30% Runed Age Products

For this week only, The Runed Age, The Ruined City, and The Ruined People are all 30% off over on DriveThruRPG

Really simply post for today. Simply click on the text above and head on over to DriveThruRPG where you can get all our Runed Products at a 30% discount, but only for this week. And while you’re there, why not pick up a copy of the Z-Land beta document and follow along with us on our apocalyptic design journey.

Runic Arrays – Dancing Lights

For our runic arrays segment this week we give you a new way to use the arrays.

This week we show you the Dancing Lights array.

Notation: Secondary arrays: Create Copper in the shape of a disk as wide as the array and as thick as 1/1000th the array’s diameter. Primary Array: Rotate Copper at a speed of 4 rps if Copper is present, Push Copper at a speed of 1 m/s and Contain it to the width of the array and as deep as 1/10th the array’s diameter.

Class: Defensive

Description: An array that is perfect for a shield, and one that turns your shield into a weapon itself.

The Dancing Lights can be called an array of arrays. While it does have secondary arrays inside it, it isn’t a complex array because, if you look closely, you’ll see that these secondary arrays do not actually connect to anything. And they don’t have to. Any open space within an array is fair game for another, completely unrelated array. As long as there is an outer boundary around each array to isolate it, you can have as many arrays inside a larger array as you want.

This is an excellent way to tie several arrays together into one compact space, especially if those array normally can’t work with each other.

Take the Dancing Lights as an example. It create two flat copper disks and spins them around the centre of the array. With a single array, this is impossible, because any copper disk created would be created in the centre of the array and rotating it would just rotate it around its own centre axis. By putting these two secondary, and unconnected, arrays inside the larger array you can create those copper disks at any specific spot inside the array that you want.

So these two copper disks won’t be rotating around their own axes, but will be flung around the larger array’s axis like moons around a planet. Two completely (well almost) unrelated arrays working together to create an effect that is greater than the sum of its parts.

As to how to practically use this array? Well you just let it do its job and focus on the battle you have found yourself in. Copper is a highly reflective material, so whomever is facing your shield will see, as the array’s name implies, bright spinning and dancing lights in front of them. These copper disks also serve as a further level of protection, by being able to deflect incoming blades and projectiles. And since they are so thin (and made of metal) they are effective blades in and of themselves, able to cut open flesh and bone as good as anything else. It really is the complete package.

Z-Land beta 3.3

The new version of the Z-Land beta is now out and on its way to you!

This beta is the very definition of an update. After we removed the Perform Skill last time and Split Athletics into itself and Might, we figured that we might as well have a look at the entirety of the character generation.

For all of the character generation (other than the careers), each time you roll a lore option you will get two Skill options. This means that Skills are always given to you in pairs. As we checked over all the option, we found that certain skills were paired up more often than not. Fight and Shoot were nearly always given together, as was Will and Lore. This means that, at the end of the day, if you were good at Will you will also be good at Lore because they are given together so often. We wanted to make it more random and give your characters a chance to be good at one and perhaps not good at the other.

So went through and changed them where they paired up too often. It’s by no means perfect as is, and we might have another go at it down the line, but your characters should now have a less deterministic Skill set.

As an aside, we have also now added the character sheet as a standalone download to the DriveThruRPG Z-Land page, so if you already got the Beta, you can go and grab it.

Z-Land Beta 3.2

The new version of the Z-Land beta is now out and on its way to you!

This beta version adds in a small (relatively speaking) change that can have some serious ramifications. This is a change that has come straight from the playtesters and is why we are so grateful to have folks playtest the beta for us.

In this beta version we have removed the Perform Skill and have added in the Might Skill. There were a few reasons for this and some adjustments that had to be made.

The biggest reason is that performing some sort of art (whether musical, acting or whatnot) is simply not that important in an apocalypse setting. That is not to say you can’t create art in Z-Land, but rather that other social skills can handle it such as Diplomacy, Insight, Deceive, etc. In Z-Land it isn’t such a crucial thing to require its very own skill. The Perform Skill works in the Sigil System because Sigil is a generic system and so has to provide for any setting and genre you can think of; and it worked in the Runed Age because in that setting you played as a career criminal who (no matter whether you are stealing, assassinating or sabotaging) infiltrates wherever you go, so Perform is a useful skill as part of your disguise.

But in the Apocalypse, survival is far more important.

So we changed Perform to Might.

Might is the skill that covers everything to do with how strong you are, so in a more traditional RPG system this would be your Strength attribute. Adding in a strength skill meant we had to adjust how Athletics work. Previously, Athletics covered anything the human body does that is physically taxing, and this included feats of strength. Now that we split off strength to our new Might skill, Athletics has become our dexterity skill. Everything you want to do that requires you to be dexterous and nimble, such as running, parkouring, acrobatics, dodging, will fall under Athletics while pure acts of strength such as lifting and pushing heavy things and climbing will fall under Might.

Runic Arrays – Wizard’s Envy

For our runic arrays segment this week we give you a way to make wizards even more overpowered.

This week we show you the Wizard’s Envy incantation.

Notation: Heat Iron at a rate of 64 degrees Celsius per second within an area in the shape of an Inverted Dome 100 times as wide across as the array and 10,000 times as deep as the array’s diameter. Cast from the mouth.

Incantation: Begh Yst Dün Ob Watze Ant Schniv Sepa Cob Dün Ob Hohd Ant Mürgrot Non Küp Ant Omkirdi Non Rônde Ant Grot Ant Mürgrot Tüwe Cob Ent Fin Bek.

Class: Incantation

Description: It is a staple trope (and perhaps even a cliche) in high fantasy stories that wizards are clad in loose cloth robes while the warriors encase themselves in as much steel as they can find. The warriors are the knights in shining armour while the wizards are the mysterious mages. It is a way to easily distinguish two very different types of characters and in games (whether videogames or tabletop) it is also a way to balance the two classes. After all, if a wizard could wear armour, wield a sword and then cast magic as well then what use is there for a warrior?

But you surely must feel for these wizards, watching these mighty warriors with their brightly shining (and often gilded) suits of armour crafted by the finest artisans, bedecked in fancy tabards and robes, their coat of arms proudly worn on their shields while a colourful and symbolic crest sits atop their helms. That is the sort of thing legends and songs are written about. And all the while, all the wizards have is a faded old robe, a tattered pointy hat and a long walking stick.

So why wouldn’t a wizard start to get envious after all the attention these pretty boys in their armour seem to get? Why wouldn’t a wizard start making plans, devious plans, to even out the playing field. After all, if a wizard can’t wear armour, no one should! It’s only fair.

And that’s where this incantation comes into play. Dreamed up by a very bitter and spiteful wizard, the Wizard’s Envy incantation creates an inverted and stretched dome (otherwise known as a rounded cone) that heats up all iron (and thus steel) within it by 64 degrees Celsius a second. The intent here isn’t to melt the iron and steel, since that would require holding this spell on target for more than 23 seconds. Rather it is just to make the cost of wearing armour greater than the reward.

After less than two seconds, the weapons and armour wielded by the warriors caught up in the cone would already be over 100 degrees Celsius and far too hot to touch with bare hands. Less than four seconds into the spell and they would be over 200 degrees Celsius and would start to burn and overheat the warriors no matter what are wearing underneath. The only thing the warriors will be able to do is to throw down their weapons and try and get out of their armour as quickly as possible.

And now the warrior and the wizard are on equal footing, no weapons and no armour. Well, the wizard still has magic, but why fight a fair fight?

Runic Arrays: Static Cloud

For our runic arrays segment this week we give you the way to create your very own legion.

This week we show you the Grand Army array.

Notation: Transmute Humans into Air if Humans are present and apply the effect of Created Lightning to Air.

Class: Offence

Description: A handy array for both taking down a single enemy as well as incapacitating anyone around him.

The true power from this array comes from its smaller, secondary array. Without this, it would simply be an array to transmute humans into air, which while useful, is not any different than transmuting humans into anything else. By putting the secondary array into it, what you are telling the array to do is to apply the effect (not the individual runes) onto all of whatever rune is in the centre of the array. So for this array, the effect would be created lightning, so simply just lightning. The array would apply this to all of the air around it, meaning that all the air around the array would now be filled with electricity trying to find the quickest way down to earth.

But merely electrifying the air around the array isn’t enough for this array. No, that would be too simple. The other trick with this array is to remember that when dealing with runes and the materials they represent, the arrays work in mass and not volume. So if you transmute a person into air, you won’t just have as much air as can fill up the space that person left behind. Instead, you will have as much mass (or weight) of air to deal with stuck in that space the person just vacated. For other things, this wouldn’t be much of an issue, but air isn’t very dense.

1 cubic metre of air weighs only 1.23 kg. So if you transmuted a chap weighing 80kgs into air, you would end up with 61.9 cubic metres worth of air in an area of around 0.8 cubic metres. This just won’t do, and with nothing to stop the air moving it will immediately rush out of that space to find some equilibrium with the atmosphere around it. 61.9 cubic metres is enough to fill up a room and it will be expanding at an alarming rate.

All of this means that everyone around the poor chap who just died will be knocked off their feet by the sudden gale of wind around them and then electrocuted by the electricity flowing through that wind.

So with one array engraved onto a bullet, you can kill one man and keep all his allies convulsing on the floor.

And if you are new to the runes and arrays, here is a playlist we made to explain exactly how they work.

Z-Land Beta 3.1

The new version of the Z-Land beta is now out and on its way to you!

It’s not a major release and deals mostly with typos and grammar fixes, but it is also the start of clarifying the rules and mechanics as we start to get more feedback from the beta testers. This is some of the most important “changes” we have and will be making to the beta as it is about making sure you as GMs and players know exactly what the rules mean and how they are applied to the game. After all, if you don’t know how the rules work, then how can you play the game?

The full list of changes and clarifications we made can be found in the changelog on page 3 of the beta, but to just pick out a few: we’ve clarified exactly how flanking bonuses work in melee combat (each flanker gets all the bonuses from all the other flankers), how the Sigil Threshold can be affected by in-session changes to your Luck Skill (it can’t), and what Skill Level the Skill Specialisations start at (the same Level as their Parent Skill).

The more feedback we get from all you beta testers, the more we will be able to clarify the rules to make it easier for you to play. So keep that feedback coming!

Also, we just ran a major playtest with the game design students at AUT’s School of Art and Design and we got a veritable boatload of feedback to work through, so expect some exciting changes to happen as we unpack all that feedback and critiques.

Runic Arrays: Grand Army

For our runic arrays segment this week we give you the way to create your very own legion.

This week we show you the Grand Army array.

Notation: Create Humans if no Humans are present, Push Humans at the speed of 1 m/s if Humans are present and apply the effect of the Lazarus array to Humans.

Class: Utility

Description: As can plainly be seen in the notation of the array, and in the array itself, the Grand Army array is based on the Lazarus array and uses the Lazarus array as its most critical part.

What this array does, in short, is to create its very own cloning production line. With this array, and as much energy as you can feed it, you can create as many artificial humans as you want. However, as with all arrays, the devil is in the details.

The Lazarus array transmutes (specifically) non-living humans into live humans. The obvious use for this array is to resurrect the dead. We naturally presume the opposite of alive to be dead and think to have a dead human you must first have had a living human. This, however, is not always the case. Any plant and animal (including humans) created by an array comes out dead. Well, technically not dead since for the merest fraction of a second after its creation it is indeed alive, but within the time it takes you to blink the created “thing” will die. This is because the arrays cannot provide that spark of life to a newly created plant or animal. It can, however, create that plant of animal in a perfect condition which is why it will be alive for a heartbeat.

While the runes and arrays cannot provide that spark of life, what they can do, though, is change the state of something: ie transmutation. It is the transmutation of something non-living to something living that allows the Lazarus and thus the Grand Army arrays to work.

Just one thing to note is that while this can be called a cloning machine, it can’t actually create a copy of an existing person. All it does it create a “blank” human over and over again. “Blank” in this case meaning “an androgynous, racially indeterminate, sexually mature corpse of a human” as the description of the Human rune puts it. Also, remember that this is a brand new human and comes with all that entails, so if you want your army you will first have to train it how to speak and walk and use the toilet properly.

But if you have patience, you will get your army.

Runic arrays: Lazarus

For our runic arrays segment this week we give you the ultimate reset button.

This week we show you the Lazarus array.

Notation: Transmute Non-Living Humans into Living Humans and sustain said Humans.

Class: Utility

Description: A very simple array but with the most direst of consequences. This array does exactly what its name implies: it brings humans back from the dead. By transmuting non-living humans into living humans, the only thing you are really changing is the state of life, thereby leaving the person “transmuted” unaffected otherwise. They are still the same person for all intents and purposes, but one thing that does not change is how they died.

Unlike the Dark Folly array, the Lazarus doesn’t turn back time to before the person died, it just changes their state from “dead” to “living”. So if they died through violent means (eg a gunshot to the chest) they will still have that bullet hole in their body and all the damage associated with it. And if left like that, they will promptly die again. That is why the Sustain rune in this array is so important; it sustains the body and keeps it from whatever just killed it killing it again. As long as the array is active and the Sustain rune is working, the person won’t die again. This gives you the time to fix whatever went wrong, however you might go about it.

One thing to note is that because this array only changes a person’s state from “dead” to “living”, if they are too far decomposed, it wouldn’t do any good since no amount of surgery will fix them. In that case, it is better to use something like the Dark Folly array. It will require far more energy, however, and that is why this array will more easily work in a pinch.

And lastly, if you are using the Z-Land rules with the Runed Dead crossover (for which the Life rune was invented), this array won’t help to bring people back from the dead as the undead in the Runed Dead are powered by the arrays. If you try and use this array on a dead person, it will just turn them into a zombie.

Z-Land Beta 3.0

The new version of the Z-Land beta is now out and on its way to you!

There’s a few minor things that have been added and changed in this section (such as adding in sample Infected character skill blocks, adding computing to the character generation’s careers and starting to add in archetype logos) but the main event for version 3.0 is scavenging!

In the post apocalyptic future you will always be either hungry, thirsty or both, so you will always be out looking for more food, water and other supplies. This is where the scavenging mechanic comes in. There are five main consumable resources and their scarcity will be different depending on what sort of environment you are in and what timeframe. What is rare and scarce in one environment might be common and plentiful in another; what you might find everywhere on the day the apocalypse happen might be in very short supply ten years later.

Scavenging is done quite simply: you roll an Investigation Skill Check and your GM puts a positive or negative modifier onto it depending on the scarcity. If you are successful then you find it, but how much do you find? That is where the Luck Skill comes in. If you have indeed found some food or water, you roll a Luck Skill Check to see if you have found enough to last you the next few days or just enough for the next meal.

Also due to popular demand, we have added in how long a turn in combat should last: approximately five seconds.

Have fun with 3.0 and get back to us any feedback you have!

ENnie Awards

That time of year is closing in on us again, when all the developers and publishers send in their very best products and start praying feverishly.

That’s right, the ENnie Awards are right around the corner and we have submitted three of our products that we hope to get nominated.

The judges get to work in a couple of weeks and we will all hear by July if we did get a nomination. So keep your fingers crossed and we’ll keep you updated July rolls around.

Runic Arrays – Forgotten Memory

For our runic arrays segment this week we’ve come to bargain.

This week we show you the Forgotten Memory array.

Notation: Invert the flow of Time over an area 100 time greater than the array if Humans are within the area of the array and Sustain this effect if Humans are within an area 10 times greater than the array.

Class: Utility

Description: They say the best criminal leaves no trace of what they’ve done. Of course you can always incapacitate and/or kill any witnesses to your crime, but then you are simply creating more lose threads and more mysteries that will lead the keen of eye and sharp of mind to your trail. It would be far better if it appears that you had simply never been there, that you had come and gone like the proverbial thief in the night.

This array helps you do just that.

This array’s core principle is to create a short time loop that the unsuspecting victim would fall into when they trigger it and fall out of when the array’s energy has run out, completely unaware that anything is amiss. As soon as the victims step over the array it activates and starts inverting time, but if not for the Sustain rune it would stop doing so as soon as the person is back outside the array (leading to a split second time loop as the person hovers over the array). The Sustain rune then takes over and keeps time flowing backwards until the person is well away from the array.

This allows for a significant time inversion and puts the person back outside the triggering area, meaning the array isn’t constantly using up its reserve of energy. The person then, with the same frame of mind as a few seconds ago, will most likely again step over the array, trigger the effect again.

The only clue they would have that not everything is as it seems is that if there is sufficient energy in the array and the time loop goes for long enough, then the day would turn to night (or vice versa) and the people inside would notice that the time outside is not the same as inside. This could then prevent them from, again, triggering the array and resetting the time loop. The same, of course, would be true for anything that moved into or out of the victim’s line of sight during any of the time resets as it would not be there for the next reset, looking to the victim as if it disappeared into thin air. The way to fix this is to use this array in an area where line of sight and sound is limited. Indoors, for example, or an alleyway at night.

With the victims stuck in a time loop, they would have no clue of the world outside changing, and that will give you more than enough time to get into wherever you aren’t supposed to be, do whatever you aren’t supposed to be doing and get back out again. Do it quickly enough, and give the array as little energy as needed, and no one will ever be the wiser.

And remember that you have until the end of this week to buy all our Runed Age products for half price!

Discord Channels and Ruined Sale

We’re always to have a chat with anyone that comes by, and with Z-Land now well into its beta we would love to hear feedback and criticism about the game and how we can make it even better.

So if you’re keen for a chat, you can always find us here on the site or on social media, but if you prefer a more real time conversation we also have a little spot on Rycon Roleplays’ Discord Server. We have The Runed Age Channel if you want to chat about anything to do with the Runed Age, its campaigns or anything runic related and then there is also the Z-Land Channel where you can chat with all the other beta testers (and those curious about it) about how the game is coming along.

So CLICK HERE and come join us on Discord for some good conversation!

And because we like all of you so much, we’ve put The Runed Age and its two Ruined Man campaign books on sale over on DriveThruRPG for 50% off! So if you haven’t yet gotten your hands on these, now is your chance!

Runic Arrays – Repeating Hammer

For our runic arrays segment this week we’re gonna rock your world.

This week we show you the Repeating Hammer array.

Notation: Push Iron at a speed of 8 m/s if Ironis present within a Cylindrical area the height of the array’s width and Pull Iron at a speed of 1 m/s if Iron is not present within a a Cylindrical area 10 times the height of the array’s width.

Class: Utility

Description: Like many arrays created in Middelburg after the discovery of electricity, this one is named after the machine it powers. The repeating hammer is a large metal cylinder housing a metal rod and this array at the back. As soon as the array is activated, the iron rod is hurled towards the end of the cylinder where it is stopped by spar of metal that ensures only a fraction of the rod will protrude from the cylinder. The array then pulls the iron rod back towards it and once it reaches the array it is again thrown towards the end of the cylindrical housing.

It’s a very simple machine and so can be built on a massive scale. The only intricate parts of it is the array and the socket where the copper cable can be plugged in to carry the electricity towards the array. Because of the ease of creating the repeating hammer, it has found its way into a variety of trades in a variety of sizes. Builders and carpenters use a small, one handed version to hammer in whatever nails and rivets they need; while ship (sea or air) builders use larger versions that can also hammer in the planks together to fit more tightly.

Even the Middelburg constabulary and military have been eyeing the repeating hammer. The constables want to use it to hammer down doors and barricades that have been runically strengthened or protected, while the military is eyeing up the hammer as a basis for a repeating musket.

In the darker side of Middelburg, the criminals have been tinkering with the repeating hammer and have been attempting to make version where contact with skin sets it going, meaning you can put the hammer on a more traditional shaft and swing it at an enemy and the hammer will rocket forward within the cylinder the moment it makes contact with a person, shattering whatever it touches.

Z-Land Beta 2.0

The Z-Land 2.0 has been released, and for those who already got into the beta it should be on its way to you right now. If you want to sink your teeth into the beta, you can now grab it from DriveThruRPG.

2.0 brings with it 2 major mechanics: Food Spoilage and Threat.

Food Spoilage is exactly what it says it is. It uses a very simple mechanic to track how long until the food you have spoils and can no longer be eaten. You already have to deal with hunger and starvation and now you have to worry about your good going off. Other than keeping you on your toes, the purpose of this mechanic is to keep you moving. If your food never went off or spoiled then you can happily set up camp somewhere safe, have a pint and just wait for the apocalypse to (hopefully) blow over. But if your food has a time limit that means you have to keep going out there into the ruins scavenging for food and that makes the game exciting.

The second mechanic is Threat. Threat deals with the consequences of going around scavenging or in general just making noise. Threat deals with how many individuals (alive, dead or undead) hear the noise you are making and how far away they are. Threat is also the first foray into our environment system as each environment deals with sound differently. Sound carries further in open plains than in a densely backed urban district, but there are far fewer people out on the open plains than in a city.

So stay on the move and keep your ears and eyes open!

As always, we love to hear feedback on these new mechanics and absolutely everything else in the Z-Land Beta. If you wanna chat to us you can email us at customerservice@stormforgeproductions.com or you can find us on the Rycon Roleplays Discord Server where you can chat to fellow beta testers about your experiences in the apocalypse.