The Dread Unicorn Speaks

The Gods Have Spoken ships, The Gods and Icons Player’s Companion goes on sale, and a look at games to come.

The Gods Have Spoken

We’ve shipped The Gods Have Spoken, a supplement for 5th Edition D&D full of new gods, new domains, new character customizations, new creatures, new magic items, a holy weapon creation system, and a brand new set of rules for using factions in your games that let your players decide what factions come into play.

Dread Unicorn Games - The Gods Have Spoken

 

What’s Next?

5E

Factions and Conditions Cards
Cards to track how factions feel about the PCs, plus cards that track conditions such as Blinded on PCs and NPCs. Less looking up rules, more fighting dragons! (in design)

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The Gray World
An introductory 5E adventure that showcases The Gods Have Spoken. Comes with pregens, and serves as an example of how to use the new faction system. (in editorial and playtest)

13th Age

Brightvarna Red

Flash fiction and epic poetry from the world of Gods and Icons. The last deliverable from the Gods and Icons Kickstarter. (in editorial)

The Gods and Icons Upgrade Pack

This supplement will include new artwork of the three pantheons, a list of saints to use in your games, and new 13th Age creatures that have ties to the gods and the icons from Gods and Icons. (in development)

Dread Unicorn Games Gods and Icons Upgrade Pack 13th Age

Numenera

Dread Unicorn Games The Sun Below That's How the Light Gets InThe Sun Below: That’s How the Light Gets In

A transdimensional adventure focusing who, or what, is draining the power of The Sun Below. When PCs come up against adversaries that can’t be hurt, and won’t listen to reason, the PCs just might have to run a con game with transdimensional stakes! (in design)

On Sale Now!

The Gods and Icons Player’s Companion. On sale at DriveThruRPG

GaIPC Cover 500w

Using the Numenera Ruin Mapping Engine with the Sun Below

In Jade Colossus: Ruins of the Prior Worlds, Monte Cook Games has come up with a ruin mapping system that allows you to flesh out parts of the Ninth World that you don’t have details for.

Most of the book is about the Jade Colossus, but like many Numenera ruins, it’s enormous and there is no point in detailing hundreds of rooms and corridors that players will never see. The ruin mapping engine lets you roll a few dice and create weird Numenera environs on the fly.

Let’s roll some dice!

d20 Dread Unicorn Games

Example One: A 5m x 10m rectangular chamber with a machine that grinds small objects into drit. It has one exit sealed with a force field, and two additional exits.

Example Two: A sealed vault (seals are level 7 with level 7 defenses that do 7 points of energy damage). The interior is made of self-repairing level 8 synth. The vault is 15m x 30m and contains a vortex of energy that swirls above a raised circular platform surrounded by complex (level 8) machinery. The vortex is painfully bright and hot, and induces a sense of awe in observers. The vortex is a wormhole that leads directly to the sun.

The Sun Below

Using the ruin mapping engine to flesh out when players go “off the path” in any Sun Below adventure is perfect. You can roll dice, or use the tables for inspiration.

Then use the background of the adventures as window dressing for your on-the-fly creations. In example two above, that vortex obviously leads not to some lame sun at the center of the solar system but directly to the Sun Below!

The Sun Below: City on the Edge

The Sun Below; City on the Edge; Dread Unicorn Games; Numenera

Like the Jade Colossus, Urbamorr, the city on the edge, is enormous. Unlike the Jade Colossus, it’s mostly inhabited. Use the ruin mapping engine, and 50% of the time decorate the places with praithian statues, burial chambers, and enormous artwork. Above ground sections will have dh’lann features (like dream-vapor bowls), while below ground areas will feature slithik items (like floating tubes of blood).

Since the city is inhabited, 50% of the time use a creature as the main feature, the rest of the time roll as normal. If you do have a creature, 50% of the time use dh’lanns, floaters, praithians, praithian war snakes, pyronic sentries, or slithiks.

Praithian Ruins from The Sun Below: City on the Edge adventure for Numenera

The Sun Below: Sleeping Lady

Commisions Numenera Orb Mountain

Liluna is also massive, and, like the Jade Colossus, mostly uninhabited. 50% of the time you should decorate the areas you roll up with displays that show lido automatons, Liluna in flight, gibbering murken, Lebby with her red bouncy ball, or an aspect of Storm. Depending on what’s going on in the stricken moon, you could show the forces of Liluna or of Golthnor doing well or doing poorly.

If you roll up a creature, 50% of the time use a child of Golthnor, cultists of Golthnor, data demons, gibbering murken, lido automatons, Lebby, skratts, Storm, or synites. Look at the Orb Encounters section of the adventure for ideas.

raparator final

Icons and Conditions Review

The Heavy Metal GM reviews Icons and Conditions.

The Heavy Metal GM

Not too long ago now, John W.S. Marvin over at Dread Unicorn Games released a book called Gods and Icons. It’s a supplement for 13th Age RPG with a myriad of new Icons, class abilities, player races, and to augment it all, player races. Well, Mr. Marvin is back with a vengeance, with the accessory for the setting, the Icons and Conditions cards. Just for full transparency reasons, John was kind enough to send me this copy of the deck specifically for review.

Just to describe what these are: This supplement is a deck of cards, but not just any cards. Some have the Icons from the Gods and Icons book, while others have the standard conditions for 13th Age (hampered, stuck, etc.). They’re made of similar material to regular playing cards and seem sturdy. Additionally, there’s a card in the deck telling you where to find licensing info…

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Piggybacking Part II

Before we steal Piggybacking from GUMSHOE, check out how it works there in Piggybacking Part I.

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The Noisy Cleric Problem

The problem piggybacking solves can be found in all sorts of roleplaying games with all sorts of skills, but the example that comes to mind is sneaking into a castle in a fantasy game like Dungeons and Dragons. In fantasy books and movies, the heroes sneaking into places is a staple of the genre. In D&D games, sneaking is left to the rogue and the ranger for scouting. Once the GM tells the entire table to roll dice to see if they sneak into the castle, somebody always misses, and the exciting infiltration turns into a frontal assault.

GUMSHOE Roots

In games like TimeWatch, Nights Black Agents, or Trail of Cthulhu, the whole spend resources to piggyback fits perfectly, since they are all GUMSHOE games. Most of my players have points to spend in Infiltration, but some have zeros. Every general skill is like that. You aren’t giving the party something for free, they are spending resources they might need later to succeed now.

Let’s look at other systems. I haven’t tested these, but I will.

Cypher System Piggybacking

In games like Numenera, Predation, and The Strange, GUMSHOE style piggybacking is easy, since you’re already spending the resources of Might, Speed, and Intellect to do anything.

The expert spends from their pool as normal, but the difficulty is harder because they are pulling the rest of the party with them. For a sneak into the castle test, the expert has their difficulty raised (+2 sounds good, +1 for less than 3 followers) and uses Speed. While the expert can use their Edge to lower their costs, the followers can not. They each spend one point, no discount.

If the expert succeeds, everyone sneaks in. Move on with the adventure.

Nothing to Spend Piggybacking

In games as varied as Call of Cthulhu, 13th Age, and Dungeons and Dragons, you don’t have resources to spend to sneak into castles or climb up icy cliffs. You’ve got hit points, and while spending those might make sense in a few cases, usually not. Same with Sanity, Recoveries, or Spell Slots. These games are not about spending resources on skill tests, so it seems wrong to try and force them do that just for piggybacking.

In these games I’d boost the difficulty for the expert (+5 for d20, +25% for Call of Cthulhu), but then I’d require the rest of the party to roll just to assist. And if someone fumbles, well then, we’re right back where we started from. That’s the cost right there, the more players rolling, the greater the chance of a fumble. 🙂