem now is that they are hearing voices on the other side of the door. The players had forgotten that with the Awareness dropping back to Level 0, they guards would naturally return to their posts after having sorted out their concerns. They are now stuck in the warehouse.

But this is America and Bucky has always enjoyed the vague wording of the second amendment. He pulls out a revolver and the players decide that they’ll simply shoot the guards and make a run for it. Either that or wait here. Jack rolls a Stealth Skill Check to open the door slowly and quietly for Bucky (ready and aiming), but fails miserably and the squeaking reverberates through warehouse, raising the Awareness to Level 3 again. The door opens and Bucky at the goons locks eyes before Bucky fires, hitting him the in the gut and the other goon in the arm as he tries to dodge.

It takes all six rounds in quick succession before the two goons are no more, but by then Jack and Bucky can already here every other thug in and around the warehouse running towards them, shouting and presumably drawing their own weapons. They make a run for it, but with the heavy case between them, the penalties on their Athletic Skill Checks are too severe and they don’t even make it a 100 yards before they hear gun shots behind them and see the ricochets off the cars, building and streets ahead of them.

There are far more goons than they can handle, especially now that Bucky is out of ammo. They come to the unfortunate conclusion that this isn’t a fight they can win, so they drop the case of liquor and run away as fast as they can. They walk away empty handed tonight, but at least they are alive. But the mafia will now be looking for two thieves around here, and who knows, perhaps they’ll run into the goons again one day.

Next time

And that’s all folks! The entire Stealth Mod done. Next time we’ll just do a wrap up, talk about the things that did indeed change over the course of these journals (like using Sigils to lower Awareness) and answer any questions you throw at us between now and then.

One week to release!

Only one more week to go until The Ruined People is released on DriveThruRPG.com! You will be able to find it on our little part of DriveThru, and you can CLICK HERE to have a look at what else we have on offer until next week!

And if you’ve been looking for something to stuff digital Christmas stockings this year, then we have just the Ruined Christmas for you.

Along with the release of the Ruined People next week, we will also be making a bundle of our Runed Age products for only $15. The bundle will include The Runed Age corebook, The Ruined City campaign book, The Ruined People campaign book, as well as The Ruined Souls premade characters and the Runic Array Journal to get you started on your own runed journey.

Magic Mondays – Courteous Umbrella

For Magic Mondays today we give you an array to keep you high and dry during stormy days.

This week we show you the Courteous Umbrella array.

Notation: Create a Containment Field in the shape of a Half-Sphere 100 times larger than the array that excludes Water if Water occupies the same space.

Class: Utility

Description: A common theme among the runic arrays, especially so in the Runed Age’s grand city of Middelburg, is that is is not the array itself which is remarkable, nor the effects it creates. Rather it is the use of the array that makes it remarkable; the way that it is blended with technology in order to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

The Courteous Umbrella is a stellar example of this.

At first glance, it is an entirely unremarkable and mundane array that simply acts as an umbrella normally would, by preventing you getting wet in the rain. At best, from just looking at this array, it is a very convenient array as the If-Then statement means it activates automatically should it detect water.

But when you think about, really think about it, that’s when it becomes remarkable.

Because it is a simple drawing, it isn’t actually an umbrella, it replaces an umbrella. You don’t need to lug around an umbrella wherever you go in the hopes of one day needing it only to not carry it with you when it does start raining. You can inscribe this array on the top or bottom of a walking stick and simply hold it up when it starts to rain. You can put this small array on your hat and never again have to think about it or even worry about rain. If you aren’t a hat person, then simply put the array on the shoulders of your shirts and jackets and it will still work the same. Wanting to open up a small cafe outside? Just put this array in the centre of any table and your customers would never get wet while enjoying a romantic rainy day coffee.

And then of course there is a reason this is called the “courteous” umbrella. In a crowded city like Middelburg, on the rare times the city’s government allows it to rain, can you imagine how even more crowded it would become when a million people start opening umbrellas in those narrow streets? You won’t be able to even move for lack of trying. But with this array, that same crowd will move as if it was a sunny day and with all the overlapping containment fields from all the arrays, the streets would barely even get wet.

Remember that arrays are not just for combat, they can be useful in even the most mundane of situations.

If you want to get more arrays and incantations, check out our Journal of Array Design over on DriveThruRPG, now also available as a deck of magic cards.

Stealth Mod Developer Journal #5

Hello everyone and welcome to our fifth dev journal about the Stealth Mod we are making for the Sigil System.

Thus far in our dev journals we have shown you what “compound stealth” is, what the Awareness Scale is and how it works, and how to increase and decrease your Awareness Levels.

So there is really only one thing left. This dev journal will talk all about Zones.

Compounds

All the way back in our first dev journal we talked about what a compound is and how this Stealth Mod and the Awareness Scale is completely focused on the compound and how it reacts to your presence rather than the individuals within it. Failing on a Stealth Skill Check against an individual enemy does not necessarily mean that the compound’s Awareness Level will increase, and similarly succeeding on a Stealth Skill Check against an individual enemy does not necessarily mean that the compound’s Awareness Level won’t increase.

In our second dev journal, we mentioned that a compound can be of any size that the GM wants, and while this is true there is a stark difference in how your actions affect the mood, perception and awareness of enemies inside a single, simple three bedroom house and a spacefaring battleship 1km across. Having the same actions create the same effect on both of these compounds’ Awareness Levels is more than just a bit unrealistic.

For that then, we have zones!

Zones

Zones are simple: they are compounds within compounds. They are how you can split up your large compounds in manageable bits so you don’t have to worry about how someone 200 meters is reacting your players’ actions.

Let’s say that you have an entire royal castle, or 20 story skyscraper, or the aforementioned spacefaring battleship as your compound that your players will skulk through. Each is too large to be manageable, so instead for the royal castle you could have each level, wing and tower be its own zone, for the skyscraper each floor could be its own zone and each section of the battleship could be its own section.

While this may at first seem like a lot of bookwork and keeping notes, you can easily handle it by just keeping a rough idea in your head of the zones immediately surrounding the one the players are currently in. The players won’t be able to directly influence any zone they are not currently in, so you only really need to keep score of the zone they are in and from that you can infer the Awareness Level of the surrounding zones.

And speaking of that:

Increasing and decreasing Awareness in non-active Zones

It’s a mouthful of a subheading, but that’s because this section will be easy and quick. Non-active zones, ie. zones that the players are not currently in, increase and decrease their Awareness Levels based on the zone that the players are currently in. Over time, non-active zones will acclimate to the Awareness Level of those nearer to where the players is.

Decreasing Awareness is easy, it ticks down over time just like normal until it reaches the Awareness Level of the zone the players are currently in.

Increasing Awareness in non-active zones also works through time as the players do not have any direct effect in those zones. To increase non-active zones’ Awareness Level, simply flip the time table from last time’s dev journal upside down and that’s the time it takes for them to tick up to the Awareness Level of the players’ zone. The only difference here is that the time it takes to go up an Awareness Level does not stack. So to get to Level 3, it doesn’t first take 10 hours to get to Level 1, 5 hours to get to Level 2 and then 3 hours to Level 3. You can skip straight to Level 3. So if the players get their zone up to Level 10, it only takes 1 minute for adjacent zones to rocket all the way up there.

The reason for this inversed time tracker is that it simulates how at lower levels, there is not a lot of concrete proof that there is anything amiss. It is mostly just a feeling and so the adjacent zones might not be overly troubled, or even hear about, activity that could be dozens of metres away from them through several stout walls. It will take awhile for word to reach them, or for the general feeling of unease to spread to them. At higher levels of course, there is much more activity in the zones and thus word of what is happening will spread more quickly.

Now you might be thinking “what if the Awareness Level of the active zone increases midway through the adjacent zones’ time to increase has passed?” Well that’s simple, if for example the Awareness in the active zone goes from Level 1 to 2 while there is only 1 hour left for the non-active zones to get to Level 1, they don’t take an additional 8 hours to increase. You simply use whichever time is less.

The narrative caveat

Another reason why you don’t have to worry too much about keeping score about every single zone is because a single narrative action by the players could upset the entire compound and all its zones. They could place a bomb in one zone and it could explode while they are ten zones over. The players might be in a compound with video surveillance and so the security knows what is going on in every zone and they all increase by the same amount, or you might have an important NPC as an enemy and he is just too cowardly and runs off an tells everyone in the compound about the players.

The smallest narrative action can change everything, so keep an eye on the time of the adjacent zones, but don’t worry about an area that might as well be a million miles away.

And that’s it folks, that’s all the mechanics for the Stealth Mod! Next time we will take you through an example of playing in the Stealth Mod! So stay tuned.