Runed Age Dev Journal 9

For this week’s Dev Journal, we’re showing off something that technically is completely part of the Runed Age, but will also be its own thing. Cheekily having our cake and eating it too.

The Enchiridion Sigillum

Literally meaning the Handbook of Symbols, the Enchiridion will be a book we publish alongside the Runed Age update. It will contain all the updated rules for designing and drawing runic arrays, a full list of all the runes we’ve ever made and their uses, as well as all the runic arrays ever put in this blog and the Journals of Runic Array Design.

In short, it will be the complete book of runic magic, with everything you need to know about how to design them, draw them, read them and understand them.

Standalone book

Everything about the runes from the Runed Age will be in here, and also all the incantations as well that we’ve made, so it goes a wee bit beyond the Runed Age in its current form or the update. What the Enchiridion definitely will not have is any game mechanics, so it will be completely and utterly system-neutral. Much like the Journals of Array Design, the Enchiridion will be entirely focused on how the magic works in fiction, rather than in the game. This means that you’ll be able to use the ideas in the Enchiridion in any other game set with runic magic, enchantments and wizardry. Of course, any Sigil System game would be well placed to use the Enchiridion.

WIP Sneak Peek

If you’re keen to see what the WIP document of the Enchiridion looks like, head on over to our Discord Server where we talk quite a bit about it, or CLICK HERE to see the version we made when this post was written.


And while we are busy with The Runed Age, you can have your say about what we should work on afterwards by filling out this little survey.

Runed Age Dev Journal 8

On the last Dev Journal we showed you the new tweak we made the runic magic rules. For this Dev Journal, we’re showing off what your character can do when they are not being professional criminals for the Merchant League.

Downtime

Not every moment of your character’s life will be spent sneaking around places they’re not supposed to be, taking things that don’t belong to them, killing people who get in the way of the first two, and in general being up to no good. They’ll need time to rest, recuperate, relax, or get back to their regular lives. That’s what Downtime is all about, seeing what your characters do on their days “off camera”. Down time is also a good way to “park” a character for a bit if you want to change out characters. One can be spending his time “off camera” while you take a new one out for a spin.

Downtime is split into three main parts: Work, Live, Play. Each part pretty much does what it says (and we’ll dive into them below), but there is a key thing that happens at the end of Downtime: paying the bill. Nothing in life comes for free, and you’ll need to pay for whatever you do on your Downtime.

At the end of it, paying the bill comes down to a Wealth Check with a modifier based on your lifestyle, but will be the only modifier. There is so much that can be done during Downtime, that we could drown you in modifiers to your roll. We’re not gonna do that. Instead, everything that happens during Downtime will give you either a Bonus Reroll or a Penalty Reroll. A Bonus Reroll means you reroll the Wealth Check and you choose the best result; and a Penalty Reroll means you reroll the Wealth Check but you must choose the worst result. Bonuses and Penalties cancel each other out, so when it comes time to pay the bill, you’re either gonna be left with just Bonus Rerolls, none at all, or just Penalty Rerolls.

It’s a quick and easy way to track your “spending” during Downtime, and so now let’s see all the things you can get up to.

Work

Nothing in life is free, and for most of us, the way to make money is to work. During Downtime, your character can find a job, or go back to theirs and work like the rest of us plebs.

To look for a job, you’ll need to pass a Skill Check. If you pass, you can do that job for the Downtime. If you fail, however, you need to go look for another career. You can only attempt each job once per Downtime, and if you fail, you’ll get a -10 modifier to the next job-hunting Skill Check you do. If you already have a job from your background or a previous Downtime, you can just go straight back to it without having to do a Skill Check. And if you can’t find a job, or don’t want one, you can be a vagrant for the Downtime and get a Penalty Reroll to your Wealth Check at the end.

Here’s the list of Skills and what jobs you can get if you pass their Checks.

SkillsCareers
AthleticsChimney Sweep, Entertainer, Labourer, Messenger, Gardener
Broad-CraftArtisan, Carpenter, Cobbler, Farrier, Mason, Smith, Wheelwright, Cobbler
BurglaryFootman, Locksmith, Tailor
ConstitutionBrewer, Fishmonger, Labourer, Mason, Sailor, Tanner, Smith
DeceiveArtist, Butcher, Civil Official, Entertainer, Grocer, Office Clerk, Trader
DiplomacyBarber, Barkeep, Coachman, Entertainer, Fishmonger, Grocer, Law Clerk, Printer, Trader, Retainer
DriveCoachman, Farrier, Messenger, Sailor, Wheelwright
FightBarber, Bodyguard, Butcher, Constable
Fine-CraftApothecary, Artisan, Artist, Brewer, Cook, Jeweller, Locksmith, Runescribe, Tailor
IntuitionBarkeep, Clergy, Fisher, Scholar, Farrier, Cook, Retainer, Artist
IntimidateBarkeep, Bodyguard, Civil Official
InvestigateFisher, Gardener, Messenger, Runescribe, Scholar, Constable
LogicApothecary, Clergy, Law Clerk, Office Clerk, Printer, Runescribe, Scholar
LuckBrewer, Chimney Sweep, Cook, Fisher
MightCarpenter, Labourer, Mason, Sailor, Smith, Wheelwright
PerceptionArtisan, Barber, Carpenter, Coachman, Jeweller, Locksmith, Tailor, Cobbler
ShootBodyguard, Constable, Footman
StealthChimney Sweep, Footman, Gardener, Tanner, Retainer
WealthApothecary, Civil Official, Jeweller, Law Clerk, Office Clerk, Printer, Trader
WillClergy, Fishmonger, Grocer, Butcher, Tanner

When you’re in a job, you can also make another Skill Check for the Downtime to see how well you are performing at your work. Pass this second Check and you’ll get a Bonus reroll to your Wealth Check at the end.

Live

It’s the quickest and easiest part of Downtime, and it says what sort of level of lifestyle you have. How rich or poor are you living? The answer to that will determine the modifier you’ll get to your Wealth Check at the end.

Lifestyle Modifier
Homeless
Subsistence60
Poor45
Average30
Comfortable15
Wealthy0
Lavish-15
Opulent-30
Decadent-45
Kingly-60

There are also things that can get you rerolls. If you have dependants living with you, you’ll get a Penalty Reroll, but if you have another breadwinner in the house then that’s a Bonus Reroll.

Each Downtime you can also choose to increase or decrease your standard of living. Increasing means a Penalty Reroll for that Downtime, while decreasing is a Bonus Reroll (on top of the change in modifier).

Play

This is where you get to unwind and enjoy yourself. Well, maybe. You can always choose not to do any activities for the Downtime and just focus on more work instead, which will net you a Bonus Reroll.

There are 10 broad categories of activities that you can partake in during Downtime, and each will have it’s own quirks and special rules (that will be fully explored in the book), and some will give you Bonus Rerolls or Penalty Rerolls; some will give you other types of rewards or misfortunes that could carry over into the next adventure as well.

Your level of lifestyle will also affect many of the activities you participate in. Going socialising with the upper-crust of society is clearly different type of party than slumming it in the… well… slums. Your lifestyle will add flavour to your activities, but it could also unlock some extra tidbits as well.

  • Craft: Start, or continue on, a project.
    • The GM will give you a target number to reach, and the first digit of each successful Broad/Fine-Craft Skill Check will contribute to reaching this target. The more complex the project, the larger the target number.
  • Gamble: Try and make some easy money.
    • Roll a d100 to set a target and then roll another d100 to see if you can get lower than the target number. If you succeed, the first digit of your result is the number of Bonus Rerolls you get, but if you fail, the first digit of the total by which you failed is the number of Penalty Rerolls you get. You’ll also get positive/negative modifiers to your next adventure’s Wealth Checks.
  • Relationship: Work on a personal, social, or business relationship
    • You can try and ingratiate yourself with a faction, go looking for love, take care of your family, or try and get a business partnership settled. Like the Craft Project, your GM will give you a target number to reach, and your Social Skill checks will help or hinder you to this goal. Each step along the way will make your relationship stronger.
  • Research: Find out more about a topic.
    • Knowledge is power, and a Logic, Investigate or Intuition Check and some time will get you more about both. You can be looking for new runic array designs, maps and blueprints to locations, or history of a person you’re investigating.
  • Rest: Good old R&R
    • Sometimes you just need to kick back and relax for a while. The world is a chaotic place and you need to get away from it for a bit. Resting will help heal wounds (both physical and mental) quicker, so if you really need to recuperate, just rest for a while.
  • Scout: Go far afield to a new place.
    • Scouting is the physical counterpart to Research. It’s about actually going somewhere you haven’t before to find something out. This can be as mundane as a nice holiday, or more nefarious like checking out the next place to rob.
  • Shopping: Buying and selling.
    • Who doesn’t like a shopping trip? Work with your GM as to what exactly you want to buy and he’ll give you modifiers to a Wealth Skill Check that you’ll need to beat. You can always choose to take Penalty Rerolls to make that Check easier. In the reverse, if you want to sell, you’ll need to beat a Social Skill Check and if you do you’ll get some Bonus Rerolls.
  • Socialise: Get out and about with your friends.
    • Or get out and about with new friends. Here you can recover some energy from your latest adventure, make new friends that you can then use a Relationship activity to strengthen that friendship.
  • Train: get better at a Skill
    • Probably the most straightforward of all the activities. You choose a Skill to get better at, roll a Skill Check and (hopefully) get better at it. You can also take a Penalty Reroll to find a mentor to help you, and this will make your Skill Check easier or get you more EXP in that Skill.
  • Tutor: Teach another character to be as cool as you
    • The exact opposite to Train. Here you can help another character get better at something that you are good at. This can be another player’s character, a friendly NPC, or perhaps your character’s family and heir (that you can play as if something happens to your character).

Paying the bill

Now that you’ve done everything you could or wanted, it’s time to pay the bill. So tally up your rerolls, get your Modifier from your Lifestyle, and roll that Wealth Check. If you pass, then all is well. If you fail, well then you have a choice.

You can go broke, which means the number by which you failed becomes a negative modifier to all your Wealth Checks for the next session of gaming, and your Lifestyle gets forced down by one for the next Downtime. Or you can go into debt, which means nothing bad happens now, but eventually you’ll have to pay up alongside the interest. Who knows, maybe a determined debt collector might show up in an adventure or mission a few sessions from now.


And while we are busy with The Runed Age, you can have your say about what we should work on afterwards by filling out this little survey.

Runed Age Dev Journal 7

On the last Dev Journal we showed you how to arm your PCs with the very best weapons Middelburg has to offer. For this Dev Journal, we’re showing a change to the most crucial part of the Runed Age: the runic magic rules.

If-Or

Well, when we say “change”, it’s more of an addition. None of the old runic magic rules will change, and no runic array will become obsolete. What we’ve added here is an extra rule that will make your life easier when designing a runic array, and give you more flexibility in how you draw them.

What better way to start than with an example:

On the left here you can see the original Furnace Fist runic array, and the thing that set it apart was how it showed that if you wanted to say Do X if Y or Z, you’d have to draw each IF part separately, since there was never a way to do IF-OR on a single branch of the runic array.

Well, as you can see, now there is. On the right you have the new Furnace Fist and the new bit being added to the rules of the runic arrays: the placeholder locus. This empty locus simply says any of these things CAN fit in here IF they are present. So in this way, you can now say Do X if Y or Z and keep everything on the same branch.

The old Furnace Fist’s notation looks like this: Create Fire if Animal is present, create Fire if Iron is present, create Fire if Stone is present, create Fire if Wood is present.

The new Furnace Fist’s notation with the placeholder locus looks like this: Create Fire if Animal, Iron, Stone or Wood is present.

Now isn’t that just so much more tidy? This new way cuts out a lot of duplication that needs to be done in the old way. Furnace Fist might just have one affecting rune (Create), but imagine if you wanted to link 5 affecting runes through that one branch, and modify them all? You’d have to draw the same thing for each branch, meaning 20 runes plus all the modifications to them all.

So not only will it save you time and patience, but it will also save you space and not clog up the whole runic array with duplicated drawings.


And while we are busy with The Runed Age, you can have your say about what we should work on afterwards by filling out this little survey.

Enforcer 0.3 update

Enforcer is now at Version 0.3!

Since the last update came out, we’ve been busy little beavers, so there’s quite a bit in this update for you.

Art

Look at those lovely new pieces made by the awesome Pat Callahan. The first three of the exemplar characters have received their art, and this is only the first step. All the money that comes in from Enforcer’s Early Access will go straight towards putting in as much art into the book as humanly possible, so expect to see much more art in future updates!

Augments

Sometimes the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. For those times, that’s when you need some cybernetic augmentation, and that’s exactly what we brought in this update. Augments work just like Perks in the game, but instead of having to wait to get them through experience, you can just buy them. Upgrade your Enforcers to make them more than they were, but becoming a machine comes with its own risks.

Extra Psionic Powers

You know what’s great? Psionic powers. You know what’s better? More psionic powers.  

Psionic Feedback

We’ve expanded the psionic feedback table to give you 25 frightening things that can happen if you are unlucky when rolling a Psionic Check. These feedback options are also more flavourful than just giving character a status effect. 

Minion Squads

Minions are wonderful and adorable little things, and we’ve now put them together into their own little groups. If you are in need of some quick opposition in your games, you can now grab a premade Minion Squad from the list and go to town. 

Costs

It’s the eternal balancing act, making sure everything is costed properly, and to that end we’ve changed how all the things in Enforcer is costed.


If you haven’t gotten Enforcer yet, you can grab it now by CLICKING HERE!


Enforcer is still in Early Access. This means that everything you need to play Enforcer is here, but it is not 100% finished. The main reason for the Early Access is to get funding for the art. Every dollar you spend on Enforcer is a dollar we give to an artist to make Enforcer look better. While the art is being worked on, we’ll keep polishing up the rules and increasing the lore. Everyone who gets Enforcer in the Early Access stage will get the full digital release for free, and we will also give you the final printed version at cost price.


If you want to know more about Enforcer, then come chat with other players and the developers on our Discord server!

Entropy Preview: the Etsyon

In the last Entropy Preview, Charly showed us what humanity looks like in the future. This time, we see the first alien species revealed for Entropy: the Etsyon.


The Etsyon is a large race of super-evolved mammals. They outlived almost all other species which came before the Cosmic Exchange, but they remained remarkably stagnant in their way of thinking and practice. They were tranquil until they were disturbed and forced to mingle with the other species, corrupting their neutrality and millennia of traditions.

An Etsyon Assassin

The Etsyons used to spend years in meditation and self-empowerment and purpose. However, since they met with the many species, they strayed away from their root and became much more open to new ideas. Living calmly on their homeworld, in the Crystom system, they train their incredible psionic powers and now share their way of life, as well as adopting a more outgoing stance, and sometimes adopt wrong examples to the letter.

An Etsyon Occultist

Their origin is mired in mystery, but since they took a taste of the galactic life and even the downtown lifestyle which some other species’ capital provides, they are now spread all around space at the dismay of the Etsyon Sages, which are traditionalists purists.

An Etyson Sage

If you want to know more about Entropy then join our Discord server, and chat with Charly the dev himself.

Runed Age Dev Journal 6

On the last Dev Journal we looked at getting your characters some friends and making new acquaintances in the grand city. For this Dev Journal, however, we’re bringing some well deserved violence to the streets of Middelburg.

Weapon Classes

In the Runed Age 1.0, weapons don’t exist, at least not mechanically. There’s no real rules for using different types of weapons (outside a quick mention in the Ruined People adventure book). The Sigil System changed that by introducing Weapon Classes, and by Classes I mean “weight classes”

The Weight of a Weapon

All weapons, ranged and melee, come in one of three different weight classes: Light, Medium, and Heavy. These weight classes give the weapons a Damage Modifier which is applied after you hit an opponent (at the same time that Armour Modifiers have always been applied), with Light weapons giving a +10 Modifier, Medium a +20, and unsurprisingly Heavy weapons give a +30 Modifier. Since the damage threshold for a Significant Wound is 20, using a Medium weapon means you will always at least give an opponent a Significant Wound each time you hit them. With a Heavy weapon, you only need to beat your opponent’s roll by 20 to give them a Grievous Wound.

So the short of it is that the heavier a weapon, the more damage it deals once it hits.

Working out those Melee Muscles

While melee and ranged weapons both use the same Weight system, melee weapons also give you a negative modifier to your Fight Skill Check to see if you will even hit the opponent, and just like the Weight Classes, the heavier a weapon, the bigger the modifier and the less likely you are to hit someone with it. The negative modifier these weapons give you is half their damage modifier, so -5 for Light, -10 for Medium, -15 for Heavy.

So heavier weapons are harder to hit someone with, but if you do hit them, they most likely won’t be coming back for seconds.

Range Bands

Where melee weapons get there negative modifiers, ranged weapons get Ranged Bands. Unlike the melee negative modifiers, the Ranged Bands are not tied to the weapon’s Weight Class, and are independently applied to the weapon. Ranged Bands don’t give any modifiers to a Shoot Skill Check, but instead they limit how far away you can actually hit someone with the weapon.

In short: you can only roll a Shoot Skill Check to hit someone if they are within your weapon’s Ranged Band or closer. Easy enough, right?

There are four Ranged Bands, but their distances aren’t fixed or defined in detail. Instead they are narrative ranges that can be different for different scenes and encounters.

Close: melee range. If you can hit something with a stick then they are within Close range.

Near: from a few meters away up to a couple of dozen meters. This is the range at which pistols and thrown objects will accurately hit their target. Anywhere in a room, decently sized house or equivalent is in Near range.

Medium: most of the way across a football field, Medium range requires a people to shout to be heard and good sized weapons to hit something.

Far: from the far end of a football field to easily twice that distance. You need a telescope to properly see further than this.


And that’s the new weapon stats for the new Runed Age. Weapons will now hit harder, but will have some limitations to getting that good hit in. In the final book you will get some examples of all sorts of weapons that fit into each weight and ranged category as well, so you’ll easily be able to pick out the right weapon for your characters.


And while we are busy with The Runed Age, you can have your say about what we should work on afterwards by filling out this little survey.

Runed Age Dev Journal 5

On the last Dev Journal we looked at what the new rules for using runic arrays will be like. For this Journal, we’re taking something old and turning it into something new.

Contacts System

For those of you that have played the Sigil System, you’ll be more than familiar with the Contacts system, that gives you some concrete game mechanics to represent your network of NPC contacts in your campaign, and how to get the most out of them. We’ve taken that, updated it, and we’re putting it into the new Runed Age.

As the saying goes: “it’s not what you know, but who you know”; and this might as well be a law of physics in the city of Middelburg. In the Runed Age, you play as a professional criminal, so it makes sense that you will need a network of informers, fences, dealers, wheelers, corrupt constables and everyone in-between that will free you up to commit all the crimes you need.

Contact Skills

Each contact has two Skills: Influence and Aptitude, and like a PC’s Skills, they run from 0 to 100. Influence represents how close a relationship you have with your contact, while Aptitude shows how good the contact is at whatever it is he does.

Influence

When you want a contact to do something, you first need to see if they have the time/energy/patience/or just plain old like you enough to do what you want. This is where the Influence Skill comes in. You roll your contact’s Influence Skill, and if you succeed, then your contact has the time of day for you. If not, then for some reason that your GM will give you, your contact can’t do what you want him to do.

As with everything else, there is always modifiers to this, which will be detailed in the book, but just quickly they come in three varieties.

The first is a good old Social Skill Check, which you can roll before doing the Influence Check. This can be any Social Skill, and whichever one you use will determine how your interaction with your contact is flavoured. Succeed on the Social Skill Check and the result of your roll will become a bonus to the Influence Check. Fail, and the total by which you failed will become a penalty to that Influence Check. It’s risky, so if you’re not confident in your Social Skills, don’t bet the house on it.

Speaking of money, that is the second modifier to an Influence Check. The more you are willing to offer your contact in terms of money, goods, favours, information, etc, the more they will be willing to do a favour for you you. You scratch their back, they scratch yours.

And lastly, the severity of the task you are asking from them will give a modifier to the Influence Check. The more difficult the task, the less of a chance there is that they’ll say yes.

So between these three, there is more than enough for you to cover all your bases and get that contact working for you. Even a weakness can be overcome in another way. For example: if you know that you are going to ask something complex and difficult, then you know the bring along a lot of sweet words or money.

Aptitude

Once you’ve gotten your contact to agree to do something for you, it’s up to them to do it. Here you simply roll the contacts Aptitude test and use the same severity modifier from the Influence Check. If the contact succeeds, then they’ve done what you needed, and the better they roll, the better of a job they did. It’s as simple as that.

Leveling your Contacts

Going up

At the end of any session where your GM believes there is a chance that either your contact got better at what they do, or your relationship got better (flowers always works), he’ll tell you to either roll Influence or Aptitude (or both if you’re lucky). For these leveling rolls, if you roll under your contact’s Skill then nothing happens, but if you roll over it then that Skill increases by 1d5.

For example: if you went the extra mile for one of your contacts, brought them something for free, gave them a good tip, or protected them from an enemy, your GM could say that there is a definite chance that your relationship with them got better. So you roll an Influence Check and try to beat a (let’s say) 55. You roll 83, and so your contact’s Influence goes up by 1d5 (rolled a 3) and now your contact has an Influence Level of 58.

Going down

Works exactly the same as going up, but your contacts will lose levels instead. So at the end of the session, if your GM decides that you (or your contact) did something that would make your relationship suffer or they become a bit more incompetent at their job, then you will roll either Influence or Aptitude. If you roll under the Skill Level, then everything is fine, but if you roll over then your contact’s Skill Level will decrease by 1d5.

Moral of the story? Be nice to your contacts, and don’t ask for more than they can give, or you can lose them quickly.


And that’s all there is to the rules of the contacts. In the book you’ll get some more flavour options as well as how you get contacts when you create your character, but the rules are as simple as this!


And while we are busy with The Runed Age, you can have your say about what we should work on afterwards by filling out this little survey.

Runed Age Dev Journal 4

On the last Dev Journal we showed how the new Skills will look in the Runed Age 1.3. This time we are talking about the most important part of the Runed Age: the runes.

What’s new with the runes?

Absolutely nothing. Well that’s not entirely true, but the runes, runic arrays and their rules will not be changing in the Runed Age 1.3. All the designs you’ve come up with in your games will still be working exactly the same way in the new Runed Age as in the old. That also means that all the runic arrays from the Journal of Array Design 1, and it’s sequel will work normally as well.

What we will be doing, however, is rewriting how we explain the rules, to make it easier to pick up and start designing your own runic arrays.

Minor additions

Since the Runed Age went on sale, we’ve developed several new runes, and most of these will be making their way into the new 1.3 version. These are runes such as the Rotate rune that we showed off with the Furious Breath array, the Life rune from the Circle of Life array, and the Invert rune from the Effective Solution array. These are all runes that exist within the world of the Runed Age, and so will eventually find their way to the grand city of Middelburg for you to play with.

New Skill Rules

As we talked about in the previous dev journal, two of the new Skills will be majorly involved in all things runes: Logic and Fine-Craft. Logic is all about analysing runic arrays and their effects to determine what’s going on, whodunit, and all that carry on.

Fine-Craft is the new Skill for actually drawing out the runic arrays, and will be the Skill to use for rolling to see how effective it was. So out with rolling your Runes Skill, and in with Fine-Craft.

As with everything else in life, it’s not just that simple. We have some new runic modifiers for the Fine-Craft Skill Check that will come into play in 1.3. I say “new”, but if you’re familiar with Runes of Power, then you already know these modifiers.

Diligence

The first modifier is the Diligence Modifier and it does pretty much what you think it does. It is all about how much effort you put into drawing the array perfectly. The better a runic array is drawn, the better it will work, so being diligent will get you what you need every time.

The Diligence Modifier runs all the way from a +30 if you’re a perfectionist, to a -30 if your runic array is near illegible. How do you know which you are? Well that is the decision the GM will make, based on your roleplay. And speaking of GM decisions…

Suitability

The second modifier at work for your Fine-Craft Check. This modifier says how suitable your array design is for what you want it to do, and like the Diligence modifier runs from +30 for perfectly suitable to -30 for not suitable at all.

Your GM will determine where it falls on that scale, but it is a common sense thing. If you want to take down a stone wall, making an array that said “Contain-Exclude-Wall” would be perfectly suitable for what you want, and you’ll get that +30. If you made a runic array that said “Pull-Heat-Bird” then no, that just won’t work at all.


So between these two Modifiers, you could potentially get up to +60 to your Fine-Craft Skill Check, which is a near certainty that you’ll be succeeding in anything you try to do.

And that’s it for the runes. It’s a short update, but then we are intentionally not changing much about them.


And while we are busy with The Runed Age, you can have your say about what we should work on afterwards by filling out this little survey.

Runed Age Dev Journal 3

Last time we showed off probably the biggest new addition to the Runed Age 1.3. In this post we’ll go through some changes that will impact every part of your game.

Skill Changes

Starting with the Sigil System 1.2 and then going on to Z-LAND, the base Skill System that began with the Runed Age has seem some changes, and those changes are now coming back full circle to the Runed Age 1.3. There’s a fair bit that will change, and in particular how the runes and runic arrays interact with the Skills have been completely overhauled.

Out with the old…

The biggest changes you’ll see will be the absence of a few Skills. Perform, Contacts, and Runes have all been taken out. That doesn’t mean you can’t use these anymore, just that doing so will look a bit differently. The three social Skills (Deceive, Diplomacy, Intimidate) will now handle any type of performance you might want to create, and the Contacts subsystem (a whole dev journal is coming up just about this) will be dedicated just handling all your contacts in Middelburg.

Losing Runes was tough, because let’s face it, it is called the Runed Age and the entire magic system is all about runes. But it was one Skill that encompassed the entirety of the runic magic system and the nearly infinite amount of things you could do with it. That is way too powerful, and we saw far too many characters that put all their EXP into Runes.

What we’ve done instead is divide everything you can do surrounding runic arrays, and split them up into various other Skills. Now you can be amazing at drawing out runic arrays, but not the best at thinking up designs, and vice versa. The two Skills that will now handle the bulk of the runic business are two somewhat new Skills: Fine-Craft and Logic. Fine-Craft as the name implies will be the go-to Skill for seeing how well you’ve drawn the runic arrays, and Logic will be all about designing the arrays themselves.

And speaking of these skills

… in with the new.

Not only has Perform, Contacts and Runes gone, we’ve split up some other Skills into two to make them feel more like real individuals with a good spread of talents. The old Athletics now becomes Athletics and Might: Athletics is all about how dexterous and quick you can be, while Might is your raw brute strength. Craft has now become Fine-Craft and Broad-Craft, not the most creative of names, but we wanted to get their meaning across easily. Fine-Craft is all about the fine details, like putting together a clock, while Broad-Craft is about the bigger picture and working in broadstrokes, like building a cupboard, making a meal, etc.

We also have two Skills who have undergone a name change to make them a bit broader in use: Insight has become Intuition; and Lore has become Logic. They still fulfil their old roles, but Logic can now be used to overcome puzzles, and Intuition can now also be used to see what your gut has to say about a situation or even what you can remember.

Lastly, and straight from Z-LAND, we are putting the Luck Skill into Runed Age 1.3. Luck is a powerful Skill, and not only because it will determine your Sigil Threshold. You can use Luck in almost any situation where chance is a factor, and so can your GM. The muggers with loaded guns, who do they target in your party? Roll a Luck Skill to figure out who is the most unlucky between you. Are you lucky enough to find what you need in the first place you look? Your Luck Skill will tell you. Was anyone close enough to hear the vault door you blew up? Roll Luck to find out. We will also be putting in some looting mechanics that will depend on your Luck Skill.


And that’s it for the changes to the Skills in the Runed Age 1.3. Tell us what you think of it, any other changes you can suggest, and what you will do with these new Skills.


And while we are busy with The Runed Age, you can have your say about what we should work on afterwards by filling out this little survey.

Runed Age Dev Journal 2

Last time we showed you what you can expect in the new Runed Age 1.3. In this post we’ll show you perhaps the biggest (by page size) addition to the Runed Age: Perks & Quirks

Perks & Quirks

Perks & Quirks are the newest addition to the Sigil System itself, and we’re still in the process of updating all the mods to have them. In the Runed Age 1.3, you’ll find 100 Perks and 100 Quirks.

Most of these will be the same ones you’ll find in the Sigil System, so that the two systems will stay compatible and all the Sigil mods will work with the Runed Age. However, there will be a lot of Perks and Quirks unique to the Runed Age that will give you more potential to get the most out of the runic arrays and living in the grand city of Middelburg.

How they work

At their most basic, Perks & Quirks are alternatives to Specialisations to make your characters more unique and more powerful.

You can get a Perk in the same way as a Specialisation: when you get a Skill to Level 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100. When you get a Skill to these Levels, you now have a choice: you can either get a Specialisation, or you get a Perk. Many Perks have Skill prerequisites which mean you can only get that Perk if you level up that specific Skill.

There is always a third choice: take two. When you get that Skill Level up to a multiple of 10, you can always take both a Perk and a Specialisation, two Specialisations, or two Perks. However, if you do this, you must also take a Quirk… and you don’t get to choose which Quirk you get. Your GM will either roll for a Quirk for you or pick one that he feels fits best.

Another way to get Perks is through character creation. At the end of creating your character, you can roll to see how many Perks your character starts the game with. There are two catches here, you don’t get to choose your Perk, you have to roll for them randomly; and you must have as Quirks as Perks at character creation.

Example Perks & Quirks

Below are a few Perks and Quirks unique to the Runed Age 1.3:

Perks

Blessed by Bür: Spending a Sigil to grant a bonus to Skill Checks about runes and arrays gives a +50 bonus.

In With a Grin: Choose a single Merchant League Family. Spending a Sigil in Social Skills Checks with NPCs related to this family does not reduce your number of Sigils. (This Perk can be selected multiple times)

Dead Drop: Once per session you can spend a Sigil and declare that you have a hidden dead drop nearby containing d10 items of your choice (GM’s discretion if the item is reasonable).

Quirks

Runic Illiteracy: You cannot spend Sigils for Skill Checks involving the effectiveness of your runic arrays.

Local Menace: Your GM chooses a district of Middelburg. You’ve been declared a public menace here by the Alderman and will be arrested if discovered.

Runic Luddite: Reduce the amount of EXP you gain at the end of the session by the number of runic arrays you used or created (down to a minimum of 0).

For all the other runic Perks & Quirks, you’ll have to wait until the book is done.


And while we are busy with The Runed Age, you can have your say about what we should work on afterwards by filling out this little survey.

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!

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.

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.

Stealth Mod Developer Journal #4

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

Last time we talked all about how your characters can increase the Levels on the Awareness Scale, both through the use of Stealth Skill Checks as well as through narrative actions.

This time we’ll be talking about quite the opposite. This dev journal is all about decreasing your Awareness Level and keeping yourself hidden.

Time

The most important factor when it comes to lowering your characters’ Awareness Level is time, pure and simple. When you have aroused the suspicion, paranoia or rage within someone then the best thing to do is just to wait until it passes. Other than the narrative actions outlined below, this will be the main way of keeping yourself hidden in the Stealth Mod. Each Level of Awareness comes with its own time limit that needs to pass before the Awareness Scale will lower a Level.

Bear in mind that the time is cumulative, meaning that the time shown above for each level pertains only to that level. This means that if your Awareness Level is at Level 6, you will need to wait 1 hour for it to drop to Level 5, then wait 30 minutes for it to drop to Level 4, and so on and so forth. This may seem like an excessive amount of time, but remember that by Level 5 the compound knows you are there and by Level 6 they are actively hunting for you. They won’t just stop after five minutes and forget all about you and think the arrow through their head was just the wind. They will look and hunt and search and only after they have made sure you aren’t around will they relax.

Thresholds

To make things even more difficult for you, certain narrative actions that increase the Awareness Levels will come with a time threshold that will need to pass before that Level’s timer starts ticking down. What actions cause these thresholds will mostly be up to your GM but they will involve a response from the enemy NPCs that will need to be handled before things can continue. For instance, should an enemy disappear and the compounds radios him to check on things, they will become suspicious that he isn’t answering. Other than the 2 level bump in Awareness, this action will come with a 30 minute threshold that will simulate the enemies looking for this vanished guard and seeing what happened.

The longer the response will be from the compound, the longer the time threshold will be.

Narrative Actions

While you can always wait for the time to tick by until the compound has forgotten all about you, you can be proactive and help them along. This is the most vague of sections as there is no way to predict, or write rules for, all the inventive and creative actions that players will come up to decrease the awareness.

However, in saying that, what we can put to paper is that you can use the narrative actions to reverse the narrative actions that led to an increase in Awareness. By fixing what went wrong, you can immediately lower the Awareness Level to what it was before. This won’t work for everything, but you will be surprised what you can get away with.

To use the example for above: a guard went missing and the compound knows about this. This would cause the Awareness Scale to increase by 2 Levels and if you are Level 3 already this isn’t good news. So you think quickly, strip the guard down, put on his clothes and try your best to impersonate him. When the higher ups come calling, you are successful in your Deception Skill Checks and they believe your excuse that your radio’s batteries died. Immediately the Awareness Level went back to Level 3 from 5 without waiting for the Threshold or for time to pass.

And there you have it, everything you need to keep yourself hidden and continue skulking around where you shouldn’t be.

Next week in our Developer Journal we will talk about Zones and how you can chop up large compounds to make things more manageable for your players.

Stealth Mod Developer Journal #3

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

Last time we showed you the Awareness Scale, the central mechanic around which the entire Stealth Mod revolves and which governs all of its actions. It’s a simple scale from 0-10 with the notice and then aggression of the compound increasing with the scale.

This time we are going to talk about the ways you can increase that scale, whether by design or accident.

Stealth Skill Checks

This being a Stealth Mod, the Stealth Skill would always have been front and centre among the ways to increase the Awareness Level.

When you roll a Stealth Skill Check for the compound (not the individual like we talked about in the first dev journal) and you fail, the Awareness Level will rise. It’s as simple as that. By failing that Skill Check, you have alerted the compound to your presence and as such they are now more Aware of you.

The way this works is that you take the first digit of the number by which you failed your Stealth Check and that is the number of Levels that the Awareness increase by. To put it another way: Let’s say you had to beat your Stealth Skill Level of 50 but you rolled a 75. This means that you failed your Stealth Skill Check by 25, the first digit of which is 2. Thereby the Awareness Level increases by 2.

How this happens is up to the narrative control of your GM and will depend on a thousand and one different contextual clues such as the genre, the setting, the compound and the enemies.

Stealth Skill Checks might be the easiest way to keep track of how the Awareness Levels are increasing, but there is more to life than Skill Checks.

Narrative Actions

There is a world of things you can do to raise the Awareness Level of the compound, narratively speaking, that simply can’t fall under the purview of a Skill Check. This can range from the good old fashioned turning off the ray shields, to making enemies disappear or even leaving bodies lying around for the rest to find. Some actions will be intentional, others accidental, but all will serve to influence the awareness scale.

When we publish the Stealth Mod we will provide a (non-exclusive) list of actions that will increase the Awareness and by how much, but in general your GM will be able to look at the Scale and whatever it is that you just did to determine by how much the Levels increase.

For example, should the enemies find a suspicious corpse lying about this would raise the Levels by 8! Should you start at Level 0, this would immediately send the compound into lockdown, which from a narrative standpoint is quite reasonable.

In contrast, a simple distraction like throwing a coin to distract several enemies and make them move after it will only increase the Level by 1.

Level Limits

Various actions that cause only a few bumps in the Awareness Scale will have an upper limit to which they can affect the Awareness Levels. You can’t throw a coin ten times to distract guards and end up with them tearing the compound to pieces and declaring war on everyone they see. After a while, they will know you are in the compound and then it won’t do any good.

As such, this sort of action will only ever increase the Awareness Level up to Level 3 and not beyond it. Other actions will have other Limits that will prevent accidentally ruining your plans and allowing the narrative to continue.

So there you have it, everything you need to know how to increase Awareness.

However, increasing Awareness is often the last thing you want. You want that Level as close to 0 as possible. So…

Next week in our Developer Journal we will discuss everything you can do to keep the Awareness Level to a minimum and keep yourself hidden.